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

Van Go......ne

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

All I did was Google solo cup........

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


"Wages in rich countries are determined more by immigration control than anything else, including any minimum wage legislation. How is the immigration maximum determined? Not by the 'free' labor market, which, if left alone, will end up replacing 80 – 90 per cent of native workers with cheaper, and often more productive, immigrants. Immigration is largely settled by politics ... If the same market can be perceived to have varying degrees of freedom by different people, there is really no objective way to define how free that market is. In other words, the free market is an illusion. If some markets look free, it is only because we so totally accept the regulations that are propping them up that they become invisible."

~Cambridge economist Ha-Joon Chang

Intergalactic Spaceboat of Light and Wonder

I love this tribute to the Tesla Model S by The Oatmeal.

It took the long way

This beautiful animated page shows how Rosetta made its way through our solar system to meet with comet 67P/CG.

Rosetta starts using Earth's gravity as a slingshot to get out beyong the orbit of Mars, twice, before coming back in for another gravity slingshot. Then it heads out even faster while the comet it's destined to meet is coming toward the inner solar system on its last pass before this one. That whole process took 4 years.

One more slingshot pass by Earth gives it the speed to start catching up with the comet, which is now on its way out toward the Oort cloud. The next time we would see Rosetta would be 4.5 years later, dancing with the comet.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Change is speeding up

"The historical record shows that the distribution of new technology is speeding up, not slowing down. In the book Myths of Rich and Poor, economist Michael Cox and author Richard Alm note that it took 46 years for one-quarter of the population to get electricity and 35 years for the telephone to get that far. It took only 16 years, however, for one-quarter of American households to get a personal computer, 13 years for a cell phone, and 7 years for Internet access."

~Sonia Arrison's book 100 Plus: How the Coming Age of Longevity Will Change Everything

I'm not laughing at you Jimmy

Great lip sync of Laughing, performed by Jimmy Slonina.

What then?!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Things I learned lately - 20 Sep

  • Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada gets 25% of its electricity from its own solar photovoltaic array on the base.
  • Crave cupcakes sends their leftovers to the blood bank to give to blood donors.
  • California plans to generate 33% of its electricity from renewables by 2020.
  • In Denmark, McDonald's workers over 18 years old earn more than $20 an hour. They are also unionized. They also get paid sick time. They also get overtime pay. Yet the price of a Big Mac is only $0.35 more than it is in the United States.
  • Burger King restaurants in Japan plan to offer 'Kuro' (black) burgers for a limited time. They will feature a black bun, a black cheese slice and black sauce.
  • In n Out Burger is coming to Toronto.
  • Bill Murray thinks making Ghostbusters 3 with an all female cast is "a grand idea" and named Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Linda Cardellini and Emma Stone as suggestions.
  • If you use an out-of-date web browser, there's a good chance Google is serving you an out-of-date version of its search tool.
  • Melbourne Australia has the world's largest tram network.
  • MSN Messenger once had 330 million users. It will officially close 31 October 2014.
  • Male calico cats are rare.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

It could change everything

I blogged about this a while back, but people are now taking notice of the potential of this new technology.

I'm talking solar freakin' roadways people!

It's a thing. It could change everything.

[Update] This seems to have gone nowhere. Millions of dollars in grants and pledges with nothing to show but a strip of road in Sandpoint Idaho that has had its share of problems and generated less than $50 worth of power in over a year (if I read correctly).

Blind spots in the brain

"The brain is designed with blind spots, and one of its cleverest tricks is to confer on us the comforting delusion that we, personally, do not have any ... Social psychologist Lee Ross calls this phenomenon "naïve realism," the inescapable conviction that we perceive objects and events clearly, "as they really are." We assume that other reasonable people see things the same way we do. If they disagree with us, they obviously aren't seeing clearly. Naïve realism creates a logical labyrinth because it presupposes two things: One, people who are open-minded and fair ought to agree with a reasonable opinion. And two, any opinion I hold must be reasonable; if it weren't, I wouldn't hold it. Therefore, if I can just get my opponents to sit down here and listen to me, so I can tell them how things really are, they will agree with me. And if they don't, it must be because they are biased."

~Elliot Aronson and Carol Tavris' book Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me)

Bend me, shape me

Sugru, or Formerol, is a patented multi-purpose, non-slumping brand of silicone rubber that resembles modeling clay out of the package. Sugru was developed by and is marketed by FormFormForm, a company in Hackney, London.

Sugru is malleable when removed from its airtight, moisture-proof packaging, retains its plasticity for thirty minutes,[3] and is self-curing at room temperature after approximately 24 hours. The material adheres to aluminium, steel, copper, ceramics, glass, fabric, brass, leather, plywood and other materials including ABS plastics. When cured, it has a 'soft touch' or slightly flexible, graspable texture similar to features commonly found in soft overmolds. It is waterproof and dishwasher-safe, and the material is thermally insulating, with a service temperature range between −50 and 180 °C. Sugru is not resistant to some solvents. The product has a shelf life of six months.

Why would you do that?

Monday, September 15, 2014

What was once truth becomes false

Two Australian surgeons found that half of the facts in that field also become false every forty-five years. As the French scientists noted, all of these results verify the first half of a well-known medical aphorism by John Hughlings Jackson, a British neurologist in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries: "It takes 50 years to get a wrong idea out of medicine, and 100 years a right one into medicine." ... Max Plank codified this in a maxim: "New scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it."

~Sam Arbesman's book The Half-Life of Facts

You should be dancing

Dancing in the movies super-cut.

Maybe she wasn't born with it

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Things I learned lately - 13 Sep

  • Tesla now has enough charging stations throughout North America to allow Tesla owners to drive from Vancouver to San Diego, from Maine to Miami or from New York to Los Angeles without worrying about battery range. There will be no 'fuel' cost along the way, because Tesla is committed to making superchargers free for all their owners. Swapping the empty battery for a fully charged unit will soon be an option for those who don't want to wait. The swap option will cost as much as a tank of gas and take less than 5 minutes to swap.
  • 37% of Montreal's population live within walking distance of rapid transit (Metro), the best in Canada.
  • More than 60% of Iranian university students are women.
  • Fast food workers are striking in the US, demanding a minimum wage of $15/hour. That would earn a worker $31,200 per year working 40 hours per week.
  • A person who earns $9/hour, which isn't uncommon for fast food workers, would earn $18,720 per year, before deductions and taxes.
  • Disney is going after Deadmau5's iconic mouse head logo. Joel "Deadmau5" Zimmerman is confident he'll take the big cheese if the matter winds up in court. "Disney thinks you might confuse an established electronic musician/performer with a cartoon mouse. That's how stupid they think you are."
  • The fog in San Francisco is named Karl
  • While the restaurant industry grew on average only 4% in 2013 (in the US), the breastaurant industry grew by 18%. This refers to restaurants that feature nearly nude servers. Another big thing in Washington and Oregon states are 'bikini barista' coffee shops. There are more than 130 of these.
  • You can't plead 'no contest' (nolo contendere) in Canada.
  • Hollywood had the worst summer for box office revenues since 1997. They only earned $4 billion. I wonder why.........

Thursday, September 11, 2014

How the music industry has changed in 30 years

This amazing animated pie chart shows how music was sold between 1983 and 2013.

It starts out with cassette tapes eclipsing records just as CDs had arrived. It ends with physical media barely earning 1/3 of total sales.

Lyrics I love: Kate Bush - Wow

When the actor reaches his death
You know it's not for real, he just holds his breath
But he always dives too soon
Too fast to save himself

Invisible hand

Monday, September 08, 2014

Net -Zero in Canada

Canada isn't completely void of Net-Zero homes.

One builder in Edmonton has pledged to build only net-zero ready homes by 2015.

Video here.

Lyrics I love: Queen - Sheer heart attack

"Well you're just 17 and all you want to do is disappear
You know what I mean there's a lot of space between your ears"

Welcome to Canada

Saturday, September 06, 2014


Awesome IKEA parody ad that compares their paper catalog to electronic devices Apple-style.

Lyrics I love: The Police - Walking in your footsteps

Hey, Mr. Dinosaur
You really couldn't ask for more
You're God's favourite creature
But you didn't have a future
Walking in your footsteps

Things I learned lately - 6 Sep

  • When you flip through an Ikea catalog, 75% of the images you see are CGI.
  • Hugh Jackman almost castrated himself with the Wolverine claws while shooting a nude scene. That would have literally made him an X-Men.......
  • At least half of the email circulating the internet is automatically encrypted (meaning it can't be intercepted and read by normal people) and you don't even realize it. I say 'normal' people because the NSA likely can decrypt it without much effort.
  • A Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte contains no pumpkin whatsoever. It also has 28% more sugar than a can of Coke.
  • TUSK, a group backed by the solar industry, convened a demonstration on the lawn of the Arizona Capitol to demand Gov. Jan Brewer repeal a new tax on homeowners leasing solar panels. Last month, the state's Department of Revenue ruled anyone leasing a panel faced levies of up to $152 starting this year. Arizona's main utility argues that solar customers are getting an unfair discount on their electricity statements. Arizona now possesses 1,875 MW of solar capacity, enough to power 262,500 homes.
  • The largest IKEA store in the world, in Stockholm, is bigger than 10 football fields, or 600,000 sq ft. The largest North American store, in Montreal, is 470,000 sq ft.
  • Spotify (a music streaming service) is about to surpass iTunes for more customers in Europe.
  • Scrabble. Elk Lick. Cyclone. Hurricane. Tornado. Cucumber. Kale. Pie. Nitro. Hoohoo. Odd. True. Big Ugly. All place names in West Virginia.
  • The US Navy has reduced its 5-year acquisition plan for the new F-35 JSF from 69 to 36 planes. So, it's not just Canada looking elsewhere.
  • 60% of Apple's revenue comes from the iPhone.
  • The reason the lights are dimmed during takeoff and landing is to get the passengers and crew accustomed to low light. That way, if the plane has to land, everyone will e able to see in the dark and escape the aircraft safely.

Better than the real thing?

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

A better copyright

Derek Khanna is a Republican House staffer who got fired for writing a paper that used careful objective research to argue for scaling back copyright. Now, Khanna is a fellow at R Street, where he's expanded on his early work with a paper called Guarding Against Abuse: Restoring Constitutional Copyright [PDF], which tackles the question of copyright terms from a market-economics approach, citing everyone from Hayek to Posner to the American Conservative Union.

Khanna recommends new copyright policy. There would be a free 12-year copyright term for all new works. Following that, there could be an elective 12-year renewal, at a cost of 1 percent of all US revenue from the first 12 years. There would then be two elective 6-year renewals, at a cost of 3 percent and 5 percent of revenue, respectively. There is one final elective 10-year renewal period at a cost of 10 percent of all overall revenue, minus fees paid for the previous renewals. This proposal would terminate all copyright protection after 46 years.

Conversely, the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty is examining terms that would commit the United States to the current regime of life of the author plus 70 years.

Tiny worlds


Orientation humour