Archive for July, 2011



. . . in politics!

TheStar Suzuki warns Tory scheme to cancel green energy plans is ‘absolute insanity’.

I particularly like the idea of farms feeding wind/solar/hydro power into the power grid.  Actually, I’m embarrassed I’ve never heard of it before.  Here’s the all-knowing source of info on feed-in tariff programs.


Feed-in Tariff


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Shooting Messengers

*Writer’s note: I realize that a lot of my posts are now about how we are all shit.  I guess we should try to stop being so human*

*I’d also like to apologize for being shitty at being consistent.   Waitressing takes so much energy out of me I fall asleep with my computer on the news*

Time for Climate Activists to Get Tough

I found this article really interesting because Sarita left me a book when she left me for Australia (</3) that is called . . .

Inside Terrorism by Bruce Hoffman

Before you get all offended that I called environmentalists terrorists, keep your shirt on, because that’s going a bit far.  But I would like to propose that rather than environmentalists being terrorists, that these two groups are capable of converging, that we explore much of the common ground they share: in beliefs and values, in ways of prioritizing those values, and in the lengths they will go for exposure.   A few weeks ago I talked about how Herman Hesse explored the idea of human ability to become what we despise.   Ideology fueled by passion has the same sort of ability.  When we believe in one thing so strongly, and are willing to achieve it at any means necessary, it erases the costs of getting there and sometimes even the irony of our actions.

I haven’t finished the book yet, but immediately, the roots of terrorism are explored dating back to 18th century France.

Terror is nothing but justice, prompt, severe and inflexible; it is therefore an emanation of virtue”

– Maximilien Robespierre

Ideas result from deeds, not the latter from the former, and the people will not be free when they are educated, but educated when they are free.

– Carlo Pisacane

Pisacane went on to say that violence was a great educator, and could never be replaced by more peaceful forms of communication.

And that brings us back to the first article.  I’m a bit torn because on one hand, I know that I once advocated altering the intensity of a message to get the point across, and I specifically was referring to people’s views of environmentalism.  There are some environmentalists who are fed up with the slow nonexistent progress on climate action, and while I was suggesting toning it down to make it more palatable, the alternative is toning it up, intensifying the message, and taking actions that break the law in order to do what one considers is right.

Passion for what you believe in, what you believe will be for the greater good, can justify an entire slew of actions.  The less we believe in, the more concentrated our will, the more easily we can be whipped up into a frenzy and be made to believe that the ends justify the means.  That others need to see our priorities the way we see them.

The range is incredible.  For example, belief in independence can lead a nation to the sea to make their own salt.  Equality can cause you to sit on a bus and refuse to give up your seat.  In the case of Mandela, he even abandoned one principle, nonviolence, in favour of seeing another one, post-Apartheid equality, realized.   However, belief can cause you to blow up buildings, to kill civilians, to kill yourself.

So when is it okay to “get tough” and when is it not? Can we look at those still fighting against Gaddafi in Libya and say with any level of certainty whether or not they are the good guys or the bad guys?

I think not.  History seems to be written through the lens of a single judge, and until it is over, I’d rather not say who the hero or who the villain.  It is easy for us to look back at a past India, South Africa, pre-civil rights America, and definitively say who is on the right side and who is on the wrong side.  However, if environmentalists started to believe that their message and their ideology elevated them above their status as law-bound citizens, I’d have questions about that, no matter how good the intentions are.  I’d have to wait until the climate change war was over, and see what was accomplished, and what would have been different, before making a case for one side or the other.

It’s interesting for me to read about “guerilla warfare” as a way to promote environmentalism.  But then again, maybe I don’t believe in it strongly enough to proceed as if judgement were already on my side.

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I love to watch tennis.  It started back in 2003 when Andy Roddick’s career was just taking off.  Yeah, his poster was in my locker.  And then I saw this.

He may not have one a major title in almost a decade, but this dude’s funny.  He’s trying to be funny, right?

I even tried to learn to play tennis.  I bought the skirt, the polos, the visor, the racket.   Yeah, and I diligently went to lessons . . . six times.  Tennis wasn’t my thing, I had floppy badminton wrists.  And then I decided my obsession was best confined to the tv screen.

One of the cool things about tennis now is the hawk-eye technology, that allows players to challenge linesman calls.  It shows this fancy computer generated replay of the ball as it is travelling across the court, including leaving a mark where the ball hits the surface.

My top three childhood theories for how Hawk-eye works:

1) There is a special radio/GPS something-tracker inside the ball that is monitored as it moves across the court by some airborne stadium satellite system.  Tennis balls  for major tournaments skyrocket in manufacturing costs.

2) Invisible lasers are set up across the entire surface of the court, kind of like the ones that you see in all the spy movies, the ones that set off the alarms?  You might ask, “what happens when a net, or a ballboy/ballgirl interferes with the lasers?”  I never had an answer for that one.

3) Hawk-eye was a big hokey!  Tennis is fake just like pro-wrestling!

So how does it actually work?  I found out today Hawk-eye doesn’t actually tell you where the ball lands, per se.  It uses four high speed cameras to track the location of the ball (using those nifty triangles we all loved in math to determine location), and then calculates, from the maximum impact upon the ball, and its trajectory, and predicts the path of the ball with a 3.6 mm margin of error.  Exceedingly accurate, but not technically a replay.

It took me like, 5 years to take the initiative to Wikipedia this.  I deserve a high five!

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Happy Birthday!

. . . . China!

Just kidding.  Sort of.  Happy Canada Day.  I’ve never had to work on a stat holiday before but this waitressing thing really strikes whenever.  Please grace my presence with your grumbling tummies today!  I will appreciate the company!

So, I’m supposed to be taking some trip with my parents back to the mothership in September, which includes a “subsidized,” week-long trip through Southern China where we will be staying in the best hotels (because that’s how I prefer to roll :D, the antiseptic feel is far-removed from the actual, disgusting, messy, state of my room.  I love contrasts).  The worst best part: it is subsidized by the government of China!

. . . . . yeah, I’ll give you a few moments to sort out your emotions too.

Which makes you realize how young anglo-Canada is when you realize it is only about as old as the most recent incarnation of government in China.  And there were like, fifty before this last one.

Hu warns the Chinese Communist Party

Preventing implosion may require something like rooting out corruption, but China’s been pretty satisfied with humouring citizens with a few small gestures; sacking a mid-level or a local official, some nice words, etc.  But is that enough?

Maybe?  My initial thought was that rooting out corruption requires real democracy, and the ability to safely and quickly publicly shame officials involved in “scandals.”  But that makes the assumption that on the other end, the citizens who are hearing this news are going to feel enough of a sense of outrage for the threat of publicity to act as a corruption deterrent.  I’m not at all convinced that this sense of outrage would exist on the level that we expect in Canada.  I mean, in many other parts of the world, corruption (to a reasonable degree) is part of the cost of doing business.  So what happens if you highlight something that everyone expects to be the norm?

Yeah, I don’t know either.

My impression of China has always been that people are a bit jaded with the politics.  Either that, or they don’t care.  It’s really not far off from how jaded people are about the system in North America, and at least in Canada, the system isn’t really representative of what people want.  So if disappointment leads to indifference, at what point should you start to worry about that indifference churning itself into a nice, buttery anger?

Happy Birthday, both.


** By birthday, I realize that Canada existed long before Europe settled here. So let’s just go with illegitimate birthday?

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