Perelman rejects price
Today, it was announced by the Clay Mathematics Institute that Grigori Perelman informed them that he has decided not to
accept the one milion dollar price. Other sources (for example on
Yahoo) mention that Perelman declared: "To put it short, the main
reason is my disagreement with the organized mathematical community. I
don't like their decisions, I consider them unjust." He also stated
that his contribution to solving the Poncairé Conjecture is
no greater than that of Richard Hamilton.
40,000 security cameras
In the past days, we had some trouble with contacting my family-in-law
in Urumqi, but this morning, it worked without problems. Since the
riots last summer, communication (telephone and internet) where blocked
for a long time. But in the past months it worked. Maybe that there
was a temporary block now that the day approaches that the biggest riots
occured a year ago. Today, I read that the Chinese government has installed about 40,000
high-definition surveillance cameras in the city. The news item also states
that people from outside the city must get a temporary residence card.
I wonder whether that also applies to us, when we travel there this summer. I have made some inquiries.
This weekend, I set myself the goal to create some DVD's from our home
movies to bring with us on our trip to China.
So far, I have not been very succesfull. One problem is that some weeks
ago we discovered that the power supply of our Acer AL1913 TFT monitor is broken. I tried to find a replacement
power supply, but they are hard to find, because the use a non-standard
plug, and they cost around sixty Euro. This resulted in switching our
Samsung SyncMaster 223BW between
lixia and johan computers many times.
It did not take mucht time to locate the firewire cable to connect
our Sony Handicam DV video camere. But then I discovered that johan
does not have a firewire connector. Then I had to move some files from
lixia to johan to make room to record the new files.
Moving the files, and verifying that they did not contain any mistakes,
took a long time. Recording the tapes on the hard disk using Pinnacle
Studio 9.4, went rather smooth and took about three hours time. I also
spend some time searching for one of the tapes, but in the end I had
recorded the contents of four tapes (one with only about 10 minutes of
video) on the hard disk of lixia.
This morning, I started creating the first VCD (Video-CD), which took about
two ours, only to discover that I had forgotten that the the DVD-writer
had broken down some years ago. (The reason, I want to create a VCD disk,
is because in 2006 this was still the default video format used in China.
Most VCD player could also read DVD disk, but only if they are encoded
with a rather low and constant bitrate. I do not now whether my family-in-law
already have a real DVD player.) I decided to move the AVI files from
lixia to johan (but did not verify the result), and
try to create the DVD's on that machine. First, I wanted to use Windows
Movie Maker only to discover that it cannot create DVD's. I downloaded
some freeware program, including DVD Flick. I tried to create a Video-CD. For this, I first used
Studio 9 on lixia to create an AVI file of about 50 minutes,
which should fit. But DVD Flick told me that it was too big and did
not fit on the disk. I was surprised about this, because Studio 9
said that it could put 70 minutes on a single VCD disk. I discovered
that the reason for this is that VCD disk use a bitrate of 1150 Kb/s
and the lowest (standard) rate that DVD Flick will encode is 2 Mb/s.
DVD Flick has an option to use lower bitrates, but I was not sure whether
it would generate a 'pure' VCD disk, or just a DVD disk on a 700 Mbyte
CD-ROM disk. I had already spend some time searching for the original
Studio 9 installation DVD's but could not find them. Then I remembered
where they could be, and I indeed found the two paper covers, but in
the one that sould have had the setup, contained a disk with the
handwritten text "Part. Logic". I searched the internet and found
this download of a Studio 9.3 trial version, hoping that it would
work with the license key mentioned on of the paper cover. Meanwhile,
I was using DVD Flick to create a true DVD, only to discover after about
two hours, that I had not marked the burn option, and that nothing was
burned on the disk. I could not find a way to let DVD Flick burn a DVD
from the image that it had created. So, I simply started it again, and
then installed Studio 9, which requires a reboot for completion. Earlier
this evening, I already took the 52x52x24 CD-writer from the
ester and installed it as a
second CD/DVD drive in lixia, in case I cannot use Studio 9
on johan. At the moment, I haven't tested it, because the monitor
is currently attached to johan.
This evening, I went into the city for some last shopping before
we leave to China. It won't be the very
last shopping, because I still have to buy a new camera now that
Annabel is bringing the
Canon A530 with her. I looked at
many shop for an orange shirt. Finally, I bought one at V&D.
On the front is has a blue lion and the number 14, which at this
moment is the number of Demy de Zeeuw. Just before nine o'clock, I went back to
bookshop De Slegte and, at 20:58:06,
I bought the book Plato and the Platypus Walked into a Bar
by Thomas Cathcart and Daniel Klein for € 5.99. After I
finish reading it, I will give it as a present to my nephew. And
I will probably do the same with the shirt.
Picture of Go game
Today, I recieved the picture shown on the right. It gives the
current state of a game of Go that I am
currently playing with a colleague at work. We play about two
or three moves per week. The board is standing in a conference
Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8
Today, Li-Xia and did our last
shopping before our trip to China.
Most of our time we spend at Media Markt because I could not make
up my mind with respect to which camera
I should buy. In the end, I decided for the Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ8. At 15:20:46, I bought this camera for
€ 235,00 from Media Markt.
Creating DVD's (part 2)
I thought that I have everything thought out well, but it turned
out I was wrong. The trial version of Studio 9 needed some kind
of activation to create DVD's, and although it stated that the
activation was free, it somehow did not work. I am afraid it is
simply no longer working. I tried moving the DVD writer from
lixia but in
the process something went wrong, maybe when I activated the
CD-burner I had taken from ester.
In the end lixia would no longer start up anymore. During
the start of Windows the computer would simply reset. After many
hours of trying all kinds of options, I resorted to creating
VCD's. The rest of the day, I spend organizing things for tomorrow
when we leave for China.
Today, Li-Xia and I leave
for China. In Düsseldorf
we discover that we are not the only ones flying to Amsterdam
as the start of a trip to Asia. Almost the whole plane,
a Embraer EMB 145 from AirFrance/KML with the call sign
PH-EZF is filled with people. (Picture.) I guess that if it where not so much cheaper
to start you trip from Düsseldorf the plane would be
less than half full. Just three minutes into the flight,
around 18:46, I saw a rainbow
from the window. When I took a picture, it was already getting faint.
Xinhua International City of Books
Yesterday evening, we arrived in Urumqi. This afternoon,
at 18:37, I walked to Xinhua International City of Books and stayed there
till almost eight o'clock. (In Urunqi they are using
Beijing time, but because Urumqi is about two time
zones to the West, you should substract two ours to
get the solar time.) I walked through the whole shop.
I get the feeling that the shop has become smaller.
It seems that they closed down the top floor and that
more floor space is used by shops that are not selling
books. I came across some book about TRIZ, a method
for innovation developed by some Russian scientists.
When working at the university from 1994 till 1997,
I shared the room with someone who is an expert in TRIZ.
I did not find books about Go. I asked a lady for
directions. She said they only had them in Chinese,
and I told her that that was no problem. I had a look
at them. I think I will buy some, because they are so
cheap. I also asked the lady for some English books.
They only had a few, mainly English literature from
the nineteenth century. Before, I already had found
some German and French books. I haven't found the
mathematics section. They had a lot of computer science
Plato and a Platypus
This morning, I finished reading the
book Plato and a Platypus Walk into a Bar... (Understanding
Philosophy Through Jokes) (ISBN:9780810914933) by Thomas Cathcart
and Daniel Klein. I started reading this book on July 8
when I bought it from bookshop De Slegte
for € 5,99 as a present for my Chinese nephew Xuan-Xuan.
I enjoyed reading the book very much and not in the first place
because of all the jokes it contains, because of how the authors
explain the various philisophical concepts. The book has a lot
of humor (even the glossary is a joy to read), but the humor
always serves the purpose of the book. In this regard, the book
is much better than the book Pooh
and the Philosopher, which I read last year.
This morning, I finally finished reading
Dagboek 1931-1934 (Diary 1931-1934) and Incest
by Anaïs Nin, which are both based on her diaries. Incest
is that later version that covers the second half of Dagboek 1931-1934.
The first half is covered by Henry and June,
which I finished reading on September 9 last year. I started reading
Dagboek 1931-1934 on August 1, 2009, after I bought it from
bookshop De Slegte the day before
for just € 3. I started reading in Incest on October
7, 2009 after I bought it from someone through the internet for
€ 5, I believe.
It took me so long to finish the books because I have been
comparing them in detail and marking all the parts that they have
in common. But I felt that at some point the two versions differ
so much that they almost appear like different books. The image
one gets from Incest is that Anaïs Nin was searching
for peace and fullfilment but did not find it in the many relationships
that she got involved to during this periode, maybe even the
This afternoon I went to the bookshop for a second time, and stayed there from
17:25 till 19:08. At 17:59 I found some Dutch instructions
on the back of the box of the "Red Storm" game. At 18:28 I
found volumes two and three of "The Art of Computer Programming"
by Donald E. Knuth for 109 Yuan each. It looks like that
these editions are exactly the same as the American editions
except for the covers which contain some Chinese texts. It
would not surprise me if these are perfectly legal editions,
as it seems that Knuth is not so much bothered by copyrights.
I expect that the printing cost in China are just much lower.
I also wrote down the titles of two Go books.
Xinhua International City of Books
Today, Li-Xia and I went to the bookshop. For her was it the first time this summer, for
me already the third time. We stayed there from 15:50 till 17:12.
I showed her around the shop. At first I could not find the
"Red Storm" game, but later I did find it at a different place.
I also showed her the "TRIZ" and the "Art of Programming" books.
In they toy section we where being bugged by some servants. They
have various Rubik cubes. I found a book with maps from the
Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg (ISBN:9787503153129)
for 20¥. And I bought the book "GuLi DuiJu Ji"
(ISBN:9787807058533) with the Go games
of Gu Li, a strong Chinese Go player for 66 Yuan.
I bought these books at 17:00:13. When I wanted to pay with a
100¥ bill from 1990, it was refused. Luckily,
I did have two 50¥ bills that were accepted.
Letter to Anaïs Nin
Early this afternoon, I finished reading
Doe wat ge wilt; Brieven aan Anaïs Nin (Letter to
Anaïs Nin) by Henry Miller, in which I started reading
on November 27, 2009, after I bought it the day before from bookshop
De Slegte for € 6,50. This is the Dutch translation
by John Vandenbergh (who also added more notes) from the English
edition made by Gunther Stuhlmann. I bought the book to relate
it with the diaries of Anaïs Nin. From this
it became clear that this book does not contain all the letter
Henry Miller wrote to her. Also the use of "(...)" implies that
Stuhlman left out some parts. One wonder which parts he left
out. Only the first half of the book overlaps with the diaries
I have read so far. I found the letters in the first half rather
psychological and philosophical. The letter in the second half
deal with the travels of Miller through Europe (just before the
start of WWII) and through America (during and after WWII). I found
these much more enjoyable to read than those in the first half of
Today, I finish reading the novel
Horrible Tango bij Jan Wolkers, in which I started reading
on July 6 after I bought it from someone through the internet.
I got the idea to read this book, after I read Jan Wolkers Dagboek
1967 (Jan Wolkers' diary of 1967). The novel is
written in 1967 and based on events that happed during the summer. It
is a rather chaotic book in which fantasy and reality flow into each other.
In this novel, Wolkers links the events of that summer with events
from his early teenage years. The story is not told in chronological
order, and also the chronology of the story does not seem to match
the chronology of the true events the story is based on. It seems as
he has mixed everything a bit, but that does not make it less interesting.
It is possible that some events that occur in the story. but are not
not mentioned in the diary, did happen in reality. However, I think
that some of the events are based on fantasy rather than reality.
The parts of the novel that are portraited as fantasy are often
rather bizar and gruwelsome. I think this is a typical Wolkers
novel. Although I do not adhere to the life style of Wolkers, I
still find the raw manner in which he descrbes his most intimate and
primitive emotions and drives, quite interesting. I do not know why
I am often drawn to artist that live such a different, often very
hedonistic life style. Maybe it is because they seem to live in
such an intense way.
This morning, Li-Xia, Xiao-Zhong
(her brother), and I went to the historical museum here in Urumqi.
There I accidently met with Alan Libert from the University of Newcastle in Australia.
He is a lingust studying, beside other things, Turkish languages.
I always had thought that Uyghur and Turkish were like dialect
of the same language, but he told me that he thought that they
where further apart, and that speakers of both languages could
probably not understand each other. He had visited the Netherlands,
the universities at Groningen and Leiden. He also knew Afrikaans
and thus understood Dutch a little. When we left, he said: "Totzien",
which is Dutch for "see you". It was nice meeting him.
This evening, I finished reading
the book Vita, the biography of Vita Sackville-West
written by Victoria Glendinning. I read the first chapter
on the night of February 10 of this year, when I could not
fall asleep. Then I continued reading the book this holiday
in China. I bought the book on Saturday, October 18, 2008, mainly because I needed
a fourth book for a four for 10 Euro deal and because it
was a biography. While reading the book, I discovered it
was again a book about an artist, a writter, with an
abnormal style. Although she was happily married with
her husband and they clearly loved each other very deeply,
they both had homosexual relationships with others, she
more than her husband. Nevertheless, I found it an interesting
book to read. The book is well written and reads with
The Red Book
This afternoon, Li-Xia and I went
to the Xinhua International
City of Books. We arrive at 18:46 and looked around,
but I was not really in the mood for buying books. Part three
of Knuth's The Art of Computer Programming was sold,
and I did not feel that part two was interesting enough.
I did have a look at the Go books, but again, non of the
books felt interesting enough to buy.
At 19:52:29, I bought two Chinese Tin Tin albums printed
by China Children's Press
& Publication Group about the trip to the moon
(ISBN:9787500794479 and 9787500794486) for 12¥ each,
and also a Megaminx, regular dodecahedron 'Rubik' cube,
made by China Qun Jia
for 38¥. At 19:59:16, I bought a new edition of the
famous Red Book with the statements of Mao
(ISBN:9787010083117) for 30¥ just before we left the
Three Go books
Around 11:54, Li-Xia and I made
a walk in the neighbourhood, I also took some pictures of
the Xinhua International City of Books.
(One of the pictures.)
Around 12:20 we went into the bookshop and looked around a little.
Finally, I decided to buy three Go books,
which cost 114¥ together. One of the books contains the games
of a famous Chinese Go player (ISBN:9787807059905) and costed 66¥.
The other two books contain Go exercises (ISBN:9787811001112 and 9787811001129)
and costed 24¥ each. According to the ticket, I bought the books
at 13:08:32. We left for home at 13:11.
Black Swan Green
Today, I finished reading Dertien
(meaning thirteen), the Dutch translation of Black Swam Green
by David Mitchell, which I started reading last Monday. I bought
the book on Saturday, March 13, 2010 at
14:04:23 as one of three books for five Euro from bookshop De Slegte. The book is about the thirteen
year old Jason. The first part of the book I found a little
hard to get throught, maybe also because some chapters
end very abruptly, like some part of the story was accidently
left out. But about half way, I really started to enjoy this
book. I think at some place Jason is too smart for his age,
while at other places being to naief. Every chapter is almost
a story on its own. I felt that some chapters had a little too
much coincidential events to be realistic. What I did like is
that the book is set in 1982 and contains many references to
events and items of that time, which brought back many sweet
memories from my own youth. Everything together, I think this
quite an enjoyable book to read.
This morning, it was the first time that I went to bookshop De Slegte. First, I looked among the new books
downstairs. Next, I went upstairs to look at the newly arrived
second hand books. When I skimmed throught them, I came across
Meta Maths: The Quest for Omega
by Gregory Chaitin. At 11:44:03, I bought the book for € 9.95.
In the afternoon, I started reading
This months interesting links
| June 2010
| August 2010