Back from family vacation in Greece. Tiny notes/memories:
- I have a heuristic that Americans fly the national flag much more than Europeans do, but in Greece, the Greek flag is all over the place.
- Greeks really like, or Greeks think people in hotels and restaurants really like, soft-rock covers of hits from the 80s. Maybe both! We heard this mix CD everywhere.
If you don’t feel like an hour and a half of this, at least treat yourself to James Farelli’s inexplicably fascinating acoustic take on “Owner of a Lonely Heart.”
- The city of Akrotiri in the Aegean islands, a thousand years older than classical Greece, was buried under 200 feet of ash by the massive eruption of Santorini. They’ve only just started to dig it out. There are wall frescoes whose paint is still colorful and fresh. But these wall frescoes aren’t on the walls anymore; they fell during the earthquake preceding the eruption and lie in fragments on the floors. Our guide told us that they don’t try to reconstruct these using computers; archeologists put the pieces together by hand. I was perplexed by this: why don’t they digitize the images and try to find matches? It seemed to me like exactly the sort of thing we now know how to do. But no: it turns out this is a problem CS people are already thinking about, and it’s hard. Putting together pottery turns out to be a computationally much easier problem. Why? Because pots are surfaces of revolution and so their geometry is much more constrained!
- The 2-star Michelin molecular gastronomy restaurant Funky Gourmet, run by a member of the El Bulli disapora, is just as great as advertised. But how can you run a molecular gastronomy restaurant in Athens and not call it Grecian Formula…?