Introducing myself
My abstracts
Theory of Knowledge notes
Maths and Japanese
iGoogle applets
aop2006 revisited
euchina revisited
This site has been around for more than 18 years, during which I have added to and updated it occasionally, and made a few more major changes when I changed my life, as well as the hosting company and the web address, but it is still mostly as it has been.

December 2014

page ofKai Arste(ex-AC)
Berlin, Kigali, ...

Date: 22 Oct 16, Time: 05:12 (GMT)
This hour's quote, anecdote, joke, fact, ...:
from The Devil's Dictionary, 1911, by Ambrose Pierce:
  ABORIGINIES, n. Persons of little worth found cumbering the soil of a newly discovered country. They soon cease to cumber; they fertilize.
AFRICAN, n. A nigger that votes our way.
From the RSS-feed of the BBC news:

About the site:

I have contemplated re-naming these pages "my mud-pies":
all the genuine, deep delight of life is in showing people the mud-pies you have made; and life is at its best when we confidingly recommend our mud-pies to each other's sympathetic consideration.
J.M. Thorburn, Art and the Unconscious, 1925,
(quoted in Susan K. Langer,
Philosophy in a New Key, 1957.)
While that quote may be overstating things a little, I certainly do want to ask for the reader's sympathetic consideration.
Some things to do here (i.e. apart from reading): try the Lüscher Colour Test (perl), take a short First Aid quiz (Java-applet), or find out the distance between two points on the earth (JavaScript).

This website, though started in July 1996, is not only still incomplete, and always will be, it also is not amusing and it completely lacks visually exciting pages. In fact, I removed again the 'frames' from the pages on which I was trying them out, because they seemed more awkward than convenient, and so there is nothing (almost ...) moving as you read.

In the past few years, these pages have suffered some neglect, as my time has instead – I am not a nerd – gone into developing and maintaining the 'useful' (rather than the 'pretty') sites for the two schools where I have been working, and also for other organisations: at AC I was running w3S, a Web Design service – almost like a small business, with some financial success – as part of the College's CAS programme.


I pass my eyes through your site, but I dont know for who did you made for? (20 Sep 02)

Like your colour test – it stays true to the original. ... I am a hypnotherapist/ NLP Practitioner ... and will have a website up and running shortly. I would like to put a version of this test on my site as it will give me some indication ... (12 Nov 02)

I am preparing for the TOK course which we are introducing next year as we get IB accreditation. I have been to several courses but have found little to reflect upon. I came across the TOK pages that you and your colleagues (I'm assuming) have developed, and would like your permission to use some of them ... (11 Nov 02)

I found your site while trying to show someone examples of inclusive vs exclusive OR. I found your reasoning and logic page very interesting, but I noticed a typo in part 4 ... (29 Jan 03)

I discovered you website today, and thought I'd spend a few minutes exploring it. An hour later I was still exploring, and there is far more I'm intending to go back to look at again. This email is to thank you for the site, and to ask if you can help me: I am a psychotherapist and hypnotherapist ... (17 Jan 13)

Different people have different styles, including in how they use computers. All my pages are produced by composing the text and entering HTML- and some JavaScript-tags 'by hand', as it were, in a text-editor. It must say something about me – and a home-page is supposed to be a personal expression as well, isn't it? – that I prefer to do it this way, rather than use something like FrontPage or Dreamweaver.

Sherry Turkle, in Life on the Screen, 1995, tells "A Tale of Two Aesthetics": she contrasts the modernist reductionism and 'depth' of IBM computers and DOS with the postmodernist simulation and 'surface' of Apple computers and Windows. I like the first 'style' for being transparent, in the sense that I can – or at least could, if I wanted to – see through the system and routines I am using, while the second feels unpleasantly opaque: things happen behind my back, as it were.


While I used several resources in writing my outline, your material certainly provided a very orderly approach to dividing and sequencing the course content. I acknowledged your cyber-guidance (as well as the help of others) on the course outline I submitted to IB. (03 Jun 99)

thanks for the Goffman abs, very useful. (07 Dec 00)

... your flash card program ( which I have been using this weekend. It is very helpful, and it's wonderful for you to have done this. I am using this to help me with my self study of Japanese from the JBP books. (17 Jun 01)

I work in the department of staff development in an in-patient hospital (chronic psychotic disorders). I am requesting permission to use your program to teach first aid to new employees. (29 Nov 00)

Thank you so much! Your site saved my butt when I was writing my ToK essay! (21 Feb 06)

And with their agreement, I have also put on this website some 'pieces' that are not otherwise available, by friends of mine: essays, a composition, a program. For now, most of the links can only be found in the appropriate locations, on various pages.
Use this form to send me a message.
Throughout the site, a careful reader will of course find out a little more about me, (as much as I am willing to put into a published document ...,) and a lot more about how I think, but there is also a more explicit brief personal statement.

your web page would look a lot better if you put your photo at the top, instead of all those flags ... then other people would know what you look like when they read your page. (23 Jul 01)

very good, if not very inspired. [and later:] as stated very very good, hope u get to get to know more about we africans, when u have some time travel to Dande. (20 Aug 04)

I have really enjoyed perusing your website - it is wonderful, interesting and very inspiring. I am curious to know how you created it ... (21 Oct 06)

But things should not be all serious – not that computing is very serious: programming to me is awfully close to game-playing and can be no less addictive –, and you may want to start by reading my favourite two jokes, and a not-so-funny little fable.

Even the jokes are not all that funny, are they? I hope you appreciated them anyhow. (Some people have said that being a teacher has affected me, so that I cannot help trying to 'enlighten' others; but perhaps that 'fault' was there already, and is one of the reasons that I enjoy working as a teacher.) By the way, I also very much enjoy Gary Larson's cartoons, showing what life looks like from The Far Side.

On this website I am also making available some of my own stuff, which at times is slightly personal; such as the following:
  • Amended and much extended versions of notes which I originally prepared for my classes when I was teaching the IB's Theory of Knowledge course. They too do have, as my colleagues kept telling me, a rather specific style, but I am happy for them to be used, for any non-commercial purpose (and it would be nice to be mentioned.)
  • Brief abstracts (of up to 400 or 800 words each) of some articles and non-fiction books I have been (re-)reading in the past few years. I have been writing such abstracts for quite a long time now – in the first place for myself of course, to help me understand better what I have read. It is not without some hesitation that I share them here, because my misunderstandings that they may reveal ...
  • Some of my other materials for the subjects I teach: a vocabulary list, a kanji map and grammar notes for the Japanese ab initio course, (which require a Japanese font to be installed;) and collections of maths problems I have made up.
  • On the non-academic – or at least not quite so academic – side, there still are notes I put together for the CAVRA unit of which I was a member at Atlantic College, including a First Aid breviary.

A brief 'history of computing':
  • After a few very early, very limited experiences with Basic on a mainframe, I tried programming again, this time in Pascal, when I took up an idea of a friend of mine (AT) to make nip (= niHONGO pRACTICE,) a small program to help with the learning of Japanese vocabulary, using the method of flashcards.
  • Then another friend of mine (APM) took up Delphi and has become very good at it, and we wrote the Windows version of the Lüscher Colour Test together. Not that we thought the results should be taken too seriously, but what they say about a person can be interesting, and can lead to a good conversation. (The self-extracting file that is downloaded needs to be run to make the program-file, luscher.exe.)
  • A bit later I tried out Java, and wrote an applet to administer multiple-choice tests; so you can read how to run it, or take a First Aid quiz, or take a small logic test.
    (While this applet does use the mouse, there are no buttons – after all, my screen is quite flat, isn't yours? However, those people who prefer the other style like it for apparently the same reason, because it is transparent – in the rather different sense of the icons, say, giving them easy access to their documents.)
  • At the same time I started to try some JavaScript, to make my pages interactive, (as in 'Air Miles', a little script to calculate the distance between two points on the earth,) but for a long time felt frustrated that the scripts had to be very complicated to work with different browsers. Fortunately that problem was largely overcome, with the versions of Internet Explorer from 5.5.
  • While I had not enjoyed Delphi and Java very much, perl had a much greater immediate appeal. Java applets run on the client – that is on your computer –, but perl scripts run on the web server, i.e. the computer where the site is stored, and so pages can become more truly interactive: the on-line version of the Lüscher Colour Test was programmed in perl.
  • But these days I am mostly using php, another server-side scripting language, which I find even more fun than perl, and much more powerful for doing things on the web: for both AC and GHA I have written programs for on-line report-writing, for instance, using SQLite as the database.
  • While I (have to) keep up with MS Windows, Office and so on, because other people are using them, I have found Linux, and especially Linux Mint, much easier, more powerful and so much more fun – "fun", again! – to use: I get especially annoyed with how MS tries to do things for the user. (You can click on the penguin ...)