Month: August 2011

Election for Danish parliament 2011 and journalists are confused

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Danish journalists have been fairly confused with the election for the Danish parliament. We should have the election every fourth year, but the Prime Minister may schedule an election before time and the journalists have for a long time impatiently been telling us several times that now is the election coming. Well, now the election is actually coming, and the journalist are now even more confused, see this video.

In this video clip from the Danish BBC DR we have journalist Anja Westphal live interviewing party leader of the most left party young Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen. Suddenly, Anja Westphal discovers a minister, Brian Mikkelsen, and rushes after him! The journalist even calls Johanne for Johannes, – a male name, and as should be quite apparent Johanne is not a man.

It is not the first time Johanne has experienced such amazing behaviour. In the last election in 2007 Johanne was the new frontrunner, – as 23 year old the youngest party leader participating in a national TV party leader discussion. Leader of the Conservative party, Bendt Bendtsen, was not familiar with her and thought she was an assistant and in the studio before the airing asked her to fetch some coffee! He has now been deported to the Mickey Mouse Parliament

XKCD science: earthquakes and Wikipedia first links

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If you thought that the cartoonist of The Far Side was nerdish, well then think again. XKCD‘s Randall Munroe references Wikipedia, computer programming language, computer science, physics, social web sites, …

In circular meta-humor programming languages and computer science now reference XKCD. In the Python programming language you can write “import antigravity“, in the Emacs editor “M-x butterfly“.

Inspired by a note in cartoon number 903, several people (including me) have done “first link” analysis on Wikipedia (though Munroe seems not to have been the first to discover the attractor), see the links on the Get_to_Philosophy Wikipedia page. The newest analysis seems to be by Mat Kelcey.

Most recently Alan Mislove and Sune Lehmann (and two others) were inspired by cartoon number 723 to compare the spread of Twitter messages and earthquake in connection with the 2011 Virginia earthquake happening two days ago. The results are reported on Sune Lehmann’s blog where there is also a video showing the geographical spread of the earthquake and density of Twitter messages as a function of time.

Norwegian maniac manifesto codes

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As reported in the mainstream media some people have identified strange URLs in the verbose manifesto of the 22-july-maniac from Norway. Rolf Frøysa, DataGuard AS, was interviewed by Norwegian TV2 about it and since then several people are working on breaking the code of the strange URLs in the document. A web page, a chat channel and a mailing list have been set up. The URLs are available here. An example is:

So far it has been noted that the “strange URLs” are not a URLs: There are numbers above 255. Very likely the four first numbers should be interpreted as world coordinates. In this case: 52.068 and 4.309. One coordinate is close to the Liverpool Street Station in London. A Google Map with indication of all the coordinates has been setup. It is apparent that the coordinates are mostly in large European cities. It was noted on the mailing list that the coordinates all fall in Western European countries. Exceptions are smaller countries and Italy and Denmark with right-wing populist tendencies. Some may fall close to socialist party offices.

The next part of the strange URL is either plusf or subf. These two words are likely to mean plus/addition and substraction/minus. Morten Rand-Hendriksen suggested that the word simply indicated that one should add the the next number to the longitude, e.g., 4.309 + 24/1000. For the Oslo coordinate that would put the spot on the criminal police HQ, where it prior had been close to Oslo Central Station. One person reported that the scheme did not work for the Dutch coordinates. another person constructed an interactive map where one could explore the different combinations of additions and substractions for plusf/subf.

What the next letters mean is unclear and neither the following numbers are understood. The two last letters may be Serbian when interpreted as UTF-8. The perpetrator has had a “Balkan obsession” which could explain it. But what the two letters exactly mean is unclear.

There are few zeros in the long number. One person on the mailing list noted that at least the Brussel number could be a UNIX time code. The number for Brussel is 673468422 and with the interpretation that this is a UNIX time code we get the 5th May 1991. The Brussel number is however, shorter than the rest, so the other numbers cannot directly be interpreted as UNIX time codes. However, if these numbers are regarded as time codes in milliseconds rather than seconds it is possible to convert them to an appropriate date. I tried that for a couple of the codes and the result is listed below.

Place Timestamp? Date Possible event (Wikipedia)
Stockholm 569218397413 1988-01-15 In Jerusalem, Israeli police and Palestinian protestors clash at the Dome of the Rock; several police and at least 70 Palestinians are injured.
Wien 123271869374 1973-11-27 The United States Senate votes 92–3 to confirm Gerald Ford as Vice President of the United States.
Gent 971717348139 2000-10-16 – (four days after USS Cole bombing)
Rotterdam 713369592384 1992-08-09 – (Aftenposten: “Serbere frykter angreb”) (Day after: “The UK government bans the Ulster Defence Association, a loyalist paramilitary organisation that had been legal for 20 years.”)
London, subway 365893154526?? 1981-08-09 – (Aftenposten: “Pakistanere stakk med kniv i valgkrangel”?)
Liverpool 639174173148 1990-04-03
Brussel 673468422 1991-05-05 Croatian War of Independence???, Death of Polish war hero?
Marseille 966589423576 2000-08-18 – (Nadezhda Tylik?, Rimi Riga bomb)

The investigation did not give a final conclusive result. The person on the mailing list suggested that the 5th May 1991 was associated with the Croatian War of Independence. I cannot find material on Wikipedia that supports this hypothesis strongly. I constructed a small program that would plot the distribution of the digits in the number (see the figure). There was a few perculiarities: As noted before zero seldomly occures. For the first digit ‘6’ occures frequent and ‘1’ occures frequent in the seventh and nineth letter. Maybe the number should be split in two, so the seventh digit becomes the first digit in the second number.

The letters in front of the number are particular strange. The seem not to be usual hash codes, such as trip codes.

Below are the links to Open Street Map with the coordinates: The original as well as the ones where the subf/plusf number has been added.

  1. Stockholm moved
  2. wien moved
  3. Gent moved
  4. rotterdam moved
  5. London, subway moved
  6. Liverpool moved
  7. Munchen moved
  8. Luton moved
  9. Hamburg moved
  10. London moved
  11. Utretch moved
  12. Stockholm moved
  13. Lyon moved
  14. Amsterdam moved
  15. Goteborg moved
  16. Brussel moved
  17. Hannover moved
  18. Madrid moved
  19. Berlin moved
  20. Oslo moved
  21. Berlin moved
  22. London moved
  23. Brussel moved
  24. Berlin moved
  25. Paris moved
  26. Zurich moved
  27. Brussel moved
  28. Rotterdam moved
  29. Wien moved
  30. Frankfurt moved
  31. Stockholm moved
  32. Antwerpen moved
  33. Madrid moved
  34. London moved
  35. Bern moved
  36. Strasbourgh moved
  37. Outside Amsterdam moved
  38. Paris moved
  39. Marseie moved
  40. Manchester moved
  41. Algerias (Spania) moved
  42. Strasbourgh moved
  43. Marseille moved

Northamerican premiere: Clown – The Movie

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As I have previously noted Danish comedy Clown – The Movie had its Northamerican premiere the 22nd July 2011 in Montreal at the Fantasia Film Festival. I was somewhat doubtful that that kind of humor would be appropriate in Northamerica, – a humor Simon Howell calls “Scandinavian style”. There has now been a couple of reviews which all are generally positive.

Robert Koehler of Variety writes “Creator and co-stars Casper Christensen and Frank Hvam deliver a top-flight adaptation of a TV comedy in nutty, ribald ‘Clown the Movie,'” and furthermore “Though the sequences predictably lead to further trouble, especially for Frank, their details nevertheless surprise, while each setpiece tops the previous one for sheer outrageousness.”

Jay Seaver writes at eFilmCritic that “[t]he film saves some of its best material for the end, which certainly sends the audience out of the theater laughing just as hard as they had been throughout the rest of the movie. ‘Klovn’ is rude and tasteless, but done by people who know how to make that sort of material work, starting from an amusing place and getting funnier as it goes along.” He gives five star there. The review is also partly available on his blog where he gives 3.75 out of four stars.

In what I believe is some press material from the film festival the Montreal Mirror wrote prior to the premiere: “Probably the (intentionally) funniest film you’ll see at the fest this year.”

Based on the review-screener on a laptop Nathan Ripley writes “Clown elicits laughs that go beyond mere schadenfreude–-that’s pleasure taken purely at the expense of another’s pain, while I’m talking about the full-on ecstasy of taking on and living the humiliations of our fellow almost-broken men, and then shedding that pain as soon as the credits roll.”

Simon Howell’s review in Sound on Sight notes a conservatism: “For all the gag-reflex humor, though, there’s an underlying conservatism to Klovn that again recalls Apatow: despite Frank and Casper’s horrible acts, you never get the sense they’re bound for anything but redemption, and indeed the three-act structure feels all too carefully delineated.” but also praise the film with “Until then, though, Klovn remains amusing enough to please most fans of gleefully impolite humor.”

French language Métro Montreal-edition tells us “Et le film danois Clown a parfaitement rempli son mandat de faire rire…à gorge déployée”, states that “son passage au grand écran est une vraie réussite” and furthermore “Mélangeant le rire bien gras et un humour très irrévérencieux, ce “canoe trip” sur fond d’éducation sexuelle renferme de nombreux moments hilarants. La chimie et complicité entre les deux vedettes est très contagieuse.” Reviewer Pascal Grenier gives four out of five stars. Oui.

T’Cha Dunlevy summarizes for The Gazette “Warning: not for the easily offended. Sex, drugs and nudity are all in the mix. But so is utter hilarity”.

I had to look up “irreverent”, “ribald”, “debauched” and “bro” in the dictionary to fully understand the reviews. :-)

(Conflict of interest: I received a free ticket to the movie.)

The handchopper of Tivoli

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Remember the famous scene from Roman Holiday with Gregory Peck and Audrey Hepburn where Peck put his arm into the mouth of a stone figure and pretends to get his hand bitten off. Now you can experience the real-thing in Tivoli – the classic fun fair of Copenhagen – with a new unintended attraction: Twice (well, almost) I have experienced people getting their hand trapped in the beer
cup return post.

On Fridays Tivoli puts on open air rock with artists of varying quality. To account for the bad sound you get to pay extra at the entrance. The beer is also pretty expensive and to ensure that people are bringing back the beer plastic cup Tivoli puts a deposit on the cup. You return the cup in special machines. The machine is suppose to give back the deposit, but if it is filled up it might not. People then try to drag the cup back from the machine and it might be in this process that your hand can get stuck in the machine. One Friday I saw a girl with her arm ackwardly Mr Bean-like trapped in the machine and in pain. A guy had his arm in the machine too as he was trying to push the mechanism in the machine so the girl would not be hurt too much. After a few minutes she managed to free herself. This Friday a machine again filled up and apparently wouldn’t return the deposit. A guy helped a lady by pulling the cup back and almost got his hand trapped.

I definitely think that Tivoli should look into the security of the system. Until it is fixed you can try the handchopper at the cost of only five kroner. The attraction is not included in the day pass.