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Diary, September 2000

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    24  25  26  27  28  29  30

Friday, September 1, 2000

"De ramp van Enschede"

Yesterday, Li-Xia bought the book "De ramp van Enschede", about the fire works disaster that took place on May 13 earlier this year. I found a map depicting the border of the disaster area in it current size. (Previous maps.)

(previous and next)

Monday, September 4, 2000

Sad news

This morning we heard that one of our colleagues had died suddenly in his sleep over the weekend. Of course, this made a big impression on all of us. In some sense, I can almost not believe that it really has happened. It is very unreal, especially because he still was such a healthy man from which you would not expect such a thing.

Wednesday, September 6, 2000

Evening vigil

At 8 PM the evening vigil in honour of our colleague who died last Sunday started. It was held in the St. Nicolaas church in Denekamp. A typical village church. During the rather informal service, several people who had known him closely said something in rememberence of him. I guestimate is that there were at least five hundred people present.

At the moment the service came to an end around nine o'clock a thunderstorm started outside, and there was some heavy rain once we came outside. Very typical many of use thought, as it would be a typical thing for him to arrange such a thing.

Afterwards, there was a last possibility to look at him in the nearby mortuarium. I had to wait inline for almost an hour. The rain had gone, but there still was some occasional lighting going on.

I had never felt the urge to speak to a corps while looking at for the last time, but this time I did to my surprise. Not that I did say something, but there were still so many things that I would have like to say as a goodbey.

Thursday, September 7, 2000


Today was the funeral of our dear colleague who died last Sunday. We left early for the St. Nicolaas church in Denekamp, only to find out that we should indeed not have left much later. The church service was rather formal compared to the evening vigil from yesterday.

After the service, we walked to the nearby graveyard, just a few streets further in the middle of the village. There were almost a thousant people present, I hear later. There was some one letting some balloons go up into the air. But the strong wind blew them into some three fencing the graveyard, and they got stuck there. Some last words were said at the grave, after which everybody had the opportunity to walk by the grave. Then everyone walked in one long procession to the restaurant "De gulle waard", where some coffee with buns were served. Both before and after this there was a short prayer.

About four hours after we had left our office we returned, but we were not really able to do any usefull work, as we just kept on talking what happened, and still could not believe that it did happen.

Thursday, September 14, 2000

The composition of my wedding ring

Today, a colleague from the application lab was looking for a golden ring to be analysed. Next week some people from the board of Philips will pay us a visit here in Almelo. One of the typical demonstration applications of X-ray fluorescence is the determination of the composition of golden rings. They even have a special cup with a ring holder for this purpose. I had to apply some soap to get my wedding ring off. It was analyzed by a PW2404 running version 3.0 of the SuperQ software that I have been working on for the past years. Below are the results.

Carat Gold13.464
Gold (Au)56.1 %
Copper (Cu)21.8 %
Silver (Ag)21.0 %
Zinc (Zn)1.1 %
Nickel (Ni)0.0 %
Palladium (Pd)0.0 %

It looks like the gold producers do the same trick as the steel producers. My ring is a 14 carat gold ring. Appearently, the definition of 14 carat gold is everything between 13.5 and 14.4999 parts of the 24 parts of the whole. (24 carat gold equals pure gold.) The difference between 13.464 and 13.5 is probably within the accuracy of the measuring method.


Saturday, September 16, 2000


This morning, our car was covered with small yellow leaves from a nearby three. The fact that there was a thunderstorm last night might have contributed to this. I did not take the effort of removing the leaves, as I saw it as an appropriate decoration for this time of the year.

The leaves of the small chestnut tree have now all fallen off. It is now only a single branch with a bud on top of it.


Monday, September 18, 2000

Dune, 7th book

Last Saturday, I came across a second-hand copy of the Dutch translation of the first prequel to the Dune Chronicals with the title: "Dune: House Atreides". Today, I found the Dune Novels web site, which affirmed many of my ideas about the seventh book of the Chronicals. Frank Herbert did indeed have rather concrete plans to write a seventh book just before his death in 1986.

Looking at the time-line found in the Dune Encyclopedia (which is considered to be non-canonical by Brain Herbert), I got some interesting ideas for the story about Holtzmann, a cyborged genius who after being 7487 years old was destroyed at the end of the Butlerian Jihad.

Tuesday, September 19, 2000

First chestnut of the year 2000

This morning had a so-called "Town meeting" where the whole company comes together in the canteen to hear about the developments. Today, someone from the board of Philips was going to give a presentation. On my way going there, I found the first fresh chestnut of this year.

Attending first Dutch XP meeting

This evening, I went to the first Dutch XP meeting held in the Netherlands. On the way going there, I saw the sun set. At first it was quite annoying because I was driving to the west, with a clear sky, but close to Utrecht (where the meeting was held) the sun shone through thin clouds causing a theaterical effect. There were about twenty people present during the meeting, which was a very XP type kind of meeting. Lots of interaction and joint effort. It is good to meet people who are enthousiastic about the same thing. On the way back, I suddenly saw a reddish half round image of the moon just above the horizon. Slowly, I saw the moon become brighter and brighter while I drove home to the east.

Saturday, September 23, 2000

Fourth Dutch Kabuki day

Today we attended together with Andy our Kabuki Kid the fourth Dutch Kabuki day. This was the third time that we attended it. (Annabel stayed with her grandparents during the day.)

This time it was less confronting then the previous two times. Although this was the third time, it was still very interesting to meet all the other Kabuki children and their parents. This time there were also two adults with Kabuki present. One was 23 years, and the other was 33 years.

( Third Dutch Kabuki Day and Fifth Dutch Kabuki Day)

Wednesday, September 27, 2000

The nature of light

A few weeks ago, I saw a program where there was a man stating that the best way to explain certain physical phenonema, was to assume that we lived in a multi-universum. That our visible world was surrounded by an unknown (large) number of other universes that we cannot see, but with which our universe interacts. In each of these universes things are slightly different. To be honest, I think this is really the greatest possible nonsense. I can imagine that there are phantom particle around us, that we cannot detect but that nevertheless interact with the particles of our universe, but that would still not explain everything.

This made me think about the duality of light being particles (or quanta, to be more precise) and waves at the same time. The famous experiment is with the slid. You let some monochrome light shine throw a piece of paper with two holes, and their appears some inference pattern. If you add more holes, you get different patterns. Okay, that shows that light behaves likes interfering waves. Sofar, nothing really strange happens. But what if you reduce the strength of the light to such an extend that you know there are only a few photons (light quanta) passing the piece of paper with the holes. Then these light particles still form a interference pattern (although it is very weak). Now this is really strange. How can there be an interference pattern if there are no other photons to interfere with? This led the man, that I refered to above, to believe that there must be a parallel universes in which these photons do occur.

Always when there is a paradox in your thinking, it means that one of your assumptions is wrong. Appearently, the photon is interfering with itself. It passes through both holes at the same time. For a particle this seems impossible, but for a wave not. So are photons particles with a wave behaviour, or are they waves with a particle behaviour. Generally, the first position is held, because the second would require the existence of an ether on which the waves occur, and that seems to be a strange idea. It seems the choice is between the existence of an ether, or a multi-universum. Most people will say that Einsteins general relativety theory goes against the idea of an ether. But that it is not true. It simply goes against an ether that can be detected. But if something cannot be detected, then it is not there, some will respond. But that is also not true. Its existence cannot be detected by us, because we too are waves. But if its existence would explains everything, then there is no reason to accept the fact that it does exist.

If light are waves (or better wavelets) with a partical interaction behaviour, then the effect that is seen where there is a lot of light traveling through the two holes in the paper, just a special case of single photons traveling through the holes, instead of the other way around.

This brought me to some thoughts experiments. What if we do not take two holes, but we simply take two monochrome light sources. Do they interfere? What if we use half transparent mirrors instead of holes, which are known to produce the same kind of interference, and we make one path many times longer than the other, such that there is a delay of several miliseconds. Will there still be an interference pattern. I think the answer to both of these questions will be true. Why, because sofar I have never heard anybody say that they do not interfere, which would be a very interresing phenonema, I think. If there would not be any interference, then it would mean that photons only interfere with themselves. Conclusion: photons interfer with both themselves and others. Only with photons of the same wave length going in the same direction? If they interfer just with any photon then it would be a little strange. Would photons still travel in a straight line when surrounded with many other photons? Or is there something completely wrong in my thinking?

Please note that these are just my stupid ideas. I might be completely of the mark.

(follow-up, remark on ether)

Friday, September 29, 2000

Toshiba T1900S

Last month, Susan Even, gave me her old Toshiba T1900S notebook, because she was not using it, and I could make use of it. And I have been using it. Mainly to write things. I like to sit on the couch and type away about all the thoughts that come to my mind. I am very happy with it. I used to have a T1000 Toshiba laptop, which I bought in February 1996. When in the summer we went to visit our family in China, I left it behind with them.

The nature of light (Cont'd)

Of course, photons do not interfere which each other when they are meeting each other. They are completely invisble for each other. Only when they are at the point of interacting with other "particles" it is that they have a preference of a location depending on the interfering wave pattern.

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