zondag 20 februari 2011

On population

Well I'm sort of unpacked and had to read hundred or so pages for an assignment, but now I have the time for a quick post.

I stumbled onto this webcomic: http://www.recombinantrecords.net/2011/02/09/st-matthew-island/
It raises an interesting question, namely 'how big is our island?'. This reminded me of another episode of BBC Horizon a while back presented by Sir David Attenborough (this alone should be reason to watch it, because that man is interesting) titled "How many people can live on planet earth?".

What it boils down to is this: we live on a planet with finite resources, but our population is exploding and so is our consumption. While for millennia the population was more or less stable at around 2 billion people, it has doubled since the 1950's from 3,5 bln to 7 bln. At the current rate we'll hit our maximum sustainability in 2050 with 15 billion people living on earth, and that is if we stop consuming more than our share.

Now I don't know about you, but I tend to worry about matters too big for me to handle. This is one of them, and it's one of the reasons why I'm studying what I'm studying. It seems to me that humans are intrinsically selfish and most people have trouble seeing the bigger picture, or simply don't want to and that's why documentaries like this deserve all the attention they can get.

If you want to see the episode, I've included it below:

vrijdag 18 februari 2011

Back from vacation

I was too busy packing and running that I forgot to mention I'd be gone to France for the week for some snowboarding! I'll be getting back to all of you soon, but first I need to get into the shower and maybe take a nap. It was an exhausting bus journey of 17 hours plus another 1,5 hours via train.

Also: a wintery background!

zaterdag 12 februari 2011

Layout changes

I made some changes to the layout to make it more pleasing to the eye. In the background I'll be showcasing some photos I made over the last years during some of my trips since I generally take my EOS 400D everywhere I go.

Feel free to comment on how the layout looks and make any suggestions :)

vrijdag 11 februari 2011

Musical headache

Ouch my head, but what a fun night! A local student society in my city has a yearly two-day festival with a lot of up-and-coming bands which always has a nice atmosphere. Hearing these bands always makes me wonder what got some bands more fame than others: these guys are often fairly new but can certainly put up a great show.

Two of the bands really got my attention: The Pikey's and A Liquid Landscape. The Pikey's is a more old school rock-band who play, in their own words, "plain old hard rock as it was invented in the 70's". A Liquid Landscape was more of a progressive/experimental rock type of band who, as it turned out when I spoke to the singer, were big fans of Oceansize which was clearly audible in their performance.

Two different genres, but both worth checking out so if you want some new tunes and/or support a new band, check out their myspaces:


dinsdag 8 februari 2011

Science vs Public Opinion

To reward myself for studying like a boss, I like to watch an episode of a random series. This afternoon it was an episode from BBC Horizon about science and more importantly it's credibility.

Sir Paul Nurse, the president of the Royal Society, investigates how it has come to pass that the large public is increasingly skeptical about scientists and science in general. As a main thread through the episode, the example of global warming is used. This is of course a subject of many debates and lends itself as a prime example to see how opinions are formed and influenced.Ultimately he came to the conclusion that point-of-view is more important than peer-review in todays society, meaning that there is a sort of cognitive dissonance where all facts which do not support your opinion are discarded as rubbish. This is most noticeable in the mass-media where often personal and/or political opinions influence the reporting of a story, stressing the importance of a trustworthy media source.

I implore you to watch the episode, it's season 49 episode 10. Besides that I can only urge you to be critical of everything you hear and read, whether it's from your parents, your minister, some science-dude or some meaningless blogger. Don't just accept someone else's opinion about anything, whether it's religion, science or anything else, but more importantly don't ignore the facts.

P.S. I hope this post was coherent, I'm falling asleep here.

maandag 7 februari 2011

And now for something completely different

After a long day of studying for my last exam and writing my last report for the semester it's time for some relaxation. I'm on my second beer and am in the mood for some good music, so that's what I'll write about.

I typically have a pretty strong opinion about music and especially what is and what's not in my view. I can appreciate artists from outside of my genres of choice as long as they're original in what they do. A greater respect is reserved for the truly musically talented which can dazzle you with their talent.

One band in particular in this last category can keep me fascinated, again and again. I'm not up for a long post about how awesome they are and what-not, but I'll just leave these two vids here and let you form your own opinion.

Are there artists you can never get enough from?

zondag 6 februari 2011


"Ever wished you could think more laterally to solve a problem? In future, maybe you'll just use a bit of mind-boosting technology: zapping the brain with electricity helps people think outside the box to solve a task.

Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) is a safe and non-invasive method of temporarily altering the activity of neurons by passing weak currents through electrodes on the scalp. It can enhance mathematical skills,memory, attention and language learning."

More at NewScientist

I want one of those zappers. Might just help with this last exam left.

Just random thoughts

Do you know the feeling that there are so many options open to you, you just freeze and do nothing?
I get that feeling a lot, even when thinking about writing something on this blog. Should it be something related to my studies? Something about engineering, physics, maths, business generally is a good read for me. But there are a plethora of options to write about, so I end up writing about nothing.

The same with studying: before I picked my current area (Industrial Engineering and Management) I just postponed making a choice. I was held back a year in middle-school (or high school if you will) because I didn't see the point of it all, much less had an idea of what I was going to study. Then started to study physical therapy for about 3 days until I realised it wasn't much of a challenge for me. I spent the rest of the semester studying Communication and Multimedia Design, which was basically what I did in my spare time so I decided it wasn't worth the tuition fee and quit that as well.

A friend of mine pointed me to my current study and even though it took a while, and some effort, I found it interesting. The biggest hurdle to take was the Maths I had to master which in general was given in such an abstract form that it just scared me off. The more engineering and business subjects are generally easier to follow but there always is that annoying voice, questioning if I wouldn't be better off with a different area of expertise. This is exacerbated by all the interesting articles and books I read in my spare time: maybe I should've become a doctor, a neuro-biologist, an evolutionary-biologist/psychologist, a psychiatrist, a musician and the list goes on and on.

Do any of you ever get that feeling?

zaterdag 5 februari 2011



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