Archive for June, 2008

special functions special

Friday, June 27th, 2008

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology has released a beta version of some chapters of a Digital Library of Special Functions. The final atlas is expected 2009 and shall be available in print as well. The figures showing graphs are in 3D as well and here good old VRML comes back again. If I had been asked I kwould have opted for either a more recent file formar or a simpler one.

just waste

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

Die Toteninsel im Nebel”, artwork by Justin Hoffmann

This is an update post to a previous post about a nuclear dump site near San Francisco. I will discuss in this post here a possible relation to an increased risk of cancer near San Francisco.

Due to the alarming results of the IPCC study concerning the world climate the discussions about using nuclear energy got a new boost. An often heard argument is that nuclear energy is relatively safe and that nuclear fission is a fairly well tested technology.

This is not true.

First the old technology is not as safe as assumed, as pointed out e.g. in this study. And secondly and more important: future use of fissile techology would make rather new and untested (and on average more dangerous) techologies necessary, namely the technologies of BREEDER REACTORS. (please see this randform post (and the therein cited other randform posts) for details)

Why? – because with the nowadays conventional commercial use of nuclear energy the Uran sources will be finished in about 60 years.

In this post I also gave a rough outlook on how an increased demand of nuclear energy (which accounts nowadays for about 6 percent of the total worldwide energy consumption) by a factor of ten would change the world.

– One may infer that a factor ten is too big since it would mean that 60 % of nowadays worldwide energy consumption would be covered by nuclear energy, however given the general increase of energy consumption this portion will shrink very fast and will still leave us with about 4000 new nuclear power plants (instead of nowadays about 450).

And these are nuclear power plants in a rather untested technology as pointed out above.

Likewise the nuclear waste problem is accumulating over the years- means if the waste per year is ten times more than before it will be in ten years 100 times more than in the initial year.

And nuclear waste is longterm problem.

An example:

In this randform post a considerably small nuclear waste problem (an old nuclear dump site near San Francisco) was mentioned which may have affected the lives of people.

I looked into this example a bit more.

If there is an environmental cause for an increased cancer mortality rate it is not far fetched to assume that there should probably be also an increased childhood Leukemia mortality rate (especially given the above mentioned study about childhood leukemia). So I looked wether I could find something there. However there is a study carried out mainly by the Center for Occupational and Environmental Health which says:

A simple and direct analysis of the spatial distribution of childhood leukemia was performed using geographic data from a large case/control study. The data consists of cases of childhood leukemia and their corresponding birth cohort controls located in seven San Francisco Bay Area counties. Both parametric and randomization analyses show no evidence of a non-random spatial pattern of childhood leukemia among six of these counties….

So the study found no spatial pecularities, i.e. no increased risk of childhood Leukemia in Marin County. Based on geographical data using GPS:

…the latitude and longitude coordinates were mathematically transformed so that
distance is measured in kilometers; that is, a new Cartesian
coordinate system was established in kilometers relative to
the latitude and longitude point (37.5, ± 122.5). Nearest
neighbor distances were then calculated to compare
statistically the spatial patterns of cases and controls.

So with statistical methods nearest neighbour mean distances between living locations of sick children (case/case pairs) and sick/nonsick children (non-case/case) where compared where

When no spatial pattern exists, the mean nearest
neighbor distances calculated from case/case and non-
case/case pairs are expected to be equal and the frequency
of the case/case pairs is expected to be equal to a known
value that depends only on the number of cases and
controls sampled.

If I understood correctly the statistical techniques used in the study are based to a great extend to techniques listed in this article.

I currently do not have the time to look into all the details but what I find important to mention is that the study (if I understood correctly) compared a total number of 12 (case+non-case/control) observations in Marin county. (In all the counties 333 observations).

The Northern California Cancer Center has a quite well documented archive of cancer statistics, which is publicly available to some extend and I looked briefly into it. Unfortunately spatial differences in cancer occurence are only listed since the year 2000.

But to my worry: on a first glance (which is just a suspect and NO statistical analysis!) one CAN actually observe spatial pecularities for Marin county, i.e. the five year death counts of cancer for Marin county seem to be increased for : skin cancer, the already mentioned breast cancer and Leukemia (where no difference between adult/non-adult had been made). (I looked only at death counts in order to avoid errors from over-diagnostization).

This means on the other hand: If this first glance would turn out to be of statistical significance than an environmental cause is rather likely.

Looking at the statistics it is clear that the local pecularities of cancer mortality rates for e.g. liver cancer (probably due to too much drinking) or Karpozy Sarkoma (due to Aids) in San Francisco look much more dramatic than the local pecularities of Marin County – just already by the sheer size of death cases. However for the individual case this is no consolation.

Concluding: this “small” waste problem (if I understood correctly the authorities see NO problem) MAY have had already quite dramatic consequences.

This tells us what?
IF it would turn out that there is a nuclear waste problem in Marin County (I again emphasize, what I found are only loose suspects) then just extrapolate this for the to be expected nuclear waste problems (see above) and how authorities would deal with them.

But apart from this – lets put it that way: I wouldnt necessarily swim in Marin county waters anymore until this question hadn’t been thoroughly examined.

La done butterfly

Thursday, June 19th, 2008


The above image displays a visualization of the socalled blancmange curve at various iteration steps and with a slightly randomized sawtooth function. The blancmange curve -not to confuse with the blancmange pudding– is -like e.g. also the devils staircase a socalled pathological function, i.e. a function which displays a counterintuitive behaviour. In order to obtain the blancmangecurve one sums up little sawteet h which get smaller and smaller. However also if the sawteeth are getting in the end infinitely small this particular curve will never be smooth.

mathematical subleties after the more



Monday, June 16th, 2008

wuerstchen450.jpg ”Immer wieder la Wiener! – greetings from a barbiequeuekoo” artwork by Hiro Mourikama

It’s Barbeque season in Fukuoka and apparently even Kyushu University has a barbeque station right off the law building. Usually students gather there and -judging by the smell- grill meat or fish (please see below image).

However given the fact that the livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global and especially regarding global warming (please see also this randform post) and given the roaring fish market (partially monitored by the fishinfonet) it would be advisable to understand more, what the main reasons for the barbeque sessions are. Is the smell of meat important or can this eventually be substituted by vegetables? Is the fire an atavistic essential? The combination of the previous with the social aspect?

Up to now according to FAO director-general Jacques Diouf the world only needs 30 billion dollars a year to eradicate the scourge of hunger. But as a matter of fact also if this sum is rather small (like in comparision to the other sums mentioned in the article) it seems to be already now an unmanageable problem to find solutions to distribute food in a balanced way.

Given the upcoming problems due to climate change and overpopulation this wont get easier.(->There was already a link to the Impacts of Climate Change on health chart in death/million of the United Nations Development program in this randform post)

So may be one should now also start thinking about a minimal astronauts diet for the earthly being, consisting of cheaply produceable carbonhydrates with a vitamin and mineral supplement. Hopefully not soylent green.



underestimated instruments 6

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Just to justify myself I assign the handsonic HPD 10 and the silent violin the status of an underestimated instrument.
the handsonic being on the market for quite a while now is still dead usefull and both are good tools for performing in small japanese flats.

architectural s-meshes

Thursday, June 12th, 2008


s-isothermic enneper surface by Tim Hoffmann

According to the blog tesselion (via boing boing) which is a blog about the project tesselion (Project Collaboration: Marc Fornes (, Adrienne Yancone ( :

Recently the development of planar quadrilateral meshes have become a strong interest in the architectural community due to their potential ease for constructing complex surfaces. A race has begun to develop a system of flat panelization of free form surfaces which would enable large scale, efficient and economic, construction from flat sheet material.

I didnt know that there was an architectural race going on!


the rotten dianthus

Tuesday, June 10th, 2008


I may be a bit sensitive to this – but the music within shopping centers is usually first just ugly and secondly as it is usually in addition perpetual and repeating it makes me want to run out of the shopping centers right away. (The music in some of the shopping centers over here is actually in my view a torment to the employees and really a case for a health review!).

I know what I am talking about since I worked once in a gardening center in Germany, where the shopping music was also rather terrible which made working there almost unbearable.


Saw Koutse in Kanji

Monday, June 9th, 2008

I saw the above version of the syllables kou and tse which sort of make up my last name in Kanji. There seems to be no single TZ. So Tse, which sounds almost like a very short tsy comes rather close. Is this true? Comments appreciated.

Anyways the meaning of the two syllables is NINE SEAS.

Collatz conjecture

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Who says all the unsolved math problems are difficult to phrase?
The Collatz conjecture can be phrased as a simple question: Start with a positive number. If the number is even take its half otherwise take 3 times the number plus 1. Now do this over and over again. The (yet unanswered) question is: will this process allways reach the number 1?
(from there the sequence of numbers gets into a boring 1, 4, 2, 1,… cycle)
The conjecture is “yes” and it has been shown to be true for numbers up to 10 * 258, but this is of course no big evidence.
The above image shows the numbers when starting with 353. It takes 125 iterations to reach 1 in this case and the biggest intermediate value is 9232.
There are some nice reformulations of the problem. One can for example state it as a a 2-tag system
The 2-tag sequence for 7 follows below

yet another gaga-jet

Wednesday, June 4th, 2008


The math and science building of Kyushu University is located at Hakosaki Campus which is directly in the entry lane of Fukuoka airport. Probably this is one reason, why the faculty of math will soon move to another bigger and newer campus which is located in the west of Fukuoka. However this campus is quite far out, so nobody really wants to move there. As I understand also other campuses located elsewhere in Fukuoka should go there.

As a matter of fact -may be I am wrong as I didnt really make a statistical analysis of that- but it seems that there is a general tendency to move university campuses, which were usually located in the center of a city to the outskirts of a city. And this is only partially due to the higher needs of space regarding more and more sophisticated experimental setups, people etc – as in principle – also given the usual high real estate costs in a cities center – one could try to find more space within the center of a city (remark: For the case of a particle accelerator this could indeed be difficult, but in general new experimental set-ups are not that big). In short -given that the above observation is true – one could see this as a society’s unwillingness to fund more space for universities in the center of cities – and thus it could display certain priorities of a society.

The above jet flying over Hakosaki campus which looks like tatooed from underneath has such a wild appearance and looked so gaga or silly that I was supposing that it might have been the private jet of a pop group like lets say beastie boys?? (just joking…:))