Wednesday, October 31, 2007


The Wikimedia Foundation has launched yet another free and public access web encyclopedia: WikiSpecies. This directory of species contains pages on all forms of life, and as any wiki system, you can help expand the directory by adding pages and references. Actually, this project was started in August 2004, but I did not notice it until now, maybe because WikiSpecies now encompasses more than 100,000 articles. Go browse and discover how many species you never even heard about!

Illustration courtesy: Wikipedia - Animalia

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Monday, October 29, 2007

Kia Cee'd

My parents surprised me by announcing in a PS to an email that they have bought a new car. And that after being without a car for five years or so. Their new car is a Kia Cee'd - very cool design. A lot more fancy than the old Opel Kadet they had before...

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Scooped again

It may look like my work has been scooped again, but hey - I look at it from the positive side: In order to publish my own work I have to focus on what is new, that noone else thought of doing before me. And there is plenty of it. It may even turn out to be a better paper now that the trivialities have been published already by someone else. Am I sounding too enthousiastic? Who said science would have to be easy to be fun?

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Polish elections

This Sunday the Polish succeeded in removing one of the twin Kaczynski brothers from his position in parliament. The issue was so dear to the Polish people that they went to vote in numbers far exceeding expectations. The photo shows the queue in front of the Polish Embassy in den Hague this Sunday. They had to extend the deadline for voting because they ran out of voting forms due to the impressive voter turnout of 52.6 percent.

Photo courtesy: Urszula Kudla

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Dumbledore is gay

As a new and interesting twist to the Harry Potter stories, J.K. Rowling revealed on her US book tour that Dumbledore is gay. Read the news story on BBC News: JK Rowling outs Dumbledore as gay

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Edmund Christiansen

He was the first person I talked to about the bioinformatics study in Odense. He approached me enthousiastically and said that if he had to choose a study today, he would choose for bioinformatics rather than mathematics. This was in the spring of 2002. He gave me a handfuld of notes on his course DM01 "structured programming" which I worked through meticulously before I started my first courses at SDU in the autumn of 2002.
I never had the pleasure of following one of Edmunds own courses, or do a project with him, but I did experience his lectures once in a while ("Numerical Analysis" and "Game Theory"). He was always the one to come up with fun examples of how to use mathematics and logical theory in real life problems, while never missing out on the facts or details.
When I met him occasionally at the Institute of Mathematics and Computer Science (IMADA) he would always ask to how things were going with my study and maybe talk a bit about bioinformatics in general. He always showed a genuine interest for the projects I described to him. I once went to his office (was it maybe with Uffe?) to ask him about some method in numerical analysis. He spent half an hour or an hour explaining to us - happy to have us come by and clear things out so we would not only understand but also learn to appreciate the theories of numerical analysis.

He was the only member of the cake club who did not bake the cakes himself, but insisted on bringing cakes baked by his wife. At the annual christmas party at IMADA he was always one of the greatest entertainers, not holding back the urge to sing out loud or wear a false tie. He was one of those personalities that you would not be able to imagine without IMADA, just as you would not be able to imagine IMADA without Edmund. There is a big emptiness at IMADA where Edmund used to be. He will be greatly missed by everyone. My deepest condolences go to his wife and children.

Edmund Christiansen lost his life by drowning on October 16th, 2007 while on vacation in Italy.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Salsa Tipica on YouTube

It had to happen: at last you can find a video from the Salsa Tipica social salsa dancing on YouTube. And according to Dj Yuchi, more will be online soon!

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Sugar greater lure than cocaine?

The newsbrief from Faculty of 1000 drew my attention to this new paper: Intense Sweetness Surpass Cocaine Reward. In this paper the research from Bordeaux show that 9 out of 10 rats choose saccharin-sweetened water over intravenous cocaine, when put in an either-or choice situation.

Interesting in itself, and next comes the question: How does this result compare to the human reactions to sweets and addictive drugs?

Illustration courtesy: Natural History Magazine - The Wild Rat

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Sunday, October 14, 2007


Photo taken at Copenhagen Central Station end of June 2007. Copyrighted under share-alike license - attribute

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Bread Heads

A big fraction of my colleagues seem to have a passion for bread. Not only do many of them have a bread machine, but they like to bake often and try out and even optimise different bread recipes.
When in Denmark I used to bake bread every second week or so. I would make ciabatta, dark bread, walnut bread (my favourite) and other types too, all yeast recipes and kneaded by hand. Though I love homemade bread I have not dared to start experimenting with the rather unreliable oven we have in the house where I live. But for lunch I have made a good bread deal: Since I came to the Netherlands, I realised how much I love the typical Danish rye bread. Recently I found out that a colleague of mine can buy some similar rye bread at a German bakery where she lives, so since then we made a deal that she brings me a fresh delicious rye bread from her baker every week. Mmmm... delicious!

Photo courtesy:

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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Scary: Pro-Ana

I find it a good initiative to once again draw attention to the problem of anorexia nervosa among young girls, which is commonly thought to be inspired by the ever thinner models on the catwalk. From an ad like the Nolita ad, there should be no doubt that an anorectic body is not an incarnation of beauty, but the sad result of a sick mind.
The scary thing is that this ad has been critisised for being an inspiration for the anorectic girls. I did not want to believe that anyone could ever be inspired by this photo, but then Nola showed me some websites made by supporters of the pro-ana movement. In their world view, anorexia is not wrong and no sickness, but an ultimate level of control over your body. They encourage each other with photos of ever more bony bodies and write tips to each other on how not to eat when you are hungry, the easiest ways to puke, and burn extra calories at every possible occasion. That is scary - and really sick.

Illustration courtesy: The Furor Over an Anorexia Ad - TIME magazine

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

How to chop an onion without crying

The Russian connection

It is funny what you can learn from reading your web stats. I found my page was referenced from this russian site about Roskilde Festival. I cannot read it, but I find it rather cool to be a reference for other Festival Freaks.

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Top 10 reasons to become a Statistician

I found these 'Top 10 reasons to become a Statistician' in the R-help mailing list archive:

1. Deviation is considered normal
2. We feel complete and sufficient
3. We are 'mean' lovers
4. Statisticians do it discretely and continuously
5. We are right 95% of the time
6. We can legally comment on someone's posterior distribution
7. We may not be normal, but we are transformable
8. We never have to say we are certain
9. We are honestly significantly different
10. No one wants our jobs

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Beaker sings Feelings

Watch the clip on YouTube: Beaker sings Feelings

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