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Dutch / Nederlands

Diary, March 2008

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  2   3   4   5   6   7   8
  9  10  11  12  13  14  15
 16  17  18  19  20  21  22
 23  24  25  26  27  28  29
 30  31

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Wet snow

This afternoon, when I biked home, it started to snow. At first it would melt immediately, but slowly the snow became stronger, and some of the snow stayed on the grass. But a few hours later all had melted again.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Wilders film (Cont'd)

If we have to believe Geert Wilders his film does not contain any unlawful elements (according to the Dutch law). With his film he wants to proof that the Qu'ran is a fascist book. I understand that he wants to show that the Qu'ran contains statements that calls for agression against unbelievers and that there are people who take those statements literally. (The Skeptic's Annotated Quran.) Today, Pakistan summoned the Dutch ambassador because of the film and said that Geert Wilders is "biased and bigoted" and that the film has nothing to do with freedom of expression. Some days ago, I heard someone from the parlement of Iran say that to him certain statements about the Qu'ran are one the same level as physical violence. It is obvious that we are dealing with a clash of civilisations. In the past days there have been demonstrations against the film in Afghanistan and also a call to break all the connections with the Dutch government. This is putting the Afghan government in a difficult position, because at the moment Dutch troops are fighting against the Taliban in the southern Afghanistan province of Oruzgan. Geert Wilders is still searching for a way to show his film, either on television or otherwise in a press center. There is a press center willing to show his film, but it has declared that Wilders will have to pay for the security, not just on the day of the screening but also in the weeks ahead and after. Wilders has said that he is willing to show the film one day ahead to some government body that is responsible for terrorism control, but only if they will not forbid a screening of the film. The Dutch government has said that they are cannot give such a guarantee, because civil servants have the duty to report violations of the law.


Playing Go

This evening, Annabel and I went to the university to play Go. We were rather late, because Annabel still had to eat something after she return from her soccer training. When we arrived it was clear there was going to be some life music performance this evening. I have to say that it was quite acceptable. Taco and Araldo were playing a game while Rudi was watching. Annabel sat opposite of Rudi and they decided to play some games on a 13x13 board. With the first game Annabel got 6 stones ahead and she won with 13 points. The second game she got 5 stones ahead and resigned. The third game she got 6 stones ahead and lost with 11 points. Then she wanted to play against me, but I hesitated because I found it more interesting to follow the game between Taco and Araldo, trying to guess their moves. But I did play two games against Annabel. The first I won with about 50 points. The second I lost with two and a half point. At one point when I looked at game between Taco and Araldo, and when I asked if a certain white stone was the last move, it turned out it was indeed.

Monday, March 10, 2008

The comfort of Melancholy

Yesterday, I finished the book De troost van Melancholie (The comfort of Melancholy) by Jozef Zehentbauer. The subtitle reads The sad lightness of being. The book deals about people with a melancholic character. I do not agree with everything in the book, but I have arrived at the conclusion that I a melancholic myself. According the author many great scientists and artists were melancholics. He does not see it as a negative property. He also thinks that depression and melancholia are two different things. Melancholics are not necessarily depressed. He argues that people are only depressed when experiences their depressive moods as an illness. It was interesting to read the book and I hope I have learned something from it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Bell sound

In the past days we would often hear a sound bell like sound outside, almost like some one was hitting a metal tube with a hammer. This morning, when I was biking to my office, I heard the sound again and decided to look for its cause. I found that it was caused by a pile driver as shown on the right.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Deventer murder case

Last month, on February 8, mr. Knoops released his written reply (full text in Dutch) to the advice to the High Court of mr. Machielse, the Advocate General, responsible for dealing with the reopening of the Deventer murder case. I felt that the reply by mr. Knoops sounded very strong. Today at noon, the High Court gave its final decision not to reopen the case (full text in Dutch). I am not surprised by the outcome, because the High Court usually follows the advice of the Advocate General. It is only sad to see that the High Court in its final decision makes statements that are factually incorrect. This proofs again that our judicial system lives in some kind of alternative reality in which statements made by police officers, lawyers, and judges have a higher value of truth that the true facts. I am not going to list all the deficencies here, but restrict myself to one example. In the final decision it says that the alibi of the alternative suspect and his girlfriend are in accordance with their telephone records. But there is a factual inconsitency because the girlfriend states that she arrived at some student bar before eight o'clock in the evening and met the subject there, but at 20:20 some one used their telephone to make a call to a relative of her. Short after the murder took place the suspect and his girlfriend independently from each other stated that they were home the whole evening. When confronted with some inconsistencies in their statements they changed their alibi. The final revision of their albi, in which they state that they were at the student bar the whole evening, and not at home, was made in May 2006. It is rather strange that this final statement about their alibi has now been declared as reliable, although they clearly did lie, at some point, about their alibi. And besides this, they also made contradicting statements about a knife that the subject bought three days after the murder, and which is similar to the knife that might have been used during the murder. Of course, making false statements about your alibi does not make you the offender, but at least it could play a role in this case because the judges who ruled in this case declared that all other suspects had a solid alibi.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Playing Go

This evening, I was quite tired and not sure whether I wanted to go to the university to play Go. Finally, I decided to go and I arrived close to nine. I found Rudi and Arlado playing a game and Taco observing them. I asked Taco for a game and we decided on a nine stone advantage for me. And one point in the middle game, I felt that my position had become hopeless after I lost some strategic stones. Rudi commented that I should not dispair and just continue. After Rudi and Araldo finished their game, they watched us playing. In the end game I lost quite a number of points, and even retracted one "wasted" move. When we counted it appeared that I had won with three point, 34 against 37 points. Rudi remarked that at the start of the end-game, I was about 20 points ahead of Taco.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Road Coloring problem solved

Today, I read something about the Road Coloring problem being solved. I also found the "A Subquadratic Algorithm for Road Coloring" article by Avraham Trahtman. The Road Coloring problem is somewhat related to what I wrote before about LR-Mazes.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Wet snow

Today, there was some snow during the day. The snow that fell during the day, melted away immediately, but in the evening some of the snow stayed on the grass. Other countries in Europe are having lots of snow. This Eastern is probably the coldest in 40 years. The first reason is that Eastern is very early this year. The second reason is that it is cold for the time of the year, especially if you compare it with the temperatures of the first two months of this year, which were above the average.

Monday, March 24, 2008


This morning, the world outside was covered with a thin layer of snow, at least that is what Li-Xia told me, because when I looked outside, most of it was gone. There was still some snowing going on. A few hours later all the snow was gone. This Easter is talked about as a "White Easter". On the night from Saturday to Sunday the temperatures dropped to -7.0 degrees Celsius in our part of the country.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More snow

This morning, the world outside was covered with a thin layer of snow. It still snowed a little. I took some pictures from back yard, flowers in the front garden, and snow on the magnolia. In the following hours most of the snow melted away. The traffic in the rest of the country was hindered by the snow. The was a record amouth of 900 Km of traffic jams for this winter, and there was a news report stating that 1100 cars got stranded. Later during the day, we had some more snow and hail.

2 Maccabees

This evening, I read some parts from 2 Maccabees as they were found in the book Grunbergbijbel by Arnon Grunberg, which contains an anthology of the bible. The introduction in chapter 2 really made me laugh, especially the last verse, where it says: "Here, then, we shall begin our account without further ado; it would be nonsense to write a long preface to a story and then abbreviate the story itself". Why did it make me laugh? Because it sounded like it could be taken from a modern club newsletter. This was the first time I read something from this bible book, mainly because it is a deuterocanonical book. Besides this the anthology also contain chapter seven, which contains a very graphic description of seven brothers and their mother being tortued because their refusal to eat pig meat. But then the final verses of the book, which are obvious by the same author as the introduction, made me laugh again. I cannot believe how someone after having written such graphic descriptions, can write something like: "If it is well written and to the point, that is what I wanted; if it is poorly done and mediocre, that is the best I could do". I am happy that both Jews and Protestants do not consider this book as canonical.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Snow again

This morning, there was again snow outside. Judging on the amouth of snow on the cars outside, it looks like a few centimeters (an inch) of snow fell during the night. The sky was clear, the sun was shining, and the snow was melting away visibly. Temperatures are expect to rise strongly in the coming days. So, I guess that this was the last snow for this winter season.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Fitna, the film

Today, Fitna, the film was finally released by Geert Wilders My general feeling is that the film was well accepted her in the Netherlands. Some even found it a rather disappointing film, compared to the fuse that was made about it. Still there are muslims that have expressed that they felt hurt by the film and some are even considering to take legal steps. Experts believe that Mr. Wilders did not violate any Dutch laws. I was a little dissapointed that the official statement of our government says that the government thinks that the purpose of this film was to hurt the feelings of muslims. I do not know what will be the responses from the muslim world. Some flags will be burnt, I think, but for the rest the responses might be weak.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Government's reaction to Wilders' film

Today, I found the English press release of the government's reaction to Fitna, the film, which contain the following two statements: It does not state that the film is offensive, but I think one cannot draw any other conclusion that our government claims that it is offensive. (If according to them the purpose of the film is to offend, and it was not really offensive, I guess they would not have regretted it.) Now that the government has stated that the film is offensive, it opens the door for muslims to condemn and forbid this film (or expressions like this film). It would have been beter if the government would have stated that the film is a caricature of islaam (or a bad column, as someone else stated) and as such should not be taken serious, but that they nevertheless could understand that some muslims would feel offended by this film.

Later today, Ban Ki-moon condemned the film with even stronger statements stating that the film is offensively anti-Ismlamic and that there is no justification for hate speech or incitement to violence.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Early in the evening, I watched Het uur van de wolf: Low - You may need a murderer, a Dutch documentary about the band Low, actually, only about Alan Sparhawk and his wife Mimi Parker. Very interesting documentary, which is mostly English spoken with Dutch subtitles. I also visited the official website of Low and listened to the songs.

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