Tuesday, December 31, 2019

New Year and New Decade

Senja, Sep2019

The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov [1880]

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

περί ταξιδιών

Φλαμίνγκο στη Λακωνία (© Άννα Σταυρίδου)

... κάθε άρτιος ταξιδευτής δημιουργάει πάντα τη χώρα που ταξιδεύει
Νίκος Καζαντζάκης

Έναν έχεις πάντα σκοπό (σε κάθε ταξίδι). Τη συνάντηση με το θαύμα που πέρα από κάθε ταλαιπωρία και εκμηδένιση του ιδιωτικού σχήματος, σου επιτρέπει να δεις την αιωνιότητα απ’ αντίκρυ ... Μονάχα μπροστά σ’ αυτή την όψη γνωρίζεις τον εαυτό σου ...
Νίκος Γαβριήλ Πεντζίκης

(και στα ταξίδια) βλέπεις μόνο ό,τι γνωρίζεις ...

Thursday, August 22, 2019


Drawing Hands, M.C. Escher, 1948

How can you justify your methods of reasoning on the basis of those same methods of reasoning? It is like lifting yourself up by your own bootstraps. 

Douglas R. Hofstadter [Gödel, Escher, Bach: An eternal golden braid. A metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll, 1979]

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

(no) simple answers

... help the public recognise there aren't simple answers to complex questions. We want to help people wrestle with the shades of grey.

Lonnie G. Bunch III, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

το όπιο του λαού

Josef Stalin (center) and Soviet secret-police head Nikolai Yezhov (right) walk near Moscow in 1937, the same year Yezhov signed Order No. 00447, which began the Great Terror

Η θρησκεία «είναι το όπιο του λαού», είπε ο Μάρξ. «Το όπιο του λαού είναι η επανάσταση, όχι η θρησκεία», είπε η Simone Weil. Το πρώτο: μάθημα για αρχάριους. Το δεύτερο: μάθημα για προχωρημένους. 

Ζήσιμος Λορεντζάτος [Collectanea, 2009]

Monday, May 13, 2019

with a whimper

This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper.

Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888–1965)

Αφιερωμένο στους ξεχωριστούς ανθρώπους που μας άφησαν

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Easter Sunday

Liturgy, Moscow 2014

Everything seemed festive, solemn, bright, and beautiful: the priest in his silver cloth vestments with gold crosses; the deacon, the clerk and chanter in their silver and gold surplices; the amateur choristers in their best clothes, with their well-oiled hair; the merry tunes of the holiday hymns that sounded like dance music; and the continual blessing of the people by the priests, who held candles decorated with flowers, and repeated the cry of “Christ is risen!” “Christ is risen!” All was beautiful; but, above all, Katusha, in her white dress, blue sash, and the red bow on her black head, her eyes beaming with rapture.

Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy [Resurrection, 1899]

Resurrection - Theofanes the Cretan

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Τίνα θέλετε απολύσω υμίν;

Θεοφάνης ο Κρητικός - Τα Πάθη του Χριστού, Μονή Σταυρονικήτα

Τίνα θέλετε απολύσω υμίν; Ο κόσμος μοιάζει να λησμόνησε πως σταυρώθηκε ο Χριστός και πως ο Βαραββάς γυρίζει ελεύθερος. Εμείς δε θελήσαμε την απόλυσή του; Τώρα ζητάμε τα ρέστα. Εμείς που τον απολύσαμε!

Ζήσιμος Λορεντζάτος [Collectanea, 2009]

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

ου γαρ ήλθον ίνα κρίνω

Russian peasants, 1907 - Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

καὶ ἐάν τίς μου ἀκούσῃ τῶν ῥημάτων καὶ μὴ πιστεύση, ἐγὼ οὐ κρίνω αὐτόν· οὐ γὰρ ἦλθον ἵνα κρίνω τὸν κόσμον, ἀλλ’ ἵνα σώσω τὸν κόσμον.
Κατά Ιωάννην ιβ' 47

και αν κάποιος ακούσει τα λόγια μου, και δεν πιστέψει, εγώ δεν τον κρίνω· επειδή, δεν ήρθα για να κρίνω τον κόσμο, αλλά για να σώσω τον κόσμο.

and if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world.
John 12:47

Sunday, April 21, 2019

η γλώσσα αδερφώνει

Eugene Delacroix - Mounted Greek warrior (1856)

Ποιος πολεμόχαρος Έλληνας τουρκομάχος υποψιάζεται πως κάτω από τη λεβεντιά ή τη φουστανέλα και το τσαρούχι κρύβονται διαδοχικά τα τούρκικα levend ή fystan και carik και πως η γλώσσα αδερφώνει ρίζες ξενικές;

Ζήσιμος Λορεντζάτος [Collectanea, 2009]

Monday, March 25, 2019

λογική και τέρατα

Ο τρόμος της Σωσάννας. Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn: Η Σωσάννα και οι γέροι [1647]

Η λογική που ποτέ δεν κοιμάται παράγει τέρατα.

Carlos Fuentes [Constancia, 1994]

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Artificial Intelligence - the hype of our century?

Enki Bilal

... Machine learning algorithms don’t yet understand things the way humans do — with sometimes disastrous consequences. The challenge of creating humanlike intelligence in machines remains greatly underestimated. Today’s A.I. systems sorely lack the essence of human intelligence: understanding the situations we experience, being able to grasp their meaning.
The lack of humanlike understanding in machines is underscored by recent cracks that have appeared in the foundations of modern A.I. While today’s programs are much more impressive than the systems we had 20 or 30 years ago, a series of research studies have shown that deep-learning systems can be unreliable in decidedly unhumanlike ways.
Programs that “read” documents and answer questions about them can easily be fooled into giving wrong answers when short, irrelevant snippets of text are appended to the document. Similarly, programs that recognize faces and objects, lauded as a major triumph of deep learning, can fail dramatically when their input is modified even in modest ways by certain types of lighting, image filtering and other alterations that do not affect humans’ recognition abilities in the slightest.

Excerpts from the article 
by Melanie Mitchell, Professor of Computer Science at Portland State University
The New York Times, 5 November 2018

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Life is paradise

afternoon at home

Life is paradise, and we are all in paradise, but we refuse to see it.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov