Archive for ‘Learn’

March 31, 2017

Artificial Jelly-bots

Or in other words: Biodegradable sub-sea data collection mechanisms.

During the Our Oceans Challenge I was one of the moderators at the Our Oceans Challenge platform. An experience that enabled me to talk to many innovators and to hear new ideas on making the offshore industry a sustainable and green industry, a beautiful goal. But also an opportunity to dream about new tools and methods myself.

Top 20
OOC-LinkedInYesterday during the top 20 announcement, I got to promote two of my ideas that were selected as Top 20 ideas. One of them was a down to earth idea: a pollution localization method using photo collection and image recognition. Quite feasible and possible to realize in two or three ways. The other one is the “dream big” idea: biodegradable artificial jelly-bots capable of collecting sub-sea data to gain knowledge on the quality of the sea, pollution, sub-sea noise disturbance and who knows, maybe even biodiversity and more. Both ideas are runner-up to become one of the winners of the Our Oceans Challenge. But before the Grande Finale, a lot of work needs to be done.

I believe in this idea. I am sure there are quite a lot of changes that need to be made to the initial idea to make it feasible and doable. And once we have done so, I believe we can gain a lot of useable knowledge about our beautiful oceans. The goal is to collect this data for both commercial use and science. There is still a lot we want to know about our ocean and by collecting data in a way that won’t harm the ocean, we can respectfully learn in order to preserve.

A lot of questions
I am not a specialist on marine biology, chemistry or data science. There are quite some questions left on feasibility and design. And I am going to need a lot of help to get this idea to the next level. Down here are some of the questions that will need to be answered. However the design will change, sustainability is and will remain a basic requirement.

  • Which data should we collect?
  • How can we create biodegradable data vessels?
  • How can we code these vessels / which code do we need?
  • How can we retrieve data from these vessels?
  • How can we process the data and make it available for third parties?

You can help
I want to ask you to get involved. Can you answer some of my questions? Can you get involved in the project itself? Or you can help me by connecting me to people who can and want to join this project, who want to help answer these questions or who can share their knowledge in order to evolve the idea into a design that can be built within reasonable boundaries of time and money. Maybe you are not sure if you can help out. In that case, send me a message. What you can always do to help is share this post.

Get in touch
For more information you can send me a message or e-mail.
Click here for information on the Our Oceans Challenge.

Ps. I am quite confident that I can create a good plan for the photo idea, but still, if you want to join in on that project, you are more than welcome.



July 21, 2016

Revolution Island

There was a time, when I dreamed of a world where everything was candy and play. I must have been young, very young. I fantasized about that world on a regular basis. My biggest real life concerns were the small amount of candy that I could obtain and avoiding the bullies. So I hid in my fantasy world and slowly added everything I loved to it. It was sunny, but chocolate would not melt there. People were happy and gentle and could actually fly (The knack [of flying] lies in learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. (Douglas, A. (1978). The Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy)). Space travel was available to anyone, without serious risks, of course.

That “fantasy” world is something I always kept in my heart. As I grew to the person I am now, not only the “real” world and the real world concerns changed, also my fantasy world changed. There is a funny thing to growing in age, into a world of obligations and the feel of lack of choice at some points. At least, for me. I never actually stopped dreaming. I never actually said goodbye to my fantasy world and my dreams of space travel and flying. Somewhere in my heart, I still believe that one day I will explore the universe and encounter worlds and species far beyond any imagination. Somewhere I believe that there are parallel universes and one day I will travel between those universes – without causing any cracks or harm of course. But.. I am drifting off. That is not what I wanted to write about. Well.. partly…

When I look around me these days. My heart gets filled with concerns and my soul hurts. The bullies of my childhood have become world leaders, though I prefer to give them the name of world managers, they are no leaders to me. The lack of candy has become a lack of peace, love, respect and (bio)diversity. I see huge risks occurring without seeing an out. Without seeing realistic mitigation measures (see, grown-up speech) that I can actually set in motion and more and more I feel the need to hide away in my fantasy world to not see the horror and terror of every day earthly life, even if it was for just one day.

There are days when my fantasy world feels a spark. It feels the possibility of actually starting to exist in what we call real life. And it is beautiful. It happens every now and then, that a friend of mine says or writes something about starting a new world, on an island mostly, where there is respect, love, peace, (bio)diversity and thus no war, no terror, no oppression. My fantasy world sees that, or hears that, and starts to grow. What if…

Of course there are many studies and experiments about how people live together and interact with each other. There is even a Dutch television program called Utopia, about people starting their own little world. Mostly the results aren’t pretty. But I refuse to let go of my hopes and dreams. Those studies are a real life things and they do not belong in my fantasy world. Not that science has no place there, it does. But I refuse to give up on my hopes and dreams based on real life science in this case. So, how to set up this world where everybody is welcome, but we do not need police, military or government? How to set up a world where there is plenty of space for love and peace and people and animals and diversity?

Seeing more and more people wanting this, searching for a place to run away to and hide, or maybe to run away to and from there start the new revolution, I am more and more thinking: Why not? Why not start an investigation on how to actually get this done. On how to buy an island, set up a crowdfunder and invite people who can add to this idea and are willing to put the energy into it. And then I thought, well, if I am going to investigate this, what better place to start than a Facebook group. A group of people who are willing to investigate with me and who are seriously interested in starting this revolution. So. Here it is. (Click) You can join if you want to. Just let us know what you can add, what you want to share on Island Revolution. The island where we will find respect, peace, and where we will (re)create biodiversity as well as possible. Even if it never grows beyond existing only in our imagination, let’s do this. Are you in?


January 11, 2015

The 30 day paleo challenge @ Crossfit Bink 36

Last week I got an invite from Jorden to join the kick-off of the 30 day Paleo challenge at the Crossfit box (yeah, personal invites always work better!). My original plan for the weekend was to go to Texel and learn to fly, but since the wind was going over 45 kilometers an hour, that plan did not hold and there was no reason to skip on this kick-off. But I am not the kind of girl that goes to a kick-off and then just leaves it at that. Of course I am going to join the challenge. And you know what? I challenge you to join me too!

Paleo coach, CrossVitamins rep, nākd. rep and the awesome delicious nākd. bars.

Paleo coach Jip Hiltrop , CrossVitamins rep David Kruiniger, nākd. rep Richard and the awesome delicious nākd. bars.

The awesome delicious nākd. bars

The awesome delicious nākd. bars

For me paleo is not new. I have been eating paleo and I have stopped eating paleo the last few years. For me the challenge is in getting enough food into my system without overloading on nuts and protein. I like the idea behind the paleo lifestyle. I like the food better than non-paleo food and I learned today that there is actually a paleo supermarket snack that will definitely help me with that last bit of staying out of the hunger-zone.

The challenge at the box is more than just the food. It is about being healthy. Therefore we all got / get a measurement of our body and today we tested our 1RM for the Squat, Overhead Press and Deadlift, as well as our time on the 1kilometer row. Also we are asked to get enough daylight and fresh air and enough sleep. All important aspects of healthy living.

Since I invite you to join me on this challnge, I will share my experiences with you during the upcoming weeks, including all the measurements and training progress and if I find enough time, including some recipes. I won’t post daily updates, because that would bore me out, but I will manage a weekly training and food diary (or at least aim for that…).

Paleo food workshop by Crossfit Bink 36 coach Marjolein Beukers

Paleo food workshop by Crossfit Bink 36 coach Marjolein Beukers

We had an awesome introduction today, I must say. We got information about how to eat paleo, we had a real food work-shop by coach Marjolein, we did the 1RM tests and we got information about supplements by CrossVitamins. Also we got to taste the awesome nākd. bars (did I mention they are delicious and that I am officially addicted? And that they are awesome and paleo?). For those who wanted it, there was a starters kit available. Though I am no paleo rookie, it is always good to get a challenge diary, paleo guide, paleo magazine, nākd bars and D3 and magnesium supplements and last but not least a cheat sheet to put on the fridge as a reminder.

30 day paleo challenge starters kit

30 day paleo challenge starters kit & Dino playing a games for cats game.

Tomorrow the challenge starts. Only paleo food for 30 days. Trying to get my sleep and going outside for my breaks to soak in some sunlight. I will have my body measurements upcoming week, but I did do the strength and condition tests. Down here are my results of today (none of these are PRs)

Back squat: 45 kg
Overhead press: 32 kg
Deadlift: 82,5 kg

1 kilometer row: 3:56:4

Last non-paleo meal: Vegetarian balls, italian vegetable mix and homemade sate sauce.

Any questions or comments are welcome! Are you joining?

January 3, 2015

The challenge of 2014

The new year has started and I must say, the challenge I gave myself last year might have been a bit too much. At first everything went quite well, but after a few months I decided to not postpone one of my other goals, to become a fitness instructor, anymore and all of the sudden the abundance of time was gone.

For more than a half year I spent one day in the weekend at school and one day doing my internship at the gym. During the week I was working at my day job and Cassette Culture and I needed to do some homework as well. Right after I passed my last examn, the talent program at my day job started and again I found myself, or rather my agenda, completely locked down. Not a big deal since I was learning after all, but not in the way I had pictured when the year started.

I did manage to learn a new thing a few weeks ago. It’s quite a nice memory to be honest. It all started when I met Cristan a few months ago, when I was heading home from my work at the gym and Cristan just got home from a business trip to London. We both had to take the same bus to the same village and we managed to keep the conversation going all the way home. Cristan told me about his job, but also about his passions, the scouts and dancing. He invited me to come and try out Zouk. Zouk is way out of my comfort zone and as he inviteqd me, I remembered my learning challenge. Without a doubt I said yes to this small adventure and about 1,5 month later I found myself in the dance school, learning to move my hips.

As we arrived, the advanced class was still dancing and I must say, it looks so gracious and smooth. It is hypnotizing. Zouk is a couple dance that originates from Rio de Janeiro. It is influenced by styles like the Lambada and Salsa. Where with many dancing styles the man guides the lady with his hands and arms, with Zouk most of the body is used. It is a very intimate dancing style that requires trust. For the women it also requires a strong nek and back to perform all the swirling, swinging and arching. Check out the video for a little impression:

As I said, Zouk is not in my comfort zone. Not at all. I prefer to look at myself as a stiff dancer and though I love to dance in my living room, pretending I am a real natural, I hardly dance in public except for the occasional rock ‘n roll dance event. I love rock ‘n roll dancing! Zouk is nothing like that. Zouk is about being sensual, moving the hips; a completely different flow. Since there weren’t any other dancers that evening but Cristan and me. I got a nice private session which made it essier to let all the shame and discomfort go. With blushes on my cheecks I managed to learn the basic steps, and most important, I had fun.

But now it is a new year. I decided to just continue the challenge. It might take me a few years but I will collect those 25 experiences. It is all a matter of persistance. Next weekend I will go for another learning challenge, given to me by Remko. I am going to fly. Oh dear…. Fear of heights and all… Airplane here I come!!!

And yes, of course I will keep on writing, whenever I find the time and inspiration, and whenever a twisted story pops into my head. So what is your challenge this year?

March 17, 2014

Learning Challenge #4: The Wolf of Moordrecht

On Sunday the second of March I traveled to the Southern part of The Netherlands, to Kaatsheuvel to  be precise. Now, in the South of The Netherlands, there is a lot of carnaval going on, but that was not the reason to travel to Kaatsheuvel. The oldest and one of the biggest Dutch amusement parks is situated in Kaatsheuvel. That was also not the reason I was in Kaatsheuvel, though I think this park might’ve got some awesome learning experience to offer as well… No, the reason I traveled to Kaatsheuvel, was another learning challenge.

I have never really enjoyed reading about the stock market and most movies about Wallstreet and stock exchanges bore me quite bad. When it comes to learning challenges that are out of my comfort zone, this one definitely cut it. Last Sunday I was learning about how to invest in stocks, how to “predict” share prices and the different types of stocks and shares you can invest in with a small budget. For the first time, someone joined me. A very close friend of mine wrote his thesis with the teacher of the day: Jeroen Klop.

Frans and Jeroen, ready for the challenge.

Frans and Jeroen, ready for the challenge.

Jeroen is a driven project manager that works at QnQ. He studies Technical Engineering and management in Rotterdam, the same study I did, and he is a carnaval enthusiast. Thus, the day started talking about the chemical process of crystallizing sugar in order to create crystal meth look-a-like substances to complete the Heisenberg (Breaking Bad) outfit Jeroen would be wearing that evening. Between all the carnaval parties, Jeroen found time to dig up his theoretical knowledge of his latest hobby: investing.

I must say that writing all my new knowledge down, is quite the challenge this time, since it was not only a lot, but it was quite complex as well. Let’s start with the beginning, in the simplest language I can put it in:

What is a share?
Everyone knows that companies make money by selling services or products. Mostly it is easy to determine what the main product of service of a company is. For QNQ, this is electrical engineering services, for the company I work for, Strukton Rail, it is rail infrastructures. Now, most companies that get bigger, at a certain point, start selling stocks or shares. Basically the companies sell pieces of paper or digital licenses, which represent a part of the company. By buying such a part, you become owner of a part of the company. When you buy a large part, you even get your say in annual meetings. In general companies sell these shares to obtain more money to develop the company or to invest in a project.

DSCN4678After a share is bought, the owner can resell the share (in most cases, but I won’t go deeper into the part where shares can’t be sold to others). In cases where a company gets positive publicity or becomes more popular, other people might want the share as well, and thus buy it from the reseller. When a share is very popular, the value will increase. However, at a certain point, the company might get bad publicity, or loose popularity. Then people who own the shares might want to get rid of the shares which will let the value of the shares decrease; a simple matter of supply and demand.

Now, some shares are sold individually, so you will actually buy a part of a certain company. Some shares are grouped into packages, like an AEX package. These packages help you to spread the risks. When you buy shares from one or two companies, your money depends on these two, thus a big risk. When you buy an AEX share, you buy from 25 companies at once and your risks are spread equally.

Now, there are many factors that influence the popularity of a company on the share market. The difficult part is, that it is very common that the factors are not directly linked to how well a company is neither performing nor its value. People mostly buy on emotions. So, the publicity of a company is one of these factors. Positive publicity might increase the value, where negative publicity decreases the value. Then, there is the popularity of a target market. The last years, phones have been quite on the rise, where a few years back mortgages were pretty popular. Developments in technology have their effect on the market. Then there is national and international news. A crisis, financial aid to a country, war and disasters, they all have their effect on the popularity of companies on the stock market.

Besides the above, there is another very important factor. Some people have made it their business to advice on what stocks to buy. They predict what certain stocks might do in the future and based on these predictions they try to convince people to buy stocks, preferably via their company, and preferably via so called sprinters, or other constructions that have a shared interest for the buyer and the company.

Crystal ball
When it comes to influential factors, I could go on and on and on, but happily there are graphs to help you understand what a stock might do in the future. With the help of the website, Jeroen explained the most common graphs, that mostly represent the value or an interpretation of the value of shares of a certain company or package (like the Dow Jones or AEX stocks).

The first graph is the moving average. This average helps with getting rid of the peaks and dips in the graph, so the changes in value over an utterly short time are not influencing your judgment anymore. With really short term exchanges, you might want to zoom in on a more detailed level of the graph then when you are into it for the long term. At this moment, the average time a stock  is in someone’s possession, is 22 seconds. That’s how fast the stock trading works.

On the first graph you can see some yellow lines. These are trend lines based upon the last two peaks and last two dips in the graph. These lines help you to see if a trend is representing an increase or a decrease in value. In the example, the value is decreasing.

The second graph represents the RSI, or Relative Strength Indicator. In short: When the green line heads above the blue (horizontal) line, you are happy when you own a share. This is a good moment to sell. When the green line heads towards the lower part of the graph and is beneath the red horizontal line, it is a good moment to buy a share.

Now, last but not least, there is the MACD Graph, the Moving Average Convergence Divergence graph. This graph works even simpler then the RSI: When the green line is over the red line, mostly an increase of value follows. When the red line is taking the upperhand, it is time to sell your shares, since as soon as they have crossed, the value of your shares will decrease.

The trick to trying to predict the future, is to practice with these graphs, create a vision of your own and maybe even try it out for a while in a stock broker game (on there is a stock broker game available in Dutch, for free). Testing your investment strategy with real money can get pretty expensive.

Philips koers

How to deal
Now, to deal in shares, there are plenty of options, but mostly you will deal in shares via a company that has the right skills and formats to communicate with the market place, and is certified to do so. These companies are called brokers. Most banks offer these services and it is a matter of finding a bank that ‘feels right’ when it comes to picking a broker who will handle your orders. These companies charge you with handling costs, but besides these handling costs, you could easily start buying stocks up from a few cents. Another option, when you want to start an adventure on (one of) the stock market(s), is to become a broker yourself, or invest in companies that are not on the major markets yet, in exchange for a percentage of the ownership.

The stock market is, in short, the same as any other market. You can buy your eggs from a farmer in a closeby area, or in the local supermarket, but you can also go to the wholesaler and buy a bulk of eggs with a group of people and then devide the eggs, or make arrangements on regular deliveries of pre-paid eggs… and so on… Maybe the value of the eggs will go up the upcoming months and because you pre-paid for a certain amount, you saved yourself some money, but on the other hand, if the prices go down, you overpaid for your eggs.. The only questions that remains is, will your expectations and predictions be accurate? In the end, no one really knows up front.

So, what did I learn?
I now understand the basic structure of the stock market and the way stock exchange works. I have an idea how to be able to say something about what a stock might do in the future when it comes to its value. I learned how to read the graphs and I learned that it is very well possible to start investing in shares up from a few cents plus the handling costs your broker charges you (per transaction). I got some information on the difference between long term and short term methods and we discussed ethics of the stock market and the different forms of dealing in stocks. And of course, we discussed a lot of details in the hours we spend talking about the stock market. I also got to pet a cute cat.

Did you enjoy reading this blog? Do you feel you have something to teach me? It is time to select the upcoming learning experiences and challenges! If you have a challenge for me, let me know! You can send me an e-mail or post a comment to this blog. I am sincerely looking forward to your e-mail!