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Diary, July 1997

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Monday, July 7, 1997


I have been wondering where it landed. It is somewhere in
this area (original from here). They estimated it to be here (original from here. At first it was said that the landing site was near the arrow in this picture. But it appears to be just above the crater as in this picture (original from here).

For some time, I had difficulty where the above two pictures are located in the picture giving the estimated location. It turns out that the landing position is a little above halfway the red `1' and the red diamond. The `far nop' lays on the red ellipse. You can barely see the two big craters of the landing site picture on the picture showing the estimated landing location. (Picture is the matching part. It surprises me that I have not been able to find a picture like the one used for all estimations with the exact position marked on it. Maybe they did give this during some TV broadcast. But someway I think that most people are not so much interested in this, where I find this kind of things very interesting to know.

I have trouble with locating the last two inside the above picture. It is difficult to estimate the scaling.


Tuesday, July 8, 1997


Of course, I have been looking for other pictures about the landing
spot. The best picture so far are:

Other images of the area:


Pathfinder homepage

I am a little disappointed with the quality of the official NASA pathfinder pages. I had expected to see some more quality materials. From what I read on the Usenet, I am not the only one having this feeling. Here in Holland the TV coverage has been minimal, and not very technical.

At the end of the world

We have been at the end of the world. Or at least that was how I felt about it. Actually, it was not that far, just across the the field our apartment building is at, a play garden (for children) along the rail road. The sun was setting, and to me it was feeling as if we (Annabel and I) were at the end of the world.

If you know this feeling of being at the end of the world, then you will understand it, otherwise not.

Tuesday, July 15, 1997


The following stress inducing events are about to occur:
  1. August: a new house
  2. September: a new job
  3. October: a new child

Rotating Earth

If the earth would be rotating at this speed, it would not have the form it has now. Life would probably not be possible then. Also if the earth would rotate much slower as it does now, life would not be possible as we know it now.

Funny slide bar

Wednesday, July 16, 1997

Pathfinder's position

Today, I finally found the some figure indicating the position of the Pathfinder. If I compare the this picture with this one, I must conclude that my initial conclusions on the landing site were correct.

The attached description is:

(I copied the whole text, because I am afraid it might be removed without notice. I am a little disappointed about this site.)


Douglas Hofstadter

He is visiting a research group at our department today, and he will give a talk at 15:00. I am going to attend the talk, just to see this famous man.


Hofstadter is indeed an interesting speaker, and a very intelligent person, but less of a computer scientist then I had expected. All the slides he showed during his talk were related to a famous poem by Marot, which is the theme of his latest book: `Le Ton beau de Marot: In Praise of the Music of Language'.

I did not talk to him, but did look at his copy of his latest book. I noticed he had marked broken characters with a green circle and a dash in the border, and typesetting errors with a red circle and a red star on the top of the page. I only saw four type setting errors: 3 times a wrong accent on a Chinese name, and one place where there was a space to much after a comma.


Saturday, July 19, 1997


Li-Xia and I started with the first packing for moving to our new house in August. We did not pack anything yet, be started to go through our papers, and decide what to through away.

Going through my old belonging always gives me a desire to preserve the past. It is like I want to make an easy accessible archive of all my papers and collections. I was dreaming of putting all my writings on-line. Of course, not right now, but when I am 30 years older. Or at least preserve it for my descendants. Yes, I was really thinking about what they might think when they would search through this archive.

My estimate is that in about 10 years we will have one bookshelves with photo albums, and books full with other papers related to what we as a family produced.

What is the use of all this archiving I wonder.

I also went through some old computer science related technical reports. And I was astonished to see how many dealt with issues that people are working on now. Most of these reports were more than 10 years old. Obvious there has not been much progress, but it worries me, if I see that this is mostly caused by the fact that the wheel is invented over and over again. Really, if you think about it, there has not been much improvement. We are still using the same languages and the same methodologies. O yes, they have different names now, but basically they are the same.

Why, I wonder? Or should we just conclude that we are still in the `craftsman' period of computer science? That we have to wait another 100 years before it has become a real science, like mechanical engineering, and such?

Software Engineering)

Being bored

Today, possible as a result of yesterday's discoveries, I felt very bored with everything, like there is really nothing new under the sun. Vanity, vanity, all is vanity, the preacher said.

Monday, July 21, 1997

Close-up of Pathfinder's landing site

Here is a close-up of the landing site (original image).

Tuesday, July 29, 1997

One of the last entries?

Yesterday, I signed a new contract with the Tecnomatix company. I will be working with them starting on the first of October (or sooner, in case I can quit earlier at the University), and with the respect to the number of holidays I still have available, this week will be the last week working.

Yes, indeed, I am not going to do a PhD. At first I was disappointed that it did not work out, but now I am satisfied with it. Why did it not work out? That is a good question. To say it simple: it simply did not work out. If you want the hear the whole story, please visited me (or if that is too far, write me an email.)

One thing I know for sure: I do not have the writing abilities which are essential for an academic career nowadays.


We are getting ready for the big move. We already filled about 47 boxes (provided by the moving company) with our belongings. We expect that we have to fill another 30 boxes before the big day, the 7th of August.

Selling books

Last Saturday, I sold my Dutch Dune books at the Slegte bookshop for 25 Dutch Guilders.

(follow-up, about buying the first again)

Thursday, July 31, 1997

Can a fly sleep?

Early in the morning there was a fly flying around in our room. First I thought it was a mosquito, but when I was sure it was a fly I thought: `it must have woken up from the early dawn. Then I thought about the question Can a fly sleep? The answer to this question lies in what we define as sleeping.


Tomorrow is the big day. We are going to buy a house. We already signed the contract stating that we are going to buy the house a long time ago, but tomorrow we will become the legal owners.

The glider

In this time of changes, I have a lot of what I call
`random memories'. Suddenly, I will remember all kinds of events from my past. Usually, things that happened more than 5 years ago.

Just now, I had to think about the glider that my father made for me. I can still remember the shop where we bought it. It was in Utrecht, not far from the main railway station. And then all the hours it took to build this simple plane. But most clearly, I remember the that when we were going to try it out. I was so enthusiastic when I saw it fly that I started to run after it. Faintly I remember that my father called me. His greatest fear became true. In my wild run it landed before my feet, and I stepped on the wing, which broke immediately, as it was made of the very light but also very fragile balsa wood. I cannot remember that he became angry at me, but we walked home silently, both deeply disappointed. He never came to repair the glider, which would not have been an easy task. What ever happened with the plane, I do not know, but I think he silently disposed of it.

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