Revenge of the Sith

I suppose I should have written about this earlier. Being in the middle of my dissertation-writing-swamp I joined up with my friends to go see Star Wars Episode III, Revenge of the Sith on its premiere. I must say the movie was spectacular and very good. But it was also a tough movie to see. As someone put it, it is really a movie about sin and turning to the dark side. Seeing Anakin's being sucked up by all the hate, anger and confusion was difficult to watch.

I should also note that I have a difficult time to watch and judge star wars movies like other movies. To me they are more like historical documents and it is difficult to have an opinion such things. (Before you think I am a total freak I should say that I do realize the these films are fiction and doesn't relate to reality whatsoever.) When the first prequel came out and turned out to be a not so good movie it really didn't matter to me. I just wanted to see what happened to the characters and what their history was. I guess you can call me a star wars fan...

I was a little disappointed with the premiere though. I thought there would be more people being dressed up and a more tense atmosphere around the whole happening. Part of the reason was because we didn't choose the geek cinema, but still it was the premiere and I would have expected more.

The real reason I started writing this entry is because of a page I saw at starwars.com listing a bunch of easter eggs which appeared in the film. I am a little disappointed with the list, I would have guessed it to be longer. Some of the stuff I noticed but I missed most of it. Lisa, my fiance managed to spot the millennium falcon though which made me a little jealous.


Boole's law of thought

I was browsing in Amazon the other day. The book "An Investigation of the Laws of Thought" by George Boole came up. This is a real classic and I was considering buying it. But was I happy to find that the whole text is available by Project Gutenberg. Now I just need to print the 328 pages...

P.S. I really like Amazon because you can really go shopping there, browsing through there product by various means. They have good recommendation lists and people can set up their own lists of favorite items. I think it works really well and I like it.


Measured my brain

I just saw this test on a friends blog. It is said to measure what kind of thinking one does. My result can be seen below. That third advice really disturbs me...

Your brain: 40% interpersonal, 60% visual, 80% verbal, and 220% mathematical!
Congratulations on being 400% smart! Actually, on my test, everyone is. The above score breaks down what kind of thinking you most enjoy
doing. A score above 100% means you use that kind of thinking more than
average, and a score below 100% means you use it less. It says nothing
about how good you are at any one, just how interested you are in each, relatively. A substantial difference in scores between two people means, conclusively, that they are different kinds of thinkers.

Matching Summary: Each of us has different tastes. Still, I offer the following advice, which I think is obvious:

  1. Don't date someone if your interpersonal percentages differ by more than 80%.
  2. Don't be friends with someone if your verbal percentages differ by more than 100%.
  3. Don't have sex with someone if their math percentage is over 200%.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 46% on interpersonal
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You scored higher than 45% on visual
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You scored higher than 66% on verbal
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You scored higher than 91% on mathematical
Link: The 4-Variable IQ Test written by chriscoyne on Ok Cupid


A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy

I just read a nice article called "A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy" about group psycology and social software. It has an abundance of nice quotes:

Humans are fundamentally individual, and also fundamentally social
So there's this very complicated moment of a group coming together, where enough individuals, for whatever reason, sort of agree that something worthwhile is happening, and the decision they make at that moment is: This is good and must be protected.
The external enemy -- nothing causes a group to galvanize like an external enemy.
People who work on social software are closer in spirit to economists and political scientists than they are to people making compilers.
And the worst crisis is the first crisis, because it's not just "We need to have some rules." It's also "We need to have some rules for making some rules."
The tyranny of the majority.
The user of social software is the group, and ease of use should be for the group. If the ease of use is only calculated from the user's point of view, it will be difficult to defend the group from the "group is its own worst enemy" style attacks from within.

Go on and read it!


Thesis writing frustrations

I'm sitting here days on end and writing my thesis. It's hard work. It's boring. I'm bad at it. Argghh! Why can't I finish sooner! I wish I was really good at writing, words just flowing from my fingertips into the computer and on to the screen. I wish I were better at formalizing all those crazy ideas I've had and which I now have to write up to earn my Ph.D. Well, in a better world perhaps.


Problems with Google Webaccelerator and Firefox

Earlier this week Google released a Webaccelerator which works together with Firefox and Internet Explorer. It's a nifty little add-on which tries to download a cached version of the page your trying to download. The cached versions are stored on Google's server farm. The idea is that the page should be faster to download from Google than from the original site. To speed things up even more the cached copies are compressed when they are sent. I've used it since it was released and according the counter in the program I've saved about 20 minutes of surfing with it. It actually improves the speed quite a lot on some sites!

Until today. When I tried to launch my Firefox a couple of hours ago it wouldn't start. I tried many things like shutting down the webaccelerator. I chatted with some people on the #firefox channel who advised me to try all kinds of things. The only thing that helped in the end was uninstalling the webaccelerator. Too bad.

It seems that Google has some problems with its site at the moment. Some DNS flux or something. So that is probably why the webaccelerator isn't working. But I think it is a rather serious thing to completely stop my browser from working when Google has a DNS problem.

Well, I'm not complaining too much. First of all, the webaccelerator is a beta. Yes, I can hear you saying that Google is currently altering the meaning of that word with all its beta products up and running. But still, it's a beta.

There has also been a lot of complaints about the security risks of the webaccelerator. When visiting some site requiring logins some people have found themselves logged in as someone else. That's really serious! It seems that the guys at Google Labs have a lot to work on.

Well, I will be waiting for an upgrade of the webaccelerator. But once they release an improved version I will install it again. I'm happy to be a beta tester.



The last couple of days I've read a couple of articles about the right wing Christians in the US who seems to be all too certain about what's right and what's wrong. I just read this article about how Kansas is now changing the way they teach the origin of life in schools.

Let me say a few words about my own standpoint. I'm a scientist and I'm a Christian. I don't think there is a conflict between Christianity and science. However, many people act like there were or the try to create a conflict. The conflict is between some Christians and some scientists. Both Christianity and science is about the truth. Because of the way science go about unraveling the truth and the way that the Bible is interpreted Christians and scientists don't always agree on what the truth is. As for me I am first and foremost a Christian. When there is a discrepancy between the two views I choose the Christian version. This is because I have found that the Bible is trustworthy. God exist and the Bible is accurate in describing him. Also, as a scientist I have found that science never holds the final truth. It often varies as new data comes to light and challenges old theories. Don't get me wrong. I am a scientist, I very much believe in the scientific way of scrutinizing things. But I also know that scientists are also humans and that as our ways of examining our world get more refined we learn new things and have to revise our current standpoint. I find God more reliable.

So I am what people would call a creationist. That's a word which has a really bad ring to it among scientists. But I'm not anti-evolutionist. Rather I'm somewhat skeptic to the theory that life as we see it today has evolved the way contemporary scientists claim. I'm not alien to the idea, I'm just skeptic because I don't find the arguments very convincing. In fact, I think it looks like the evolution theory is cracking up. It has been patched in the last twenty years or so. When scientists starts to patch a theory to fit with the data it's a sure sign something is wrong. So my bets are that there are better theories around the corner. I guess you could call me pro-truth.

I think that the story that the Bible tells about how God created heaven and earth is complementary to the answers we seek as scientists about how the creation went about. The Bible is not very specific with the details. These details are for the scientists to discover. That's how I deal with being both a scientist and a Christian.

But all these things I'm reading about right wing Christians in the US makes me sad. They give truth a bad name. They put forward alternative "scientific" theories which aren't scientific at all. They don't seem to have any interest in arriving at the truth other than to postulate it. I don't see how this can be good for anyone. If God exist and the Bible is true then it shouldn't be any problem with arguing for it. There is nothing to be afraid of. Christianity can stand up against scientific scrutiny because it's about the truth.

I have much more to say but it gets outside the topic of this particular posting. I'll make sure to return to it. Also, it's late and I really need to sleep.


The most fearsome hacker

Check out this story. Totally hilarious! And yet sad in a sense.


New Computer

Hmmm... Maybe it's time to buy a new computer?