296kmPerHourOne of the things I like about Europe is being able to travel by train. And given the train situation in California, I’m always surprised by how good they are here.

I took the picture on the right a couple of weeks ago on the return leg of a visit to CERN, just outside of Geneva. 296 kilometers per hour is about 184 mph.

The fast trains here are called TGVs. One of my big disappointments here, however, was when I finally found out what TGV stood for. Technologically Great Vision? Totally Groovy Vehicle? Nope. “Train a Grande Vitesse” — basically, “High Speed Train”. Yawn.


FaceboofSo, this isn’t the greatest shot in the world, but I won’t apologize, since I took it on a tram with my cell phone.

I’ve noticed this place for the last year or so when I’ve been taking the tram — I’ve never been by here on foot.

The name is obviously a play on Facebook, and I think it’s a restaurant, the ‘boof’ standing in for ‘bouffe’, which is sort of like ‘chow’ or ‘grub’ in French slang.

I’m not sure I would name my restaurant after an online play on words… (but I did blog about it…).

Black Friday?

Today on my way to the metro station I saw a crowd of people outside a “House of Hoops” store. They sell sports shoes. It was between 8 and 8:30 am, and there weren’t crowds outside any of the other shops around.

So, I guessing here, but was this a French “Black Friday” knock-on effect? The store is basically a Foot Locker store. Do they have Black Friday sales in all their stores, regardless of country? It seems weird to me, since Black Friday is tied to Thanksgiving in my mind, and obviously that’s not a big thing here in France (though I did get more “Joyeux Thanksgiving”s than I expected yesterday). But there was a big crowd…

I wish I had been able to get a picture, but I was a bit self-conscious about taking one at the time…

Astro 1040?

2010 1040 Instructions at IAPI was a bit surprised to walk into the Institut d’Astrophysique de Paris one days and find, along with a bunch of brochures and other stuff you might expect to find at the entrance to a French astronomy department, the instruction for the 2009 US 1040 tax form.

That’s a scale-model of the Planck satellite in the background.