Rhyme is a parity bit

Weird thought of the day. Speech patterns that rhyme are pleasing and resonate with our brain. Could there be an evolutionary benefit to it? Cultures without writing systems told stories to pass knowledge from one generation to the next. As we know from the Chinese whispers game, a lot of information is lost that way. During oral story telling, information is added, removed or changed, it is wildly unreliable. In computer systems we add checksums or parity bits to lossy mediums to ensure reliable transmission. In way, the constraint of rhyming words can be seen as a parity bit on sentences. The amount of words that can be placed in a rhyming sentence is significantly lower than in an unconstrained one. Perhaps humans got better at reliable data transmission when they evolved to appreciate rhyme.


The podcast hype train passed me by until late 2018. I never understood it and thought it was some Apple specific thing. Then, one evening, on a flight from Amsterdam to Berlin, I thought "I'm too tired to work or read, but I can listen to an interesting story, let's give podcasts a try." The first episode I listened to was by 99% Invisible. I believe that by the time I got back to Amsterdam a few days later I had listened to about 10 episodes. Half a year later and I had gone through 80% of all episodes. I'm a bit obsessive, and as it turns out, picky. For me to love a podcast it has to be: A uthentic. I have a soft spot for the lone podcaster who loves what he/she is doing. I nformative. I want to learn new things, and be slightly entertained in the process. O rchestrated. I can't stand random people talking about something without a clear direction. Orchestrated and Authentic can sometimes conflict. It's a sign of good artistic leadership if that doesn&

The Fog of War, or: when being vague is useful

I've always been a straight shooter. Perhaps it's the Dutch culture or the protestant roots, but mystery, rituals and concepts annoy me. If a company can't say clearly what their product does, I am annoyed. I don't need you to tell me that my team will be 5% more effective, let me figure out myself how useful your product is on the merits of what it actually does. Recently I had the pleasure to work with a CEO and got some feedback that I shared plans with our suppliers too clearly. He said he didn't like that at all and he wanted things to be as vague as possible. My gut reaction was that this was ridiculous. If they don't understand our plans and motives how can they deliver a good service? It goes against everything I've read about leading people. But, when I reflected a bit, I though of the idiom "Knowledge is Power". If knowledge is power, then the absence of knowledge must be weakness. By keeping the people around you weak, you keep the upper

The unreasonable effectiveness of i3, or: ten years of a boring desktop environment

My wife uses Windows and over the years I've helped her move things to new systems. Win8, 10 and now 11. With every change the UI changes. Now I can't right click the bottom right corner anymore to open Task Manager. The UI feels "fresh" and up-to-date I guess, but does it really matter? My desktop has looked like this since 2008. I love the picture of the gearbox, it's a testament to the hidden precision engineering that goes on inside the built world all the time. I don't see much of the gearbox though, because most of the time my screens look like this: The environment around my background picture has changed a little more, but has been stable for the last 10 years. My experience is very different to my wife's constantly changing system. In 2009 I moved from Windows to Ubuntu, then to Debian using Gnome. Then finally to i3 in 2013 after a brief affair with XMonad in 2012. So by now in early 2024, I've had the same minimal UI for more than 10 years,

Aiyima remote control codes

I "upgraded" my old Technics SU-VX700 amplifier a couple weeks ago. After 15 years of loyal service I wanted to switch to something that had digital inputs, was more energy efficient, and had a remote control. After some digging I found the Aiyima D03. It checked all the boxes + was tiny, had bluetooth and was and only 150 euros. I call it "upgraded" because the Technics was a beast of a Class AA (whatever that means) amplifier and probably very Hifi worthy, the D03 might be considered a downgrade by audiophiles, but I'm not sophisticated enough to be able to tell the difference. Mind you, I am sophisticated enough to be very annoyed by TVs without external speakers. I think both amps sound great on my Linn Keilidh speakers. The remote control was nice, but it's a separate one from my tv. Using the optical toslink output the volume buttons on my TV do nothing. Annoying for me and my family and very confusing for guests who wonder why the TV has no sound. I s

Cowboy C3 battery teardown / disassembly and rear light fix

A bit over a week ago the rear light of my Cowboy v3 / C3 broke down. Everything else was fine. Update on January 4th 2024: In the end I managed to fix the light. Check the bottom of the post for the conclusion. Thanks to reddit user  icannotfindagoodname  for the help in finding the issue! After chatting with Cowboy support they offered me a new battery for 490 euros and that they would also send an offer with a discount, which appeared a couple days later. The discounted price was 367 euros. A bit much for a broken LED module! The battery was still totally fine. So I'll attempt to fix it myself and I'll show you how to disassemble the battery here. WARNING - DO NOT DO THIS AT HOME Now I need to warn you to not try this at home. I have been working with electronics for a long long time and I know what to do and what not to do, and most importantly, know what I should not even try. Battery packs are not a joke and could lead to serious fire and health problems if not handled co

Capitalism's Greatest Trick

[ this is a draft ] Capitalism's greatest trick has been to give companies legal rights, thereby channeling very strong human instincts towards economic prosperity. Part 1 - Survival instinct is extremely powerful There are human forces that drive our behavior. These have been shaped by basic evolutionary measures. Here are two, but there are more. All humans have an evolutionary developed need for survival. Survival instinct is real and a very strong force. People under existential threats will do amazing things to survive. Some humans have a competitive desire to conquer, to wage war and take resources of others. The competitive desires results in higher chances of passing on genes, but is less strong than Survival Instinct. In most of human history, these forces have focussed on basic human needs for survival and gene reproduction: owning food, land, power, sexual relations. Part 2 - Humans act as groups  As humanity progressed, humans have collaborated and acted as groups. Huma