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Dairy, February 2006


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Wednesday, February 1, 2006

Geert Wilders puts cartoons on the Internet

Geert Wilders, a Dutch right-wing politician has put the set of Danish caricatures depicting the Prophet Muhammad that have caused outrage in the Muslim world on the web site of "GroepWilders", his political party. These caricatures were originally published in Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper. I just read that France Soir, a French newspaper also printed some.

(follow-up)

Playing Go

Tonight, Annabel and I went to the University to play Go. When we arrived there is was Snowing a little. It had been snowing in the morning as well but not so much around our place. But closer to the University the trees were all white. Annabel and I played against Jan-Willem. She got a 13 stone advance and won with about forty points. I got a 8 stone advance, and I resigned near the end, because I made some stupid moves and lost a group of stones. When we drove home, it was snowing again.


Thursday, February 2, 2006

Chief editor fired

The chief editor of France Soir, Jacques Lefranc, was fired, because of caricature that was printed on the front page of the newspaper yesterday. The newspaper is owned by the Egyptian tycoon Raymond Lakah. The Danish caricatures also can also be viewed from this online article of the Dutch right-wing magazine Elsevier. The German newspaper Der Welt also has printed one of the Danisch caricatures on its front page.

Luckily in the Middle-East there are also people who realize that all the objections that some Muslims raise, are ridiculous. The Jordanian newspaper Al-Shihan published three of the caricatures. Jihad Momani, the editor of the newspaper is asking fellow believers to be reasonable. He also explained that many Muslims are agitating against caricatures without even having seen them.


Friday, February 3, 2006

Uruzgan

Yes, in August, about 1400 Dutch soldiers will go to Uruzgan in Afganistan to help establish piece in the region. Many people in the Netherlands doubt whether we should do this, but yesterday night our parlement with a large majority decided to send the soldiers. Only some small parties were opposing it. The main reason for opposing it, is because there is a great risk that the Dutch soldiers will be fighting instead of building up the country. In the past year the situation in Uruzgan has not been improving and the American are still continueing operations "Enduring Freedom", arresting locals as terrorists. There is a great fear that both operations will mix and that the Dutch soldiers will get into all kinds of complicated situations. Yesterday evening, the debat was shown life on Dutch television. I watched it for almost three hours. When the debat started the outcome was already clear.

Karzai

With respect to the Danisch caricatures, President Karzai of Afghanistan said "Any insult to the Holy Prophet - Peace Be Upon Him - is an insult to more than a billion Muslims." One of the reasons why the Dutch government want to send troops to Afghanistan is to establish democracy in that country. But how is democracy possible if there is no freedom of press. Karzai is known to be a rather moderate muslim, but even does not seem to respect our freedom of press. Why than should we listen to his plea for supporting his country by sending troops to Uruzgan, I wonder? Later I heard that Karzai also had said that Muslims should be forgiving


Saturday, February 4, 2006

Tap

Yesterday night, I heard the tap in the bathroom drip and got out of my bed to close it. When I closed it the knob broke off. It was no longer dripping. The knob on the hot water tap already broke off some months ago. The tap, which I installed on November 4, 2002, already has been dripping for a long time. I made an attempt to repair the rubber in the hot water tap, but that did not work out as intended, after which I simply closed it. It was already last year during the summer that I had thought about thinking to repair this tap and to replace it with one with ceramic disc valves.

This morning, Li-Xia took the knob with her into the city with the idea to buy a new knob so that we could at least use the tap again. When she game home she told me that she had ordered one at the shop where we bough the tap in 2002. In the afternoon, I decided to go the shop and look around. It took me a long time to decided what to do, and I even went back home to take some measurements. Finally, I decided to buy a new tap made by Plieger with ceramic disc valves and flexible tubes. I was quite happy with it, also because I got 20% off because it was on sale, and only had to pay €28.

Around half past in the evening, I decided to install the new tap. After having closed the water, I saw through the 10mm thick tube connecting the hot water tube, with the idea that I was going to connect the flexible tube on it. But when I tried it, just to see if it would fit, I discovered that the flexible tube needed a 12mm tube. I had been afraid that this kind of disaster was going to happen. I ran downstairs, took the car and drove back to she shop, only to discover that it was closed. Some years ago, these shops used to be open from 9 till 9 except on sundays. I drove home and went upstairs again. After some thinking, I discovered that the 10mm tube was fit inside an elbow and that the otherside of the turn was on a 12mm tube. I removed the turn and found out that the flexible tube could be connected to it. I attached the new tap on the otherside and with the help of Li-Xia, I tested it. The connection was dripping a little, but I could stop that with tightening it a little more. I decided to just leave it as it was, and wait until a better time to install the new tap, because I was afraid that we would be in some trouble if I would fail to connect the other flexible tube on the cold water tube.

(follow-up)


Monday, February 6, 2006

The Rule game

I woke up in the middle of the night, because my nose was full and I did not feel so well. In the morning I discovered that my body temperature was about one degree higher than normal, and came to the conlusion that I had caught the flu. But when I was awake I got this idea for the Rule game. It is based on Elementary Cellular Automations. The idea is that the players step by step choose a rule and fill an empty triangle. The triangle points down and has an odd number of cells on the top and each following row has one cell less on both sides. The goal of the game is to fill the bottom cell with your own colour. Players take turns by filling a cell in the top row or a position in the rule with the colour of the opponent. After each move open cells that can be calculated are filled. The game ends when the bottom-cell is filled. A draw is not possible.


Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Ether

Last weekend, I read read some story about how Einstein was influenced by Lorentz. It was Lorentz who came up with a solution for an ether (Luminiferous aether) that matched some recent observations. It was Einstein who used this solution (the Lorentz transformations, I presume) in his theory of special relativity to show that then ether is not needed. But that does not mean that it could not exist, as I suggested on July 18, 2000. It also means that my intuition about this was not incorrect. Of course, something that cannot be observed in any possible way cannot be part a scientifical theory, because there is no way to falsify it.


Wednesday, February 8, 2006

Nin jiom pei pa koa

This morning, Li-Xia was so kind to bring me a bottle of Nin jiom pei pa koa, which she had just bought. I went to work again today, but I still cough a lot.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Flag burning by highschool kids

This afternoon, a group of about 150 highschool kids (between the age of 14 and 18) held a demonstration against the Danish cartoons in Maastricht. Although they had not requested for a permit to held a demonstration, the police allowed them to continue. On the square "Plein 1992" (named after the European treaty that was made in that year), they burnt a paper flag with the Danish flag drawn on it.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Repairing tap

This morning, I decided to repair the tap. Li-Xia helped me. The greatest problem was removing the old tap, because the nut with which the tap was connected to the washbasin was rusted. We had to take off the whole washbasin from the wall. After that it was a matter of putting everything together. Luckily we did not encounter any problems with leaking fittings.


Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Nonogram solver

In the past evenings, I have been working on a new version of my Nonogram solver that implements some of the ideas that I have expressed before. The resulting C++ program still did not come very far. The picture shown on the right shows what it found, where grey is used for unknown cells. You can compare this with the original picture. Luckily, I still have some ideas to improve the program.

(follow-up)


Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Losing with two points

This evening, Annabel and I went to the university to play Go. We left a little later than normal and when we arrived, Rudi, Marcel and Ton were already sitting there. Ton asked me for a game. Later Annabel played a 19x19 game against Jan-Willem, who at the same time was playing against Taco. Although she was given an advantage of 13 points, they decided not to count with how many she had lost. Ton and I played an intense game. He was given a six stone handicap. I felt that I made some big mistakes, but when we counted there difference was only two points. The last ten minutes all the others had been watching us play our last moves.


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Nonogram solver

Today, after making some small improvements to the Nonogram solver (the C++ program), it did find a lot more, as can be seen in the image on the right. But there is still a long way to go to solve it, I am afraid.

(follow-up)


Friday, February 17, 2006

Coalition politics

In our multi-party system, parties have to form coalitions with other parties if they want to form the government. Next year there will be elections, but now already the decisions that some parties are made by possible coalitions that could be formed after those elections. Those parties do not want to agitate possible coalitions candidates.

At the moment the European Commission wants to enforce countries to accept certain laws with respect to what is a criminal offence and what is not. It seems that now the European Constitution was rejected, the European Commission is trying the achieve the same effect with small changes in the law, hoping that these will be passed by the national governments, because there is not sufficient opposition from the people. And because most politicians are only interested in their popularity among their voters, they tend not to strongly oppose proposals if nobody seems to worry about it.

The current proposal would seriously damage our nation sovereinity with respect to justice. The labour party does not want to support a motion against it, because that the minister of Justice, Donner has said that he would quit his job if the motion was accepted. The labour party want to form a coalition with the Christian Democrats, the party to which Donner belongst to. Strangly, the two other parties besides the Christian Democrats that form the government also want to support the motion. Now it seems that only the two parties that might form a coalition for the next government are not supporting the the motion.


Sunday, February 19, 2006

Going to China

This afternoon, we booked our tickets (through the internet) for going to China this summer. On Monday July 24, we will fly with flight KL897 from KLM from Amsterdam, Schiphol at 17:00 to Beijing, Capital Airport arriving at 8:35 the next morning. On Tuesday we will fly to Urumqi and stay with our family for almost three weeks. Around August 12 we will fly back to Beijing, and stay there for some days. On Thursday August 17, we will take flight KL898 from Beijing at 10:35 and arrive in Amsterdam on 14:35.

Now we have to arrange many other things. I already have made an appointment on March 3 for getting a new passport. All four of us have to be present at the application because Annabel and Andy will be added to my passport and Li-Xia has to sign for this. We also need to have new passphotos. I already send an email to the KLM service desk to inform them about Andy's condition and to ask them what we should do with his food. He is still on tube feeding and needs about 1 kilogram per day. I have asked them if we can take it with our lugage. I also have send an email to Nutricia, to ask them about the possibilities to send it by parcel mail to China. We probably will do the visa application through a local travel agency. I already downloaded the application forms and we did some work on filling them in.


Monday, February 20, 2006

Nutricia: liquid formula

This morning, I got an answer from Nutricia with respect to the liquid formula that Andy is using. It is possible to transport it by plane as long as it is stored in a room with a temperature higher than 5 degree Celsius. A medical statement is required. Such a statement would allow us to care more. But we also will need to check with the Chinese customs whether we are allowed to import it. Web sites that deal with customs are: Both web sites are in Chinese and seems to be geared towards companies. Maybe we should contact a Dutch company specialized in exporting, such as Katte. I decided to send a question to Sorgente, a Dutch organisation for people using liquid diets.

In the afternoon, I received a reply from KLM. They told me to contact KLM CARES. I send them an email with the same questions as before. I also found a Dutch web forum discussing experiences of people bringing liquid formula to China. So it seems that it is possible.

In the evening, Li-Xia found the telephone numbers of the different customs offices in China. She also studied the web site of Nutricia in China.


Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Trip preperations

This morning, Li-Xia phoned to the customs office in Beijing. They told her that it was no problem to bring the required amouth of liquid food into China. I think we should still bring an official statement from our GP stating that Andy needs this as food, because it has been prescribed to him by a doctor.

I received an email from Sorgente in reply to my question from yesterday. They did not have any additional information, but did send me a TIFF image contaning some remarks of things we should think about.

I also received a (standard) reply from KLM CARES. They pointed me at a page with additional information. It looks like we and our GP have to fill in some forms. Furthermore, they ask me to contact them by phone.


Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Busy

When Annabel and I arrived, Rudi was explaining some things to two new students that had come. They already knew some of the rules of Go, but were a little confused about how the games end. Then they wanted to watch a game. Ton had arrived and challenged me. Annabel played against Rudi and the two new students follow the game. Annabel lost with about 50 points when she got 13 stones ahead. Then the two students played against each other. I did not do very well against Ton and lost with 23 point with a six stone advance. Ton managed to put pressure on a weak group of mine. For a long time the group was even dead, a thing that Ton did not realize. Luckily, I was able to save it, but it allowed Ton to win many points.


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Dinner in the city

This evening, Li-Xia, Annabel, and I went into the city. We first looked around a little bit and then Annabel and I had our passphotos taken for the new passport that I need. Tomorrow, Li-Xia will take Andy there as well. Next we went to Camel for dinner. When Annabel took a bite, one of her teeth became loose, which hurted. About five minutes later, she asked me to pull it out. Then we looked around the city a little more. It was around nine that we arrived at home.

SparcStation 5

At home, I tried to connect my SparcStation 5 to the Internet. I did not get very far. Even DHCP did not work. Let alone that I succeeded in pinging the router. I tried to understand some pages about Solaris Client DHCP and read the Unix Manual Page for in.dhcpd.


Monday, February 27, 2006

Nonogram solver

In the past weekend, I spend some time working on the Nonogram solver again. I did a lot of rewriting, and implemented a new searching strategy. (Latest source.) But after a night of computing, it did not make much progress; about 9 extra points were solved.

(follow-up)


Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Very wet snow

This morning, we noticed that it was wet outside but we did not see any rain. When I went outside, I saw white things fall from the sky. On the grass I noticed a patch of snow. Last Sunday, there was some very thin snow falling from the sky, and yesterday there I saw some snow flakes falling from the sky. All in all not very impressive.

Nonogram solver

Yesterday evening, I made some small modifications to the Nonogram solver, and let it run the whole night. It found an additional 44 points. All of them being empty spaces. No new full spaces have been found. (Latest source.) This morning, I made another very small modification and started it up. If progress continues at the current rate, one would expect it to be solved in about half a year. But for the same reason, it could go much faster, or prove to be unsolvable. Of course, it is possible that there are millions of solutions.

At the end of the day, the solver suddenly makes some big progress, resulting in the picture on the left. I wonder how this will progress in the coming days. Some of the thickest areas are resolved now.

(follow-up)

DB9 Volante

At the end of the afternoon, a colleague of mine noticed a sports car in the parkinglot. It turned out to be a Austin Marin DB9 Volante, which costs about 227,000 € if you buy it new here in the Netherlands. According to the license plate, the car was sold about four days ago.


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