30 December 2009

Cinque Terre

Vernazza, the photo from here.

I need the distraction. I need a dream again. I am longing for a place where I have the view of mountains, ocean, and greens... where I can breathe and relax. It is  nearly the last day of the month and I have to pick another destination for my travel journal. This month, the last month of the year, I am going with "the Five Lands", the five delightful villages in Italy, along the cost, and part of UNESCO World Heritage Site. It seems a good idea to dream of a sunny and warm place for your next trip when you are cold.

I close my eyes and  I pray. I pray for a better and happier year for my family, for my siblings, and a blissful 2010 for everyone. May peace reach your hearts and your minds and stay there.

29 December 2009


Coco before Chanel is such a wonderful movie featuring Audrey Tautou, the talented French actress. Gabrielle Chanel had a very interesting personality. With a blend of elegance, talent, and very headstrong personality, she established a business and a legacy of her own. You might need some Kleenex as you are watching this movie.

"The best thing about love is making love. Too bad you need a man for that." by Gabrielle Chanel

p.s. No offense to anyone, but I just thought that was really funny.

28 December 2009

Use it or lose it!

21 December 2009

He might think of himself as a man but he has no worthiness as a person.

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas by Hawksley Workman

If god takes you he leaves
each footprint of love
and kindness behind
which is where you once stood


and I know you're afraid
to get on the plane
after what happened that day
and selfishly i want you here in my way

but animals come
and animals go
but love is just a laundry line
we hang on onto

we're dried out by the sun
and when you think your turn is done
you end up getting dirty
and its all again begun

now words i think are just
a noisy dirty wind
makes the trouble we get in
so why do we speak

now we made another war
that's what men are good for
men with stupid insecurities
not a lot more

and satisfied they try
its written about a gun
but who the hell reads history?
apparently not men

cause nothings guarenteed
except the politics of need
did the romans see the ship go down
were they asleep?

I shouldnt expect to live
and I shouldnt expect to die
but I wouldnt mind being beside you, dear
on that laundry line to dry

and for my grandma and brother
my father and my mother
and you my sweetest lover
to you all I will say

Merry Christmas I love you
and god is above you
Merry Christmas I love you
and god is above you

Merry Christmas I love you.

17 December 2009

Joyeux Noël!

It is the best time of the year. Beautiful Christmas decorations can be seen everywhere. You can hear Christmas songs from every corner. Red, green, and gold with the pinch of snow makes a prefect picture for this season. You can feel the energy in the air. It is hard to describe the feelings that sometimes can get to you in this season.

Then, there are the Christmas movies that add to this joyful and sometimes touchy time. Joyeux Noël has been one of my favourite movies. I had to go back to my older posts to make sure that I haven’t written about this movie before. I surprised myself for being quiet about this movie till now. This movie is about World War I  but if you are pacifist, you will enjoy watching this movie. For the first time, I saw someone actually value humanity above the idea of being patriotic. This movie lays out the reality, the power of politicians over nations. If you do watch it, I hope you enjoy it.

Be happy and jolly!
Why bad things have to happen to good people! My thoughts and prayers are with Sarah and her partner. God! I believe in you. Please bless them with your mercy and help them to get through this. He is everything to her.

14 December 2009

Tonight I can write

Tonight I can write..
Tonight I can write the saddest lines.

Write, for example, 'The night is starry
and the stars are blue and shiver in the distance.'

The night wind revolves in the sky and sings.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
I loved her, and sometimes she loved me too.

Through nights like this one I held her in my arms.
I kissed her again and again under the endless sky.

She loved me, sometimes I loved her too.
How could one not have loved her great still eyes.

Tonight I can write the saddest lines.
To think that I do not have her. To feel that I have lost her.

To hear the immense night, still more immense without her.
And the verse falls to the soul like dew to the pasture.

What does it matter that my love could not keep her.
The night is starry and she is not with me.

This is all. In the distance someone is singing. In the distance.
My soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

My sight tries to find her as though to bring her closer.
My heart looks for her, and she is not with me.

The same night whitening the same trees.
We, of that time, are no longer the same.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but how I loved her.
My voice tried to find the wind to touch her hearing.

Another's. She will be another's. As she was before my kisses.
Her voice, her bright body. Her infinite eyes.

I no longer love her, that's certain, but maybe I love her.
Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Because through nights like this one I held her in my arms
my soul is not satisfied that it has lost her.

Though this be the last pain that she makes me suffer
and these the last verses that I write for her.

by Pablo Neruda translated by W.S. Merwin

12 December 2009

Research idea!

I'm not sure if this study has been done but it would be a nice idea to do a cultural study based on people's status updates on facebook. If we considered normal circumstance (e.g. without any political movement), so far what I have been seeing from my Iranian and non-Iranian friends is a bit different. While Iranians talk more about love and provide pieces of advice (mostly in the form of poetry), non-Iranians write more about their current life situations. I know it is not correct to generalize but this was the feeling I got.

10 December 2009


What does it take to be truly, selflessly, and genuinely compassion? In my life, I have had the privilege of knowing only a handful of people with this type of trait. They exactly say the right thing, to the right person, at the right time to make them feel better when they are down. They are generous with their time and anything they own. They give you energy and the emotional support you need. Your problem is not just your problem. They will try to help you anyway they can. They value friendship the way friendship should  be valued. Could it be because they have a great heart; they are strong people and they can afford to support others anytime; they are bright individuals and can identify other people’s need; or all of the above? When it comes to that level of humanity, does it really important to be intellectual, have an open mind, or be involve in different charities and thousands community activities but ignore those people who you know.

7 December 2009

It's not that simple

A take-off of John Dupuis's blog post that looks at Thomson's Nobel Prize predictions (which are based on citation counts) and how often they are wrong:
While citation frequency could be very important when it comes to applying for grants and tenure-track positions, some people might also claim that it has a direct effect on Noble Prize eligibility. Thomson Reuters, an information company created by Thomson Corporation, attempts to predict the Nobel Prize winners annually. Interesting enough, this goes back to 1989. Every year, they develop the list of Citation Laureates for sciences and economics winners. According to Thomson Reuters, there is a strong correlation between citations in the literature and the receipt of prestigious awards, such as the Nobel Prize. Based on this hypothesis, their success rate has been approximately 20% since 2002. It is noteworthy that this success rate is not based on each given year. What basically they have done is to predict who would win the prize someday. The successful prediction table is available here.
They claim that they own their success to the methodology they apply to develop Citation Laureates. This method is based on citation frequency (derived from Web of Science, a brand of Thompson Corporation) and Pedlebury's methodology. Based on Pendlebury's method, the top 0.1% papers of each scientific field are being selected. Then, using quantitative data analysis the annual predictions of the most influential researchers in each field will be identified. Unfortunately, this methodology is not transparent enough to be reproducible by others (1). In addition, one could argue that a strong correlation that they have been referring to is not convincing unless they present statistical analysis and numbers. Also, it is obvious that being in the top 0.1% in a scientific field is significant and it is a given for almost anyone who could win any prize. The pool that they are selecting their candidates from is large specially when they rate their success based not on each given year but all years since 2002. This approach increases the probability of being right even if the success is purely random.
John Dupuis has been trying to convince Thomson Reuters to admit to the fallacy of their predictions. He very well argues that when measuring the true impact of a person’s career, citation is only a small factor. Citation counts and the bar by which a researcher is measured is a wrong practice and it should not be advertised. This is a poor marketing strategy by Thomson and they will only damage their own credibility.
 In order to identify individual merits, citation count does not suffice nor does the Journal Citation Reports and the Impact Factor. Multiple metrics and other ranking algorithms, such as Faculty of 1000, Mendeley, and eigenfactor, should be considered specially by someone who is new and not familiar with the field. While each system has its own strengths and limitation, the combination of all might (only might) help to provide a better evaluation method. As some people say religious and politics do not make a good mix, I believe neither do science and business.

6 December 2009

Texts with smiley faces, talk for hours, leaving comments and messages... For now, my main social activities include FB and Skype! But I'm still greatful to have some firends (although far from me) who care enough to keep in touch.

1 December 2009

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing."
                                                                                Helen Keller