If you’ve read here over the last year, you’ll know that I’ve pretty much lost all hope that Obama is going to fix things–I’m willing to live with “won’t make it worse”, and clearly he was a better choice than the alternative, but I am labouring under no illusion now that he’s going to actually undo all the evils of… Read more →
I find it highly unlikely that something this cute could share a significant portion of genes with me. (Of course, if you talk with her for a while, and find out that she’s full to the brim with the good crazy, then you might start to believe she’s actually my kid, all appearances to the contrary…) Read more →
Guess what the newly released Census data shows? U.S. income inequality at its highest level since the Census Bureau began tracking household income in 1967. The U.S. also has the greatest disparity among Western industrialized nations. There’s more at the article, like this: The top-earning 20 percent of Americans — those making more than $100,000 each year — received 49.4… Read more →
Did you know that Portugal basically decriminalized all drugs in 2001? Take a guess what the results have been over the intervening decade. If you guessed that the results would be a drop in drug use, a drop in HIV cases arising from drug use, and a big jump in people in treatment programs, you’d be right. (I wish there was more in the article about the presence or absence of effects on criminal cash flow arising from the presumable price drop in a decriminalized environment.)
Here’s a quote from Stanley Kubrick, in a Playboy interview, that captures a number of ideas I’ve liked for a long time (there’s echoes of Russell, zen, and Lovecraft in there) in a lovely formulation: PLAYBOY: If life is so purposeless, do you feel that it’s worth living? KUBRICK : Yes, for those of us who manage somehow to cope… Read more →
A couple of days ago I had a bit of a rant about police misusing (or at a minimum, appearing to misuse) authority to stifle criticism. A few minutes ago I had a nice rant about Harper’s proposed privacy changes, with an implicit text of “you can’t trust these people to handle private data correctly without strict legal oversight”. And… Read more →
I had recently begun to suspect that the performance of my (very) old scanner had degraded slowly over time–the results were pretty crappy where they had once been good, and I suspected that I was something of a boiled frog about it. Since I was looking for an excuse to buy a scanner that also had sheet-fed capabilities (for lots… Read more →
Canadians who are interested in the conditions under which it’s legal for private information and documents to be shared might want to take a good long look at Bill C-29. I’ll quote a bit from the legislative summary below, but in essence one of the things this bill says is that any documents/information the police (or anything that meets the… Read more →
What you’re looking at there is a “mandelbulb“, a ray-traced rendering of a 3-D variant of the equation that generates the 2-D Mandelbrot set. The image you see in the post is a tiny one, 400×400, which pops up a larger 800×800 one when clicked. Both of these are just reductions of the 4500×4500 pixel version. I have a distinct… Read more →
I had thought that three of the things that were important ideas in Canadian jurisprudence were: 1) That citizens had a right to free speech, 2) that the government in all its forms has a prescribed amount of power, with well delineated limits on where that power stops, and 3) that it was very important for the justice system to… Read more →
Just a quick recommendation for anyone who likes “traditional” music–while I was at the Shelter Valley Folk Festival this year (I got to see The Sojourners perform live!) I was introduced to the singing of Matthew Byrne. Byrne was performing with his group The Dardanelles, but had a couple of chances to show off his solo singing, and it was hella impressive. (I also loved bandmate Tom Power‘s introduction for Byrne, where he explained that in Newfoundland “best singer in the town” is a position much more important than mere temporal authority, like mayors or members of the legislature.) Check out some streaming tunes on Byrnes’ site, and buy some tunes if you like them as much as I did.
So, I took a quarter off from blogging. Yeah, that happened. Now back to it. To start back up, let’s look at something in the vein of pop philosophy–that way I can ease myself back into blogging with something that’s squarely in my wheelhouse. So, last night an artist posed this question “If you have the ability to depict humanity… Read more →
Something seems to be happening here, after a long pause.
I sometimes find, when talking to my contemporaries, that some of what has become my personal vernacular over the years refers to things that aren’t really part of the common & general knowledge, for one reason or another. One such term is the “Rube Goldberg machine“–I’d say that less than 10% of the people who I drop that term around… Read more →
I was just having a conversation on Friday with someone about a bunch of Google employees who had ordered up a ridiculous amount of silly putty so they could do an experiment with dropping it from a great height. As someone educated in a faculty of engineering, this made tremendous sense to me: I’ve done my own experiments with various… Read more →