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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
If this were the last night of the world/ What would I do? / What would I do that was different / Unless it was champagne with you
— Bruce Cockburn, Last Night of the World
September 30, 2007

Spam, Wonderful Spam

While nosing around and figuring out how best to configure my new SpamAssasin settings, I happened to be watching PBS which was airing Episode 25 of Monty Python’s Flying Circus

This is, of course, the episode that contains the wonderful Spam skit from which most technology related references are derived.

What a pleasant surprise.

Continue reading "Spam, Wonderful Spam"

Posted by skooter at 4:28 AM This entry is filed under Inanities, Technology.
Tags: Email, Monty Python, Spam

September 29, 2007

Naomi Klein and Capitalism

Is our economic model fundamentally flawed? Some food for thought in the new book by Naomi Klein

The average growth rate [in South Africa] has been a disappointing 5 percent (much lower than in countries in East Asia, which followed a different route); unemployment for the black majority is 48 percent; and the number of people living on less than $1 a day has doubled to four million from two million since 1994, the year the A.N.C. took over.

Posted by skooter at 5:21 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Africa, Capitalism, Economics, Privatization

September 25, 2007

I’m Going to Start the Quarter Mile Diet

As usual, I like the principal here but the implementation is just ridiculous. A 10 mile diet wouldn’t be sustainable for most farmers let alone city dwellers.

I did love the 100 mile diet though. Take it out to about 200 and I think it’d probably be pretty sustainable for most Canadians.

Taking the 10-mile challenge
By Bhreandáin Clugston
Editor

Sep 14 2007

You may have heard of the 100-Mile Diet.

For a year, two Vancouver authors, Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon, ate only foods grown within 100 miles of the city.

They found that most food travels thousands of miles from its source to supermarket shelves and sought to expose the challenges of eating locally and being environmentally-reponsible.

Their experiences were turned into a popular book, The 100-Mile Diet.

With topics of farming and food security often front and centre in Richmond, a group of residents has decided to take the 100-Mile Diet a step further. Actually, make that 90-miles closer.

Enter the 10-Mile Diet. For 10 days, a group of Richmond residents will attempt to eat only locally-grown food. While fruits and vegetables are aplenty, many participants will be challenged to find grains and a variety of meats.

I wonder how many of these 10 mile dieters are going to drive to pick up their groceries?

Posted by skooter at 4:36 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Environmentalism, Food

September 24, 2007

The Man with the Horn

Whoever said music couldn’t change history never heard a man with a horn.

Miles Davis always had a reputation for being more abrasive. Louis Armstrong picked his moments more carefully.

Posted by skooter at 10:02 PM This entry is filed under Music, Politics.
Tags: Jazz, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Poitics, Racism

Marcel Marceau is dead

Marcel Marceau is dead today, the pre-eminent mime of his generation.

Rumour has it that his his neighbours didn’t know he had passed away, and instead thought that he was just giving them the silent treatment.

Posted by skooter at 5:13 AM This entry is filed under Inanities.
Tags: French, Mime, Obituaries

September 20, 2007

Shocking. Unbelievable. The news of the century!

Ummm…or not, as the case may be. I wonder how many people read this article in the newspaper?

More Canadians getting their newspaper fix online
RICHARD BLACKWELL
Globe and Mail Update
September 20, 2007 at 9:02 AM EDT

An increasing number of Canadians are reading their newspapers online, according to the latest readership numbers released yesterday by the Newspaper Audience Databank Inc.

The figures, gleaned by NADbank from surveys conducted in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa in the fall of 2006 and the spring of 2007, show that for many newspapers Internet readership is growing faster than for their print versions.

Me? Daily news online, but I do still enjoy curling up with the Saturday Globe & Mail and doing the crossword puzzle in a coffee shop. It’s the tactile nature of it I like.

Posted by skooter at 8:42 PM This entry is filed under Canada, Inanities, Technology.
Tags: Globe and Mail, News

Typography

I recently went to see Helvetica and saw this as a prelude. A very nice lesson in the basics of typography from students of the Vancouver Film School based on words by Ellen Lupton

Posted by skooter at 8:03 AM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Design, Typography

September 18, 2007

Stardust

The outrageously creative mind of Neil Gaiman is something that I haven’t really explored, but having just seen Stardust I’m reminded that every time I do it’s at the very least interesting.

I’d read Neverwhere and actually found it kind of annoying and a bit formulaic. By contrast The Sandman was brilliant, and I was looking for that graphic novel not that long ago…its gone missing at some point.

Stardust is a fairly straightforward fairy tale and love story, but the telling is highly original. The film is visually interesting and well worth watching.

American Gods got great reviews, and may be worth exploring…I’ve been looking for a new book lately…

Posted by skooter at 9:39 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: Movies, Science Fiction

Three Elections and not a Liberal In Sight

If I were betting I’d still say the next election is going to be a Conservative minority, but this week’s results might lend some credence to a majority instead.

They certainly aren’t lending an credence to Stephane Dion, who I maintain was the wrong choice. Bob Rae would have been better, and that’s slim pickings.

Posted by skooter at 4:22 PM This entry is filed under Politics, Quebec.
Tags: Conservative Party of Canada, Elections, Liberals

September 17, 2007

Larisa Fayad

I knew Larisa Fayad briefly, a couple of years ago. She helped with a volunteer project I worked on while she worked at the Roundhouse Community Centre. She was a very nice young lady.
Larisa Fayed on the Scissor Lift at the Roundhouse Community Centre

Canadian killed in Thai air crash
UNNATI GANDHI
Globe and Mail Update
September 17, 2007 at 6:27 PM EDT

A Canadian woman travelling on the Thai airplane that crashed over the weekend died in that crash, The Globe and Mail has learned.

Larisa Fayad’s father, Foued, said he received a call from relatives in British Columbia that his daughter was on the doomed One-Two-Go Airlines plane that crashed killing at least 90 people, including 53 tourists, on Sunday.

“My other daughter’s husband, he informed this morning that she was on the flight that crashed and she was not one of the survivors,” he said on the phone from Vancouver.

Posted by skooter at 9:11 PM This entry is filed under Friends.
Tags: Obituaries, Vancouver

Sea to Sky, in Style

I headed up the Sea to Sky Highway on Saturday morning, later than I’d intended (I apparently needed the sleep, and didn’t wake up until 9 a.m.) but eager to spend at least one more night in Garibaldi Provincial Park for the season. At 1,500 metres in altitude, it gets cold up there.
De Tomaso Pantera on the Sea to Sky Highway The Sea to Sky is a spectacularly twisty road, second only to Chukanut Drive on my list of favourite rides within an hour. The North Cascades Highway could be on that list, but it’s a bit too far away…at least the best parts.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear that familiar rumble of an Italian engine on the highway when in a blur, I was passed by a half dozen Ferrari’s in the Lion’s Bay area. There was a Porsche as well…we shall not discuss Porsche’s. Lovely vehicles, to be sure, but they (alas) are not Italian. Their teutonic nature lacks the passion of those majestic beasts. The Lamborghini’s in the crowd are interlopers as well…mere imitations; Chrysler products with a roaring bull on their nose; roughly hewn machine of speed, less than works of art.

Continue reading "Sea to Sky, in Style"

Posted by skooter at 8:41 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Technology, Travel.
Tags: Cars, Ferrari

September 13, 2007

Pangea Day - May 10, 2008

Posted by skooter at 10:06 PM This entry is filed under .
Tags: Globalization, TED

September 12, 2007

The Sun Also Sets

Once, I lusted for a SparcStation more than for a PowerMac. It was a long time ago.

Sun Micrososystems had the best slogan ever for the the Internet age… The Network is the Computer. I remember days when my home computer wasn’t networked but I can’t remember what I did in those days, aside (of course) from the standard angst ridden teenage boy video game playing months.

Sun has been setting for some time, I fear this partnership with one of their greatest foes will mark their end. As Silicon Graphics went before, Sun seems likely to—at best—retreat to a server only space.

“Sun is now a single source for today’s leading operating systems - Solaris and Windows - on the industry’s most innovative x64 systems and storage products. Customers can now take advantage of the virtualization benefits of Windows and Solaris on Sun’s energy efficient x64 systems,” said John Fowler, executive vice president, Systems Group, Sun Microsystems. “Microsoft’s recognition of our x64 systems and storage systems is a testament to the superior system design at the heart of our product portfolio.”

Posted by skooter at 8:17 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Apple, Business, Microsoft, Sun

Stephen Biko

One of the great joys of listening to BBC World News is the awareness that the rest of the world exists…that is, the portion that is not North America.

30 years ago today Stephen Biko died in police custody in South Africa, the victim of a terrorist state that used violence and economic oppression to entrench racism so deeply into an outdated colonial system that it wasn’t until 1994 that the majority of South Africans were allowed to vote for their own government.

It never fails to surprise me that people younger than me are unaware of a time when Africa was run by a white minority, and when racism was not just accepted but actively promoted by modern democratic governments.

You’d think that humanity would learn from its collective past, but apparently this is not true. At the very least, we shouldn’t forget it.

Read the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It’s one of the most powerful documents in the world, although most governments choose to ignore it.

Posted by skooter at 7:40 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Africa, Amnesty International, Human Rights, Stephen Biko

Elizabeth Rogers Stretching

Elizabeth Rogers Stretching on the Deck

Posted by skooter at 6:22 AM This entry is filed under Camera, Family, Friends.
Tags: Bowen Island, Children, Elizabeth

September 11, 2007

Public Companies Sell Stock, not Product

When companies go public, they very quickly transform from companies that make and manufacture products for consumers to companies that sell their stock in the interest of their investors. This is a necessity of the public market: if they don’t, investors flee and punish the stock. Stock price is the metric by which performance is measured.

Lululemon has gone public, and as a results it’s now selling its stock. This is a press release that will fuel a stock run, and not much else.

Lululemon stretched by demand
MARINA STRAUSS
September 10, 2007 at 9:10 PM EDT

Lululemon Athletica Inc., the Canadian yoga apparel retail phenomenon that went public in July, has run into what it calls a “class A problem”: Supply can’t keep up with demand, and its stores keep running out of products.

What is more, the 59-stores-and-growing chain doesn’t yet have the systems to keep track of just how much business it is losing by not stocking stores adequately.

It’s too soon to see the long term picture for Lululemon, but the company’s senior executives just got a bit richer today.

Posted by skooter at 5:44 AM This entry is filed under Technology, Vancouver.
Tags: Business, Investing, Politics, Vancouver

September 9, 2007

iPod Touch’s Killer App

iPod Touch has been hyped as the iPhone without the phone.

It’s also the iPhone without the camera.

That’s its killer app, and until it has one it’s not worth buying.

Posted by skooter at 8:41 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Apple, iPhone, iPod

September 5, 2007

If you were a God, would you create John Tory?

John Tory just demonstrated exactly how much of an idiot he is. God help our children if Ontario elects this man:

Creationism raised as Ont. election issue
CAROLINE ALPHONSO AND TENILLE BONOGUORE
September 5, 2007 at 3:56 PM EDT

TORONTO Publicly-funded religious schools would be allowed to teach creationism and other theories, says Progressive Conservative Leader John Tory.

Tory has managed to perform one miracle though: he’s left his former supporter Warren Kinsella speechless.

Posted by skooter at 8:26 PM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics, Science.
Tags: Articles, Conservative Party of Canada, Morons, Ontario, Politics

September 4, 2007

From Announcement to Death in 4 Months

I think that Palm might have set some kind of record here. Announced in May, the Palm Foleo has been killed before it even shipped.

Foleo was a strange product. Palm’s products have been compliments to personal computers from day one—synchronization was their killer app. Why anybody would buy an add on product to an ad on product seemed a bit strange. With laptops plummeting in price anyway, and smart phones increasingly…smart…this is a product that didn’t make sense from day one.

Palm will die. It’s a floundering company at this point. The irony is that if the Palm Pilot killed the Apple Newton, it’s probably the Apple iPhone that will kill Palm.

Posted by skooter at 7:33 PM This entry is filed under Science, Technology.
Tags: Apple, Mobile Internet, Palm, Technology, Usability

September 3, 2007

Ottawa considers electronic leash on truckers

From today’s Globe and Mail comes a store about Ottawa considering national legislation to limit the speed of trucks to 105 km/h.

The excerpt:

“I see that as a great opportunity for accidents,” said Barry Prentice, a professor and head of the Transport Institute at the University of Manitoba. “We’ll have all these other yahoos trying to pass trucks left, right and centre, especially on two-lane roads.”

The federal and provincial governments are jointly studying the idea of requiring all large trucks to have their engine microchips permanently programmed not to exceed 105 km/h. One study, to be launched this fall, will look at whether these “speed limiters” would put Canada at an economic disadvantage with the United States, which has no plans to slow down trucks.

I’d like to ask Professor Barry Prentice one question: can you find me a two lane road where the speed limit is higher than 100 km/h. Since the limit on most of these roads would be 80 km/h, it would seem that the 105 km/h limit would be more than enough.

Posted by skooter at 9:09 PM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics.
Tags: Politics, Transportation

September 2, 2007

Spook Country, William Gibson

I’ve just finished Spook Country, the new novel by William Gibson and the first on released since my daily life included passing in front of his house twice a day.

The man has an unhealthy Volkswagen obsession…both in the book, and in the rotation of three Jetta’s that are the only cars I’ve ever seen parked in front of his house. One green. One silver. One black…that one’s very rare, and older.

The Volkswagen obsession is a part of what makes Gibson’s writing riveting though: his ability to capture the seemingly meaningless details that make a scene memorable, while also shedding those that aren’t necessary.

Continue reading "Spook Country, William Gibson"

Posted by skooter at 4:57 PM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Technology.
Tags: Books, William Gibson

Heartbroken Bush Runs After Departing Rove’s Car

The Onion is one of the funniest reads on the web on a consistent basis.

Heartbroken Bush Runs After Departing Rove’s Car

WASHINGTON, DC—A confused President Bush broke free from the restraint of Secret Service agents this morning and ran in pursuit of departing deputy chief of staff Karl Rove’s car for several blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue before being outdistanced by the vehicle

Posted by skooter at 10:06 AM This entry is filed under America, Politics.
Tags: Comedy, George Bush, President

September 1, 2007

One More Reason the Mojave Desert is Cool

As if Joshua Trees weren’t enough, the Mojave is also where Nasa tests its new engines.

The coolest thing about those Mach Disks is seeing them form one at a time…watch carefully: it’s the speed of sound after all.

Posted by skooter at 10:26 PM This entry is filed under America, Science.
Tags: Articles, NASA, Space, Wired