Dienstag, 30. November 2004

Another quote from the latest issue of Der Spiegel: "Ex-Kommissionspräsident Prodi hatte vor zwei Jahren klargestellt, wo er die Zukunft des europäischen Kernlands sieht - er verglich die Chancen der Ukraine in puncto EU-Beitritt mit jenen Neuseelands. Nach der Türkei und den Balkanländern sei Schluss. Im 'Ring der Freunde' der EU allerdings, neben Marokko und Moldau, sah Prodi noch Platz für die Ukraine." In English: "Former President of the EU Commission Prodi clearly expressed his vision of the future of the European core land two years ago - he compared the chances of the Ukraine to join the EU with New Zealand. After Turkey and the Balkan States no more countries would be allowed to join. However, in the 'circle of friends' of the EU there would still be some space left, for Ukraine as well as for Marokko and Moldova." Romano Prodi ought to have rather become the manager of a pizza store than have interfered with European policy. The Ukraine is a country about the same size (Ukraine: 603,700 sq km, Turkey: 780,580 sq km) and the same population (Ukraine 47,732,079, Turkey: 68,893,918) as Turkey, but it has a European population with a European culture. It would be a more valuable addition to the European Union. Welcome to Europe, Ukraine!

And in my opinion, Belarus should also join the EU one day.

The data has been taken from the CIA World Factbook.

Montag, 29. November 2004

The latest issue of Der Spiegel features a cover story about the celebrations of Napoleon's 200nd coronation day in France. In the years 1800 to 1815, Napoleon waged wars against the other European countries, in which hundred thousands of people were killed. "Napoleon wird [in Frankreich] verehrt als Kriegsheld, Staatsreformer und Wegbereiter für ein geeintes Europa." In English: "[In France] Napoleon is worshipped for being a hero of war, a reformer of state and the one who made United Europe possible." (United Europe is considered a positive aim.) And nobody seems to protest against this. How would the world react if in Germany Hitler were "worshipped for being a hero of war, a reformer of state and the one who made United Europe possible"? It's absurd if the French believe war is an okay means of uniting Europe! And Napoleon's concept of Europe was not an union of equal countries but a Europe under the lead of France.

Samstag, 27. November 2004

I've had my first exam in computer science today. It contained some quite interesting tasks like computing the redundancy of a digital watch display. I expect to have scored pretty good, although certainly not perfect as I was not able to answer all (but only some of) the theoretical questions since I hadn't invested much time in learning.

I've found two excellent articles in some of the more recent issues of Hugi (27 and 28) and decided to add them to this homepage. "Game of Life" is a philosophical writing on the meaning of life, from a very ENTJ perspective actually (but when I wrote it, I didn't know yet that I'm an ENTJ). "Presenting the Scene to the Public: Good or Bad?" is probably one of the most serious scene-related articles I've ever written. Enjoy reading! New articles are going to come in Hugi 30, for which I've set the new articles submission deadline to December 19th, 2004.

Freitag, 26. November 2004

Only yesterday did I post a comment on the debate about the results of the new PISA survey to debatte.orf.at. It seems like this debate has already been closed, which is a pity. Here's the comment I posted:

"Finnland ist ja angeblich auch dieses Mal Nr. 1. In den Berichten über die letzte Studie ist mir aufgefallen, dass in Finnland der Lehrerberuf wesentlich anerkannter ist als hierzulande und viele der besten Schüler später Lehrer werden. Da liegt also die Vermutung nahe, dass die Qualität der Lehrer eben doch sehr wichtig für das Funktionieren des Bildungssystems ist.

Wenn die Qualität der Lehrer ein so wichtiger Faktor ist, dann sind die wichtigsten Maßnahmen solche, die zum Ziel haben, eben diese Qualität der Lehrer zu heben.

Ein wichtiger Schritt in die richtige Richtung bestünde darin, das Sozialprestige des Lehrerberufs zu heben. Der Lehrerberuf muss vom Image wegkommen, dass sich dort nur Leute sammeln, die in anderen Berufen versagt haben oder es gar nicht erst in anderen Berufen versucht haben, weil sie von Natur aus 'faule Säcke' sind (Zitat: Gerhard Schröder).

Es mag in diesem Zusammenhang auch sinnvoll sein, einzelne Lehrer als Vorbilder herauszustreichen, um andere zu motivieren. Es stellen sich die Fragen:
* Welche Leistungen sollen ausgezeichnet werden?
* Wie soll festgestellt werden, welche Lehrer diese Leistungen erbracht haben?
* Was soll die Form der Auszeichnung sein?

Wenn es etwa darum ginge, Lehrer auszuzeichnen, deren Schulklassen einen überdurchschnittlichen Notendurchschnitt aufweisen, so müsste man das Schulsystem grundlegend ändern. Denn da derzeit der Lehrende und der Prüfende ein- und dieselbe Person sind, bestünde keine Objektivität. Die Lehrer könnten absichtlich die Anforderungen senken, so dass der Notendurchschnitt steigt. Daher müssten die Prüfungen in größeren Einheiten einheitlich durch eine Kommission gestaltet werden. So wären auch die Lehrenden gezwungen, den Lehrplan einzuhalten."

Dienstag, 23. November 2004

For my Technical English course, I've written a paper about the demo scene. I've included it in the section "Hugi Diskmag" at this homepage. The size limitation was a maximum of three printed pages DIN-A4, and for this reason I've tried not to exceed it (with a font-size of 10 pts).

Montag, 22. November 2004

This seems to be an interesting (but not quite up-to-date) site for data on all countries in the world: http://www.alsagerschool.co.uk/subjects/sub_content/geography/Gpop/HTMLENH/index.htm. Things that are not included there might be in the CIA World Factbook.

Sonntag, 21. November 2004

I'm a problem solver. My best motivation for learning is solving problems. I noticed that when I was working on a complex algorithm for hours without a break. When I face a problem, I will not stop before it is solved. This is the way I work. Therefore it would be good for me if the medical curriculum was based on problem-based learning like at Harvard University. I'm only motivated to memorize facts that aren't interesting for me for any other reason when I see that they are needed for the solution of a problem.

I've bought a joypad for USB and plugged it to my PC. Thus I can also play handheld (Game Gear, Game Boy) games on an emulator using a joypad. This is great as it's much more comfortable than having to hold one device which is both the controllers and the display you have to look at in your hands.

Reading some very old Hugi issues I found a very funny article about my school-days called "Eine wahre Geschichte aus der Schule: Stundenprofil Werken"; it's the description of a typical handicraft lesson. Handicraft was a mandatory subjects in the first two years of highschool (fifth and sixth form) - thank Goodness, it was replaced by Latin in the seventh form. I've added the story to my homepage.

Samstag, 20. November 2004

I got 10.5 additional points for EPROG Round 1 because two students used my program in EPROG Round 2. Cool!

I spent almost the whole day working on the documentation of my program. It's 24 kbytes. I also noticed that something ought to be added to my program, and thus it grew to 14 kbytes. Now I've handed it in.

Freitag, 19. November 2004

I've finished my program for EPROG Round 3. It was a real challenge this time, which makes me wonder whether the people who made up this task were actually aware of all the implications of their specification - maybe they just considered some special cases. I guess it's almost impossible for a total newcomer without any programming skills to solve this within the deadline of 10 days. I worked all afternoon; the result is a nice program with a size of 12 kbytes; I'll yet try to test and validate the algorithm, and I still got to write the documentation. For those who wonder, it was specification 3077; and of course I had deliberately chosen the hardest of three possible tasks because the harder the task you take, the more points you will get (if your program is correct).

Donnerstag, 18. November 2004

I've also passed the second of three minor exams in pharmacology. This one was about analgetics.

Dienstag, 16. November 2004

Another interesting page on the same topic: http://www.cscs.umich.edu/~crshalizi/election/. This one shows what the shape of the US federal states would be if the population density was the same in all states. Moreover, it shows the results county-wise, with deformed state shapes as well, and with colour gradients to show how superior the winning party has been.

EPROG Round 3 has started. Again I've got the maximum score for the previous round, this time it's 20 out of 20 points. I guess it's time to upload my solution to Round 1 to this homepage of mine. I've compared it with other students' solutions and it seems that my work is the shortest and most elegant solution of all of them; that's why it makes sense to upload it.

Mittwoch, 10. November 2004

I've found a very interesting page about U.S. Presidential Elections: uselectionatlas.org

Montag, 1. November 2004

Text Mode Demo Competition (or Contest) 7 has started. The invitation demo has great music, so it's a pity that it's just a text-mode demo.