A particular mathematical relationship known as a power law has been observed in many day-to-day situations, from word use frequencies in natural languages to the connectivity distribution in Facebook friendship networks. As it turns out, though, such a power law can also be found in snooker statistics. And if the amazing Ronnie O’Sullivan produces yet a few more centuries, the mathematical correspondence will be even better! Read more
A year ago I published an article in Plus magazine debunking claims buzzing around the internet about a supposed recent increase in earthquakes and volcanic eruptions and so on. In that article I showed in detail how anyone can analyze publicly available data to put such claims to the test. In the current post, I present a brief update on earthquake statistics, showing that there still is no need to worry.
It’s quite fun when your family name originates from a specific place that still exists and can be visited. As had already been known for a long time, my family name comes from a street, the Hordijk, in a neighborhood that is now in the southern part of the city of Rotterdam. So, on a sunny Saturday afternoon, I decided to go and pay a visit to this place where my ancestors once lived…
An absolutely fantastic sunset today, watched from the attic at home. Click any pic for a full-size view…
I recently decided to (finally) buy a Raspberry Pi. I’d been curious about it for a while, and thought it might be a useful addition to my laptop for running some compute intensive simulations. So I went ahead and ordered one, and so far I have no regrets. Partly for my own records, and partly by request, here is a quick overview of how I got it up and running and connect to it from my (Linux) laptop, thus avoiding the need for a separate monitor and keyboard.
For many years now, dedicated Linux users (including myself) have been complaining that Google Earth does not run properly on Linux. In fact, it crashes almost immediately after the program is started. Searching the web on this topic, it seems that the problem is common and long-standing, but somehow Google has not (yet) come up with a fix. However, it seems to be related to a network connectivity issue, and here is a (crude) way to avoid the program from crashing at start-up. Read more
Being prepared for disasters, whether natural or man-made, is of course a good thing. But it seems that the global efforts for preparedness are suddenly getting to an extreme this year. From terror attacks to asteroid impacts and, yes, alien invasions, several large scale training exercises have been or are being held this year. Sounds suspicious? Judge for yourself…
In 1711, a man by the name of Hans Thönen left the small village of Frutigen in Switzerland, and traveled by boat along the Rhine river to The Netherlands, where he settled in the town of Kampen. He was not the only one though, as he was part of a large enforced migration. However, the reason this particular person is worth mentioning is that he turns out to be one of my ancestors.
Just thought this was a nice picture: my current computing set-up at home. New laptop (left; with external keyboard & mouse) for regular work, old laptop (right) to connect with the computer cluster at the university, and meanwhile watching live snooker (UK championships) on my tablet (middle).
In the meantime, a whole bunch of computers in the large computing cluster at the university are also cranking away for me, but those are in some university building on the other side of town. Unfortunately they didn’t fit into the picture… 😉
I just listened to the new Pink Floyd album The Endless River. I’ve always considered Pink Floyd as one of the most interesting, innovative, and creative bands of all time, especially their stuff from the 70s. But alas, those days are gone, and I can’t say I’m very impressed with their latest (and probably last) album. There are two things I do like about The Endless River, though. Read more
Last week I received an email announcing that NESCent will be closing its doors in June of next year (2015). This will certainly be a big loss for evolutionary science and education. Read more
Shortly after the crash of Malaysia Airlines MH17, there were many “conspiracy theories” going around on the internet. One of the more bizarre claims that were made, is that the plane that took off from Amsterdam was not the same as the one that crashed in Ukraine. This claim was mostly based on a picture posted on facebook, shortly before boarding the plane, by Cor Pan, a Dutch passenger on that fateful flight. Read more