Departing once again…

…to Vienna. Main objective: visiting a friend and going together to a summer camp in Slovakia. I sincerely hope it’s gonna be fun 😀

Last days of classes…

…were last week. Now, I am officially entitled to have some fun, finish one last lab and prepare for the exam. My time in Trondheim comes slowly to an end, and it feels rather surreal.

On the positive side, the days are really long now. The first sunlight is visible at 3 AM, and sunset is somewhat around 11 PM. I am looking forward to virtually nonstop sunlight and hopefully some night walks 🙂 The only downside of this is my window which is directed eastwards, which means that I wake up to the sun shining into my eyes.


…to Bodø, Lofoten and Tromsø in less than half an hour.

I will be back. There will be pics.


Being a student in Trondheim means having a lot of cards.

Clockwise, from the upper left corner: Bus card, student card, dancing society membership card, semester card, key card for the washing machines (also serves as a door opener in some houses), sports society membership card.

Zee Germanz

(This will be a troll post to some extent. Also, sad topics ahead. Proceed at your own risk.)

I was yesterday sitting with some Germans in a cafe and talking about random things. Then, at some point, the conversation switched to the topic “How I want to be buried”. Since it was not the first time I was having this conversation and especially not the first time I was having this conversation in a German company, I drew the conclusion that that might be something German-specific. And if you read some German magazines, you will almost certainly read something death-related in the “Science” block: euthanasia, the climate that kills us, our children will not live better than us (accept it and die, you progress-oriented scum).

WHAT THE FUCK, GUYS? Do you (and the rest of the society) all of a sudden prepare to die in your mid-twenties? How the hell can you care about your death than about your life? I, for one, care more about what I will create in my lifetime. What happens afterwards is (largely) beyond my responsibility, except for things I will have done myself (like raising kids, solving P=NP or the like). And worrying about things I cannot change is just a pure waste of time. Seriously, guys. Research some neuroscience instead. If you do not, you will almost certainly die out and the future generations of other societies will point and laugh at those retards that extinguished themselves voluntarily.


Learning languages is fun. For me, the fun comes from discovering parallels, which really works only inside one family. Having learned six languages (in no particular order: English, Russian, German, Ukrainian, French and Norwegian), it is fun to see how much they actually have in common. It begins with very simple things, like similar words that have similar meanings (like drei (German) — trois (French) — tre (Norwegian) — three — три (Russian / Ukrainian) or the verb “to be” which mostly preserved its inflections or common roots. But the most amazing things are common semantic networks and common connotations, for example “light” as “easy” or the common roots of “understand” and “verstehen”. If you have some spare time, look up the origin of the word “science” 😉

Another thing that is really interesting are the ways different languages try to handle linguistic phenomena: The definiteness/indefiniteness problem was solved in Western European languages by the means of articles (and dude, the usage of articles is really diverse — just look at Norwegian), while the Slavic languages rely on implicit semantics to carry definiteness. And this is only one example, there is a lot more to discover in linguistics, for example the use of prepositions which differs a lot across Europe. Or the different kinds of inflections: German and Icelandic preserved a whole lot of inflection rules (like matching the adjective to the corresponding noun in the correct case), while other languages from the same group did not (English, for example).

The main thing I can take from learning that much languages is that with six languages, you can understand a whole lot of Europe (if you have some imagination, you will be limited only by languages from another language families like Finnish or Hungarian) and the Americas: With Norwegian, you can be understood anywhere in Scandinavia, German and English cover the rest of the Germanic group, French gives enough to understand Italian and a bit of Spanish / Portuguese and with Russian and Ukrainian, it is possible to at least read any other Slavic language. I missed the Baltic languages: they seem like a mix of Slavic and Germanic cores and something else and you have to put more effort into understanding them.

And it is really cool. You can finally read all those Facebook posts in seemingly cryptic languages 😉

This, however, does not save you from the problem of understanding a spoken language: The phonetic characteristics are even more different than the grammatical and lexical ones. For example, you have to train hard to be able to dissect spoken Norwegian into distinct words, if you are used to German or English.


So, slowly, spring is coming to Norway. This means that the day temperature is consistently over zero and there is no snow on the streets. This also means that some people are running around in t-shirts (while I decided to remove my scarf and my hat from my daily look). Fun, fun, fun.

Since I came here, I have heard consistent rumors that there exists a bus to Sweden that takes people to a supermarket where everything is (kinda) cheaper. The rumors proved right, and with some hacking, you could misuse the bus to get to Sweden and go from the nearest train station directly to Stockholm. Which might be interesting information for those from TU Dortmund who are going here or to Stockholm next semester.

Speaking about the bus, I was reminded of a rather old Soviet joke from the eighties referring to food distribution problems: “What is long, green and smells of sausages?” — “The train from Moscow to the suburbs”. In this case, the question should be “What is short, white and smells of food and alcohol?”, since even in Sweden, the alcoholic beverages are cheaper than in Norway. There also exist theoretical restrictions on the amount of food and alcohol you can get across the border; in practice, the border is wide open. Kinda hard to enforce import restrictions if you are a a member of the Schengen treaty but outside the EU.

In other news: I finally managed to finish Andreas Eschbach’s “The Jesus Video”. Well. I certainly liked the first two thirds, but the end was somewhat disappointing — the character development is abrupt and very uneven. Next on the list is “Anathem” by Neal Stephenson and as I know him, it will take some time.


Yesterday I went to an event called Latinfestivalen, which was mostly a Latin dancing show, with casual stand-up comedy from the moderator of the show. Sadly, I cannot provide pictures, because (1) it was somewhat dark (2) the place I was sitting was somewhat unlucky and (3) my good camera was left at home 🙁

That aside, it was a great show and I am kinda thankful for the guys and gals from the dancing course to have me persuaded to go with them… or, better, to go look at them (yep, they were performing). I had a lot of fun, yep.

Ice hockey

Depending on how good you actually know me, you might know that I really like to watch ice hockey. And since Trondheim plays in a somewhat decent league, and I was invited to go see a match, I could not say no. Since Trondheim has a team that is somewhere at the bottom of the Norwegian league, I did not expect much, but I at least wanted to see a good game (at least from one of the teams) and a good atmosphere.

We were a little late, so, when we entered the stadium, Trondheim was losing 0-1, but soon Trondheim scored and the first period ended with a tie. Trondheim could lead after the first period, but they were hitting the goalposts instead. So I was just enjoying somewhat decent ice hockey.

After the first period ended, I remembered that I actually do have a camera. So I took it out and made some pictures of the place:

 Then I went into semi-automatic mode (I am a pussy, yes, I did not look up how to make sports pictures) and set the camera for maximal possible shutter speed. And then the second period began:

In this period, Trondheim was playing really bad. They were making several big mistakes in their defense and awful passes, and the inevitable happened:

 By the end of the second period Lillehammer was leading 1-4, and a comeback seemed completely impossible:

I do not want to know what the coach of Trodnheim was doing in the changing room, but the third period started with Trondheim playing considerably faster and better.

The game was turned upside down, and after ten minutes, it was 4-4.

To be fair, I have to say that Lillehammer helped a lot: One of the goals was scored after a grave mistake on the own blue line, the other during a double power play. Still, some time passed and Trondheim was even leading 5-4. But Lillehammer did not give up and answered with a goal five minutes before the end of the third period.

 So the game went into overtime, where Trondheim had better chances, but used them awfully. Which meant that we were going to see the icing on the sports cake: the shootout. Which is a little more interesting than its counterpart from football since the goalie and the player have similar chances.

Lillehammer had more luck and won the shootout. Still, it was a really good game, viewed from really good places (as you can see on the pictures) and not too expensive. And nobody was forbidding me to take the pictures, woohoo.

On non-trivial sleep schedules

So I have been working on implementing a generic library for evolutionary computation. It ended up with me working two days in row until 5 AM and screwing up my sleeping rhythm as hell. The good part of it is that I delivered my work before the deadline without crashing on the next days. The bad part is that my sleeping schedule is screwed up right now. Oh well. This is what you get if you debug stochastic processes and a codebase of ~2KLOC. The sleeping issue is somewhat problematic up here in the North, since the days can be very short or very long, and this somehow does not mix with my sleeping habits. And sleeping schedules like 6+1 or 3+3 are problematic since they do not mix well with work (does not apply to theoretical researchers 😉 ). So, in the end, the normal person has little choice and even less room for experimenting.

Tomorrow I’ll post stuff about ice hockey. With pics (and hopefully, good ones)!