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Diary, May 2004

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Saturday, May 1, 2004

Potty trained

This afternoon when we arrived home, I noticed that Andy was about to have some bowel movements in his diaper. I asked if he was going to have it, and he said yes. I suggested that he go to the toilet, and he complied. He indeed did have some bowel movements while on the WC. This was the first time he did it at home, and we rewarded him with a new video.

Sunday, May 2, 2004

The diary of Anne Frank

Yesterday, I bought the diary of Anne Frank. I have indeed been invited for the talk show on Tuesday, which is about diaries. On May 5 we celebrate that our country was liberated from the Germans in World War II. On May 4 we remember all people that died during the war. Anne Frank, a Jewish girl, wrote a diary during the last two years of her life while she stayed in a hiding place in Amsterdam. She died from typhus in Bergen-Belsen around the end of February 1945. Today, I finished reading her diary. I am very impressed by it, and not only because of it unique historical setting, but more by the literary qualities. I believe that Anne Frank would have become a great writer, if she had survived the war. I was fifteen when I started writing my diary, but the qualities of my writing were very poor and superficial compared to her writing when she was that age. I wonder if I have ever come close to her quality of writing. Although we have not much in common, I do recognize some of the things she has been wrestling with. I guess her motivation to write was a deep need to be known by someone. And because she did not have a friend meeting this need, she wrote to an imaginary person. She also seems to wrestle with not being understood by the people around her. Even Peter, the boy with which she becomes rather intimate, did not really understand the inside Anne, which she refers to as Anne number two. The experience she had on April 16, 1944, is rather similar to one I had one Monday evening in early 1981.

Monday, May 3, 2004

Sudden increase of traffic

Yesterday, when I checked how much traffic my web site generated, it said that it was 71111 hits since May 1. I was a little surprised about this amount of traffic, and concluded that it might have been an error, displaying the amount of traffic I got since the start of last month, assuming that the counters are only updated on working days, or something like that. But when I checked this morning, it said that it was 74083 hits. That is almost 3000 more. It seems my pages really attracted a lot of traffic over the weekend. But if the counters are only updated once per day, it is good news, because then it means that I got all those hits on Saturday, and that traffic has returned to normal again. But still it means that it is going to be rather likely that my site will be closed down before the end of the month. This really bugs me.


Devil smoke: proof of God?

This page shows you that their is an image of a devil visible in the smoke created during the second plane crashing in the World Trade Center. Once you see it, you cannot stop yourself from seeing it. But of course, it says more about the ability of the human mind to see faces, then about the existence of God. This might get as famous as the "Face on Mars", which was debunked when sharper images became available. This always reminds me of a toilet floor tiles with irregular black and white tiles. Just looking at these tiles for ten seconds, and faces of people and monsters were popping up everywhere.


This morning, I had put on my summer coat, because it was rather warm. But at the end of the afternoon the weather became worse and it started to rain. I had heard that Annabel was wet when she came home because she had not taken a coat with her when she left earlier. When I was about to leave, I discovered that I had forgotten to bring my poncho. I had taken it out my saddlebag last Thursday when I went into the city for two hours. Luckily, I always carry an umbrella with me, but it is just a little too small of if you are biking. I stopped twice along the way, one time at a gas station, the second time under a railroad bridge. The last Kilometer, the sun started to shine from the West, and because it was still raining a little, I expected a rain bow, and indeed I witnessed a complete rainbow, and even took some pictures. When I was almost home, damp was rising from the wet streets being warmed by the sun.

Tuesday, May 4, 2004

My ten minutes of fame

Today, I was one of the three guest in the DolceVita talk show on the first Dutch television channel. I arrived well in time, and the other guests soon followed. After a cup of tea, the studio make-up had to be put on. I talked a little with the other guest, and we saw how the hosts going through the script with the editor and the director on the monitor. Then it was time for us to talk with the editors a little about the script and the kind of questions we could expect. Just before we went down for the recording, we were wired. The recordings started earlier than planned. The whole talk show was recorded in one long shot, twice interrupted by a video fragment that had been recorded earlier. The recordings were done in a large room with a square table in the middle, and an open kitchen, were cooking guest was going to prepare dinner. Three camera's were used. Everything went rather smooth. I only realized how strong the lights were when they were switched off a few minutes after the show. We stayed a little to talk with the editors, the hosts, and the rest of the crew. I got the book Mijn liefde kent geen dood (My love knows no death) from Lieneke Koornstra, the author and one of the other guests. It deals about the death of her husband. Around half past three I left for home, and did arrive in time to see myself on television. I had expected many people to phone me, but nobody did. I guess, it was just ten minutes of fame.

Wednesday, May 5, 2004

Ginkgo Biloba

I think, I have discovered the cause for the problems that Li-Xia has been suffering from. In the past week she also started to have red spots under her skin. Yesterday, a G.P. concluded that these were caused by small bleedings, and that this probably related to the problem she is having with her left eye. Yesterday evening, I linked this to the fact that she started using Ginkgo Biloba last year November or December. Today, I discovered through the Internet that there is indeed a connection between Ginkgo and all sorts of hemorrhages including in the eye and the skin. It seems to me that it is not the case that the blood flow in her veins has become worse, but that the blood flow in her arteries has improved too much. I have advised her to immediately stop taking it.


Saturday, May 8, 2004


This evening, I watched Alien on TV. I have seen some of the other Alien movies before, but this one I watched for the first time. I did not find it a very exciting movie, maybe because I knew story and one time read a comic about it. I felt that somethings looked rather realistic apart from some inconsistencies.

Sunday, May 9, 2004


Yesterday, Annabel borrowed Gödel, Escher, Bach: Een Eeuwige Gouden Band (Dutch translation from the famous book by Douglas Hofstadter) from the library, mainly because she was interested in the Bongard problems, most of which she was able to solve without help. At home, we looked at the MIU-puzzle. She had no problem understanding the rules, and she also (seemed to) understand the proof that "MU" could not be derived. She also discovered a circular derivation, where you by applying the rules arrived at a string that you already went through. This made me wonder about the properties of the derivation graph, and all such circular derivations. This afternoon, I spend some time writing a program for doing this.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

First Dutch casualty in Iraq

This morning the news arrived that a Dutch soldier was killed in an incident in Iraq where hand grenades were thrown at soldiers on patrol. Two other soldiers were wounded, one of them more serious than the other. Soon the Dutch government has to decided on an extension of the stay of the Dutch soldiers. The public opinion is getting stronger and stronger against it. The recent revelations with respect to the treatment of prisoners (New Scientist: Abuse of Iraqis 'well thought through') and how president Bush keeps on supporting Rumsfeld, who according to the Dutch ideas of political responsibility should have resigned long ago, does not add to this.

Eye condition stable

I guess, that my conclusion from last Wednesday with respect to the left eye of Li-Xia has been too optimistic. It looks like her eye condition has not improved and her ophthalmologist concludes that there is little chance that her left eye will improve. Her right eye seems to be perfectly normal. She said that the chance that her right eye will be affected is small, at least not increased. She affirmed that it is indeed the case that suffers from a partial central retinal vein occlusion. There is also some swelling and edema in the back of her eye.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

No extra traffic

When I checked the amount of traffic to my web site this morning, it said that it was zero. From this I conclude that the sudden increase in traffic which I reported earlier this month, must be the result of an administrative error where the counters have not been reset at the first of the month. That is good news.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Created for the purpose of worship

This morning, we sang a song during our time of worship that stated that God created us for the purpose of worshipping Him. This really started me thinking. Why would a perfect and infinite God create imperfect and limited creatures to praise Him? Would that add anything to Him being perfect? Something that is perfect although worthy of praise does not need praise itself. Just like it would not add anything to my existence, if I would write on a piece of paper the sentense "Frans does exist". If God is sufficient in Himself, would He have created us to praise Him? The only reason I can come up why a God would create beings with awareness is to share something. It seems that God created us so that we could know Him. And to know Him, we have to have fellowship with Him. The essense of worship is to reach out to God with your whole heart. In that sense worship is a means to have fellowship with God, and to know Him. So knowledge of God comes through worship. Must we than conclude that God indeed created us for worshipping Him, but that it is not to add something to Himself, but to share something from Himself to us, which cannot be shared in any other way? Although I cannot find any logical reason why I should worship God, I have this undeniable genuine experience when worshiping God that goes deeper than anything else, and surprises me everytime when I worship God.

Cantor's proof flawed?

I just read in GEB about Cantor's proof that the are more real numbers than rational numbers. But suddenly, I realized that it might be flawed. Lets write fractions as binary numbers. For each natural number one can construct a fraction, by writing the binary representation in reversed order. This would lead to:
  1. 0.100000..
  2. 0.010000..
  3. 0.110000..
  4. 0.001000..
  5. 0.101000..
  6. 0.011000..
According to the proof of Cantor, we can now construct a number that is different from all other numbers, by choosing a different digit in the diagonal. In the above example, this would lead to the number 0.001111... But is this number really different from all the other numbers? No, it is not. It is actually another representation for the number 0.010000..., which is the second number in the above list. At least, if you believe that the limit of the sum 2-n for n in the natural numbers (excluding 1) is equal to 1. If now we have found one case for which the proof does not work, the question is whether there are sequences where it does work taking into account the fact that there are an infinite number of pairs of representations that represent the same number for the same reason.

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Cargo plane crashed near Urumqi

This morning, I read the news item on a Dutch news site that a cargo plane crashed near Urumqi, the city where the family of Li-Xia lives. The first report said it had crashed in an urban area. So, I asked Li-Xia to phone her mother. It turned out that her mother knew of nothing, although the plane must have crashed within 30 kilometer from where she lives. She expected to hear something about it on the evening news.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Software patents

It looks like we are going to get the same kind of software patents in Europe that have been causing much trouble in the United States. What is more worrying is that the European Council is side stepping the European Parliament, and thus depriving it from its democratic role. More and more decisions are made by bureaucrats, who are sensitive for lobbying, and not by politicians that representing people.


Thursday, May 20, 2004


The alarm sounded at five this morning, because I had promised to go biking with Annabel as part of the "Dauwtrappen" tradition. We left around half past five. The temperature was 11.1 degrees Celsius. Around half past six we arrived in Boekelo after having taking many detours. One time we even walked on a sand road for about half a mile. Just after seven we arrived at the McDonalds in Hengelo. They had just opened. There was a large group of young high school kids waiting in line. Annabel had pancakes, I had a McTosti. Half past eight we left again. About ten past eight we arrived at the home of a friend of Annabel that she knows through church. She rang the doorbell but nobody opened the door. The curtains were closed, and it was clear that everyone was still asleep. Around ten to nine we woke them up by making a phone call. Annabel went upstairs to wake her friend up. We drank tea with them and stayed till half past eleven. Then we went home again.

Monday, May 24, 2004

Linus not the father of Linux?

According to Ken Brown from Alexis de Tocqueville Institution Linus is not the author of Linux, basically, because it would be impossible for one person to write an operating system all alone. It is very interesting to read what Andy Tanenbaum wrote (in Some Notes on the "Who wrote Linux" Kerfuffle, Release 1.5) about the interview Ken Brown had with him.

Wei Wei Hu

A 13 year old Chinese girl with the name Wei Wei Hu was kidnapped yesterday in Eibergen, a small village close to where we live. The kidnapper used a knife to get her into his car. Just one and half hour before, he tried to do the same with a girl in Ahaus in Germany, which is even closer to where we live. Luckily, Annabel is not yet that old that she is allowed to bike outside the city on relatively quiet roads all by herself. Of course, there is not much defense against people wanting to do harm on purpose without disrupting your normal life. I hope that the girl will be found alive and healthy, but I fear the worst.


Software patents

Some Dutch parties are requesting a public debate with Minister Brinkhorst because he voted in favour of Software patents in the European Council. They feel that he lied to them in a letter writing that the European Council and the European parliament agreed on the proposal, which is clearly not the case.


Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Wei Wei Hu free

This morning the news came that Wei Wei Hu, who was kidnapped two days ago, has been set free, and that the kidnapper has been caught. It seems that the kidnapper had already been put under custody of the government and had not returned when he was on furlough from a detention unit for about two weeks. I wonder why the police has not arrested him after he did not return. Later it was reported that she has been sexually abused by the kidnapper.


Thursday, May 27, 2004

Go club

Yesterday, Annabel and I went to the Go club. While we were waiting for everyone to arrive for the competition, I showed them the problem, John Tromp posted on his Go page. We could not solve it. When we were ready to start, Annabel was gone. Then Ton mentioned that he saw her run on the Information Plaza outside. I had to call her inside. She played four games with the girl-friend of Martijn. It looks like they have about the same strength. I got four stones ahead in my game, playing against someone with a rating of 14 kyu. In the beginning of the game, I had some problems with keeping a group alive in the top left corner, after I was already forced to give up two stones in the down left corner. This allowed white to develop a group in the center. I did cut of this group from the small group just below my weak group in the top left corner. (Later some good players, remarked that that small group could have been killed, had I placed a stone at the right place). Then the game went on for a long time, until I suddenly noted some cutting points in white's center group. One stone was enough to kill that group. We continued a little further, but then white resigned.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Go board

This morning, the 19x19 Go board (type: BE 80) that I ordered from Schaak en Go winkel het paard arrived. In the evening, Annabel and I played one game on it.

Lola Rennt

This evening, I watched the movie Lola Rennt. An interesting movie, almost like Magnolia. Both deal with unlikely events, but deal with them in a different dimension. In Magnolia we see the story of a number of people in parallel. In Lola Rennt we see the same story happen three times, where small differences lead to a different outcomes. The third time, when everything turns out fine, is a sequence of accidential encounters of six people, some of which never met before.

Monday, May 31, 2004

Hendrikje van Andel-Schipper

Since Saturday, Hendrikje van Andel-Schippers is (officially) the oldest still living person in the world. It is the first time in fosrty years that a Dutch person is the oldest person in the world. On June 29 she hopes to celebrate her 114th birthday. A few months ago I saw a program about her on Dutch television. Her eyes and hearing are not perferct anymore, but her mind is still very clear. She has been looking forward to this day, probably as the only thing still worth living for.

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