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Diary, October 2004

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Saturday, October 2, 2004


Today, we went into the city with the four of us. It has been some time ago that we did do so. After having bought some bread from 't Stoepje on the market, we went to Bertus Workel where we Annabel bought some charcoal for drawing. Since last Wednesday she started with a drawing course at Concordia. Then Andy wanted to go into some shop, because they were selling some video tapes. He exactly knows in which shops they sell video tapes. While we walked around the shop, we saw a lady sitting in a wheelchair who was dressed in back from top to toe leaving only her eyes visible. She was pushed around by a Dutch lady wearing normal clothes. Then I realized that this might become a familiar sight in the coming decades. The prediction is that by 2050 half of the Dutch population will be Muslim. But still I found it rather shocking to encounter a woman wearing a burka (not yet like the one they Taliban enforce), the kind of clothes that fundamentalist muslims demand their wifes to wear.

We had our lunch at McD, where I had a vegetarian burger. From there, we split up. Annabel went with me and Andy with Li-Xia. At some corner we saw a man selling Easy Surf Steps. Annabel had a try, and immediately wanted to have one. We walked to the bookshops. At Broekhuis we bought an educational game for learning to read music, called De Notenkraker by A.W. Bruna. (Really a very nice CD-ROM, I discovered at home.) Then we went to De Slegte where I bought two books: Lila by Robert M. Pirsig, the sequal of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance for € 2.99 and Maastricht 148, a book with 148 black and white pictures taken by Kim Zwarts with an introduction by Bart Verschaffel, published by Uitgeverij 010 Publishers, Rotterdam in 2000 for € 7.50. A bought these at 13:24. In the evening, I started reading Lila.

(more on Lila, more on Maastricht 148)

Monday, October 4, 2004

First accepted slashdot submission

Four times before, I tried to submit a story to slashdot. Today, it was the first time that a story was accepted. Of course, I am a little proud about it. It contains my gmail email address. We will see what will happen with it.

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

Chocolate bar

This morning, we were woken-up by Annabel and Andy because today we are married for eleven years. Eleven years ago it was also a Wednesday (just like in 1999). Li-Xia got a small white dolphin and I got a chocolate bar. We both tasted a piece of the chocolate bar before we got up. (Actually, I already had gotten up around six o'clock, and I was the one who woke-up Annabel just after seven before I jumped in bed again.)

Thursday, October 7, 2004

Game analysis

Yesterday, I played a game of Go against Bas, a 4th Kyu player. I recorded the game and send it to him. Tonight I received his analysis (SGF, remarks in Dutch). I studied it, and added some remarks (in English) to the PostScript file that I generated earlier from the original SGF recording. The conversion program that I wrote cannot deal with branches.

Friday, October 8, 2004

One kilo of bugs in your belly

In this article it says: "Microbes in the gut can weigh up to one kilogram in a normal adult human, and collectively can contain more genes than the host." It seems that we are symbiotic life forms in the end. I am happy that mainstream science is starting to recognize this fact and pushing research in this area. Another hidden "organ", I would say, that plays an important role in our body.

Saturday, October 9, 2004


Annabel and I, biked into the city to do some shoppings. We first went to De Olijf, a shop where they sell olives and olive oil. This was the first time I went to this shop after I heard about it yesterday from a colleague. I bought half a liter of extra vierge olive oil from Alcala la Real in Spain. It was tapped from a can in a bottle that I had to buy separately, but which can be reused as often as you want.

Next we went to buy bread and then we walked over to McD, where I ordered a Happy Meal® for Annabel and a vegetable burger for me. The toy with the Happy Meal® was a small weather station. On one side it had a compass with which you can measure the wind direction. On the other side it has a rain meter. It waited quite some time for the vegetable burger. There are not so many people who order them, so they don't make them in advance. When I went to inform, it appeared that they had forgotten about it. Although it was around noon it was not busy at. I waited some more, and then decided to ask my money back. When I got some money back I saw two boys play around in the kitchen. I was rather dissapointed about the whole think. I had another raisin bun instead.

Monday, October 11, 2004


Right before I got up, I was thinking about having to put on gloves because of cold weather. When I checked our thermometer, it was 4.8 degrees Celsius outside, cold enough to get my gloves for the first time this "winter".

Area of a triangle

Today, I came across the page Triangles, Inscribed and Circumscribed Circles, which has some interesting formuleas with respect to triangles. Before, I had derived the following formulea for the area of a triangle given the length of the side as a, b and c: Although I did search for a simpler way to write this expression, I never found that it could be rewritten as: Or if you define s = (a + b + c)/2 as:


Tuesday, October 12, 2004

The Greatest Dutch election

Yesterday evening, Li-Xia and I watched opening program of De Grootste Nederlander (the election of the greatest Dutch person ever). During the program the top hundred greatest Dutch were announced and the ten finalists were made known. In the coming weeks there will be a program about each of them and a possibility to vote. There is only one living person among the then finalists, and that is Johan Cruijf. I would not choose him, but I also would not mind if he would win. Pim Fortuyn is also with the ten. I would be very disappointed if he would win. (During the clip that introduced him, the cover of a gay magazine with a nude male was visible for a second clearly showing a penis. Typical Dutch, I would say.) Anyway, the program made me feel proud to be Dutch, because although we are a relatively small country, we did produce some world famous people like: Erasmus, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek, Rembrandt, Vincent van Gogh, and Anne Frank, to mention some of the other finalists.


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Losing again

Tonight, when I went to the Go club, there were only strong players. Except one other person there were only Dan players. I played against Taco, a third Dan player (SGF, PS). Even with him getting a nine stone handicap, he won with 122 points. So, even according to my 18 Kyu rating, I lost with twelve stones. But really, with such a difference in strength, it is very hard to say anything.

Monday, October 18, 2004

Head lice

This morning, I found a large adult head louse on my head. This means that there is a rather high chance that someone in my family is infested. I have put it in the sample bottle that I carry in my pen case. I will see how long it takes before it dies. Then when I finished my breakfast, I discovered that it was one hour earlier than I thought. I found out that my alarm was one hour ahead of time. I must have done something wrong while setting the alarm time yesterday. I decided to go to my office early because this afternoon we are having the birthday party of Annabel.

Birthday party

Around one o'clock the children for Annabel's birthday party. We let her invite her whole class because she had not been able to give a birthday party in the past two years. There are six boys and ten girls in her class. They all had to colour a drawing to get a free drink later on. When everybody had arrived, there was some cake and some lemonade for everyone. Then around 13:25 we went to the busstop and took the bus to the train station and from there we took another bus to Go Planet and walked over to Chimpie Champ, an indoor play garden for "apes from 1 to 12 years old". As soon as we got inside, they took of their shoes and dumped their coats on a table, and were gone. I sat down on a chair near the table and continued reading in Lila. I am not very impressed by the book, especially with respect to the philosophy that Pirsig is presenting. Although I do think that he makes some clever observations. Another difference with respect to ZatAoMM is the story is not told from the first person perspective. The kids continued to run around and play games like "the boys catch the girls", and all the time I was expected to see some child come back with some bleeding. Around four o'clock the party started. They got some drink and Annabel had to open all the presents. Then they could play again untill 16:50 when the dinner arrived. About an hour later, and after some more playing, we went home, where we arrived around a quarter to seven. Andy was going round saying "Name is!" and the children got there last drink before the parents came to take them home.


This evening, after the party was over, I first checked Andy for head lice, and I did find many. On one hand it is nice that he has short hair, but on the other hand he is not very cooperative as he cannot sit quiet and does not like his hair to be fixed. Annabel was also infested, and so was Li-Xia (just a few). That means there is going to be a lot of combing the coming week. I took some pictures of a head louse. Here is one that I took with the web cam, and here is one that we took through the toy microscope of Annabel. Through the microscope we also something move in the back of the apparently dead head louse, was it a baby head louse? It all was very interesting to study it through a microscope.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Going to the Go club

Tonight, Annabel and I went to the Go club. We were the first, and it took some time before the other arrived. I played against Ton where he got an eight stone handicap. About half way, I gave up, because he killed one of my groups. We did some analyses of the game (SGF, PS). Annabel played two games against Henny. The first game she played equal, with Henny having a seven stone handicap. The second she lost with nineteen points. At the end of the evening, there was a boy, named Michiel who wanted to learn the game. Annabel played hit-Go (where the first person killing a stone, wins the game) against Michiel, and just kept on beating him.

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

School contribution

Yesterday evening, I attended the annual parent meeting for the school that Annabel is attending. There was some discussion whether the voluntary contribution system should be changed. For many years every family payed the same amouth no matter how many children attend the school. The contribution is used to pay a number of activities at the school (such as the Christmas and Eastern celebrations). In the past years some parents expressed the desire to change this. So last night we were given the option to choose from three options. Option 1 being the current system, Option 3 being the system where you pay a fixed amouth per child, and Option 2 be something in the middle. We received a voting paper with the following table on it.

childrenoption 1option 2option 3
4 or more32.5040.0090.00

At first I felt that Option 2 did not make sense. Families with one child would choose for Option 3 and families with more than one child would choose for Option 1. Assuming that all options would bring the same reveneus, I concluded that at least 60% of the families had only one child attending school. For that reason it seemed that Option 3 should win.

But than I realized that if you have two children attending school, it is not very likely that they will be in the same class, and that there will be also years when only one child is attending. If you have two children, and they are two years apart, then there are four years that one child is attending, and 6 years that two attending. (In the Netherlands, primary education starts at the age of 4, and there are eight grades.) I calculated that in that case Option 2 is the cheapest. For a family with three or more children, Option 3 would still remain the best option.

Then during the discussion, the numbers were presented. Not all options gave exactly the same revenues. There were 80 families with one child, 46 with two children, 6 with three children, and 2 with four or more children. A total of 134 families with 190 children attending school. Then later, I realized that the number of children attending school, is not necessary equal to the number of children in the family, because some of the children might still be too young to attend school, or already have left the school. I wonder whether it would be possible to estimate the size of the families assuming a certain average distance between successive children in a family, and based on that calculate the outcome.

After the break, the outcome of the vote was revealed. 26 of the 44 families present voted for Option 1. This either can be explained by the fact that the parents from families with more than one child were over presented, and/or that many parents felt that the current system was okay (I did).

Going to the Go club

Tonight, I played Go against Araldo, a 1 Kyu player. He started with a nine stone handicap. I played a rather careful game (SGF, PS) and after some unexpected move by which I killed a White group, Araldo decided to resign. The others feel that I am really stronger than 18 Kyu. But why then do I still lose from Ton?

This months interesting links

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