Bellende Hunde jede Stunde, von Sekunde zu Sekunde reist der Geist von wach zu schlaf. Zu wach: Ein lauter Krach, der Nachbar schließt laut seine Tür – ohne jegliches Gespür. Ich mach das Dach zu und lieg flach im schwülen Bus, jetzt fehlt frischer Luft-Zufluss: Fenster auf zum Kühlen. Schluss, jetzt wird tief geschlummert. Endlich leise, zeitweise. Vögel singen, paarweise, Ton-Gebilde in die Nacht. Milde Luft bringt feinen Duft von Regen rein, von wegen kein Wasser, es tropft und strömt, wir sind verwöhnt von einsamer Natur; pur, rund um die Uhr. Und in der Ferne helle Sterne, eine einzelne Laterne leuchtet mitten ins Gesicht, ihr Licht durchbricht die dunkle Nacht, unangebracht. Feine Glocken von drei Schafen, Wellen im entfernten Hafen – wir schlummern ein, so gut es geht, bevor der nächste Tag ansteht.
I thought I am good in farewells, maybe even experienced; after all, I was close to having my last farewell more than once. But apparently I am not. There is the saying that you only learn to appreciate something when it’s gone. I already appreciated our friendship while it lasted. And they say ‚distance does not separate’, but it does. And so, here we are, you will stay and I will go. The distance will separate us, and we will continue on our own paths. You made me feel at home, you made me feel happy, and you made me feel safe. Thank you.
As a kid I had a whole collection of matchbox cars. My favorite one was a blue police cruiser which had blinking lights — simply wonderful. I sometimes still miss it. Together with my brother, I could play for hours and hours. They were like a large playground for us, offering endless possibilities. Among other things, we developed an intricate car racing simulation; we might even find our old notes in some hidden folder. And within this world of cars, my younger me also found meaning. At least for a while.
I guess at some point everyone who writes, writes about writing. There are endless lyrics on writing lyrics, or poems about their own creation (link). It seems an evident topic. After all, the process of creation is what characterizes any practiced craft. When I started this blog I thought I would get around this topic; but apparently I am not. Back at home when time was sparse, writing often felt easy. Accepting something with its imperfections was fine. But now, as there is seemingly endless time and no obligations, no word seems to fit in its place, no sentence bears a clever idea, and no text seems satisfactory. Simultaneously, the same happens with my photographic journey: infinite opportunities, but no direction. No purpose. No meaning.
And so, for now, I keep exploring the large playground that I’ve found in these creative crafts.
A retrospect, time to reflect:
birds, poems, and photography
of calm nature, IT mixed in,
sometimes even a unique spin.
I recollect all memories
left from my past, or simply write
what’s deep within.
An introspect, time to dissect:
I‘d like to be an architect
of words with charm and wit, that bite
and split the readership in two,
to reconnect them right again.
I’d like to describe mundane life
as if it carries weight, as if it’s great,
to resonate with other minds.
Family discussions are a precarious venture: Bogged down relationships and intimate bonds clash with a mutual lack of goodwill and little restraint in abrasively advertising ones beliefs. The ones you’re nearest to might be the ones who are the least likely to share your worries and fears. Or they might be the ones who possess a seemingly divergent set of values. Each advent of a disagreement triggers the same repeating patterns, and all ways forward appear to be blocked; like a wall of snow, smudging an unequivocal truth, close but unattainable.
Sometimes, there is the necessity for change and, sometimes, there is the desire for change. I love my city, the very city I came to ten years ago for my studies. The very city I stayed in, because of all the people I got to know and because of all the places I became attached to. A city which offers more bicycle tracks than any other city I’ve seen, a city which hosts wonderful buildings, large churches, a rich university life, and extensive nature all around. But now is the time for change.
And, thus, I am walking my oh so familiar path around the lake, one last time. I am visiting the Old Botanical garden, one last time. I am meeting people, temporary acquaintances, friends who are not familiar enough to stay in touch with, one last time. I am riding down the pedestrian zone, unlawfully, one last time. I am eating at my favorite place, I am visiting the climbing gym, I am enjoying the sun on our balcony, I am admiring the birds, the squirrels, the gray-legged geese, one last time.
We are taking a break and set forth to seek new shores, for the first time.
We are slowly approaching the end of our walk. A walk on easy terrain. The vast beach is leading to the vaster sea. The certain becomes uncertain, the walk becomes a swim. We are leaving the comfort in exchange for new experiences, for memories expected to remain. Towards new shores, one sunrise after another.
--- algorithm (noun) ---
A well-defined procedure consisting of a finite number of consecutive steps. Often confused with its realization (implementation).
--- The Algorithm (proper noun) ---
A musical project that blends electronic music with progressive metal. Often confused with random noises.
--- algorithm (example) ---
Aren’t algorithms fascinating? Well-defined procedures that solve well-defined problems – often with the goal to find the most efficient solution. It’s the single most important thing that amazes me in computer science.
My most favorite problem in algorithmics is one of the most simple ones. Suppose you have a short word, let’s call it T. Additionally, a long text S is given. The task is to determine whether the word T is contained within the text S. Thus, we want an algorithm for a simple search! Suppose the word T contains n distinct characters; for example T = “alive” has a length of n = 5. Similarly, the text S has a length of m, for example, S = “The tree is alive.” has a length of m = 18 (including the spaces and the period).
The most simplest algorithm aligns T at the first position of S and compares all n characters of T to the first n characters of S, which requires n comparisons (in other words, for our above example we answer the question whether “alive” and the first five characters of S are identical. Hint: they are not). Afterwards, the word is shifted to the next position of S and the comparison is repeated. This happens for all m starting characters of S. The problem? This will take a total of m times n comparisons which already amounts to 90 comparisons for our little toy example.
But what other solution could there be? There are many. None of them are easy to understand (at least for me), but all are fascinating. The first one I learned was the KMP algorithm, which performs mind-boggling reuses of previously obtained information about differing characters. The fascinating part: It only needs (roughly) m + n comparisons! A speed-up that determines whether we are able to browse the internet or not, whether we can perform research on molecular data or not, and whether we can advance as a technological species or not. Algorithmic design makes or brakes today’s society (at least for now, until climate change kicks in – always end on a positive note, right?).
[…] Thus in the winter stands the lonely tree, Nor knows what birds have vanished one by one, Yet knows its boughs more silent than before: I cannot say what loves have come and gone, I only know that summer sang in me A little while, that in me sings no more.
‘What My Lips Have Kissed, And Where And Why’ by Edna St. Vincent Millay; Musical interpretation: Thus in the Winter, by Christopher Tin
Trees are wise and tenacious. They endure at the most inhospitable places and cling onto earth as if their life depends on it – because it does. Trees are deeply ingrained and reach high. They depend on the light of stars and the nutrients of soil. Trees are manifold and and full of character which allows them to oppose changing climates. Trees have volition.
The other day I went out for some photography, motivated to exploit the snow that was still lingering around and covered the landscape like a gentle blanket. Just a few days earlier I had finished my thesis and, thus, I felt a freedom I hadn’t felt in a long time: Not a single appointment for the whole day, no deadlines, no waiting E-Mails, no social obligations, no time constraints. Simply a whole day for myself – is this what retirement feels like? I was standing on a hill overlooking villages, fields, and forests as far the hazy conditions allowed. And as I was pondering about my day, I simply picked a distant tree and started walking. No GPS, no directions how to get there, I simply started walking until I reached this lonely, very distant tree. And it felt good.