Archive for July, 2007

Mamma li Turchi!

Excerpt from Wikipedia:

In Italian phrases such as “bestemmia come un Turco” (“he swears like a Turk”) and “puzza come un Turco” (“he stinks like a Turk”) were used often.[2] One of the most infamous Italian phrase (and one much used by headline writers) was “Mamma li Turchi!” (“Mamma the Turks are coming”) this is used to suggest an imminent danger.[3] In addition, Italians regularly use the expression “Fumare come un Turco” (“To smoke like a Turk”).

Yesterday I learnt the phrase “Mamma li Turchi”, but meant as a joke. When running to my Italian Prof. (it is quite hot outside so I usually run from my office to the hangar and back, in order not to be exposed too long to the sun) he gets usually shocked to see me, because he assume that something has happened from my sudden appearance and fast breathing. But it is interesting to me, because I just knew a little about Ottoman history in Italy (except this very nice BBC documentary [part 1] & [part 2]), although I am aware of the Ottomans/Turks in Sicily some centuries ago.

To comment on the phrases: Yes Turks swear for every small thing, way too often and they smoke really a lot, but Italians seem to do it them alike. Stinking? No way! Ok, maybe reek of smok, but not more.

Weird stuff and a happy baby

I complained lately a lot about crying babies, so it is time to make a change and start writing how funny babies can be. You just have to spend 100% of your “free time” (the time normally spend on reading books and papers) to entertain these species and they start to be happy (they are usually not as happy as shown in the already mentioned Turkish commercial, but rather time consuming like here). However when properly entertained they sound like this:

(Something went wrong while converting from WAV to MP3, so the time history was somehow squeezed –> he is not so weird)

This post is slightly biased towards entropy (writing nonsense costs at least electrical energy, hence in any case ds>0 and entropy in the universe increases): We listened to a french baby song (thanks to Journaliya) and wanted to hear our favorite french song and now we wanna go to Paris, again. But we just booked our flight tickets to good old Germany for next week and I am also planing to go to St. Petersburg in September and my mother-in-law is coming as well in autumn, so it will be quite impossible to go there this year.

Scales and tails

While hiking through the mountains I had my son in front of me and his baggage (diapers and clothes) behind me, both to have a balance and to don’t let my wife carry the heavy stuff. The problem is that his hand or foot appeared sometimes on photographs. The camera was tricked by the auto-focus and could not catch the finescales of the trees, but instead had a big foot in the image. While looking at the picture I wondered if we sometimes have a similar bias towards the wrong scales and forget the clear picture because we focused so much on something else. On the other hand most often it appears to be important for us, what is in front of us. I still have to mention the tail in the header. While performing measurements in the hangar (starting at 25 degrees ambient temperature in the early morning and ending with 35 degrees in the late afternoon; not to mention the heated jet of 10 degrees excess temperature) we found a little tail, which still showed some signs of movement. I first thought it was a organism on its own (there are maybe enough chemicals nearby to have had started this organism :)), but then I saw the lizard next to it. The strange thing to me was that the little tail caught my attention, while the lizard itself didn’t, so the small scales are not always of little importance. As can be seen, I am right now middle of some mixing studies, where I am not sure how small we have to look in order to catch most contributing scales to the turbulent heat fluxes. Enough for today.


First Italian parking ticket

I normally pay my parking tickets immediately, because either I came to late or I didn’t see the no parking sign. But yesterday I parked the car in front of our house and took a ticket. When I came back I had a parking ticket. As the figures show the controller came at 5 p.m. and I had a ticket until 5.36 p.m. After asking my colleagues tomorrow what the ticket says I will try to go to the local police and try to ask them (by hand signs) if they know who I am ūüôā From Mafiosi movies I know what to say: “Look, you have a nice family. You like your family? Don’t you? …”


Mountains and the sea

Either we are getting used a screaming baby in the car or our son starts to adjust to our needs. In any case we managed to be on the move the whole weekend from Friday afternoon on. As anticipated in the last post we found a empty place at the beach. OK, it was 10 p.m., but still I didn’t expect it to be empty. It was far enough from Rimini and all the other famous beaches. The water was quite cold and one of us had to look after our son, but we both managed to swim. I was exhausted already after 2 minutes. I guess I need some more practise. I don’t know what others do for hours at the beach?


Went twice to the beach and twice to the National Park on the way to Florence. Reminded me on my childhood, as usual, where we went almost weekly to the Teutoburg Forest. Finally, after all the hot and boring weeks in Forli, we really enjoyed being in Italy.


One thing we were discussing in the car was, why people want to drive or climb up to the top of mountains. My wife wanted always to stop at the first nice place to take a break from the winding streets, whereas I wanted first to go as far up as possible (almost 1300 m from starting from almost 0 m above sea level). She asked me why? I said: “Isn’t that the reason we came here?”, she replied: “No; what do you want to do at the top?”. I didn’t come with a good answer, but said: “To look down!” I still think that I always wanted to climb up, just to look down and enjoy the view, but she didn’t see why that should be a reason to spend some more minutes in the car and drive “slowly” through the narrow streets.


Italy, week SEI e SETTE

Week six and seven are almost over, and I haven’t had the time to update the Italy-report. However, this weekend seems to start better than all the others. Let us hope for the best.

PS: Just so much in advance: We were for the first time at (and not near to) the beach and in the water. Not only first time in Italy, but for the first time since 2001.

July 2007