Probably the most brainless song on the whole of YouTube must be “Friday” (don’t click that link, please) by Rebecca Black. At one stage, she’s seriously singing about leaving home and going to the bus stop on Friday. As if that’s not mentally taxing enough for her, her friends arrive in a car, and, wait for it, SHE HAS TO DECIDE IN WHICH SEAT TO SIT. Heavens. Talk about broody teenager angst.
In this week’s Weekly Head Voices, looking back at weeks 33 and 34 of 2011, there are three important topics that I’d like to discuss. For your convenience, I’ve arranged them in order of increasing significance. This has the added advantage of guaranteeing that this post ends, at least technically speaking, with a sort of climax. Oh yes, the theme of today’s post is dry. Photo of the Bravo tent during Lowlands 2011, taken by Andreas Terlaak for NRC Handelsblad.
At least part of this post was conceived right on this balcony over here:One day, I wish to own such a balcony. Yes friends, that there right in front of us is the beach, and right in front of that the North Sea, and right over that the beautiful setting sun. We will definitely be going back there, it’s just that awesome spending a few days right on the sand.
It’s traditional around these parts that I write a post whenever I get to welcome a new computer into the family. In July of 2002 it was Dr. Evil, more a brick than a laptop, in May of 2004 it was my beloved 14″ HP NC6000 laptop, in July of 2006 I met my 15.4″ HP NC8430 (employer-supplied, thank you employer!), which in turn led to this Ubuntu-critical blog post of mine that attracted 50000 (yes, fifty thousand) readers over 2 days, in July of 2008 I splurged on a lovely quad core desktop machine, in September of 2009 I acquired an Asus 1005HA-H netbook, and in November of 2010 my employer got me a super-strong Dell Latitude E6410 laptop.
Dear friends, I was planning to write a nicely focused post, but it’s definitely not going to be this one. There’s just too much we need to talk about, and by “we need to talk” I of course mean that “I need to do my monologue”. Do strap yourselves in, as this edition of the WHV has tea, peanuts, chocolate milk, general nerdery, some ground-breaking science and even some thought-provoking art.
On Thursday July 14, 2011, it rained for 20.5 hours straight, and it did so from all directions at the same time (yes, apparently also in the upwards direction as my wet socks will attest). The last time it rained this much on one day, was on July 17, 1954, as confirmed by the paper this weekend. I believe I might also have broken several swearing records (in terms of duration, variation, originality and vehemence) whilst struggling through the water on my bicycle, on my way to my work.
Here’s a photo:Some train at the Rotterdam Station. I spent lots of time in these the past week. … and here are four things, most of which happened last week: I was honoured to be invited by the International Research Training Group (IRTG) of the University of Kaiserslautern to visit their institute and give a presentation on medical visualisation (my field of research, for those of you joining very late).
HEY! I’m still here, and it seems I really have to catch up on my backlog of WHVs, all the more as I was starting to notice the beginnings of BPP (Backlogged Posting Paralysis, of course). So I’ve spent a few minutes gathering a selection of life snippets of the past six weeks (week 21 through week 26) and will now proceed blasting them out this old Web 1.0 exhaust.
I’ve written before about EuroVis, the most important European scientific conference on visualisation. In 2009, it took place in Berlin, in 2010 it was in Bordeaux, and, an a surprise non-twist of alliteration, the 2011 edition was held in Bergen, Norway. With 216 attendees and a practically perfect organization, this year’s edition has been described as the biggest and the best EuroVis ever. In a bid to save some time (I still owe you a mega-edition of the Weekly (actually Monthly) Head Voices), I’m going to give my biased account in bullet-list form:
Somewhere in a remote but picturesque location in southern Germany, there’s a special castle called Schloss Dagstuhl. Every week, the castle fills up with a smallish group of Exceptionally Privileged Computer Scientists, who can only go there Because They Have Been Invited. Every week hosts a different field; In my case this was the Scientific Visualization seminar, one of the oldest participating groups. Everything has been setup just so to guarantee a perfect computer sciencey week for all guests.