Monday, December 27, 2004

Plan for the next two weeks: take a car, five people, a keg of beer, drive through half of europe to a house in the middle of nowhere. Spend a week there eating, drinking, finding out what else to do. Then buy wine, food and other stuff until the car is nearly breaking down and drive home.

So: as there will be no more posts for at least a week, have a nice new year :-)

Monday, December 20, 2004

Saturday, December 18, 2004

Cool Micro-Cars from World War II to the seventies...

Thursday, December 16, 2004

I just had a meeting with one of my local bosses here, a
"Mitarbeitergespräch". That is where you tell each other what you think about
your work, your performance and these things. Well, he thinks, I should work
more. I do work something like 40 to 50 hours per week now, in dried air,
noisy environment and you know all that because I always rant about it. I get
paid for 19.5 hours per week, I will not get my PhD for what I am doing now...
I'll stop here, I am repeating myself.

My Boss is not a bad person, there's worse on earth. But he has been working
in this big research centre now for a long time, he has basically no friends
outside work, no social contacts other than his collegues. His home is on the
other half of the globe, somewhere in the States. So all he does is working,
because there is nothing else. As do most of the people there. Most of them
are from far away, none of them have any social contacts outside work (they
are physicists, so not of the most fashionable profession). Everything they do
is hang around at work. Most of the time not really productive, but they are
there. And that is what they expect of me.

I do not want to end up like that. I do have friends outside work. I try to
have social contacts which are not collegues. I even would like to get a
girlfriend some day (not speaking of family, this is so far off, that I do not
even think about it). So, maybe I am a bad physicist. But I think this is much
more than weight up by being a human being.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

I am close to explode! Just had a five minute phone call from my bosses on my mobile (I was so stupid to hand it to them. Never ever give your private phone number to your boss!). There is now a serious danger that tomorrow I will tell them to fuck off.

Our project is seriously behind schedule, we have to get an important test up and running by end of next week. I (and only I, nobody helping) started preparing that some two months ago, getting a setup which already worked in some other place. Mounted it, plugged it in, didn't work. So I started debugging, got it running quite OK, but there is still some big flaw in it. Got some "Experts" watching over my shoulder, just to get them to the same conclusion as me "We do not know. It should work..." There have been a lot of "it should..." the last few weeks.

At the same time I have to develop the read out software for the test's hardware. I have never done such thing before, I have to learn everything how to do it, including polishing my programming skill, which were slighly above the "Hello, World"-level. Alone this is a full time job. Also taking into account, that I do not know alot about electronics, I have something like two full time jobs plus learning how to do them at the same time. Sitting in a cave, 6 floors below ground, breathing dried air, having really noisy electronics around me, my desk in the office taken over by random people, the other desk which I sometimes used, when mine was occupied by some PostDoc happening to be around, is full of computers which just sit there and rot.

And today this phonecall. I left early, so that I don't go crazy down there. I did not answer the first two calls, I was busy with other things then. I answered the third call some hours later. Big mistake. As I am the personal slave, I have to be at the experimental hall all the time, work round the clock. "There could have been done so much more", they said. Well, there could. If we would have two or three people more, who actually would know what they do. "You could have done that already". Yes, I could. I could also have gone mental and killed everybody. Or ran off to brazil. Or could be abducted by aliens. Just because they like spending their entire life together with other nuts in a cave does not meen I have to. So, tomorrow, I probably will tell them to sod off. I might end up without getting my PhD for that, but I wouldn't have got it for that anyway. Experiment's policy is that you only get you PhD for Analysis. So far for motivation.

You see, I have fun, I am well and I really enjoy my life. On the positive side, two weeks from now I will be 2500km away. I will not be reachable for anyone. And I will spend that time with friends. So, there's hope...


Just had some haggis with some friends of mine. Well, two of us had haggis, the other two were to scared by the ingridients to actually try it (or one maybe to english to eat scottish food ;-) ). It turned out to taste quite good, like a mixture between Knipp and Blutwurst (this be german food, you may not know it, so this description might be useless to you...)

One of them was the girl I tried to chat up since 15 years, and to be honest, I think I am quite happy that it didn't work out. Would not have worked, either I would have turned into somebody boring, or we would have split up quite fast. Neither would be an option I would have liked.

Finished watching the first series of Coupling. I really want to see the second now... First time ever I wanted to see how a TV series goes on.

There is plenty of fish left in the toilet of love. How true...

Friday, December 10, 2004

Yesterday I wandered around the city. Shortly before christmas love and understanding spreads through the town, happy people bumb into each other and try to knock you off your feet while getting gifts for their beloved ones. Everybody has a happy "GET OUT OF MY F***ING WAY!"-Smile. Oh, how I love christmas season.

At the christmas market there was a Santa Claus pulled on a roap over the masses, blasting from awful speakers a protest song about peer pressure in reindeer groups against physically challenged reindeers, people having mulled wine with too much rhum, standing inbetween the stands like sardines, the tightness luckily preventing them to fall over from alcohol intoxication, spreading the fun and joy of christmas around. Joy and peace everywhere.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

On monday I saw I cool band playing in the streets of Altona. Some policemen where hiding behind a corner. They wanted to listen to the band (which had songs like "Fuck the police..."), but as the band had no permission to play there... One of the policemen complained, that they always stop playing and run away when he comes closer to listen to the music. This is what I like about real democracies: Policemen are people too.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Rule no. one: PhD students have to be around all the time and to be at the disposal of higher ranked members of the group.

Rule no. two: PhD students have no right to use their desk, if a higher ranked PostDoc or something wants to use it, or if storage room is needed to put things on.

Rule no. three: PhD students should not think on their own and have to notify higher ranked members of the group about any small thing they do.

Rule no. four: PhD students are not allowed have a private life.

We had a fun and entertaining meeting yesterday. Well, not really fun, not really entertaining, but you might call it a meeting. Some of my colleagues seem to believe in Voodoo. If you put needles and pins into a PhD-student, it will hurt his boss. At least this was what they tried. There is a group leader which people not really like, one of the PhD student of this group leader did a talk and he was massacred with questions which they thought he would not be able to answer and his boss would have to show his ignorance. It did not work out well...

When our russian collegues did their talks, I nearly fell into a giggle loop when a colleague started to scribble "We must wait! All your tracks are belong to us! Somebody has set us up the bomb!..." on his notepad. It was getting really surreal. But the meeting was short. So not so bad at all.

The day continued with Sushi and Sauna, so overall it was a nice day following a great weekend. Some of my friends from Erlangen had come over to HH, which made me re-discover, that most of the fun hanging around in bars comes from whom you're with. My friends in HH are not as numerous and diverse that I would have as much fun as when I'm in Erlangen...
In the city where my parents live garbage collection has been privatized. The got a new trash can, which is labeled that you could put 50 liters in, but in fact it only is 47 liters (No, I did not measure it myself, but somebody did and complained in the newspapers). The will get completely new high-tech garbage collection trucks which will be manned by one guy only, the cans will be picked up by a robotic arm, weighted automatically (you have to pay by weight now...) and then emptied. So far this sounds slightly reasonable. But: you have to place the can exactly 1.312234 meters off the road side, there must not be any cars parking near the place where you put the can, it has to be oriented in an exact angle of 87.25 degrees with respect to the street and so on and so on. If you do not manage to fullfill all criteria, your garbage stays there and you can try again in two weeks (yes, they only come every second week!).

Another example how technology helps us to get a much more comfortable and easier life. Just put your garbage in your car, drive to some quiet spot and dump it in the woods. Much easier than coping with the garbage collection, also much cheaper...

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I went to a pub today here in Hamburg with some friends. The special thing
about this pub is you get a keg of beer at your table. So we had a ten liter
one with five people, accompanied by a lot of fat food. When after a couple of
hours I wanted to pay with my credit card, I had to follow the waitress to the
credit card terminal. This waitress was a good looking blonde, seeming to be a
nice person. Until I tried to pay...

I had to put in the card into a reader. So, there is about fifteen ways to put
it in, I asked the waitress, how to do it. She said "oh, like that", so I put
it like that. "Oh, well, actually, no, the other way", so she tried to get the
card out again. Which didn't work, because some little thing, some hook, was
holding the card back, as the reader was trying to access the little chip on
it. She started complaining that I broke everything sticking it in too far
(mention the innuendo...) I, not knowing anything about credit card readers,
tried to get the card out again by trying the Cancel button, than starting to
push various other buttons. She keeping on complaining, complainig to her
collegues, complaining to her boss, what an Idiot I am, putting it in too
deep, and so on and so on...

After about a few seconds I got the card out again. She grabbed it from me,
"Now I will do it, you drunken old bastard" (actually, she frased it slightly more
polite...). What an arrogant bitch. I got two liters of beer, so I am slightly
drunk for sure. But bitching about because she does not understand how her
stupid card reader works and declaring me a stupid drunk idiot annoys me. I
might sound like boasting about my superiour intelligence, but she was
amazingly dumb and arrogant...

What really wonders me is, this keeps happening a lot the last few years. A
lot of the girls I meet turn out to be arrogant and dumb. And the few of
them who didn't, think I am a really nice guy, but...

Monday, November 29, 2004

I need to get a secret blog. Some of the people I would like to write about are reading it ;-)

Had a couple of beers with some friends. Maybe I shouldn't do the devils advocate, but I just like to take positions in a discussions which not nessesary are my point of view... Sometimes, when I mostly agree with people in a discussion, I take some other point, just to keep the discussion going, I just like to discuss. This is good in discussion with jehova's witnesses, but it might be something not to do with friends.

Saturday, November 27, 2004

We're all looking for a woman who can sit in a mini-skirt and talk philosophy, executing both with confidence and style.

(bottom line on ...)

It's saturday night in Erlangen. The place is called "The Fat Lady sings". The lady who sings isn't fat at all though, actually it is a really good looking blonde. The band plays Grateful Death and Crosby, Stills and Nash. The pub is crowded. A nice looking curly blonde sits at the bar, smiles at me, but keeps on talking to an ugly old guy. Sitting there, having a couple of beers with a good friend. Behind me a guy looking like John "Maddog" Hall, around us people who seem to be nice, you can talk to them, when you listen to their conversation you do not want to bang your head on the wall. It's a nice evening, you feel good being in that pub, you feel like home, the owner of the pub recognizes me, chats a few lines. It really is like being home.

A week ago. Some pub in Hamburg. It is brighter, looks a bit more silish. The waiter is nice, but has difficulties speaking my language. People sitting in the pub mind their own businesses, look like you do not want to talk to them. If you listen to their conversations, you wonder how stupid people can be. Just on the next table sits a gay flight attendant with his boyfriend. Amazing how people fit to the stereotype. He is talking about how he really does not like olives. Just if a bad novelist wrote the dialogue. Everybody is closed in, all of them look like they are trying really hard to be cool, to show off. It is like a fashion show, nobody is normal. Everybody has picked a role model and wants to be exactly like it. Like a convention of Barbie dolls, it just seems like plastic, not real...

I do not want to fit in there. I just like being me, not following a trend how to be cool. Hamburg people are really stressed to be like their role models, and they seem really frustrated because they do not really reach their ideal. Maybe they just should try to be normal...

Christmas seems more promising this year...

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Ah! a selvajaria desta selvajaria! Merda
Pra toda a vida como a nossa, que não é nada disto!
Eu pràqui engenheiro, práctico à força, sensível a todo,
Pràqui parado, em relação a vós, mesmo quando ando;
Mesmo quando ajo, inerte; mesmo quando me imponho, débil;
Estático, quebrado, dissidente cobarde da vossa Glória,
Da vossa grande dinâmica estridente, quente e sangrenta!

Arre! por não poder agir de acordo com o meu delírio!
Arre! por andar sempre agarrado às saias da civilização!
Por andar com douceur des mœurs às costas, como um fardo de rendas!
Moços de esquina - todos nòs somos - do huminitarismo moderno!
Estupores de tísicos, de neurasténicos, de linfáticos,
Sem coragem para ser gent ecom violência e audácia,
Com a alma como uma galinha presa por uma perna!

excerpto de Álvaro de Campos - Ode marítima

Yesterday I sent a mail to our groups mailing list, stating that after 11 hours sitting in a loud environment and breathing dried air I reached my limit and will go home now (actually, the main message was something else...)

Today I got a response (CCed to the group list) from one of my bosses: when he was doing actual work, 11 hours was his average spent in the same hall, and he could be there much longer. Well. SOD OFF! I am feeling motivated, valued etc now.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Things that make me feel like a valued member of our collaboration: getting forgotten when everybody goes for lunch. Things (like specs) change, but nobody tells me. I have to set something up, but nobody tells me the important pitfall everybody but me knows. Yeeehaaa for my collegues.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Just watching a TV documentary ybout the cosmos (called cosmos or space or someting like that...) Somebody should shoot TV producers...

BE AFRAID! There is meteors hitting earth any time soon now, killing every bit of live on it. Billions of tons of stone will fall down just in your neighbourhood. Then there is supernovas, black holes, dangerous stars nearby. Every 30 million years earth passes a region of higher density of stars in the milky way, risking comets getting kicked direction earth. And: the average lifetime of a species is a couple of million years. We have been around a couple of million years, so we will ALL GONNA DIE SOON! RUN! FEAR! BE AFRAID OF THE DANGEROUS COSMOS...

But thank god, the american army is doing a lot of research how to prevent these terrorist meteors and communist comets hitting civilized world. And Kevin Costner (or whoever that stupid presenter was) warns us about it...

No wonder Science is not really fashionable, if it is presented this way.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Just had a meeting again. This meeting is supposed to be a working meeting, where all problems we had the last week and all stuff which has to be done this week is addressed. Tha last few meetings BigBoss kept on showing up, so now this meeting has become a Explain-BigBoss-your-Hardware-the-umpth-time meeting. I just love it...

Friday, November 12, 2004

I just passed by an advertisment for an exhibition called "100.000 years of sex". Not to be confused with the erotic and fetish fair, which happens to be at the same time in Hamburg. This exhibition is in a well known museum, so it is culture, it is art. No pornography. The difference is that the explicit pictures are no high quality photographs but antique pots. And they show the fornication of young boys which is now only allowed for artistic purposes...

The title made me think a bit. 100.000 years of sex. Just imagine the time before. Homo erectus sitting in his cave, being bored, all day just hunting and being cloned by aliens. One lucky day, some idea strikes him. That thing between his legs, erected all the day (that is why he is called homo erectus), maybe could be of some other use than to hang your fur on or fix the fishing line...

And there is that other being in the cave, which is same species, but somehow wrong... Connecting the dots, he figures out something. And now knowing things, he passes being homo erectus to being homo sapiens, the knowing human. Evolution finally got rid of those stupid aliens cloning humans even more stupid...

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Wer also allgemeine Aufklärung verbreitet, verschafft zugleich eben dadurch allgemeine wechselseitige Sicherheit, und allgemeine Aufklärung und Sicherheit machen Fürsten und Staaten entbehrlich. Oder wozu braucht man sie sodann?

Adam Weishaupt

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Just returned from Fresher's Weekend (or whatever you want to call it, going with some 20 first year students into a youth hostel and telling them about university...). It seems, there is only a limited amount of different types who study physics or mathematics. You have the sociophobic, wiseassy geek, there is the MacGuyver-Type and there is the Physics-Teacher (everybody had one of them in school, so no need to explain deeper). Mathematicians also fall into these categories, but sometimes they vary a bit more...

After the freshmen left, we went to a bath in Amberg. If there is something like really deep Provvinzz, I think Amberg is very close (although looking like a nice little town). I am still amazed about how dump people can be. And I really start hating german ways of doing things. Take the way germans behave in a Sauna: In the Sauna there is either absolute silence, nobody talks, if somebody has to say something, it is whispered. Or you have some dumbasses boasting around, shouting there stupidities around.

You have the people who run into the sauna, when water is thrown onto the stove, then run out after a few minutes, just to return a few minutes later. In, out, in, out, like they work on a strange Carnot Cycle, transporting heat out of the Sauna into the resting area. Then there is always some walrus, getting into the sauna, climbing with an amazing effort onto the topmost seats, sitting there, after a few seconds making sounds like a steam engine, after a few minutes like a steam engine close to explosion, staying there until close to a heart attack. Jumping out of the Sauna, maybe showering and coming back after a much too short time. For germans, Sauna seems like having to be stress, pain and hush. Annoying people, who can't relax, who cannot have fun.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Some time since the last post... There's been a lot of stress lately, it will keep on some time, so do not expect a lot of posts until February. Short Version of what happened since then:

My bosses in HH finally discovered that it is not a long time until February, when our detector has to be ready. So everybody starts panicking now and wants new timelines and other useless stuff. It is getting more and more like a Dilbert Cartoon....

I should be in HH right now, but this weekend I spend down south together with some friends, just because. I am fed up with HH...

Personal stuff: being stubborn is good for being a physicist. You keep on insisting that your stuff works until it really works. It is not good for getting a relationship. Some time ago, I figured out, that after fifteen years of constantly trying, it is not going to work with a girl I know since school times (Actually, what I really like about her is, she did not say I am a really nice guy blabla, she said: "forget it"; I like people being straightforward). I am now good friends with her, but I still keep on trying. It kind of turned into a hobby. She by now knows how to handle me, so it is fun to be with her...

There is another girl, I tried to chat her up nearly a year ago (this expression just sounds harsh, but I do not know of any english expression more subtle....), I got the usual answer, that I am a really nice guy (well, phrased differently, nore like "Well.... Aehm.... You know...." , but essence the same...). I still keep on trying, convinced that it is worth the pain. Well, seems I am a really strange guy. Sometime I should learn from experience...

Sometimes I think I got it all wrong...

Monday, November 01, 2004

America is going to vote tomorrow (or so). Arte is showing Wag the Dog, Pro7 Fahrenheit 9/11, all other stations have something about the election as well. And me? I am reading a book. About Cartography...

The people in the states can vote without me. They will get the president they deserve (that is why it is a democracy). And the world will go on anyway. Maybe one or too countries will be bombed out of existence if Bush wins, maybe one or too countries will be bombed out of existence if Kerry wins (also Democrats tried to do Damascectomies). Who knows...

I managed to get speech output working for my IRC program! Yoohooo!

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Happy Halloween!

Strangely enough alot of reasons why I prefer Erlangen to Hamburg involve headaches the day after...

Saturday, October 30, 2004

WEIRD DANCING IN ALL-NIGHT computer-banking lobbies. Unauthorized pyrotechnic displays. Land-art, earth-works as bizarre alien artifacts strewn in State Parks. Burglarize houses but instead of stealing, leave Poetic-Terrorist objects. Kidnap someone & make them happy. Pick someone at random & convince them they're the heir to an enormous, useless & amazing fortune--say 5000 square miles of Antarctica, or an aging circus elephant, or an orphanage in Bombay, or a collection of alchemical mss. Later they will come to realize that for a few moments they believed in something extraordinary, & will perhaps be driven as a result to seek out some more intense mode of existence.

Hakim Bey - TAZ

Sounds Interesting: The works of Hakim Bey. He is an american anarchist, sees himself as the last pirate and invented the TAZ, the temporary autonomous zone.

i just like spam. "We sell you a completely worthless degree. MBA, MSc, PhD available. yours kindly, Adam Branch, MBA, MSc, PhD"

Anybody else sees the ridiculousness of this?

Friday, October 29, 2004

The European Constitution is going to be signed today. It then still has to be ratified by the member countries of the european union, but it is already a great step towards a more unified Europe.

The big ceremony is in Rome. Lot of people do speeches, they cite Victor Hugo and Erasmus of Rotterdam, they mention the great achievements of european politics in the last 50 years, they talk about future, war on terrorism, and a lot of other stuff. What they do not talk about is: the constitution is 400 pages thick, it weighs nearly 2kg. Who will read this? And even worse, you just cannot read it. I tried. I gave up on page 4. (And I managed to get to page 15 in Joyce's Finnegans Wake...) It is completely ununderstandable, I tried in german, english, french, portuguese. Not a word. It is all in Law-Speek.

A constitiuon is something so important, that it should be short and readable by everyone. And it should not regulate everything, it is a foundation for laws, not a substitution. But I am just a stupid phyisicist, so I may be wrong. I will just keep on being amused by the TV commentaries like "Oh, now he switched to a language we do not have a translator for..." (like Dutch and Portuguese...)

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Mana Mana, didee dididee.

If you use Evolution to read your mail, do not switch on the remote spam tests. They take forever and do not really improve your spam filter results, if you have got a decent filter (like spamassassin with roules du jour...),

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Something is seriously wrong. Bayern3 is playing really good music tonight...

Conservative Punk What a strange Idea. And thank god, they own the real TRUTH, they want punk music be freed from those left wing propagandists which prevent the youth of today from thinking and knowing the TRUTH. Yeah, VOTE BUSH because he is PUNK!

Monday, October 25, 2004 not only has people with similar problems, it also offers solutions:

Women just can't say no to me. They always answer something like "Well, ehm, you know, ehm, can I call you in twenty years...?"

Stories of a science slave part 15: This saturday I got a call from somebody in our management (or whatever you want to call it). She does not understand some graphs a collegue made and therefore needs urgently his phonenumber. I offered to phone him, because I do not want to give away his number without his prior consent. This started a discussion, that if we wouldn't be so stupid (to make graphs she does not understand?), this all wouldn't be needed and bladiblabdibla. I said goodbye and hung up. I am still completely pissed about that. Not the phonecall itself. But that was the last bit to really annoy me (and a lot of people can tell you that it needs a hell of a lot to annoy me for more than 15 minutes...)

Enough about work, I will talk to my Prof tomorrow what to do...

I went out to buy a new car radio on saturday. My old one still worked, but it started skipping bits from CDs and it started falling apart. And it had too much nobs, which were to easily touched: if you wanted to turn the volume up or down, you could forget that on a slightly bad road... So went out to buy a new one. I wanted one with classic design: two big, heavy nobs which you can only turn with some force and maybe some buttons for station memory. It also should play CDs and have some way of connecting external sources as an iPod. OK. So far, so easy.

In the store, they had a display of different radios. All with price tags I could afford where complete crap: all of them had SuperHyperMega Organic Displays with a gazillion of colours, they had JKHGSD and EBBBC and FFFHGQT and UMMMPF and a lot of other fancy abbreviations. They had customisable screensavers! They had at least 5000 nobs and buttons, joysicks, movable frontplates (and I do not mean removable, I mean you turn it on and then the techno-ballet starts, bits and pieces are moved by motors, sliding in and out, turning around...) And they had an amazingly bad sound.

The ones I liked (with two nobs, one line-text only display in black and white...) started at 700 Euros. And you needed a Mercedes to put them in, everything below that would be just wrong. So I ended up buying a much too expensive Blaupunkt-Radio, which has only a black and white display, you can switch of the annoying flashy animations and it has two AUX-inputs. And it is a solid, robust Blaupunkt with a good tuner...

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Another one passed away. Inês disappeared from the blogging world. I will miss your posts about Bogart, about films and about everything. Say hello to the Real Life for me and tell it, I will come around some day, maybe :-)

Yez, Yez. Se Spiegel will be afailable in Inglish as vell. Now you inglishspeakers can se best internet news-site read! And without using the fish...

Monday, October 18, 2004

That's advertisment... Simple message, we build planes that bomb britain. No naked women which distract you from the product. Yeah, they could do publicity then.

(That is where you end up when searching for a description of an old geiger counter (Frieseke & Hoepfner FH40T)...)

Saturday, October 16, 2004

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Sewing machines belong to the machines I do not understand. I just spend half an hour to sew some shorts (some small hole, 5cm sewing). The fifth attempt looked good, maybe it even survives the next washing :-)

The other is a singular other and completely different. Every other is different. (In German: Der Andere ist ein singulärer Anderer und ganz anders. Jeder andere ist ganz anders., found in the WIkipedia Article about Jaques Derrida)

I just like modern philosophy. It is so straightforward and shows deep intellectual understanding of the otherness of the others. Or so...

Just finished reading the Status Report our Project has to hand in to the Comitee of Big Bosses. Once more I realize that I am only a stupid grad studend who has no clue about the big picture.

This report contains a table of the current manpower situation. It lists the FTE (Full Time Equivalent) for each sub-project and the whole project. A typical line is: Subproject 1: 7.8 FTEs, Subproject 2: 5.3 FTEs, Subproject 3: 3.0 FTEs, Total 26.7 FTEs.

Conclusion from this table: either I cannot do math (as addition of Manpower is nonlinear and synergy effects multiply everything by enormous factors) or we have 10.1 FTEs in Management. Which is too much, and besides that these 10 FTEs are not doing much (at least usefull).

Besides that I do not understand where the numbers for the sub-projects come from. In my counting I only get something like 4 to 5 FTEs for Subproject 1, which I (officially) belong to... So: is 1 PHD-Student (who gets paid for 20h a week) something like 2 FTEs (working 80h a week)?

But maybe I am just too stupid to understand management...

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Aniversaries today:

  • 30 years ago, the first Ikea opened it's doors in Germany
  • 10 years ago, the first Netscape Beta Version (Link to Navigator 0.91 for Win3.1) was made public (For you Archeology Geeks out there: All Netscape Versions...)
  • Roger Moore turns 70
  • ...

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

When I grow up, I want a library like this...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Browsing my 1000 Lire Edition of Dante's Divina Comedia...

Per me si va ne la città dolente,
per me si va ne l'etterno dolore
per mi si va tra la perduta gente.

Giustiza mosse il mio alto fattore
fecemi la divina podestate
la somma sapïenza e 'l primo amore.

Dinanzi a me non fuor cose criate
se non etterne, e io etterna duro.

Discovering the marvels of Wikipedia...

This day 512 years ago Indians discovered Columbus...

Friday, October 08, 2004

Why don't they make DVDs of good movies for a change: Moebius and La Estrategia del caracol for example...

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Hallo, Hallo, Ich bin dein Ohrwurm...

Monday, October 04, 2004

Tonight we have a really kitschy Bob Ross(TM)-Sundown(TM) in Erlangen and I left my Camera in Hamburg...

Saturday, October 02, 2004

15 years of re-unification of germany... And still no flowering landscapes, Mr. Kohl...

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

O meu amor me deixou
Levou minha identidade
Não sei mais bem onde estou
Nem onde a realidade

Ah, se eu fosse marinheiro
Era eu quem tinha partido
Mas meu coração ligeiro
Não se teria partido

Ou se partisse colava
Com cola de maresia
Eu amava e desamava
Sem peso e com poesia

Ah, se eu fosse marinheiro
Seria doce meu lar
Não só o Rio de Janeiro
A imensidão e o mar

Leste oeste norte e sul
Onde um homem se situa
Quando o sol sobre o azul
Ou quando no mar a lua

Não buscaria conforto nem juntaria dinheiro
Um amor em cada porto
Ah, se eu fosse marinheiro.

Maresia (se Eu Fosse Um Marinheiro) - Adriana Calcanhoto

Holiday's over, back to work... It might still be from the holiday, but I just do not care anymore. If the experiment blows up, so what...

Friday, September 17, 2004

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Tonic Water

Instead of Postcards: Greetings from Portugal :-)

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Interesting thoughts about the colour of LEGO bricks...

Some people are really serious about toys.
You know you are old when you still remember the tracks of LEGO trains being blue. (OK, I had the grey ones, but a lot of my friends had the blue ones...)

Random Picture...

Only one more week to holiday!!!!!

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

I understand quantum mechanics. I can calculate the tiny world of an atom and the enormity of a star. I have a general idea how the universe works. But I still have not the faintest idea how women think... and I never will.

The universe as a whole is so incredibly much simpler than its inhabitants.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

For some reasons Blogger did not accept my last posting, so this is the second try. If you see something posted two hundred times, blogger went berserk...

The American Library Association published a list of the 100 books most banned from school libraries, public libraries etc. Interestingly it contains not only sexually explicit books or books like the Anarchists Cookbook, but also World Literature and childrens books. You find: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain; Harry Potter by JK Rowling; The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

The strangest entry on the list is Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford, which is a book with pictures where you have to find Waldo in a huge group of people. And these people are not involved in group sex or anything which somebody might object.

I would like to make fun of these stupid fundamentalists on the other side of the atlantic. But, here in good ol' Europe, there is not even such a list of banned books. I am sure, some school banned books from their library, but there is no outcry heard (although that for sure exists as well...) And seeing what is happening now in Portugal to the Women on Waves ship shows we are not better than the fundamentalists on the other side of the atlantic...

Friday, August 27, 2004

I do not understand politics, part whatever...

A ship from the dutch organisation Women on Waves is coming to portugal. This organisation is in favour of legalising abortion, which is prohibited in portugal (with the exception of pregnancy after rape (until 16th week), serious danger for the woman (12th week) or serious illnesses of the fetus (until 24th week)). Interesting about this is not only the discussion about legalisation of abortion but also the way the portuguese politicians react.

A minister said, that the agenda of the portuguese government is only to be defined by the portuguese. "It does not depend on the arrival of any kind of vehicle"... What I do not understand about it: it is a dutch ship arriving. It triggers a discussion in portuguese media and portuguese people start to think (again) about abortion. So, if portuguese people discuss abortion and they are supposed to define the agenda of portuguese government, why does portuguese government not discuss it but declares they do not want to be annoyed by strange dutch women on a ship... And just to prevent comments from my portuguese friends: no, it is not only because your government is especially incompetent. (Maybe because of governments being incompetent in general.)

What annoys me about that is the lack of consitency in argumentation. If you ignore the people, then tell them why. Not just declare the people being stupid. They generally do not like that...

Thursday, August 26, 2004

The chain of communication is getting better day by day. A tells B that we need some stuff, B tells C, C says D could buy it, so B asks D. D asks E to call F (that's me...) if A really needs stuff. F tells E to call G, because there was some confusion some weeks ago. E will get a mail from G that B already got that stuff. B will be confused. D will buy that thing, A will be happy, F will discover a spare thing, so that D did not need to buy it in the first place. And there was not alot of rejoicing.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Today I wanted to do some short bike tour. Just from Erlangen passing Marloffstein and Atzelsberg and then going back, some 15km. I ended up doing Marloffstein, Atzelsberg, Baiersdorf, Eltersdorf, Tennenlohe and back, some 45km... I hate when I get taken away doing things... :-)

Strange thing is, I am not even tired. I should stop doing all these sport things. They make me much to healthy... For compensation, I had some beers now.

Friday, August 20, 2004

My boss in Hamburg is on a conference on the other side of the world. It is amazing how much stuff you get done without any stress when nobody is around having IDEAS. Usually when I am in my office my boss drops in two or three times and has some idea which has to be done NOW. The next day he aks why the hell I did this...

There is one guy in my collaboration which tries to survive by presenting other peoples work as his own. He managed to get a Post Doc position! He just behaves important, fetches enough buzzwords to throw random phrases into a discussion, makes a lot of proposals at meetings and asks everybody, if he can have a look at their work, which he then copies and presents as his own. He has not done anything himself the last two years (or more...) His best proposal at a meeting was that we should remove one of those big shiny chips on our read out electronics board, so that we can implement some stupid stuff there. The big shiny things are our read out chips, his proposal was like removing the heart to have place for another appendix...

In other news: I am putting some photos on, you can find them here...

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Googling for Christians for decent literature leads to interesting results... is a great site. It even has the the night of the living dead...
Those bloody communist perverts are trying to corrupt us citizens for decent literature by selling p0rn!. Darn them...

Monday, August 16, 2004

"A computing device is disclosed. The computing device includes a housing having an illuminable portion. The computing device also includes a light device disposed inside the housing. The light device is configured to illuminate the illuminable portion."

Apple is patenting blinkenlights...

Sunday, August 15, 2004

Been to Helgoland, to the exact spot where Werner Heisenberg discovered Quantum Mechanics. At least the monument suggests that...

Helgoland is a small Island in the middle of the North Sea, until 1890 british, then came to germany as exchange for Sansibar. To get there, you can take the fast ferry from Cuxhaven, taking two and a half hour, right to the port of the island. Or you can take the traditional way from Hamburg with a sixties ship, taking five hours to get close to the port, there change to smaller boats and get transferred to the island.

The island itself is just a big lump of rock in the middle of nowhere, after some terraforming attempts of the british navy in 1945 not entirely flat (5700 tons of explosives were involved...). There is a small village mainly consiting of alcohol and cigarretes shops, as the island is tax free. You can stay exactly three hours on the island before the ship leaves again, which is nearly the time to circle it and buy some stuff (Helgoland is one of the few places where you can get Absolut Vodka with 50% of alcohol, it normally has only 40%...)

It is a really fun trip, you get serious sun burns on the ship, you are on the sea for a day and you can get cheap alcohol. Kind of mini-cruise...

Friday, August 13, 2004

Just read an article about a guy who wants to keep german language "pure" and wants to get rid of americanisms. Sometimes you can overdo things... For sure we have to much anglisisms in our day to day speech, most of them even are complete nonsense to any native english speaker, but to rant about everything which has the slightest touch of english is just mad. English uses a lot of words from other languages, if you read "Mother Tongue" by Bill Bryson you get the impression that english is just words stolen from any other lingo... And nobody bothers (or maybe they do and I just have not heard of them...)

If you use Welthandelszentrum instead of World Trade Center, I think that is just plain wrong. It is a name. Names are not translated. You would not call Pepe Carvalho something like John Oak (or to stick with german and english: Henry Miller is not Heinz Müller...). There is a point in not using anglisisms if there is a german word for it, mainly because these anglisisms are just plain wrong. But sometimes there is no german word, or the german word is just too complicated. Mobiltelefon is just too long, so if everybody calls it "Handy", why not, even if every native english speaker looks at you strangely...

Where that guy is right is that there are too much english phrases in publicities. And most of them are just nonsense like "Come in and find out". Yeah, just go in and then leave again. People who do slogans like that you should't buy anything from anyway...

And do not call them americanisms. They are mainly anglisims. Even if you don't like the states, it is still english they speak. At least kind of... English can complain about americanisms, but then they complain about the difference between colour and color.

Ah, and don't complain about my spelling. Just came home from a pub crawl...
Another one surfing the blog wave... This place is just crawling with physicists :-)

Thursday, August 12, 2004

One of the reasons why I never will be a good physicist: I can't stand the way of presentation.

My problems with physiscists way of presentation:

  • There is no excuse for bad typography.

  • I like to target my presentations to my audience: if experts, do expert talk, if non-experts, do non-expert talk.

  • Use as few formulas as possible.

  • Do not put as much as you can on a slide.

  • Do not use any of those fancy powerpoint effects if you do not need them.

  • If you got 15 minutes, do not put 60 minutes of content in your talk and just speak faster.

  • Do not use more than three colours.

  • Bright yellow on white is bad.

  • Using Comic Sans does not make your talk more understandable, nor does it make you cool.

  • and so on and so on...

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

When the outside temperature rises
And the meaning is oh so clear
One thousand and one yellow daffodils
Begin to dance in front of you - oh dear
Are they trying to tell you something
You're missing that one final screw
You're simply not in the pink my dear
To be honest you haven't got a clue

I'm going slightly mad
I'm going slightly mad
It finally happened - happened
It finally happened - ooh oh
It finally happened
I'm slightly mad
Oh dear

I'm one card short of a full deck
I'm not quite the shilling
One wave short of a shipwreck
I'm not my usual top billing
I'm coming down with a fever
I'm really out to sea
This kettle is boiling over
I think I'm a banana tree
Oh dear

I'm going slightly mad
I'm going slightly mad
It finally happened - happened
It finally happened - uh huh
It finally happened
I'm slightly mad
Oh dear

Ooh ooh ah ah
Ooh ooh ah ah
I'm knitting with only one needle
Unravelling fast it's true
I'm driving only three wheels these days
But my dear how about you

I'm going slightly mad
I'm going slightly mad
It finally happened
It finally happened - oh yes
It finally happened
I'm slightly mad
Just very slightly mad

And there you have it

I'm going slightly mad - Lyrics and Music by Queen...
Random Picture

Searching for some different pictures I finally found the missing slides from some holiday in Italy. I was looking for them since about eight years...

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Just put up on the web some emberassing pictures from school times...

This one is from our class trip to Bonn in 1991, where we met the chancellor (Helmut Kohl, for those who cannot remember that times...) opening the youth hostel.

Friday, August 06, 2004

About 5 years ago we changed the spelling rules in german from overly complicated to slightly less complicated. At that time there was a big fuzz about killing the language of Schiller and Goethe and the death of the occidental culture in general. Now one of germanys greates newspaper publishing house announced that they will return to the old spelling, as people are still mixing new and old spelling, and as some books are only published in old spelling, which confuses people.

I right now read a book in the spelling of 1860. I am not confused (let's say not more than normal...). To be on the safe side I think I will return to Lutherian spelling (like back in fourteenhundred something), this will for sure not confuse anybody, as it was Luther who invented german in the first place...

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Went rowing yesterday. My hands are now full of blisters, but it was fun. Something different if you get together with 15 people who hardly now each other but organise themself into working teams in a boat. Just the opposite to work...

Went out with a really nice girl I know since 15 years and had a nice evening. Not a day totally lost... (Although my chances with her are damn' close to zero, at least she keeps on telling me :-) )
Sometimes I think doing a phd is like being in a game show. You get an impossible task, you have to do it in no time. If you achieve 20 in 1000 of them, you get your phd...

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

These stupid anal oriented parking nazis gave me another ticket. Some day they will make me obey parking laws... Bloody fascists. ;-)

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Not a lot happened the last days... Went to work, worked like a horse (ok, horses do not stare at computer screens or clean up experimental halls...), got drunk with collegues, went to bed. Repeat...

But I managed to finish some books I was reading (I always read some books in parallel...) So here now my rants on them:

Marco Polo - Il Millione or the wonders of the world

Nice book, one of the first travel books. Although I am quite sure Marco Polo only saw half of the things he describes it is a pretty impressive book. Written shortly after 1200 it draws a vivid picture of the orient and how it was viewed by the europeans. Sometimes it is a bit boring to read, especially when he just goes like "This is City XY, the inhabitants are heathens, burn their deads and pay with paper money" for pages and pages.

Henry Miller - The Tropic of Capricorn

I am not really sure if I like it. The first half is Miller complaining about being poor, living in Paris and fucking beautiful women. The second half is less complaining, but keeps on the tenor. He for sure can write, the only problem is, he has not a lot to write about. A story would have helped, like this it is just a brilliantly written account of some not really interesting life in Paris.

Bill Bryson - The dictionary of troublesome words

This is one of the few dictionaries you can actually read from top to bottom. Bryson shows how to use some of the more or less obscure words in english as well as pitfalls with words you think you knew all your life (or at least for a long time). If you are writing english texts, you should at least have borrowed this book once from the library :-) Non-native speakers like me will be astonished about the richness of english language having special words for lying face up (supine), face downwards (prone and prostrate) or non-specified but comfortable lying around (recumbent).

James Joyce - Dubliners
I would call it a book of short stories if it were actual stories. It is more a collection of sketches. Joyce portraits people and everyday situations, but there is nothing happening. Like Miller he is a really good writer but this book just seems to be just some warming up. Like a sketchbook this is not the real picture but already shows some genius. If there is a real picture I do not know, the only other thing I tried to read by Joyce is Finnegans Wake, and I stopped on page 14.

Another one on the blog train :-)

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

On the weekend when I was in Erlangen they just build a huge crane in front of my house. Looked pretty impressive...

Monday, July 26, 2004

They say that the left side of the brain
Controls the right
They say that the right side
Has to work hard all night
Maybe I think too much for my own good
Some people say so
Other people say no no
The fact is
You don't think as much as you could
I had a childhood that was mercifully brief
I grew up in a state of disbelief
I started to think too much
When I was twelve going on thirteen
Me and the girls from St. Augustine
Up in the mezzanine
Thinking about God

Maybe I think too much
Maybe I think too much
Maybe I think too much
Maybe I think too much

Have you ever experienced a period of grace
When your brain just takes a seat behind your face
And the world begins The Elephant Dance
Everything's funny
Everyone's sunny
You take out your money
And walk down the road
That leads me to the girl I love
The girl I'm always thinking of
But maybe I think too much
And I ought to just hold her
Stop trying to mold her
Maybe blindfold her
And take her away

Maybe I think too much
Maybe I think too much
Maybe I think too much
Maybe I think too much

Song by Simon and Garfunkel, written by Paul Simon

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Random Science Picture:

Friday, July 23, 2004

Don't you just hate it if you sit on your sofa, reading, trying to have a quiet evening and out of a sudden a salsa band creeps out of the woods beneath your window and starts to party...?

(No, it is not a Monty Python Moment. Today is fiesta latina in the cultural centre just next to my flat...)

Carlos Paredes died yesterday. He was one of the greatest players of portuguese guitar...

Thursday, July 22, 2004

I just like dictionaries... The former "Penguin dictionary of troublesome words", now just called Troublesome Words by Bill Bryson just arrived from Amazon and made me pick up my "Penguin Dictionary of Curious and Interesting Numbers". Interestingly enough it just fell open at the page describing 42. 42 is the constant of the smallest magic cube. (Vaguely remember some article in nature about a cube shaped universe...)
Diving into the blogosphere I hit theomorph.

Not unlike the real world you are only seperated from any person in the blog world by a few degrees of seperation (you might want to call it clicks, though)...
Some Ideas turn out not to be as good as they sounded in the beginning...

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

The only thing you learn in university is learning. You do not learn actually doing things. This might happen during your phd. Sometimes it doesn't. You are basically dropped into the water: "you have learned something, so now just do something completely different. No we won't tell you how to do it, figure it out." Sometimes I wish to be back in the days of studying, where you just sat in the library and read books (and sometimes did math stuff)...
People who program stuff like while ((bk = bg + ((*(int *) bg) >> 1) + 4){} should be shot.
I called this blog gajo simpático, as I heard quite often that I am a really nice guy, but. (Here the sentence ends usually.) I just hate that.

There is one thing I hate more. Having to listen between the lines because you actually get a lot of talking but nothing said. "Yes", "no", "I do not know" are all valid answers, but only one at a time. Sometimes a "well, no" is better than talking about weather and having to figure out what we are actually talking about.

Monday, July 19, 2004

PHD life sucks (as micat already stated...). I am trying to squeeze in two weeks of holiday some time in August to visit some friends in Portugal. Sent a mail to my (kind-of-)boss in Hamburg. Every five minutes came an answer: No, this has to be done, that has to be done...

Seems I am the only one in Hamburg at that time and have to build the *****ing detector myself. So I will spent August with two mad russians in a cellar building a detector, turning into a gollum like creature and having a nervous breakdown in September. What a great life.

There is still hope for a week of holiday, but I am sure, there will be something why I cannot go.

Just to be clear: it is OK that I cannot make a holiday whenever I want. But our project is so badly organised that everything (which has to be done in Hamburg) dumps on me. Our so-called management manages by asking everybody to do the work for them... Asking for time to make a holiday I got the response: Make a detailed timeline for the project and then figure out yourself. Fun.
What would Jesus drive? Well, I think he would ride a mule. Or a donkey. I cannot imagine him trying to go around the deserts of palestine in a small japanese eco-car, nor driving there with a hummer. So Americans, do like Jesus did. Get a donkey! (Or do like Jesus did: get nailed to a cross, but that would be a nasty comment.)

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Welcome to micat aboard the blog-train. One more way to procrastinate :-)
Another Bibliotaph on the net...

Geek level still low: 31.6%

Os americanos se passam! Vi no slashdot um Thread sobre uma pagina para fazer comunidades, que começou em inglês, mas agora ja há muitos que falam brasileiro (ou brasilês). E qual é o problema? Há paises, que não falam inglês. Tambem no net. E há pessoas que falam mais que uma lingua. Aber anscheinend nicht in den Staaten...

And there is the fish...

Saturday, July 17, 2004

the last time somone listened to a Bush, a bunch of people wandered in the desert for 40 years

found on

Around 2000 BC some egyptian priest sat together around a pyramid and were frolicking around a big jar of grape juice turned bad. One of them started to think aloud: "." (This translates in modern english to something like "Why don't we take some wheat, let it sprout, rost it. Then put it in water, boil it, add yeast and hops, wait some time for it ferment and drink that stuff. Might be a jolly good Idea, don't you think?") Well, it worked. Beer had entered the world's stage.

Some 2000 years later romans were the masters of the world. Egypt was just one of the provinces of rome, but the idea of beer had kept on. Roman soldiers transmitted the Idea of beer to the germanic tribes they were fighting in the cold and wet north, what is now known as southern germany. Teutons by then were used to mead, honey mixed with water let rot for some weeks. Despite fighting the romans they caught some ideas from them. What is now Frankonia used to be teutonic border region, heavily influenced by the romans. That is why franconian wine comes in "Bocksbeuteln", a bottle modelled after roman bottles (the shape has been source of many disputes with Portugal. There they use the same shape for Vinho Verde, everybody wanted to have it patented...)

Teutons got the idea of beer. Some time later the christian monks found out, that beer is something to keep you alive during lent. Beer got perfected by the monks, a variety of thousands of different beers was born. And then, sometime somebody got the idea of putting some benches outside a cloister, beneath some lovely trees, maybe serve some food... Thus, the biergarten was born. The best invention of mankind enters world history. Not even electricity can come up to the ingenuity of a biergarten. Maybe the running hot water is better. But not much...

In a biergarten, there are no social differences. The only difference is if people are prussians or non-prussians. This is something not defined by where you were born, but how you behave. If you are narrow minded, chances are high to be a prussian. If you are narrow minded, but after a beer don't care, chances are high not to be a prussian. Biergarten is the best thing germans (or teutons?) have ever given to the world.

In case you wonder why there are so many quotes today...: getting bored I just read big part of the fortune database. I just put up some I liked, to find them again; some day I might need them...

A woman may very well form a friendship with a man, but for this to endure, it must be assisted by a little physical antipathy.

The worst thing one can do is not to try, to be aware of what one wants and not give in to it, to spend years in silent hurt wondering if something could have materialized -- and never knowing.

David Viscott

The feeling persists that no one can simultaneously be a respectable writer and understand how a refrigerator works, just as no gentleman wears a brown suit in the city. Colleges may be to blame. English majors are encouraged, I know, to hate chemistry and physics, and to be proud because they are not dull and creepy and humorless and war-oriented like the engineers across the quad. And our most impressive critics have commonly been such English majors, and they are squeamish about technology to this very day. So it is natural for them to despise science fiction.

Kurt Vonnegut Jr., "Science Fiction"

Just googled for fish shops in Nürnberg. One of the links said "Offers for fish at eBay". Cool. Just imagine, fresh tuna fish, starting bet 1 Euro, auction ends in two weeks. Can be send by express. Whooohooo.
I am always amazed about how much we talk, how little we say. Sometimes I should say things instead of hoping that people will get it. Sometimes people should say things instead of hoping, that I will get it... Life is complicated enough, there is no need to make it more complicated.

Friday, July 16, 2004

<>When I was a young man, I vowed never to marry until I found the ideal woman. Well, I found her -- but alas, she was waiting for the ideal man.

Robert Schuman

Being a nerd: On Heise there is a discussion thread about the shadow of the earth moving with more than the speed of light if you are far enough away. I am really amazed how stupid these argumentations get... (Yes, it is Heise, yes, I know people are dumb. But this dumb?) Seems that we are still deep in the dark middle ages concerning the physics knowledge of ordinary peasants.

Happily returning to ivory tower, staring at my computer screen and trying to figure out why my program dies...

38.095238095238095% of me is a huge nerd! How about you?

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Today at 8:24 pm CEST the 1000st vistor passed by (from

Whoever it was, you won the honorary title "tambem um gajo simpatico"... :-)

Still gajo simpatico. Some things never change... :-(

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Human beings make a strange fauna and flora. From a distance they appear negligible; close up they are apt to appear ugly and malicious. More than anything they need to be surrounded with sufficient space - space even more than time.

        Henry Miller - Tropic of Cancer

(Image (c) Columbia Tristar, used without permission...)

Went to see spiderman 2 yesterday. Really nice movie. Aren't we all a bit like spiderman? Heroes, but we can tell nobody?

Well. Not really... but we try.

I only know intelligent people. Everybody I know who participated in a study from Spiegel and McKinsey about competences in languages, work experience and so on performed something like the top third or better... (me too)

(OK, statistics so far is 3...)

Monday, July 12, 2004

In soviet russia computers were programming you!

I am trying to understand some non-documented software written by a mad scientist fifteen years ago, ported to Linux by mad russian scientist some years later and modified by a mad polish scientist two years ago.

We are talking about deeply nested gotos, variables with instructive names like a,b,c,..., random stuff like a not-yet set variable b (which is a pointer to c, which is used for five different purposes and full of some bytes of data and some bytes of random garbage), ok returning to b, so b is handled with random stuff like b[5]=b[17], b[3]=b[19] and b[17]=0. This indented FORTRAN style (the first seven columns empty, then everything with no further indent...)...

Ah, and did I say already no comments, no documentation. The original programmer now lives in Australia, the russian is in Russia and busy with other stuff and the polish nobody understands...

Physics software sucks!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

George W Bush's Desktop

It takes 180.11 cans of Coca Cola Classic to kill me by caffeine...

Seems I do not understand politics. The richest part of germany, bavaria, which also has the lowest unemployment rate and the highest productivity has 12 bank holidays per year. The poorest part, with the highest unemployment and the lowest productivity, has 9 bank holidays. Conclusion from that is we need less holidays to improve productivity and lower the unemployment rates. I fail to see the logic, but I am stupid anyway...

(Yes, of course this is simplistic. But so is anything I heard from our politicians so far...)

The server where I host most of my images is down (not really down, but the firewall is in the default state of blocking everything...). I will only get to repair it in two weeks or so. Please be patient, you will get nice pictures soon again :-)

Some sane people on the net: Chaos Computer Club

Thursday, July 08, 2004

30 Years of Hobbythek. One of the best shows ever, although the bavarian TV did not think so (at least on the episode about marital helpers...). In 70s TV people were allowed to smoke, to drink, to behave like people. And it was really intelligent. Half of the words Jean Pütz used in that show are no longer understood by kids today...

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

It seems that my prophecies of doom come true. This morning germans turned into nice and smiling people... A really nice girl at the gas station gave me her bonus-points, smiled at me and she and everybody else in the shop were nice. Time to prepare for apocalypse...

I read in a news-ticker, that only 7.500 germans do blog. I am one of the selected few...

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Γαίος Σιμπάτικος congratulates the greek team, but fears that there will be no olympian games. The greek will party from now on for half a year, nobody is going to work on the stadions... Only if Rehakles takes over the organisation...

ELWOOD: Jake! Are you allright?
JAKE: The band... The band...
REV. BROWN: Do you SEE the LIGHT?!?
JAKE: The band!
REV. BROWN: Do you SEE the LIGHT???
ELWOOD: What light?
BROWN: Have you SEEN the LIGHT?
JAKE: YES! YES! Jesus H. Tap Dancin' Christ! I have seen the
JAKE: The Band Elwood! The Band!
ELWOOD: The band. The band. The Band? The band!
REV: Praise God!
ELWOOD: And God Bless the United States of America!

I for one welcome our new football overlords.

Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Europe is turning strange: Portugal was praised for best organization of a UEFA tournament ever...

In the end, germans will turn into nice, smiling and optimistic people, italians will have a government, english will accept the euro, french accept that there are countries outside france worth noticing... What a horrible thought!

Welch poetischer Radiokommentar:

"Jetzt wird es ein Hupkonzert geben, wie es Europa noch nicht gesehen hat. Es wird erst zu ende gehen, wenn die letzte Autobatterie im Morgengrauen sich mit einem leisen Röcheln verabschiedet..."

Sad news. KiKa is no longer broadcasting at nights. Good Bye Bernd das Brot night loop. The last good tv-show after 22:00 is gone now. I will miss it...

Monday, June 28, 2004

Friday, June 25, 2004

The Rules

(from Rules for engagement in modern guerrilla warfare: subsection relationships)

1. The female always makes the rules

2. The rules are subject to change at any time without prior notification

3. No male can possibly know all the rules

4. If the female suspects that the male knows all the rules, she must immediately change some of the rules.

5. The female is NEVER wrong

6. If it seem that the female is wrong, it must be because of a flagrant misunderstanding which was the direct result of something the male did or said wrong.

7. If rule no 6 applies, the male must apologise immediately for causing the misunderstanding.

8. The female can change her mind at any time.

9. The male can not change his mind, except with the express written consent of the female, which may be retracted at any time

10. The female has the right to be upset or angry at any time.

11. When the female is upset or angry, she is under no obligation whatsoever to disclose her reasons, if any

12. The male must remain calm at all times unless the female wants him to be angry or upset.

13. The female must under no circumstances allow the male to know whether or not she wants him to be angry or upset.

Should stop betting on football games... (Only did it this european cup, though)

My bet on Portugal - England was 1:2, ended 5:6. Greece - France I bet 1:3, now it is 1:0 and it does not look like it is going to get anywhere close to my bet...

Old chinese proverb says no luck at gambling... :-)

Thursday, June 24, 2004

I learned something about Alice today... Hansenet is 100% owned by Italian Telecom. Explains a lot.

Also learned something about women today. Some of them are not as clever as I think they are... But on the other hand, that is not only women, that is all people. Most of them are vegetables, some of them are as clever as I think they are, some come close, most don't...

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Note to self: 19. September International Talk like a pirate day

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipisicing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Alice is fast. Finally she arrived at my flat, after a month, two telekom technicians, five hours in the hotline...

But at least it works and I get some 200K/s data transfers to Erlangen University, some 20K/s to Vienna University; austrians have always been slow...

Friday, June 18, 2004

When physicists get excited... or as the slide at todays meeting said "Nils close to the magnet when turned on"

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Been to the comic salon here in Erlangen today. There are really great comics out there. Some funny, some serios, some both...

Better yet than the comcis was the audience. From the Erlangen Goth scene (imagine 15 year old kids with akne, looking pale, running around in dark leather coats and kilts, being EVIL) to Erlangen intellectuals (wild haircut, small glasses, babbling about how this reminds them of that and isn't there a TV show called teletubbies or so, yes, yes, it just looks like that) to Siemens people (*BORING*), to Frankonian Coz-Players (same as Goth-Scene, but brighter leather coats...)

I wish I could draw. The whole thing was worth beeing drawn in a comic...
The ballots are closed in Germany, now politicians start to babble on the radio...

Conservatives, who are the clear winner, claim it was a sign, that the people (more THE PEOPLE) are sick of social democrats and it was a clear sign against the government in Berlin. AFAIK this was european parliament elections, so what has this to do with Berlin...

Social Democrats, who lost alot, say it is because they did necessary reforms and now get this as a form of penitence for them. Yeah, just do some ave marias and blaim it on the stupid people (again THE PEOPLE) who do not understand the necessities of a state. The idea that it is because they had no message in this elections does not come to anybody's mind...

The greens, who gained more than 4%, say, they won because they were the only ones with a program... At least one party not babbling complete nonsense.

I vaguely remember some book, where politicians were shot after their 4 years in parliament. Might help...

Friday, June 11, 2004

Rule number one of the guild of Noisemaking Professions: Thou shalt only work between 7:30 and 9:00. Thou shalt choose the wall which is closest to anyone sleeping. Thou shalt use the largest hammer you can find...

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Spiegel Online and Heise both state, that since early morning a fascist spam wave is roaring through the net... The first time ever that Neo-Nazis managed to get a bot-net working to distribute their mental diarrhea by spam mails...

I only got mails about cheap viagra and my small penis today (90% of all women think my penis is too small...)

"An important instrument of suppresion by patriarchalic society is the mandatory heterosexuality."

(from the program of Die Frauen - a feministic party candidating at the europian elections)

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Thanks to a friend of mine (who should write a thesis instead of googling around ;-) more info on Alice

Mind the annoying SMS-Ticker at the bottom of the page. Who thinks of such stupid annoying useless and generally shite things?

Meet Alice. Alice was supposed to come to my flat last month. She did not show up... I phoned her, after waiting a few minutes in the loop, I got the answer, that she will come in a few days, following a telekom technician. A few days later I recieved a SMS that she will come a day after the agreed date. Fine... I was not there by that time. Talking to her (after minutes and minutes in the loop), we agreed on another day. SMS: it will be a day after that date... Fine. The technician bringing here was supposed to show up between 8:00 and 16:00. At 12:00 I recieved a call that Alice is not in my flat. Yeah, that I knew, I already told her that a few weeks before. So we agreed on an emergency telekom technician bringing her within 6 hours. Wich finally worked. Now I just need my password to use Alice (which is supposed to arrive by mail any day now)...

BTW: Alice is DSL provided by HanseNet here in Hamburg, in case you did not guess already

Picture taken 10:29 CET in Hamburg Altona, using a Canon EOS 300D, 300mm lens, covered roughly 90% by cardboard and using a black slide as filter.

Only every 122 years venus can be seen passing in front of the sun, but then twice within 8 years. One of the last venus transits features one of my personal favorite scientists: Guillaume Joseph Le Gentil. In 1760 he left Brest for India, to observe the venus transit from there allowing to measure the distance between earth and sun, a method developed by Halley. He arrived Pondycherry in India in time, but the city was taken by british soldiers who where at war with the french at that time. He could not leave the ship, so he did his measurements aboard, which ended up completely useless...

He then went to Madagaskar and Mauritius to do some studies there and wait for the next transit eight year later. Returning in time to Pondicherry, which has fallen back to France again, he was only able to stare at rain clouds. Disappointed he returned to france. On his voyage he survived two ships sinking, finding at his return that he had been declared dead by his family and all his welth had been spend by his heirs.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Blogging helps writing your dissertation

It is Bergkirchweih-Time. Starting Thursday before pentecost, Erlangen turns ten days into a madhouse... Every night around 10.000 people walk up a small hill and get drunk. You get Ox-on-a-stick (a whole Ox roasted...), Beer in 1l-mugs, lots of amusement-things like auto-scooter and drunk people. Astonishingly there are only minor brawls, nearly no casualities.

All teenagers go there and get drunk. Most of them are annoyingly dumb...

Interesting fact: about three to four months after the Bergkirchweih biology and medicine faculties get an unusual high number of foetuses to play with... When I grew up and was a teenager, I vaguely remember something called AIDS/HIV and always use a condom. Seems to be forgotten by now... But maybe I am just plain boring.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

The said magnet... stupid piece of crap.

Sunday, May 30, 2004

Nas vésperas da inauguração da Ponte Rainha Santa Isabel (ex-Ponte Europa)... (Publico Online)

Not yet opened the new bridge in Coimbra already changed its name... The Bridge Formerly Known As Europa.

Congratulations to all Conimbrigenses and Santa Clarenses, now there is one more way to meet.

Friday, May 28, 2004

Still-life with tunnel tea...

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Did I already say, that I hate cooling down superconducting magnets? No? I hate cooling down superconducting magnets. It just bores the hell out of you...

Elite Universities are great. Let us all copy american unversities! We want 10% of the students thinking of suicide and 1.3 percent actually trying...

Just did the RTL test on german. Scored 16 out of 20, really bad. Punctuation and text completion 0 mistakes, guessing strange words and capitalization each 2 out of 5 wrong.

The strange words guessing is comlete nonsense. They ask for words no one ever uses... And they do not even tell you afterwards what you did wrong. And it is a bad flash animation. Just so RTL...

This seems to be the new hype in german televison. Doing the great german whatever test. There has been a fitness test, now there is a spelling test, there were these stupid germanys most intelligent people tests, working like any quizshow with questions about useless facts (what bra size has Britney Spears...). Sad to see where TV is going...


This Blog complies to the BLX standard...

Tried contact lenses today. Although I did stick quite a few things in my eyes when I was a kid (like scissors), it took me about two hours until the optician put them in. Getting them out I managed myself in under half an hour...

It is quite a good feeling not having glasses on and seeing everything clearly. Although I am not used to it and it just felt wrong to see without anything sticking in your face... I will try again some time, I got two lenses for free. Maybe some day I get used to it.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Always Remember:

Ensimmäinen runo

Mieleni minun tekevi,
aivoni ajattelevi
lähteäni laulamahan,
saa'ani sanelemahan,
sukuvirttä suoltamahan,
lajivirttä laulamahan.
Sanat suussani sulavat,
puhe'et putoelevat,
kielelleni kerkiävät,
hampahilleni hajoovat.
Veli kulta, veikkoseni,
kaunis kasvinkumppalini!
Lähe nyt kanssa laulamahan,
saa kera sanelemahan
yhtehen yhyttyämme,
kahta'alta käytyämme!

Another fun and interesting thing to do: watch a superconducting magnet cool down. Just sit next to it and check every 15 minutes if it is still cooling down with less than 30K/h... Not to mention it is loud, we have dried air and there is a low annoying wind passing through the hall...

Changed the blog template: as blogger is now providing comments, i got rid of the haloscan ones. Anybody can comment now, without the need for JavaScript...

Monday, May 24, 2004

I am starting to understand, why so many Physicists (see below...) turn up here. I spent the last two or three working days painting small dots in a grid on our superconducting magnet. Combine this with other equally stupid and boring tasks, no social life, no contact to non-physicists (in case you get in contact, it is only short and stops at the question which Job you have) and you end up being a pathetic sociopathic Physicist. Or an alcoholic. Or both...

When I am done with my PHD I will go to Brazil and live in the Jungle for quite some time... Or end up in a mental institution with friendly people telling me everything will be good. Sorry Nuno, no Bar here in Hamburg.

Friday, May 14, 2004

I wrote a complaint about the information policy of the S-Bahn (metro) about the trains going after the suicide. They had at the display something like "Wait for Announcements", but all the announcments were unreadable because of trains passing by. Nobody at the station (at least the passengers) had any clue about where to go...

I got an answer quite fast. I should have gone to the Info-Point to get an individual time table blabla. They will forward my complaint to the crisis management blabla. It seems that none of them ever goes by train. If it says "Wait for announcment" I wait for Announcments. If they want me to go to the Service-Point, do an announcment "Go to service point if you want to get home". If they have no clue what to do, make an announcment "We have no clue what to do, find your way home on your own".

There was actually a train going where I wanted (Altona), but this was an interregional one (ICE), not a S-Bahn. They could have said "Take this if you want to go to Altona", as it was empty anyway.

Never go with anything connected to Deutsche Bahn again. Bloody Idiots.
Went to the cinema yesterday with a friend to see Troy. As usually the book is much better, Petersen does not seem to have read it... Either I slept, or there is no twelve years siege. Achilles is an arrogant idiot, Helena is not so beautyful to start a war for, all is historically inaccurate (not to say plain wrong) and fighting scenes are just stupid. Achilles wears his steel armor on bare skin, which I think would not last a few minutes in a actual fight, his swordplay is just ridiculous.

There are no gods in the movie. As far as I remember the whole story is about man being a toy for the gods. Achilles is a semi-god. In that movie he is not even invulnerable (he just does not get hurt), there is no explanation why he is hurtable only on his feet...

All the greek heroes look like vikings. (Only Hector looks a bit italian) I really do not like the Idea of greek heroes being tall blond blue eyed vikings. They should look like small, big nosed greek (no offense to the greek. Call it a classical profile...)

I could go on ranting for longer, but you might get the idea... On the way back home, which would have been two stations with the metro, some idiot jumped in front of a train at a station before, so no trains where going in my direction. All announcements at the station were made when trains passed by, so you could not understand anything. Catched the last train to the main station, hoping there would be a possibility to get home. There were no more trains, the last one gone half an hour ago. So we took the night bus, taking one and a half hour for a travel taking ten minutes normally.

It just was classical. After the Iliad (or a bad movie of it) came the Odissey (or a bad night bus version of it). If it wasn't for my company being a very nice girl, this would have been a horrible evening...

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Never try to discuss things with Physicists. (I distinguish between Physicists (Capital P) and physicists. The latter being somebody who studied physics but survived somewhat being a normal person, the former a absent-minded creature, only knowing other physicists, social life consisting of meetings and getting drunk with two other physicists. You get the Idea...)

Discussions with Physicists go around in circles, they always try to take EVERYTHING(TM) into account, they make up problems, they have no clue about what is realistic and what not. And for some reason they sometimes fall silent for about 30 seconds, staring around, and then start the discussion again. Maybe it is because they do not meet a lot of people, so if they have got the opportunity to talk to somebody, they overuse it...

Monday, May 10, 2004

Been to the Hafengeburtstag. Highlight: The Tug Boat Ballet...

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Been in Erlangen for the last two days, going out with friends and signing a new working contract. I am still not sure if I like Hamburg that much, anyway I will return to Erlangen as soon as our project in Hamburg is finished...

Packing stuff now, as I will leave for Hamburg early tomorrow morning (I wanted to leave tonight, but I am too tired to survive 6 hours of driving). It is raining.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

If you want to build a ship, don't drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.

- Antoine de Saint-Exupéry -

My favourite political movements, Part #1: Posadistas

Quote from Fortean Times: "They called themselves the Posadists after their founder Juan R Posadas and, like many UFO cults, they bore a fierce loyalty to their “dear master”.1 They believed that close encounters were evidence of superior socialist civilisations from Earth’s future. Their bizarre belief in flying saucers was not channelled to them by some tackily-named space entity but “theoretically informed” by Marx and Trotsky, and was for them a logical extension of Marxist dialectical materialism. Posadas wrote: “We will travel to planets millions of light years away under a Socialist society.”

Trotskyism meets UFO-Cult. Groovy...

Friday, April 30, 2004

Kuro5hin has a nice article about the portuguese revolution, which sums up portugal's history from the 1920 to April 25th, 1974 quite nicely. As far as I can tell...

Finally got my satelite receiver working. The last week I was only able to see childrens television in very bad quality. I phoned to the company responsible for our antenna, and discovered that the people at Saturn sold me the wrong cable, which lead me to connecting it to the wrong output. Never trust any of the sell-bots from Media-Markt-Saturn...

Now I get 5 different home shopping channels and Viva 2, which is a music channel sending annoying music videos in a small corner of the screen, all the rest of the screen is occupied by scrolling text bars showing sms-messages slightly less intellectual than "Luv U Hunnybunny" and charts from Timbuktu to Borneo. Yesterday night I ended up watching the childrens television night loop (Bernd das Brot forever).

Monday, April 26, 2004

Holy Foreskin!

On Shift again. Jumped in for a friend...

Just been here half an hour and already bored :-) Reading Spiegel Online: Singing birds in big cities sing louder than their counterparts in the country. In the trees behind my house are some nice examples of that. One is especially annoying, as it imitates the sound of a cell phone beeping. I think this bird has a lot of fun in the parks going beep beep and all humans around start looking for their mobile...

In other news: Teacher was threatened by a student with a cookie.

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Poor Darwin. Now creationism reached Europe (again, we returned to the middle ages...). Italy kicked evolution out of the curriculum in schools in the first 10 years or so.

On the other hand, evolution is popular in Portugal, so it seems. In 1974 they made one of the few (more or less) peaceful revolutions (there were not a lot of casualities, military ran around with flowers in their guns). Now there seem to be people going on that it was not really a revolution, more of an evolution.

I do not know what you want to call it else than revolution. Military marching around the city, suspending by force the old government, providing new government. The old government did not need much force to get thrown out, but nonetheless, that's what I call a revolution.

Some people also go on, that the iraq war was not really a war, because wars need at least 1000 fatalities. So it was just an armed conflict, or let's say some minor disagreement between a government and a terrorist (figure out yourself where the difference between them is...). Just hate these changing of words. If people shoot at each other, that is war. Even if there are less than 1000 deads.

Language is a great tool for hiding things. Just find a euphemism and everthing is good...

Monday, April 19, 2004

Just passed by a Taxi with an advertisement for "Kill Team - Taubenbekämpfung" (Anti-Pidgeon-Services...). Now I have the image in my mind of lots of people in complete fighting gear abseiling from office buildings going "Hut Hut Hut" and trying to shoot pigeons...

Friday, April 16, 2004

WEEKEND! Finally! Sunshine, it's warm, friends from far away coming around, what do you want more...

Thursday, April 15, 2004

I went to buy some running shoes yesterday. It was amazing. Men have flewn to the moon with less technology. Entering the shop I was completely confused. The last time I bought some sport shoes it was sufficient to know your size (at that time I think it was not even distinguished between man and woman (regarding running shoes, everything else was already discovered). Must have been shortly after shoes were invented but shortly before sport industry was invented).

Now you have to know what you want to do with the shoes, if you want to do walking, power walking, nordic walking, jogging, marathon, run around the world or just pretend to be sporty (most of the shop was occupied by a department called "style"). You have to know how you run. If your feet are inclined when they touch the ground. And how far. If you are a "Normalabroller" (that's german for moving your feet normally, at least as I understood it, I learnt a lot of new words today, most of which I already forgot again...) or if you walk like a rheumatic camel.

Luckily there was somebody who could help me. We did an analysis of my running style. I had to get on these conveyor belt things you use to run indoors at fitness centers. A computer with a high speed video camera attached to it analyzed my running. My feet are only slightly inclined, so I am a "Normalabroller". Phew. Thank God. Now I am really relaxed.

Sadly all the cheap shoes were for non-"Normalabroller" (As were most of the others. Seems that being a "Normalabroller" is not normal these days...). Shoes for me started at 95 Euros and went up to nearly the price of a small car (I could not see any differences between them...) Luckily the cheapest were the ones which fist best. So now I am equipped with a pair of shoes, 4 Euros cheaper than a flight to Lisbon or Istanbul, perfectly fitting to my running style, enabling me to run a marathon, what am I saying, preparing me for Iron Man.

Went happily for jogging afterwards. A lot of people seemed to have the same idea, close to the Elbe it was really a lot of traffic in the parks. I discovered that Hamburg has a lot of steep hills but nevertheless I managed to do some 15 minutes of jogging with only short intervalls of trying to revive my legs and trying to breath again (The 15 minutes are jogging time, not counting the intervalls...). I am proud of myself. Goal until July: try to jog for half an hour without any pauses and without breaking down...

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Spent nearly all the day going back and forth between the experiment and my office. Managed to tighten some screws inbetween. Another very productive day...

Yesterday went for a walk in the area where my flat is. Really nice. A lot of the Big City People (TM) look like people from a brit pop video or like they came through a time-hole directly from the eighties. Hoped we would already past that, but one never can be sure... I got the strange feeling like looking as the guy from provinzz. Maybe I should go looking for the stuff I wore in the eighties, it should be hidden somewhere.

Monday, April 12, 2004

Local easter tradition in northern germany: getting drunk around a lovely small fire...

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Random Pictures #4 (or 5?)

Been watching the easter service live from vatican. Eurovison just cut off in the end, while it still was going on. Afterwards interview with a priest looking exactly like Uwe Seeler, the interview exactly like after a football match. Do you think the pope was handling the ball well? Did you like the first half? Was it really a penalty kick?

Sometimes I feel the urge to shoot my TV.