Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Weather Forecast

Today January 23, 2007 10:34:53.14

A couple of squalls

High 34 °F

Low 24 ° F

A couple of squalls

Today: Mostly cloudy with a few flurries and a heavier squall, 1-3". High 34.
Tonight: Mostly cloudy with flurries. Low 24.

A squall is a sudden, sharp increase in wind speed which usually is associated with active weather, such as rain showers, thunderstorms, or heavy snow. They usually occur in a region of strong mid-level height falls, or mid-level tropospheric cooling, which force strong localized upward motions at the leading edge of the region of cooling, which then enhances local downward motions just in its wake. Squalls refer to an increase in the sustained winds over a short time interval, as there may be higher gusts during a squall event. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Story Review: The Lady, or the Tiger?

Access to the online short story: The Lady, or the Tiger, by Frank R. Stockton

‘The Lady, or the Tiger?’ is an American classical short story written by Frank R. Stockton, a humorist and a writer, in year 1882. He was born Philadelphia, the seventh of thirteen children. During his life time, he published several fairy tales, humorous books, novels, and science fiction. Among many best known stories, ‘The Lady, or the Tiger?’ was Stockton's most lasting story. He used satirical writing to examine the absolute power and self-interest of leaders, the romantic relationship, passion, and trusting between lovers, the cruelty of systems, and the uncertainty of lives in a society. The story involved a jealous princess, a vindictive king, and a handsome suitor. In general, the story was written from third person’s point of view except one part where the suitor asked a question, “Which?” to the princess.

‘The Lady, or the Tiger?’ began with a description of a “semi-barbaric” king who ruled his kingdom with a heavy-hand. He enjoyed turning his wild imagination into facts. Inspired by his implacable will, he utilized an unusual form of administering justice for offenders in his kingdom. The offender could determine his own fate by selecting one of the two closed doors in the arena. He was forced by nothing and led by no one. Behind one door stood a beautiful lady hand-picked by the king and behind another door hid a ravenous tiger. If the offender picked the door with the beautiful lady behind it, he would be declared innocent and as a reward, he must marry that lady under the witness of the king, regardless of previous marital status. If the offender opened the door with the tiger behind it, then he would be deemed guilty and the tiger would tear him to pieces. The uncertain ending of the offender pleased the king and the people in the kingdom a lot, except women, who were always the victims of the system.

The king had a daughter that who was also semi-barbaric. She was the apple of his eye. One day, the king found out that the princess had taken a lover far beneath her station. He could not accept this and so he threw the suitor into prison and set a day for his trial in the arena. On the trial day, the suitor stood in the arena and looked at the princess who sat on the right side of the king. When his eyes met hers, he knew right away that the princess knew the secret behind the doors. Through telepathy, he quickly asked the princess for some indication of which door to pick. The princess was actually in quandary. If she indicated the door with the tiger, her lover would be killed on the spot. However, if she indicated the door with the lady, her lover would be forced to marry another woman, and even though he would be alive she would never be with him. Despite the dilemma, the princess responded to her lover’s question in a second. But it had been made after days and nights of deep and painful thought. The princess gave a sign to the right. Without hesitation, the suitor walked to the door on the right and opened it. At this point, the story abruptly stopped and the author left the question to the reader, “Did the tiger come out of that door, or did the lady?”

This is a great story. I like the story but not the abrupt ending, especially when the story is a cliffy. The author placed the princess, as well as the reader, in a predicament. Making a decision is hard; making a decision for a woman is even harder, as illustrated in one Chinese saying that equates the difficulty of predicting a woman’s heart as finding a needle in an ocean. If a decision must be made for the princess, I think the suitor should be led to the door with the lady behind it. But, Wait! Do not premeditate my intention; I have additional reasons to support the decision. The law forces a man to marry a lady if he did choose the right door, regardless of his previous marital status. Is there a suggestion that polygamy is legal in the kingdom? If so, the princess could marry the suitor later, regardless of the suitor’s previous marital status. At the end, the princess could save her lover and could live happily with him again.

Friday, January 19, 2007


There's a saying that you broaden your horizons through travel, but if you are curious enough to listen to other people, you can broaden your horizons without leaving your backyard.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Geography in the Age of Reconnaissance

Sipping a cup of hot coffee in a quiet cafĂ© while everyone was capering with joy for the first day of 2007, I was reading an unexciting book that my husband recommended. The content of the book was dry, so I could sense I would quit reading as soon as I began. Yet I did not. The Geographical Tradition by David N. Livingstone is a renowned writing on the history and philosophy of geography, and it has become the core textbook in many universities. Having just finished the second chapter, I have already felt that my living is closely related to geography – geography is everything and everywhere. The interesting part of the book in so far is that the author claimed that geography played a leading role in the evolution of the scientific tradition, and its contributions have been to the emergence of modern science. For geography is a practical science, it has resolved a lot of questions by real-world experience.