This evening, when Annabel and I came
back from swimming lessons, we saw a partial rainbow just when we
left the swimming pool. Later on the evening, we saw an almost
complete rainbow. Last Sunday, Annabel also saw a double rainbow
when traveling with some friends.
Death of a hard disk
This afternoon, when I felt kind of bored, I decided, I was
going to give my idea of turning my oldest computer
a minimalistic Linux "server", a second try. So, I went to the
attic and started to play. After some fiddling around with the
set-up files, I managed to get the COM-port on the main I/O-card
working such that I could plug a terminal into it. Then I took
out all other boards, and it still worked. So there it was, a
case, a power supply, a mother board, a hard disk, a floppy drive,
a I/O-card and some cables. No keyboard attached, no monitor attached,
only a null-modem cable running to my toshiba laptop, and I could still talk to it, and make it
do something. Then I was thinking about doing away the floppy
drive. I opened the power supply and blew the dust out of it and
inverstigated how I could take apart the computer even further.
I decided to keep it in the case, and removed the floppy drive.
When I wanted to start it up, it failed. I played with the IDE cable
in order to make it boot again, but it didn't. So, the only thing
I could do was to plug in the video card and hook it up to a
monitor, and see what setup
was telling me. After I had did this, it turned out that the drive
was no longer recognized. I tried every possible combination of
connecting it to with the IDE-cable to the I/O-card, but it the
drive remained unrecognizable. I even tried to connect it to
ester, but that
also did not work. After some final and desparate attempts, I had
to conclude that the drive had died. It is still spinning, and the
making that typical start-up noises, but it is no longer responding.
Most likely, some part in the IDE interface must have been broken
either by static electricity or by me hooking it up wrong. Luckily,
I already had copied all essential data to one of the other
computers I own, but the Linux Slackware distribution that
I installed on it more than eight years ago, is gone for ever,
I am afraid.
Yesterday afternoon the weather was very nice with temperatures
around 22 degrees Celsius. We decided to move the swing chair outside. I tried to
relax and enjoy the soft warm air, but I was all the time interrupted
by Andy who for some reason had decided that
it was time to bring his collection of video tapes outside on the
swing chair. I had to stop swinging everytime when he arrived with some
more tapes. He became a little angry when we had to clear up everything.
When Andy was running outside, I suddenly became aware of how much
noise he maked all the time. Last Saturday, I had gone over to our
to introduce myself. I told them that we had two children and that Andy
had a mental handicap. They responded with "So what?". I told them that
he had some behavour problems. I wonder what they will be thinking now.
George W Bush has expressed unshakeable confidence that banned weapons
will be found in Iraq but complained that Tariq Aziz, one of Saddam
Hussein's closest deputies, is not co-operating with US forces who have
him in custody. Either the Iraqi's are very good at hiding or there
are no weapons of mass destruction. One can at least conclude that they
did not have a weapon system able to attack the United States directly.
This morning it was 14.9 degrees Celsius when I left home. Yesterday,
temperatures got as high as 22 degrees in the middle of the afternoon.
Last weekend, I watched the latter half of
The Devil's arithmetic.
Today, it is one year ago that Pim Fortuyn was killed. Many memorial activities are being held here in the
Netherlands, and even in the little Italian village where he was buried.
Half a milion Euro junks
The police department from the city of Utrecht had calculated that the
average damage caused by a single hard drug addict was about half a
milion Euro per year. They calculated this on the basis of how much
they have to spend on their drugs. These junks have to steal and robe
to get their money. From selling their stolen goods, they only get
about 10% of the real value of the goods. And on top of this, there
are the costs of damage they caused during their theft, such as costs
for insurance companies. The number seems rather realistic.
But where does the money go? Money cannot disappear, it has to go
somewhere. If you burn a bill, it simply means that you give it back
to the bank you got it from (without them knowing directly). Clearly,
a percentage goes to the drug dealers, but probably not more than 5%.
A great part goes to the people buying the stolen goods. They usually
sell them to others as well, thus causing prices on second hand markets
to be low. The thieves also produce work for insurance companies
allowing them to offer well-paid jobs to their employees. As you can
see most of the money flows back into society. The real damage, which
cannot be expressed in money, is the emotional damage caused to the
people being robbed.
say 2-year-old Noshin Hoque will probably die within a year or two unless the
tumor growing deep in her brain is removed. But the operation itself will
probably kill her or leave her blind or paralyzed. A terrible dilemma. I
think the parents should not be prosecuted, although I do not know what I should
do in their position.
During the swimming lesson of Annabel,
I was reading the last issue of Intermediair, and came across an article discussing
the ideas of
Smits, who I happen through
Meindert, a mutual friend. I showed
the article to one of the other fathers watching, and he also happened
to know her. When we talked a little further, I discovered that he
knows Meindert as well.
Today, I received a strange mail.
Why would someone send me such an email, I wonder. Is this Spam?
FC Twente is Enschede
This morning, the whole city was filled with posters
saying "FC Twente is Enschede". It was clear that most of this posters were put
up illegally. (In the afternoon, I even saw some put on traffic signs!) The local soccer
club FC Twente has a dept of 14 milion Euro due to a combination of
advertisement profits going down, paying players to much and financial
mismanagement. And now they are on the brink of going bankrupt. Strong pleas
have been made to the local government to support them. This poster announced
to gather before the townhall at six o'clock in the evening when their would
be a meeting deciding on whether the local government was going to support
FC Twente with a loan of 4.5 milion Euro. This evening, I heard that
the majority of the city counsel did support this plan, and that details
will we worked out. Personally, I am not in favour of giving support to
soccer clubs. Soccer is our national sport, but it doesn't interest me at
all. And I am not the only one. Why should I then have to pay for it, because
the local government is paid by tax incomes. But what is more important is
that FC Twente is organized as a commercial company with about a hunderd
employees of which some (the players) receive huge salaries. Till the midst
of the ninties there used to a tranfer systems where soccer clubs paid large
sums of money for transfering players. Especially for the smaller clubs this
produced a lot of income. But the whole system was really acting like a
pyramid system. After it was abolished, the wages of the soccer players
went up for two reasons. Firstly, many clubs now started to offer more
money to the players, because the did not have to pay for the transfer
anymore. Secondly, because giving them high salaries contracts for multiple
years offered them the possibilty to demand substitution in case a player
cancelled his contract. So in a sense the transfer system was simply replaced
by a different system with the same effects. However, the system collapsed
and now the majority of soccer clubs in the Netherlands (and elsewhere in
Europe) are facing major financial problems.
This morning it was 12.7 degrees Celsius. It was not raining and that is
what matters most. Yesterday afternoon, temperatures were around 22 degrees
in the shade. Nice weather for sitting outside, and that is what I did some
Qapla'! Hospital seeks Klingon speaker. This weekend, I watched the movies
"Existenz" (only the last 15 minutes),
"Solvent green", and
"Last of the dogmen".
Intergration with my blog
It was today, that I decided to intergrate my blog with this online
diary. As you can see, I also have merged messages before this date
with this online diary. A selection of messages from the blog will be
archived there. The reason for this setup is that I do not have the
means to update my online diary frequently.
Today it is three years ago that
Enschede was hit by the fireworks
disaster. Yesterday, the only suspect was released from prison after is case was
cancelled in a higher court, based on the lack of substantial evidence. It
is still unclear who caused the fire that ignited the disaster, and it looks
like it will still take a long time before that question will be answered.
This morning it was rather sunny and about 9 degrees Celsius. Before I went
to my office, I first mowed the lawn in our back garden. I understood that
the moon eclips was not very visible here in the Netherlands because of an
early sunrise. It is really noticible that it stays light longer. It is
only a little more than a month till the longest day light time.
Yesterday, I received a letter from my IPS having with red letters saying
"confidential". Then when I wanted to open it, I noticed that it already had
been opened by someone else and being closed again with some tape. But when I
read the letter, I really had to laugh, as it started with the sentense: "Yes,
doesn't it feel terrible when your confidential mail has been opened." It was
just an advertisement for an DSL connection, with which they give a free
firewall and virus checker, which cost more than € 100, they say.
They also are showing this TV commercial of man breaking into a house and throwing
everything around while the people in it are just quietly doing there business,
suggesting that hackers can easily come into you computer and destroy all your
private possessions. I am still waiting for them to install a spam filter. Even
their web portal for reading emails, simply shows all inlined images, which the
spammers do to verify your address, and they do not provide an option to have
your spam bounce as undeliverable mail (which, I think, is a very effective
means of stopping spam in the long run).
Yesterday, we got the results back from the
SON-R 2.5-7 Nonverbal
Intelligence Test that Andy took. Look
here for a
description of the composition of the test. His score: catergories: 2j9m,
mosaic: 2j10m, puzzles: 3j5m, patterns: 2j6m, situations: 4j2m, and analogies:
3j9m. We were not giving the matching IQ scores, maybe because they are not
Wasp like insect
Annabel had jumped in Li-Xia's side of the bed,
while I was still in the process of waking-up, when we heard a loud buzzing
noise in the room. Annabel told me, that she yesterday saw how a large
insect flew into our bedroom. I got out of bed to investigate what was
going on. It was indeed a large insect, larger than I ever had seen (apart
from dragonflies). It was somewhere between 4 and 6 cm long and had a dark
brown colour except for some fine yellow lines on it back body (which was about
half of its size). I thought about taking a picture, but was afraid to lose
it out of sight. Annabel had already gone outside the bedroom, and I didn't
want her to watch it alone. Luckily it was close to the window, and I managed
to open it. I closed the lids before the window, and after a few minutes it
(After some searching, it seems most likely
that it was a Vespa Crabro Hornet queen.)
This morning we had a talk with some people from the "Klim Op" about
Andy's progress. They
suggested that we should consider the possibility to look for a school for Andy,
because his possibilities to advance further at the "Klim Op" are becoming
smaller. We already made an appointment with someone from the
"De Huifkar" for coming wednesday.
This is a school for children with great learning difficulties.
Are chimps human?
Goodman claims that
human. However, if you look at his home page, it looks like he did not have
any scientifical publication since 1999. So, is this really a new finding, or
just an expression of his personal opinion on the subject. Anyway, it does raise
the question what makes us human. Are we simply highly evolved apes, or are we
in the image of God?
This morning, a colleague of mine, saw his digital alarm clock blink with 4:04,
when he woke-up. (It was blinking due to a power failure.) His first thought
was "page not found". It seems that the number of power failures is increasing
since the electricity companies have been privitized. We were just being told
that this afternoon there will be two ten minutes power cuts due to maintenance
operations. That might give me a chance to get my bike from the bike shop. I
needed new peddles because the right one started to make a lot of noises.
Looks like we are now running on an auxiliray power supply, just outside our
building. When we came back from lunch we had a quick look. It looks like the
KCT and TO building are using about 180 Kw of electricity. (That might have
gone up a little now that we have switched all our computers on again.) The
power supply is on a truck and has the size of a small container.
This morning we went to see the head of the "De Huifkar" and we looked around the school. It looks like a normal
school,except that it has many very special children. When we arrived there
were immediately some boys asking what we came to do, and when we told who
we were to see, they were very happy to give us directions and lead us the
way. We did not see any reason why we should not enlist him there. With the
coming school year some rules will be changed, which will force children
with an IQ of 70 or higher to join regular schools. Andy's IQ is somewhere
around 50, we were told last Monday.
Annabel and I went to the open day
of the University of Twente. We went to the Computer Science department,
where Annabel got a free morph movie from herself into a dog, we did some
running, and watched some robot soccer. We also went to the Applied
Mathematics department, where Annabel spend some time putting together a
rhombicuboctahedron. I got two issues of a Dutch mathematics magezine
called "Nieuw Archief voor
Wiskunde". When at home I looked at the problem sections in the back
of these magezines, I again realized how limited my mathematical knowledge
is. However, I did come across the name of
Bert Jagers quite
often, who happens to be a former teacher and former colleague of
Li-Xia. He also did come to our wedding party.
It was a little foggy outside this morning. When I left home, it was 11.9
degrees Celsius. After having a lot of rain in the past week, the weather
reports are reporting dry weather and some nice temperatures for the coming
days. The garden looks green, and the grass is
growing nice. Even the new grass that I seeded seems to start to grow. It
was rather long when I mowed it yesterday. The rain prevented me from cutting
the grass earlier. Yesterday, my mother
came to visit us to celebrate Li-Xia's birthday,
which is tomorrow.
Today, I received a WD Caviar hard disk that I had bough through a
Dutch free ad site.
Earlier this month, a similar hard disk had died while I was
playing with it. Some colleague had given the suggestion that I might rescue
the disk by replacing the on disk controller. First thing I did after dinner
was to bring annabel.
But again the BIOS failed to recognize the new disk. I started to play around,
but not with much success. I started to suspect the IDE-controller card to be
broken. So, I started fiddling with it. At point I noticed that the disk busy
LED was disconnected. After having connected it, suddenly things started to work
again. After some BIOS adjustments, I suddenly saw the all to familiar Linux
boot sequence appear. It seems that nothing was broken, except for the fact that
the IDE-controller malfunctions when the busy LED is disconnected.
This morning, I heard the news that Jeroen Schot, the Director of the Lucent
Bell Labs Advanced Technologies organization in EMEA, suddenly died from a heart
attack this weekend. He is an ex-colleague of some of my colleagues. Not that I
knew him very well, but I once did have a job interview with him, during which
he made some rather confronting remarks about my professional carreer being too
chaotic for me ever to become a top researcher.
The day started out nice. Outside it was about 15.2 degrees Celsius. (Yesterday,
late in the afternoon, it was 24.4 degrees Celsius, and there are good reasons to
believe that temperatures will get as high as that again today.) But when
I wanted to get my bike out, I discovered that I had a flat tire. But with
these comfortable temperatures, it is no problem to repair is outside. I
am afraid, I was a little to entheusiastic with pumping air into, because
I suddenly hear the air flow out really strong. There was a tear under a
previous repair. The tire was beyond repair now. I searched for any spare
tire, but only found a 26 inch tire, and I do need a 28 inch one. I
decided to go by car. Li-Xia is going to buy a new
inside tire, and I am going to fix my bike this afternoon.
At the moment we are visiting my sister to celebrate the birthday of her
daughter. Almost everyone is sitting outside, because it is very hot. I
am sitting behind the computer in the livingroom, and with one eye looking
at "Die another day" which is running at the same time on the computer.
There is also a video playing. Li-Xia is feeding
Andy while talking with my mother.
My mother went on a biking trip early this
morning. "Dauwtrappen" we call this custom to go biking on Ascension day.
She bike about 37 km. Not bad for age. She says she needs a new bike,
because the current one is getting to small. In the past year she has
shrinken a little. That happens more often with old people.
I had set the alarm to 5:00. I woke-up Annabel and
we both got dressed and got our bikes. We biked to a nearby bridge, which
crosses highway A35.We could not see the sun yet. Soon two other man joined us.
I was the first one to spot the sun. It was barely visible, and already
completely above the horizon. Only a very thin line of the sun was visible on
the right. Apparently, we missed the two lines which should have been visible
right after sunrise. The sun slowly grew brighter as it got higher up
into the sky. Also the line became bigger and bigger. I took about 12
pictures, most with
my Trust digital camera.
This months interesting links
April 2003 |
June 2003 |