Sometimes, commas can be very important and their presence or absence can make a huge difference in meaning (and effect).

1. His mind was occupied with other, internal goals.
2. His mind was occupied with other internal goals.

1 means that the goals with which his mind was occupied were different from those that one might expect; also, that such goals were of an internal nature, not of an external one.
2 means that his mind was occupied with internal goals, which were different from the internal goals described earlier on and/or occupying someone else’s mind.

Καλή σχολική χρονιά, που ξεκινάει αύριο, στα παιδιά, στους γονείς και στους κηδεμόνες τους, στους δασκάλους και καθηγητές και όλους τους λειτουργούς των σχολείων.

Όλοι γνωρίζουμε το αναπόφευκτο άγχος που συνοδεύει την όλη διαδικασία. Νομίζω πως αυτό γίνεται διαχειρίσιμο όταν εστιάζουμε σ’ εκείνο το αγαθό που αξίζει πραγματικά να κερδίσουμε από το σχολείο: την ανάπτυξη της κριτικής σκέψης στα παιδιά, εφόδιο άκρως απαραίτητο στην μετασχολική τους ζωή.

Από την θέση που βρίσκομαι, από την σκοπιά μου, έχω να προτείνω δύο θεμελιώδη εργαλεία γι’ αυτό:

1) την εξαίσια ελληνική μας γλώσσα, μοναδικό θησαυρό παγκοσμίως
2) τα Μαθηματικά, που διδάσκουν και αναπτύσσουν την εμβάθυνση στις μορφές, στις δομές και τις μεταξύ τους σχέσεις.

Βεβαίως, δεν υποτιμούμε κανένα από τα άλλα γνωστικά αντικείμενα, το καθένα με την αξία του στην κατεύθυνσή του.

Καλή πρόοδο!

Needless to say, I liked the new “Rise of Skywalker” featurette, recently released by Disney.

A few thoughts regarding the last scene with Rey in Sith garb: When I first saw “The Force Awakens”, it seemed to me that there was some influence from Harry Potter. I am specifically referring to the concept of a lightsabre choosing its owner, as Maz Kanata explains to Rey in the underground room of the former’s castle.

This particular fact, which did not appear in Episodes I – VI, reminded me of the analogous concept of the wand choosing its owner in Harry Potter. If I remember correctly, it is Mr. Olivander, the wand vendor, who explains this in the first Harry Potter book.

In the later Harry Potter books, we learn that Voldemort and Harry are connected and that Harry is a horcrux of the evil wizard, meaning that he carries a fragment of Voldemort’s soul within him.

So, having seen Rey in Sith garb, I hypothesised that perhaps we are witnessing one more influence from the Harry Potter series. I am wondering whether Rey is, in fact, a re-incarnation of Anakin Skywalker. After all, the Skywalker in the title of the episode isn’t necessarily Luke.


War and Peace

War and Peace - Πόλεμος και Ειρήνη

For the honour of the warriors, supporters and benefactors, Hellenes and philhellenes, of the Great War of Independence of 1821.

Για την τιμή των πολεμιστών, υποστηρικτών και ευεργετών, Ελλήνων και φιλελλήνων, του Μεγάλου Πολέμου της Ανεξαρτησίας του 1821.

I am celebrating a special, personal anniversary: On this day, thirty years ago, I was awarded my Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics.

This was the result of three lovely years at Oxford University, during which I did more Mathematics than I have ever done in my entire life… Upon completion of the course that led to my obtaining the degree, I remember experiencing a feeling that at last I knew what Mathematics really was about.

I was impressed by the traditional degree ceremony at the Sheldonian Theatre in Oxford and I still remember the Vice Chancellor’s words in Latin: “Ego admitum vobis ad gradum Bacalaurum in Artibus…”, with which he literally admitted us to the degree.

After the degree, I delved into a different domain, that of Computer Science. This was followed by a long career in Software Engineering. At the moment, I am in the middle of a transition, going from Software Engineering back to Mathematics and its teaching.

Looking back on those thirty years, I am happy to note that my experiences in Software Engineering have had a constructive effect on the way I view some of the concepts of Mathematics. I can now apply the insight gained to my teaching and readily say that I have got the best of both worlds…

A mini Dunkirk-style evacuation took place tonight in Eastern Attica, in the greater Athens area, Greece.

People who became stranded at the seaside due to ravaging fires in the adjoining forests were ferried to safety by some 100 boats, mainly fishing boats and some coast-guard vessels.

The fires are still raging and the battle to put them out will continue tomorrow morning at dawn, once the airborne forces have enough light to be able to ascend.

I think of myself as being very fortunate for having had the opportunity to see Stephen Hawking deliver a lecture on Cosmology, many years ago in a lecture theatre at Oxford University.

I am thinking of a pair of scales. One pan holds his brilliant career in Physics, the other his physical condition. I think that he achieved a perfect balance and that this must be deemed as a part of his legacy.

It so happens that I do not agree with his negation of an afterlife, so I will wish him the very best in that.


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