View Over Oslo

Travel Time

I have a paper deadline just around the corner. I usually try not to plan any events in the weekends before paper deadlines as I know I will want to edit the paper in the weekends as well –I’m most efficient in the weekends and in the evenings. This time I however had planned to attend an event. A birthday party in Oslo. I have a paper deadline just around the corner and that and usually I try not to plan any events in the weekends before paper deadlines as I know I will want to edit the paper in the weekend as well –I’m most efficient in the weekends and in the evenings. This time I however had planned to attend an event. A birthday party in Oslo.

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Just typical me

Since I moved to Kiel my taekwondo practice has been slightly non-frequent. I try to go each week, but due to long working hours and quite a lot of travels lately, I haven’t been to practice regularly since before summer. I think I have been to one practice two weeks ago and that is about it.

This friday I decided to go practice. The weather was nice so I skated to practice as. During a yeop-chagi kicking session my right knee started hurting a lot – and stupid as I am I naturally continued practice and also skated home. Stupid! My knee was so bad in the evening that I could barely walk 🙁

Luckily, the worst pain was gone the next day 🙂

Tree in Botanical Garden

A trip to the botanical garden

In the start of this month I decided to buy myself a camera. I have never really been that interested in taking pictures but occasionally I needed a camera and never had one. At some point that got annoying and I decided to do something about it. So I bought a camera. To get some practice with it, I took it for a spin in the Botanical Garden in Kiel. The pictures below are the result of that trip (among other pictures).

Smart commandline prompt

So in my work I’m developing a tool – Lodin. The program is a simple commandline tool taking an input and query file as parameters – with the small twist that if the query is not given, then the tool enters a prompt asking for the query. The naive way of reading the query in C++ is obviously to do

std::string s; 

After which the line inputted by the user is contained in the string s. There is however a catch. The user cannot do any editing during inputting: If he makes a typo he has to delete the line to correct the typo (something that bothered me a lot everytime I had to show of the tool). The other day, I finally decided it was about time to fix this and make a proper query prompt.

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A small daily struggle

In the past week I have been visiting Rennes for collaborating on research. Workwise everything went fine, but in the airport I encountered one of my daily struggles: the colors used to indicate if a toilet i occupied or free. What colors make sense? well, obviously red for occupied and green for free! Right? No! As color blind, I can’t see the difference so I have to try the door and see. Okay okay, it’s only a slight inconvenience but it would still be nice I didn’t have to disturb the person occupying the toilet.

The “Real World”

Over the time it seems a phrase has manifested itself in the danish language: “Den Virkelige Verden” (“The Real World”). It is often used when talking about education; to signify the difference between academia and the non-academia – and especially in the discussion of whether the syllabus in the public education is relevant in the “real world” (non-academia) and thus whether public education pushes people towards academia.

Last time I stumbled upon the phrase was today in a sentence: “Grades are irrelevant in the real world”. I don’t object to the fact that life requires so much more than good grades, and good grades is not mandatory for doing your job well – but I am honestly getting tired of calling life outside academia for “the real world”. To me that devaluates a job in academia. Academia, is just as relevant as a job outside the university – but the value of our work is maybe only discovered years, decades or centuries later (especially true for mathematicians). Today, I’m writing this post on my computer, something that is only possible because researchers took their time to develop the silicon inside it. Because researchers played around with computers looong before they were relevant for the public and loooong before they were even close to being as portable as today.

Please, do debate the syllabus in public school. Please, do debate whether we have down-prioritised non-universiy degrees, but please: Stop calling it the “Real World” vs “Academia”….


Yesterday I was skating my usual route down by the harbour, playing around and practicing various skills on my inlines. It was quite nice weather, yet there weren’t that many on the harbour. I found that quite odd, but the low density of people was perfect for my skate practice 😀

During my skate session I was practicing my backwards skating and in particular my backwards snake. I’m quite good at backwards snake (if I may say so myself) when leading with my right leg, but when leading with my left leg…not so much. In fact, I have come to the conclusion that I am generally good at doing things while leading with the right leg and less good when leading with the left. I find this peculiar as I, as a taekwondo instructor, have always told my students that we must practice both sides, yet I have neglected that myself while skating.

Anyway, During my session two older people stopped me up on their scooters and asked me “How did you get so good at skating” (In german of course). I responded that I had just been skating for many years. When they left they said “Weltmeister” – to which I had to laugh. I am definitely not world champion. But I was rather flattered 🙂

The joy of flexible working hours

One of the nice things about my job as a post doc is my working hours: I can work whenever I want and whereever I want (with the small detail that I should come to the office once a day). This flexibility is nice since it allows me to leave early/come in late when I need to and adjust my working schedule to what fits me best. With the small caveat that we sometimes have morning meeetings with mandatory attendance!

However, the flexibility can also be a curse. I can work everywhere, making it very tempting to work when I have a free moment. In recent years I have discovered that my ability to relax is disappearing; instead I am constantly thinking of what work I have to do: writing that new publication we are planning to do, extend my tool with that feature (which would be nice for another publication). I always feel there is something I could be doing instead of sitting on the couch with a book or watching a movie.

This PhD-comics actually captures the situation perfectly.

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Being in Flow

Flow is a state where you are fully immersed in your activity; and you feel energised by your work. You lose track of time and space when you are in flow.

In order to gain a state of flow some conditions must be met; firstly the challenges you face must be matched by your level of skills and there must be a well-defined goal for the task. Being in a state of flow is fantastic, you feel like you accomplish something. Today, I was in flow when working on the taekwondo clubs homepage. How can I be sure about this? Well, I was so immersed in working that I forgot about dinner and I started working at ten in the morning.

Flow is a fantastic feeling, but what happend to my sunday?