Category Archives: Eef

Using AI in non-fiction context, a justification

In his recent essay, “The slippery slope of AI in books” Paul was almost shocked by his publisher’s question “Did you use AI in creating text, images and/or translation in your book?” Of course, he answered with a loud, indignant “NO” to this question.

Then Paul explains to us that he uses Word’s spelling checker and occasionally a grammar checker. But of course, his text as a whole, is his own. Created by him and only him.

That made me wonder, how does this work out for my text with e.g. the contributions to the math section? I am not a book writer as Paul definitely is, but I write nonetheless. And doing so, I try to maintain my personal style. On a very regular base, Paul and I, exchange email messages with a great variety of subjects. We do this for more than 25 years. The writing is in our own style and very recognizable as such.

But this is entirely different from creating a fictional story as storytellers do. Continue reading →

The secrets of RSA encryption

When clicking on the padlock in the address bar of an internet session, a window appears with the message: “Safari uses an encrypted connection with …”. [red. this message may look slightly different for other browsers]

After pressing the buttons ‘Show certificate’ and ‘detail’, a lot more is shown. The typically used security algorithm nowadays at most news sites etc. at the opening session is: public key with elliptic curve.

But for the sites where security really is an issue, e.g. a login session into your bank account or a large online store, RSA is the encryption algorithm. And RSA encryption is the subject of my contribution this time. Continue reading →

P vs NP – A promise fulfilled

P versus NP – An early encounter

My first programming experience was in the early 80’s. I had bought myself a Texas instruments 58-c programmable calculator, and I was curious what could be done with such a device. That turned out to be very modest.
The calculator was capable of 480 program steps but held then zero memories for data storage. Each memory used for data consumed 8 program steps, so with the storage of e.g. 10 integers, the programming space was diminished with 80 steps.
The 58-c’s memory was retained even after switching off the calculator, but before creating another program, memory first had to be erased. Continue reading →

Cultural dilemma – Country vs Religion

One would think it would be easy to describe or define a country. But its definition in Wikipedia leaves room for interpretation that attempts to describe it as ‘…a distinct part of the world, such as a state, nation, or other political entity…’. Notably, the definition of a country does not include ‘a group of people with a certain religion‘ or even ‘a group of people‘. On the other hand, the Wikipedia article does mention religion in any way but for the use of religious symbols, eg. in flags. Continue reading →

Graham’s number

In the 2nd or 3rd grade of my catholic primary school our teacher spoke of stuff like ‘God’
and ‘Heaven’.
“People live in Heaven after their death,” she told us. “All eternity.”
Nobody knew what eternity was, so she had to explain.
“Eternity,” she said, “never ends. “The years go on forever.”
Apparently she saw her pupils struggling with this concept and that made her tell us a
story. Continue reading →

Unexpected turns of events – Short stories

Eef, our resident columnist and contributor of mainly scientific content to this blog, decided it was time to write and publish some short stories collected from his memory under the sub-title ‘Unexpected turns of events‘. It is my pleasure to publish them on this site and bring them to your attention. Eef wrote three stories to date, I have no doubt that more will follow shortly. Continue reading →

The Art of Translation

My all time favorite SF-writer is Jack Vance who died at May 13th 2013 at the age of 96. He wasn’t a follower of the hard science fiction category, there are far more qualified writers for this genre like Larry Niven with his fabulous novel Ringworld, full of hard core science.
In fact Niven had to write a sequel to Ringworld because he wanted to correct a rather stupid technical error in the original story. One which was pointed him out by MIT students. Continue reading →

Mathematical issues

Some remarkable mathematical issues

Although the Dutch newspapers Volkskrant and NRC can be blamed for being too political (D66) biased to be independent as journals ought to be, it must be said that both have excellent science sections.
On an irregular base even topics of mathematical nature have been published.

Of course for a layman’s audience, mathematics lacks the ability of other science disciplines of being easily visualized.
So the topics in these sections were about trivial stuff like the latest calculated decimals of π or some large regions on the number line without any prime number called prime deserts, a newly found Mersenne number, etc.
But that hardly scratches the surface. Continue reading →

Cantor’s Continuum Hypothesis

One of the most important mathematical objects is the set with its many useful properties. We can look at the size of the set by wondering how many members it embraces. The answer obviously can be found by counting them.
Then we can take another set and compare its size with the first one, again by counting the members. We call this size the cardinality of the set. Continue reading →

Energievoorziening in Nederland

In ons land wordt de energiebehoefte door een aantal bronnen ingevuld.
– aardgas    |
– aardolie    | fossiele brandstoffen
– steenkool |

– kernenergie    |
– windturbines   | CO2-vrije energieopwekking
– zonnepanelen |

– biomassa | “CO2 vrij” —> The great accounting trick Continue reading →

Aardgas

De Europese Commissie zet het licht op groen voor extra investeringen in onder meer aardgas. Dit als vervanging voor steen- en bruinkool dat in veel energiecentrales nog als brandstof wordt gebruikt. Continue reading →

Teloorgang

Met toenemende somberheid beschouw ik de ontwikkelingen van de Nederlandse samenleving welke niet anders dan kunnen worden beoordeeld langs een afglijdende schaal.
En dit afglijden lijkt een zekere route naar totale anarchie.

Bijna wekelijks zien wij uitbarstingen die alleen in een stuurloze samenleving kunnen ontstaan. In iedere poging tot handhaving wordt wel aanleiding gevonden om uiterst gewelddadig te gaan relschoppen: vuurwerkverbod, vaccinatieplicht, QR-pas, lockdown voorstellen, avondklok. Continue reading →