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DSA Erfolgswahrscheinlichkeiten

Ich fand es immer spannend, auszurechnen, wie hoch die Wahrscheinlichkeit ist, dass eine Talentprobe in DSA gelingt oder nicht. Ich konnte über die Jahre hinweg keine vernünftige, geschlossene Formel finden, und so blieb ich immer bei Überschlagsrechnungen. Dabei visualisierte ich mir im Kopf die drei Würfelwürfe als die drei Dimensionen eines Raumes, in dem ein Teil des Raumes gelungene Proben und der Rest des Raumes misslungene Proben darstellt.

Ich dachte lange darüber nach, dass es interessant ware, diesen Raum tatsächlich zu visualisieren. 2010 musste ich während eines Forschungsaufenthalts in Los Angeles ein paar Webtechniken erlernen - HTML Canvas, jQuery, Blueprint, etc. - und am besten lerne ich, indem ich ein kleines Projekt mache. Also nutzte ich diese Gelegenheit. Damals war DSA4 aktuell, und entsprechend machte ich das Projekt für die Regeln von DSA4.

2017 überarbeitete Hanno Müller-Kalthoff die Visualisierung und passte sie an die neuen Regeln von DSA5 an. Hier sind Links für beide Seiten und eine DSA5 App:

A bitter, better lesson

Rich Sutton is expressing some frustration in his short essay on computation and simple methods beating smart methods again and again.

Rodney Brooks answers with great arguments on why this is not really the case, and how we're just hiding human ingenuity and smartness better.

They're both mostly right, and it was interesting to read the arguments on both sides. And yet, not really new - it's mostly rehashing the arguments from The unreasonable effectiveness of data by Alon Halevy, Peter Norvig, and Fernando Pereira ten years ago. But nicely updated and much shorter. So worth a read!

Wikipedia demonstriert

Eine Reihe von Wikipedien (Deutsch, Dänisch, Estnisch, Tschechisch) tragen heute schwarz um schlecht gemachte Gesetzesänderungen zu verhindern. Ich bin stolz auf die Freiwilligen der Wikipedien, die das organisiert bekommen haben.

Spring cleaning

Going through my old online presence and cleaning it up is really a trip down memory lane. I am also happy that most - although not all - of the old demos still work. This is going to be fun to release it all again.

Today I discovered that we had four more German translations of Something Positive that we never published. So that's another thing that I am going to publish soon, yay!

Prediction coming true

I saw my post from seven years ago, where I said that I really like Facebook and Google+, but I want a space where I have more control about my content so it doesn't just disappear. "Facebook and Google+ -- maybe they won't disappear in a year. But what about ten?"

And there we go, Google+ is closing in a few days.

I downloaded my data from there (as well as my data from Facebook and Twitter), to see if there is anything to be salvaged from that, but I doubt it.

Restarting, 2019 edition

I had neglected Simia for too long - there were five entries in the last decade. A combination of events lead me to pour some effort back into it - and so I want to use this chance to restart it, once again.

Until this weekend, Simia was still running on a 2007 version of Semantic MediaWiki and MediaWiki - which probably helped with Simia getting hacked a year or two ago. Now it is up to date with a current version, and I am trying to consolidate what is already there with some content I had created in other places.

Also, life has been happening. If you have been following me on Facebook (that link only works if you're logged in), you have probably seen some of that. I married, got a child, changed jobs, and moved. I will certainly catch up on this too, but there is no point in doing that all in one huge mega-post. Given that I am thinking about starting a new project just these days, this might be the perfect outlet to accompany that.

I make no promises with regards to the quality of Simia, or the frequency of entries. What I would really love recreate would be a space that is as interesting and fun for as my Facebook wall was, before I stopped engaging there earlier this year - but since you cannot even create comments here, I have to figure out how to make this even remotely possible. For now, suggestions on Twitter or Facebook are welcome. And no, moving to WordPress or another platform is hardly an option, as I really want to stay with Semantic MediaWiki - but pointers to interesting MediaWiki extensions are definitely welcome!

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

Croatian 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 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)