Autarchy of the Private Cave

Tiny bits of bioinformatics, [web-]programming etc

    Archive for the 'Life' Category

    Smiling Amsterdam: under surveillance

    27th January 2016

    Coat of Arms of Amsterdam

    Coat of Arms of Amsterdam by Ssolbergj

    I had recently undertaken a spontaneous trip to Amsterdam, the Netherlands. There were a few strong first-time impressions, which I want to document before they fade.

    The strongest first impression is from the check in and check out system in trams (and, likely, other public transportation nets). Tickets are all NFC-based, and you must swipe/touch special verifying devices upon entering and exiting a tram. If your ticket is valid, green light and a sound tone will notify you (and everyone around you) about this. If your ticket is no longer valid, you’ll get red light and a different (louder also? not sure) sound.

    These chipcards come in a variety of forms: non-reloadable cards for 1/24/48/etc hours (from the moment of the 1st check in), anonymous reloadable cards, and other card types.

    Upon entering a tram with an invalid (train :) ) ticket, we were greeted by… a woman in a cage! :) She was selling tickets to those who didn’t have them. It was already late evening, but she was smiling a lot and also tried to figure out if we really need just a 1h ticket, or if a multi-day ticket would be better for us.

    I am not entirely sure why checking out is necessary, other than for collecting loads of data on passenger flows (oh, sweet sweet data to analyze!). I also haven’t checked what happens if your ticket runs out while you are in a tram: will it fail to check out, forcing you to buy another one? Most likely not: should still let you out (there are actual tourniquets at tram exit doors).
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    What is in 2016 for you and me and everyone?

    26th December 2015

    There will be 366 days in 2016 (yes, a leap year). 366 steps towards your goal. That’s a lot! With the right goal and persistence, a lot can be done and achieved.

    There are lots of good, real, helpful self-development/self-improvement techniques. These can often be practiced non-stop in one’s everyday life. These can often also be practiced in parallel, for a likely synergy.

    There are lots of success books and biographies of successful self-made people. Some stories are quite well-known, while some remain hidden gems. Likely enough reading for several months, non-stop!

    There are many good books on business, data analysis, engineering, software development, and other fields. Likely many years of reading non-stop!

    Some people say that in 5 years one can master a common subject of choice good enough to become an expert. Others point out that many activities (and their co-activities) can be monetized or turned into profitable versions of said activities.

    All in all, the only thing required is action.

    Which books do you have on your 2016 reading list?
    What is the field you will be an expert in by 2021, assuming you start in 2016?
    Information consumption aside, what will you produce in 2016? What will be your actions?

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    Ukraine: from the Past to the Future (presentation)

    1st March 2015

    Presentation about Ukraine

    • Goal: general introduction of Ukraine.
    • Target audience: German and international students, including PhD students.
    • Duration: approximately 25-30 minutes.
    • Presented: January, 16, 2015, in Canossa, Universität des Saarlandes, Campus, 66123 Saarbrücken, Deutschland, during the Ukrainian Evening (Landerabend Ukraine).
    • Presentation planning group: Dima Panfilenko (Landerabend organizer), Bogdan Tokovenko, Varvara Obolonchykova, Zarema Ibragimova, Ivan Pryvalov.
    • Slides: Dima Panfilenko (initial version of tourism slides and text), Bogdan Tokovenko (all the other slides/text and final tourism slides/text).
    • Useful feedback and criticism: Varvara Obolonchykova.

    Презентація про Україну

    1st slide
    Ukraine: from the Past to the Future (v5 slides, PDF)
    1st slide with notes
    Ukraine: from the Past to the Future (v5 slides with notes and extra information, PDF)

    You can also download slide notes as a text file.
    Original PowerPoint presentation file is available on request.
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    Russia shelled Ukrainians from within its own territory

    20th February 2015

    A recent publication in The Guardian references a high-quality conclusive report of Bellingcat proving that in the summer of 2014 Russia used artillery and multiple rocket launch systems (MRLS) from its own territory to strike Ukrainian Army positions, effectively stopping the successful anti-terrorist campaign, and then overtaking long stretches of Ukrainian border (to enable easy supplies of more weapons, tanks, MRLS, and anti-aircraft systems). Shelling was followed by the full-scale Russian ground forces invasion around the 24th of August, which is Independence Day in Ukraine.

    The Bellingcat shelling report is available in several languages and file formats:

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    Olaf Sundermeyer’s myth: right-extremists rule in Ukraine

    20th October 2014

    Note: this post was written on the 18th-23rd of May 2014, but was not published at that time. I am publishing it now, after minor edits of tenses used. I think that after Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine on the 24th of August 2014 it is absolutely clear that any prior publications regarding “right extremists” in Ukraine were either paid-for Russian propaganda, or simply insufficient analysis of the situation. It is still worth publishing this short text; consider this a cure for minds with only minor propaganda poisoning.

    On Sunday, the 18th of May, the sad 70th anniversary of Crimean Tatars deportation by the Soviet regime, in Saarbrucken journalist Olaf Sundermeyer was giving a lecture titled “Ukraine: Die rechte Freiheit – Nationalismus und Rechtsextremismus” ( http://www.a3wsaar.de/aktuelles/details/d/2014/04/15/ukraine-die-rechte-freiheit-nationalismus-und-rechtsextremismus/ , or as a PDF).

    I was unable to attend it, but looking at the abstract I felt the need to analyze and criticize the viewpoint Olaf presented. To do so, I went sentence by sentence through the abstract from the link above, picking items I cannot agree with, and providing my arguments.
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    Bicycle trip Saarbrücken – Baden-Baden (and back)

    5th July 2013

    On Monday, the 24th of June 2013, at 05:15 in the morning we (me and my bicycle-maniac coworker) started from Dudweiler, Saarbrücken towards Baden-Baden – on the bicycles.

    We thoroughly planned this trip:
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    Beautiful aurora timelapse in HD

    26th November 2010

    Enjoy full-screen.

    Aurora Borealis timelapse HD – Tromsø 2010 from Tor Even Mathisen on Vimeo.

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