Archive for June, 2007

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Lou Reed in Amsterdam

June 22, 2007

I wasn’t sure if I’d go, but after support from my loving parents, I decided to go to the Lou Reed concert here in Amsterdam on June 21. I took my little bro’ and little girlfriend with me, as I usually do. Never know if they like it, but they’re always by my side.

Anyway, the concert was great, albeit a little short. Approximately 90 minutes, and only 3 songs after the “Berlin” album was finished. There was a great synergy between Lou Reed and fellow guitarist Steve Hunter, which alone made it worth it. There was a movie and/or images projected on the background. The audience was pretty well behaved, but that was probably because the average age was 50 years or so ;).

Anyway, here are some pictures … I couldn’t fit everyone in the picture (e.g. the people from The London Metropolitan Orchestra), but in the background you can see The New London Childrens Choir. It was a really special time.

Thanks to my parents again.

Steve Hunter - Lou Reed - Childrens Choir - Fernando Saunders - Rupert Christie? - Tony “Thunder” Smith lou-reed-009-1.jpg Lou Reed and the gang

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An argument against tax increase on alcohol (in Russia)

June 16, 2007

Now an article from New Scientist about alternatives to alcohol used in Russia. The article opens with the following:

A shocking 43% of deaths in working-age Russian men result from drinking alcohol not meant for human consumption, such as cologne and cleaning agents, according to a new study.“, which helps explaining why Russian men have the lowest life expectancy at just 59 years!

The alternatives to alcohol are cheaper and have a higher alcohol content. On the positive side, when drinking eau the cologne, burping may give a more pleasant smell… This must be an attractive feature to the women ;).

Not surprisingly, the people that drink the ‘alternatives’ to alcohol, have a much higher risk of alcohol related death.

Finally some shocking figures:

  • Russian men who drink non-beverage alcohol have a five-times greater risk of alcohol-related death (such as liver cirrhosis and alcohol poisoning) than those who do not consume these products
  • Men who drank only non-beverage alcohols had up to a 20-times greater risk of death
  • These figures are probably higher, as the research didn’t include men who lived alone, or men who lived on the streets
  • Alcohol is linked to 72% of murders and 42% of suicides in Russia, according to 2005 figures

Bring on the Soviet-Russia jokes ;).

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Antibacterial soaps

June 16, 2007

In the category ‘Weird Science’ an article appeared on the site of Scientific American about antibacterial products. More and more antibacterial products are used, but to what avail?
Normal soaps wash away ‘nonspecifically’, “meaning they wipe out almost every type of microbe in sight—fungi, bacteria and some viruses—rather than singling out a particular variety.
On the other hand, after applying antibacterial products, conditions may arise which may actually help the resistent bacteria, because not all bacteria may be killed. In fact, “a small subpopulation armed with special defense mechanisms can develop“, so that these bacteria develop a tolerance and reproduce. This, in turn, may help the bacteria in growing resistant to certain antibiotics.
A problem that arises is that, at least in America, certain antibacterial compounds are found in “60 percent of America’s streams and rivers“, and may eventually end up in crops.
In the end, the advise is to wash your hands 3 times a day with regular soaps, and leave the antibacterial soaps at hospitals.

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Apple replies

June 11, 2007

About a week ago, Apple replied to my complaints. Basically, they said that if I can prove that the iPod was broken when I bought it (or, that the problem was there since the beginning, e.g. due to a design mistake), then they would look into my complaints. Put differently, I need to prove that the design is flaky to begin with.

It’s easy for them to say this (they know I can’t prove it), and I mailed an organization for consumer rights. If Apple doesn’t know what’s wrong with it, how the fuck can I prove that there was a mistake during fabrication or design fault? I’m waiting for a reply, before I send a second letter to them. But I’m sure this story doesn’t end yet …

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65daysofstatic

June 11, 2007

Previous thursday, June 7th, we went to see 65daysofstatic. The concert was great, albeit a little short, but it was really hot and they were jumping around. I got tired watching them ;).

As usual, I tried to make some pictures; you can see 2 of them on the concert page. There was not much light (they said at the beginning of the concert: “If we look as bad as we smell, you should dim the light…”, then the light was dimmed ;).

The pictures aren’t great, almost bad, but I had to choose a high ISO and a high shutterspeed (did I mention they were moving fast?)… but at least it’s something. The noise doesn’t bother me, but they’re too dark.

65days 65daysofstatic
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Quick shots

June 3, 2007

I quite like them, the first two due their simplicity, the other because there’s some contrast between the message (“to her who kept saying no to fascism”) and the pee/filth on the left side (“women of ravensbruck”).

crane1.jpg crane2.jpg monument.jpg

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Ringfinger response

June 2, 2007

From one “research“:

Kids with longer ring fingers compared to index fingers are likely to have higher math scores than literacy or verbal scores on the college entrance exam, while children with the reverse finger-length ratio are likely to have higher reading and writing, or verbal, scores versus math scores.

From different “research“:

The research, done at the University of Alberta and announced Wednesday, found a connection between the length of the male index finger relative to the ring finger and the tendency to be aggressive.
No such connection was found in women.

Testosterone promotes development of mathematical and spatial skills. On the other hand, more estrogen promotes development of verbal skills, which lengthens the index finger.

On the same page it is mentioned that the longer the ringfinger is, the larger the amount of testosteron during the pregnancy. More testosteron results in more agression (at least, it makes it more likely; nothing can be said about individuals, only about groups). So this perfectly explains why you see all the agressive bald mathematicians, with those leather jackets, tattoos with hearts of “Mama”, scars and such at the G8 demonstrations.

Remember though, that other things like “flawed brain chemistry, brain damage, genetic defects, an unhealthy psychological environment” all contribute to the behaviour, so one needs to be careful about deducing characteristics from future lovers.

Oh yeah, my ringfinger is approximately 13 mm longer than my indexfinger. Nothing unexpected, as people know me as a highly agressive vegetarian listening to 60s music, enjoying math.

(The reason the word “research” is between quotes, is because I’m not too confident in these types of research. There may be a correlation, but that doesn’t mean  there’s a connection (in the form of causation) between the two. I have to admit I didn’t read the original articles (which were published), but my expectations are too low to be bothered with it. Also, the amount of test-subjects in both “researches” is pretty low; add some statistics, and you can easily produce true lies.)