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Stars in our eyes

I grew up in a suburban, almost rural area in southern Germany, and I remember the hundreds, if not thousands of stars I could see at night. In the summers, that I spent on an island in Croatia, it was even more marvelous, and the dark night sky was breathtaking.

As I grew up, the stars dimmed, and I saw fewer and fewer of those, until only the brightest stars were visible. It was blindingly obvious that air and light pollution have swallowed that every-night miracle and confined it to my memory only.

Until in my late twenties I finally accepted and got glasses. Now the stars are back, as beautiful and brilliant as they have ever been.


Croatian Elections 2016

Croatians elections are upcoming.

The number of Croatians living abroad - in the so called Croatian diaspora - is estimated to be almost 4 Million according to the Croatian state office for Croatians abroad - only little less than the 4.3 Million who live in Croatia. The estimates vary wildly, and most of them actually do not have Croatian citizenship. But it is estimated that between 9-10% of holders of the Croatian citizenship live abroad.

These 9-10% are represented in the Croatian parliament: out of the 151 Members of Parliament, there are 3 (three) voted by the diaspora. That's 2% of the parliament representing 10% of the population.

In order for a member of the diaspora to vote, they have to register well before the election with their nearest diplomatic mission or consulate. The registration deadline is today, at least for my consulate. But for the election itself, you have to personally appear and vote at the consulate. For me, that would mean to drive or fly all the way to Los Angeles from San Francisco. And I am rather close to one of the 9 consulates in the US. There are countries that do not have Croatian embassies at all. Want to vote? Better apply for a travel visa to the country with the next embassy. Live in Nigeria? Have a trip to Libya or South Africa. There is no way to vote per mail or - ohwow21stcentury? - electronically. For one of the three Members of Parliament that represent us.

I don't really feel like the parliament wants us to vote. Making the vote mean so little and making it so hard to vote.


Gödel and physics

"A logical paradox at the heart of mathematics and computer science turns out to have implications for the real world, making a basic question about matter fundamentally unanswerable."

I just love this sentence, published in "Nature". It raises (and somehow exposes the author's intuition about) one of the deepest questions in science: how are mathematics, logic, computer science, i.e. the formal sciences, on the one side, and the "real world" on the other side, related? What is the connection between math and reality?

The author seems genuinely surprised that logic has "implications for the real world" (never mind that "implication" is a logical term), and seems to struggle with the idea that a counter-intuitive theorem by Gödel, which has been studied and scrutinized for 85 years, would also apply to equations in physics.

Unfortunately the fundamental question does not really get tackled: the work described here, as fascinating as it is, was an intentional, many year effort to find a place in the mathematical models used in physics where Gödel can be applied. They are not really discussing the relation between maths and reality, but between pure mathematics and mathematics applied in physics. The original deep question remains unsolved and will befuddle students of math and the natural sciences for the next coming years, and probably decades (besides Stephen Wolfram, who beieves to have it all solved in NKS, but that's another story).

Nature: Paradox at the heart of mathematics makes physics problem unanswerable

Phys.org: Quantum physics problem proved unsolvable: Godel and Turing enter quantum physics

Start the website again

This is no blog anymore. I haven't had entries for years, and even before then sporadically. This is a wiki, but somehow it is not that either. Currently you cannot make comments. Updating the software is a pain in the ass. But I like to have a site where I can publish again. Switch to another CMS? Maybe one day. But I like Semantic MediaWiki. So what will I do? I do not know. But I know I will slowly refresh this page again. Somehow.

A new part of my life is starting soon. And I want to have a platform to talk about it. And as much as I like Facebook or Google+, I like to have some form of control over this platform. Facebook and Google+ -- maybe they won't disappear in a year. But what about ten? Twenty? Fifty years? I'll still be around (I hope), but they might not...

Let's see what will happen here. For now, I republished the retelling of a day as a story I first published on Google+ (My day in Jerusalem) and a poem that feels eerily relevant whenever I think about it (Wenn ich wollte)

Popculture in logics

  1. You ⊑ ∀need.Love (Lennon, 1967)
  2. ⊥ ≣ compare.You (Nelson, 1985)
  3. Cowboy ⊑ ∃sing.SadSadSong (Michaels, 1988)
  4. ∀t : I ⊑ love.You (Parton, 1973)
  5. ∄better.Time ⊓ ∄better­­­­­­­⁻¹.Time (Dickens, 1859)
  6. {god} ⊑ Human ⊨ ? (Bazilian, 1995)
  7. Bad(X)? (Jackson, 1987)
  8. ⃟(You ⊑ save.I) (Gallagher, 1995)
  9. Dreamer(i). ∃x : Dreamer(x) ∧ (x ≠ i). ⃟ ∃t: Dreamer(you). (Lennon, 1971)
  10. Spoon ⊑ ⊥ (Wachowski, 1999)
  11. ¬Cry ← ¬Woman (Marley, 1974)
  12. ∄t (Poe, 1845)

Solutions: Turn around your monitor to read them.

sǝlʇɐǝq ǝɥʇ 'ǝʌol sı pǝǝu noʎ llɐ ˙ǝuo
ǝɔuıɹd ʎq ʎllɐuıƃıɹo sɐʍ ʇı 'ƃuos ǝɥʇ pǝɹǝʌoɔ ʇsnɾ pɐǝuıs ˙noʎ oʇ sǝɹɐdɯoɔ ƃuıɥʇou ˙oʍʇ
˙uosıod ʎq uɹoɥʇ sʇı sɐɥ ǝsoɹ ʎɹǝʌǝ ɯoɹɟ '"ƃuos pɐs pɐs ɐ sƃuıs ʎoqʍoɔ ʎɹǝʌǝ" ˙ǝǝɹɥʇ
ʞɔɐɹʇpunos ǝıʌoɯ pɹɐnƃʎpoq ǝɥʇ ɹoɟ uoʇsnoɥ ʎǝuʇıɥʍ ʎq ɹɐlndod ǝpɐɯ ʇnq uoʇɹɐd ʎllop ʎq ʎllɐuıƃıɹo 'noʎ ǝʌol sʎɐʍlɐ llıʍ ı 'ɹo - ",noʎ, ɟo ǝɔuɐʇsuı uɐ ɥʇıʍ pǝllıɟ ,ǝʌol, ʎʇɹǝdoɹd ɐ ƃuıʌɐɥ" uoıʇdıɹɔsǝp ǝɥʇ ʎq pǝɯnsqns ɯɐ ı 'ʇ sǝɯıʇ llɐ ɹoɟ ˙ɹnoɟ
suǝʞɔıp sǝlɹɐɥɔ ʎq sǝıʇıɔ oʍʇ ɟo ǝlɐʇ ɯoɹɟ sǝɔuǝʇuǝs ƃuıuǝdo ǝɥʇ sı sıɥʇ ˙(ʎʇɹǝdoɹd ǝɥʇ ɟo ǝsɹǝʌuı suɐǝɯ 1- ɟo ɹǝʍod" ǝɥʇ) ǝɯıʇ ɟo ʇsɹoʍ ǝɥʇ sɐʍ ʇı ˙sǝɯıʇ ɟo ʇsǝq ǝɥʇ sɐʍ ʇı ˙ǝʌıɟ
(poƃ)ɟoǝuo ƃuıɯnsqns sn ʎq pǝlıɐʇuǝ sı ʇɐɥʍ sʞsɐ ʇı ʎllɐɔısɐq ˙ʇıɥ ɹǝpuoʍ ʇıɥ ǝuo 5991 ǝɥʇ 'sn ɟo ǝuo sɐʍ poƃ ɟı ʇɐɥʍ ˙xıs
pɐq ǝlƃuıs ʇıɥ ǝɥʇ uı "pɐq s,oɥʍ" ƃuıʞsɐ 'uosʞɔɐɾ lǝɐɥɔıɯ ˙uǝʌǝs
ɔıƃol lɐpoɯ ɯoɹɟ ɹoʇɐɹǝdo ʎılıqıssod ǝɥʇ sı puoɯɐıp ǝɥʇ ˙"ǝɯ ǝʌɐs oʇ ǝuo ǝɥʇ ǝɹ,noʎ ǝqʎɐɯ" ǝuıl ǝɥʇ sɐɥ ʇı ˙sısɐo ʎq 'llɐʍɹǝpuoʍ ˙ʇɥƃıǝ
˙ooʇ ǝuo ǝɹɐ noʎ ǝɹǝɥʍ ǝɯıʇ ɐ sı ǝɹǝɥʇ ǝqʎɐɯ puɐ ˙(ǝɯ ʇou ǝɹɐ sɹǝɥʇo ǝsoɥʇ puɐ 'sɹǝɯɐǝɹp ɹǝɥʇo ǝɹɐ ǝɹǝɥʇ) ǝuo ʎluo ǝɥʇ ʇou ɯɐ ı ʇnq ˙ɹǝɯɐǝɹp ɐ ɯɐ ı" ˙ǝuıƃɐɯı 'uıɐƃɐ uouuǝl uɥoɾ ˙ǝuıu
(ǝlɔɐɹo ǝɥʇ sʇǝǝɯ ǝɥ ǝɹoɟǝq ʇsnɾ oǝu oʇ ƃuıʞɐǝds pıʞ oɥɔʎsd ǝɥʇ) xıɹʇɐɯ ǝıʌoɯ ǝɥʇ ɯoɹɟ ǝʇonb ssɐlɔ ˙uoods ou sı ǝɹǝɥʇ ˙uǝʇ
ʎǝuoɯ ǝɯos sʇǝƃ puǝıɹɟ sıɥ os ƃuıʎl ʎlqɐqoɹd sɐʍ ǝɥ ʇnq 'puǝıɹɟ ɐ oʇ sɔıɹʎl ǝɥʇ pǝʇnqıɹʇʇɐ ʎǝlɹɐɯ ˙"ʎɹɔ ʇou" sʍolloɟ "uɐɯoʍ ʇou" ɯoɹɟ ˙uǝʌǝlǝ
ǝod uɐllɐ ɹɐƃpǝ ʎq '"uǝʌɐɹ ǝɥʇ" ɯoɹɟ ɥʇonb ˙ǝɹoɯɹǝʌǝu :ɹo ˙ǝɯıʇ ou sı ǝɹǝɥʇ ˙ǝʌlǝʍʇ

Semantic Web
Fun


My horoscope for today

Here's my horoscope for today:

You may be overly concerned with how your current job prevents you from reaching your long-term goals. The Sun's entry into your 9th House of Big Ideas can work against your efficiency by distracting you with philosophical discussions about the purpose of life. These conversations may be fun, but they should be kept to a minimum until you finish your work.

(from Tarot.com via iGoogle)

How the heck did they know??

Esoteric


England eagerly lacking cofidence

My Google Alerts just send me the following news alert about Croatia. At least the reporters checked all their sources :)

England players lacking confidence against Croatia

International Herald Tribune - France AP ZAGREB, Croatia: England's players confessed to a lack of confidence when they took on football's No. 186-ranked nation in their opening World Cup ...

England eager to break Croatia run

Reuters UK - UK By Igor Ilic ZAGREB (Reuters) - England hope to put behind their gloomy recent experiences against Croatia when they travel to Zagreb on Wednesday for an ...

Soccer
Croatia
England


Beating the Second Law

Yihon Ding has an interesting blogpost taking analogies to the laws of thermodynamics and why this means trouble for the Semantic Web.

I disagree in one aspect: I think it is possible to invest the amount of human power to the system and to still keep it going. I can't nail it down exactly -- I didn't read "Programming the Universe" yet, so I can't really discuss it, but the feeling goes along the following lines: the value of a network increases superlinearly, if not even quadratic (Metcalfe's Law), whereas the amount of information increases sublinearly (due to redundancies in human knowledge). Or, put it in another way: get more people and Wikipedia or Linux gets better, because they have a constrained scope. The more you constrain the scope the more value is added by more people.

This is an oversimplification.

Web
Semantic Web


Blogging from an E90

After pondering it for far too long, I finally got a new mobile phone: a Nokia E90. It is pretty big and heavy, but I don't mind really. I am looking at it as a light-weight laptop replacement. But I am not sure I will learn to love the keyboard, really. Experimenting.

But since it has a full keyboard, programming in Python is indeed an option. I had Python on my previous phone too, but heck, T9 is not cool to type code.

One world. One web.

I am in Beijing at the opening of the WWW2008 conference. Like all WWWs I was before, it is amazing. The opening ceremony was preceded by a beautiful dance, combining tons of symbols. First a woman in a traditional Chinese dress, then eight dancers in astronaut uniforms, a big red flag with "Welcome to Beijing" on it (but not on the other side, when he came back), and then all of them together... beautiful.

Boris Motik's paper is a best paper candidate! Yay! Congratulations.

I rather listen to the keynote now :)

Blogging from my XO One.

Web
Travel


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