Wednesday, June 30, 2004
Spidey sensory overload. Sam Raimi is God. But that's to be expected since he did do Darkman and Army of Darkness. Lucas and the Wachowskis really need to attend his film school. Remember kids, CG is a useful tool in telling the story - not the point of the film.
Can't gush enough about this sequel. Always gratifying to see a boyhood hero get the star treatment and the source material adhered to so faithfully. And the setup near the end for the next installment: motherfucking brilliant. Dafoe tops Nicholson as super villain any day.
Hopefully Batman Begins will get the proper respect, like Spidey, next year. Giddy I am.
Apple World Wide Developer Conference 2004 Keynote (.mov). Shows some of the features planned for the next release of Mac OS X, like hardware accelerated image effects built right into the OS, google-like searching of local content (still not picking up on my history-search idea, which I _am_ working on.), iChat based video conferencing, and a new video codec that is 4x more efficient than mpeg-4.
Tuesday, June 29, 2004
Watching elections in western time zones is much easier on one's sleep habits.
The people have spoken. Abortions for some, miniature Canadian flags for others.
Monday, June 28, 2004
Why proportional representation is better:
Overall Election Results Party Elected Leading Total Vote Share LIB 25 83 108 42.40% CON 15 36 51 29.70% BQ 4 33 37 2.54% NDP 5 14 19 21.53% OTH 0 0 0 3.83% Last Update: June 28, 10:03:14 PM EDT 308 seats
Voting gives you the right to complain bitterly and be unreasonably grumpy. Those who do not vote can only whine and express their displeasure in a timid and non participatory manner. Remember that if you vote and help elect a candidate, you have the right to pester, harass, snipe, chastise, harangue, wail and/or bemoan every decision, statement, behaviour, conduct, relationship, affiliation and/or position of that politician for the next four or so years. That's not a bad return for 20 minutes of your time.
I saw Fahrenheit 9/11 over the weekend. The early show was sold out so we went back for the late show. PACKED. Not bad for a documentary. We ended up sitting on the floor at the back. The audience applauded at the end too.
It was a good docudrama, but I have to side with the critics on the fact that it doesn't do a very good job of changing people's opinions. If you're anti-Bush, like myself, it's preachin to the choir. If you're pro-Bush, I can see why it can be brushed aside.
Moore's too passionate for his own good on this one. The film never felt balanced. There was no counter-point. I dunno, I just felt it needed to be more persuasive. Then again I doubt it'd be as popular at the box office if it was basically a feature length C-SPAN.
If you thought Dubbya was an idiot before, whoooo boy...
Peter prompted me to predict the number of seats each party will win on Monday, and it's something my father and I have done for a while (we were within 1 seat in 1993). So here goes:
Predictions based on the BQ making back the losses they suffered in the last election, with the collapse of the last vestiges of Charest Tory support and the Liberal meltdown. NDP are looking for a few surprise wins (Charlottetown looks like it might go NDP this time around. Someone is tearing down all the NDP signs and it looks like the Liberals are very scared.)
The Conservatives will keep most of their seats in the West (losing a few in BC and Saskatchewan to the NDP) and picking up the formerly split ridings in Ontario.
The Maritimes are, as always, all over the map; with individual candidates being more important than party affiliation in these parts. I figure the Liberals will pick up Elsie Wayne's seat in Saint John, there are rumblings that Carty is looking strong in Fredericton to beat out Andy Scott.
I would give 1:2 odds for a Green seat in BC, there's one candidate in the Queen Charlotte islands area who is actually looking quite strong, and the party is putting a lot of its efforts into that one riding to get a foothold into the House of Commons.
Now I need to find someone with a TV to visit tomorrow to watch the thing unfold :)
Put your predictions in the comments and we'll see who wins.
Saturday, June 26, 2004
I think I'm turning into a bit of an old cyber-crank. Now whenever I get a piece of spam, despite UNB's SpamAssassin and Thunderbird catching 99% of it, I will still look at the message headers to see if it came from a major ISP. If it did then I now forward the message to 'firstname.lastname@example.org' or 'email@example.com' or whatever. This has produced a rather satisfying result of having people's internet accounts cancelled, which is slightly more satisfying than simply hitting the delete button, or trying to come up with yet another nigerian email scam joke, like 'Mr. Ambassador? Didn't you die last year too? You had more money back then.'
The sufficiently generic names at the bottom of the email message sound suspiciously like fake call-centre names. I can only imagine some poor support drone in India having to track down a spammer on my account who now goes by the name of 'max' just so I don't feel uncomfortable about outsourcing, and I am still to imagine a dot-com era Silicon Valley office full of happy young programmers.
Shit now I feel guilty about making my buddy Max do more work. Poor Max...
Another documentary I'll have to remind myself to pick up on DVD later, The Corporation. Trailer here. (.mov)
THE CORPORATION is resonating with audiences all over the world. The feature documentary analyzes the very nature of the corporate institution, its impacts on our planet, and what people are doing in response. Based on Bakan's book "The Corporation: The Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power", the film has been generating popular support from street level to the boardrooms of the Corporate Social Responsibility movement.From the editorial review of the book:
Bakan, an internationally recognized legal scholar and professor of law at the University of British Columbia, takes a powerful stab at the most influential institution of our time, the corporation. As a legal entity, a corporation has as its edict one and only one goal, to create profits for its shareholders, without legal or moral obligation to the welfare of workers, the environment, or the well-being of society as a whole. Corporations have successfully hijacked governments, promoting free-market solutions to virtually all of the concerns of human endeavor. Competition and self-interest dominate, and other aspects of human nature, such as creativity, empathy, and the ability to live in harmony with the earth, are suppressed and even ridiculed. Bakan believes that, like Communism, this ideological order cannot last and that corporate rule must be challenged to bring balance and revive the values of democracy, social justice, equality, and compassion. This eye-opening look at a system "programmed to exploit others for profit" has been made into a provocative film documentary that could be the next Bowling for Columbine.
Friday, June 25, 2004
I'm taking off in a few hours. Plan on getting a few hours rest before I head for the airport. Should be in Hong Kong in a bit over 24 hours from now. Not too sure if I'll have internet access over there, if I do I'll try posting a few quick messages from overseas. I'll have to catch up with everyone when I get back in a couple of weeks.
in the chill of night
at the scene of a crime
like a streak of light
just in time
Tune lodged in my noggin. Good times.
I have yet to play any massively multiplayer online games. This genre is not within my scope of cool things to play. For me, socializing means DOA Volleyball, any number of racing or fighting games, and copious amounts of macho posturing, and swearing.
Ah well, I guess I'm just not nerdy enough. All hail Lothar.
Thursday, June 24, 2004
Sensing (S) 58.06% Intuitive (N) 41.94%
Thinking (T) 61.76% Feeling (F) 38.24%
Judging (J) 75% Perceiving (P) 25%
personality tests by similarminds.com
Introverted (I) 84.38% Extroverted (E) 15.63%
Sensing (S) 56.82% Intuitive (N) 43.18%
Thinking (T) 81.82% Feeling (F) 18.18%
Perceiving (P) 52.78% Judging (J) 47.22%
personality tests by similarminds.com
I have this weird way of alternating between being a perfectionist and completely not giving a shit. Sometimes the perfectionist side can come out in strange ways, like my continuing quest to make singapore-style fried noodles the way Jubilee does. (Jubilee == mediocre f'ton chinese restaurant that's open late so they're the only one I usually order from. Natalie says the only decent Chinese place in the city is Season's, where she used to work. But she also said the owner once chased a rude customer out of there while holding a meat cleaver and dressed in a bloody apron...) Back on topic. Does anyone have any idea how easily curry powder burns? The recipe I found says to put it on the bottom of the wok and let it heat up in the oil before putting the soaked riced noodles in. But holy shit that stuff catches fire easily. And of course when that happens you have to start over. I'm thinking there must be a good easy way to make a kind of paste out of the curry powder first..
Of course after that initial annoyance there's the matter of finding that moment between where the little hair-thin noodles are still brittle and dty and where they are falling apart. This window seems to be about 5 seconds, and if you miss it you'll be eating mush.
I think I've finally got it, the secret seems to be to rush frantically through all the steps, since the killer at each step is taking too much time. So when I can get the whole deal done in under 10 minutes I am golden.
I still generally consider my chinese cooking skills to be "good enough for white people".
Now to get my bloody apron and meat cleaver, then i'll be all set.
Crap. Now I must get Xbox Live. As if the current game isn't enthrallingly difficult. Smarter? Faster? Stronger? *gulp* I'm getting giddy over many more nights of cool with a healthy dose of swearing. I love you Tecmo!
German you say? I shall refrain from the obvious bad jokes.
Wednesday, June 23, 2004
INTP - "Architect". Greatest precision in thought and language. Can readily discern contradictions and inconsistencies. The world exists primarily to be understood. 3.3% of total population.
Take Free Myers-Briggs Personality Test
Layton would push for ‘rebirth' of voting system
Charlottetown — Holding a national referendum within a year on changing the way Canadians vote for their MPs will be a key condition of New Democratic support if a minority government is elected on Monday.
Visiting the cradle of Confederation in Charlottetown, NDP Leader Jack Layton laid another bargaining chip on the table Wednesday, saying his party will “use all of available influence” to push for a vote on proportional representation.
“It's time for a rebirth of our democracy,” he said, standing beside a photograph of the fathers of Confederation. “Our voting system is broken. When arrogant Liberal majorities can break promises with absolute impunity and give our tax dollars to their friends, it's time for a new voting system.”
Spare gmail invites.
Jesus google is giving me these things faster than I can give them out. If you want one leave a comment and I'll send one your way.
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
From Metafilter: "Chocolate dipped pork fat is now on the menu in one of the Ukraine's trendiest restaurants. Because regular pork fat isn't chocolately enough."
Looks like the deep fried mars bar (which I've had, and found rather intimidating) has been upstaged in the competition for most unhealthy snack in the universe.
Cast my ballot last night in the advanced poll as I won't be in the country for the general elections next Monday. I was a bit torn lately on who to give my vote too. I like the NDP and Jack Layton, but I have my doubts about the local candidate. The Green Party's seemed like a person I could relate to, but perhaps too much of a treehuggger for my liking. I don't live in Quebec so the Bloc's out of the question. I have this great dislike for Harper and it grows daily. It really bothers me because it has come to my attention that he will say ANYTHING to get votes. There's the swipe at Atlantic Canada back when he was part of the Alliance. The open letter to some American newspaper (I believe it was the Wallstreet Journal) "apologizing" for Canada not participating in Iraq. The big "Americanized" tax cuts. Blind investments in the military. The list goes on as to why Harper scares me. They definitely weren't getting my vote. Question was, do I vote for the party I like, or vote for the Liberals just to ensure the Conservatives don't get in?
I'll be trying to follow the elections from Hong Kong. To everyone that hasn't voted yet, please don't vote for the Conservatives - I'd hate to come back with them in power.
I really like your Xbox and the current generation of consoles. There's no need to force the issue. The graphics and dazzle on the current consoles hasn't even peaked yet. I'm still impressed by what they're able to do. Heck, stuff like Halo 2 and the next Zelda continue to impress. Face it, yer the lil fella in this business. Deal.
Monday, June 21, 2004
Paul Allen. Consistently cooler than that Bill fella.
I really don't know why we seem to be making the weird news lately. But it's nice to know this guy's from my home province. Keen.
I'm gonna hit him up for an autograph seeing as he's probably some ancient chop socky mastah and uses his hair for fighting or something like that. Coiffe-fu, I believe is the art form.
Making FireFox as fast as Opera
I've heard it said, here and other places, that Opera is the fastest browser available. It is fast - there's no denying that - but there are ways to make firefox render pages every bit as quickly, with just a few easy "tweaks." I had thought these adjustments were pretty well-known, but it's beginning to seem as though they may not be. So I thought it was worthwhile to bring these "hidden settings" more into the light.
Umm.. Wow. And it was blazing fast before. In a Side-by-side comparison I still give Opera the edge, because it seems to put priority on putting the text in the right place and not getting bogged down rendering images first. But with these settings FireFox comes as close as possible without being indistinguishable, and its other features, like a cleaner interface, keep it as my default browser despite having Opera installed along-side it and IE. A couple of those key values didn't appear when I went to the about:config screen, but right-clicking and choosing 'new->[boolean|integer]' and entering the proper value produced the desired effect. (download FireFox here.) OK, done evangelizing now.
To get started, type "about:config" in your firefox address bar. The settings you're looking for are:
Set #1, #2, and #4 to "true". Set #3 to a high number, like 32. Set #5 to 0.
Enabling the pipelining features allows the browser to make multiple requests to the server at the same time. The "maxrequests" is the maximum number of requests it will send at once. I've heard that 8 is the most it will send at once, but setting it higher won't hurt, just in case. The initialpaint.delay is the length of time (in milliseconds) after the server response before the browser begins to paint the page.
Adjusting those settings will help pages render much faster in firefox. In fact, my own observations have been that, tweaked in this manner, firefox will render faster than Opera (and yes, I realize that others may experience different results).
This is a comment I posted to this thread at the BlogsCanada Election Page.
I don't think people are quite connecting Harper's voicing support of the war with actual future policy. A lot of people seem to just say "oh they were just being the opposition party and opposing, if they were in power they would have had the option of having more information and the responsibility to weigh potential Canadian loss of life, and they might not have been so pro-war." I honestly don't know if that has any merit or not, but if the Cons do form a government I certianly hope that they aren't as reactionary as they were in opposition.
Jean Chrétien knew the secret of Canadian politics, that no one likes a strident opposition leader. When he became the Liberal leader he went and played golf for a couple of years while the rat pack took care of the ship in Parliament. Harper has more words to eat at this stage, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out if he is elected Prime Minister.
Sunday, June 20, 2004
boing boing - Video of John Carmack's XPrize rocket Armadillo's rocket concept makes use of a hydrogen peroxide monopropellant. Carmack said the vehicle's auto-land system worked perfectly, softly settling down on its tail section. "I had tried several algorithms on the simulator before settling on this one, and it behaved exactly the same in reality, which is always a pleasant surprise."
Successful test liftoff for John Carmack's XPrize contender craft
John Carmack may be best known for the legendary electronic game Doom-- but his latest venture is the development of a space craft tocompete in the $10 million Ansari Xprize. A craft built by Carmack'sArmadillo Aerospace had a succcessful test flight earlier this week:
"The flight was perfect. It went 131 feet high, andlanded less than one foot from the launch point," Carmack reported onhis web site. "It can easily do flights three times as long, which mayshow up some problems before we hit them with the big vehicle."Link to space.com article with images and video, Link to Armadillo Aerospace home.
Armadillo's rocket concept makes use of a hydrogen peroxide monopropellant.
Carmack said the vehicle's auto-land system worked perfectly, softly settling down on its tail section. "I had tried several algorithms on the simulator before settling on this one, and it behaved exactly the same in reality, which is always a pleasant surprise."
Saturday, June 19, 2004
I want this game. And by my awesome powers of persuasion, so will The Duc.
You are a neurotransmitter. You believe in the
good-naturedness of man's biology and soul.
You're happy, everyone's happy, and no one will
ever take that away from you. Or else you'll
make them go insane.
Which Biological Molecule Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Friday, June 18, 2004
Good News: I got the day off on Tuesday. Bad News: The reason I had that day off was because I was sick with some nasty bug. Anyways, rambling on, some girl dropped by my house trying to sell magazine subscriptions. She when on about this program and some point system which was based on which magazine was sold. Then she asked me: "are you parents home?" Needless to say, I was somewhat miffed. Of course that wasn't as bad as this one time I was up West. This guy was striking conversation with me, asked where I was from. To keep a long story short, I simply replied Summerside to which he said: "So, you go to Three Oaks?" (I believe that's the high school in town). The guys that knew me started to laugh hysterically.
First bowl free, then, you pay now! The Duc's plan is genius.
Thursday, June 17, 2004
boing boing - GPS system that looks like Grand Theft Auto
Sony's new XYZ in-car GPS navigation system presents a ground-level visualization of your route that looks like a low-rez Grand Theft Auto. I became a loyal Hertz renter when they introduced their crappy-but-serviceable Neverlost GPS a few years back (I have no sense of direction and sometimes get lost playing Quake), and this week I took a flyer and tried out Avis's new GPS system, which is unspeakably shit: it's a Nextel phone that you suction-cup to your windscreen. You call a call-center and wait on hold, then tell a person over the speakerphone where you're going and they program a route into the phone, which then reads you directions in a robot voice. It's such a dumb setup that I was half sure I'd screwed up, but no, that's how it's supposed to work.Link
This was originally a response to a previous post but grew large enough to be worth a spot on the front page.
According to this calendar for Daron Letz, the fredericton candidate, there doesn't seem to much much at all scheduled between now and electin day.
I'm a bit ticked at Fredericton's voting population at the moment, they seem to vote for familiar names, having just allowed Brad Woodside back into the mayor's office, and they'll likely put Any Scott in Parliament yet again.
The Fredericton candidates don't have much in the way of web presence, compared with the PEI candidates I've looked at who all seem to have blogs that they update regularly. And here I thought we were supposed to be some sort of technology leader :) (insert gripe about city-wide wireless not reaching my house here)
Some candidate blogs:
Dodi Crane, NDP, charlottetown
Shawn Murphy - Liberal - Charlottetown
There seems to be a lot more going on Internet-wise back home than there is here in New Brunswick, or really anywhere else that I've looked for candidate blogs and websites.
One thing that helps PEI is high-profile bloggers like Reinvented who have taken an active role in connecting voters and candidates, holding long meet-the-candidates open meetings and writing about them afterwards.
Around here there is no one to make a stink if a candidate's web presence isn't up to snuff.
Another thing I noticed while at the farmer's market is that when people are there campaigning they pretty much look straight past anyone who looks to be under 30. Voter apathy, indeed.
Wednesday, June 16, 2004
New versions of the FireFox browser and ThunderBird E-Mail client have just been released. Direct download link.
Here's a quick and dirty list of Firefox Extensions. Beating the snot out of IE one extension at a time.
A second look at the Greens - Globe and Mail
I'm still wishing the NDP and Greens could work out some way to avoid vote splitting, the Greens at 7% are in a position to take away a couple of seats that might not have gone to the big two parties. If this is the last election without proportional representation I'll be a happy voter. Unfortunately we don't have it yet..
Tuesday, June 15, 2004
Not going to write so much about the English debates, going on now, as anyone interested enough to read about it can just as easily watch it.
A few notes, Harper got royally smacked for sucking up to George Bush. Deservedly so.
Layton is, once again, speaking a different, more positive language than the rest. While the other leaders argue over scandals and specific incidents, Layton seems to be in a different debate altogether.
Layton sprung a bit of a surprise on Martin, saying that he met with US congressmen and saw the budget numbers for the missile defense program, which included weapons in space, despite Martin's denials.
Duceppe is again stepping up to attack Harper. This might have the effect of reducing the Liberal-Tory split in some Quebec ridings and actually hurt the Bloc.
Martin is trying to turn a question about missile defence into a peacekeeping commitment, I'm unaware of teh logical connection between the two.
... Double-entendre of the night belongs to Gilles Duceppe on Canada-US relations: "Being a friend doesn’t mean you’re kneeling in front of them."
One of my favourite writers, Naomi Klein (previous Klein-related post here.), graces the G&M with her words in a column today: "On not being American"
It is a privilege not to be hated for your nationality, and we should not relinquish it lightly. George Bush has denied that privilege to his own people, and Stephen Harper would cavalierly strip it from Canadians by erasing what few small but important differences remain between Canadian and U.S. foreign policy. The danger posed by this act is not just about whether Canadians are safe when we travel to the Middle East. The hatred that Mr. Bush is manufacturing there, for the United States and its coalition partners, is already following the soldiers home.
I have felt that hatred in Iraq, and trust me: We don't want to experience it here in Canada. Or don't trust me, trust the citizens of Spain, who decided in their March elections that they are not willing to accept the blowback from George Bush's wars, that they don't want these multiplying enemies to be their enemies too. Or the citizens of the United Kingdom, who just battered Tony Blair's Labour Party in last week's local elections, furious at being dragged into a war that has made them less safe. Or the citizens of Australia, who are about to send the same message to John Howard. Or even the citizens of the United States, 55 per cent of whom now disapprove of Mr. Bush's performance in Iraq, according to a recent Los Angles Times poll.
JAYBE.org: "Pop Goes the Gmail is a program that sits between the http://gmail.com web server and your email client, converting messages from web format into POP3 format that a program such as Outlook Express or Thunderbird can understand"
Queer eye for the Conservative guy?
Stephen Harper. "His eyes are dead. They look like a wolf's. And his teeth look funny when he smiles."
Paul Martin. "He's too nervous. He gets all flustered and he's always sweating. When someone sweats like that you think of B.O. His suits look bad on him because he's old and out of shape."
Jack Layton: "He's too young to be that bald. He needs a wig so he doesn't look like an old man."
Monday, June 14, 2004
Le Débat des Chefs
edit: Blogger's spellchecker spazzed all over my frigging post. Blech.
J'ecoute le débat féderaux en français, pendant que je fais les conversations de text en anglais et aussi je modifie les codes en VHDL. Mes circuits de langue se travailles aux tous cylindres maintenant.
The leaders are mostly taking every opportunity to repeat their talking points, especially the two non-native French speakers (Harper and Layton). Their French is, however, much better than the previous leaders of those two respective parties, Stockwell Day and Alexa MacDonnough. They can at least hold up their ends of a debate, and there is yet no repeat of the terribly awkward moment in the last debate when Alexa and Stockwell started arguing and both realized they were in way over their heads.
Look at me, Mr. Style-over-Substance, I feel like such a CNN media whore. OK, back to the content. The src.ca video stream keeps cutting out. Duceppe has picked up Martin's attack line against the Conservatives, painting Harper as a Reformer in Tory clothing, making allusions to George W. Bush's republican policies with respect to unwise, imprudent tax cutting even in the face of budget deficits. Harper doesn't have a proper response to the Centre for Policy Alternatives budget calculations besides waving his hands and trying to pretend it isn't accurate, but not offering solid numbers to show that his plans won't cause a deficit.
The attacks on Martin are the same as we've been seeing in the press up until now. The mentions the the sponsorship scandal have been kept to a minimum, however. Duceppe seems to not want to get his hands dirty on the matter, despite it being a very Quebec-centered scandal. Layton has not made much mention of the Liberals' scandals at all, and I don't think Harper has gotten the opportunity to address it, being forced by the debate questions to talk policy. (this is why I much prefer the debates to the usual ads and press coverage. There's someone there to tell them to stay on topic and to behave.)
Duceppe has really taken the lead in tying Harper to all the nightmarish mistakes of tax-cutting policies the the US. I think he tastes blood. Perhaps his polling is suggesting a stronger challenge from the Quebec Conservatives than the conventional wisdom would suggest. Otherwise his only real threat comes from Martin, and I'm surprised he's wasting his time on Harper. It's quite clear that Duceppe is making no room for a Conservative - Bloc governing coalition.
Martin speaks French like a school-teacher. Layton sounds like a good student in French class, impeccable pronunciation, careful vocabulary, the slight pause after pulling out a new vocabulary word. Harper has a grating accent, no attempt to sound French. He's stumbled over a few words here and there, but still a good performance. Duceppe is much more pleasant to listen to in French. In English his voice has a wiry, high-pitched quality to it that doesn't fit with Anglo sensibilities and makes his voice sound weak, in French it fits nicely, and his Quebecer accent pokes his head out enough to remind you that this is his proper place.
The other leaders are making a poor case attacking Martin for running surpluses and paying down the debt, saying that he should be re-investing in healthcare, etc. I think a combination of debt-repayment and increased spending is the way to go, but it's hard to argue half-measures. Unfortunately it's even harder to argue against fiscal prudence and still sound convincing.
Harper is talking up provinces' desire for more control over federal funding. Layton is doing a pretty good job talking up his Toronto city council experience, proposing slightly more solid improvements for urban development than Martin's oft-repeated but undetailed 'new deal for cities'.
Harper is accusing Martin of putting the country's interests on the back burner in favour of his internal purge of Chretien loyalists from the party. Martin is replying by again raising specter of a privatization-mad proto-republican Conservative government without replying directly to the accusation. He'll over play this hand very quickly if he doesn't find some new talking points.
The moderator just remarked that every election seems to be about healthcare, and that perhaps that implies that the governments up to this point aren't actually delivering on their promises. Martin's position as finance minister makes him the de facto boogeyman who's kept healthcare spending low all this time. He hasn't replied to this properly yet either.
Every time Martin promises funding for one thing or another he never forgets to point Harper's respective lack of commitment in each area (cities, solid healthcare plans, educations).
Layton: "after seeing them break their promises over and over, are we just going to give the liberals a present of another government, or are we going to go in a new direction?" Martin is attacking Layton for planning to raise taxes. Layton needs a sound bite-sized response to this pointing out that he just wants to bring in an inheritance tax for very large estates, and not across-the-board "higher taxes" as the attacks imply.
Duceppe is now aligning himself with the provincial Liberals in Quebec, saying "even the provincial liberals, sovereigntists, are criticizing your healthcare policies."
They've avoided social issues up to this point, now the last segment will be devoted to them. Harper is getting smacked for his ducking of tough questions by backing MP free votes. Harper says he's ready to accept the decision of parliament on same-sex marriage, but says he prefers the "traditional definition." Basically a non-response. Doubtful any of his core supporters are watching. Duceppe comes out in favour of abortion, accuses the Liberals of being more split than Martin would like to admit on social issues, this is definitely true. Martin is being attacked for not showing enough leadership on one front and not allowing free votes on the other. Layton's call for a just society is typically eloquent. Martin brings up the cultural differences between Quebec and the rest of the country (specifically the West), promises he'll fight any attempt by the provinces to use the notwithstanding clause to abrogate provisions of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Good.
Martin just brought up the conservative candidate who called for eliminating bilingualism. Harper's wacky MP candidates are going to be trouble for his image. At least none of them have praised Hitler yet this election cycle. Martin just challenge Harper with a yes or no question: "will you allow the notwithstanding clause to be invoked against a provision of the court?". He just weaseled for a while, then the moderator called on someone else.
Layton is being smart by staying positive on social issues. This is his strength, he's staying above the fray on things like abortion and fighting the courts, and instead speaking in broader terms. Layton took a question Harper on party discipline and changed it into a question of human rights and higher principles. Reverse judo flip, executed quite well. These two seem to speak totally different languages, Harper having to talk to conservative Christian voters in Alberta and not offend them, this could tear away some of the NDP's old-time Saskatchewan base if they push it too much. If I was in charge I'd leave the social issues to the Liberals and push entirely on economic equality, leaving the courts to interpret human rights questions and not getting into it.
The arguments are all civil except for when the other candidates attack Martin, there is real emotional teeth behind attacks on actions of the Liberals, much more so than policy wonkish exchanges between the other parties who don't have to defend their records.
Harper just got smacked good by Duceppe: "you attack my party for not being able to form the government, is democracy for you only about power? Avez-vous perdais votre tête?" No coalition here. On social issues the Bloc are somewhere between the Liberals and the NDP.
It is hard to declare a "winner" as is the tradition of debate-watching other than Duceppe, but he can talk directly to Quebecers, and be much more narrow and pointed. Will be interesting to see how he changes his tack in the English debate, if he keeps on attacking Martin for the same points or if he joins more in the sponsorship scandal pile-on.
Marks, based on ability to defend their policy positions,
Martin: B - he has more to defend, makes his job more difficult. Struck back with broadsides a little to much.
Harper: B+ - has no proper responses when cornered re: social issues, or how to pay for his tax cuts.
Layton: A- - Not really seriously attacked, other than for wanting to do something other than slash taxes, chose to speak above the fray on social issues. His French isn't as natural as the others, sometimes a little too halting, he loses his rhythm a little too easily in French.
Duceppe: A- - The question of the real purpose of the BQ hangs over Duceppe, are they there only to attack the Liberals, or do they still want sovereignty? He seems confused on this topic, however when he does pick a point, he executes it well and does contribute to the debate.
So we're not the smartest people in the world. But we have underage hookers! Top that!
You are water. You're not really organic; you're
neither acidic nor basic, yet you're an acid
and a base at the same time. You're strong
willed and opinionated, but relaxed and ready
to flow. So while you often seem worthless,
without you, everything would just not work.
People should definitely drink more of you
Which Biological Molecule Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
Sunday, June 13, 2004
Saving the environment
How Canada can abolish poverty and unemployment, even in a no-growth economy
By Gideon Rosenbluth and Peter Victor
Adobe Acrobat PDF file
Saturday, June 12, 2004
Friday, June 11, 2004
I like some of their cars, but boy are they not making any friends.
The Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives
Can they pay for what they say? A pre-election comparison of the Conservative, Liberal, and New Democratic platforms
by Ellen Russell and Sheila Block
Download the PDF file
Read the news release
Key findings include:
* When the impacts of the Conservative platform are added to the status-quo base case, the party would run a cumulative deficit of $11.4 billion over five years. In implementing their platform promises, the Conservatives would run annual deficits of $0.7, $3, $4 and $5.6 billion.
* Between 2004/05 and 2008/09 the Liberal platform would produce a cumulative surplus of $24.2 billion--consistent with the Liberal government's practice of generating large surpluses and using them to pay down the debt.
* The NDP platform would result in a cumulative surplus of $14.6 billion, which is considerably more than the $5.3 billion in cumulative surpluses that the party claims in its platform.
Thursday, June 10, 2004
MilkandCookies - Jurannessic: "At a time when there were no film makers, no technicians, no cameras and even no lights, a caveman created the first porno."
edit.. click on the link just below 'Jurannessic', milk&cookies doesn't seem to like linking directly to the movies.
The Globe and Mail - How the press is covering the election - June 10th edition
Geez, if you wonder why people are feeling apathetic about the election check out the negative press coverage. This would depress anybody.
I love this matter of fact statement:
Has Schumacher ever been tempted to drive an oval?
“No.” Terse, matter of fact.
No attraction at all?
This is how I imagine Peter's wedding day. Duct Tape. Is it just me or does that guy look a lot like Fred Savage?
Added democracynow.org to the sidebar. Definitely the best international news program I've found. (hour-long daily news show, available online)
So Tarantino's revenge epic is now 10 minutes long? This is a joke right? I wonder if there's a Family Edited version of Gibson's Jeebus pic? :)
Interesting WikiPedia article on the Maritimes (WikiPedia.org) contains as good a summary and exploration of the reasons for the economic problems we've been facing for over a century. The crux of it seems to be that the tarrifs John A. MacDonald brought in after confederation limited the historically strong trade between the Maritimes and Great Britain, New England and the Carribean, instead forcing them to compete with central Canadian companies for access to central Canadian markets (at an obvious geographical disadvantage.)
The exact date that the Maritimes began to fall behind the rest of Canada is difficult to determine. Historian Kris Inwood places the date very early, at least in Nova Scotia, finding clear signs that the Maritimes "Golden Age" of the mid-nineteenth century was over by 1870, before Confederation or the National Policy could have had any significant impact. Richard Caves places the date closer to 1885, however. T.W. Acheson takes a similar view and provides considerable evidence that the early 1880s were in fact a booming period in Nova Scotia and this growth was only undermined towards the end of that decade. David Alexander argues that any earlier declines were simply part of the global Long Depression, and that the Maritimes first fell behind the rest of Canada when the great boom period of the early twentieth century had little effect on the region. E.R. Forbes, however, emphasizes that the precipitous decline did not occur until after the First World War during the 1920s when new railway policies were implemented. Forbes also contends that significant Canadian defence spending during the Second World War favoured powerful political interests in Central Canada such as C.D. Howe, when major Maritime shipyards and factories, as well as Canada's largest steel mill, located in Cape Breton Island, fared poorly.
One of the most important changes, and one that almost certainly had an effect, was the revolution in transportation that occurred at this time. The Maritimes were connected to central Canada by the Intercolonial Railway in the 1870s, removing a longstanding barrier to trade. For the first time this placed the Maritime manufacturers in direct competition with those of Central Canada. Maritime trading patterns shifted considerably from mainly trading with New England, Great Britain, and the Caribbean, to being focused on commerce with the Canadian interior, enforced by the federal government's tariff policies.
Simultaneously with the construction of railways in the region, the age of the wooden sailing ship began to come to an end, being replaced by larger and faster steel steam ships. The Maritimes had long been a centre for shipbuilding and this industry was hurt by the change. The larger ships were also less likely to call on the smaller population centres such as Saint John and Halifax, preferring to travel to cities like New York and Montreal. Even the Cunard Line, founded by Haligonian Samuel Cunard, stopped making more than a single ceremonial voyage to Halifax each year.
More controversial than the role of technology is the argument over the role of politics in the origins of the region's decline. Confederation and the tariff and railway freight policies that followed have often been blamed for having a deleterious effect on the Maritime economies. Arguments have been made that the Maritimes' poverty was caused by control over policy by Central Canada which used the national structures for its own enrichment. This was the central view of the Maritime Rights movement of the 1920s, which advocated greater local control over the region's finances. T.W. Acheson is one of the main proponents of this theory. He notes the growth that was occurring during the early years of the National Policy in Nova Scotia demonstrates how the effects of railway fares and the tariff structure helped undermine this growth. Capitalists from Central Canada purchased the factories and industries of the Maritimes from their bankrupt local owners and proceeded to close many of them down, consolidating the industry in Central Canada.
The policies in the early years of Confederation were designed by Central Canadian interests, and they reflected the needs of that region. The unified Canadian market and the introduction of railroads created a relative weakness in the Maritime economies. Central to this concept, according to Acheson, was the lack of metropolises in the Maritimes.
Federal party platforms. Read.
Obviously these tend to be just advertizing, but they are at least more thorough than ads and opinion pieces and stump speeches. I like the Green platform, and their positions on open-source software are in line with my own thoughts on the subject. The NDP platform is the only one of the major parties which makes economic sense, while pushing a clear plan to fix the problems in the healthcare system. The Liberal and Conservative platforms, aside from the cons promise of huge tax cuts _and_ increased healthcare and military spending, and the libs usual spate of promising everything to everyone, are quite similar on most points. On the other hand, the leftovers from the Reform / Aliance party's views on the constitution and charter of rights creep me out. Unfortunately Martin won't say anything that wil lloe him too many votes, now matter what his feelings are.
Good discussion on BlogsCanada about the Stephen Harper's view that courts shouldn't over-ride parliamentary legislation if it's unconstitutional.r (a scary idea, to be sure, and I hope it gets more attention and that he explains what his real views are on the Charter of Rights and Freedomes.
AP Wire | 06/08/2004 | Fainting Fad Alarms Teachers in Maine
That's it, the human experiment is over. Push the button.
Chantal: The dates I have posted are set firmer than stone. It has been wrought in metal in the form of a ring that cannot be undone unless it is cast into the fires of. . . . well, you get the idea :-p Yes. I will be in Seoul on those days. During my stay, I will greatly enjoy running around the city with you seeing the sites, trying Korean food, and searching for cheap J-Pop CDs and the like.
Ming; can I still expect you to be here in Seoul from the 5th to the 7th? Shall I go ahead and book the days or is it not set in stone yet?
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
Just discovered a bug in blogger. I left a comment in the post about the Fraser Institute report on de-criminalization of drugs, but at the same time tuan was composing a front page post. After I published my comment, he added his post which failed to notice that there was a newly-added comment in another post while it was publishing.
Bleh. FMC moved event #3 to Father's Day on the 20th. I have to help out at the restaurant so I can't go over to Sempai's playground. Boo. Hiss. Gonna miss Slemon too. Oh well, I can make it to event #5 when I get back from 'Nam.
Also, you people eat like savages - less so on Dad's Day. That reminds me. *off to look for Acura gear for Dad*
De-criminalize away. But 1. I don't wanna be inhalin this shit as I walk by. I'm not down with the 'new tobacco' so legislate when and where you go all Cheech and Chong. 2. Tax the hell outta this stuff. We could use the money.
Moral implications my ass. We got gambling, prescription drugs, alcohol, and old school tobacco. Take your pick. The gov't regulates them and you'll always have a percentage of addicted people who don't know better.
Creative Class War
What should really alarm us is that our capacity to so adapt is being eroded by a different kind of competition—the other pincer of the claw—as cities in other developed countries transform themselves into magnets for higher value-added industries. Cities from Sydney to Brussels to Dublin to Vancouver are fast becoming creative-class centers to rival Boston, Seattle, and Austin. They’re doing it through a variety of means—from government-subsidized labs to partnerships between top local universities and industry. Most of all, they’re luring foreign creative talent, including our own. The result is that the sort of high-end, high-margin creative industries that used to be the United States’ province and a crucial source of our prosperity have begun to move overseas. The most advanced cell phones are being made in Salo, Finland, not Chicago. The world’s leading airplanes are being designed and built in Toulouse and Hamburg, not Seattle.
As other nations become more attractive to mobile immigrant talent, America is becoming less so. A recent study by the National Science Board found that the U.S. government issued 74,000 visas for immigrants to work in science and technology in 2002, down from 166,000 in 2001—an astonishing drop of 55 percent in a single year, and matched by similar, though smaller-scale, declines in other categories of talented immigrants, from finance experts to entertainers.
Part of this contraction is derived from what we hope are short-term security concerns—as federal agencies have restricted visas from certain countries after September 11. More disturbingly, we find indications that fewer educated foreigners are choosing to come to the United States. Most of the decline in science and technology immigrants in the National Science Board study, for instance, was due to a drop in applications.
Why would talented foreigners avoid us? In part, because other countries are simply doing a better, more aggressive job of recruiting them. The technology bust also plays a role. There are fewer jobs for computer engineers, and even top foreign scientists who might still have their pick of great cutting-edge research positions are less likely than they were a few years ago to make millions through tech-industry partnerships.
But having talked to hundreds of talented professionals in half dozen countries over the past year, I’m convinced that the biggest reason has to do with the changed political and policy landscape in Washington. In the 1990s, the federal government focused on expanding America’s human capital and interconnectedness to the world—crafting international trade agreements, investing in cutting edge R&D, subsidizing higher education and public access to the Internet, and encouraging immigration. But in the last three years, the government’s attention and resources have shifted to older sectors of the economy, with tariff protection and subsidies to extractive industries. Meanwhile, Washington has stunned scientists across the world with its disregard for consensus scientific views when those views conflict with the interests of favored sectors (as has been the case with the issue of global climate change). Most of all, in the wake of 9/11, Washington has inspired the fury of the world, especially of its educated classes, with its my-way-or-the-highway foreign policy. In effect, for the first time in our history, we’re saying to highly mobile and very finicky global talent, “You don’t belong here.”
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
The generalized "Peter Principle": "in evolution systems tend to develop up to the limit of their adaptive competence"
The Globe and Mail: "A new study shows that after spending evening hours learning a new skill, regions of the brain associated with learning work overtime to assimilate the lessons as we sleep, and we awaken with the new skill better entrenched."
Giljams’ company, Cool Amphibious Manufacturers International, or CAMI, builds the Terra Wind, but the company’s bread-and-butter vehicle is the DUCK, a 50-person amphibious vehicle used as a resort tour vehicle.
Monday, June 07, 2004
New Scientist -- Postscript Houses
A robot for "printing" houses is to be trialled by the construction industry. It takes instructions directly from an architect's computerised drawings and then squirts successive layers of concrete on top of one other to build up vertical walls and domed roofs.
The precision automaton could revolutionise building sites. It can work round the clock, in darkness and without tea breaks. It needs only power and a constant feed of semi-liquid construction material.
The key to the technology is a computer-guided nozzle that deposits a line of wet concrete, like toothpaste being squeezed onto a table. Two trowels attached to the nozzle then move to shape the deposit. The robot repeats its journey many times to raise the height and builds hollow walls before returning to fill them.
My utterly fucking brilliant search idea of the day, to get me hired by goodle, or so that I can sue them for copying my awesome idea is the following?::
Search for keywords, limiting the scope of the search to pages in your browser's history. That way you can easily figure out "where did I read blah blah.."
Shit I'm a genius.
The trouble is that google doesn't function on the basis of searching thorugh long lists of specific pages. On the other hand, it would be undesirable to have to keep a copy of each web page locally.
One option would be to use the Google API to construct search queries limited to the domain names of sites in your history. While your history may contain 10,000 web pages viewed, they might be under < 500 domains. The results could tehn be filtered out in another step to include only the pages you want to view.
Unfortunately this is still a lot of work and a lot of network activity to send out ot ogoogle.
The default web cache size is 50 MB. Perhaps splitting the web cache into a dedicated text repository, perhaps usng some of thespace that would have gone to caching images, a local cache of one's history may be more feasable with modern storage costs. Hell, google keeps their cache of the entire internet in RAM.
Another advantage of this local caching would be to get around changes made by webmasters to their sites, or censored news pages (actually a fairly common occurrance)
Sunday, June 06, 2004
I was at the regional autocross today. I really should have stayed in bed. But at least I didn't go off course on all 3 runs. :D But yeah, I still suck royal. However, I did get to talk to Owen Buerkle, who recognized me before I recognized him. D'oh! He used to hang out with Kumquat and now schools me in his own Subaru. His distinctiveness has been assimilated into the collective...
One of us! One of us!
I dig a product of that great kareoke experiment - American Idol. I like Kimberley Locke's single 8th World Wonder. I feel so unclean. I mean I motherfucking love wuss rock but this is getting out of hand. O_O*
good day all! I hope everyone is enjoying the beatiful Sunday. i know I am. With the exception of the loss of my car.
here is the story... Friday i was trying to find something in the car and left my keys in the car.... Shit my head screams, as I remember the dealer ship had not returned my spare keys..... I have no way to get into my little jeep. so then I call the Shell to get me out of this predicament and they jimmy my poor little jeep. Yeah I get back into my car, for a small fortune. So everything is good, until I go to pick up a friend, and as habbit predicts, when I get to his house I lock the car door and wonder into his place... On the return I place the key into the lock, and curse, and curse a second time and well curse a third time. I wonder over to the other side of my car and open the door and try to open the lock on from the inside... curse several times as I end up crawling a cross the car in my tiny little red skirt. I fight with the door several times, as does my friend... Still no luck.
The next morning I head to summerside with a pre arranged appointment to get my radio replaced on the car...They get a hold of the car and inform me they can't give me the car back until they can get the door open, some safety regulation, that make since, but I just did not know.
To my disapointment they give a little brown corola, so far I have tried three time to find the clutch on this autamatic car, and have discovered it to be inferior to my jeep in several other ways. The milage on the gas is lower...and just doesn't handle as well..on top of that, the giant I have as a brother inlaw hits his head on the cealing... I could go on by the whole point of my story is I want my car back.
Robert Paterson's Weblog: Love and Hate - Two sides of the same coin - Ourselves?:
This is a quite well-worded, if brief, exploration of something I've noticed about myself and about others, that we tend to like and dislike people based on qualities we seen in ourselves that we like or dislike.
I have been talking to my friend Marie about why we like some people and dislike others . When I was younger I thought that I liked or disliked people because they had in themselves certain character pluses or minuses. Now I am getting a sense that the real issue are my character pluses and minuses. What do I mean by this?
Most people I meet I am indifferent to. They are all the folks in the main part of the Bell Curve. My empathic radar picks up too small a signal to count. Some I meet and like immediately. Some I meet and fall in love with immediately. Maybe they live on the left hand wing of my Bell Curve and have attributes of myself that I like about myself or aspire too. Then of course there are those folks that I meet and instantly feel badly about or worse. They have parts of me like my need for power or control that I don't like about myself or parts that i wish to avoid such as dependency.
Maybe or friends and enemies are reflections of ourselves? Maybe this is why it is possible to shift from love to hate?
Friday, June 04, 2004
Thursday, June 03, 2004
Wednesday, June 02, 2004
Autocrossing in pouring rain is a whole 'nother beast. I finally got out of last place at least. Go me. Much to learn. But I'm getting closer to the cones. I wanged 3 in total. 1 on 1 run, 2 on another. :) The slalom is my weakest point. Gotta work on that. Went wide on almost every run cause I kept overestimating my grip in the wet. Bleh. I'll remedy that next time.
Tuesday, June 01, 2004
Yet another reason to enjoy Google.
Like all Camarilla territories there is a Prince, who is formally called the Duc. He is powerful,...
The Duc has power of any Prince over life and death, but it is usually the Court as a whole who decide questions of justice. In some ways, the Duc acts as the Executive, enforcing the collective policy of the Seigneurs as he sees fit.
And here I thought my rims were pricey. O_O*
Strut parts are handmade from 316 stainless steel that is then triple-chromed and hand-polished. It is more durable than most relationships. Triple-chromed stainless laughs at road salt, which means the Strut pieces on your car will last approximately 400 years longer than the car to which they are attached, puzzling the hell out of archeologists in 2404.