I write, therefore I am
With this variation on a famous statement by the philosopher Descartes, I would like to express that the act of writing about what happens in my life is important to me.
Monday, April 23, 2017
MagnoliaOur magnolia does not look very good. Many of the leaves have turned brown. Last week it was quite cold for the time of the year. The temperature drop below -4 degrees Celsius, at even below -9 degrees at ground level (10cm) on April 20. I am afraid that the leaves will not recover and that I will have to wait for new leaves to appear. I guess that the tree/plant will recover. It seems that the small magnolia plant has died after it leaves fell of during a similar cold period last year.
Less Than ZeroThis morning, I finished reading the novel Less Than Zero, which I started reading on March 5, the day after I bought it. I read the book in tandem with the Dutch translation Minder dan niks, which I bought on Saturday, August 4, 2012 and finished reading this morning. It was an interesting experience to read the books in tandem. I had hoped it would increase my knowledge of English, but I am not sure if it did. However, I did notice that I sometimes did not remember having read something in the other version, probably caused by the fact that my thoughts were wandering away at that moment, and thus not consciously reading the text. With respect to the contents of the book, I would advice not to read it, because it contains some rather shocking things. The book has a very autobiographical sense, probably due all the causual remarks that the author makes about events that took place, and which are hard to imagine, if you would not have experienced them yourself. I wanted to finish reading the book, hoping that it would contain some positive twist, which, I could have guessed from the title, was not the case. In the back of Dutch edition the first sections of Figuranten (the Dutch translation of Imperial Bedrooms), which I did read. Now that I have started reading the book, I am afraid that I am going to finish it as well, because I boought it together with Minder dan niks.
The grass is not greenWhen I say: the grass is not green, I do not mean that it is yellow due to drought. It is also not meant as a contradition to the statement that grass is equal to green, acknowledging the fact that grass is more than just being green. It means that grass does not have the property of being green. There is nothing green in grass, as grass is just made up of atoms. Yes, grass does have the property that under certain light conditions (those similar to produced by the sun as filtered by the earth atmosphere) it reflects a certain spectrum, which (in most people) excites certain cones in the human eye, producing a certain excitation of nerves in the eye, resulting them to fire in a certain pattern. The colour green, as we experience it, is an illusion created by our brain. Some people, with a type of red-green colour blindness, see red and green as the same colour. One could say that they are only able to see yellow-orange and blue, as opposed to normal people who can see green, red and blue. Probably, these people are not able to imagine the colours red and green, like we are not able to imagine a fourth colour. It is possible, that the colours we preceive are completely individual and that nobody 'sees' the world like we see it. Bellow a processed image of a picture where I have averaged the red and green channels, which gives an impression of who people with red-green colour blindness could see the world.
BookAt 10:57, I bought the book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking written by Malcolm Gladwell in English and published by Back Bay Books on Saturday, March 3, 2007, ISBN:9780316010665, from charity shop Het Goed for € 2.95.
In the cityI have been away most of the day. I got up early and at eigth I was at the supermarket to buy my weekly groceries. On my way to Li-Xia, I went to Laura (from All Laura, to pick up the meditation pillow that I had ordered. After having visited Li-Xia, I went to the hairdresser to have my haircut. It has been over nine month ago that I had a haircut. Recently, I have noticed that my hair stays at a certain lenght, probably due to the hair failing out before they grow any longer.
Next I went to Concordia to see the exhibition How on earth should this be art? with Tinkebell as curator. I bumped into the mobile named "Pig Heaven, installation, 2017" by Sjef Meijman, which made the mobile move. I went to the second floor to look at the exhibition of the B93 art collective. They were still building up the exhibition for the opening later in the afternoon. I went to see the rest of the How on earth should this be art? exhibition. I view the pedigree of the chickens by Koen Vanmechelen. The final rooster of the breeding program with chickens from all over the world, looked impressive. I noticed that after twenty minutes the mobile was still moving very slightly. I was impressed by the work "Little Delft Street" by Rob Scholte. Over the years he has bought home made embroidery from secondhand shops and flee markets. At the exhibition it shows sixteen pictures of the back of such embroidery representing The Little Street painting by Johannes Vermeer. It is interesting to see all the different colours of wool that were selected by the unknown women who made them.
At bookshop Broekhuis, I looked around the newly second hand books and went to opening of the exhibition with works by Hermine Sanders. In the past years, she worked with templates that she cuts out herself. I was impressed by the very realistic looking human figures that she can make by cutting paper. She also had a large number of posters on sale for just € 25.00. I immediately decided to pick on and buy it.
At TETEM art space, I talked a long time with Tom, who I had met twice before. Not so strange that I met him again, because he is doing his internship for his vocational training photography study at TETEM. He told me that he has been experimenting with Max lately. Before I left, I had a second look at the Sandim Mendes: panu terra | terra panu exhibition. I had seen it two weeks ago, but today, I was much more impressed with it. I must not have been in the right move to view it two weeks ago. I had a look at the book Making Africa - A Continent of Contemporary Design, which I found quite impressive.
I went back to city center, where I brought a short visited to the art galery Beeld & Aambeeld and also met woman I know, who was working on a painting on two garage doors of a show. To me it looked almost done, but she still pointed out some details that she was not happy with. Look, that is the right attitude for an artist.
In the evening, I visited the demonstration of a home made singing tesla coil.
Chinese Wooden PuzzleLast week, I dropped my Chinese Wooden Puzzle on the ground and I had stacked all pieces on the table to make sure I got them all. The other day, I decided to quickly put them in again, so I started to fill the top three rows with the yellow and orange pieces. Next I filled the bottom two rows with the green and purple pieces and quite quickly found a solution to fill the middle part with the remaining pieces. This evening, I went on to count how many solutions there are for the middle part. The program found 46,172 solutions in 1,561 patterns, all of which (not very surprisingly) are not symmetric in any direction. The program reported that there were three (suboptimal) minimal touching patterns with 29 extra. I was a little surprised that the program also reported that there were 20 patterns that are a combination of smaller patterns, meaning that there was a vertical split in the pattern. I reasoned that this could only be made with the five black pieces on one side and the red, blue, and white pieces on the other side. So, I ran the progam again. Below the three minimal touching patterns are given followed by ten of the combined patters (the other ten are made with the black pieces on the left) and fifteen randomly selected solutions:
Thursday, April 6, 2017
Spike-timing-dependent plasticityYesterday, I came along the article Learning through ferroelectric domain dynamics in solid-state synapses, which descibes the design of an intergrate circuit device that behaves similar to a synapse of a nerve cell with respect to spike-timing-dependent plasticity (STDP). STDP means that synapses that were active shortly before the nerve cell generated a spike are strengthed, while synapses that are activated shortly after the spike are weakened. Long ago, I already had thought about a way to simulate a nerve cell, but did not know that the mechanism for strengthening and weakening of synapses is so simple. Although neural networks and deep learning are hot topics, the use of STDP based neural networks are relatively rare. Today, I found the article Spike-Based Image Processing: Can We Reproduce Biological Vision in Hardware?. I also found that Simon Thorpe worked on the use of this for image recognition based on STDP, which are now being made available through Spikenet technology.
Sunday, April 2, 2017
Sunday, April 2, 2017
BookAt 14:05, I bought the book Think Like an Artist: ... and Lead a More Creative, Productive Life written by Will Gompertz in English and published by Penguin UK in 2015, ISBN:9780241970812, from bookshop Broekhuis for € 13.99. For the week of the book, I got the free book: Makkelijk Leven written by Herman Koch in Dutch and published by Uitgeverij Stichting CPNB in 2017, ISBN:9789059654112.
Rodin: Genius at workI went to Groningen where I met with woman who I know through Go. We went to visit the exhibition Rodin: Genius at work at the Groninger Museum. Personally, I am more attracted to abstract art, but I have to admit that I was impressed by this exhibition. I had never realized how much of a thinker Auguste Rodin was. I also did not realize that he had people for him work on some of his most famouse works. I a sense, he was a rather modern sculputer and exploring new directions. I was also impressed by the mascularity of his male figures and the femininity of his female figures. We also saw the rather erotic statue on top of a book, mysteriously called "Ecclesiastes", probably in refering to it famous second verse of that book in the Bible.
We also went to see the exhibition of the collection of Groninger Museum. There we found Cluster 6 by Peter Struycken. I also liked Winterlandschap 1839 by Barend Cornelis Koekkoek, the works by Wobbe Alkema, and Elzenboompjes, huizen en Martinitoren by Job Hansen.
Afterwards, we walked around the city, visiting some shops: Second hand bookshop and art dealer Albert Hogeveen, Kunstkadootje, and Wirwar, a games and puzzle shop. We also sat on a bench on a small square near the entrance of the faculties of Dutch literature and law of the Universiy of Groningen. At the market we got some vegatables and prepared us some meal. In the evening, we visited the bar where the members of the Go club from Groningen come together to have some drinks and play a game of go, if they are in the mood. I had to leave rather soon, in order to catch the forelast train home. That was a good decision, because the transfer at Zwolle was very tight, and I might have missed it if I had not ran. I made a KML file for Google Earth of the route that I walked in Groningen (view in Google Maps).
MagnoliaWhen I came home, about half of the flowers of our magnolia had opened. I took time to take some pictures. Also this macro picture shown on the right.
Om mani padme humLast Friday, I met a woman who had some handcrafted singing bowls. She showed me that they had some text on the outside, and told me that she did not know the meaning and would like to know it. I got a little interested in singing bowls. I discovered that handcrafted singing bowls are made from bell metal, which is a type of bronze with about 78% copper and 22% tin by mass. Machined singing bowls are often made from brass. I came along the page about Om mani padme hum and noticed that the Tibetan text very much looked like what I remembered from the symbols. This morning, I met with the woman again, and we studied the symbols. I wrote them down, actually not writing, but more drawing. Some information about how the characters should be written can be found in Tibetan Calligraphy and Tibetan Language correspondence course. I spend some time studying the Tibetan alphabet. After some puzzling, I arrived at:
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Internet of Women ThingsToday, I went to see the Internet of Women Things exhibition at TETEM art space. I sniffed the ten bottles from Smell Dating that contained a piece of T-shirt worn by someone for three days and rated their attractiveness. Some other woman who did this before me, was quite sure for some of the bottles whether T-shirt inside it was worn by a man or a woman. I noticed that my judgement (attractive, neutral, or unattractive) did match, except in one case, with the highest number of votes as shown to be cast by others. The person with the highest number of attractive votes, was a "27 years old, single, gay, male, smoker, eats everything". He did receive more unattractive votes than neutral votes, which might suggest that some people can smell if a person is gay. There were three persons who got more attractive than neutral and more neutral than unattractive votes. There was also a person with zero attractive votes. Although the instructions on the website says that you should not use a deodorant while wearing the T-shirt, the woman before me immediately said: "She is using my deodorant" when she smelled one of the bottles. Quite weird to intensly smell the T-shirts of some strangers, while it is not done to do this when you meet someone for the first time, at least not very consciously.
I also met with Marina Toeters from by-wire.net, who had just given a small workshop (for children) about how to intergrate LED's into clothing. I told her about Eth:0 and how I met a woman also working on wearable electronics. She showed me some of the things she had brought. I also told her a little about TkkrLab and how we have people solving problems with respect to programming small devices. She also worked on Cliff: the automatized zipper and I shared the idea of using a spiral to open and close a zipper that I had got when looking at it. While biking home, I thought some more about it and I also shared the idea with Annabel.
Autism Spectrum DisorderIn the past months, I tried to find an answer to the question whether I do have autism spectrum disorder (a form of Asperger Syndrome) or that it is caused by a combination of high nonverbal intelligence with normal verbal intelligence (Too Smart for Words), introversion, near-sightedness (The Theory Behind the Nearsighted Geek), and/or family situation (eldest of five born within four years and four months).
For this I did Faux Pas Recognition and Projective Storytelling Cards tests. The Faux Pas Recognition test is a test for adults whether the have a theory of mind. In each faux pas story, you are told something that is known to first actor in the story and then a second actor is introduced who makes a remark that would be offensive with respect to what you know about the first actor. If you feel that the second actor has made an awkward remark, you might have missed that the second actor did not know about the special fact known to you about the first actor. With some of the stories, I felt that the second actor did made an awkward remark, but then I realized my mistake, when an additional question was asked to me about the story. I noticed that I had problems focussing on the story and processing all the details, because it was at the end of the day, and I already had done a lot of talking. That I did not score very well on this test, might be contributed to other factors, like my language processing problems and being slightly exhausted due to my introversion. I do know that do have a theory of mind, because I am quite good at explaining things (like the rules of Go). I know that I am good at judging what the other person is understanding of the problem and finding ways to increase the understanding.
The Projective Storytelling Cards test consists of a number of drawing of all kinds of social situations and you are being asked what is happening. I probably scored low on this test, because I was taking a rather analytic approach. For some of the situations, I could make up a story about what might be happening, but because I did not have any way to verify it, I did not mention it, becuase I wanted to be factual. In some cases I even could think of several situations and with one situation, with father and a child standing around a pregnant woman, I remarked that pregnancy can be over shadowed by many worries. I am sceptical and a divergent thinker, which prompts met to often generate alternative explainations, where others are satisfied with the most obvious answer.
It is true that as a child I did not have many friends, but it also seems that I did not care much, probably because other boys of my age did not share my interests and I was ahead of them with respect to comprehension of science (astronomy, space flight, electronics and such). I was also an easy child, not having any rigid behaviours or limited interest. It is true that I was not much interested in social activities and that I lacked some abilities with respect to this. My uncorrected near-sightedness during the first seven years of my life probably did hinder my development in this area, not being able to see facial expression from more than a few meters away.
It is true that I do not have many friends and that most contacts with friends are organized, but the friendships I have are not superficial. It is also a fact that intelligent people usually have less friends. I am able to build friendships with both men and women. It is true that I have strong daily routines, but that is mainly because I do not want to spend time thinking about these every day matters. It also true that I stick to some strange routines of recording certain events, but that is mainly a means of giving meaning to my life and/or to give me a feeling of achievement. It is true that I am sensitive for artificial smells and tastes (such as alcohol and artificial sweeters) and that I am sensitive for touch. But although these things are often found with people who have autism, they are not characteristics. I also have no problems with sensory overload. I do noticed, that now that I get older, that I have more problems with concentrating when there are a lot of distractions around, but I understand that that happens to all people when they get older. I cannot remember having experienced a typical autistic meltdown, but I have experienced a type of shutdowns, which seem to be different (at least with respect to cause) from autistic shutdowns. There have been moments that I felt so emotional or rational confused, that I did not know how to proceed further, because every move seemed to make things worse. At these times, I just need to be alone to organize my thoughts. If people press me to make a move during such shutdowns, they only make things worse. The best way out is usually giving me the opportunity to write in my diary. It always helps me to write about what I am feeling of thinking, as a way to organize my emotions and thought and take some distance from them.
Although some people have concluded that I am within the spectrum, and then only at the most lowest level of severity, I tend to conclude that I am probably not, because there are other factors that could explain my behaviour, just like not every nerd is on the spectrum.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Trip to China 2010
-- contact -- Frans
My life as a hacker
The Art of Programming
HTML to LaTeX
eXtreme Programming Programs Hamilton cycles