Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Let's put that in context, OK?

I've been seeing a number of reports coming out from the anti-drug lobby about how marijuana smoke contains up to 5 times as much tar as a cigarette and therefore is more unhealthy for you than smoking cigarettes.

The part they leave out is that a typical marijuana smoker isn't smoking 20-25 joints per day. Also, if you smoke pot using a vaporizer, almost all of the harmful byproducts are left out of the smoke, because it's not burned.

Just sayin'.......

The Colorado 420 sign kept getting stolen

SOTD - Perfect Life

An uplifting tune by Moby. Featuring Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

This is my response to this week's tragic events in Canada

An open letter to anyone who is considering running down, opening fire upon or otherwise putting a Canadian soldier into harm's way:

Unlike yourself, who might be following an ideology or have to convert to one to participate, the soldier you so readily attack is welcomed to enlist and defend their country no matter what faith they subscribe to, in fact, they are welcome even if they are without faith.

Unlike yourself, who might seem to be defended and supported by a rag-tag pack of rats, but who would forget you as soon as send you to your death for an exciting, albeit misguided cause, my brothers and sisters who don the uniform know in their hearts that they can rely on the support of everyone in the military, every level of police service, every legionnaire, veteran, and dare I say, every decent citizen of this great country.

You are most welcome to meet us on the battlefield, at any time or place, where we will meet you with no mask to hide our identity, as we do not fear that others would know who we are. Because we are proud to serve our country and defend its citizens, no matter what they believe in, from enemies without and within. We are especially happy to facilitate the meeting with your maker that you most eagerly await. My suspicion is that you will be disappointed in what you find on the other side.

And finally, unlike the selfless Canadian soldier, you will be remembered as a coward. And then, you will promptly be forgotten.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

What are we wrong about?

"That what is self-evident to one person can be seen as silly by another should give us pause about the reliability of common sense as a basis for understanding the world.

How can we be confident that what we believe is right when someone else feels equally strongly that it's wrong — especially when we can't articulate why we think we're right in the first place? Of course, we can always write them off as crazy or ignorant or something and therefore not worth paying attention to. But once you go down that road, it gets increasingly hard to account for why we ourselves believe what we do.

Consider, for example, that since 1996 support among the general public for allowing same-sex couples to marry has almost doubled, from 25 percent to 45 percent. Presumably those of us who changed our minds over this period do not think that we were crazy fourteen years ago, but we obviously think that we were wrong. So if something that seemed so obvious turned out to be wrong, what else that we believe to be self-evident now will seem wrong to us in the future?"

~Duncan Watts' book Everything is Obvious (Once You Know the Answer)

Elsa needed help from professionals

Elsa should have just joined the X-Men.

Be sure to watch it through to the very end.

It's true. He's 63.

SOTD - Secret

A great song by Missy Higgins from Australia.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Things I learned lately - 18 Oct

  • The Sunswift eVe solar-powered car broke a 26 year old speed record for electric vehicles at the Australian Automotive Research Center in Victoria. eVe is now the fastest solar powered electric car to complete a 500km course. The 1988 record was an average speed of 73 km/h; the Sunswift eVe reached 100 km/h average over the 500 km.
  • The sound made by the Krakatoa volcanic eruption in 1883 was so loud it ruptured eardrums of people 40 miles away, travelled around the world four times, and was clearly heard 3,000 miles away. Imagine being in Boston and clearly hearing a noise coming from Dublin, Ireland. Travelling at the speed of sound, it takes a noise about 4 hours to cover that distance.
  • Pope Francis says guardian angels exist.
  • It has been proven that cell phones do not cause gas station fires. Static discharge when you touch your vehicle is the culprit.
  • In Norway, university is free.
  • Oregon is about to vote on the legalization of marijuana.
  • Global solar electricity output has gone from 1.5 Gigawatts in 2000 to 136 Gigawatts in 2014.
  • Depending on the country you live in, the biggest obstacle to large-scale adoption of solar power is no longer the cost, but the threat or actual fees governments are allowing energy utilities to charge people who are getting their power from the sun. The traditional companies are successfully arguing that their business will suffer if people go solar.
  • Peanut allergies may be related to the act of roasting the nuts.
  • Soon, Europe will no longer require airline passengers to put their mobile device into airplane mode at any time during a flight.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

A true Tesla loyalist - in the arctic!

There's a guy in Norway, who lives 219km north of the Arctic Circle, who owns 7 Tesla cars. He's even driven them in -40C weather with no issues.

“We found out that it’s a super winter car,” says Jens. “It’s so fantastic. It’s much easier and better than an ordinary car.” He likes that you can heat the Model S remotely via an app, so that there’s no ice or snow on the car when you’re ready to drive it. He also says the winter range is almost the same as the summer range. In December, he and Røsnes took the Model S to an ice hotel in Sweden, 200km from Narvik. The temperature dropped to -40 degrees Celsius. It was so cold that the trains couldn't operate and the diesel in the buses froze. But the Model S was just fine.

“These cars, they were made for the temperatures, for the snow and the ice that we have,” says Røsnes. She has a farm outside of Narvik that is flanked by a fjord and a glacier. The house has a steep uphill driveway that most cars can’t negotiate in 15cm of snow. “With the Roadster, it just goes on and on,” she says. “When you think it’s going to stop, it just goes on.”

Røsnes, once a devotee to the internal combustion engine, is now a Tesla loyalist. “I feel good because we are really helping something,” she says. “This is the new world. These are the new times.”

Goodbye gauges

2015 Audi TT new instrument display does away with gauges.

The HD LCD screen is in navigation mode here.

Reply all

SOTD - Unfinished sympathy

A massive tune from Massive Attack.

Hard to believe this song is 23 years old.

Monday, October 13, 2014

SOTD - Ripples

Genesis released a new compilation of past songs and they're all remastered. This, being one of their most beautiful songs, I thought would be a good way to demonstrate the quality.

We'll call it the Plesz Citizen's Rule

There should be a new rule.

However long the government takes to complete a service with you, for example however long it takes for you to get your passport from the time you submit your application, and the time it takes you to get any kind of certificate,  you should be able to add up all those delay days.

And whatever that number is, if the government ever claims that you owe them money, you should be able to make them wait that number of days.

Old phones

Vancouver 2014

After more than a year and a half of owning my B250, I was finally able to give Brunhilde a proper work out via a nice drive from Calgary to Vancouver. We left at 5 PM on Monday, destination - Kamloops. I love night driving, but night driving on the TransCanada through British Columbia is a harrowing experience. Luckily, they are twinning more and more of this highway. We weren't too thrilled with the free breakfast that came with our hotel room in Kamloops, so we went to the highly rated Hello Toast. Then it was on to Vancouver on the Coquihalla highway, now with an increased speed limit of 120 km/h (75mph).

The 88% humidity on the coast takes some getting used to but we were gifted with some great weather while we were in Vancouver. We saw sun most of every day and never experienced any rain until the day we left. Highs of 18C helped too.

The Wedgewood Hotel upgraded us to a one bedroom suite with a balcony. For the touristy stuff, we took a drive to Steveston, the former site of some major fish canneries until 1992. Now it's a quaint seaside village with shopping and eateries. We also went to White Rock to sit by the water. On another day we headed to the North shore to take a scenic drive along Marine Drive from Horseshoe Bay through Dundarave, Ambleside, West Vancouver, North Vancouver and on to Deep Cove. While in West Van, we stopped in at the biggest Whole Foods store I've ever seen. Of course, with the sun shining, we had to make the obligatory visit to English Bay Beach. We also checked out the VanDusen Botanical Garden. It was probably more spectacular in May and June, but there was still lots to see.

Back at the hotel, I watched the Habs beat the Leafs. This was not long after enjoying a couple of "steamies" (hot dogs, Montreal-style) at La Belle Patate. The next day, I had an amazing smoked meat sandwich at Dunn's. Gee, am I in Vancouver or Montreal?

I learned something new on this trip. There are Palm trees here in Vancouver. Not many, but I spotted a few in both Dundarave and at English Bay. I wonder if these are the most northerly Palm trees in North America.

Sunday, October 05, 2014

Back in a week

White Noise goes on vacation.

Things I learned lately - 5 Oct

  • Science is concluding that our water is older than the sun itself.
  • SpikeTV is purportedly developing the Kim Stanley Robinson Mars trilogy into a TV series.
  • It is estimated that the total parts and manufacturing cost of a new iPhone 6 is about $230.
  • In March 2012, the average taxi made 1424 trips per month in San Francisco. Now an average cab makes 504 trips per month. This is attributed mainly to the success of new companies like Uber, Sidecar and Lyft. To me, it speaks to the fact that consumers will pay more for quality, reliability and being able to manage their rides with modern technology.
  • More than 300,000 people marched in New York City to demand action on climate change along with events in 2700 other cities totalling somewhere around 570,000 people marching.
  • Stupid used to mean 'be amazed or confounded, be struck senseless'.
  • The more stressed out a person is, the easier they are to hypnotize.
  • Oral sex was illegal in Canada until 1969. Insert your own joke here.
  • Primacy and recency: People most remember the first and last things to occur, and barely the middle. When scheduling an interview, ask what times the employer is interviewing and try to be first or last.
  • Once you make the sales pitch, don't say anything else. This works in sales, but it can also be applied in other ways. My boss at an old job was training me and just giving me pointers. I was working at a gym trying to sell memberships. He told me that once I got all the small talk out of the way and presented the prices, that the first person to talk will lose. It didn't seem like a big deal but it actually worked. Often there were long periods of awkward silence as the person tried to come up with some excuse, but usually they bought.
  • If you ask someone a question and they only partially answer, just wait. If you stay silent and keep eye contact they will usually continue talking.

Friday, October 03, 2014

Lyrics I love: Joe Jackson - Is she really going out with him

Look over there! Where? There!
Here comes Jeanie with her new boyfriend
They say that looks don't count for much
If so, there goes your proof

Mobile orchestra

South Korea, in celebrating 30 years of mobile service history, made an orchestra out of 30 cell phones and 4 pagers. Then they made the orchestra sing.

Still not appropriate to call the owner of these pants 'thunder thighs'.....

SOTD - Black dog

If there was a rock n roll equivalent to live jumper cables, this is it. Is that a bow being dragged across those strings in the very first few seconds? I don't know, but according to legend, this is Jimmy Page warming up the guitar - he called it "Waking up the army of guitars." As Robert Plant sings every line after the music stops, if the volume is turned up loud enough, Bonham can be heard tapping his sticks together before each riff. He did that to keep time and to signal the band.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lyrics I love: Kansas - Dust in the wind

Don't hang on, nothing lasts forever but the earth and sky
It slips away, all your money won't another minute buy


"Physicians who are sued for malpractice in the United States generally make no more medical errors than those who are not sued. The main difference, research shows, often comes down to the tenor of the doctor-patient relationship. Those who are sued, it turns out, have fewer signs of emotional rapport: they have shorter visits with patients, fail to ask about the patients' concerns or make sure their questions are answered, and have more emotional distance — there's little or no laughter, for example."

~Daniel Goleman's book Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence


SOTD - Failure

Laura Marling is really growing on me of late. I keep rediscovering her music and loving it more each time around.

From her debut 2008 album, Alas I cannot swim.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Things I learned lately - 28 Sep

  • A McDonald's burger patty is cooked for 40 seconds using a two-sided grill.
  • We now have a spacecraft 30km from the surface of a comet. Soon, we will land a probe on that comet.
  • Canada has 102 CF-18 Hornet fighter jets. The US has 1227 of them.
  • Kanye West stopped performing on stage in Sydney because a couple of people in the crowd wouldn't stand up at his command. They were handicapped. He actually waited for confirmation from security guards that they couldn't stand before he sang again.
  • The entire current solar energy capacity (not potential) of the US is just over 4.5 Gigawatts. China plans to have over 70 Gigawatts of solar on the grid by 2017.
  • The cost of solar panels has declined 80% since 2008.
  • The gelatin in Jello is made from the collagen taken from pig and cow skin and bones.
  • There's a teddy bear in every Dutch police car in case something troubling happens to a child.
  • If you stare at another person in Germany, people will think you're either uneducated or mentally ill.
  • The reason cashews are sold shelled is because between the shell and the seed there exists a layer of urushiol, which is poisonous to some people. Cashews are roasted or boiled / steamed before sale.
  • Dark chocolate feeds your body's good bacteria.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Most meddlesome middleman

A decent explanation of net neutrality and why all internet users need to fight for it.

Lyrics I love: The Pretenders - Middle of the road

When you own a big chunk of the bloody third world
The babies just come with the scenery