Last Quebec City Day
Just a couple of observations before launching mostly into more enthusiasm
about museum technology.
Sloooowly, more people take my French somewhat seriously. Everyone
knows immediately that I’m a dilettante. But some — -mainly young
people — -will make the effort of speaking French and waiting for my
irritatingly halting responses. Others just answer in English and will
do so, even though I’m getting more pig headed about staying with
French. It’s so important to give people a chance to hone their
Anyway, I was out of cash. Entirely. Because of my willingness to help
out keeping money from this building by paying cash:
So, I’m in the bank that has the best exchange deal when I’m
approached by two men asking me in scandalously atrocious French
whether I have change for their five dollars. So irritating was their
French that I immediately switched to German. You could place them as
coming from the Northern part of Germany as they spoke French. I felt
rather superior. I am, actually. Northern Germany! Hoititoytie ‘high’
German. Not that I’m a language bigot.
Well, we all proceeded to the inside of the bank because I likewise
needed fives for a twenty to leave as tips. They and I engaged
neighboring tellers with our exchange requests.
So eager was I to impress the Germans with my superior travel
preparedness and worldliness that I accidentally asked my clerk for
four twenties in exchange for my twenty. She politely declined,
explaining that this exchange would not work.
Once the German rabble had their coins, and left I tried to rescue the
situation by ingratiating myself to their teller while mine was
getting fives in back.
“Ah, les touristes!”
I exclaimed in assumed fellow exasperation with him. And again, I lost
the high ground. His answer (in French!):
“We are all tourists on this earth,”
Museum of Civilization
I picked two exhibits in the Museum of Civilization: “Cats and Dogs,”
and “Nanoparticles.” I had dismissed the first as likely
frivolous. But was I ever wrong. While I definitely learned, what I
loved was the exhibitors’ attention to children.
A sub-second stop watch allowed kids to run through this slalom and
compare their speed with that of dogs. An ingenious subterfuge for
draining some energy before the exhibit.
Next: a game
You and your partner each have picture cards showing dogs of different
breeds. You get to ask each other questions, thereby eliminating some
of the breeds that your partner must not have in their collection,
based on their answer. The job is to guess the breeds on the cards of
Next, a true/false game:
The answer to the first two questions:
The next exhibit allowed you to pick example movie snippets of animal
Lastly, you could see a 3-minute movie from three perspectives: human,
cat, and dog. The action was a woman reading on a couch in the
presence of a dog and a cat. The woman takes the dog for a walk; they
encounter another dog, and go home. If you run the movie from the dog’s
perspective, only very few colors are perceived, but you hear the dog
whistle. Smells are shown as vapor rising from a spot on the ground.
Similarly for the cat: but more color, and other differences. Very,
very interesting and engaging.
I won’t go into the details of the information itself, though what was
most interesting was all the examples of naturally occurring nano
particles. Including these luminescent butterflies:
What was special, though, was that you got to vote on seven questions
about nano particle policy, such as one shown below.
On entry you took a duck from the pool, and placed it on a sensor to
register your initial attitude towards nanotech: Yes, or no.
The questions were posed throughout the exhibit, and you placed your duck
on the spot that corresponded to your answer.
I could not quite figure out how the final tally worked. I believe
they weighted your answers to determine whether you were swayed from
your initial answer by the exhibit. A wall sized display summarized
answers from all visitors.
I’d love to build such exhibits.
Remember my art historian at the Ursuline Museum calling the Place de Royale “a lie?”
I practice telling who might be Jewish, based on appearance. Sometimes I’m right, sometimes not. I’m fairly confident that this nurse-to-be on the cover of a 1953 nursing text is not. (I know…an odd pastime)
An OCD’s Dream
I have problem with California’s pedestrian crossing buttons. The ones you press to get the pedestrian light to turn for you at an intersection? Do you know how many finger tips have touched those buttons? I always wait for someone else to press them, or I try to use my knuckle to push. But many buttons are protected from rain by a metal dome that allows access only by a finger tip. Those are the worst. But after the touch-free public toilet flusher, voila! The touch-free pedestrian light request facility:
No Reasonable Map!
I tried in vain to get a normal map of the old parts of this city. Is it too much to ask? Some squares? A few letters at the top; numbers along the side? An index? Look at this “map”:
I’m not a musician, and have zero claim to expertise. But this violin player impressed me. He had some pieces with individual pizzicato pulls interspersed with passages like the ones in this video. He said playing in the street during the summer works for him. He composes, sells his CDs in the street, gets known. In the winter he teaches violin.