Marlene Dietrich

dietrichAfter WWII, Marlene Dietrich visisted Amsterdam a couple of times. I think it was in the early fifties, she stayed in a hotel in Concertgebouwbuurt, a hotel owned by the Van Venetiƫ family.

There was a painter, Eduard de Froe. He was a friend of the van VenetiĆ«’s. He often came to the hotel, had a coffee, and one day, he saw Marlene. He asked, “can I paint you? Please?”. Marlene agreed, so De Froe painted her, in a few sessions, she was wearing a hat, looking happy. De Froe kept the painting, nobody knew it existed. Until it emerged, in the nineties. It’s a beautiful painting.

It’s not for sale.


In 2012, when I had just gotten my motorcycle drivers license, I found youtube videos of guys racing bikes in an incredible way. There weren’t going around a track at 350km/h, they were doing more like 40, on a small tarmac area, and they were making incredibly tight turns. They were all Japanese, it seemed that nowhere else in the world this sport was done. Look at this.

I posted a message on a biker forum, asking “Is this something they do in the Netherlands?”. Nobody knew, a lot of people knew the videos, people were interested, but nobody had ever seen it. People joined the discussion, someone pointed us to another topic where this type of riding was discussed.

Then I said “then lets just go do it”. Continue reading “Motogymkhana”

Therese Schwartze

Self portrait, age 37, img wiki commons

Johan Georg Schwartze was a painter, who grew up in the US, traveled to Germany, then in 1844 he arrived in Amsterdam. He managed to make a career there as a portrait painter, so he decided to stay. His daughter Therese, born December 20, 1851, had a talent for drawing and painting, so Johan Georg taught her. When Johan Georg died in 1874, started to take care of her extended family as a painter. By that time, she was already succesful painting portraits of the Amsterdam elite. By doing that,she became the first woman who maintained a family as an artist, a painter.

Her sister Georgina was a sculptor, her other sister, Clara, was not an artist. Their brother, Georg Washington Schwartze, was also a painter, the Rijksmuseum has a number of his paintings.

Deep Learning

If you want to get an introduction to building neural networks and deep learning, this online book is a good start. If you don’t know Python, I recommend to learn at least the basics of Python.

After you read the book, or most of it, you’ll want to try yourself. The book has examples, you can get them from github. But a real next step is to try Google’s Tensorflow. The Tensorflow tutorial here follows most of Michael Nielsen’s book. Have fun building your first deep learning neural network.

Android Neural Networks API

Android 8.1 will have an API for creating neural networks. Android 8.1 is available as a preview for developers. A sample app is availabe in the android ndk samples.
The API will make use of AI chips that will be available in Android phones, although I don’t know if it’ll work with the chips that are currently built in phones like the Samsung Mate 10.
The API works as a runtime for neural networks: it does inferences on a neural network that you built using TensorFlow or another learning tool.

Dedicated AI chips are important for the progress of AI. Currently, NN’s are using node networks that are simulated on powerful CPUs or GPUs. That means, however smart the structure of the NN is and however many nodes can work simultaneously, they still go through a Von Neumann bottleneck in your processor. There is a sub class of dedicated AI chips that does not simulate a node network on a conventional processor, but rather, reflects the structure of a neural network in the hardware. I expect truly powerful AIs to become available only when NN chips (“NPUs”) are available with this architecture.