Dear visitor (if there is any) please note the following: The blog "Broken Radius" is hosted at Google Blogger's server. I can therefore not guarantee that your visit to the blog or any comment you write wont be recorded by the NSA. If you have any worries about this, you can visit instead my alternative blog Letters-to-a-Persian-Cat. This one is hosted at a European server which hopefully acknowledges visitors privacy.


... and this could make me mad

I guess, Ghazal, that everyone wants to know that somebody is there listening to all our questions and doubts, our sorrow when we are desperate and our jubilation when we are happy.
The desire for somebody who takes away our feeling of being alone in a universe full of mysteries was perhaps the reason why man invented god. Man wished to hear from god what the stars on the sky are made for, why the sun comes and goes every day and why it does not stay quiet instead.
What are we born for, if death is inevitable.
What is the evil in the world made for, all the deadly diseases and earth-quakes and floodings that kill thousands of innocent people every week.

In fact, none of these questions were ever answered by any religion. In contrast, most of the holy books were more concerned to forbid people asking questions at all. They called it heresy and devils work.
One of the few mythological works that permitted questions and let the reader find the answer himself was the sumerian Epic of Gilgamesh. With his attempt to find a meaning of human life and overcome death, Gilgamesh at the end realizes that there is no eternal life, and immortality can only be achieved through what we create during our life. If we achieve something great, we might get a page or a paragraph or at least a sentence in the book of the universe.
And here, the sumerian King Gilgamesh is very similar to J.W.Goethes "Dr. Faust", in that both are alone with their doubts. Like Gilgamesh has only a fried, Enkidu, so has Faust his companion Mephistopheles. But neither of the two were followers of a religious system, that could answer their questions. Johan Faust was seeking salvation in the arms of Margaret, he felt that it would be only her to appease his quarrels.

There is something between a man and a girl that can go independent of love in its conventional definition. If there is a undisputed confidence that somebody is listening to you, that takes you serious, than this person can become as important as were for the people in the past their invented and imaginary gods.

And once you think that you found somebody like this, who gives you confidence and whom you think you can address questions that others would misunderstand or laugh about, then you become more and more dependent on this very person. And the shear idea, that this person could suddenly disappear like a fata-morgana in the sky, because she did not left an address or canceled her e-mail account or changed her name for ever gives your mind a freezing shock.


okay.. why are you mad? i answer as soon as possible.


Ghazal, what is wrong ?
It makes me mad that you don"t write a single word.


Meeting of the Curly Haired in Teheran

Sometimes it does not need much more than this ...
And who will doubt that the future of Iran lays in the hand and hearts of its young generation
(پارک ملت‎ Pārk-e Mella).


Hi Ghazal,

I can"t help myself, but this "Group of the Curly Haired"   is so amazing and beautiful.
I think you should become a member of this group.
It reminds me of the movie "You don"t mess with Zohan", where Zohan tries to explain to his friends why he wants to leave the army and become a hairdresser:
"Hair is just beautiful, it does not do any harm, it does not hurt anybody".

How are you ?
Tired ? Sad ? Disappointed ? Too busy ? Feel offended ? Fed up ? Sick ? Taken hostage ? Electricity cut off ?

I do worry a bid (But I hope without reason).



Miscellaneous Points

Ghazal F wrote:
Hi Michael,

Why would anyone tell you these things. I mean you were not mean to me. you helped me alot, and I will never forget how much you helped me. The only thing that maybe was a bit hard was that you saw me more than a student and friend. So it was a bit hard for me to make you understand.. But you did not harm me in anyway.

from the weekend when you helped your friend moving, it was a nice guesture of you. I can only see that your family loves you and that they have missed you that day. maybe you could take them with you to help your friend. I dont think that you did anything wrong. you could be with them on the sunday. hope the silence was broken soon.

So you did not like stieg larsson. I liked it. not all movies are friendly and nice. some are brutal. well sweden was a very safe and good place. but it is just getting worse. the last non-safe news was the limit i think, the bomb that was exploded by a suicide bomber in stockholm, in the city.
hope everything is fine with you.



Ghazal my Dear,
1.  Stieg Larsson "Millenium"    vs.   Asghar Farhadi"s "Darbareye Ely"
Last Sunday the last serie of the Stig Larsson "Millenium-Trilogy" went on TV.
Naja, was again not my favorite.  I"m so happy to had the chance watching "Darbareye Ely", I much more could identify with the characters in this low-budget iranian movie, even so it was subtitled (Stig Larsson was dubbed, of course). I really would like to recommend you to watch "Ely". Maybe you also feel that she is a bid like you.

2.  Imbalanced Mood and Superstition
Today I.G.V. asked me why I am always in good mood, sometimes even euphoric. She found this unusual and suggested that I have not experienced any punishment for too long time (i.e. not having been verbally kicked-in-the-ass by somebody). This is in part true:
But I am also sometimes in bad mood (for instance if I don"t hear from you for too long time). But usually I avoid other people then, so nobody recognize it.
But her remark that I have not been punished by somebody for too long time is very close to what I also suspect. You remember, Ghazal I don"t believe in god at all, but what I perhaps never told you is my awful superstition. I"m always afraid of the bad destiny, that I do something wrong and than I fear punishment. And it was in particular when I reconsider my last year, when I (as you know better than anybody else) took from life what I liked. For about half a year I left my role of the daily treadmill, and challenged the destiny by spending every free minute with you (either physically or in imagination). I thought that nobody had the right to intervene with my craziness (except you, of course). O.k. I have to admit it was nice, like a wonderful gift that 80% I was grabbing with force and 20% you were given with generosity.
And because I had this extraordinary time last year (that I perhaps never deserved), I"m now afraid that this year I have to "pay back" for the happiness that I enjoyed. I"m afraid something dramatic will happen to me this year: maybe a bad accident, or stroke, or our house burns down or I will be put in prison for wrong allegations. Maybe this is why I try to be in good mood every day before this happens.

3.  Alireza from Toronto
Do you remember I once wrote you about the PhD Alireza from Toronto. We are still in contact, and we translated together some german Wikileaks documents about internal politics in Iran.
Alireza also likes skying like me, so I invited him to the Universities skying race next week here in Garmisch (I already did some training last Sunday, have a look here.  Now Alireza decided he would like to come to Munich as Postdoc (not to our institute, but to the Technical Universities sports science department, where he wish to work as a Bio-Mechanic).

4.  "Shy Guys" at the Bayerischer Hof Night Club
Yesterday night we went with 2 friends to the Bayerischer Hof nightclub. It was the most impressive band I have ever seen there. Three of the 5 musicians probably weighted together 500 kg (!!!!!), the two remaining ones 100 kg. But their music was phantastique.
Today in the office I was listening to the CD that you once gave me with persian music, and found that although the two music styles are quite dissimilar, they both bring the same kinds of neurons to respond: those for true soul music.

5.  Are they charge you for sending the E-mails ? Ghazal, I have to ask you a silly question:  there are so many things that differ between different countries. I always took it as granted that e-mails can be send free-of-charge. But is it possible that in Sweden you have to pay for it ?  I mean, since you are back home you send so rarely a mail. If you need stamps (you know these little colored pieces of paper one has to stick on letters and postcards), I can send you some.

I hope that you are alright, my Dear, and that you send some words.

Take Care


The 32nd aniversary of unfreedom and violated human rights

Todays 32nd anniversary of the islamic revolution in Iran hardly gives any reason for celebration. Initially enthusiastically welcomed by many progressive people around the world - including the socialist countries and churches - it soon became clear that this revolution brought to the iranian people anything else than freedom from corruption or an end to a totalitarian leadership.
The last three decades in Iran were not only hallmarked by oppression of any free thoughts and violation of human rights, but also by a growing corruption among the religouos, political and armed forces. An article by B.Kalnoky and C. Wergin published recently in the german newspaper "Welt am Sonntag" describes the internal battle for economic influence between these ruling forces (Translated version see here).
There is hope, however, that the strength of the people of Iran, their cultural heritage and traditional civil values will overcome the current regime.


Darbareye Elly

hi michael,
I did not knew before that UV-light is so essential for our body to produce vitamine D. Interesting aspect, I have to consider this in my PhD-project. So maybe after UV-exposure my TK60 cells are really better off, cause they finally get some vitamine D after living for too long time in the dark incubator ? ;-) And what do you say now: Last year you have been wondering why I prefer to walk home instead of taking the bus. I then told you it is very relaxing for me, cause this way I can let my thoughts flow freely. Now it appears that I intuitively might have known that it is really healthy to spend some time out in the open to reconstitute my vitamine D reservoir.

I already saw the movie "Darbareye Elly" (what means "All About Elly", but the original title in persian is "Kanojo ga kieta hamabe")  about two years ago, after it received the Silver Bear Award at the Berlin film festival. But I watched it again yesterday with Shava.

I liked the movie, although it was no easy entertainment. It had no Happy End, but a Tragic End.
The story starts very relaxed, showing three young families (including Ahmad, brother of one of the women, who just came from Germany where he divorced) spending a weekend at a seaside cottage at the caspian sea. The three families have the silly idea to bring together the lonely Ahmed with the baby-sitter Elly, although they know that she is engaged with another man in Teheran. Whereas all the three couples and Ahmed start to make stupid jokes about this plan, laugh about Elly when she is not around and all appeare very superficial to me, Elly herself is much more closed. She is a girl with some mysteries, she keeps secrets and does not like the continious jokes about the attempted matchmaking a lot. She tries to do the job that she was officially hired for: looking after the little kids of the three families. She frequently calls her mom, who is ill, and after one day she decides that it is better to return to Teheran. The three couples don"t want to let her go, they hide her luggage and her mobile phone. She says that she has to leave and would even walk home. The three couples and Ahmad ignore her and start to play Volleyball and go shopping. Elly helps the kids to fly a kite, but suddenly one of the little boys falls into the water and almost dies. The three man, interrupting their game get panik and jump into the sea, so finally the boy is rescued. But after some minutes they recognise that Elly is missing. And suddenly, the relaxed relationship between the three couples and Ahmed turn into aggression and hate. Everybody accuses the others of beeing responsible for the desaster.

After one day, indeed Ellys dead body is found in the sea: She obviously died while trying to rescue the little boy. The three couples now have to inform some relatives of Elly about the accident, and they can only find Alireza, the man to whom Elly was engaged since three years. They find out his telephone number and ask him to come, claiming that Elly is just ill. When he arrives at the site, finding out that she in fact died, he breaks down. The three couples don"t want to admit that Elly was only invited to this weekend trip to match her to the divorced Ahmad. They try to make Alireza believe that Elly was hired exclusively as a baby-sitter. So they want to get around the conflict by adding more and more lies on top of each other. You can feel how their only concern is to get away with their responsibility.

I think Asghar Farhadi, the movie director, tried to show that this practise of organized partnerships for young family-members is highly questionable and it bears the seed for a tragedy. It is based on the arrogant idea that relatives know best what is good for their son or brother or daughter, and they can easily find a suitable partner using their own judgement. It is obvious that Elly hates this, since she is not sure about her 3 year long engagement with Alireza. But the three stupid couples and Ahmad think that they have the right to interfere with her emotions. They make unpolite jokes about Elly, they lie, and they dont respect her privacy. They are too superficial to see that Elly is full of doubts about her future, and that she does not want to be pushed into a new relationship. She has thoughts that are not for the public, emotions that she does not want to show around.
At the end, this stupid idea of pushing two person together leaves behind two victims: a physical one (Elly, who dies) and her former boyfriend Alireza (who breaks down emotionally). The bad thing is that the three couples continue to lie to Alireza although they see how much he suffers from Ellies death: They tell him that Elly knew from the beginning that the weekend-trip with the three families was intended to bring her together with Ahmad. By this lie, the three couples so cruely leave the mourning Alireza believe, that his girl-friend Elly was searching for an easy adventure with another man. But Elly, in fact, never agreed with this, she said she only joines the company to look after the kids.

I would like to hear what you think about the movie.
take care


Ghazal my Dear,
Tonight I went to see the movie "Darbareye Elly". It was shown in one of the very small cinemas here, which are specialized on Arthouse movies.

Although you had told me already a lot about it before, it was nice to see it. After the first 5 minutes of the movie, however I thought that we might talk about two different things, cause it started so nice and relaxed, when they drove through the tunnel and all were just shouting for fun. And then they had this short stop-over at a small river, and I immediately recognised the russian Samovar, because we have exactly the same one (as part of a big collection of even older ones). And in the beach cottage, I recognised the old russain fridge, type "Wolga", cause we have the same one in our cottage in Bulgaria. So initially I was a bid distracted by pictures, also had problems to follow the subtitles and at the same time understand the relationship between all the characters and their names (you should have provided me with a sort of set-list of all character and who is married to whom and which kid belongs to which couple). Anyhow, after a while I got the impression that all the seven characters are interchangeable, they looked differently but acted similar. The only exception was Elly, who was mysterious. When she disappeared after the accident with the boy I was hoping for about an hour, that she might not have died in the sea, but just left the place to escape the silly jokes and the attempted match-making. When she was eventually identified in the mortuary it was really sad and I was almost ready to leave the cinema.

Elly reminded my a lot of you, Ghazal. She was also calm and the exact opposite of the loud and superfiscial society around her. She had secrets, that she wanted to keep for herself. She had an aura of pride and aristocracy, which stoud in sharp contrast to the other characters who never thought about the right of privacy or secrets. It is a pitty that it was Elly who died in the movie. I so much wished to see her finding a new live, deciding about her own future, to stay strong and nice and get happy.

As usual , I wish you all the best, success with the project, happyness in daily life but also exciting dreams.
Take Care, Ghazal.



Sunlight and the genetics of skin-pigmentation

Dear Ghazal,

Do you remember that we once talked about UV-exposure and skin pigmentation ? Last year in July you send some papers about it, and how this is regulated during tanning after sun exposure.
There is an other aspect, and this relates more to inherited differences  in skin-pigmentation (i.e. a problem that is similar to your MSc project and the search for genetic variations). Recently I found an interesting article that came up with a nice explanation for the reduction of the skin pigmentation during the migration of humankind to the northern hemisphere (from their origin in Africa about 100 000 years ago).

The reason is that UV-radiation has not only a detrimental effect (by damaging the DNA and potentially causing skin cancer, as you perhaps know better than anybody else), but it is also essential for the production of vitamin D in our body (important for skelettal development and other biological processes).
If humans during their migration from africa to the north would have kept their dark skin, the lower UVB level in europe would have caused a severe vitamine D deficiency. Therefore, reducing skin pigmentation genetically gained a survival benefit (since with less dark skin, more UVB reaches the dermis and more vitamine D can be produced).
Therefore, if dark coloured people move to the northern hemisphere for longer time, they might start to suffer from vitamine D deficiency. There is only one exception, and these are the inuit living in northern Canada and Greenland. They have relatively dark skin, but live with low UVB level. Their only way to get sufficient vitamine D is by eating raw meat from seals (in particular their liver is full of vitamine D).

The full paper about this is here:

I hope, Ghazal, you will have a sunny weekend, so you get enough UV to produce vitamine D.
You are lucky anyhow, since your light skin is the best condition to live in the north and stay healthy.
Take Care, Enjoy everything


PS: Have I already wrote you "Thanks" for the Nowruz power-point presentation that you send ? I think I forgot, sorry for this.

PPS: There is an iranian movie in the cinema here, called "Darbareye Ely". I will probably go and watch. Have you seen it or heard about ?