150,000 dead and counting...
Tuesday, January 4, 2005, 04:29 - The News
Wikipedia has an excellent page about the 2004 Tsunami caused by a magnitude 9.0 undersea earthquake.
It explains the cause and effects in great detail.

These QuickBird satellite images at DigitalGlobe just don't do justice to the devastating effect of the tsunami. Footage shot on the ground and shown on TV, together with interviews with victims have much more impact.

There are many websites related to donations and relief initiatives for the millions of victims of this natural disaster.

New SPHPBlog version
Sunday, January 2, 2005, 20:42 - Personal
Alex has released a new version of SPHPBlog: 0.3.7r
Most noticeable change is entry categories. I will be categorizing my posts in the coming day(s).

Yesterday I also moved my blog from my home web server (ADSL) to my external web server, so performance should be a little better for most of you.

I also updated the looks of my blog. The picture in the banner is a stitched together panorama photo that I took a couple of weeks ago from my balcony.
It hasn't the detail of the 2.5 gigapixel zoomable picture of TNO, but it still is a nice picture.


Happy 2005!
Saturday, January 1, 2005, 21:31 - Personal
Happy new year to everyone!
I wish you all health, money and the time to enjoy it!



Quake shook Earth to core, say scientists
Friday, December 31, 2004, 16:03 - Science
The quake that set off the devastating tsunami last Sunday had bigger impact than anticipated, according to The Independent. The Earth is now spinning a little faster than before.

A NASA scientist believes that a shift of mass towards the Earth's centre caused the planet to spin three microseconds - three millionths of a second - faster. It also caused the planet to tilt around 2.5cm on its axis. The added wobble is unlikely to have any long-term effects.
The forcing of one tectonic plate beneath the edge of another had the effect of making the Earth more compact and spinning faster, but the changes were probably too slight to be detected by global positioning satellite networks.

Geologists of the US Geological Survey said changes on the Earth's surface were more noticeable, shifting the island of Sumatra 36 meters to the south-west. Some of the smaller islands off the south-west coast of Sumatra may have moved to the south-west by about 20 meters.


The police
Thursday, December 30, 2004, 23:16 - Personal
Last night something happened near my apartment building that attracted an ambulance, five marked police cars and two what I think were unmarked police cars.
The ambulance stopped just out of my view, but I saw an empty gurney being returned to it and then they drove off with sirens only a few minutes after they arrived. I suspect they could do nothing for the victim and where called to another location.

My first guess was something like the murder on Theo van Gogh, but then I would suspect the police to search the surroundings and they did not do that.
As it happened immediately next to an 18-story appartment building with free access I suspect it was a suicide jumper, although I'm not sure that would attract that much police attention.



In an attempt to find hot police info on the internet about it I came across this site that has a live police scanner feed of my police region Haaglanden. I have been listening to it for a while yesterday and today.

Most of the stuff isn't interesting at all. A lot of small fires and some arrests for lighting fireworks. The occasional accident.
At one point a police car was directed to an address where a man was threatening his wife with a knife. When the police arrived the man had left in his car, saying that he was going to get himself killed on the highway. A message was sent out to all listening units to look out for the car and to apprehend the man who was intoxicated with alcohol (at 11:00 AM!).
Very soon one unit had spotted the car and made it stop and arrested the man.

BTW I still don't know what happened last night, but it was fun to listen a little to this stuff.


World's longest palindrome
Tuesday, December 28, 2004, 00:49 - Miscellaneous
I came across this page by Ken Seehof, who claims to have a 12 billion words palindrome. A palindrome is a word, or in this case a sentence, that is exactly the same when read backbards as forwards.
On his site he publishes a much shorter version, which still is very long. The sentence appears to be highly repetetive, but it is non-repeating in the mathematical sense. I must admit though that the sentence doesn't make very much sense...

However, when you shorten his sentence even further, you get a palindrome that does appeal to me:
A man, a plan, a cat, a dog, God at a canal -- Panama!


Christmas menu
Friday, December 24, 2004, 21:05 - Personal
It is by now a tradition that my sister, my brother and I cook a full-size multi-course diner for the whole family (seven) on Christmas Day at my parents' house. I think having a good diner together and catching up is a great way to celebrate the holiday.
All shopping has been done by now. Tomorrow a large part of the afternoon is spent on preparation ("Mis en place") so in between courses only the final cooking needs to be done.

Tomorrow the menu will be as follows:
* Aperitif
* Creamy Celery Gorgonzola Soup
* Tomato-Ricotta Timbale
* Pork Filet with Apple and Ginger Stuffing / Mushroom Strudel with Nuts / Stuffed Tomatoes, served with Potato Truffle Gratins, Smoored Leek and Corn Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette
* Steamed Pears Sorbet
* Coffee

Merry Christmas to everyone!



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