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Diary, September 2002

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Monday, September 2, 2002


The shop De Bijenkort that I visited last Saturday has organized a photo contest, where people are allowed to take photographs inside the shop. The pictures will be judged by Erwin Olaf, which seems to be same photographer whoes pictures are on display in the shop itself. Besides some very artistic photographs, he has made some rather perverted pictures, I must say.


Wednesday, September 4, 2002


Today, we received a free copy of the Bijmagazine, the advertizement magazine of the shop De Bijenkort. In it a short article about the new establishment in Enschede, which I visited Enschede. The article affirms my impression that pictures on display were made by Erwin Olaf. In the article he is described as one of most succesful photographers of the Netherlands, and that he is known for his controversional photographs such as the Fashion Victims (almost pornographic, I would say). Furthermore, they write that they asked him for the cover picture, because they have to keep up their reputation as a trendsetting shop with classical grandeur.



According to two American institutions, two thirds of the Dutch think we should join with an American attack agains Iraq, if it is proven that they have weapons of mass destruction and if the United Nations give their approval. If those two restrictions are not met, only 40% thinks we should join.

The poll also revealed some other striking facts. 59 percent of the Dutch believe that the terrorist attacks on September 11 are partly caused by Americas foreign politics and 27 percent believe that the U.S. are using these attacks to enforce its will upon the rest of the world. (Clearly an expression of some Anti-American feelings, I would say.)

Will this war against Iraq trigger the Third World War? Could it be that Iraq will send some missiles to Israel, and that Israel will reply with nuclear arms. That in turn would be a reason for many Arab countries to use military force against Israel, which will result in an uncontrollable escalation.

Saturday, September 7, 2002

Did Daniel Ekechukwu really die?

Earlier this week, I read some article stating that it was beyond doubt that Daniel Ekechukwu had died and was raised from the death. This prompted me to do some research on the Internet. I found the following critical pages: It seems that all the sites telling the story of the "resurrection" are related to one and the same source of the story. But even these accounts do not agree with each other on the facts. I found another source, namely, the fragment of the article from the Post Express paper that is published on several pages. Below the text on this fragments is given. (I have tried my best to record the text as accurate as possible. If I did make a mistake, please let me know.)

Cyprian Ebele,
The Post Express, Onitsha
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
IT was all songs of praises to
God for his mercy to
mankind at Grace of God
Church, "33," near Onisha,
Anamb** State, when a man
    On arrival at the church,
the corpse was kept at the
empty children department
to avoid scaring away the
congregation who may cause
stampede on seeing the
    The bereaved family was
said to have concluded
arragement to at tell the
visiting evangelist
immediately after the
sermon but suddenly they
heard noise from the coffin
and without hesitation
opened it.
    The stifled hands and legs
were seen moving and
breathing was noticed. This
prompted the family to
retreat in fear but came back
when his eyes opened,
beckoning on the family

See BONNKE Page 2

In this account Daniel is still laying in the coffin when he first opens his eyes and that he seems to recognize his family. This is quite different from what the other stories tell. There he is laying on a table being guarded by church officials. It also states that even after he was resurrected, he did not immediately recognize his own family members. Also he seems to start moving by himself, while in the other stories this only happened after he has been massaged.

My final conclusion is that it is not beyond reasonable doubt that Daniel Ekechukwu died and rose from the death, and that an alternative explaination, cannot be excluded.

New comparison chart)

Sunday, September 8, 2002

Chestnut trees

Just for dinner, I decided to plant the chestnut trees in the garden. The best looking one, we put in the garden of Annabel, which is a small corner in the back garden that she has claimed to be her garden. The other two, we put in the front garden, somewhere in the middle, not close to the border as the two years ago. One of them already had lost all it leaves when I had forgotten to water them for more than a week sometime during the summer. The others still did have some leaves.


Monday, September 9, 2002

The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

That is the title of a book by Heinlein, which I had to think about, when I thought about an article in the magazine Intermediair stating that consciousness is really an illusion. In an attempt to find some page about this, I came across the web page of Mark Rosenfelder and read something about his language construction kit.


Around a quarter past five in the afternoon, it started raining. At one point I exclaimed: "Its not raining anymore, it is pooring". Then one of my roommates replied (an old Dutch saying): "What comes down now, cannot come down later". But then I remarked that the chance that it will be raining in ten minutes from now is larger, than if it would not have been raining now. But is it really? How could you establish such a fact?

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

PRIMES is in P

Yesterday evening, I read through the famous article PRIMES is in P, which deals about the algorithm that Neeraj Kayal and Nitin Saxena found. I can follow the article, but I do not understand it. I am afraid I might never be able to fully understand it. This morning, I read that according to Bob Silverman it is a very nice theoretical result, but it is not likely to result in a very fast algorithm.


Today, Li-Xia went swimming for the first time for many years. She felt very happy about it. She will go every week now, around the same time, when there is a special swimming time for older people. Annabel started taking swimming lessons at the start of the year. I wonder who will have her swimming diploma's first.

Wesnesday, September 11, 2002

Monday, September 16, 2002

Old computer tapes

Some weeks ago, I made made some WAV files of old computer tapes with the idea to recover the data that is on it. This proved to be a harder problem than I had thought. The last weeks I have been thinking about a program that could analyze the signal by itself. The general idea to categorize each sequence of eight consecutive samples into a number of independent groups, and to furthermore establish the order in which sequences from these groups occur. With this, repeating patterns can be found, I think.

The categorisation is the first problem to tackle. I think you could start with normalizing each sequence, based on the minimum and maximum levels that occur, but never more than a factor 4. Then these should be compared with (for example) 65536 signals where each group of two consecutive samples have the same value picked from 16 different levels.

Then in an iterative, these groups should be joined into larger groups, where the rule should be followed that groups two groups can be joined if the balanced variation of the new group is not larger than the balanced variation of the original two groups.

(follow-up, other hacks)

Thursday, September 19, 2002


When I looked outside during lunch, I noticed a man sitting on the side of the road. He was busy picking up things from the ground besides the pavement and putting them in a kind of basket. My first impression was that he had dropped a glass and was now picking up all the pieces, but when I watched him longer, I noticed that he was picking leaves. A little further there was a large garbage can on wheels. At one point he got up and emptied the basket in the garbage can and returned to his work of picking leaves. He worked very quietly sometimes taking time to look around and watch the students passing by. It became clear to me that he was (happily?) living in world without computers and all those other things that surround my life.

Had he been a briliant scientist once, now become mad because his genius was not recognized by his peers? Will I one day also sit along the street and pick leaves?

Is consciousness an illusion?

Today, my letter to the editor in response to an article claiming that consciousness is just an illusion was placed in Intermediair. Translated, the letter says:

(follow-up. Publications.)

Monday, September 23, 2002

Curly kail

When I came home this evening, I was surprised with a pan full of hotchpotch made from fresh curly kail. I only had to do the smashing. They sold the curly kail and the pork cubes for two for the price of one. That means we will be eating it more often this week.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Chemical weapons

It seems that the United States are also developing new chemical weapons, although the signed the ban on chemical and biological weapons. Of course, the weapons being developed are very smart and not intended to kill people, but that does not make them less chemical.

Friday, September 27, 2002

Prisoners dillema

This afternoon, at the end of our company meeting we played a "prisoners dillema" game. We were split up into three groups where each group represented a department of a hypothetical company. The game consisted of six rounds, where in each round we could hand in an A card or a B card. If every group handed in a B card, each of us would get one point. In case mixed cards were handed in, the groups handing in a B card would lose points which were given to those handing in an A card. In case all handed in an A card, all would lose one point. In the latter rounds, the point values were multiplied with some factors. We were told that the group with the largest amouth of points would win.

We handed in a B card in the first round, and lost one point, because there was one group who handed in an A card. Immediately, it became clear to me that if this group would continue its strategy to always hand in an A card, they would win. Although we had realized that playing an A card would always bring more profit if the other groups picked some card at random, we had chosen for a B card, because I remembered that in paired games, the best strategy in the long run is always to seek the common good (playing a B card) except if the other party had decided to make egoistic choice (playing an A card). (This is known as the "tit for tat" strategy, invented by Anatol Rapoport.) Following this reasoning, our group decided to play an A card in the second round. We did get some points, because the one other group (which, by chance consisted of all the managers/owners of the company) had played a B again. (Yes, indeed the group who played an A card, had continued its winning strategy).

Then in the third round, representatives of each group were allowed to decided on a common strategy. (We reasoned that the only way to win this game was to convince the other groups to play a B card, and then in one of the latter rounds, suddenly play an A card.) The result of the meeting of the representatives was that all would play a B card. But the one group that had played only A cards, broke the agreement, and played an A card, making us to loose some points again. Meanwhile, the game leader (the president of the fictive company) was making clear to us, that the company as a whole was not making any progress. Suddenly, I realized that this is actually what is happening a lot in companies.

To make a long story short, in the fourth and fifth round we played a B card, and in the last an A card. The group with our managers, continued to play only B cards, and ended up with the lowest number of points, and the group who had only played A cards, got the heighest score.

But at the conclusion, the game leader told us, that he as the president of the fictive company had been wrong in stimulating each department to earn as much as possible points, and that the department with the lowest number of points (our real managers), was the actual winner, and that the department with the highest number of points was sent home. Although we were in the middle, we were no better than the "egoistic" group, because we had hoped to win the game by convincing them to seek the common good and then fool them, by being "egoistic" ourselves.

I asked our boses, if they had knew the conclusion. They said they had not. Now that really struck me, because they had concluded to always seek the common good even if that would mean they would loose the largest number of points.

While biking home, I realized that the above mechanism is working on each level in society, even on the level of countries. If all countries would seek the common good, there would not be any famines in the world, and we all would be better off.

Saturday, September 28, 2002

5 cents

This morning, I was reading some ads when I found a little note about Teledump stating that it now only costs 5 Euro cent per minute to phone to China. (That is € 3 per hour.) Li-Xia immediately wanted to try it out, and talk with her mother. Last year she still was using email a lot to communicate with her mother, now she phones her at least once per week, and probably will do so more frequently.

Sunday, September 29, 2002


I spend the greater part of the afternoon pruning the willow in our back garden. I had mixed feelings doing this, because I was wondering whether I was doing it at the right time. Last year, I did the same, and I was amazed of some of the thick branches that I found. We needed some hours to clear away all the branches and leaves.

One of the things Li-Xia and I immediately liked about the house was the simple layout of our back garden. Maybe it also has something magical like this famous Zen garden.


Monday, September 30, 2002


I think, I am going to apply for a patent for an efficient method for representing arbitrary quantities by means of sequences of symbols from a finite domain. The method is interesting, because it makes use of a finite range of symbols to represent values from an infinite range. Furthermore, the method allows the efficient implementation of calculations on quantities simply by manipulating the sequences representing the involved quantities.

I got this idea after hearing about yet another software patent of a general idea being granted. The fact that these kind of patents are granted, really implies a lot about the knowledge about computer science in the patent offices.

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