Sunday, May 31, 2009

Who are we competing against exactly?

Edmonton Alberta had publicly announced that it would throw its hat in the ring to vie to host the 2017 World Expo. Word got out yesterday that..... so is Calgary!

For those of you not familiar with the Alberta dynamic, Calgary and Edmonton are sworn enemies, at least in terms of the fact that they always compete against each other. That the province's capital is in Edmonton is a source of competition. As is the fact that Edmonton has more Stanley Cup wins than Calgary. I mean after all - Edmonton is the 'City of Champions'. So this vying for the Expo at the same time strikes me as just another childish competition to take some of the air out of Edmonton's tires. The provincial government is already wondering how they're going to solve supporting one city's bid over the other.

All that aside though, Expo 2017 could be good for Calgary. A lot of things got done as a result of Calgary hosting the Winter Olympics in 1988, such as the building of the C-Train system. Who knows what could come out of preparations for Expo 2017. By then we might have a completed ring road. We might have a C-Train network actually capable of serving all regions of the city - maybe even the airport! We might have the East Village sorted out. I was living in Montreal when it hosted Expo 1967 and it definitely put Montreal on the world map. Expo could do the same for Calgary. The biggest complaint so far is what this might do to property taxes. A side note - 2017 is Canada's 150th birthday.

Lilac festival. Crowds, road closures and track work

An annual outdoor event took place in Calgary today - the Lilac Festival. Against Darlene's better judgement, we went. She's not really into crowds and endless booths selling jewelry and tie-died shirts. But I digress. I kept the duration of our visit nice and short. In order to avoid trying to compete for the limited on-street parking that exists in that neck of the woods, we opted for transit. Transit was a great idea in theory, except that between the myriad of construction detours, marathon run routes and the clueless traffic police that tried to direct vehicles around them, it would take nerves of steel and a slightly aggressive driving stance to get anywhere - even to the nearest C-Train station. But take the C-Train we did. Total cost = $10 for the round trip journey for 2 adults. No $3 parking fee at the transit parking lot thanks to city council wisening (is that a word?) up and only allowing that ridiculous fee to be in effect on weekdays during work hours. Oh yeah, they were also doing track work on the C-Train rail network, so there were some.... how you say.... disruptions. Good planning there I tell ya.

Message to Calgary Transit: If this city is actually vying to host the 2017 World Expo, you might want to consider making it so that C-Train ticket vending machines accept more than just coins. That's right - no bills and no debit or credit cards either. Oh yes - they have change machines (in some cases), but that is so ancient and limiting a solution as to be insulting. If you're going to try and impress the world, start with your citizens, first.

I'd like to try appletiser

A nifty collection of soft drinks from around the world.

Hydrogen gets all the action you know

Who ever said chemistry was boring never saw this video.

The guy playing Carbon made me laugh.

"Oh you are so grounded young lady!"

Imagine this. You're a teenage girl. You're entering a movie theatre with your mom and your sister, when the theatre nazis decide they want to search your purses for anything that could be used to record the movie. They find no such devices. They find imported snacks, which they request you take out of the theatre - which you do. But they keep rifling through your purse and pull out........ your birth control pills. BUSTED! Mom is shocked. She didn't even know you were on birth control. God damned theatre nazis! Let's sue them mom!

Which they did. Asking for $60,000 in damages. They got $10,000.

The moral of the story is.... if your policy is to inspect the contents of customers' bags, they have to know at or before point of purchase and you are not allowed to put your hand inside their bags. Or it'll cost ya. Theatre spokespeople said you should leave your purses in your car. Yeah... there's a safe proposition. Calling all criminals!

No word on whether pill-poppin' daughter is grounded.

"Tonight I'm gonna have myself a real good time..."

Best wedding video ever.

This is how wedding videos ought to be made. Period.

The homeless need the internet too

An interesting observation by Cory Doctorow caught my eye today about the homeless and the internet.

"Here's a prediction: in five years, a UN convention will enshrine network access as a human right (preemptive strike against naysayers: "Human rights" aren't only water, food and shelter, they include such "nonessentials" as free speech, education, and privacy). In ten years, we won't understand how anyone thought it wasn't a human right."

Saturday, May 30, 2009

What will N. Korea need to do?

OK, colour me naive, but there's something I don't get.

Iraq supposedly was just 'hiding' weapons of mass destruction - which turned out (surprise surprise) to not even be true. And the US military machine (led by fearless Dick) decided to invade Iraq.

North Korea on the other hand, not only has weapons of mass destruction, they're testing the muthers and effectively rattling sabres. Not a peep from the Pentagon. What gives? Kim Sung Il a little too scary for y'all?

Young Cons..... appropriate in this case

I'm told that this is not a parody.

"Young Conservatives' goal is not to pursue a rap career, but rather get young Americans involved in politics. Young Conservatives is a group with a devout mission to spread the love and logic surrounding true conservatism. Our greatest enemy lies in the lack of understanding of the conservative movement. "

Oh we understand.........

Buying tickets online sucks.....

..... based upon my one experience this year.

Darlene insisted that when we were going to see Star Trek, that I should buy the tickets online first. This way, we wouldn't have to worry about arriving at the theatre to 'sold out' situation. I reluctantly agreed and signed up with

I bought the tickets and expecting to be able to print the tickets, was rather surprised that it did not offer me this option. The instructions just said 'take your credit card that you bought the tickets with to the theatre and this will get you your tickets. Problem - I did not agree to buy tickets online just so I could wait in another line at the theatre. What's the point (besides a guaranteed seat)?

We get to the theatre and as per the official instructions, I chose to use the theatre ATM to retrieve my tickets. I see the ATM menu and it offers pre-purchased tickets as an option. I click it, I swipe my credit card and I get - one ticket.

I bought two tickets, so now I'm thinking, hmmmm.... the screen isn't offering up any clues - maybe I have to swipe again to get the other one. I swipe a second time and .... you guessed it.... it tells me I'm done. Well, I'm not freaking done, I get in the lineup with the regular (smart) people and wait my turn. I'm seriously pissed right now. Once I get up front and see a CSR, I explain my situation and he says, "Oh yeah. Tickets bought through third party vendors don't work in our ATM." Not according to their web site, I counter. Anyway, I end up getting my missing ticket and all is well.

But I'm still fuming about the whole 'this wasn't very convenient but I had to pay extra' situation and contact for satisfaction. They do not respond. So I call to get a response. Their solution? Submit the complaint online a second time. Not 'let us help you right here and now'. So I hang up..... slightly in shock.... and compose a second, slightly more aggressive complaint. Within minutes, I get a reply that says, "According to our records, the transaction was successful. We are referring (passing the buck) this matter to the theatre for refund." To which I replied "Thank you for answering this time. Of course your records show I got my tickets. The machine pretended to give me 2 tickets, but only one came out. That extra surcharge I paid really paid off! Thanks for your great help. Thanks for nothing. This has been the most inconvenient movie ticket purchase event ever."

The very next day, my credit card was blocked for security reasons. Yes, I know - it may not have anything to do with my purchase, but it sure added some extra salt to the wound. Needless to say, I will not be buying any more tickets from that company.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Modern art

Best piece of art discovered online this week.

More can be seen here.

EFF chairman tries not to break the law making remix

Here is an excellent example of a remix parody using a movie clip to tell a funnier story using substitute sub-titles in the scene. Not only does it explain the downside of DRM rather effectively, but the making of the new clip involved a lot of technical compromises so that the law (DMCA) wasn't broken.

Please pass this on through your own channels

I'm swiping this right off a recent BoingBoing post by Cory Doctorow, practically by his request, so as to get the word out:

"Right now, in Geneva, at the UN's World Intellectual Property Organization, history is being made. For the first time in WIPO history, the body that creates the world's copyright treaties is attempting to write a copyright treaty dedicated to protecting the interests of copyright users, not just copyright owners.

At issue is a treaty to protect the rights of blind people and people with other disabilities that affect reading (people with dyslexia, people who are paralysed or lack arms or hands for turning pages), introduced by Brazil, Ecuador and Paraguay. This should be a slam dunk: who wouldn't want a harmonized system of copyright exceptions that ensure that it's possible for disabled people to get access to the written word?

The USA, that's who. The Obama administration's negotiators have joined with a rogue's gallery of rich country trade representatives to oppose protection for blind people. Other nations and regions opposing the rights of blind people include Canada and the EU."

The point? Cory explains:

"I don't often ask readers to do things like this, but please, forward this post to people you know in the US, Canada and the EU, and ask them to reblog, tweet, and spread the word, especially to government officials and activists who work on disabled rights. We know that WIPO negotiations can be overwhelmed by citizen activists -- that's how we killed the Broadcast Treaty negotiation a few years back -- and with your help, we can make history, and create a world where copyright law protects the public interest."

If he's right... suburbs will become the new farms

Jeff Rubin, the former Chief Economist for CIBC World Markets and writer of the book called 'Why Your World is About to Get a Whole Lot Smaller: Oil and The End of Globalization' wants you to know the truth. As he sees it, when this recession ends, the price of oil will go right back up where it was before. Good for Alberta. Bad for the rest of the world. He has an idea. Start making stuff locally. We're going to need it once oil makes it too expensive to keep importing things from around the world. Manufacturing and farming are poised for a comeback according to Jeff.

Listen to his talk here. Scroll down to Part Two.

Or watch this video, which sums up his latest theory about the economy and oil's effect on it.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

It's just weird how stuff like this happens

Here's a neat tale of synchronicity for you to chew on.

On Monday, I had to go downtown for an interview. I got there way too early and after seeing the 50+ person lineup at the Tim Horton's in the building where the interview would be, I chose to go to a place further afield which I knew would have a shorter lineup. I found a less crowded Tim's and purchased a hot steeped tea. Knowing I still had a bit more time to kill, I strolled along Calgary's famous downtown pedestrian street - Stephen Avenue Mall.

With 15 minutes remaining before my interview, I decided it was time to get back to the site of the meeting. As I passed through the building lobby, I spotted two men walking by and instantly thought I recognized one of them from high school in the Montreal area, whom I had not seen in 31 years. I called out "David?" He turned. I said his last name. He said "Yes...?", not quite recognizing who I was yet. I told him my name and his eyes went wide. "Holy crap! I haven't seen you in like....... since high school!"

He had to run back to work, but I gave him my contact information in hopes that he would call and we could catch up. A lot of things had to line up just right for this to have transpired. Interview in the same building. Perfect timing. My ability to recognize him with a couple seconds of exposure. I almost passed on the opportunity to call after him.

The picture is not him. I have no idea who it is. I just wanted to post a goofy grad photo.

What!? Idol was fixed!? Get out!

It is possible that AT&T swayed the final result of American Idol in Kris Allen's favour by providing some phones for free text-messaging and lessons in how to cast 'power text' votes at 2 parties organized by Kris Allen fans.

Representatives of AT&T helped Allen fans at 2 events by showing how to send 10 or more text messages at the press of a single button, known as power texts. There was nothing similar to supporters of Adam Lambert, who finished 2nd in the competition. Since then, angry Lambert fans have flooded online resources with messages crying foul.

Here's my conspiracy theory: Fox will never let an openly gay person win.

I'm in the wrong business

The folks who manage the Canada Pension Plan fund were on watch while the fund lost $17.2 billion (down to $105.5 billion) in the last fiscal year. So the 5 executives who run the pension fund lost 31% of their bonuses this year. They'll only be getting $8.5 million in bonuses between them in 2009, down 31% from the $12.4 million they got in 2008.

Some suggest the figures are even more insulting when you consider the other bonuses that will be paid over the next 3 years (it's complicated).

DRM leads to more illegal downloads!

And I quoth:

"A long and deep study of user behaviour in the UK by a Cambridge prof confirms that when an honest person tries to do something legal that is blocked by Digital Rights Management technology, it encourages the person to start downloading infringing copies for free from the net, since these copies are all DRM-free."

Your honour........... the defence rests.

Drug laws = fuller prisons = more jobs!

A country in Europe (Netherlands), where cannabis is legal, is short on prisoners. The prison system is closing prisons and letting staff go.

It's freaking anarchy over there...... God damned liberal, tolerant bastards!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Bach on accordian

Have you ever heard Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor? Sure you have - it's one of the most recognizable works played on organ to date. It's also the subject of the very next post as well.

OK, how about played on an Accordion? Before you laugh, go watch the video. This guy is good. Try to last past the 6 minute mark. His finger work is amazing.

I think I've seen this somewhere before...

These two (store employees?) at FAO Schwarz play the keys on the giant floor-piano, belting out a short but energetic version of Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor.

Memories of Big.

Misinformation is harmful

You can teach kids about copyright using literature produced by Big E, who are biased toward nobody has the right to copy anything, or by the EFF, who are biased toward consumer rights.

I think the choice is simple.

Hey dude...... [shove]

So, the reason I was even at the BBC site watching video (see last post) is because I had to see with my own eyes that this story my friend Ernest sent me was true.

So... you're stuck in rush hour traffic for 5 hours ...held up by police who have shut down the bridge in front of you because there is a man threatening to commit suicide. What is one to do? Well, frustrated driver Lei Juan-Sheng in China got past the police barricades, climbed the bridge, got right up close to the guy, offered to shake his hand and then pushed him off the bridge. The jumper survived, it was only a fall of 8 meters.

These go to 11

I was looking at a video on the BBC site and noticed that the volume slider goes to 11.

That's a pure Spinal Tap nod if I ever saw one.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Something slightly more risqué

A mind-blowing (no pun intended) video clip from TED revealing 'things you didn't know about orgasms'.

I love TED.

It's purely platonic.

Law doesn't restrict right to photograph in UK

Interesting read from our friends at The Register (UK). A follow-up to the Greek guy arrested for taking pictures in the London Underground.

Guess what? The charges were dropped!

This has been an Ernest contribution.

Blog jargon - blargon

I've been blogging now since July 2004. But I've noticed that I haven't been using a lot of the correct blog jargon that has been invented over the years. I'm not considered an A-list blogger - yet. I don't blogroll anymore because I'd run out of space. My preferred tactic is to link to other blogs whenever they have stuff that I think would appeal to the majority of my readers. I rarely suffer from blogstipation. I do however, suffer from blogorrhea. I keep my blogvertising to a minimum. Many of my readers are blurkers, but I don't mind. Some people could accuse me of being a bloggerel, especially on the topic of copyright. I have a blaudience between 50-250 per day. I think I would like to be recruited by a bloggeropoly some day. I have yet to be dooced, and would not expect this to happen because I typically refrain from blogging about work. I try to hat tip whenever I can, but I probably don't do it as often as I should. I am a closet linkbaiter, as I would assume most blog owners are. I actively measuremap, simply because I like to see what drives traffic to my blog. I do multiblog, but my other blogs are semi-private and are more professional than they are personal. Once I retire (translation - have more free time), I will consider podcasting in addition to blogging. I guess I'm a progblogger, although it would be nice to be a problogger.

Uhh.... found 'em!

A couple in New Zealand who had asked for a roughly NZ$10,000 overdraft in their bank account mistakenly found an extra NZ$10,000,000 in their bank account. So they did the logical thing - they transferred it to an offshore bank account and took off. Nobody really had an idea where to go looking for them (aside from best guesses), until a family member was secretly invited to join them in their hiding spot and said family member made the mistake of....

.... come on.... you guessed it.... updating their Facebook status! Now authorities know the couple on the lam are in China.

Here we go again... more unvalidated lies from Big E

More news on the Canadian Copyright front. This time, the Conference Board of Canada is called out by Michael Geist for literally copying the evidence in their report directly from American entertainment industry lobby's play book - at taxpayers' expense. Worse, the evidence they cite is shredded to bits by Michael piece by piece. You may as well skip over the huge table of plagiarism examples to the end of the article.

I will here to fore refer to the entertainment industry as 'the Big E'. With apologies to my friend Ernest.

[update] CBC news carried this story. An even more interesting display of solidarity exists in the comments to the story itself by readers.

[update 2] Not only did the report from The Conference Board of Canada plagiarize material from the US copyright lobby, it ignored conflicting evidence from an independent legal expert they paid.

[update 3] They recanted. Boo ya!

Monday, May 25, 2009



Anyone expecting accuracy is missing the point

Best line read on another blog this week (yeah, I know it's early in the week yet):

"Time travel in a Terminator movie is like plumbing in a porno: a very loose excuse to get to the action."

Regarding an attempt to construct a time line that makes sense in the Terminator movie franchise.

Sung with heart

Inspiring video of the day. PS22 in Staten island, New York, where many of the 5th graders come from such circumstances as to qualify for free lunch program, formed a chorus that are getting notice around the world at the moment. Their emotion and conviction are truly a testament to the ability of their teacher to motivate in a profoundly great way.

This video was a great start to my day. I'm sure you could easily find more.

What is it - edition 7

Time for another round of 'What Is It?'.

Have fun.....

I will give one clue of the top - the material of the dome-shaped thing is made of concrete.

Toys can be anything

When it comes to kids, you can spend countless dollars on fancy, intelligent toys with assorted bells and whistles and gizmos. But at the end of the day, kids often find endless amusement from the simplest things.

In Olivia's case, she loves playing with various sized food containers. We have a low drawer in our kitchen that she loves to open and she grabs each one and flings it out onto the floor. She loves trying to figure out which lid goes on which container. That will keep her occupied for minutes!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The happy girl

Olivia stayed with us yesterday for several hours. She was being very photogenic so I decided to take advantage.

She has brought so much joy into our lives.

"Dammit Jim! I'm a doctor, not a physicist!"

Darlene and I went to the theatre to see the new Star Trek movie today.

Darlene's review: "It was good." She's a woman of few words. OK..... my turn. It was fun. It was action-packed enough and lacking the typical clichés to appeal to young movie goers that may have panned Trek in the past, but still throws enough nods, winks and nudges to put smiles on the faces of old die hard Trekkies.

In an unmistakable example of synchronicity, we returned home to witness our chimes in the back yard casting a shadow on the deck that looks remarkably like Enterprise.

Holy capacity Batman!

Did you know they make USB flash memory drives in 64GB capacity now? That's like 3 times the size of the first external hard drives my friends. $170 in Canada....... for now.

They'll be under $100 by Christmas...

"....geez, I feel like I'm Don Quixote"

Here's a little TV trivia.

There was a pair of actors who once starred on a sci-fi show together. One went on to portray a starship captain and the other a humanoid robot clone intent on destroying the human race.

Who were these actors and what show did they star in together?

Hint: Its first episode aired 20 years ago.

Once you think you have the answer, check the comments - I'll place the answer in the comments.

"Do you inhale?"

Here's a collection of vintage tobacco ads. The one pictured must have worked on me because when I started smoking, duMaurier is what I smoked. Some of the older ads certainly push the boundaries of ethics and cultural acceptance. But then again, back in the day, it was cool to smoke.

No, I don't smoke anymore - quit since June 1999. Which means that next month, I'll have been smoke-free 10 years. I need to celebrate with a nice cigar. Just kidding.

Seriously.... why do we ban books?

A student who goes to a very strict private school decided to make good use of the empty locker beside them. The school bans any book that opposes Catholicism in any way. So this open-minded teen keeps any of the banned books with any literary value in that empty locker to loan out to students who want to read them. Saves them having to buy the book or deal with a library.

The only reason we know about this 'secret library' is because the student went on Yahoo Answers to ask if what they were doing was legal.

The books that are so awful that they have to be hidden in an empty locker? (partial list follows)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • The Canterbury Tales
  • The Divine Comedy
  • Paradise Lost
  • The Godfather
  • Interview with the Vampire
  • The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
  • Animal Farm
  • The Evolution of Man
  • the Holy Qu'ran
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray
  • Lord of the Flies
  • Bridge to Terabithia
  • Catch-22
  • East of Eden
  • The Brothers Grimm Unabridged Fairytales.
Found at boingboing.

Where is it - Edition 63

Time once again for an edition of Where Is It? The game where you guess the city being shown from the air.

Click on the image for a bigger view. Place your guess in the comments.

It seems my geo-sleuths are having difficulty with this one. Hence, a clue. This country is named after a coast.

[I moved this up (twice) in the order of posts as a reminder that this puzzle has not yet been solved - or even guessed]

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Reserved - but not for you

I wish I knew the law regarding parking on private property because I think there's some commercial property owners getting away with some selfish parking rules. I'm talking about off-road parking lots in strip mall / strip office type commercial buildings, where there are spots signed as 'reserved for' the owners / employees / clients of a particular business in that strip mall / strip office. I understand the need for a few designated spots for the handicapped, but
reserving spots for owners / workers / customers is kinda pushing the limits of reason. I recall one time some colleagues of mine arrived at a strip commercial space and the driver purposely ignored the 'reserved for [insert name of business]' sign and parked in the empty spot. Within 10 seconds, someone came out of the office and scolded the driver that they had better move before the police were called. The driver stood fast and basically said, "go ahead". The parking Nazi for the property found the driver within minutes and after a short discussion, seemed to back down after a suggestion from the driver that there was actually no way to enforce the 'designated parking' rule without involving both the tenant and the property owner - which is fairly difficult to arrange under most circumstances. So the vehicle stayed put over lunch.

The more I think about it though, the more I wonder how fair it is to designate parking for anyone (handicapped not included), when quite often I see designated spots sit empty most of the day while customers scramble for the few remaining spots in a parking lot. Readers - your thoughts?

The problem with young people today.....

Don has a problem. He has a problem with 'young people today'. He doesn't care much for young people and has a lot to say about them.

It's freaking hilarious. On modern nicknames:

"They’ve driven the Buick out of Stupidville and arrived safely in Assclown County, folks. I mean really, if I had ever asked my old dad to call me “Phat A” he would have brained me with a pair of ice tongs and changed my nickname to “that idiot boy.” And he’d have been right to do it."

Is that photo actually deleted?

One of the biggest drawbacks of being a member of a social networking site like Myspace or Facebook is the subtle erosion of your privacy. It's not just what you post on the sites about yourself that might end up being embarrassing, it's also what others post that could come back to haunt you.

Especially photos. It's been discovered that photos posted on social networking websites can often be viewed even after they are deleted. Read more here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Just do it already (apologies to Nike)

David Horvitz has put this list up online where (almost) every day he publishes a new set of instructions of something to try. The tasks range from the creative to the bizarre, but all are thought-provoking in one way or another.

The current day page is here. The archive is here. I started looking back over the month of May and found May 7th's instruction to be rather interesting. And not just that one either.....

Best way to sell the bus.... show how green it is

A great Swedish ad campaign promoting that a coach (bus) saves 50 cars' worth of CO2 emissions while only producing 4 cars' worth itself.

Check the awesome billboard they made out of 50 wrecked cars (in the video).

I predict a glut of used GM vehicles in the next few months

General Motors is expected to close 245 dealerships across Canada, plus 1100 in the US. Chrysler is closing 789 dealerships in the US, none in Canada (for now).

I realize that the domestic car companies aren't selling as many cars as usual, but I'm curious... where are all the GM and Chrysler owners supposed to go to get their cars serviced now? I'm betting that the remaining dealerships aren't equipped for the onslaught of extra clients they'll be facing.

The import car makers could easily use this as ammunition in their newest ads. "Hey! Come on down to Maclin's Toyota! We're not closing any dealerships....."

You failed because you sucked... especially fuel

I was watching a TV program about cars last weekend, when they reviewed the new Honda Insight as compared to the new version (2010) of the Toyota Prius. The automobile journalists concluded that Honda missed the boat with the new Insight, because the new Prius has much more to offer technology-wise and ups the ante on performance and economy. Whereas the Honda Insight, which was marketed as a 'Prius Killer', barely keeps up with the last generation of Prius cars. Based on what Ihave seen, I tend to agree.

The journalists also spoke with American representatives from Toyota and Honda. The Honda rep said that they tried a hybrid version of the Accord, but it just didn't sell. Their conclusion is that America wasn't ready for the Acord hybrid. I beg to differ, as the Nissan Altima and Toyota Camry hybrids seem to be doing alright. So why did the Accord hybrid fail? Simple. It didn't offer the added economy that drivers were looking for from the hybrid model. Honda made the mistake of building a V6 Accord with hybrid added, but the hybrid technology was tuned for performance - not economy. Had they built an Accord hybrid with a 4 cylinder, tuned for economy, they might have done better. Keep in mind the extra cost of hybrids. Consumers won't be able to justify that extra cost if the benefits don't outweigh that extra cost.

But the proof is in the numbers: (these are 2007 model year figures)

Each row shows the model, then City mileage, then Highway mileage, then the increase in City mileage over the regular version of the car

Toyota Prius 60 51
Toyota Camry (4 cyl) 21 30
Toyota Camry Hybrid 40 38 90%
Nissan Altima (4 cyl) 23 31
Nissan Altima Hybrid 42 36 83%
Honda Civic (4 cyl) 25 36
Honda Civic Hybrid 49 51 96%
Honda Accord (4 cyl) 21 31
Honda Accord Hybrid 28 35 33%

So as you can see, switching to a hybrid model of each car earns you an increase in city mileage of at least 83%. But not the Accord. An increase of 33% as compared to the other models is poor justification to spend the extra $5000+.

And that is why the Accord Hybrid failed.

From the 'I'm not making this up' files.....

The cops in Carrollton OH asked Verizon to help trace a sick, possibly dying man using his cellphone. Verizon refused, saying that they couldn't turn on his phone because he had an unpaid cell phone bill. They only agreed to the trace after an officer agreed to pay $20 toward the bill.

Yeah. This is what I like to refer to as 'free bad publicity'.

The back of the (totally unrelated) van says, "Verizon sucks... can you hear me now?!"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Original TV show names

Here are some of the most well known (American) TV shows as they were known by their creators before they settled on a final name. Can you guess what shows they ended up as?
  • New Family in Town
  • 45 Minutes from Harlem
  • Teenage Wasteland or The Kids Are Alright
  • Please Stand By
  • Not the Cosby Show
  • Woozle World
  • Life and Stuff
I put the answers in the comments.

"Experiments on live light"

Speaking of beautiful video, check out this breathtaking time-lapse footage of Tokyo by artist Samuel Cockedey.

"There it is scooter"

Space Shuttle Atlantis just recently finished a service mission to the Hubble Space Telescope. They managed to get great footage of the moment Atlantis let go of Hubble by releasing the grapple of the Canadarm.

You get a nice look at Hubble and a nice shot of planet Earth too. Magnificent.

Long songs

One of the things about music that people often ignore is the length of a song. Music longer than 5 minutes is often (especially today) doomed from making it big because nobody wants to put it on the radio. In fact, I will go on record as to suggest that the 1970's was the decade of the 'long song'.

But there were some great long songs eh? Including, but not limited to:
  • Hey Jude - The Beatles
  • Bela Lugosi's Dead - Bauhaus
  • Layla - Derik and the Dominoes
  • The Message - Grandmaster Flash
  • In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida - Iron Butterfly
  • Free Bird - Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Autobahn - Kraftwerk
  • Purple Rain - Prince
  • Svefn-g-englar - Sigur Ros
  • Won't Get Fooled Again - The Who
  • Dogs - Pink Floyd
  • Voodoo Chile - Jimi Hendrix

"If waterboarding is OK, why don't we let police do it to suspects....?"

There's been a lot of discussion lately about waterboarding and how it was wrong of the US to do it against alleged terrorists, but I think this exchange between the ladies of 'The View' and Jesse Ventura sums it up pretty nicely.

Jesse: "You give me a waterboard, one hour and Dick Cheney and I'll have him confessing to the Sharon Tate murders."