Larsblog

A visit to de Struise

Right up against the French border, in the north-western corner of Belgium lies the little village of Oostvleteren, home to de Struise Brouwers. Looking at the map you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the western-most brewery in Belgium. However, there is another brewer about one kilometer further west. That one is called Westvleteren. (This is part 3 of the Scandinavian beer bloggers' tour.) ...

Read | 2014-05-12 21:33 | 1 comment(s)

Brouwerij Boelens

One of the benefits of this kind of tour is that you get to meet the people behind the various bars and breweries, and to hear them tell the story behind the company and explain how they think. At Boelens we got more of this, since we were met by the founder and brewer, Kris Boelen himself. (This is part 2 of the Scandinavian beer bloggers' tour.) ...

Read | 2014-05-09 16:05 | 1 comment(s)

Moeder Lambic

I haven't really explored the Brussels beer scene much, and had never been to Moeder Lambic, so I had very little idea of what to expect. At first glance it seems rather ordinary. Some cafe tables outside, kind of sterile inside. Huge number of taps, a little over 40. Obviously well-chosen selection, with a strong emphasis on Belgium, but also some foreigners. (This is part 1 of the Scandinavian beer bloggers' tour.) ...

Read | 2014-05-06 15:26 | 0 comment(s)

Visit Flanders!

It seemed to good to be true. Tourism Flanders was inviting me on a four-day trip of Belgian beer, and the only thing they required in return was that I write at least one blog post about it? With no constraints whatever on the content? The email seemed way too professional for a scam, though, and the conditions and details were very convincing and well thought out. So in the end I decided manna really had descended from heaven, totally unexpected, and undeserved. ...

Read | 2014-05-02 19:24 | 2 comment(s)

Polish mead: nectar of the gods

Before going to Poland back in 2007 I checked Ratebeer, as one does, to see what the best beers from Poland were. This was before craft brewing hit Poland in a big way, so I assumed I'd see the odd dark lager and perhaps a porter or two, with pretty low ratings. To my surprise I found that most of the highest-regarded "beers" from Poland were meads. Not only that, but the best were considered among the top 1% on Ratebeer, and people were raving about them in the reviews. ...

Read | 2014-04-29 19:52 | 0 comment(s)

Why Nations Fail — a review

Kapuscinski once wrote of a road trip to Onitsha, a market town in Nigeria famous for the special brand of literature sold in the market there. His essay, however, is not so much about Onitsha, as about a hole in the road. The road through Onitsha was not a good one, and inside the city itself it turns rather muddy, with a giant hole in the mud. Cars struggle to get through the hole, and long queues have formed around it in both directions. ...

Read | 2014-04-05 13:38 | 0 comment(s)

Norwegian craft beer 2013

The Norwegian government alcohol monopoly, called Vinmonopolet in Norwegian (literally the Wine Monopoly) has released sales figures for 2013, so I thought I'd carry on my series of blog posts analyzing their sales figures. The data set starts in 2007 and shows both total sales figures for each product category (like wine, beer, spirits, etc) as well as the best sellers within each category. ...

Read | 2014-03-29 14:51 | 0 comment(s)

The deserted cave city of Chufut-Kale

From the khan's palace in Bakhchysarai we took a marshrutka a couple of kilometers up the valley, to the next sight. A marshrutka, by the way, is a mini-van bus, so named because it "marches along a route". We walked a good bit further up the valley on a forest path. Eventually, the forest ended, and in the open we could see the top of the cliffs, and a defensive wall. Hacked into the cliff were many dark openings, gaping like the eye sockets of a skull. Set into the wall was a gate, manned by locals asking a modest sum for admittance. We had reached the deserted cave city of Chufut-Kale. ...

Read | 2014-03-16 13:24 | 0 comment(s)

Bakhchysarai

We took the elektryushka, the electric commuter train, out of Simferopol, through the lovely Crimean countryside. Keeping track of the many stations was tricky, so eventually I had to ask the old man next to me, in my broken Russian, "is this Bakhchysarai?" It wasn't. But consider the name for a moment. Bakhchysarai. It doesn't sound very Russian, does it? In fact, it sounds decidedly oriental. And it is. ...

Read | 2014-03-09 12:35 | 1 comment(s)

Advances in active learning

I've come up with two improvements to the genetic algorithm with active learning since I first implemented it. One of them is the sort of thing that could make for a publishable research paper, but it's very likely that the idea has already been invented and published by somebody else. Which means I'm not very tempted to go through all the work of making a formal paper, only to have it rejected by reviewers as already known. Hence this blog post. ...

Read | 2014-02-23 20:57 | 0 comment(s)

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