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Diary, July 2003


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  20  21  22  23  24  25  26
  27  28  29  30  31


Tuesday, July 1, 2003

Born to die

Some babies are born to die. They are born prematurely, without a reasonable chance of surviving the first days of their life. The wife of my brother-in-law was expecting a baby. It seems that she was suffering from hydramnios, a condition of an access of amniotic fluid. She was about six and half months into her pregnancy, but many people were asking her how many days she still had to go. Last Saturday, she had a premature rupture of the membrames, which lead to premature contractions. On Sunday morning around three o'clock her son was born. He only lived for fifteen hours.

As far as I know the cause for the hydramnios was not established, and no treatment was given. This may sound strange, but I should note that they live in the P.R. of China. Hydramnios can be caused by serious development disorders of the child, such as gastrointestinal abnormalities that block the passage of fluid, abnormal swallowing due to problems with the central nervous system or chromosomal abnormalities, or heart failure.

Smart Roadster commercial

Yesterday during the commercials, I was confronted with the rather violent scene of two man boxing with their bare hands. I was wondering who was using this rather sick scenes as part of their advertisement campain. Then it became clear it was a commercial for the Smart Roadster. I have considered buying a Smart for it being environmentally friendly, but now I am not very sure anymore, if I see what kind of image they are surrounding themselves with.

Going to Almere Muziekwijk

Someone from our company wanted to go by train to an appointment in Almere tomorrow at nine. So, he entered the data in the Snelplanner (from: 'Enschede', to: 'Almere Muziekwijk', arrival 9:00) and it returned a journey advice with 6 changes, taking an incredible detour, while it can be done with just a single change, if you don't mind arriving a little earlier or later. Just for the risc of missing one change, you would be better not to follow this advice. And you will have to make a printout of this advice, just to show it to the persons checking your tickets, otherwise they would fine you for having an invalid ticket for the route you are taking. For people from abroad, who are unfamiliar with the Dutch geographics, this is a very misleading advice.


Wednesday, July 2, 2003

Islamic Financial Services

I always thought that Christians and Jews were smart in circumventing their religious laws. Now, I have discovered that Islamic financial services also know their tricks. Recently, HSBC have opened their Amanah branch. They have clever ways of providing mortages with zero interests. One of the tricks is that the bank first buys the property and then sells it for a higher price to the final owner, who then doesn't have to pay any interest for the running time of the mortage that the bank provides. Another construction is that the bank simply rents the house to final owner.

Appeal

Yesterday, the appeal of Volkert van de G., the person who killed Pim Fortuyn, started. There was a news item about him stating that several experts had mentioned in the newspapers that he might suffer from Asperger syndrome. During the trial some experts will be heard about this syndrome. As far as I know, no official diagnoses has been given.


Thursday, July 3, 2003

Heat wave

This morning it was only 13.2 degrees Celsius outside. And it was raining. Luckily, it raining became less when I started to bike to my office. The South of Europe is having a heat wave for many weeks. I decided to bring a sweater to the office, because yesterday I felt a little cold. It still remains light outside till about half past ten in the evening. Although the longest day is already behind, it seems it still remains light late in the evening. The sun goes down around ten in the evening.


Friday, July 4, 2003

Rainbow and fire

Yesterday evening around five past nine, I saw a rather faint rainbow from the kitchen window (which happens to be on the South side of our home).

At the moment a cacoa silo in Zaandam is on fire. The fire is not spreading but the fire brigades have a hard time to exstinguish it. Today, an Cougar transport helicopter from the Army is going to give assistance. In the past weeks we had a number of (unrelated) big fires. Fire brigades are organized per county. Would it not be a good idea if all fire brigades would have access to some dedicated fire controlling helicopter. Just one would be sufficient for the whole of the Netherlands, because within an hour it could fly everywhere were needed.


Saturday, July 5, 2003

The Virgin Suicides

I just watched "The Virgin Suicides" on TV.


Sunday, July 6, 2003

Exibition

Andy and I visited the graduation exibition of the AKI students. It was the last day of the exibition, which started to Friday, June 27. We first went to "Hal D", one of the oldest buildings on Campus, which has been abandond some years ago, and is now used by the AKI. Walther Langelaar has made a virtual game environment from it, which can be reached on port 27960 of 130.89.145.27. I do not know which game engine is used. Based on the port number it could be Elite Force or Quake III. I did take some pictures. Andy did enjoy it. I met with Meindert to our mutal surprise. He moved to Amsterdam last year, and this was only his second time back in Enschede. Andy and I also went to the main building, where we only looked at the exibitions at ground level, because Andy was getting bored, and time was running up.


Monday, July 7, 2003

Toydeath

I just discovered that the band making all the noise on June 27 is called Toydeath. They are from Sidney, Australie. barbydoll-G.I.Joe-Teddybear play Disco-Punk-Noise on electronic toys for children.

L'espion spy camera

Li-Xia just phoned me to inform that there was one l'espion spy camera left at the local Megapool shop, with the question if I was sure that we should buy it. They are having it on sale for € 19.95. Originally it was priced about three times as expensive. Second hand they were still sold for around € 30.


Tuesday, July 8, 2003

Photo blog

I also have started a photo blog with some pictures made with the l'espion spy camera. It includes a picture of what I had for dinner: some beans, some won ton soup (left over from some won ton that Li-Xia made in advance) and a bowl with some rice.

Ladan en Laleh

Twins die after separation surgery. Their wish to be separated finally lead to their death. I personally do not (and can not) understand why they wanted to be separated. Was it a brave decision, knowing that the risks were so high, as many have been suggesting? Or should they rather have accepted their fate?


Wednesday, July 9, 2003

l'espion

If I look at the pictures, I took with the l'espion spy camera I note the following problems: The above observations made me think about a program to improve the quality. You could measure the differences in sensitivity of the individual pixels, and compensate for this. The program could also correct for the "lens" error. Such a correction will, inevitably, reduce the sharpness of the image a little, because averaging takes place.

Mysterious emails

Today, I received two empty emails. Upon investigation, I discovered that one of them contained a nasty virus. (I wrote a base64 decoding program for it.) A similar technique as the earlier one that I discovered. Again an IFRAME was used pointing to a midi file with the extension scr, which contained a small COM file, I guess. It seemed rather small for a virus. I did not "play" the file. The other email, from someone called Walliw Davis, was simply empty.


Thursday, July 10, 2003

Not growing enough

This morning, we took Andy to the hospital for his regular check-up. Everything was okay. Sometimes, I just wonder why we are still seeing our paediatrician. Just before he was going to finish the consultation, I asked if I could have a look at his growth cart. Andy is now 103 cm and 15.7 kilo. His weight is perfect for his length, but he did not grow enough in the past half year. The average length for Dutch boys at this age is 118 cm. Looking at our lengths, the average length is around 110 cm. But what is more worrying is that the graph is flattening. He explained that in the first years children just grow on the amouth of calories they get, around Andy's age, it going to be determined by the amouth of growth hormone. He decided to check the various growth related hormone levels (TSH, FT4, IGF-1, and IGFBP-3). He is the endocrinology specialist of the childrens department, so we wont have to change to another specialist.


Saturday, July 12, 2003

Going into the city

Today, we were alone during the day. Annabel is staying with my mother for the past two weeks and will come back tomorrow. Andy is staying on the "Klim Op" for the very last time on a Saturday, as he used to be doing twice every month. That meant that Li-Xia and I could do whatever we wanted. In the morning we did some cleaning. Li-Xia took care of washing the clothes, and I did some vacum-cleaning. Then around half past eleven, we biked into the city and made use of the free guarded parking place under the V&D shop. We went to "Le Monde" and sat outside and ordered a lunch. Then we walked around looking for an USB extension cable, because this morning I discovered how I might could use the 500 mm lens in combination with my webcam as a telescope. We failed to find any reasonably priced cable. We looked around some other shops and some small things. Then we looked around an consumer electronics show. Prices of large flat televisions sets are dropping. I am still happy with the small television that we have. On the way back, Li-Xia wanted to look at some shop, she thought was a Turkish shop. She was right, and they did have some vegatables that she had not been able to buy for a long time. Now, I am sitting outside, and while I wrote this, Andy has returned, and I had to feed him. He is also playing in the garden now.

(follow-up on the telescope)


Sunday, July 13, 2003

Auto!

This afternoon, Andy was playing with MagnaDoodle, when he suddenly came running with it to us, shouting: Auto! Auto!. That is the Dutch word for car. And indeed the drawing he had made resembled a car. I immediately took a picture of it, because it is his very first drawing.

Taking a picture of an ant

This afternoon, I continued experimenting with looking through my 500 mm lens with the webcam. I did find some macro extension rings, which turned out to be perfect for connecting the webcam to the lens. Just a single piece of tape is sufficient to "glue" the things together. It gives an incredible magnification. I wanted to take a picture of some ants walking around in the garden from the kitchen (because that is where the computer is). I put one of the kitchen chairs on the kitchen table, got some box and a pillow and put the lens on top of it, and spend some fifteen minutes trying to aim it. The whole thing was very sensitive to vibrations, and the focus depth is less than ten centimeters (four inches). I had a hard time figuring out what the lens was aiming at, and had to refocus all the time. Finally, I did see some ants walking, but they walked too fast to be photographed at all. Just turned into blurs. Still, it was rather interesting to see ants from 15 meters (45 feet) away. I am definitely trying to take some pictures of the moon when it is visible in the evening. Yesterday evening, I tried to look outside, but it turned out it was too dark. But I think that the moon will be okay.

(follow-up)


Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Saying goodbey

Today we had a goodbey meeting for Andy at the Klimop, because in August he will go to the new school. He was not behaving very nice, which he always does when things go different than normal, or when there are too many people and he is losing the overview over the whole situation. He did drink some orange juice from a straw, which he did for the first time (if I am not mistaken). It looks he is always behaves well, when he stays there. His holiday only start at the 26th, but today was the last day for his personal supervisor. They officially close by the end of this week. Next week, Andy will attend a camp, which is being held in the same building.


Monday, July 21, 2003

Start of holidays

The holidays really have begun. This week, I am the only one in my room. Next week, my holidays start, and one of my colleagues will return. Last Wednesday was a hot day with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius. In the afternoon, Annabel ran over to our new neighbours to borrow a pump, and I spend almost an hour to set up the inflatable swimming pool. And while I was doing this, dark clouds appeared and the sound of thunder could be heard. In the evening it started raining and during the night the thunder and lighting continues. Temperatures dropped a little, but on Friday and Saturday is became hot again. On both days, Annabel and Andy played in the swimming pool for some time. We took some pictures and video of this. Annabel has been taking a lot of pictures lately with the l'espion camera.

Movies

This weekend, I watched Une liaison pornographique. Although I do not agree with the idea of a sexual relationship outside marriage, I found this movie quite good, with a lot of attention to details and a rather realistic presentation of emotions that occur when two people fall in love with each other. It has a very sad ending. I did not consider this as a very erotic movie, because it is far more about their feelings and emotions then about anything else.

(follow-up)

I also watched 2010. I think this movie is rather bad. From comments, I understand that the book is better. Still I think that the idea of turning Jupiter into a second sun that is visible from Earth, is totally impossible. Even if it would be possible to start nuclear fusion on Jupiter, it would have literally vaporized its moon Europe, that was supposed to become a second "Earth".

Stop de Porno

A number of Christian organisations in the Netherlands have started the petition Stop de Porno, which is a petition again pornographic expressions in public places and the media.

Quantum Entanglement

Sciscoop has an item on an article to appear in American Scientist on Quantum Entanglement. The weird quantum effects seen in Feynman's version of Young's double-slit experiment are shown to be a result of quantum entanglement instead of quantum uncertainty (Copenhagen) or multiverses. Interesting idea. So, is it really true that photons "experience" no time (because the move at the maximum possible speed), but simply connect "events" in space-time? Maybe the whole concept of photons moving through space is simply wrong. Maybe it is just our perception of it, because we are "bound" to time.


Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Too hot for a coat

This morning it was 18.5 degrees Celsius outside. It felt a little colder, but before I arrived at my office, I had to take of my coat. There was some rain (even some thunder) last evening, and tomorrow it also rained a lot. Weather today will be a very sunny day is still unclear but at the moment the sun starts to shine stronger.

Annabel taking pictures

Yesterday, Annabel did some more picture taking. One of the pictures was of the street sign, but the name is not readable. She also took a mysterious picture that took me some time to figure out what it was.

(hover your mouse over here for the answer.)


Friday, July 25, 2003

Aliens: Ressurection

Tonight, I watched the movie Aliens: Ressurection. I already read some of the commentaries, most of them being rather negative. I thought, that the movie was okay, compared to the others that I saw.


Saturday, July 26, 2003

Visiting friends

Today, we went to Eindhoven to visit some Chinese friends. We arrived around a quarter past one and stayed till around eight. When we let Andy out of the car, he immediately ran inside to check-out the place. Of course, we drank some tea and ate some noodles. During the afternoon we talked and we made a walk to their vegetable garden. They gave us some vegetables to take home. For dinner we had seven dishes and some soup, which was served at the end of the meal. Just when we were about to leave, Annabel wanted to play some Go with their eldest son. We gave them the opportunity to do so. It was a little after eight that we left for home.

(Pictures. follow-up on playing Go)


Monday, July 28, 2003

De Waarbeek

Today, we had our yearly visit to "De Waarbeek". Annabel and I tried the cable seats going over the water. This was the first time for me, because before I was too heavy. This morning, I was just below 80 Kilogram. Andy was only interested in the train. We stayed for about four hours. The weather was hotter than expected.

(Pictures, follow-up)


This months interesting links


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