Dienstag, 28. Dezember 2004

Since last Monday I've been at the department of laboratory medicine of the Vienna General Hospital, where I'm doing yet another Famulatur. They're working a lot with computers there; as a matter of fact, at some sub-departments all the doctors are doing is checking the values the computers display and deciding whether to release them or whether to request another blood sample from the station. The programs are new - they've been in use for about six months - and good, but there's still room for improvement . So obviously medical informatics has some future.

Since I'm also studying computer science, I was also let into the EDP department, where I was warmly welcomed by the people working there. They showed me how the current system works, what they do every day and what hardware the old, previously used system required (it will be disposed of soon and the space will be used for the labs that are currently located in another building). Three medical-technical assistants (MTAs) who taught themselves how to handle computers and administer networks and an autodidact programmer are working at that department. If I remember right, they're employees of the department and do not belong to the university's computer science service staff. I spotted an interesting book on ASP.NET in the small-but-fine library of the EDP department and ate it at once (metaphorically speaking, of course). It contains introductionary courses to ASP.NET, VB.NET and C#. It also seems to contain knowledge for advanced programmers. Well, I read the beginning and the complete part about C#. ASP.NET seems to be pretty cool. Now I can also call myself a C# programmer - I just lack practical experiences with it. :)

Mittwoch, 22. Dezember 2004

Yesterday I watched my first episode of "Detective Rockford" and enjoyed it very much, mainly because the main character is extroverted, thinking and judging, though probably rather sensing than intuitive. Interesting enough, the series was recorded in the same years as Columbo was (mainly in the second half of the 1970's, with some more recent episodes from the 1990's).

Sonntag, 19. Dezember 2004

Today I've finished my works for EPROG Rounds 4 and 5. Round 5 was especially cool as the task was to write a specification of a task of your own yourself; I didn't need much time to come up with an interesting one.

Here's a review of Batman for Mega Drive - the first I found using Google. And it seems like the reviewer has had the same opinion of the soundtrack as me. The credits at the end of the game say that Naoki Kotaka was responsible for the music and Shinichi Seya did the sound programming. By the way, playing it from start to end at 'Normal' level the second time, I found it much easier. It's all a matter of learning how to act in certain situations, when to be offensive and defensive, when to use batarangs (I hardly ever did so),... I did not lose a single life, I only collected two bonus lives. ;)

http://www.angelfire.com/film/batman/games/batman1/genesis/batman1genesis.html

Samstag, 18. Dezember 2004

To anybody who enjoy listening to game-music, I recommend checking out the old game Batman by Sunsoft for Sega Mega Drive (Genesis). It's awesome! One of the best sound-tracks of all games on all platforms I've ever played (and that's quite a lot)! All the tracks in the game are worth listening to. As there's a sound-test, it's possible to listen to the music without even playing the game.

The game itself is a jump'n'run with two shoot'em'up levels. It's pretty hard primarily due to strong characters. As for the bosses, there's always a special tactics for each how you can defeat him without risking any damage and without wasting any boomerangs. Actually the same applies to the levels themselves as well. Especially in the last level (Cathedral) tactics becomes important in order to master the level without getting seriously damaged. While the jump'n'run levels are quite tedious and little fun, the shoot'em'up levels are very cool (but they're difficult as well).

Sunsoft seemed to have had a great computer musician, for their Batman games on Game Boy (Batman 1 and Batman 2 - Return of the Joker) also had outstanding music, although it was by far not as excellent as the ones of the Mega Drive version.

Freitag, 17. Dezember 2004

I've got an A for the paper about the demo scene which I wrote for the Technical English course (see section 'Hugi Diskmag'). I've also got an A for the practical course on otorhinolaryngology, but I guess that course wasn't quite what one could call demanding. ;)

I've bumped into the website of a Northern Irish university professor named Richard Lynn. He published a paper on the IQs in various countries. The evidence is quite shocking: Intelligence is anything but equally distributed. Moreover, there's a significant correlation of about 0.7 between the national IQ and the per capita GNP 1998. UK was assumed to have an average IQ of 100. There are only a few countries better than the UK, including Austria and Germany (102 each), Switzerland (101), Sweden (101), Netherlands (102), Italy (102), Taiwan (104), Korea (106) and Hong Kong (107). China has 100, the USA has 98, Russia has 96. Arab and Latin American countries score between 80 and 90. But the worst countries are African countries with a Black majority population. The country with the lowest average IQ is Equatorial Guinea, which has an average IQ of 59. That means that about three quarters of the population are below the IQ 70 margin, i.e. are mentally retarded! It's surprising that such a country can even exist. According to the CIA World Factbook, "The discovery and exploitation of large oil reserves have contributed to dramatic economic growth in recent years. Forestry, farming, and fishing are also major components of GDP. Subsistence farming predominates." "Despite the country's economic windfall from oil production resulting in a massive increase in government revenue in recent years, there have been few improvements in the country's living standards." "A number of aid programs sponsored by the World Bank and the IMF have been cut off since 1993 because of corruption and mismanagement."

My conclusion: If the population is dumb, not even 'black gold' will increase the living standard. What practical implications does this have? Such nations could only prosper if their population was replaced by another one... But what sense would this have? After all, population is what defines a nation. - Every nation gets what it deserves.

Mittwoch, 15. Dezember 2004

I've found a tape recorded on December 8th, 1988. I can now listen to myself as a five-year-old for about 90 minutes. I'm talking about dinosaurs (reading some passages from a book aloud and discussing them with my father), the Masters of the Universe, the Ewoks, Greek mythology,... 90 minutes without a single break. One can clearly notice what a smart-ass I was already then, displaying little respect towards my parents ("Falsch! Das ist so..." - "Wrong! It's like this...", "Lass die blöden Laternen!" - "Don't bother me with your silly lights!"). My character has remained the same throughout all the years. I was definitely anything but introverted.

By the way, I didn't know that the Ewoks were a tribe from Star Wars. I've just found out now using Google. I've never watched Star Wars. As a child, I loved the cartoon series about the Ewoks. It's definitely the same tribe as the description of their characteristics on that Star Wars webpage matches them.

Dienstag, 14. Dezember 2004

EPROG Round 4 has started. I've got 77 points in total: 60 regular points (out of 60 possible) and 17 extra points as my code from round 1 was re-used by several other students for rounds 2 or 3.

Sonntag, 12. Dezember 2004

I read on some website that an original thinker has an IQ of 160 or higher. I wondered what has made the author of that statement think so. My understanding of the term "original thinker" is that of a person who develops (and publishes) new ideas. But I also do so, although I have an IQ of just 145. As a matter of fact, I believe even people with lower intelligence may be able to develop new ideas. The minimum IQ required for developing new ideas has to be much lower than 160.

So maybe something different was meant? Perhaps the idea was that an original thinker develops ideas which are not only new (in the sense that they contain knowledge which the thinker has not had before) but unique, i.e. nobody in the world has had the same idea before. Well, let us think a bit: A possible explanation why a particular minimum IQ might be required for developing really novel and unique ideas would be an inverse correlation between the IQ and the probability that somebody has already had the idea before. As the higher the IQ deviates from the mean, the less the frequency of people having this IQ, it is obvious that a person with an extremely high IQ can be sure that there are only a few people in the world whose IQ is equal or even higher. As regards an IQ of 160 or above, only one person in about 11,000 has it. So there are currently about 60,000 persons with such a high IQ (assuming that the average IQ of the world population is 100). Now let's say a person with an IQ of 160 has a new idea which only people with such a high IQ can have. Then there are only about 60,000 other persons in the world who may have had the same idea. Thus the probability that his idea is really original is quite high compared to the probability that the idea of a person with an IQ of 100 may be original. But - it's not 100 %. It would only be 100 % if there were not a single other person in this world who might have had the same idea. On the other hand, it's also possible that a person with just an IQ of, say, 120 gives birth to an idea which nobody else has ever had before - it's just less likely. So the minimum IQ of an original thinker is arbitrary and it is not logically valid to make such a statement as "An original thinker has an IQ of 160 or higher".

Note: These calculations would only apply if the IQ were the only variable determining the probability whether an idea is original. But it is definitely not the only one. One must not forget that intelligence is just a tool to process information. In the first place, however, you need information. So the probability that you develop a novel, unique idea becomes even higher if you are working on a field in which only a few other (reasonably intelligent) people are interested as well.

The conclusion: If you want to become an original thinker, it's handy to have a high IQ, but that's not all. See to it that you gather information to process. Learn.

Samstag, 11. Dezember 2004

My decision to focus on computer science has given me a sense of freedom as I believe that I'm now back on the right track. When studying medicine in the past years, I have always been aware that this has only been in order to extend my knowledge of the world and has had little if any relevance to my professional life. Now it's time to get prepared for business world.

Montag, 6. Dezember 2004

I've found a very interesting page: It contains the translation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) to more than 300 languages. Information on the languages (history, countries where it is spoken, how many people are speaking it, relations to other languages) is included - sometimes it's quite vast. The URL of the page is http://www.unhchr.ch/udhr/navigate/alpha.htm.

Donnerstag, 2. Dezember 2004

I've got 30 out of 30 points for EPROG Round 3. As I have got some more extra points for Round 1, too, I now have 72.8 points in total so far. EPROG Round 4 hasn't started yet.

Today I also had my weekly maths exercise course, for the 8th time. So far I've solved all home exercises correctly (40 out of 40). It will be 60 exercises in total in the course of the whole semester. One needs to have about 2/3 correct in order to pass the course, so maybe I'd already have enough to pass even if I did nothing for that course any more.

I also handed in my paper for Technical English, extended with some references to good demoscene-related sites. In today's course we had to form groups, design special bicycles and convincingly present them to the audience afterwards. It was not meant seriously, it was for fun (all that had to be correct was the use of the English language), and we laughed our asses off. My team invented a bike that allows you to have a kind of flight experience, which is enabled by a ramp with an elastic rubber and inflatable tires for a safe landing.

I've discovered a great book about eugenics: "Wert des Lebens. Gedenken - Lernen - Begreifen", published by Trauner Verlag 2003. Some of the authors are faculty members of the Johannes Kepler University Linz (Institut für Gesellschafts- und Sozialpolitik). It's more than 300 pages in total and extensively deals with the history of eugenics, its philosophical foundation, the attitudes of various political parties towards eugenics (catholic parties, social democratic parties - all of them were pro-eugenics in the beginning of the 20th century), crimes committed in the names of eugenics, and modern bio-ethics, among other topics. I've learned that the concept of eugenics came up with the industrial age as only then the classification of human beings as useful/valuable or not began. In my opinion, it's not okay to equal the value of a human being with his/her usefulness; every human being is born as an individual and has an intrinsic value of his/her own which is independent of his/her current role in society.

Mittwoch, 1. Dezember 2004

I've written something I called "A Peculiar Text". It's a text in a fictional language of mine whose grammar and vocabulary yet have to be devised; and yet I've tried to translate that text to German, inventing the meanings of some of the words and some grammatical rules during the translation process. In the end, I tried to interpret the text. I found all of this so interesting that I decided to upload this to my homepage; and I've also added a German text on linguistics and constructing new languages I wrote several years ago as a kind of introduction. Finally, my text "Ein Mann rasieren sich (Version in deutsch von zukunft)" seemed to be appropriate as well. Enjoy reading!

I've participated a lot in a debate about the medical curriculum, medical students and exams at science.orf.at and I've made many people agree with my views.

I've done the test at www.keirsey.com again and this time I got:

E+6 N+12 T+18 J+6

Compare it with last time's results:

E+2 N+8 T+14 J+8

So it's the same type but slightly different values for the individual components. The tendency to extroversion is now clearer - last time this preference was weak. That's certainly due to my having realized that I'm really extroverted, which I used to doubt, because I wrongly interpreted other people's statements that my "skills at handling people" were "not so good". (It's rather that I don't have much empathy for others and sometimes act in a harsh and arrogant manner.)

I did the test right after checking out the description of the ENTP type at www.personalitypage.com, which appeared to me as being more likeable than the ENTJ type which I am according to this test. As a matter of fact I only got J+6 this time instead of J+8 like last time, but that's not too significant a change. However, I've noticed that I'm often not sure what to answer to questions which are about P/J and then choose the J option for rational reasons.

N and T are even stronger than last time - as a matter of fact I'm definitely NT; I had already been aware of that even before I got to know that test. Compared to N and T, I score rather weak for E and J, so I'm probably not a total ENTJ type (who is anyway?) but also have some traits of the other three Rational types.

Apart from that, I guess I should see to it to socialize more soon; the last time I was around with other people except in lectures and trains was at the meeting of the Austrian high intelligence society on Saturday. It's getting a bit boring being just alone, it seems like I'm somehow running out of inspiration.

By the way, I've stumbled over the website of Gerhard Zlabinger aka GeZ, a former classmate of mine in high school years 1 to 4. He then left for a computer science school. The study-year 2003/2004 he spent in Derby (England) for his Bachelor degree. He has kept up his particular, good sense of humour so if you understand German and are interesting in some funny things, check out www.plain.at/~gez/ to see if this type of humour is enjoyable for you.

A discussion at the internal discussion board of the Austrian high intelligence society inspired me to enter my data at www.astro.com, and I was completely surprised to see my "personality horoscope" for I used to believe that astrology is nonsense. Translation from German: "With Sun in Libra and Moon in Scorpio you are clever and shrewd. You tend to be aggressive, arrogant and sarcastic. If somebody hurts your feelings, you will take revenge. You love being outstanding with your successes, which, however, does not have a good effect upon your popularity. With your independent will you solve your problems on your own." But the rest of the text doesn't match me as accurately. Maybe it's because I did not know the exact time at which I was born and only entered the hour. ;-)