Hoelder1in's Mindfile
Der Name ist gefälscht, ich habe nie Hölderlin geheissen.
the poet Hölderlin upon seeing an edition of his own poetry


The namesake of this page is German 18th century poet Friedrich Hölderlin. While it is almost impossible to translate poetry, I wanted to share with you these two translations of his poems. They are among the best I could find and I like them almost as much as the original.

In case anyone got interested, here are links to Hölderlin's complete works and lots of German literature at Projekt Gutenberg-DE.

This is my first attempt at a blog-style web page format - please bare with me...

What do I have in mind with this page? Not sure yet - I guess this may turn out to be a collection of loosely connected thoughts and ideas, prompted by whatever I read or think about, whatever pops up in my head, and which would otherwise have been lost, had I not typed it on this page - ideally, over time this may develop into something in the spirit of Howard Bloom's Omnologist Manifesto.

Ok, so this isn't really a blog: the entries aren't dated and I mostly write them from top to bottom (and occasionally edit old ones). But I seem to be comfortable with this format, so this is how it is going to be. Also, you may have noticed that my HTML style is kind of minimalistic. I guess I don't want to procrastinate even more by thinking about fancy formatting tricks...

DISCLAIMER: I will be writing about various subject areas I am not an expert on and some of it may even be somewhat tongue-in-cheek (whatever pops up in my head). It is for you, dear reader, to make up your mind whether any of this makes sense. Read at your own risk!

Hoelderlin on Titan: Jahr lang
ins Ungewisse hinab This is to inform all Hölderlin lovers of planet Earth that, as of Friday, January, 14th 2005, a copy of the poem Hyperions Schicksalslied rests on the surface of Saturn's moon Titan, the most distant celestial body on which humankind has yet left it's mark. Background: Before the launch of the Cassini-Huygens space probe on October, 15th 1997, the European Space Agency (ESA) asked the public to submit short messages which were to be copied onto a CD, to be carried to the surface of Titan by the Huygens space probe. I submitted Hyperions Schicksalslied as one of 80,000 messages (nr. 4532) that were sent in. The last line of the poem, Jahr lang ins Ungewisse hinab, seems to be particularly fitting, given Huygens' long and perilous journey.

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2005-2014: would you belief it that this is already year 10 of Not sure how long I will continue this page or blog or whatever it is. But for now I don't want to let it die. It's at any rate still fun to browse through previous years and be surprised by what the person I used to be took to be important enough to share with his future self, things I would long have forgotten, had I not typed them on this page.

Falkenkopf Falkenkopf Falkenkopf

Hundreds of shades of green - a place in the woods north of Tübingen, overlooking the Goldersbach valley, which I am very fond of (click on photos for bigger versions).

So I watched the first episode of Doctor Who, series 8. After Doctors 9 to 11, one who is about my age will take some getting used to, not sure I ever will (Wikipedia tells that Peter Capaldi is actually slightly younger than I). And there are those who bemoan a lack of chemistry between him and companion Clara. But for now I am giving him a chance. Lets see how things develop for the rest of the season series.

Wouldn't you love to be able to increase your intelligence, about as one can get one's body in shape by exercising? I would, especially fluid intelligence which is supposed to decrease with age. In fact, recent research indicates that, starting by one's mid forties, a measurable decline of intelligence (in the several percent range) can be observed. But up until a few years ago, conventual wisdom had it that we are essentially stuck with our genetically allotted intelligence which, at any rate after childhood, can not be modified anymore and will only go downward as we age. While it is possible to train specific intellectual tasks and reach a great proficiency, these training gains usually do not carry over to other domains. So, no luck with increasing our general intelligence by training.

Enter the dual n-back task, which I recently discovered. Contrary to those widely held beliefs, this much cited 2008 paper by Susanne M. Jaeggi and others seems to indicate that subjects training the dual n-back task for about a month significantly increased their short term memory. And even more interestingly, short term memory is thought to be a major component of fluid intelligence, and the test subjects indeed achieved improved IQ scores after their dual n-back training. The authors even managed to demonstrate that the amount of dual n-back training correlates with the in crease in general intelligence (i.e., the effect is dose dependent). But oh well, the scientist in me tells me not to get too excited as long as this isn't independently confirmed.

Planetarium Stuttgart

Stuttgart planetarium always looked like the backdrop of a science fiction movie to me. It does even more so now that it finds itself in the middle of the Stuttgart 21 construction site, though perhaps now it would be better suited for a cyber punk movie. I am actually pro-Stuttgart 21, btw. Getting rid of the rail tracks which cut downtown Stuttgart in half will do the city a lot of good. Well yes, it is probably too expensive, but I have seen similar sums of money spent on less worthwile things.

In the background on the right one can see the environmental and agricultural ministries of Baden-Württemberg. S. worked in the environmental ministry in the last ten years of her life and before that for some years in the eighties and nineties. The photo below shows both ministries from the other side. The environmental ministry is to the right of the stairs leading down to the park and planetarium. I find the architecture actually quite appealing.

Stuttgart planetarium will always remind me of my first vist there, shortly after it was built, when S. was sitting at the cashier as her student job, passing me a ticket for the planetarium show and refusing to accept my money. I also like to think back to when S. and I were given private planetariums shows, just for the two of us, both at the Stuttgart and Munich planetariums (in both cases because we were acquainted with the planetarium operator).

Ministerium Ministerium Ministerium

Cleaned out defunct links in the column on the right and added a link to Quanta Magazine. I became aware of it via a link to Jeremy England's work on non-equilibrium thermodynamics/life, which I'd like to learn more about. Also, I talked a lot about Stanislav Lem on these pages, and specifically about Summa Technologia, his non-fiction magnum opus, which I am happy to report, after more than fourty years is finally available in English translation.


Roses in winter (at my parents' place - click for wallpaper).

When they give you ruled paper, write the other way.

Juan Ramón Jeménez as quoted by Ray Bradbury in Fahrenheit 451

Oh, and I wanted to show you the licence plate of my new car (left side omitted for privacy).


No, I am not giving up!

This site is now encrypted! All incoming requests, both for the Proust Questionnaire and the main site are redirected to https. If this turns out not to work seamlessly for anyone, I'd be interested in feedback to the email address below.

Also, I was forced to remove the commenting function as I simply couldn't cope with the amount of spam anymore. I have vague ideas how best to move to a more potent alternative. The switchover to https was actually the first step to work towards that. Please stay tuned.

I recently read William Hertling's new book Kill Process, which got me to think about the current state of the Web vs. how I would like it to be - and how to do my small part to move it in the right direction. It's by the way somewhat unexpected that attempts to open an https connection to William Hertling's Web site cause FireFox (latest version) to throw a "This Connection is Untrusted" warning. Will, are you listening? ;)

So I watched Joscha Bach's talks at 30c3, 31c3, and 32c3 in one sleepless night. I'd say it wasn't time wasted. Now looking forward to 33c3...

From my profile page at (a microlending plattform supporting women in India and Sri Lanka, which sadly was discontinued):

pale blue dot Small piece of the universe, observing itself. Looking down on this pale blue dot of ours, Hoelder1in thinks that we are all brothers and sisters and should treat each other as such.

Questions or comments? Send email to hoelder1770 at gmail dot com.