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Immersed March 30, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Research.
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I got completely immersed into these three papers:

Since Hanka is writing her PhD thesis – that is she is busy – things are easy for me to sort out and focus solely on my research and climbing 🙂

What is new otherwise? My laptop produces so much noise that I reduced using it to a bare minimum. I am looking around for a new one but I want to wait until Apple plays its quad core cards. My main requirements are 13″ inch screen, good workmanship, a lasting battery and very low noise components.

At CERN, they are likely more happy with their hardware today. It is reported that beams collided at 7 TeV in the LHC at 13:06 CEST.


All quiet on the northern front March 7, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Life and everything.
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Days are unbelievingly sunny and warm now although we still get around -16 grades during the night. It is such a joy to go out.

Also this week some of the courses I attended to ended so I got a little bit more free time. At least until Tuesday, when I am lecturing on Shor’s factoring algorithm in my short serial about Quantum Computing.

Plans for the next study period. Should I take a course on String Theory?

Running February 21, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Life and everything.
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Sometimes, you just go out

have fun,

even more fun,

and in the end,


you keep going.

New Archbishop February 15, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Books, Life and everything.
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A new archbishop of Prague, after Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, who is retiring, is Dominik Duka. Normally, I would noticed this news only superficially, but I am currently reading a book called “Prague, 600 years of its archdiocese” so I noticed a little bit more. From the little I read about Mr. Duka it seems he is the right man for this function. I wish him good luck.

Back to the book, published in Prague in 1944, its quality of writing, objectivity and similar is rather below average, but what makes it interesting is that this is the first book in my collection which ‘proudly’ states who censored it on one of its first pages. It is likely church’s own self-censorship but still, it feels weird.

Other book in my library which I know of that is likely censored, though this time it is a different kind of censorship, is de Sade‘s Justine. The book itself states nothing about it but almost all editions of this book are known to be abridged and censored. I own a Spanish version printed in Mexico around 1960 and I could not find any further information. Not that I have spent more than 10 minutes on it 🙂 It is quite irrelevant and I bought this book mainly for curiosity.

Film festival is over February 15, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Movies.
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Göteborg Film Festival is over now and I want to make a note for myself that next to Agora, Goran Paskaljević‘s Honeymoons was also excellent. For a couple of days, the only thing I could think of was ‘we have to be nice to each other, otherwise something bad will happen’.

Sometimes, I can be quite unobservant while traveling e.g. by tram, you known, this selfishly tired feeling, but during those days I kept my eyes open as much as possible, looking if could free my seat for someone, share a smile or whatever. I felt very happy.

Question Everything January 31, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Books, Movies.
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This weekend I have finished reading Snow, a novel by Orhan Pamuk, and I have seen Agora, a historical drama film by Alejandro Amenábar. Both deserve 5 stars. I liked it a lot.

With good intentions, I would recommend Snow to anyone who thinks he/she has something to say about the integration of Turkey to the European Union.

Source: http://www.orhanpapuk.net.

As for myself, the novel taught me this: While searching for an understanding, even if you think you are open minded, with little or no prejudices at all, question your own cultural heritage now and then. This applies quite generally and you might get often surprised.

No wonder I enjoy this quote from the Agora film:

“You cannot question your beliefs,” Hypatia tells Synesius, “I must.”

Source: Wikimedia.

For historical accounts of Hypatia’s life, a book “Hypatia of Alexandria: Mathematician and Martyr” by Michael Deakin seems to be a good source of known fragments. Here are reviews by J. L. Berggren and Fernando Q. GouvĂŞa.

A lot of things January 28, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Life and everything.
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A lot of things are going on these weeks. During the day I keep myself busy by the means of taking courses on Topology and Advanced Functional Programming. Afternoons are filled with a Swedish course and climbing. On the top of that I am preparing my lectures for a short Quantum Computing course which I am going give at Chalmers in two weeks. Last but not least, Samson Abramsky: A Structural Approach to Reversible Computation (free pdf) twists my brain cells properly 🙂

At times, it gets hectic, but so far I am managing well. In fact, I like the way it tests my ability to set up an effective work schedule and stay productive all day long. I write many observations down on a sheet of paper and feed it back while planning for the next day in my diary. Brian Tracy’s Psychology of Achievement and Study Hacks have given me many helpful advices in this respect.

On the other note, this weekend begins the Göteborg International Film Festival 2010. For this year I have chosen six movies,

  • Agora,
  • John Rabe,
  • A Matter of Size,
  • Border,
  • About Elly, and
  • Honeymoons,

I am looking forward. It is always so good.

It is 1:45am. Time to go to the bed. One or two pages of Orhan Pamuk’s Snow, at most, and then sleep.

Small fixes January 15, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Computers.
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  • The live-coding environment Fluxus did not compile on my Arch box, but it was quick to fix it. Compiling fluxus 0.16rc3 against drscheme 4.2.3 and g++ 4.4.2 goes on as follows:
    1. Grab the latest source fluxus-0.16rc3.tar.gz,
      dive into the directory
      and add the line
      #include <stdio.h>
      to these files:

      • OBJPrimitiveIO.cpp
      • SkinningPrimFunc.cpp
      • SkinWeightsToVertColsPrimFunc.cpp
      • GenSkinWeightsPrimFunc.cpp
      • GLSLShader.cpp
      • PolyPrimitive.cpp
    2. makepkg -e
    3. pacman -U fluxus-0.16rc3-1-i686.pkg.tar.gz
  • Easy backup of regular files I have created/modified during last few days. The sample shows how to limit the size and exclude on the hidden files and/or an EXCLUDE pattern.

    find /home/elf \
      \( ! -regex ".*/$EXCLUDE/.*" \) \
      \( ! -regex '.*/\..*' \) \
      -type f \
      -mtime -$DAYS \
      -size -$SIZE \
      -exec cp {} //media/usbstick/daily-backups/$DAYDIR/ \;

    .. and just in case, a list of those files and their respective and total size

    find /home/elf \
      \( ! -regex ".*/$EXCLUDE/.*" \) \
      \( ! -regex '.*/\..*' \) \
      -type f \
      -mtime -$DAYS \
      -size -$SIZE \
    | tr '\n' '\0' \
    | xargs -0 du -ch

Better … January 14, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Climbing.
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Whenever I do not train and climb for about two weeks I feel like all my strength is gone and it will take weeks to get it back. This feels even more true when I am literally, all day long, forced to sit in a sofa, eat and chat with my family, e.g. during Christmas holidays. Chatting is fine, but sofa leads to back pain in fast downward spirals in my case.

Luckily, things are always better than they seem. I arrived back to Sweden with only +1kg of body weight, which I guess is fine during these cold days, and in order to get rid of back pain I stretched for five days in a row, did some biking and running. Over the top of that I had two bouldering sessions in Klätterfabriken which made me happy.

A must rule during these forced off-days is to never allow thoughts along the lines of “After this, I will have to start almost from scratch. Damn it“. It is just not truth and thinking so will give rise to a plateau in your development. Instead, think how to make your first few training sessions nothing but a well motivated fun. Your body and consequently your mind, which are one thing after all, will respond correspondingly. That is well 🙂

In a few days I am going to set goals and prepare a plan for my climbing and training. I am equipped with The self-coached climber and Dave’s 9 out of 10 and there are many advices to explore and try out. The plan is likely going to cover 2-3 months with focus on (single hand) pull-up strength, transversus abdominis muscle and foot work.

I am the kind of guy who prefer to improve in climbing mostly by climbing and I do perform climbing specific training only in order to compensate for not being able to climb every day. What I want add now is more structure, checkpoints and regular antagonist muscle exercises.

Cheers to everyone,

and hats off to Will Gadd for his Endless Ascent. Seeing him determinedly ice climbing through night with his headlamp on sticked to my memory. Awesomely inspiring.

Beautiful day January 9, 2010

Posted by Elfi in Books, Life and everything.
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I use to go biking in the snow every year since I bought a mountain bike 3 year ago. Trails in the Rävlanda area are almost non-existent compared to Göteborg but frozen lakes and fields to be crossed are almost everywhere. It was close to -16 degrees of Celsius.

And now it is time to eat something and dive into the New Year’s pile of books. I cannot wait 🙂