Immer gut, nicht nur eine Quelle zu lesen

April 6th, 2010 No comments
Categories: Other Tags:

Stephen Fry on the (catholic) Church

March 8th, 2010 No comments

This is easily one of the best speeches I have heard in my life.

The Intelligence² Debate – Stephen Fry (Unedited)
von Xrunner17

Categories: English, Politics Tags: ,

How not to review scientific papers

March 5th, 2010 No comments

This year a scientific conference will take place, where me and a number other colleagues of our department submitted papers to. A double-blind review process was selected for this conference, meaning that two independent reviewers will evaluate and give marks for papers. This is (in theory) a good process. Often times the reviews are helpful for the authors, even when their papers are not accepted, and the overall quality of the conference is somewhat ensured. Now, I got back some of the some worst reviews I ever read – not because my papers got rejected (one got accepted) – but because of the review comments. Some colleagues asked me whether to take such reviews seriously and I asked some of them myself. I’d like to share my thoughts about this with you and I’m pretty sure you will agree.

I was (co-)author of two different papers. Since I knew there were a high number of submission, acceptance was not guaranteed, but I was eager to see the reviews, which often proved very helpful on other conferences. These were the actual reviews we got:

REVIEW 1
Clearly exceeds 400-word limt for abstract.
Very interesting innovative approach on participatory planning software. Once
up and running, I would like to learn more about experiences with the
implementation. (5/10)

At least this review had one hint, that the reviewer actually read the paper. But clearly exceeds 400-word limit? Our abstract had (including date and title) 394 words → FAIL

REVIEW 2
may be rejected (4/10)

may be rejected? Oh really? That’s so helpful, who needs reasons anyway? My grandmother probably could have written a better review, and she surely isn’t able to read English scientific papers → FAIL

Now to the second paper, which was actually accepted:

REVIEW 1
In order to properly compare companies as a whole on a higher level, the
authors suggest to a) aggregate key performance indicators towards a single
evaluation value and b) to assign different weights to indicators based on
stakeholder input.
The new models need to be summarized more clearly. (9/10)

Ok, this is actually the best review (which is quite sad), because it shows the reviewer at least read it. Also, he/she gives one hint, which is not really helpful (in a full paper it’s much easier to clearly present the approach compared to a 400-word abstract), but at least it’s something. In other conferences this review would be fail, but now my standards are so low already, I’ll say it’s acceptable. Not to worry though, there’s another review:

REVIEW 2
good paper (8/10)

Gee, thanks! This is such a reasonable, well structured review. What can I say? Oh yes → FAIL

One of the foundations of scientific method is to have results written down in an understandable (reproducible) order. This conference had more submission than expected, granted. But having this review process is just utterly pointless – you can’t even tell if the reviewers at least had a look at your paper. For what it’s worth: Most of the papers accepted here had some professor titles as authors – this doesn’t necessarily mean anything, but just a hint on another big problem of current science – titles are more important than content.
Overall, this feedback just leaves a very shallow taste whether the conference (or at least the reviewers) can be taken seriously. The conference hasn’t even started and already leaves an unprofessional impression. Let’s hope, the actual presentations and final papers will make up for this.

Categories: English, Other Tags: ,

How to create a law that no one wants

February 25th, 2010 No comments

A prime example on how much many of our politicians and parties suck, has just come into effect; not only does it show that in times of election laws are constructed just for the cause of doing something (which in the best cases is harmless and plain nonsense), but also demonstrates the utter incompetence of politicians:
The Zugangserschwerungsgesetz (“Bill on making access more difficult”, rough translation, isn’t the German language just great?) has passed, although pretty much everyone else was against it.

Well, now elections are over and suddenly even the Verräterpartei (traitor’s party) and the Schwarze Pest (black plaque) are against their own law! To top it all, they are now advising the police not to apply the new law, which again is unconstitutional.

And those two form our biggest parties! German major parties – where incompetency and symbol politics meet in perfect harmony.
(not that this does not apply to other parties, too)

Categories: English, Politics Tags: ,

Moonlight Sonata

October 16th, 2009 No comments

To be honest, I find most classical music to be plain boring. But a number of compositions stand out, being absolutely brilliant and I love listening to them. One of them being the Moonlight Sonata from Beethoven. I heard some people saying that music is similar to mathematics; well I never could really see why. In this video, the music is visualised in a way I’ve not seen before and while I still not necessarily see a connection to Math, it certainly has a beautiful structure to it, besides the music itself. Just watch it:

Plain beautiful.

Categories: English, Have a look Tags: ,

People are stupid

September 19th, 2009 1 comment

Just discovered The Amazing Atheist. Really great stuff, and as such, of course attracting a whole lot of incredibly stupid people. There’s been stupid people since the dawn of time, but why are they allowed to comment on the internet? That’s one of the reasons I don’t like games like WOW; the sheer amount of kiddies and people too stupid that they should be allowed to ever articulate themselves are constantly yelling their opinions at you. It just hurts reading most of the video comments. Great example:

“i made mine its just your mind set is set to a 10 year olds you had to resort to saying eat shit and die seriously how old are you? can you not have a debate without swearing

fucking reatrd!!!!!¹

I’d wish people like that were intelligent enough for a short time to see what they’d been writing, so they would shoot themselves out of shame and help evolution of mankind.

And by the way, I can really recommend this video about the US being the land of the brave and free.

¹The comment was taken from this video.

Categories: English, Have a look Tags: ,

Gerade vom Opt-Out-Day zurück

September 17th, 2009 No comments

und muss sagen, es waren deutlich mehr da, als erwartet. Ehrlich gesagt hatte ich mit deutlich weniger als zehn Leuten gerechnet, aber bei der von uns durchgeführten amtlichen Endzählung waren es dann doch 24. Da einige mehrere Widerspruchserklärungen mitgebracht hatten, gab’s dann doch eine ganz hübsche Anzahl. Und darüber hinaus gab’s vor dem Bürgerbüro zufällig noch ein schönes Aufgebot an Militär, passend zur Aktion (“Bundeswehreinsatz im Inneren”, wie einer meinte 😉 ).  Insgesamt war der Männeranteil zwar deutlich >90% (nur eine Frau glaube ich) und die üblichen Verdächtigen da – ich habe einige Kollegen und ehemalige Kommilitonen erkannt – aber der Opt-Out-Day in Oldenburg war ein Erfolg, finde ich.

Anbei noch ein paar Bilder, da ich das eine leider sehr verwackelt habe, spar ich mir da die Arbeit mit Gesichter unkenntlich machen.

Opt-out Day – Oldenburg

August 17th, 2009 2 comments

Dass die Meldeämter ungefragt Adressdaten z.B. an die GEZ weitergeben, war mir ja bekannt. Dass die noch mehr weitergeben dürfen und dass dagegen ein Widerspruchrecht besteht, hingegen nicht. Die Piratenpartei hat nun für den 17. September den Opt-Out-Day ausgerufen. Heißt im Klartext:

Geht zu eurer lokalen Meldebehörde und widersprecht der Weitergabe eurer persönlichen Daten. Für Oldenburg finden sich die entsprechenden Formulare hier. Das zweite Dokument sollte m.E. ausreichen. Der Zeitpunkt des gemeinsamen Treffens wird noch bekannt gegeben, weitere Infos für Oldenburg hier.

Was mir aber nicht ganz klar ist: Widerspreche ich damit tatsächlich auch der Weitergabe meiner Daten an die GEZ-Mafia? Schriftliche Auskünfte sind explizit nicht verboten, heisst das, das es im Prinzip nur aufwendiger wird? Aber wäre ja immerhin auch schon etwas.

Update: Da durch RSS-Aggregator (z.B. gReader) ja Kommentare gerne untergehen – GEZ-Auskünfte kann man damit wohl nicht umgehen. Trotzdem ‘ne gute Sache.

Die Verräter-Partei

July 1st, 2009 2 comments

Na das ist doch mal ne schöne Google-Bombe: Geht mal auf google.de und gebt “verräter partei” ein. Erstes Sucherergebnis? Muaha

Achja, um mich in diesem Beitrag auch konstruktiv zu beteiligen 😉 Verräter Partei

Categories: German, Politics Tags: , ,

Solving Sound Problems with Dosbox in Ubuntu 8.10 and 9.04

June 27th, 2009 No comments

Hey guys, since I get a lot of hits to this article, I’d really appreciate if you leave a short note when this helped you, so we can see if this is a general configuration problem. Thanks!

Since ubuntu 8.10 I was having stuttering sound with dosbox. I just made a fresh install of 9.04 and still was experiencing such problems (pulseaudio ftw again…). I searched the web, alas was unable to find a solution that was actually working. After trying a couple of things, I finally seem to have found a solution which is working (at least for me): I set the mixing rate within dosbox to match that of pulseaudio. To make it short, change your conf in ~/.dosbox/ to

[mixer]
#   nosound: Enable silent mode, sound is still emulated though.
#      rate: Mixer sample rate, setting any device's rate higher than this will probably lower their sound quality.
#            Possible values: 22050, 44100, 48000, 32000, 16000, 11025, 8000, 49716.
# blocksize: Mixer block size, larger blocks might help sound stuttering but sound will also be more lagged.
#            Possible values: 2048, 4096, 8192, 1024, 512, 256.
# prebuffer: How many milliseconds of data to keep on top of the blocksize.
nosound=false
#rate=22050
rate=44100      # Change this line
blocksize=2048
prebuffer=10

Also, to get rid of the initial midi warning I changed the following, though it may not be necessary:

[midi]
#     mpu401: Type of MPU-401 to emulate.
#             Possible values: intelligent, uart, none.
# mididevice: Device that will receive the MIDI data from MPU-401.
#             Possible values: default, win32, alsa, oss, coreaudio, coremidi, none.
# midiconfig: Special configuration options for the device driver. This is usually the id of the device you want to use. See README for details.
mpu401=intelligent
mididevice=default
midiconfig=128:0      # Change this line

Yet another pulseaudio problem solved.

Update: Also, setting output to opengl helps a lot, at least if you have compiz enabled.