Weekly Head Voices for Week 36

Dear readers,

The time has come for the second installment of the exciting new Weekly Head Voices feature!  My PR people tell me that this is a roaring success and that I am rapidly on my way to becoming an A-List blogger. My therapist tells me that I should find a good psychiatrist.

Before starting, I’d like to show the following photo (will get back to it later):


In order to facilitate your reading experience, I have bolded in each paragraph some words that represent, with differing levels of effectiveness, the theme of that paragraph.  This way, you can easily skip ahead, keeping in mind that you’re probably skipping over some truly inspiring writing.

During the past week, I had 11 face-to-face meetings with students, colleagues and collaborators.  Apart from these meetings, I presented the MedVis group’s research to a group of new postgrads on Tuesday and hosted, together with colleagues from the LUMC, a visit by Tornier on Friday.  It turns out that this job does in fact require a seemingly paradoxical mix of computer nerd and social butterfly.

On Monday, I acted as external member in the M.Sc. opposition of a thesis titled “In vivo identification of short range stiffness in the human wrist” – the student managed to figure out internal wrist muscle characteristics by applying external angular displacement and measuring effective torque.  Reviewing the work was an interesting experience, as biomechanical modelling is not one of my research foci.  All in all, very good work, although it did remind me again of why one should not typeset longer documents with a sans serif font.

The highlight of the week is surely Gerwin de Haan‘s PhD defense.  An exemplary opposition, with solid attacks by the committee (6 full professors and 1 associate professor) and great defensive moves by the intrepid candidate, made for an entertaining morning.  The day was concluded with a celebratory party during which the candidate, besides consuming amounts of beer fit for a fresh doctor, received congratulatory loot fit for a PS3 and Rockband-addicted pirate!

In other nerd-worthy news: I am now the proud owner of an Asus 1005HA-H Netbook, rated with 10.5 hours of battery life.  I can confirm that the battery life is indeed awe-inspiring, also in practice.   The little beast easily lasts a whole day, and then some.  The only issue so far has been choosing a good encryption solution.  The little Atom N280 doesn’t manage much more than 30MB/s in the Truecrypt encryption benchmark, and about 38MB/s even with the optimised Diskcryptor implementation.  The Windows XP Home that this netbook ships with of course does not support EFS.  In the end, I went for Truecrypt (I use it everywhere else) and just copied over the 25G encrypted container from my Big Laptop.

Getting back to the photo above:  Boys and girls, thanks to my generous leader and the TU Delft, I get to join said generous leader and Jorik on a trip to IEEE Visualization 2009 in Atlantic City!  For the socially more well-adjusted readers, this is like Visualisation Nerd Heaven: A whole week of mingling with technically creative colleagues, discussing the latest visualisation tidbits, following paper presentations and Sleeping Much Less(tm).  Brilliant!