GOUMEs [weekly head voices #47]

As you all would have guessed by now (ALL my readers are insanely astute, of course), GOUMEs stands for Genetic Offspring Unit Maturation Events. You see, the first week of May has the fantastic privilege of hosting the birth dates of both of my Genetic Offspring Units. One of them is too young to appreciate the significance of this event, the other is now at the stage where one tends to over-estimate said significance. In any case, more on this in a bullet or two.

The Nemo in Amsterdam. Pinball Machine of Science.

The Nemo in Amsterdam. Pinball Machine of Science.

  • The TPN and I were brave (or stupid) enough to take two of the GOUs to the Nemo Science Centre in Amsterdam on one sunny Monday. The Nemo is 5 floors packed chock-full of fun and interactive science exhibits. This is really cool, except perhaps for the fact that kids of around that age have a maximum attention span of about 5 seconds, in which case the Nemo could also be considered as 5 floors packed chock-full of irresistible distractions. The end result is 5 floors of hyper-active kids bouncing around from exhibit to exhibit, much like a pinball machine that has for some or other reason been filled with zillions of balls and is being operated by an octopus on speed.
  • After a long discussion with the book publisher Morgan Kaufmann, filled with book proposals, proposal reviews and proposal review rebuttals, my good friend and colleague Prof. Bernhard Preim and I have received the green light and will soon start writing the second edition of the “Visualization in Medicine” textbook.  The working title of the new book is “Visual Computing in Medicine”. Whatever the case may be, this is the textbook defining my research field, and it’s quite an honour being able to participate in its writing. This does mean that until about March 2013 I have another excuse to be permanently over-busy, and hence grumpy. You have been warned.
  • On the eve of her very first birthday, my GOU #2 ate her first BBQ spare rib, right from the bone. Now that’s a significant event.
  • GOU #1 wanted a princess-themed party, and so it came to be. After an intensive few hours surrounded by little girls dressed up as princesses, flying unicorns, pink fairies and other types of sugar and spice and all things nice, I believe that my DNA might be permanently damaged. I will have to spend significantly more time with my black time machine to counter these effects.

This weekend,  Maarten Keulemans, the new Volkskrant science editor, concluded his current stint as columnist for the same paper with a collection of thought-provoking factoids and propositions. In order to give you some backyard philosophy to think about, I’d like to conclude with a translation of one of the factoids that really struck me:

It’s bizarre that humankind spends eleven times more on killing people than it spends on saving lives through scientific research.

Humankind does sometimes disappoint, doesn’t it? Have a great week kids, and be really good to one another.