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Thursday, March 1, 2001
On May 16, last year, I made some statements about the
cause of the fireworks disaster.
It appears that the main problem was with how the firework was
labelled. There are four catagories of firework, namely 1.1, 1.2,
1.3, and 1.4, where 1.1 is mass explosive and 1.4 will only burn.
Yesterday, the final
report of the Oosting Committee was made public
In this report, it states that the company had
a permit for 158.5 tons of catagory 1.4 fireworks, or 136.5 tons
of catagory 1.4 with two tons of category 1.3 fireworks. The
fireworks were labelled for transport by the (mostly Chinese)
companies producing the fireworks. Analysis of experts revealed
that 87% of the fireworks should really be labelled as heavier
than 1.4, of this about 3% labled as 1.2, and about 1% of the
fireworks should be labelled with catagory 1.1, the mass explosive
category! The table below gives the figures as mentioned in the
| catagory || permit without 1.3 || permit with 1.3 || actual |
| 1.4 very minor explosion hazard || 158500 Kg || 136500 Kg || 16308 Kg |
| 1.3 fire and considerable radiation hazard|| 0 Kg || 2000 Kg || 153731 Kg |
| 1.3 fragmentation hazard || 0 Kg || 0 Kg || 5310 Kg |
| 1.1 mass-explosion hazard || 0 Kg || 0 Kg || 1660 Kg |
| total || 158500 Kg || 138500 Kg || 177000 Kg |
Also fireworks of catagory 1.3 become mass explosive when placed
in the neighbourhood of denontating fireworks. Because how the
1.1 fireworks were stored with the other categories of fireworks,
the report states that possibly an amouth of 40000 Kg of fireworks
could be considered as mass explosive, and that a large part of
this was not stored in storerooms suitable for this kind of
fireworks. It might well be that during the last big explosion
more than 40000 Kg of fireworks denontated in an explosion
that was equivalent to an explostion of between 4000 and 5000 Kg TNT.
The forlast big explosion, a mass denontation of about 800 Kg TNT
with a fireball of 85 meters in diameter, probably damaged
the structure of the bunkers containing the rest of the fireworks,
and thus making the final explosion possible.
(Of course, the usual disclaimers about the correctness
of the above statements apply!!)
Big snow flakes
Half past four in the afternoon. Big snow flakes are falling down,
but they dissolve as soon as they hit the ground.
A quarter past six. While driving home from Almelo to Enschede
the world slowly turns white. But a few hours later the white
is gone again.
Saturday, March 3, 2001
Two weeks ago, we ordered a new
computer. This morning, I went to the shop to ask if
it had arrived. And it
had. So, in the afternoon after we had done out usual shoppings,
I went to catch it.
One of the first things I did was opening the machine to see
what was inside. It started up without much problems. But
then I did not know what to do. Starting to work with a new
computer is almost like making a new friend. Each computer
has its own characteristics. The first step in coming to know
it, is study all the documentation. I did already read through
the booklet that came with the mother board.
An empty computer still needs
a lot of software to be installed before it becomes usefull.
And we also had to think about how we were going to deploy our
three computers. We decided to keep them all down stairs.
Some furniture had to be moved, and some things needed to be
cleaned. As usually this lead to much more objects to be
moved around then I had thought at first. I even ended
up rearranging some things in the room of
Finally, at the end of the evening, I could start doing
something with the computers. I decided that I would move
the 1.2 Gbyte hard disk of our
oldest computer to the newest
computer. But before, I removed it, I decided to make
a last backup of some data on the other hard disk. When I
started the computer, it failed to boot. It was complaining
that the hard disk would not start. Now, this made me feel
very terrible. One of the reasons for buying the new computer
was to be able to make backups of our data on CD-ROM's. And
now the old computer failed, just before I wanted to rescue
the data. Of course, I tried to fiddle around with the hard
ware, by disconnecting the hard disks and trying all kinds
of other things. As a last resort, I pushed against the IDE
controller, and when I switched it on, it started to work
again. There must have been some loose contact because of me
moving it around. Quickly, I made the backups, and removed
the hard disk making sure that the system would still work
Then I build in the hard disk in the new computer. Which
involved the usual fiddling with IDE cables, because they
never go as you had expected. But the operation was
successful. It was getting close to two o'clock in the night.
(For some stange reason I always end-up performing these kind
of hardware modifications in the night.) The last thing I
did was copying the backups I made to the 30 Gbyte hard disk
of the new machine. Maybe I burn a CD-ROM from it tomorrow.
Monday, March 5, 2001
An intellectual nightmare
I was visiting my old boss on the University. He showed
me some paper, and told me that my algorithm did not work.
I studied the paper, and concluded that it was a performance
problem. Then many students entered the room, and I was
requested to solve the problem working together with these
students. Before the students I explained that luckly the
problem with the algorithm had only to do with the performance.
Then, when I tried to find the description of the algorithm,
it turned out that non of the students had the right book.
When after some hours of fruitless looking through books,
someone said that I should solve it, I remarked that I was
only visiting, and that I was nolonger working at the university.
But where was I working?
Then I woke up, and realized I had been dreaming all the
time. I also noticed that I had a slight headache. I wondered
whether it was caused by the nightmare, or vice-versa.
Wednesday, March 7, 2001
Watching the trains
From our office we look out onto some grass, which stops
after about 10 meter/yards with a fence. Behind this fence
there are some bushes. Since this morning they started
removing these bushes. The reason for this is unclear. The
few trees between the bushes are left alone.
As a result of removing the bushes, we can now see the
field behind the bushes. Also the road at the end of
the field and the railway track from Almelo to Amsterdam
are visible now. So, we can start watching the trains again.
Friday, March 9, 2001
Yesterday, we had a meeting with some people from the
"Klim Op", the place where Andy stays now during the week.
A lot of good news. Andy is doing great and showing progress.
He now sometimes starts to play with some of the other
children. And he also seems to listen quite well, and
does not react very emotionel when corrected. Whenever
there is a new person around, he starts to play his
tricks again, finding out how far he can go. But, this can
only be seen as something natural, which all children do.
We have set some goals with respect to his eating problems.
Now, at home we are also going to have him "eat" with as
less physical force as possible. Lately, his eating has
improved again, and I have good hope that we may see some
progress in this area before the end of the year.
Monday, March 12, 2001
Yesterday, I realized that I still might use our
oldest PC, (named
annabel) now that it does not have a monitor anymore. That
monitor is now attached to our
newest PC, (named ester).
Long ago, on February 28, 1995 to be precise, I managed
to hook an vt100 terminal up to it under Linux. I remembered
that Susan had used her laptop
to login into the campus network, and that it must thus have
a terminal emulator on it. And yes with some fiddling around,
I managed to get it working. Now I can use the
T1900S laptop as a terminal
of our oldest PC. It does beep three times when booted without
monitor, but who cares about that. Because the serial line is
so long, I can virtually everywhere in the house work on our
Wednesday, March 21, 2001
When I came down last Monday, Annabel
shouted that it was snowing. Indeed it was snowing, but it was
too hot for the snow to stay.
Today is the first day of the spring. Around noon there was some
snow flowing through the air. Now, a few hours later, snow has
covered most of the grass outside. The roads are still black,
but for how long.
Wednesday, March 28, 2001
Ploughing the field
Around three o'clock in the afternoon there came a Turbomatik Favorit 512LS
tractor to plough the area of the field from which they removed
the bushes on March 7.
Friday, March 30, 2001
Alexander and Máxima: announcing their engagement
I too watched the announcement of their engagement on
Dutch television, as did fifteen million Dutch people.
The news that their engagement was going to be announced
already leaked out yesterday.
At six o'clock our Queen made the official announcement.
Then the prime minister said something from his working
room (nicknamed "the little tower"), followed by a statement
to the press about the father of Máxima who has been
involved as a civilian in the military government ruling
Argentina for almost 15 years. The father of Máxima has
decided to be absent from the wedding, which is to take
place at the beginning of next year.
At seven o'clock there was a press conference with Alexander
and Máxima, which started off with both of them reading a
statement. Everybody seemed to be surprised with how well
Máxima already knows the Dutch language, which is definitely
not an easy language. Also when the people from the press
asked their questions they gave very open answers to my
surprise. It was obvious to me that they are truely
in love with each other, and have very seriously thought
about their relationship.
At a quarter to eight they went outside and shaked hands
with the croud waiting outside the gate.
Although the majority of the Dutch are now supportive
of the marriage, there is still a small group having its
doubts. Those against can be divided in two groups,
namely, those that still feel that our crown prince
cannot marry someone from a dubious background, and
those that believe that the marriage will not stand.
Many from these two groups feel that they should marry, but that
prince Willem-Alexander should give up his claim on the crown
to live a happy life with Máxima.
Seeing the kind of trouble they already have gone through,
it looks like they have really thought through all the
consequences of their marriage. They look very much in
love with each other, but also two intelligent people
who seem to be well aware of the consequences of their
decision. Of course, they did get some media training,
and they must have talked through all the questions they
could expect during the interview, but from some of their
reactions you just know that they were speaking from
their heart instead of giving a pre boiled answer.
And for those who are against the marriage, I think
that they will remain a minority. You cannot hold a
child responsable for the actions of its parents.
And also to me it looks like Máxima was
very sincere in the statement she made about her
father. I also think that not everyone understands the
sacrific that she and her family have made for her
father (and probably also her mother) not being present
at the wedding. In the culture she is coming from this
is a very important issue.
I wish them all the luck.
February 2001 |
April 2001 |