Monday, 31 January 2011

Quantum mechanics - an introduction.

I thought I'd tackle another hard science subject of the future - quantum computing. But I realized you first have to know about a whole new way of thinking. Thinking in quanta.

So, first comes quantum theory. 

Best known -or better: least unknown- is the field of quantum mechanics.

In essence, quantum mechanics is just a mathematical description on how matter and waves (read: radiations like light). On macroscopic scale, these effects are seldom observed, but at extremes (microscopic, or very high or low temperatures or energies) some odd observations can be made.
Max Planck observed that some physical quantities can only be changed by discrete amounts, called quanta, which are multiples of the Planck constant, instead of varying in a continuous way.
A bound electron, for example, can only change within certain energy states. The difference in energy between these states is the quantum involved.

A second observation made was that the matter and wave-like behavior seem to overlap. A particle (like an electron) can behave like a particle, and eg. collide, but also has a wave-like property, and can therefore interfere with other particles/waves.

A third effect involved is Heisenbergs uncertainty principle, where you can, on microscopic scale, not say what the total characteristic of this particle/wave is: if you observe it as a particle, you wont get information on it's energy, but only on its (probable) position, and vice versa: if you observe the wave, you can get info on everything but the position. You see the dilemma. It's like a spooky thing that forever slips through your fingers.

(I know, some physicists will now start grumbling and protesting. But I'm not writing a college text here. I'm trying to explain the whole thing in less than 400 words....)

The previous is called the wave-particle duality. Physicists tend to describe a particle as a wave packet.
The rest is higher mathematics, witch I'm not totally familiar with, and interested persons should start a degree in physics to understand this.

The biggest consequence is that it is like a particle can be at the two places at the same time, or have different 'appearances at the same time. And this stays, until the moment someone comes in and takes a look at it. and suddenly, PING!!!! its just in one place, one state, behaving like we know it. 

De concept of being in many places and/or states at the same time is important, as long as there is no observer. It means nothing is definite until somebody takes a better look at it.

The consequences are enormous, also on philosophical terrain. Does nothing exist (in one definite state, that is) if there's nobody around?

But as up to today, nothing really challenged the theory, and observations have been made that suggest the thruthworthiness of the hypothesis.

More tomorrow.


I couldn't imagine this happening so soon.. Thank you all.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Some laught. After all, it's sunday.

There are so many funny pics circulating the internet.

It makes my day when I stumble upon on of these:

See you tomorrow.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Islamic states toppling???

It seems that there is something of truth in the domino effect (Remember the doctrine that caused the USA to assist south Vietnam in the war against communism - that communism would spread through the far east if it was not stopped somewhere).

Is this what is happening in North Africa and Jemen? All Islamic states, all with governments of doubtable reputations (corruption, oppression, discriminative, high unemployment,...) Will more states follow?

One thing is not so positive.
 If people demand more security, they might make the move to the right, to a fascist totalitarian regime, because it provides security. That would mean more radical Islamic states, and not democratic at all. Which is a contradiction: These people on the street fighting for their rights use an ultimate democratic right, and they might agree to trade their voice, their freedom for security.

That would be the worst outcome.
We can surely miss more hate in the world.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

The new power. Internet.

If the following assumptions are true, a new power has stood up. And not a feeble one. It can cause revolutions. It's democratic from the base. It uses the latest technology, wired and wireless, and connects almost instantly around the world. It can move from one place to another in a few minutes.

It's potentially dangerous, when controlled by the wrong people. Following an extract from an article:

 It's been a month since protests erupted in Tunisia. President Zine El Abidine has fled, the government's collapsed and clashes between protesters and police are sweeping the country. Of course, the requisite cries of "Twitter revolution!" are sweeping the blogosphere.
  • There is certainly a lot of Twitter chatter about the protests, under the hashtag #sidibouzid, and it's been a valuable source of information for Tunisians, who live in a country with highly oppressive government censorship.

  • Added to this is new speculation that maybe Wikileaks caused the revolution, too? Some protestors have cited a Wikileaks cable that featured criticism of Tunisia's corrupt leadership.

  • Or maybe it was the loose-knit hacking collective Anonymous? They attacked Tunisia's government in retaliation for censoring said Wikileaks cable.

  • Don't forget about rappers who make viral videos and bloggers. The government arrested a bunch of them in retaliation for Anonymous' retaliation.

  • Then again, it could be a big moment social bookmarking site Posterous. The blogging collective Nawaat has been frenetically updating their Posterous with excellent videos and images of the protests.

  • Nobody's citing Foursquare yet, but it's only a matter of time before some journalist finds a few protestors checking into a riot.
Can the world handle this power? It's extremely distributed, anonymous, and so easily infiltrated. It makes a huge call on the common sense of ordinary people. Governments don't like it, so most certainly a kind of cyber control attempt will take place in the next months or years.                

These are exciting times. I hope common sense does prevail.


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Ninja cats

Do you have a cat? Cats are amazing. I'm a cat person, I like their independency, the way the can pretend to ignoree you, the raffinated body language they speak, their drive for hunting... And the kittens can be sooo cute. I can watch them for hours.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Nothing is impossible.

If you ever think

"I can't do this, I'm too dumb, I will fail, I'm ignorant, I'm a looser,..." 

You should watch this:

This man can play guitar, without hands.

Now, grab yourself together and DO IT, whatever you thought you couldn't do.

Anything can be achieved.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Two More ‘Matrix’ Films Are Coming In 3D?

Here’s the email from a reader that was sent in to AICN.
[Keanu] says he met the Wachowski’s (no emphasis on the word brothers), for lunch over Christmas and stated that they had completed work on a two picture script treatment that would see him return to the world of the Matrix as Neo. Says the brothers have met with Jim Cameron to discuss the pro’s and con’s of 3D and are looking to deliver something which has never been seen again. Keanu stated that he still has an obligation to the fans to deliver a movie worthy of the title “The Matrix” and he swears this time that the treatment will truly revolutionize the action genre like the first movie. Wachowski’s are working on a movie called “Cloud Atlas” at the moment, once that concludes they will talk again.

Well, I loved the Matrix trilogy. I'm sure in for more.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Aggressive driving and road rage.

A while ago, I found -again- people reacting to each other in a very aggressive way while on the road. I came to the idea to look up some more info on this - it seems to be something psychological, so: it's all in the mind. But it's not worth the violence or rage that sometimes follows from this.

Motorists have found themselves in unpleasant situations involving abusive gestures or language from another driver who takes issue with how they drive. Anxiety and frustration can quickly spark an aggressive or careless driver who tailgates, speeds, fails to yield the right of way among other behaviours.
Aggressive driving behaviour may lead to incidents of road rage where motorists have been threatened and/or subjected to retaliatory actions by angry motorists.
If people drive responsibly they will reduce the chances of conflict on the road and help make our roads safer. Experts recommend the following tips to help avoid road conflicts:
  • Plan your route in advance. Some of the most erratic and inconsiderate driving occurs when motorists are lost. Or use a gps.
  • Make a conscious decision not to take your problems with you when driving;
  • Combat the warning signs of stress by getting fresh air and breathing deeply and slowly. Listen to relaxing music;
  • Avoid long drives if you can. If you take a long trip, stop every few hours for a rest. Before and during a long drive, avoid heavy meals which tend to make a person lethargic;
  • Drive in a courteous and considerate manner. Give way at busy intersections and where traffic lanes merge;
  • Don't compete or retaliate. If someone's driving annoys you, don't try to “educate them”. Leave traffic enforcement to the police;
  • Don't take other driver's mistakes personally;
  • Avoid honking your horn unless absolutely necessary and, if you must, tap on it lightly;
  • Say, “Sorry” if you make a mistake. An apology can reduce the risk of conflict;
  • If you are being physically threatened, stay in your car and lock the doors. If you have a cell phone call the police. Use your horn and lights to attract attention;
  • If you think you are being followed, do not drive home. Go to a police station or a busy public place;
  • Don't carry a defensive weapon, it might provoke a potential assailant. 

    If you're lucky, you have a blonde angel with pepperspray in the neighborhood.

Car accidents

 I found this very useful list the other day - being busy with searching a car. I decided to share:
More than six million drivers get into auto accidents that injure three million people annually. Driver speeding, large SUV's, and inattention because of car and cell phones contribute to the problem. A serious injury can affect your work and your family’s lives for along time.

Here are ten specific and immediate steps to take if you are in an auto accident.
  • remain calm and thoughtful.
  • If you are injured, stay in your car – unless it’s dangerous to do so.
  • Wait for the police and medical help.
  • Inform the police about the accident for the official report.
  • Record all witnesses’ names, addresses and phone numbers.
  • Confirm whether you were wearing a seat belt, which is the law in most jurisdictions.
  • If you are injured, insist on being transported to a hospital in an ambulance.
  • In all instances, obtain medial treatment immediately. Tell medical personnel about everything that you feel may be physically wrong.
  • Refrain from taking legal referrals at hospitals.
  • Do not talk to insurance reps until you contact a lawyer.


Wednesday, 19 January 2011

comparing and taking decisions.

You can't believe how many insurance companies there are. I wrote a few weeks ago I am looking out for a new car - so, when checking out all conditions I came about the issue of insurance.

I had the habit to take a full coverage (Omnium) as long as the loan is not fully paid. Here, this takes about three years, four max. But the prices are about triple the normal prices, especially for me.

I'm a good driver, I'm driving since 1984 (now you can estimate my age) and never had to claim insurance. I had two accidents, though, both times just light damage to my car, and to the other car. Both times were women driving... I must have driven close to half a million km, (that's 300 000 miles for you Imperial people), had a few near misses that rushed adrenaline through my body, I've seen crashes at the roadside... So although I never had to claim anything from insurance, I believe I should be covered well.

But then, in the heat of the action, I started to look at all the others insurances, too.
We have a lot of them. I recently only reviewed the house-related insurances, like fire, disaster covering, but I never looked at third-party liability, medical, court assistance (which I discover we have in double. Yeay. Two lawyers when you need one.)

After a few hours, I became feeling depressed from reading all this small-print, put everything back in their files, and safely away. I took out the two lawyers. I will have to decide which on I will fire. Hard choice, since I never met them.

So many choices. So many prices. I didn't even really start looking for what I started this whole thing for. Car insurance. Loans.

I still have a lot of work to do. F*ck.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

The truth according to Google.

This is funny. Start a Google search and start with;

"religion is "
"christianity is "
"islam is "
"atheism is "

and you get the weirdest answers.

Now, Google seems to have blocked some of the answers for a while, so when you typed "Islam is " , nothing appeared. But it does so for Judaism, Buddhism, catholicism, atheism, agnosticism, ...

After discovering this, I had a great waste of time trying out a lot of these:

Obama is ...
Bush is ...

or also:

Kennedy is ...
Elvis is ...

and so on.

But, seriously, who decides what shows up in google search, and what not? Which person decides that a search like "islam is " should stay empty, while others should not? Is it too insulting to call Islam bullshit, but not to call Catholicism, Judaism, Christianism, Atheism,... evil, bullshit, bad, ... ?

Speaking about censorship.
I hate it when someone decides what I can see and what not

Monday, 17 January 2011

Mind control

How critical can you think?

How independent are your thoughts, how original are they?
You might be surprised how much we are brainwashed without knowing. It's called mind control. It's used in psychology, in advertising, in political and religious opinions, in cults, the military, schools, at your work...

How independent can we think if everything around us is trying to influence us?

I consider myself a critical thinker, I try to raise my kids with a critical attitude towards the world, even if that leaves you alone and separated, outcasted sometimes. But this is better than blindly step into the traps that are set up around us by people who want control, power, obedience, mo,ey from you.

I'll post 2 vids, they are rather long, but shockingly real.

Saturday, 15 January 2011


Type in the number 241543903 in Google, 
search for images and you get something special. 
(Try it)

Nobody knew where this originated. The only known thing is that the oldest photo was found on Flickr, april 6th, 2009 and had  the number as an only tag.

The whole thing became a hype in december 2010, and seemt to become a meme now, with  FB, Tumblr, Flickr, and even a website devoted to it.

Later it has become clear that the whole action was set up by  David Horvitz, a New York based artist known for his often eccentric DIY instructional projects, posted a picture with his head in the freezer on his Flickr account san pedro glue stick.

The whole thing seems to go viral these days, so expect to see it recur in the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Galileo project... Failure of Europe

I'm quite a fan of the European union. I think  they accomplish things that would never be possible in individual countries. But there's failure, too. Big failure. Like the Galileo project.

Galileo is the second-geneation global positioning system (gps). The current (and only) system is organized and controlled by the US government, which gives the US full control over any application. The resolution is 20 metres, and 24 sattelites are providing signals.

Galileo will do better:

When Galileo, Europe's own global satellite navigation system, is fully operational, there will be 30 satellites in Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) at an altitude of 23 222 kilometres.
With 30 satellites at such an altitude, there is a very high probability (more than 90%) that anyone anywhere in the world will always be in sight of at least four satellites and hence will be able to determine their position from the ranging signals broadcast by the satellites. The inclination of the orbits was chosen to ensure good coverage of polar latitudes, which are poorly served by the US GPS system.

From most locations, six to eight satellites will always be visible, allowing positions to be determined very accurately – to within a few centimetres. Even in high rise cities, there will be a good chance that a road user will have sufficient satellites overhead for taking a position, especially as the Galileo system will be interoperable with the US system of 24 GPS satellites.

The Galileo system will have five main services:
  • Open Access Navigation: This will be 'free to air' and for use by the mass market; Simple timing and positioning down to 1 meter.
  • Commercial Navigation (Encrypted): High accuracy to the centimeter; Guaranteed service for which service providers will charge fees.
  • Safety Of Life Navigation: Open service; For applications where guaranteed accuracy is essential; Integrity messages will warn of errors.
  • Public Regulated Navigation (Encrypted): Continuous availability even in time of crisis; Government agencies will be main users.
  • Search And Rescue: System will pick up distress beacon locations; Feasible to send feedback, confirming help is on its way.

Afer 9/11 the US set pressure on Europe that the system should be controllable by them, fearing it might be exploited by terrorist groups. America, being the bossy big brother of Europe, caused discussions that delayed the whole thing.
Funding by the EU and external partners was difficult, so more delays, and shrinking the program were the result.
Internal discussions on contracts between the EU partners, and where to place the control center, resulted in the most absurd decision: two control centres wuill be built! (You only need one, for christ's sake).

At this time, Galileo is scaled down and delayed to 14 satellites operational in 2014, with an uncertain option to completion in 2017-2018. 14 sattelites would largely reduce the operational possibilities. Suggestions were made to keep it to 10 sats only, but the boss of the Galileo project stated that we "would fail to deliver the service of navigation 2 to 3 weeks every year" Seriously, who would buy this?

Financial uncertainty: Costs now are 250 million € /year, But the total cost over the next 20 years would be 20 billion €. All to be paid by a Europe in financial crisis. Big commercial companies have been drawing back from financing the project, because of the uncertainty of it. Long-term prospect is that the system will not make a profit.

It's Europe. All the way.

We have better technology than the US. We have more funding. We have a lot of advantages compared to the US. But we have no congruency, no "balls" to start something huge and finish it. Mostly because of political reasons. Europe is controlled by too many power groups. Every country wants a piece of the cake. Nobody really wants to invest.

As long as Europe is thinking as a conglomerate of 27 different countries, and not as a union, we should (sadly) refrain from global projects like this one.

courtesy of picture to ESA

Monday, 10 January 2011

Chuck Norris.

  • If you have five dollars and Chuck Norris has five dollars, Chuck Norris has more money than you.
  • There is no ‘ctrl’ button on Chuck Norrises computer. Chuck Norris is always in control.
  • Apple pays Chuck Norris 99 cents every time he listens to a song.
  • Chuck Norris can sneeze with his eyes open.
  • Chuck Norris can eat just one Lay’s potato chip.
  • Chuck Norris destroyed the periodic table, because he only recognizes the element of surprise.
  • Chuck Norris can kill two stones with one bird.
  • When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.
  • Chuck Norris doesn’t read books. He stares them down until he gets the information he wants.
  • There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Chuck Norris has allowed to live.
  • Outer space exists because it’s afraid to be on the same planet with Chuck Norris.
  • Chuck Norris does not sleep. He waits.
  • Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.
  • Chuck Norris is the reason why Waldo is hiding.
  • Chuck Norris counted to infinity – twice.
  • There is no chin behind Chuck Norris' beard. There is only another fist.
  • When Chuck Norris does a push up, he isn't lifting himself up, he's pushing the Earth down.
  • Chuck Norris is so fast, he can run around the world and punch himself in the back of the head.
  • Chuck Norris' hand is the only hand that can beat a Royal Flush.
  • Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink.
  • Chuck Norris doesn't wear a watch, HE decides what time it is.
  • Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.
  • Chuck Norris does not get frostbite. Chuck Norris bites frost
  • Contrary to popular belief, America is not a democracy, it is a Chucktatorship.

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Cheer up!

I sometimes just go looking for some cat pics, because they cheer me up. The texts are always so snappy, I couldn't find better myself.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Technology today

I was looking for some info on what he most important technological innovations of last year were- and I am impressed. I knew about all of them, but the list is impressing.

1. Peripheral Connection: USB 3.0 - With higher speeds and more power, USB 3.0 will be used in more devices soon. Not only does it provide much higher speeds and higher power when you need it, but it also offers a more power-efficient system.
  • up to 5Gb/s , that's a full DVD in about 8 seconds.
  • higher power specifications
  • ful duplex mode (two-way communication
  • support for sleep, idle and suspend, which will be energy-saving.

consequence: any peripheral will from now on have no delay because of bottlenecks

2. 4G network  With a faster data rate, 4G will offer better wireless connection to web-based content.

  • 100Mb/s download speed (as much as the older Wifi, so streaming video in HD is possible)
  • scalable bandwidth
  • roaming supported, 
  • high relative speed vs the base station possible (eg. in cars, trains, airplanes even?)

consequence: internet , TV, video,... will become truly wireless, as if the internet is everywhere (if ther is 4G, that is)

3. Web Design Markup: HTML 5 

  • new tags like audio, video, 
  • inclusion of API's (application programming interfaces) which make it possible to include script-like elements

    conclusion: easier a broader possibilities in web-pages.

    4. Storage: Solid State Drives - Solid state drives are faster than hard-disk drives. With Seagate entering this fast-changing field with their Pulsar, Solid State drives should be more popular and may find their way into some desktop computers.

      File:IMG 0085.jpg-m.jpg
    • no spin-up time
    • 50 to 100 times faster access time
    • low latency time (quick boot and start up of applications)
    • no sound (no moving parts)
    • shock-resistant, almost no chance of mechanical deficiencies
    • no influence of strong magnetic fields (unlike HDD's)
    • 1/2 to 1/3 of the power  consumption of a HDD
    conclusion: They look like superman drives. But... still expensive. Prices are going down.

    5. Circuitry: Memristor - With the introduction of memory that could retain information without power, computers and other devices could boot instantaneously. Although the memristor is the farthest from completion, it has the most potential to change technology.

    •  nano-scale technology - memories will shrink 100-fold
    • instant boot of computers - no more switching off (or better: computers might switch of ever time they are not working)
    • solid-state memory, totally new computer concepts, artificial intelligence applications,...

    conclusion: We might have to wait another 5 years, but the effects of the invention of the memristor are unimagineable. They will revolutionize computer technology (amongst others).

    I can't wait to see them implemented in my daily appliances.

    Thursday, 6 January 2011

    Holidays are nearing the end....

    ... and I'm not really unhappy about it. I like Christmas, New Year, but I don't like the uncountable visits to family and friends (I guess I'm a bit anti-social). Mostly because I'm bored. I like good, deep conversation, but that's mostly not what you get on those parties.

    I consider fleeing next Christmas holiday. Just go skiing or something. Have my mind and body away from stress in a small Austrian village, make long skiing trips, And make some walks in nature when it's night.

    Or, better, to some Island far away south, where it's summer. Just reloading batteries. Climbing the local volcano (I'm not a beach person, except for sailing , diving and windsurfing maybe). Sit at the bar in the evening and have my philosophical thoughts shared anyway. Wake up with the thought: "What can I do today?"

    I wouldn't miss Christmas too much. Just give me life and nice deep thoughts.

    Tuesday, 4 January 2011

    Buying a new car...

    It's that time. Old one gave up, repairable, but it's about the third time last year. I definitely want some wheels that are more adjusted to these times.

    I would like very much to buy an electric car - but they're still expensive.And I don't know if this also makes the insurance more expensive.

    I use to take omnium insurance for cars that I take a loan for- just to cover the risk of a total loss. So now, I'm in the process of comparing all kinds of insurances - again. This seems to repeat itself every 5 years... But when taking credit, and taking a fully covered car insurance, I rather spend a few more hours researching than paying a few hundred box too much on insuring.

    Auto insurance - especially fully covered insurance for cars is a difficult thing to compare. There are so many options - and prices differ with occupation, region, gender,... especially age is a huge factor. Your insurance policy can get 4 times as high if you're in the age group of 18 to 25 years (luckily I'm not.).

    Anyway, I have to research a lot. I don't know if I can insure my car in another European country either - would this work? It would largely broaden the choice!

    I'll keep you posted on how this develops. Start making calls. Now.

    Monday, 3 January 2011

    The amount of bullshit you can find on the internet....

    is amazingly big.

    So here's some advice from the greatest:
    "Develop a built-in bullshit detector"  
                                                          Ernest Hemingway

    "People are afraid of themselves, of their own reality; their feelings most of all. People talk about how great love is, but that's bullshit.
    Love hurts. Feelings are disturbing. People are taught that pain is evil and dangerous. How can they deal with love if they're afraid to feel?
    Pain is meant to wake us up. People try to hide their pain. But they're wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It's all in how you carry it. That's what matters. Pain is a feeling. Your feelings are a part of you. Your own reality. If you feel ashamed of them, and hide them, you're letting society destroy your reality.
    You should stand up for your right to feel your pain."

                                                          Jim Morrison 

    "The secret of charm is bullshit."

                                                          Tyrone Power

     Feel free to post the logo on websites of your choice. It will make the world a better place.

    Sunday, 2 January 2011

    Holding a cup

    I was once holding a cup of 4500 years old. In my hands.

    The archeologist showed it to me. He said "You want to hold this for a second?" then turned his back to me, and said in a straight voice:"Don't drop it. Its 4500 years old."

    I froze. This was made millennia before J.C. walked this very streets of Jerusalem (where I was at that moment).

    It made me think how insignificant my existence is, unless you can make things for eternity. This potter, who shaped the cup with his hands, long time dead, all people who ever drank from this cup, the last person to use it,... The hundreds, maybe thousands of years of waiting underground, until it ended up in my hands. I was holding thousands of significant moments of real people.

    I put the cup back in its cradle of straw, carefully, not to destroy this treasure of past days.