Yesterday evening, Annabel told me that a
Sunday school teacher had told her that she has head louse. Some weeks ago she
already had mentioned that a little insect had fallen out of her hair, but at
that time I could not find anything. But when I checked her, I did see some
walking through her hair. Because I did not know how to threat them, I did not
do anything. Of course, I did check the internet and was quickly educated. I
learned some interesting facts. Many people that are infested with them, do not
notice it at all. And although lice cannot jump, they can swim, and you can thus
catch them from the swimming pool. The most effective, cleanest, and easiest way
to treat them is to cut off the hair. The second best way to treat them is
combing. Use of pesticides is not necessary and not without dangers. I did learn
that the use of vinegar can help with removing nits, and that the use of tea
tree oil can also help against getting them. Avoiding shampoo and using a hair
conditioner seems also to be a good idea. Lice feel at home in clean, dry hair.
Cleaning all the clothes and whole the house is not needed, as long as you keep
on combing the hair for at least two weeks. This morning, I spend some time
removing lice, but I was not able to finish the work. We will have to do more
later today. I also gave her a note for her teacher. I guess they will have to
organize some lice checking at school, as the are used to do after each holiday.
It looks like the Prednison is not really working with Andy. This morning, his platelets count
dropped to 5. I am afraid his pediatrician will want him to stay
in the hospital. I only talked with his secretary. She will inform him. I did
inform his teacher, and they said they would try to keep him quiet. He has been
in a very good mood in the past days. I am getting the impression that the
Prednison also has a positive influence on his mental abilities. Two years ago,
we also saw some striking improvements during the
time he used it.
updated graph, and
Around two o'clock Li-Xia
was phoned by our pediatrician. He advised us to continue with the high dosage
of Prednison for another two weeks and have him tested again next Thursday.
Apparently, he does not see a reason for taking another approach. We are not
sure whether we should send Andy to school tomorrow. Li-Xia did go to catch him,
instead of letting him ride the taxi as he usually does. Maybe we have to bring
him by car again tomorrow.
Yesterday evening, I spend some hours debugging Annabel
with a comb. I
was rather surprised by the large number of louse we found. Her hair is rather
long and thick. But we should have discovered this before and dealt with it in a
proper manner. Everybody can become infested with louse, and it is rather common
among primary school kids. I think most parents just ignore the problem, being
ashamed of it, until someone from outside points out the problem. And even then,
many just go in rejection mode, and opt for the quick pesticide solutions
advertised by shops, only to find out a few weeks later that the problem has
returned, not realizing that the real problem has not been addressed.
I also decided to check myself with a comb, and within minutes there were
three head louse laying on the floor. I did not find any more. Later,
Li-Xia did some more
combing, but without results. I checked her. She did not have any. Probably
because she has very thick hair, which is simply too thick for them.
This morning, I combed Annabel again, and we discovered another three louse.
I finally feel I have found a good way for combing her hair in such a way that I
do not skip any part and do comb each hair all the way from the skin. I did a
visual check on Andy, and could not find any nits. Just when I started to write
this (during my lunch break), I found a louse laying on my desk near my
keyboard. Seems that the problem is not over yet. It might have fallen out of my
clothes though, or I picked it up during the night or while combing Annabel this
According to the report
Unmasking Kabuki syndrome by J.M. Milunsky and X.L. Huang a cause for the
Kabuki Syndrome has been found. In
summary, they have demonstrated an approximately 3.5 Mb duplication of
chromosome 8p22-8p23.1 in multiple cases of KS from different races, suggesting
a possible common etiologic basis for Kabuki Syndrome. In other words, they
found duplication of genetic material on chromosome 8 in the p22-23.1 region.
Besides this, they also found an indication that this might be caused by an
inversion of genetic material in region 8p23.1 as found with the mothers.
The article makes a reference to the paper
Inversion duplication of the short arm of chromosome 8: clinical data on seven
patients and review of the literature, about another syndrome caused by a
similar duplication in the 8p21-p22 region. One of the authors of this article
is Prof. C.T. Schrander-Stumpel, the woman who diagnosed
Andy with Kabuki. What a coincidence.
When I biked home yesterday, I came into an area of "Stadsveld" where
the street lights were not working. Luckily the light of my bike was
working. It was rather dark and a little spooky.
This morning Andy had his blood checked
When I phoned for the results, I was connected through with his pediatrician.
He told me that he is still on 5. He already consulted a colleague, who
specializes in hematology, about it. It looks we just have to continue
the medication. I did find a site about
ITP with children and also about
methods. One page also made mentioning of "Helicobacter pylori" infection.
Our pediatrician does not think Andy has a bacterial infection. We just will
have to wait, I guess.
Andy is doing fine. I am getting the feeling that the Prednison has a
positive effect on his low muscle tone and his mental ability. We feel that his
speech has improved and that he walks much more stable and less clumsy.
At 17:01, Willem-Alexander and Maxima got a healthy daughter. That means
that a Dutch princes was born. Around half past nine Willem-Alexander
presented her to the press and to us.
Andy is recovering!!
This morning, the platelet count of Andy
had gone up to 89. It seems he finally starts to response to the Prednison. That
is good news. He has been complaining the whole morning that he wanted to go to
school. Now he can go. Li-Xia will send him as
soon as possible. Now we still have to see if the counts remain normal after we
reduce the Prednison.
During the lunch break, some boy pushed Annabel
against a wall, because she pushed him, with the result that both her upper
front teeth broke-off. I am just coming back from the dentist, who managed to
"glue" the broken parts in place. We have scheduled another appointment later
this afternoon, to do some additional repair work and polishing. We will have to
talk with the parents of the boy.
Yesterday evening, I had to go back to the office to catch up with the lost
hours due to having to go to the dentist with Annabel. And when I came home, I had to write a letter to the parents
of the boy to held them liable for the damage. This morning it was 4.5 degrees
Celsius below zero and the full moon was just standing above the horizon of
the clear sky. Near the second traffic light that find on my way, a girl on
a bike was hit by a car, when she thought she could slip through the red
light just before an approaching car. She got up immediately, but was holding
her hand to her head. Some drivers got out of the car and went to her, so I
did not feel the need to stop as well. Accidents happen in the split of a
The name of the new princes is
Catharina-Amalia Beatrix Carmen Victoria. The first part of her name
was already discovered yesterday when some people were smart enough to
search for domains registered by the same IP address as the home page
of the royal family. Nowadays, people no longer respect the privacy of
royalty, and take a way the joy of parents to reveal the name of their
child at the moment they choose.
Her calling name will be Amalia. The name Beatrix she got from the current
Queen of the Netherlands, her paternal grandmother, while Carmen comes from
her maternal grandmother.
A computer mouse has buttons that can be pushed. The computer just sees an
alternating sequence of buttons being pushed down and released again. There
are all kind of manners in which buttons can be pushed. Under Windows three
such ways are recognized:
The people designing the Windows Application Programming
Interface (API), the interface through which all programs talk with the core of
Windows, did not think about this subject in too much detail. They decided to
always generate an event for a single click even if that single click was later
to be discovered to be part of a double click. That means that everywhere where
an application can process a single and double click in the same area, it has to
implement a timer to see if a single click event is not followed by a double
click event. Then why did they not make it such that a single event is only
generated, if it is not part of a double click? They did this, because otherwise
it would introduce a short delay also in those cases where only single clicks
can occur. Their idea of implementing the interface (and this is often the case)
was that they would provide the elementary events to allow applications to deal
with single and double clicks, and nothing more. They should have given it a
little bit more thought or at least given the task to write some applications
first. (This is what is bad about defining interfaces bottom-up, instead of
top-down. eXtreme Programming promotes a top-down
interface development.) They should have defined three kinds of click events:
- Single click: A button is released quickly after it has been pushed.
- Double click: Two single clicks shortly after each other.
- Drag: A button is pushed down for a longer time, during which the mouse is
- Double click event: Produced when the mouse is double clicked.
- Single click event: Produced when the mouse is single clicked (and not
double clicked). This events comes with a certain delay.
- Click event: Produced as soon as a single click has occurred, but when it
is not sure yet if is will remain just a isolated single click, or that it
will be followed by another click making it into a double click. If the
application processes this event, no Double click event or Single click event
will follow, and if the mouse is clicked shortly there after it will produce
only a Click event.
(Move event during single click)
Showing your ID
According to a law recently accepted in the Netherlands, from the start of
2005, everyone older than 14 years will have to show a valid ID upon request
from a police officer (or other qualified officer), facing a fine of a maximum
of € 2250 when failing to do so. However, the law also states that
not carrying a valid ID is not an offence in itself. I really do not understand
the legal idea behind it and what it means in practice. Until now the law
stated that you had to show a valid ID when you were suspected of a crime.
Now, if you are witness of an accident or a crime, you can be fined if you
do not have an ID with you. I wonder what will happen if you are being robbed
from your ID and to go to the police.
We left around noon, and we first went to a Chinese shop
because Li-Xia wanted to change
some kind of mushroom that she had bought for a different
kind. All of us went, but when we realized how strong it
was raining and storming, we decided to go home again, to
the disappointment of our kids.
Around two o'clock, I went to the city on my bike to buy
some things. It was still raining, and the wind was blowing
in the direction of the city center, which made me realize
I would have to bike against it when going home. I parked
my bike in the free bike parking lot, and went to the open
market. I first bought some tomato, and next I went to buy
some raisin bun and some other for Li-Xia. Then I walked
to the De Slegte bookshop
and looked around the books. Finally, I decided to buy
the Pocket Dictionary Latin by Langenscheidt, which I already
had seen some weeks ago. When I paged through it, I was
surpriced by how many Latin words looked familiar. One would
almost think that English is a dialect of Latin.
And then it was time to go home, and it was still raining,
meaning that I had to bike against the rain, but at least
I knew that at home I could warm myself and put of any wet
clothes. The best thing is just to except the reality, and
spend your time thinking about something useful. And that
is what I did, and before I knew I was half way.
Later, when I wanted to know what kind of mushroom it was
that Li-Xia had bought, she looked up the name in a
Chinese-English dictionary, which happened to give the
Latin name: Auricularia auricula-judea. In the
dictionary I found that auricula means ear. Later I
discovered that it English name is Jew's Ear. It is
a kind of fungus often found on elder trees. It gets its
name indirectly from the elder tree, for it was on an elder
tree that Judas is reported to have hanged himself after
betraying Jesus. I also found some
nutrition data, saying that it is a very good source of
Pantothenic Acid and Copper.
It was 2.8 degrees Celsius when I left home. A clear sky with the
moon high up in the sky accompanied by a bright planet (Jupiter, I guess).
Later clouds came, and it did snow a few minutes.
This afternoon, I went to the mini-seminair in honour of the professional
retirement of Henk Alblas
at the University of Twente. He is both my former teacher, my master thesis
supervisor, and my boss for three years.
Before and afterwards, I met with many of my former colleagues, and it
brought back many memories from events long ago. One of them when recognizing
me said, "O yes, our LISP guy". And continued telling how some of the
other students thought that they could program because they has written some
lines in BASIC, but I was the only one, he explained, who really could program,
because I knew LISP. With someone else, I
discussed the fact that I never did a PhD, and he argued that you are never too
old to do it.
I explained that my problem is that I too quickly loose interest in something,
to be working on some "obscure" subject for more than four years, especially,
if I am not convinced that it contributes anything to the real world. And what
benefit would it bring me now. I just view the academic world as just another
type of company, where most of the work consists of teaching and organizing
education, and where people can only do some research in their spare time. There
are not many scientists (at least at universities) that are completely free
to do research on those things that capture their interests at the moment.
Most research is done by PhD students and Post Docs, and after those approximately
6 years, most people in academics stop doing research, except in the form of
I also discussed with several people, how hard-core software engineering is
disappearing from the Western World, and moving to certain Third-World
countries, because labor is so much cheaper, and people in the West no
longer see technical work as a way to get up higher in society. Most of
the Computer Science students nowadays, are only thinking about becoming
a manager or at least a consultant, and are not interested to tackle any
complicated, technical subject. This also seems to be related to the fact
that we do not see any real progress with respect to the technical aspects
of oftware engineering. Most "serious" code is still written in a very
low level language, because no matter how you view it, C(++) is still
basically just a thin layer above machine language. Software generators
still haven't arrived, and as long as relatively cheap programmers are
available, they will never become a success. I also argued that one of
the weak points of software generators is that most people find it much
harder to write down a formal specification than to explain, step-by-step,
how a computer has to perform the task. For most people trail-and-error is
much easier than thinking it through.
To the hospital
Around 12 o'clock we have an appointment for Andy
with our pediatrician. This morning, his temperature was 40.3 degrees Celsius.
Yesterday morning it was 39.4. His platelets counts dropped again to 66 after we
reduced the Prednison to half the doses. I had anticipated this drop. Two years
ago, his recovery was also rather slow. This morning he had some blood mixed
with some other liquid coming from his ear. I expect that he will get some
Our pediatrician did
exam Andy. He did not have a lung infection. He too observed some small
bleedings in the face of Andy, indicating that the platelets are low (lower than
30, I guess). Yesterdays blood test shows that Andy does have a viral infection.
Then he sent us to a ENT doctor, less than 50 meters away. She concluded that
Andy did have an acute ear infection. Although his ear was perforated this
morning, she could not detect a hole anymore. Li-Xia
took Andy for some more blood tests.
When the results from the blood test came, it appeared that his platelet
count had dropped to 34. There was no reason for giving him antibiotics, except
it his fever remained high. We were asked to bring him in on Friday, for some
blood tests again.
This afternoon, I was given the
bottle of Cava with the number label GH
4712481, as my New Year gift. It is the time of Christmas gifts and
Confessions of a Philosopher
Today, Annabel and I went to the city center
by bus, using some free tickets that Li-Xia had got. During the bus ride,
I explained Annabel about area and perimeter. She had not understood the
meaning of the Dutch word for perimeter, but she understood it when I
gave some example with a rectangle. Then I asked her if there is a
relation between the area and the perimeter. She did not give an example,
but with some examples, she understood that there was a relation. Then
I said to her, that I knew of a way to make the perimeter larger, while
making the area smaller. O ya, she said, with a crooked line.
I was thinking about giving the example of the
Exterior Snowflake, but I figured out that it was rather useless,
as she already understood it.
Although they had
predicted rain, it stayed dry most of the time. When we bought some
bread from "t' stoepje" we got a extra large shopping bag for free.
As usual, we also went to the bookshop De Slegte. There I bought at 14:26 the Dutch translation of Confessions
of a Philosopher by Bryan Magee, with the Dutch title Bekentenissen
van een Filosoof. On the cover it has a picture of the painting
Le fils de l'homme by René Magritte. While waiting at the
bus stop, I read
the first pages to Annabel.
A little snow
This morning when I went outside, I was greeted with a little bit of
snow. It was 2.1 degrees Celsius so
the chances for it to stay were rather small.
This morning it was 1.1 degrees Celsius when I went outside. The roads are
quiet as schools are closed and many people are taking a holiday already.
During the morning it started to snow
with small flakes. The snow is not really staying except for on the grass.
I wonder whether the temperature will drop enough. Warmer air is slowly moving
in from the west, so the snow is bound to disappear soon anyway. Yesterday,
Sweden was hit by some serious snow storms even killing a young couple who's car
came in the water.
In the past week, I have spend some time publishing fragments from diaries which I wrote in
1980. It is interesting to read those stories. They are from the time that I was
having my first girlfriend. Although we never "officially" dated each other and
never kissed each other, it was a very emotional and disturbing time. We saw
each other about twice per week, but we still wrote each other letters, and for
some time even used a pair of notes books that we would swap on each encounter.
Although there have been some intimate moments, the relation was rather
Platonic, with neither of us wanting to admit how much we were in love for
various reasons. This period is definitely the most productive with respect to
the number of pages written, about 900 pages, I guess. These are not exclusively
about this particular relationship.
Yesterday and today, I spend some time on 'improving' the
nonogram solver that I wrote before. I finally implemented
the ideas with respect to how a human person could solve
the puzzle using simple reasoning. The program now first tries to apply some simple logic to improve
the solution, before it resolves to trying all combinations.
This afternoon some Chinese friends visited us, and they
brought some small presents. After Andy
had opened everything, he started to clean. He brought the
papers to the waste bin (Li-Xia helped him putting it on
the old paper stack) and he put the plastic bags besides
the cough where we keep all our normal bags. I did not pay
much attention to this. Then he continued doing his normal
things, which is watching video's at double speed. He can
now change them by himself, but still often asks us to help
him. Then when they wanted to leave he got up, and ran to
the cough to collect the plastic bags and he returned them
to them. I was totally amazed by this. First of all because
almost all children of his age will forget about these kind
of things. And secondly because he had put these bags on
purpose with the other bags, while I just had thought that
he had put them there not knowing where to put them else.
He really has a good memory and is able to remember things
very well. And that for someone with a performal intelligence
of around 50.
This morning, I brought Andy to the
hospital for another blood check. I walked along the
pediatric department to get the paper for checking the
platelets, and did meet our pediatrician by accident.
He made some remark that Andy was having some spots again.
I denied this. He has some fragels on his face and also
some red bumps due to a slight skin irritation that he
often has, but no bleedings under his skin.
This afternoon, I made a nice graph
of his progress while waiting for the results. When I phoned
around one o'clock, I was being told that the count was 16.
Which is very low compared to the progress he made so far.
After some time, I started to doubt whether this is correct,
because he also does not have any serious blue spots on his
legs. He was bleeding quite strong this morning when they
pierced his finger, but that happens often. But if it is
correct, we are in serious trouble, I am afraid.
(15:35) Maybe the problem is that we stopped giving him
500 mg vitamine C since last week. We started giving him
this on December 4. It was
the next Monday that the counts had suddenly improved.
We started with it again.
(Later) Our pediatrician told us to continue the current
medication for another week. If next week it still is low,
a bone marrow punction will be done (probably in Amsterdam).
This afternoon, Andy had some bleeding of his lip, so the
count is really low. Strangly, he also seemed more active,
and even surprised us when he used the expression "I myself".
This months interesting links
November 2003 |