Sky Burial

by Simon Email


Not read it - but perhaps of interest to my friend who regularly travels to India/Tibet?

"In the world of fiction reviewing, extraordinary is an over-used word. Yet there really is no other way to describe Chinese author Xinran's second book, Sky Burial. It is extraordinary in so many ways--the subject matter, the setting, the central character, but mostly its authenticity and the author's continuing search for the woman whose life is told here.

Sky Burial is the true story of a Chinese woman's 30-year search through Tibet for news of her lost, presumed dead, husband. Xinran is working as a radio journalist on a women's programme when a listener calls in to tell her about Shuwen. Xinran travels hundreds of miles across China to interview her and, over two days, Shuwen opens her heart and reveals her tragic, scarcely imaginable life story. Xinran returns to her life and spends the subsequent 10 years trying to find Shuwen again, researching her story and writing this book--a homage to an ordinary woman's extraordinary life-long search for the truth.

The story is a simple one: Shuwen meets her intelligent, idealistic husband-to-be while they are both training to be doctors. After less than 100 days of marriage, Kejun travels to Tibet as a Chinese army doctor and before long, Shuwen is notified that he has died in an "incident". Shuwen decides to join the army herself, travel to Tibet and find out if he really is dead, and if so, how and why he died.

And then, as if travelling to a closed country like Tibet as a young woman in the 1950s is not difficult enough, Shuwen quickly becomes separated from her unit and, close to death herself, is taken in by a family of Tibetan nomads. Her transformation from Chinese doctor to nomadic Buddhist is a long, painful and at many turns, deeply distressing one. "

Semantic Web

by Simon Email

Just been reading some interesting articles on the "Semantic Web" (term originated by Berners Lee).

XML seemed an obvious extension of HTML - you could invent your own syntax.

RDF seems an obvious extension of this - you can express object relationships in a regular way.

On a practical note I think RDF might be a useful language for expressing entity models when developing computer systems.

It could be used to generate database schemas, and the "glue" code necessary for adding, editing, reporting and deleting (CRUD) entities.

Monty Don

by Simon Email

He doesn't seem to have his own website :-(

Just heard a program on Radio 4 about him called "Devout Sceptics".

He spoke very inspirationally about his childhood in 5 acres in the countryside, as keeper of the keys to the local church.

Despite a lot of exposure to Christianity, he's more drawn to the garden and buddhism as a source of mystical experience.

Ben Hammersley

by Simon Email


A programmer and a journalist! A programmer who can spell!

Who writes blogs

by Simon Email

I've followed some links from the blog search engines.

Some sites seem to have huge amounts of information on them.

Who writes this stuff?
Who reads it?

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