Friday, April 29, 2016


Is that English you're speaking?

How far back in time could you go and still understand English?

About 6 centuries.

Wait until you hear what English sounded like 1000 years ago or so.

Spring in Canada

Things I learned lately - 29 Apr

  • Denmark combats job lock by offering the unemployed 90% of their former salary for 2 years. This empowers employees to speak up about roles they're in that they're dissatisfied with; and it encourages Danish employers to place employees in roles where they'll thrive.
  • Danish law provides employees with five weeks of paid time off per year.
  • Simon Pegg was in Star Wars, playing the junk dealer Unkar Plutt. He may be the only actor to be in both Star Trek and Star Wars universes.
  • Outside of North America, folks don't typically ask people they've just met "What do you do for a living?". People aren't defined by their job.
  • Sweden has a phone number. If you call it, you get connected to a random Swedish phone. +46 771 793 336 Long distance charges may apply.
  • They can now build solar panels that can also be powered by falling raindrops.
  • Showgoers is a Chrome extension that syncs your Netflix watching with a friend or significant other. The extension creates a unique link for your viewing session, which you can send to as many friends as you want. Once you’ve done that, you just click “Begin sync” and off you go. Once synced, anyone with the link can press play and start watching at the same place. When one person pauses or rewinds, it does the same for everyone who is watching.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

[snort].... I mean [bleep]

Solar roads coming true

France is going to start paving its roads with solar panels. The French ecology minister announced they will "solarize" 1,000 km of road over the next five years. If successful, it'll provide power for over 5 million people, or 8% of the population.

The Wattway is grippy, and the panels are thin and flexible enough to deal with the expansion and contraction of pavement that happens with temperature changes. Wattway claims that the panels last 10 years with heavy use, 20 with light use.

"These are poison, right?"

Things I learned lately - 23 Apr

  • The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed legislation requiring new construction less than 10 floors to install solar panels or solar water heaters on top of new residential and commercial buildings. 
  • In 1939, Hitler ordered the construction of a 3-mile-long row of buildings, part of a beach resort for Nazi Germany. It was abandoned when World War II broke out. Metropole Marketing plans to convert several blocks into luxury homes and hotels.
  • Calgary is piloting a project using goats to control weeds in some parks.
  • Axl Rose, of Guns N Roses fame, will be the new vocalist for AC/DC. Their previous singer, Brian Johnson, is now almost completely deaf.
  • The 50th anniversary of the original Star Trek series is this fall (2016).
  • 62% of all patent lawsuits involve software.
  • The original copyright act only protected works for 28 years. Now it's over 100.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

What every MD gets on graduation

When a doctor graduates from med school they get 2 things.

A diploma and one of these things for their office.


"The cat! You Idiot!"

What do you do when sister is still drugged up from wisdom tooth extraction surgery?

You stage a prank zombie apocalypse, that's what.

"Did you bring the hand?"

Things I learned lately - 16 Apr

  • The University of California at Davis spent $175,000 trying to scrub the internet clean of that infamous pepper spray photo. It didn't work.
  • 75% of job successes are predicted by optimism levels, social support, and ability to see stress as a challenge, not a threat.
  • In horse racing, a jockey who's winning by a wide margin doesn't need to whip his horse to go faster, and can win with his "hands down."
  • 'Point blank' comes from the French "point blanc, which is the center of the target for shooting or archery practice.
  • Tesla racked up 325,000 pre-orders of its Model 3 just in its first week since unveiling.
  • There is no nationwide east-west electricity grid in Canada.

Saturday, April 09, 2016

Best kijiji ad seen this year

Word for word:

Crafted from the fine, rock & roll leather of John Stamos’ leather jacket, this sofa and love seat are what you need to add a touch of sophistication, class, and chic to your living room.

Don’t know what those words mean?
Your friends will be so impressed sitting on these that they won’t even notice. Look at you, adulting all over the place with your charming new sofas, you sexy grown up!

True facts about my couches:

1) both couches are black, which will add a hint of mystery to your home’s ambiance.

2) Chuck Norris said he would have beaten Bruce Lee if he had gotten a better sleep the night before. Should have crashed on my couch, bro.

3) both couches are bullet proof. So if your former partner who double-crossed you and left you for dead comes by looking to finish the job, feel free to dive behind one of these for the slow motion shootout scene. Either sofa will gladly take a bullet for you.

4) both couches have been subjected to over 5000 hours of Netflix, and will never judge you for marathoning your favourite show. When Netflix asks “Are you still watching The Walking Dead?” you can press YES with the utmost confidence, and know that when the zombie apocalypse happens these couches will lay down their lives for you and your family.

5) both couches double as a coin holder. On your way to work and have a craving for Skittles? Reach a hand in there and you are guaranteed to find a quarter to aid in your daily snacking.

6) The love seat is perfect for curling up with your spouse, or a large pizza and two litre of iced tea. Forgot the ranch dressing to dip your crust in? You’re too comfy to care.

7) The sofa is courteous enough to cover you with a blanket when you fall asleep on it, and polite enough to wake you up early enough to get to work.

$600 OBO
Make an offer before Batman claims these for the Batcave.
Not making an offer means the terrorists have won. Why do you hate freedom?

The 'art' of the selfie

A new kind of solar farm

We should be converting farms in southern Alberta (and elsewhere). Right now, they're big, there's not enough water to go around (which will likely get worse over time), and crops are always at risk of hail damage. Our growing season is short. But one thing we have in abundance, is sunshine. Even in winter.

Farms in southern Alberta should build giant solar arrays. These arrays could generate electricity, some of which could be sold to the grid. I think an even better option is to build some of the array of the type that generates heat. The heat would be stored underground. I would go for solar arrays covering 50-66% of the original arable land. But first, remove the remaining topsoil and put it aside.

On the remaining property, build greenhouses, with material that can withstand hail. Fill those greenhouses with the topsoil. Then heat and light the greenhouses whenever heat and light are lacking, powered by the electrical array and all that heat energy you stored all summer long. Greenhouses would help conserve water too, because there's less surface area to cover, and the evaporating water used to irrigate the indoor crops doesn't escape much to the outside. It becomes part of the internal ecosystem.

This idea is smart not only because of the growing impracticality of farming in our ever dryer Alberta environment, but it allows us to grow stuff we would normally depend on places like California and BC to provide. This saves on transportation costs and protects us from currency fluctuations. It also leverages the one thing we have in even more abundance than oil and gas. Sunshine.

Every human -1

Every human in the known universe is in the frame of this picture. Except for the photographer - Michael Collins.

Things I learned lately - 9 Apr

  • Singapore will soon have a fully autonomous taxi service called nuTonomy. No driver.
  • Lost Lake in Oregon drains itself every winter down a 6 foot hole leading to lava tubes. It fills back up once the snow melts. There are many Oregon lakes like this apparently.
  • Scotland already gets almost 58% of its electricity from renewable resources. They're shooting for 100% by 2020. Just in case you had heard that wasn't possible.
  • Squeezing acne pimples isn't a good idea according to dermatologists. You should let nature take its course, to prevent infection and scarring.
  • The peel of a banana is just as good for you as what's inside. It's suggested that you can fry, bake or boil the peel to make it more palatable. The riper the banana, the sweeter the peel too.
  • In 2014, Canada invested $11b (billion) in renewable energy. Compared to other countries: UK $22b; Japan $36b; US $44b; China $103b.
  • Since 2015, more than half of all Google searches happen on mobile devices.
  • There are more than 2.3 million Google searches per second.

Saturday, April 02, 2016

Ruhr bicycle autobahn

Last November, politicians, environmentalists, and bicycling enthusiasts gathered in Mülheim in Germany’s Ruhr Valley — one of Europe’s major industrial centers — to open the first 11 kilometres (7 miles) of a planned 100 kilometre biking highway.

It will connect 10 western cities including Duisburg, Bochum, and Hamm and four universities, running largely along disused railroad tracks in the crumbling Ruhr industrial region. Almost 2 million people live within 2 kilometres of the route.

13 feet wide, the bike highway, will parallel the A40 highway, which project organizers hope will entice residents to forsake their cars and ride bikes.

Champs Lego

Corporate email ban

Australian media agency Atomic 212 have cut out all internal emails. The company was tired of people relying on email as the primary means of communication with their colleagues. They don't see it as a necessity, when the people being emailed are only steps away from a face to face conversation.

The email that was especially toxic are delegation emails that create tension between coworkers. Tension that could have been avoided if they had spoken in person. When you ask a coworker for a favour, you ask them to their face out of professional consideration.

To fill the vacuum, Atomic 212 relies on Wunderlist to track tasks, Dropbox to share files, and face-to-face for anything else. Except for calendar invites, which are allowed.

Before, there were just sounds of the clicking of keyboard. Now there is excitement and people talking.


Things I learned lately - 2 Apr

  • Medical science has shown that a large brain tumour can turn an otherwise normal person into someone with murderous or pedophile urges. Removal of the tumour eliminates the urges and behaviour.
  • You can get the utmost in luxury flight accommodations on the Etihad airline by booking The Etihad Residence. It comes with a living room, full double bed in a separate bedroom, a butler and private bathroom. A flight from Sydney to Dubai would cost $23,000. One way.
  • Yarnbombing is a thing. Yarnbombing is a type of graffiti or street art that employs colourful displays of knitted or crocheted yarn or fibre rather than paint or chalk.
  • Vantablack is the darkest material ever made by man.
  • If you live in the Montgomery neighbourhood in Calgary, the 4 closest chain grocery stores are all Safeways. Could we perhaps tear one of them down for a new Loblaw's City Market?
  • Chris Pratt was once homeless, on the beach, in Maui. He was 'discovered' there while waiting tables by Rae Dawn Chong.
  • Bose not only makes speakers and headphones, they also created a unique electromagnetic suspension for cars that would have eliminated any road imperfections while driving. But it never sold. They do however, make special seats for long haul truck drivers.