boinc stats jos helmichI sometimes get requests to put some badge on my facebook page in order to fight some terrible disease.I never honor such requests and people who don't know me well enough must feel that I am uncaring person.

The truth is, I get a little annoyed by such requests. Like putting a badge on your facebook is going to make a real difference. Even giving money is a bit abstract. You assume someone else knows what to do with it, but it does not translate into something tangible. A child does not get cured of cancer by doing that and a grandfather still will have alzheimer regardless. To me, it's what scientist do that makes the difference. In order to prevent these terrible things they have to do enormous amount of tests and computations. The boring stuff for which we tend to cut funding.

This is the reason why I joined in 2006 the boinc program. Boinc is a computer program that runs in the background. It takes a bit of your computer power whenever it can do that. If you are working on your PC it takes less. If it's on and idle it takes more. Boinc started out with seti@home (search for extraterrestrial intelligence). Computing signals of telescopes to see if there was any sign of intelligence in it, but soon it was joined by other programs like and others.

So that's why I keep in on my computers. Daily when I put my computer on I join the fight against cancer and other riders of the apocalypse. And that's why I don't feel bad about myself when I don't put the badge on my facebook. So I hope you join me in that fight and also start donating computer power. It's easy to do. Does not require anything on your side. Just do it and save a life. It's not heroic or anything. It is even a bit boring unless you get a kick out of your contribution statistics. BUT IT IS LIFE SAVING!

If you have an android mobile you can download boinc from the playstore (here is a faq). Boinc will do it's job when the phone or tablet is connected to the power socket, the battery level is at least 90%, and the screen is off (in other words when it is not in the way). Data exchange will only take place when connected to wifi so that your (3G/4G) data limits are not in jeopardy. Boinc is not available for iPhone because of legal reasons. Down below you find some official descriptions of the projects I am involved, but there are others. If you are interested which click on this link.

World Community Grid

World Community GridWorld Community Grid enables anyone with a computer, smartphone or tablet to donate their unused computing power to advance cutting-edge scientific research on topics related to health, poverty and sustainability. Through the contributions of over 650,000 individuals and 460 organizations, World Community Grid has supported 23 research projects to date, including searches for more effective treatments for cancer, HIV/AIDS and neglected tropical diseases. Other projects are looking for low-cost water filtration systems and new materials for capturing solar energy efficiently.

What is Rosetta@home?

RosettaRosetta@home needs your help to determine the 3-dimensional shapes of proteins in research that may ultimately lead to finding cures for some major human diseases. By running the Rosetta program on your computer while you don't need it you will help us speed up and extend our research in ways we couldn't possibly attempt without your help. You will also be helping our efforts at designing new proteins to fight diseases such as HIV, Malaria, Cancer, and Alzheimer's (See our Disease Related Research for more information). Please join us in our efforts! Rosetta@home is not for profit. is a volunteer computing, climate modelling project.

We run climate models on people’s home computers to help answer questions about how climate change is affecting our world, now and in the future – Sign up now and help us predict the climate.

Evidence of how our climate is changing is vital to encourage investment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, as well as coping with inevitable change.

You can help discover how the climate could look by running our free software on your computer. The data generated is sent back to us and incorporated into the projects. Our computer models simulate the climate for the next century, producing predictions of temperature, rainfall and the probability of extreme weather events. The more models that are run, the more evidence we gather on climate change.

Get started and help us predict the climate.


And yes. I am also supporting SETI, because it was all their idea to begin with.

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The sauna idiot

He stands in the sauna because if he sits he could catch a germ. The standing position ensures only his feet are in contact with the wood. If he could float he would because that would make him totally detached from this world. From his mouth comes an endless stream of sounds. What he tells I only can imagine. My command of Finnish is so bad that it excludes all form of understanding. It does not matter. He talks and talks. Sometimes he ask a question and a polite person comments or answers. I don't get the impression that it matters. The sauna idiot talks anyway. Is he really responding to the comment? I doubt it. From the confused faces of my fellow sauna sitters I get the impression that there is no real interaction. He just talks and talks. His talk is sometimes irritating when you want to be with your own thoughts, sometimes it is a welcome distraction from what otherwise would be a boring sauna session. Does he have Asperger syndrome? Maybe. I am not enough qualified enough to know. He cannot really stand the heat of the sauna. He rarely throws water on the stones. When it becomes too hot he leaves and goes to shower. There he stands for ages continuing his talk until he magically disappears.

The sauna wolves

wolf_cubsThey are usually human males. Somewhere between eight and twelve years of age. They usually hunt in packs because their parents have abandoned them for the moment. They enter the sauna in a rush. The leader of the pack finds his seat first. The others follow. You can already see that some don't like the heat of the sauna. But they are brave enough to stay. The rules of the pack make it so. They shout and quarrel excited. You would start to think that the sauna is fun after all, but not with this pack of young wolves. You can just sit there and enjoy the steam. That's not enough. So it does not take long before they get impatient. The leader of the pack smells it. Time to get out. He stands and within seconds the sauna empties itself and silence descends once more upon the room. You realize that this time the rules of the pack have worked in your favor. You sit back and relax again.

The sauna elephants

They are elderly men with a lifetime of sauna sitting behind them. They come alone or in groups. There is no rule about this. Their bellies are well developed. Sausage and beer have created a fat layer no amount of steam can penetrate. They are not scared of throwing water on the stones. The more, the better. From the moment they step in they own the sauna. Sauna wolves usually defer to their presence. It makes feel uncomfortable and makes them leave pretty quickly. Still the mood of the sauna elephants is usually relaxed. They discuss the latest news, the sports and the rhythms of their family. You start to realize that you will soon like them. A daunting prospect now, but once achieved a source of bliss.

The persons in this article have been a source of inspiration and put through the grinder of my imagination. The result is fiction of form that has little to do with what they actually are.

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