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Diary, November 1996

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Friday, November 1, 1996

My birthday

Of course, the first person to congratulate me (when the alarm displayed 0:00) was
Li-Xia. She gave me the book Mond (German for moon) with fotographs made by Anselm Spring. She bought it yesterday afternoon in one of my favourite bookshops. Actually, she had wanted to buy another book (by John Pfahl), which I had shown her a few weeks ago, but it was gone. I am very happy that she bought this book for me, anyway. It does fit in my collection of photobooks.

Yesterday evening, I told Li-Xia that I only knew a few people that were born on the same day. Then she told me that there are 5 people in Enschede born at the same date. She found this out during a visit to the town hall, where the birth date is used as an entry key. A birth date makes a very nice key: it is short (6 digits), and has a very uniform distribution. When she told me that there were 5 people, I remarked that this was a lot. Then I started thinking. There are 150.000 people living in Enschede. Divided by the average age (75) this gives 2000. If you divide this by 365 you arive at: 5.61797752. Thus, it is very close at the expected value.

I received several congratulations by email, I think, because it is on the World Birthday Web (WBW). They came from:

I also got some cards through snail mail from:


At lunch time, I went home, and had three slices of bread with three eggs (not my dialy menu).


Today, is the first day Rolf has to work with his new employer, the ITC. He spent most of the time moving his belongings from his old room (two doors from mine) to his new room in the new ITC building. By now, his old room is empty. It still contains the zoo, which belong to our project. I am a candidate for taking over the zoo, but I have to admit, I like the black/white monitor of the rosarium better than the colour screen of the zoo.

Monday, November 4, 1996

Writing diaries

Meindert gave me a book by some (female) philosopher with a number of essays. One of the essays was dealing with the question, why some adults write diaries. It focussed on the question whether these adults are purely writing to themselves, or to some other person (imaginary or real).

I got the impression that the writer of this essay, did not write diaries herself. It made me think about my reasons for writing diaries.

This morning I received a request from Sandrine Arons who is working on on a thesis about personal evolution though journal writing. He saw my home page, and would be very interested in interviewing me over internet.

In the coming weeks (time permitting), I will write something about my experiences with diary writing, and add this to my introduction.

Usage sort (cont'd)

Both Jon Haugsand and Peter Kirby have written programs (Jon's program) to check the different algorithms proposed. Both of them had difficulties with understanding my algorithm. I have tried my algorithm in the program of Peter, and it turned out that with my algorithm the books are sorted in an average of 7.932293 moves (trying 10000 random experiments). It seems as if my algorithm is better than all others proposed sofar.

The score function below, calculates the score of a certain ordering.

int score(int book[])
{   int a;
    int sum = 0;

    for (a = 1; a < 6; a++)
    {   int b;
        int s = 0;

        for (b = 1; b < 6; b++)
            s += in_correct_order(a, b, book);

        sum += s * s;

    return sum;
To determine whether two books are in the correct order in the row of books (ignoring all other books for the moment) the following function can be used:
int in_correct_order(int a, int b, int book[])
{   int i;

    for (i = 0; i < 6; i++)
        if (book[i] == a)
            return a < b;
        else if (book[i] == b)
            return b < a;
Both programs are using a random generator. With some additional bookkeeping it is possible to do without. You simply have to keep an array of how likely a certain ordering can occur after a certain number of moves. Initially, each ordering has the same chance to occur. From this you can calculate for each ordering the chance it will occur after one move. From this you can calculate how often it occurs after any number of steps. Based on the numbers for the correctly sorted order for any number of steps, you can calculate the average number of steps needed.


Phone call from Bali

I got a phone call from
my mother who is together with my father on a round-trip through Indonesia. Today is their last day in Bali. Tomorrow, they will fly to Lombok.

Friday, November 8, 1996

Usage sort (cont'd)

I finally wrote a program to calculate the expected number of times it would take for each of the suggested strategies. This program also contains a procedure which determines the best possible strategy.


This morning I brought my diary to the office with the intention to start writing in it more often. When I was filling in a
questionnaire, I realized how less I wrote, and that I should write more often. But today I failed to write anything. So, I put it back in my bag again.

Wednesday, November 13, 1996

Is God all powerful

P.N. Clark posted the following question to
rec.puzzles: My reply to this was:

Tic Tac Toe

If you are in for a game of Tic-Tac-Toe, please play against my program:
w(b){return!(b&7&&b&56&&b&448&&b&73&&b&146&&b&292&&b&273&&b&84);}v(int a,int b,
int *m){int i=0,e,k,c=5,n;if(w(~a))c=4;else{for(;i<9;i++)if(!(a&(k=1<<i)||b&k)
&&c>(e=5-v(b|k,a,&n)))c=e,*m=i;if(c>4)c=3;c-=(c>1);}return c;}main(){int a=0,b=
(Shorter version)

Friday, November 15, 1996

Sun in the house

It's getting winter again, and we had the first real frost last night, due to a cloudless sky. This also means we had the sun shining into our house this morning. If this happens, our bedroom is filled with a bright red light due to the red curtains. Red because that is the colour of luck and happiness in China. When I was standing in the shower room, which is in the middle of our apparment, I was enjoying the yellow glow that the sun produced while shining on one of the walls.

The sun in the house makes me happy.

The Oaks dropped their leaves

A few days ago, I noticed that the Oak trees in the front of our building were still full of leaves. `Oak trees are always slow: they are the last to get leaves, and they are the last to lose their leaves', I said to myself.

This morning, while scratching the ice of the windows of our car, I heared a constant noise of falling leaves from the Oak trees, and saw how the leaves completely covered the grass below the trees, which had turned white of frost. Within an hour the Oak trees must have lost most of their leaves. Is this caused by the sudden drop of temperature last night? But why did they only start falling off at day-time?

Saturday, November 23, 1996

One million praying for ten million

November 23rd, 1996 is the 400th anniversary of the Kiristan Holocaust. A time when nearly one million Japanese Christians were massacred and the cause of Christ set back for hundreds of years to come.

At present there is an e-mail petition being circulated on the Internet to keep Sesame Street from being canceled. That petition is seeking one million signatures, a good cause for a good educational program. This e-mail is asking that you become part of an e-mail petition to the God of the universe, on behalf of the Sleeping Giant, Japan.

Every morning over 10,000 Korean Believers face Japan and pray for the spiritual awakening of their one time oppressor. The largest church in the world is in Seoul, Korea--just over 750,000 members, around the same amount of believers in all of Japan--the Pastor of that church has said that God has given him a vision for ten million Christians in Japan by the year 2,000. Many Christian leaders around the world are sensing God's Spirit is preparing to move in Japan.

Imagine what kind of effect this could have on Asia, for that matter the World! It is reported that Japan has the largest number of missionaries in the world but still has one of the lowest percentages of believers of any country. Japan is in need of your prayers.

Today, please pray that Japan will begin to experience spiritual awakening and revival like never before. Ask God to bring Japanese to a saving knowledge of Himself through Jesus Christ. Please pray for Japanese believers. Asking God to help them share their faith with a new vigor and joy. Ask God to remove the spiritual strongholds and barriers to the Gospel that have been in place for 400 years.

Your Brother In Christ,

Eddie Marshall,
Missionary to Japan

Monday, November 25, 1996

First snow (cont'd)

This morning, I looked out of the window to see if I needed to some ice scraping on the car, and I noticed that there was a little snow on the windows. The next moment, I looked out of the window, it was snowing, and within a minuted huge snow flakes were descending everywhere. I immediatly walked to Annabel's room where Li-Xia was dressing her, and brought her to the living room, when she was ready, to show her the snow. At that moment, snow was already covering things.

But this all lasted only for a short time, as the snow was followed by rain, and other wet things. It's still to warm for snow, but it did snow this morning.

Tuesday, November 26, 1996

Video Art

This afternoon there was a presentation of the new video programs for our video wall, downstairs near the entrance. The idea is that each year we get a new video presentation to be displayed on the video wall. This year students from the
AKI will show their video presentations. The first group to do this is PARbros. (Don't ask me what it stands for.)

After some speakers had said what they wanted to say -- you know how this goes -- some drinks and snacks were served, and I ended up talking with Karin Bosch, who appeared to be one of the other persons who made a video presentation, which is going to be shown later this year (or maybe next year). While talking with her (she started the conversation by asking whether I was working in this building), it became clear that we came from a very different background, and that we did not have much in common. The conversion just died away -- not that I blame her at all.

Somehow, I find it interesting to talk to people who are from a very different background. But often it does not work out as I had expected. Then the gap is simply too wide to be overcome.


Thursday, November 28, 1996

Thanksgiving proclamation

Today, someone mailed me:
But I do not know where this text is comming from. There is another record of this proclamation, with a different contents.

It is amazing that a country that started out like this, now allows Dilation and Extraction abortions. I found this through the America's Christian Heritage page.

Friday, November 29, 1996

Second snow

Yesterday evening, the wheather report told that it would be snowing today. During the night, and the early morning I was dreaming (looking forward) about biking through a completely white world. Snow always so clearly marks the start of the winter. (What kind of wheather signals the start of the summer, I wonder.) I was thinking of the cracking noise that fresh snow makes when you bike through it.

Today it did snow! But not as I had expected. It was all wet snow. I heard the noise of raining (from the melted snow falling down along the building) the whole day, while I saw the snow flakes fall down. Very depressing, when thinking of what I had been hoping for.


Saturday, November 30, 1996

This morning, I was woke up around half past six by some noises that Li-Xia was making in her dreaming. I did not fall asleep again, but felt very clear in my thinking. I decided to lay on the ground between the bed and the window wrapped up in a blanket, having the `strange' idea that that would maintain the clearness. And I thought about many of the things I had done in the past years, and came to the conclusion that I had spoilt a lot of time, and hurted other by pursuing some real stupid ideas. One being my obsession with the never written 7th book in the Dune series. This for example made me write the news to HTML utility, which never became a real success.


This afternoon, I walked into a bookshop, and saw a umbrella stand (bucket type of thing), and decided to drop my umbrella into it, realizing that I might forget it when walking out of the shop.

But when I left the shop, I noticed the stand, and wanted to get my umbrella, and immediately noticed there were two umbrellas of my type in it. One was much wetter than the other. The wet one also had the cloth torn a little, and although I could not remember whether mine was torn, I felt, I should take it, reasoning, then I would have left the better one of the other owner. But then I started doubting again. I really did not know what to do. Finally, I took the wet one with me, walked out of the shop, and while opening it, I was sure it was not mine. So, I walked back into the shop, and got mine, which when opening felt like mine.

Lt. Data

This evening I watched the TNG episode The Quality of Life, with Lt. Data discovering and protecting some other artificial life forms. It deals with the interesting question: what is life? And with the question: what is the origin of self-awareness (consciousness)? Is Lt. Data alive, and is he self-aware as we experience it. What exactly makes that he is not human?

Personally, I do not believe we cannot construct a machine which has the samekind of consciousness, which we experience. Although, I do believe we could construct a machine, (much like Lt. Data), which shows all signs of having self-consciousness. I also believe that the fact of him having a human form is the strongest factor in believing that he is self-conscious. If he would have been just a brain in a box, he might not have played such a prominent role in the program, although I think that a brain-in-a-box would have been a much better implementation of his mentail abilities. The computer used in the Enterprise seem to be rather inferior compared to Data's abilities. It surprises that never any of these computers would have become self-aware, as that seems far more reasonable to me.

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