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Diary, October 2003


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Wednesday, October 1, 2003

Genius and mad man are alike

The article Biological Basis For Creativity Linked To Mental Illness (copied from here) explains that both the genius and the mad have reduced levels of latent inhibition. Latent inhibition is the mechanism with which the brain filters out irrelevant information. People with normal latent inhibition see a tree, and think "tree". People with low levels of latent inhibition notice that the tree has an odd shape, and that the leaves on one side are already getting brown, while they are still green on the otherside. So the same mechanism that make some creative, drives others mad. One of the authors, Jordan B. Peterson, also wrote an interesting book about meaning.


Thursday, October 2, 2003

Playing Go

Yesterday, Annabel won with ten stones against a third Dan player starting with five stones ahead. He remarked that he played easy on her, but that she is getting better. She lost the other two games she played against him. I only played one game against Daan, which I lost with about 25 points. From the start of the game it was one fiercy fight on life and death. I like to lose games, because playing against stronger players is the best way to improve your play. I also notice that certain moves, which I can still make while playing against Annabel, are immediately punished when playing against stronger players. I guess that often stronger players can win from weaker players because they can take more risky moves, because the weaker players doesn't know how to responds to these, and thus can make more territorium. Of course, stronger players are also better at assessing what is the gain of each possible move.

Monthly period makes (some) women stronger

Yesterday, Dutchwoman Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel has demolished the Women's Hour Record, with a stunning ride of 46.065 kilometers on the track in Mexico City. They day before, she told during an interview, that it she had counted on having her monthly period during the attempt. Apparently, she is bikes faster while having it.


Friday, October 3, 2003

Mabel Wisse Smit

Mabel denies she was 'a gangster's moll': Mabel Wisse Smit, the fiancé of Prince Johan Friso, denied a newspaper report on Tuesday that she had a previous relationship with Klaas "De Dominee" Bruinsma when she was fully aware he was a major drug dealer.

It seems that we are into another complicated situation with a (future) member of the royal family. I still believe that there are benefits from a monarchy above a republic. A royal family is in the first place a family with the kind of problems a family usually has. But they are a public family, and marriages have to sanctioned by laws. I am afraid this marriage might not be granted, except if Prince Johan Friso abstains his royal rights. He is the third in the line of royal heirs.

At the moment the political discussion is about whether Mabel and Klaas had a close friendship (Dutch: relatie), as Mabel has admitted, or that it was sexual relationship (Dutch: liefdesrelatie), as has been suggested by a former body guard of Klaas.

(follow-up with important declaration)


Monday, October 6, 2003

Collecting chestnuts

Yesterday, Annabel spend about one and half hour collecting chestnuts in the area around her school. Then she spend almost an hour to crack all the chestnut covers that had not opened by themselves. She said that these are of the kind that you can eat. We will see.

Ten years

Today, Li-Xia and I are married for ten years. I can't believe that the time has gone that fast. During the lunch I went to buy ten red roses. Tonight, I will order some Chinees dishes, including a dish with jumbo shrimps for her. Next weekend we will stay at a cottage of Centerparcs to celebrate this anniversity and the birthdays of Andy and Annabel.


Tuesday, October 7, 2003

Mabel Wisse Smit (Cont'd)

Today, Ottolien Lels, the friend of Mabel Wisse Smit declared that not Mabel but she was the girl-friend of Klaas Bruisma (the first Dutch Godfather). She also declared that the statements made by Mabel are correct. It looks like Charlie da Silva, the former body guard of Klaas, has been mixing people up. Ottolien also declared that she was not aware of the extend of the criminal activities of Klaas, because he kept her far from all his businesses. Klaas Bruinsma was a well known sponsor of sailing contests, and Ottolien Lels worked for a company organizing such contests. It was through Ottolien that Mabel came in contact with Klaas. Ottolien affirmed that Mabel did stay some nights at his yacht, but never alone with him.

(follow-up)

Six years old

Today, it is Andy's sixth birthday. It seems he finally going to understand what the concept of a birthday means. When you ask him how old he is, he counts to six. This morning, he got two toy instruments: a wooden guitar and a wooden xylophone. The wooden guitar is really crap. I failed to tune it. The wooden xylophone is okay. The bars are painted in rainbow colors and the tune seems okay. Andy too favored the xylophone, although last year December he was crazy about a plastic toy guitar that he got. It is always a guess which presents a child is going to like and which not.

Guitar is okay

In the evening, I found out that there are some screws on the nobs. After I might them a little thighter, the nobs would no longer go back by themselves and tuning became possible. I still had problems tuning it, but that might have been caused by the fact that I did not know how to tune a guitar.


Wednesday, October 8, 2003

Cargobike

This morning, I was taken over by someone riding a Cargobike, carrying his baby (daughter, I guessed) in a maxi-cosy.

Chromosome 8 (Cont'd)

The report "Danger On Chromosome 15 -- Unstable Region Yields Genes For Prader-Willi/Angelman Syndromes And Spastic Paraplegia" explains that in some cases it does matter from how you receive the defect. Prader-Willi and Angalman Syndromes are caused by the same genetical defect, but depending on whether you received it from your mother or your father you get one or the other syndrome.

To make things more complicated, it was not said that the mothers carry a genetical defect but that they suspect the mothers carry some sort of contributing factor on their chromosome.

(follow-up)


Thursday, October 9, 2003

Finite universe

The article Dodecahedral space topology as an explanation for weak wide-angle temperature correlations in the cosmic microwave background, seems to suggest that the universe is flat but finite.

Here is an interesting animation of this topology (if I am not mistaken).

(Also featured on Slashdot where someone posted a link to another interesting picture.)


Friday, October 10, 2003

Eemhof

We arrived just after five o'clock at the Eemhof. We took a road that according to the signs was closed. Right before the enterance of the Eemhof their was a road block, but I managed to drive past it with little trouble. Checking in did take some time. It was around seven when we started to have dinner (which we already had prepared yesterday). Annabel wanted to go swimming, so I went togetter with her. We immediately tested the wild water course. I have to say that it is nicer than the one at "De Heidebos". It is less wild, so you can just follow it till the end. At one point they had to close it due to some technical problems.

Mabel Wisse Smit (Cont'd)

On the news they reported that Prince Johan Friso and Mabel Wisse Smit have written a letter to the government in which they admit that they purposely did not tell the full truth about the relationship between Mabel and Klaas Bruinsma (the first Dutch Godfather). Mabel did have a close friendship with Klaas for three months, something they did not reveal when talking to the Queen and the prime minster earlier this year. They admitted it was rather naive from them to think that they could keep it hidden. It was also reported that our prime minster, Jan Peter Balkenende, already decided to drop the special marriage law a week ago. Prince Johan Friso will abstain from his royal right with respect to the inheritance of the throne. The investigations about the past of Mabel will continue, because she will still become part of the Royal family when she does marry.


Saturday, October 11, 2003

Family day

Today, we celebrated the birthdays of Annabel (who will be nine next tuesday) and Andy (who became six last Tuesday. And also that we have been married for ten years. All my brothers and sisters with their families came. First we had some cake, and around twelve we went to swim. We stayed till around six. Of course, the wild water course was one of the favourites. At one point I got this relaxing feeling again of just doing it. You just have to keep doing it, until you forget how often you did it, and cannot think of any thing else then jumping into the water and letting yourselve flow with the water. I also noticed that the magic is easily broken when you have to watch over your daughter as she goes with you. Annabel is old enough to go on the water slide, but still a little too young to go all by herself. Half past seven we went to have dinner, which took almost two hours. (Andy was staying home with my mother.)

K-PAX

I jumped in the middle of a movie of a guy in a psychiatric ward that claimed to be an alien from the planet K-PAX. A great movie, especially because it is never made clear whether he was or not.


Sunday, October 12, 2003

Swimming again

We ended up swimming again. Except for the time that I spend with Li-Xia in the hot tubs, I only went on the wild water course. Most of the time together with Annabel. At the end, my knees became rather sore, because they kept on hitting again some of the bumbs in the first part of the course. In the beginning I mostly went with my legs first, but later on, almost always with me head first, and some parts I even prefer to do while laying on my back and my head first.

Beautiful

We watched the movie Beautiful. An interesting movie about someone who finally realizes what is all about. I think many people dream about becoming famous, or at least we seek for recognition in among our peers. And there are so many ways in becoming famous. I cannot deny that even I have dreamed about becoming famous in some way.


Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Gloves

I decided to dig out my cloves when I noticed that the temperature was 4.8 degrees Celsius this morning. I also got my Chicago Bulls cap, but took it of when I was about half way.

Random memory

I just (12:12 PM) got a random memory about playing in the field before our home in De Bilt. That must have be around 1965. One of my oldest random memories, I would say.

Human brain

Researchers Discover Genes That Distinguish Human, Nonhuman Primate Brains. If this is really true, gene therapy might make a chimpanzee as smart as a human person. Then things would become really interesting when this chimpanzee start showing signs of a human type of consciousness, for example by asking the two big questions. It would certainly raise many religious and ethical debates. (Maybe Chimps are human after all).


Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Temperature is dropping

This morning, the cars were frozen and the temperature was about 3 degrees Celsius.


Thursday, October 16, 2003

Dune, 7th book

In the past weeks, I have been thinking, discussing, and writing again with respect to 7th book in the Dune Chronicals that Frank Herbert intended to write, and that his son Brian is going to write together with Kevin Anderson. However, watching the prequels they have produced so far, great doubts have been raised with respect to how closely they will follow the "detailed outline Frank Herbert left in a safety deposit box before his death". Personally, I am afraid they are going to twist this story to make it fit with all the twists that they introduced in the prequels. I am not at all interesting in their ideas, but in the ideas that Frank Herbert had about his final book. I think it is more than reasonable, if they at least some respect for this great writer, if they would publish the outline as an appendix. Some people already have suggested that Omious (from the book about the Butlerian Jihad) is the force in the Scattering that is sending the Honoured Matres back into the Old Empire. Chaperhouse: Dune makes it rahter clear that Daniel and Marty (and their kind) are that force. Personally, I also feel that the story that Brain and Kevin wrote about the Butlerian Jihad does not match with the suggestions made in the original series written by Frank Herbert. I am afraid that, although Frank Herbert did leave us many notes, we never really going to get an idea of what his 7th book was going to be like.

H130

My office is room H130 on the ground floor of the KCT building (PostScript map). I am sitting in the corner on the far side of the door with my face exactly to the North pole.


Friday, October 17, 2003

Is it Fake or Foto

Is it Fake or Foto. I scored nine out of ten. It is not so difficult if you look at the details.


Monday, October 20, 2003

More advanced is not always cheaper

China space program shows careful development. It is obvious that the Space Shuttle, although far more advanced than simple one-time rockets, is still far more expensive and unreliable than those old time rockets.

Coal brushes

Many dynamos and electrical motors use coal brushes as an essential part. The problem with coal brushes are that they slowly wear out, and need to be replaced. Luckily, they are also very cheap parts, except when they cannot be replaced easily. This morning Li-Xia brought our car to the garage because yesterday I noticed that the battery light was on, meaning that the battery is no longer being charged enough. At the garage she was told that the dynamo was broken and that it needs to be replaced. They also told that the cost for replacing it with a revised dynamo is €380. A revised dynamo is used an old dynamo with new coal brushes. It must be the case that it is cheaper to construct a car if you do not worry about servicability of parts that wear out in the long run. The next time when I buy a car, I am going to ask the sales person to calculate the cost for all parts that are likely to be replaced in the next five years. cheaper to construct a car, if you do not


Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Essalam mosque

Yesterday, the first stone was laid of the new Essalam mosque in Rotterdam. This mosque is going to the largest in Europe and is financed by a sheikh from the United Arab Emirates and should be complete in 2005. The sheikh accompanied by a group of women wearing burqas was present at this ceremony. In the past months the municipality had pushed for a modern design, but last week the Essalam foundation reported that they were going to stick to the original design as it had been approved in 1999. Especially, the large dome and the 50 meter high minarets are considered to be very Arabian. The mosque has a separate entrance for men and women. Essalam received a poor rating in a municipal research report, because the did too little to promote integration.

At the moment the failed integration of immigrants, especially those from a Muslim background, is a hot topic. At the moment about 5% of the Dutch population is Muslim, of which a large part are (descendants of) immigrants that arrived in the past 50 years.

Rubber bands

Last week I noticed some rubber bands as used by the postmen from TPG post on the street. I decided to pick them up. Since then, I am seeing the rubber bands everywhere, and almost every day I find one. I have collected seven of them so far. They are really nice, strong rubber bands that can be used for all kinds of purposes.

Random memory

At 17:02 I had a random memory about getting some lunch with the people of previous employer after we had heard that the company went bankrupt.


Thursday, October 23, 2003

Sorry

This morning the temperature was 0.2 degrees Celcius when I went outside. It is rahter cold for the time of the year. On my way to the office, I saw a bus whoes destination sign said "Sorry", which then changed to "out-of-service". There were some schoolkids in the bus.


Friday, October 24, 2003

Snow

It is snowing. Just a very little, not as much as the weather forcast said yesterday. But still it is snow. Rather exceptional so early in the year. While I am writing this it starts to snow stronger, and it looks like it is going to stay on the ground. This morning, when I left home it was 2.4 degrees Celsius below zero. The leaves of the trees are also dropping in large quantities. And on top of this, we just received message that the water supply has been blocked due to a leakage somewhere at the university campus.


Sunday, October 26, 2003

Bread

This afternoon, Andy came to ask for a piece of bread. I gave him half a slice and he sat before the television watching a video and picked small crums from the bread. When he had finished he hat eaten a hole in the shape of a heart.


Monday, October 27, 2003

Mark Verber

Mark Verber. follower of Jesus, software engineer, and interested in Urumqi.

Score:5, Insightful

I got my first "5, Insighful" score on Slashdot for the article Rational decision possible, which reads: (Before, I wrote about the disadvantages of a two party system.)


Thursday, October 30, 2003

Playing Go

This morning it was 6.8 degrees Celsius, so I was forced to take of my cap before I was about half way to the office, simply because it was getting too hot. Later, I also took of my gloves.

Yesterday, Annabel and I went to the Go club. When we arrived there were already some people watching the only game that was going on (second Dan against fourth Kyu, if I am not mistaken, with four stones handicap). The crowd grew to six people watching in the five minutes that followed. When we left almost one and half hour later the game will still going on. Annabel played three games against one of the new boys. She lost the first one, but won the other two. Then I played against this boy, and lost, although I could have easily one. I was not really in shape yesterday. I also resign the first game, which I played against someone else, simply because I lost two groups. Annabel played one more game against this person, which she lost as well. Looks like I am one of the worst players now. I don't mind losing games, but I wonder whether other like to play against someone that always loses.


This months interesting links


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