Frk. Slimas Fornemmelse for Snot

Af Kostas Kefaloukos

Danmark er et lille halvkoldt land, halvlangt mod nord. Det er ikke så koldt at der er særligt meget sne. Til gengæld blæser det meget og regner hele tiden. Disse vejrforhold gør at danskerne ofte bliver forkølede og udvikler store mængder af snot i næse og svælg. På samme måder som grønlænderne har mange ord for sne, har danskerne mange ord for snot. “Grønhakker”, “Bussemand”, “Løbesnot” osv. Snot forekommer i mange variationer og danskerne kender indgående fornemmelsen af hver eneste form for snot. I denne artikel vil jeg omhyggeligt gennemgå de mest gængse former for snot og relaterede emner.

  • Almindelig snot
  • bussemænd
  • sjældne snotformer.

Almindelig snot

  • Løbesnot. Meget tyndtflydende og oftest klar snot, som typisk forekommer ved allergi og høfeber. Utroligt irriterende og nærmest umulig at slippe af med. Man pudser næse hver 30. sekund og lige lidt hjælper det. Har man ikke et stykke papir, må man snøfte konstant for at holde trit med snotten. Dette er helt utroligt irriterende. Forekommer dette mens man sover, må man på et tidspunkt give op, og acceptere at der kommer snot overalt.
  • Kompakt snot. Typisk ved slem forkølelse. Der dannes et ekstremt overtryk i hovedet når man prøver at blæse den ud og man kan lige så godt give op. Man har det lidt som Arnold Schwarzenegger i Total Recall; scenen hvor hans øjne popper ud og hovedet sprænger i luften. Kompakt snot kommer ikke ud foreløbigt. Man fristes til at prøve igen og igen da fornemmelsen af at kraniet er blevet udstoppet af en satanisk taksidermiker er tæt på uudholdelig. På et tidspunkt kan man fristes til at holde hovedet over en dampende gryde i et desperat forsøg på at opløse snotten, men man kan lige så godt lade være. Det er omsonst.
  • Gul snot. Når forkølelsen er på sit højeste forkommer denne særligt klamme form for snot. Store mængder. Mellem-flydende. Minder lidt om østers. På dette tidspunkt kan området under næsen godt være en smule medtaget, og det svier at tørre snotten væk. Når man pudser næsen i et stykke køkkenrulle eller serviet, kan man betaget stå og se på de enorme mængder der havnede i papiret. Det er lige før man kan spå i det. Det dejlige ved denne form for snot er, at man rent faktisk bliver lidt stolt når man har produceret en ordentlig klump i lommetørklædet.
  • Grønhakker. Som gul snot, bare grønt. Denne form for snot kan næsten gå selv. Meget tilfredsstillende at spytte ud på en fortorvsflise, men samtidigt ekstremt klamt at se på. Ret fascinerende den måde som grønhakkeren lander f.eks. på en fortorvsflise. Fra det sted hvor den lander, bliver den typisk strukket et par centimeter indtil den indre sammenhængskraft og friktion standser processen. Resultatet er ofte en lang grøn streg på flisen. Hvis man er en meget barsk fyr eller pige gøres dette helt åbenlyst og til stor gru for omkringstående personer, som i smug er lidt bange for at komme til at træde i grønhakkeren. Man går selv i en meget stor bue udenom mesterværket.
  • Hvid Gummisnot. Meget viskos snot, der kommer ud i små gelé-agtige klumper. Det burde være forbudt og det er ikke særligt tilfredsstillende at have med at gøre. Snottens svar på Sysifosarbejde.
  • Gul gummisnot. Kan eventuelt hostes op fra lungerne. Dejligt at spytte ud i håndvasken og skylle væk med koldt vand! I forhold til hvor betændt denne snot ser ud, er mængderne som regel ret beherskede. Man tænker måske bekymret på om man udviser tegn på forstadier til slem “gulag” lungebetændelse.
  • Grøn kæmpe-gummisnot. En klar indikator på “gulag” lungebetændelse. Døden er nær, men indtræffer til stor lettelse sjældent. Hostes op fra lungerne i en kompakt klump. Utroligt tilfredsstillende at spytte ud i håndvasken. Man føler at kroppen er blevet renset. Det dummeste man kan gøre er at tygge på det, og genoptage klumpen i systemet. Den vender tilbage!!

Bussemænd

  • Knastør bussemand. Indgår ofte i fusion med næsehår og kan derfor være smertelig at pille ud, da næsehårene typisk rives med ud. Man skulle tro at næsen spontant havde produceret superlim. Denne bussemand er typisk ret flad og grålig i farven. Den er ikke særligt god at trille, da den højst kan foldes lidt sammen og danner ikke en fin kugleform. Følelsen er lidt anti-klimatisk og af denne grund smides bussemanden ofte hvor den pilles. En ret kedelig bussemand.
  • Almindelig bussemand. Dette er en dejlig bussemand. Kan trilles til en perfekt kugle. Farven kan være grønlig til grålig. En almindelig adspredelse er, at trille disse bussemænd mens man sidder i en bilkø eller i sofaen og ser fjernsyn. Selve trilningen må foregå i smug, da det sociale stigma ved åbenlyst at trille bussemænd for de fleste er for stort. Når man er færdig med at trille bussemanden, skal man skille sig af med den. Dette foregår for de flestes vedkommende også i smug. Den kan f.eks. elegant sendes afsted med pegefingeren fra en skjult position. Ved kørsel kan man rulle vinduet ned og måske lade som om armen bare skal dingle lidt. Med en diskret bevægelse smides bussemanden ned på vejen uden at nogen ser det. En lignende manøvre kan foretages i sofaen, hvor hånden der holder bussemanden diskret lægges på ryglænet. Efter en passende pause lader man bussemanden falde. Denne form for bussemand spises ofte af børn, enten rå eller trillet. Det er ikke farligt, men dog ret klamt.
  • Gummi bussemand. Ofte lille og nærmest dej-agtig (våd dej) at røre ved. Lad dig ikke narre af størrelsen. Dette er den mest irriterende form for bussemand. Den er umulig at få pillet ud i ét stykke med fingeren. Man piller og piller og piller og ender med at tvære bussemanden ud på fingeren uden at få det hele med. Resultatet kan i slemme tilfælde være lange bussemandstråde mellem finger og næse. Forsøger man at trille den til en kugle, som en almindelig bussemand, vil man fejle. Man kan med nogen success skrabe denne slemme bussemandstype ud med et lommetørklæde.

Sjældne snotformer

  • Orange snot. snot i sin pureste form. Mellem-flydende. Meget sjælden.

Terms used in shipping

Now that I work in shipping, it is necessary to learn a bunch of new terms. Shipping is regulated under Admiralty Law and there are traditional documents and parties involved. Knowing what these are is crucial to understanding shipping.

Legal documents

There are three key documents involved with shipping:

Parties

There are quite a few parties involved in shipping:

  • Carrier
  • Charterer
  • Consignee
  • Consignor
  • Shipbroker
  • Ship-manager
  • Ship-owner
  • Shipper
  • Stevedore

The purpose of language by Chomsky

In the following Google video, Noam Chomsky raises and answers the interesting question: what amazing insights into language have linguistics revealed, which the public does not know about?.

He answers that human natural language was propably developed to support the human thinking process, not to serve as a means of communication. He believes that language might have evolved long before it was first used for communication. He goes as far as saying that the design of human natural language makes it unfit for communication.

I find his language-is-for-thinking point is very interesting. I’m currently finishing a PhD, and it would explain the difficulties I sometimes have when trying to convert between language for thinking into language for communicating my thoughts. There is even a phd-comic about it.

As very often with Chomsky, the talk weaves in and out between political and linguistic topics. Interestingly enough, he does not shy away from mentioning and criticizing Google’s part in state oppression through cooperation with NSA. That might seem like a breach of some sort of social etiquette, however, he was strongly encouraged to “speak truth to power” by the person introducing him. Be careful what you ask for.

Recursive relationship between humans, computers and human societies

This post is influenced by a talk I had with Marcos Vaz Salles and a debate that happened between Foucault and Chomsky in 1970.

The relationship between humans and societies is a recursive relationship. Human beings influence societies and societies in turn influence human beings. Next, humans are influencing the societies that they themselves have been influenced by. Total entanglement. A composite and recursive organism.

Recently, we have added a new recursive layer to the already recursive organism of humans plus society, namely the computer. When computers were first created, the relationship between humans and computers seemed non-recursive. Naïvely, in the good old days, humans coded computers, not the other way around. That may no longer be true, and perhaps it never was. Increasingly, computer algorithms are influencing the structure of human societies, e.g. through algorithmically controlled social networks. By transitivity, the influence that computers have on societies is propagated to humans. Furthermore, computers have recently gained the ability to code human beings directly. Computer algorithms are now used to synthesize new gene sequences for human beings, some of which are actually born. These human beings in turn can code computers, and again we come full circle. At this point in history we are a three-way recursive organism: humans plus computers plus societies.

In a debate between Foucault and Chomsky, Foucault raises the question whether we can discover and encode the system of regularity and constraints that makes science possible, outside the human mind. This question was preceded by the consensus that the human creative process can achieve complex results exactly because it is limited and governed by finite rules. Furthermore, it was agreed that humans, because we are limited, can only formulate certain theories. Do societies have the ability to construct classes of theories that human individuals can not, and what happens when we add the computer to the recursive definition? If so, can these otherwise unreachable theories be codified in a way so they can be understood by humans? Can humans instruct computers to use theories that we do not have the ability to discover or even understand ourselves?

Do What You Want

The message of this movie is “do what you want”. The video is a meditative portrait of a man who was once a successful medical doctor, and who as 60+ lives in a small studio in Los Angeles (i think). Every day, he goes out to skate the beaches of Southern California with a big smile on his face. He does not seem crazy, although I don’t know for sure. He tells us that he had an opportunity and took it. He decided to stop being an asshole, and start being spiritual.

If, like me, you are a parent of a two-year old and a four-year old, I hope you will interleave the “do what you want” part with an adequate or more dosis of “take care of your children”. Another message of the video is that it is never to later to realize yourself. Even when you are 60+ years old. Until then, happy grinding!

Slomo from The New York Times – Video on Vimeo.

The scale of the Danish cyber effort

How much money does Denmark spend on cyber defense, compared to the U.S? In total and per citizen. This is what I’ll look at in this post. I’ll also try to get an initial idea of what is going on. Why am I doing this? Actually, just out of curiosity, and to kill some time before I have my hair cut.

Picking up the paper-paper (Politiken) this morning I read a short opinion-piece about the intelligence branch of the danish armed forced (FE: Forsvarets Efterretningstjeneste), and in particular the new Center for Cybersecurity. The concern is that this new center is going to spy on ordinary Danish citizens (NSA-style). It made me curious, and I decided to investigate for myself.

Web soldiers during combat. Not entirely sure that’s not World of Warcraft.

In 2011 the center was established, with a fairly modest annual budget of 35 million DKK a year (out of a 90 million DKK budget in 2014 for cyber efforts by the Danish Ministry of Defense; increased to 150 million DKK in 2016). This is a modest budget, given the amount of money truly skilled IT-professionals charge an hour and what IT equipment costs in general, but also compared to what other institutions in Denmark receive. For example the Danish Geodata Agency, which I’ve had the great pleasure of working for, has annual budget of more than 200 million DKK.

So 90 million DKK for cyber defense versus 200 million DKK for geographical data (2014).

In the United States, the Defense Department allocates $4.7 billion on the annual budget for “cyber efforts”. Making the currency conversion, that is 25 billion DKK versus 90 million DKK, a ration of 277:1.

Red square is Danish budget, blue square is U.S. budget:

The population of the United States is 313 million people. The population ratio between the U.S. and Denmark is approximately 62:1. The United States thus spends roughly 4.5 times more money per capita on cyber efforts than Denmark.

Dollars spent on cyber efforts per person in the U.S and in Denmark:

When trying to understand the motivation for national cyber efforts, Danish independent media seems to focus on the threat posed by industrial espionage (from abroad?) against Danish companies (1, 2, 3). This is surely a real threat, and should be a primary mission IMO.

The stated mission of the center, as described on the homepage for the center, is a bit more vague. It goes something like this:

Styrke Danmarks modstandsdygtighed mod trusler rettet mod samfundsvigtig informations- og kommunikationsteknologi (ikt); Sikre forudsætningerne for en robust ikt-infrastruktur i Danmark; Varsle om og imødegå cyberangreb med henblik på at styrke beskyttelsen af danske interesser.

I’m not really sure what that means concretely. What the paper-paper (Politiken) is concerned about is that the center is going to spy on Danish and foreign citizens. Given the modest annual budget and the usual burn-rate in public administration, I think this is going to be a rather weak threat to our privacy. Another question is, what should the primary mission of the center be, and how should that mission be accomplished? In any event, 90 million DKK do not go a long way towards anything. That being said, I’d certainly curious about what the money IS spent on. If I learn, I’m not sure I’ll post it on my personal blog, so don’t hold your breath.

This was primarily a way to pass some time before I have my hair cut (in five minutes).

When to be most careful about catching the flu?

Continuing on my blogification of Peter Norvigs excellent talk, the question is, when to watch out for the flu, e.g. if you live in Denmark?

1) Go to www.google.com/trends/
2) Type in the word “influenza”
3) Select your geographical region (Denmark in my case)
4) See data up to year 2008, to avoid the graph being squished by the outbreak of A(H1N1) (which leads to unusually many people talking about the flu)

Turns out the answer is: watch out in October and February.