Wednesday, September 30, 2015

International Translation Day

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

The theme that the International Federation of Translators has selected for this year’s International Translation Day is The changing face of translation and interpreting – Le nouveau visage de la traduction et de l’interprétation.  

Thus, this day, on Sept. 30, 2015, celebrates all the advances in technology from quill to video conferencing and satellite communications, while honoring what remains constant: the translators themselves, whose purpose and calling appear consistent through the ages in the desire to bridge the gaps created by mutually unintelligible tongues.

Happy International Translation day 2015!

FIT-IFT Fédération Internationale des Traducteurs

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Total Eclipse of a Super(Blood)Moon (on Sept. 27, 2015)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Now… remember to watch the sky on September 27, 2015 when there will be a Total Eclipse of a Super(Blood)Moon. A Supermoon is a Full Moon or New Moon, at its closest position or perigee relative to earth, when the moon appears 12 to 14% bigger than a Micromoon. A BloodMoon is a moon positioned behind the earth, which has obstructed the sun’s blue rays.

From the perspective of the Earth, an eclipse happens when three celestial bodies are aligned almost in a straight line. The alignment is called a zyzygy (from the Greek word meaning "to be paired together").  In the case of a total eclipse of the moon, the sun, moon and earth are all aligned with the moon behind the earth, and the earth sandwhiched between the sun and moon. The earth thus obstructs light coming from the sun, casting its shadow on the moon. The eclipse occurs as the shadow is cast, partially or totally.

 In contrast, in a total eclipse of the sun, the sun, earth and moon are also aligned, but it is the moon that is sandwhiched between the sun and the earth, and it is the moon that casts its shadow on earth, obstructing sunlight during the eclipse. This is why it is almost as dark as night during a total eclipse of the sun, occurring during the day. The next total ecliipse of the sun viewable in the US is on August 21, 2017.

There have only been 5 Total eclipses of a Super(Blood)Moon since 1900. After Sept. 27, 2015, the next one will happen in 2033… So, mark your calendars and set your alarm clocks to 7:47 pm (in California) for viewing the maximum eclipse! 

No eye protection is required for viewing a total eclipse of a Super(Blood)moon. (Eye protection is only required for viewing a total eclipse of the sun). 

The video animation from NASA included below shows what you can expect, if the sky is clear… The Supermoon should appear red as the earth will completely filter out the sun’s blue rays, which is why this Supermoon is also called a “Blood Moon”. 

Enjoy the show!

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Fall Equinox – First day of Autumn 2015

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Today’s Google Doodle (in the US) reminds everyone that Sept. 23, 2015 is the first day of Autumn. Indeed the Fall semester at NYU is starting soon at the School of Professional Studies.

Here are a few key concepts of Astronomy… just in case you find patents in the sky…(and you will if you are covering climate change..)!

The first day of Autumn corresponds to the Fall Equinox, which is the day and time of the year when the sun is directly positioned on the Equator.  This precise position and time of the sun over the Equator (for example, in California, at 1:22 am on Sept. 23, 2015) divides the duration of day and night into equal length, which explains the term “equinox” derived from the Latin aequinoctium combining aequus meaning “equal”, and nox meaning “night”. This special position of the sun happens just two times each year, once in the Fall, called the Fall Equinox, and once in the Spring, called the Spring Equinox.

The Summer and Winter Solstices, in contrast, mark the shortest and longest days of the year, depending on the hemisphere of the earth. The Solstice is recorded on the day the sun’s position is the farthest or at it’s zenith relative to the elliptical orbit of the Earth. In the Northern hemisphere this position occurs in June, marking the Summer Solstice relative to the Northern hemisphere and the Winter solstice relative to the Southern hemisphere. In the Southern hemisphere, the sun is at it’s zenith or the farthest from the Earth’s equator, in December, marking the Summer solstice relative to the Southern hemisphere and the Winter solstice relative to the Northern Hemisphere.  

 Because of the Earth’s tilt relative to the sun, when the sun is at it’s zenith in the Northern hemisphere, it is positioned directly over the Tropic of Cancer. In the Southern hemisphere, when the sun is at it’s zenith, it is positioned directly over the Tropic of Capricorn.

Below, a figure drawing of the solstices and equinoxes, extracted from the online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica.

Google Doodles
Encyclopedia Britanica (Article on Solstice and Zenith) - What is the September Equinox?

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Further feminist reading on footbinding

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

For anyone interested in further exploring the issue of lotus shoes footbinding, the following is a short list of  more recent Chinese feminist studies of footbinding.

  • Fan, H. (1997) Footbinding Feminism and Freedom: The liberation of women's bodies in Modern China (Sport in the Global Society). New york, NY: Routeledge.

  • Ko, D. (2005) Cinderella's sisters: A revisionist history of footbinding. Berkely, CA: University of California Press. 

  • Wang, P. (2000) Aching for beauty: Footbinding in China. Minneapolis, MN: Univesity of Minnesota Press.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Patented torture -- Lotus shoes

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Reader beware – This post contains difficult reading.

On the dark side of the history of shoes and fetishism, and on the radically opposite end of patented soles designed to provide added comfort or cushioning, for example…lies the Chinese Lotus shoe, a shoe designed to accommodate the Golden Lily, a euphemism for a woman’s bound foot whose growth was stunted, using the ancestral techniques and rituals of foot-binding.

Foot binding consisted in folding the foot’s four toes under the sole of the foot to fashion a cone shaped foot with the big toe at the tip. The binding rituals were initiated, on little girls by their mothers, between the ages of 3 to 5, until permanent results were obtained. Tightly bound with toes folded under the foot’s sole, foot growth was thus reduced in length to a tiny 3-inch foot, a process causing excruciating pain, and irreversible damage to structural and neurological integrity, resulting in an impossibility to both stand and walk normally, in other words, permanent crippling.

The practice is purported to date back to the beginning of the 10th century. It was outlawed in 1949, by Mao Zedong on the still questionable grounds that such crippled women were incapable of participating in the labor force….  The codes of shifting lineage, symbolic castration, subjugation, suffering and obedience, subsumed in the practice, are well analyzed in the feminist literature (e.g.; Kristeva, 1974).

As for Lotus shoe patents, below you will find CN204292721U titled Lotus feet foot mold, granted this year, on April 29, 2015, by the Republic of China...

The English version of the abstract is basically unintelligible and slightly obscene with its references to “paws” and “eating toe”. Thus, the Chinese Abstract is  included, at least for the greater understanding of those who are literate in Chinese.

The patent figure drawing No. 2 of the Lotus foot, depicting characteristically curled toes is included, as well as an image (above) of a pair of  fashionable ancient Lotus shoes, and the book cover drawing (above) of the Urizen Edition of Kristeva’s book About Chinese women (1974)

CN204292721U Abstract - in Chinese
CN204292721U - Figure 2

CN204292721U – Lotus feet foot mold (English Abstract)
 Filed 12-18-2014 , granted 04-29-2015…
The utility model relates to a three-inch golden lotus foot module, including foot handle, heel, paws and five toes, the five toes including big toe, food toe, toe, toe and nameless little toe, the big Hallux provided at the front paws, the food toe, toe, toe and little toe nameless successively disposed below the paws, paws in the heel set up the back-end, the foot above the handle provided in the heel, the said paw width decreased from the heel to large hallux at the big toe is slightly larger than the width of the front of the width of the paw. The three-inch golden lotus foot mold stable overall solid structure, modeling realistic, by eating toe, toe, toe and little toe nameless provided at the bottom of the paws, so as to reduce the width of the front paws, and to better match the existing The bound feet foot, to choose shoes convenience.

Kristeva, J. (1974) About Chinese women Translated from French by Anita Barrows. New York, NY: Urizen books

O’Keefe L. (1996) Shoes: A Celebration of pumps, platforms, sandals and slippers, boots, mules, sneakers and more. New York, NY: workman Publishing

Monday, September 14, 2015

Oh, patents! Heel terminology…

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

You may as well get your heels correctly labeled… There are even more sorts of heels than there are snow types in Eskimo languages!

This post is a tribute to the fashion industry and to shoemaker superstars, like André Perugia and Israel Miller, for example, who added comfort to esthetics, saving many women from the abuses of fetishism.

French definitions and English translations are included in the table below. The numbers refer the above images.

1. talon entonnoir
funnel heel
2. talon aiguille 
Talon haut, de plus de 7 cm, et très effilé vers le bas. Il peut atteindre des hauteurs de 15 cm 
spike (high) heels
3. talon stiletto 
ou talon crayon, talon aiguille très haut qui reste fin jusqu'à la semelle 
stiletto or pencil heel (the highest of high heels)
4. talon banane
banana heel
5. talon carré
chunky heel
6. talon compensé 
Talon qui se prolonge sous la cambrure pour se raccorder à la semelle. Parfois appelé talon plein ou talon wedge 
wedge heel
7. talon semi-compensé 
talon compensé dont la surface inférieure sous la cambrure est légèrement creusée
half-wedge heel
8. talon cubain 
ou talon quiille talon large, de hauteur moyenne, dont les profils sont rectilignes et dont l’arrière est en pente légère vers l’avant 
Cuban heel
9. talon bottier 
ou talon rainuré, talon haut et large fait de lamelles de cuir superposées ou donnant cet aspect 
stacked heel
10. talon triangle
cone heel
11. talon français
Talon plat à gorge incurvée et dont l’arrière est en pente vers l’avant 
French heel
12. talon en talus 
Talon évasé vers le bas et dont la surface au sol est plus grande que la surface d’emboîtage (inverse du talon abattu) 
flare heel, ballroom dance heel
13. talon virgule
comma heel
14. talon Louis XV 
Talon haut de profil concave et au surplomb très accentué 
Louis heel
15. talon bobine 
Talon haut creusé sur son pourtour et évasé vers le bas 
spool heel
16. kitten heel 
Petits talons aiguille d'une hauteur comprise entre 3,5 et 5 centimètres 
kitten heel
17. plateforme
18. talon plat
ou talon bas, talon de faible hauteur dont les faces supérieures et inférieures sont parallèles 
low heel
19. talon chiquet 
Talon très plat constitué d’une unique lamelle de cuir. Ce type de talon se trouve souvent sur des ballerines par exemple 
flat heel
20. talon collant 
Talon dont le pourtour est au même niveau que celui de la chaussure 
zero-drop heel

Dupré, C. (1982) Vocabulaire de la chaussure – Françis –Anglais – Cahier de l’Office de la Langue Française. Québec, Canada: Publication Officielle. [French definitions]
Twenty –Five types of heels: the ultimate guide [Images]
Footware glossary
Wikipedia – Talon (chaussure)
Dictionnaire des talons
Les talons de base – Le Blog de JEF Chaussures
Glossaire de la chaussure
Glossaire-lexique de la cordonnerie et des métiers du cuir
Lexique de la chaussure – Blog Jacques & Déméter
Lexique du kickboxing
Illustrated glossary of shoe styles
Shoe glossary – Shoe smitten

Friday, September 4, 2015

Oh, patents! Perugia's sandals

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

Perugia filed many design patents for sandals (e.g.; USD91728, USD92201, USD92020, USD95776, USD 103594) and mules (e.g.; USD92204, USD 96127, USD 96128).  Perugia also filed utility patents for sandals, improvements to sandals and sandal strap inventions.  

In FR1169315, for example, titled Perfectionnements apportées aux chaussures feminines dites nus-pieds, Perugia’s improvement invention for sandals consisted in a small bumper, placed at the tip of the shoe, to prevent the foot from slipping past the end of the sole, while avoiding to cover the foot with much more shoe material. 

The included patent Figure, extracted from FR1169315,  shows the small bumper positioned at the tip of the sandal, against which the big toe is resting. This sandal improvement utility patent was awarded on September 8, 1958.  

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Oh, patents! Perugia’s improved fasteners

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

To fasten shoes with laces, bows or cords of any sort, the state of the art in 1930 was small metal eyelets or hooks, through which the laces, bows or cords were threaded or hooked. This caused the laces to wear out quite fast and consisted in an additional manufactured part.  

Perugia offered to improve the state of the art with tabs cut out of the shoe vamp that were then folded back and sewn in place. This was deemed far more aesthetic, and it caused less wear and was easier to produce. The tabs could be folded back on top of the shoe or tucked in on the inside the shoe.

To the right, a Figure drawing extracted from FR680710, that shows the tabs folded back and sewn in place. This was a French improvement patent, titled “Perfectionennements à la fabrication des chaussures”, awarded to Perugia on Jan 3, 1930.