Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Origins of my Violin - Part 3 and Conclusion !

I found the names of the sisters my mum bought my violin from; Rita and Augustine Galdemar! Got the names from my buddy Alain D'Espaignet - aka "Billy the Kid" ! I did a search of the names and came across two documents :

Relevés du cimetière de Port-Louis Ouest

Reference to "LE PETIT CHOSE, pseud. (Ange Galdemar) — Lettres à ma cousine. Mercantile Record Cy. 30p." in EARLY IMPRINTS AND PRIVATE PUBLICATIONS

Friday, September 22, 2017

Fruits of Mauritius - Watouk

I recently heard about an obscure fruit from Mauritius called Watouk. After asking for help, I got this from Bashdev: "Watouk also known as clidemia hirta produces berries. Called locally as fraise lolou"



An RCPL74 friend found a paper about the plant. I believe you get it around Plaine Champaigne - where we get goyaves de Chine.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Origins of my Violin - Part Deux

I wrote a blog post a while ago about this and just got some new information. It's possible that the 2 sisters we bought my violin from raised Frances Tursan D'Espaignet, who became a Maths teacher at St Joseph college in Mauritius. One of the sisters taught piano, and the other taught violin. Frances D'Espaignet was an orphan raised by his 2 aunts. Frances D'Espaignet eventually built a house and lived on La Rue Blondeau in Rose-Hill.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma is now gone. I now have some time to reflect on the Hurricane (aka Cyclone) experience in the US compared to Mauritius.

Main differences :

Hurricane prep. In Mauritius, Hurricane prep does not include buying a weather radio (because most households have radios already), or bottled water (because most houses have a water tank above the house; or 'basins' around the house, and/or we fill up all available large containers with water). In the US, the run on bottled water and gas always surprises me. I am not sure why folks don't just fill up their large pots and pans with water (do people not have large pots and pans anymore ?). The run on gas is understandable because in the US we have the option to evacuate and drive out of the path of the hurricane. No such option in Mauritius.

Hurricane prep in Mauritius also does not generally include 'boarding up' your house. Mostly because the old wooden colonial houses have 'built-in' shutters already - you just have to close them. New houses are made of reinforced concrete with strong windows (I don't think we have shutters on the concrete houses). In the US, we typically have a run on plywood that we cut to board up our windows.

A big part of hurricane prep in Mauritius involves taking down your outdoor TV antenna and is, unfortunately, one of the major causes of fatalities - folks getting electrocuted while on their roofs.

US weather services do not use a warning class 1-4 like in Mauritius. Makes sense since the US and in this case, Florida is so much bigger than Mauritius (~ 83x). Otherwise, they would need to issue a different 'Warning class' for each location. Which they 'kind of' do - they issue a Hurricane Watch, then a warning when it gets more serious. At least that's what I think they do - the definitions for the terms are on the NOAA site.

US weather services tend to use a 'cone' which can be confusing as some people think it represents the area expected to experience the worst winds, when if fact it represents projected trajectory of center of hurricane (I might not be exactly right here, so if someone knows better, please let me know).

Communicating with friends and relatives in the aftermath of the hurricane is very different. In Mauritius, the phone service is always down at some point during a hurricane hit, but somehow everyone eventually knows what happened to you. The general assumption is you fared the same as them, since the place is relatively small, and exceptional damage is transmitted rapidly by word of mouth. In the US, these days social media is the main method. I found Facebook updates the most efficient. Single post - most friends. Then Whatsapp for relatives.

Another difference in the aftermath is in Florida, a lot of folks who don't have power just move to a hotel. No such behavior has so far been observed in Mauritius.

I think that covers the differences.

The things that are the same are:

run on batteries before the hurricane
trimming of trees ideally well before hurricanes
glued to the TV weather services for updates in the lead-up and during
power loss at some point during
waiting for power to be restored and dealing with no power
no school (Yippie ! :-) )
cleanup and repairs (Booohoooohoooo :-()

Sunday, July 02, 2017

Success and Wealth

I overheard someone talking about this topic, and it triggered a flood of thoughts in my mind. Is wealth the same as success? If you are poor, does that mean you have failed at life? I think the answer to both questions is NO! Here is a graph of those metrics:
What the graph aims to show is that Wealth and success are orthogonal- i.e. they are statistically independent. That is my opinion/guess. One of the difficulties with this topic is that while it can be argued that wealth can be objectively measured (ignoring issues like the value of your health), success is probably a very subjective measure. The definitions I came across were "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose" and/or "the attainment of popularity or profit". The talk I overheard was a religious one, and the argument was that success is practicing the virtues, while failure is wallowing in the vices. Even if you are not religious though, it is worth pausing to think about what you are trying to achieve with your life. Is it wealth? Or Success? (or Happiness or Health .... or....)