In his article “Will Superintelligent Machines Destroy Humanity?” Ronald Bailey reviews Nick Bostrom’s book “Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies”:

Bostrom argues that it is important to figure out how to control an AI before turning it on, because it will resist attempts to change its final goals once it begins operating. In that case, we’ll get only one chance to give the AI the right values and aims. […]

An example of the first approach would be to try to confine the AI to a “box” from which it has no direct access to the outside world. Its handlers would then treat it as an oracle, posing questions to it such as how can we might exceed the speed of light or cure cancer. But Bostrom thinks the AI would eventually get out of the box, noting that “Human beings are not secure systems, especially when pitched against a super intelligent schemer and persuader.”

Fascinating read. Another book for my to do list.

Raping women

A new, broader definition of rape – often called “sexual assault” – led to a surprising result. The same number of men and women report of having been raped.

Glenn Harlan Reynolds concludes:

If, in light of the data, women exhibit a similar predilection for sexual misbehavior to men, then surely the colleges should be punishing roughly as many women as men for such conduct. If they are not, the only possible explanation is some form of institutional sexism.

The police called

And asked the woman if I use the internet. At least that’s what I understood. Very strange.


They seem to like uniforms here. For me, they all look the same, a bit unreal, like carnival and it’s hard to say if the person in the uniform is a policeman, a parking lot attendant or the member of a private security company. Yesterday we tried to register at the local police station which was very hard to find because it looks like that:

Police Station in Hongkou

On my way home from school I went through the old Chinese streets when a ranting man walked towards me. One minute later I think I saw the reason for his anger: A truck and a digger that seemed to tear down one of the old houses or clear away the debris. There was so much police around. Twenty persons or more. And a crowd of Chinese people watching. One of them made some signs with his hands as if he wanted me to take a picture. The others looked at me as if I was very welcome and they were eager to find out what I’d do. I thought why not, stepped back a bit and took this picture before a policeman made me leave:

Crowd in Hongkou

Chinese visa

Chinese F Visa

I thought I’d get a student (X) visa but this is a business (F) one. So I don’t have to apply for a residence permit and can avoid the health check. But, and I hope that won’t be a problem, I have to get re-entry visas when I visit other countries. And I have to extend in order to do an internship.

Get them to the UK

I don’t know if it’s really that hard but in Germany we drive on the right side of the street. So if you’re the slowest car on the Autobahn your place is the inner lane and only the inner lane!

Consulate general

In order to apply for a visa I went to the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Munich. Interesting. Waiting, talking, trying to get a copier working and finally my first encounter with a Chinese official.

I learned that I can either get a Single Entry Visa for six months or a Multiple Entry one which would only be valid for sixty days at a time. I chose the first one. When I travel to another Asian country now, I have to apply for a new Chinese visa there or I won’t be able to come back. Strange.

Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Munich

Here’s a shot of the massive plates at the door

Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Munich

The Consulate building

Consulate General of the People's Republic of China in Munich

And that’s what you see when you step back a bit more

David Gale

More Infos at the Internet Movie Database, a trailer can be found at YouTube.


Since November 1st you don’t only need a mugshot to apply for a German passport, they also scan your fingerprints…

The fact that Tongji needs the serial number of my passport revealed a minor bug in the passport application software. The number on the screen was not the same as on the print-out and no one knew which of them was correct.

After a while we found out that the field isn’t long enough, the missing characters are just hidden and it’s possible to scroll to the end and show them. So I hope I have all the things they need for the visa.

Second legal state examination

According to an article on the German news site Spiegel Online, the Second Legal State Examination is one of the hardest exams worldwide:

Denn das zweite juristische Staatsexamen gilt als eine der schwierigsten Prüfungen der Welt. Gut jeder fünfte Referendar scheitert im ersten Anlauf.

The Second Legal State Examination is reckoned one of the most difficult exams worldwide. Almost every fifth trainee fails at the first attempt.

Every fifth, ok, so 80 percent pass. I think many candidates here would be highly pleased with that quota.