Archive for June, 2011|Monthly archive page

Hope they celebrate

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

and I’d love to be a flower arranger or wedding planner in the empire state in about 30 days. Congratulations, New York!

Is it irony?

Friday, June 24th, 2011

When there is a filibuster that no one cares about for a Canada Post strike that no one seems to care about?

Granted, there is some discussion that small business is suffering since they still work on cheques, but there’s email transfers these days, or PayPal. And most everyone I know is vaguely missing their Lee Valley catalogues and that’s about it.

It’s an interesting issue for the NDP to flex their muscle on. They can’t win it, since the Tories have a majority, and I wonder if a whole bunch of people are going to take notice of the stronghand union support and not be so impressed.

Even worse for the CUPW, we’ll wake up and realize that their services aren’t as necessary as they once were…

This is a picture I did not take

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

of an imposing figure of a man, out for a walk, with his pink Barbie tote bag.


Monday, June 13th, 2011

The Ebstorf Map was created at the Ebstorf Abbey in the mid 13th Century, then a convent. It’s not a map as we know them, but rather a representation of the world in Christ’s hands, with Jerusalem at its center, and scary things like manticores and cannibals around the edges of what’s known (and no North America at all).

Adam and Eve on the Ebstorf Map

Adam and Eve on the Ebstorf Map

When asked about this close-up of Adam and Eve, the current Abbess says each has an apple to represent equality. And she loves that the serpent is a man, as evidenced by his beard.

Just look for something interesting

Saturday, June 4th, 2011

I was totally jazzed to hear Freeman Dyson speak at the last Perimeter lecture of the season. But before we could get to the main event, they sideswiped us with a full half hour of speechifying from politicians and announcements on recent funding. The geeks were about to revolt by the time Glen Murray (Minister, Research and Innovation) took the stage. Tip: coming up to an election, if you want to win the vote, don’t go to geek central and give an evangelical speech whereby you equate the $50 mil from your government to a blessing from god, and make innovation sound like the catechism of technology.

Anyway, we survived it and Dyson was entirely enjoyable. At the age of 88, he took the liberty of doing whatever the hell he wants. So he put up a slide of luminaries for four different “cycles” he’s lived through – like nuclear, about which he has lots of opinions, and since he’s helped the government on projects that are SUPER ASS SECRET, especially to reduce the proliferation of nuclear weapons, he’s got some inside scoop.

One of the funniest stories he had was about how Hitler didn’t really understand about rockets, so he asked a rocket scientist for a million of ‘em during WWII, and the making thereof (a thousand of them) sufficiently diverted resources from the German war effort to help the good guys.

But what stayed with us was Dyson’s humility. The man has been there, on the scene, for a shitload of seminal moments in scientific history, and written some papers that changed scientific thinking. But when asked about his success, he says he’s a math guy, and he just went to find things that were interesting, and once in a while he does some math that helps solve something.

Oh, and the Dyson sphere, really the idea came from a novel called Star Maker by Olaf Stapledon, but Dyson says don’t bother reading that one. …It’s not very good:)