Power problems

It’s hardly worth your while bothering to read this, as there’s not a lot to say today.

Our day-long power cut went as expected, though –glory be – it didn’t start until about 9:30am, rather than the advertised 8:00am. As planned, I did my stint on the history of the English language: I didn’t manage to bore any of the kids to death and Mr Rick actually seemed quite interested, so that was good. Then, along with Miss Angela, I did a session to the same class on Artificial Intelligence: I concentrated on getting them to try to solve some of the classic AI problems – anything from the old chestnut of the farmer trying to cross a river with a wolf, goat and bag of wheat to some more specialised problems, such as route finding and the “monkey and banana” problem. I think they quite enjoyed these.

One way or another, the school day passed. We were certainly lucky that some of the littlest ones – drag the lower case letters onto the corresponding upper case ones, for example – had access to a computer, or life would have been more stressful. Incidentally, they call them “capitals” and “simples” out here.

After school I had a bite of lunch at Anura’s (avocado seafood), then steeled myself and went to the Maritime Museum: anything would be better than a few hours in my powerless oven. The exhibits were quite interesting and I would have enjoyed it had it not been for the nature of the English commentary beside each display. There were explanatory notes in Sinhala, Tamil and English, but the latter were often so badly translated as to be at best confusing and frequently incomprehensible. I don’t blame the curators for making mistakes in English, which is presumably not their native tongue, but I do think they should get a native speaker to check it and suggest emendations so that the meaning is clear and the exhibits are enhanced rather than obfuscated.

Anyway, that’s your lot.


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