Swedish students slapped with a Computer Tax

Sweden is fantastic in many ways. This is not one of them: Back in the 90’s the Swedish government wanted to encourage Swedes to get connected and to learn how to use computers. We would get a tax deduction for buying a computer and broadband installations were subsidised. A few years later schools (particularly of the for-profit persuation) started to give laptops to their students. Since then we’ve seen many Swedish information Continue Reading

Running my own servers

Being a bit of a control freak I have always wanted to have full control over my information, to decide what to make searchable through Google, to decide who gets access to what photos and documents and so on. I therefore run my own blog server, my own photo server and I store my documents on my own ssh file server instead of in the cloud (despite of all the free gigabytes). Continue Reading

What’s science?

A PhD course I took way back was about defining what science was. We read about Popper, Kuhn, Feyerabend, Lakatos and others. My lasting impression from the course was that “science” was pretty much defined as whatever the “scientific community” of a particular time defined as science. I use a rather more practical definition: Science is whatever helps us to predict the outcome of experiments or the natural unfolding of events. Science Continue Reading

To boldly go where no man has gone before

A few years back I had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by the project manager for the second Mars rover missions launched in 2004, Prof. G. Scott Hubbard. It was an inspiring speech about an impressive engineering achievement; one of the rovers is still operational after more than eight years in an extreme environment. (Unfortunately I had to pinch myself from time to time to stay awake during the speech. Continue Reading

Cramming vs creativity

In an earlier post I reported on the downward trend in the Swedish PISA results [1] (PISA is a survey measuring student knowledge and skills) and contrasted these with the overall competitiveness and innovativeness of Sweden. In a recent issue of The Economist [2] the prime minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong, is reported to recommend parents to let their children play instead of doing too much homework based on a fear Continue Reading

How can we save the elves?

Having read Sam Harris book Free Will I feel like returning just a little bit to that very topic. I wrote a few posts about it back in 2008, posts that go along the same lines as Mr. Harris. Seems like I wasn’t alone holding those particular views but as I mentioned earlier, he beat me to the publisher. The more I think about the question “do we have free will?” the Continue Reading

The return of the slow blogger – maybe

My last post here was from around three years ago. I have already admitted to being a slow blogger but three years is perhaps stretching even that epithet a bit. My fingers are itching to write about something more general than the video stuff and the quality management stuff that my other blogs are about. Facebook is mostly too superficial for the kind of writing that I’m thinking about. I can’t come Continue Reading

Be a nerd and be proud!

A nerd is a person who gets immersed in, and passionate about what he or she does [1]. One of the reasons for why there has been so little activity on this blog lately (in addition to that I am a “slow blogger”) is that I am a bit of a (computer) nerd myself. I have been spending quite a bit of time hacking away on my video player software project and Continue Reading

The blind watchmaker and the blind hen

The parameters of the universe we inhabit are incredibly well tuned to allow life to develop. All the constants governing the four known forces of the universe, the masses of the elementary particles etc. have exactly the required values to enable complex molecules and thus life to develop. With even a slightly tweaked set of parameter values the universe would never have developed the way it has, let alone come to life. Continue Reading