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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
Watchmaker steadies his delicate hand / I want you / For barbeque parties on blood red sands
— Peter Gabriel, And Through the Wire
May 30, 2008

Blame the Rider, not the Bike

Luc Bourdon had been riding for 10 days before this accident. Lack of rider training is the number one cause of motorcycle accidents.

Schneider wasn’t surprised Bourdon would ride a motorcycle.

“Something like this, buying a motorcycle, just fits right into his persona. Always fearless and doing whatever he felt would give him that rush or make him excited.”

I told someone awhile ago that I’d never get on the back of a bike with anyone who thought that riding motorcycles was cool. Kids who are looking for “a rush” are the ones who wind up dead.

Posted by skooter at 1:56 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Motorcycle, Obituaries

May 28, 2008

Tetra-Pak Recycling

The Toronto Star asks a very important question today.

How green is wine in a box?
Experts disagree on how much of a Tetra Pak can really be recycled
May 28, 2008 04:30 AM NANCY J. WHITE

While shoppers at Ontario’s liquor stores may soon be toting their own reusable bags, they still have an eco-dilemma: is it greener to buy wine in a glass bottle or in a Tetra Pak carton?

Most disappointingly, I also learned this;

Returned Tetra Pak cartons are sent by container ship to mills in China and Korea.
(A Michigan mill recently closed, and the Tetra Pak company is looking for recycling options in Canada, says Koel.)

That Michigan mill used to handle Vancouver’s recycling of Tetra-Paks, a fact that caused me to stop purchasing items when I had a choice. (Orange Juice and soup stocks are packed in little else these days.) That it’s now closed means, no doubt, that Vancouver’s Tetra-Paks now embark on the same worldwide journey.

It’s my view that the government should pass legislation requiring local recycling for manufacturers who choose packaging to provide a local recycling option where one is not available.

Refillable glass bottles. That’s a better way to go. Avalon Milk does it in Vancouver, and it’s the only milk I buy.

Tetra Paks are horrible, and I’m offended by the fact that wines like French Rabbit wrap themselves in an environmental flag without a second thought to the real impact of their products.

Posted by skooter at 1:46 PM This entry is filed under Food, Politics, Technology.
Tags: Environmentalism, Recycling

A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines

A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines is a wonderful book, written by physicist Janna Levin.

Though I’ve long been familiar with Alan Turing, and an admirer of his I had no idea that Turing had committed suicide (at least that’s the book’s thesis, and appears to be the most commonly shared opinion.) I also had no idea that he had been prosecuted for homosexuality.

It’s shocking to think of how different the world might have been if Turing had been allowed to continue his work.

Posted by skooter at 5:28 AM This entry is filed under Books.
Tags: Artificial Intelligence, Books, Computers

Bernier quits cabinet post over security breach

Is anybody falling for this?

Bernier quits cabinet post over security breach
Foreign affairs minister departs ahead of ex-girlfriend’s TV interview
Last Updated: Monday, May 26, 2008 | 11:04 PM ET CBC News

Embattled Foreign Affairs Minister Maxime Bernier has resigned from cabinet over a security breach involving classified documents, Prime Minister Stephen Harper told reporters on Monday.

Posted by skooter at 1:46 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics.
Tags: Conservative Party of Canada, Politics

May 27, 2008

Maybe NOW You’ll Believe Me

This isn’t a new story, but when I’ve mentioned it to people in the past they never seem to take me seriously. Bananas are going extinct, in large part because of a lack of varietal diversity.

Why bananas are a parable for our times
JOHANN HARI

Below the headlines about rocketing food prices and rocking governments, there lays a largely unnoticed fact: Bananas are dying. The foodstuff, more heavily consumed even than rice or potatoes, has its own form of cancer. It is a fungus called Panama Disease, and it turns bananas brick-red and inedible.

There is no cure. They all die as it spreads, and it spreads quickly. Soon — in five, 10 or 30 years — the yellow creamy fruit as we know it will not exist. The story of how the banana rose and fell can be seen a strange parable about the corporations that increasingly dominate the world — and where they are leading us.

Posted by skooter at 1:49 PM This entry is filed under Science, Technology.
Tags: Environmentalism, Food

May 26, 2008

Touchdown, the Red Planet

The Phoenix Lander has touched down on Mars, using a highly accurate jet based landing system. This is a change from earlier landing methods which essentially use air bags to soften a landing and allow rovers to bounce to a stop. Sufficient for robotics, but probably not for a human landing (it’s also a less accurate method.”

Wired has an article as does the New Scientist while Scientific American’s site hasn’t yet been updated, but I’m sure it will be.

Wired also has a link to mission control’s chatter line during the landing. Very cool.

This is the a key step in a hopefully renewed push for space exploration.

Posted by skooter at 5:37 AM This entry is filed under Science, Technology.
Tags: Mars, Science, Science Fiction, Space

May 23, 2008

The Problem with Cap & Trade

is that you’re just hiding from the reality of the situation. Everybody needs to pay their way on carbon emissions, not just the rich ones. A sliding scale for necessities makes sense (charge more for automotive fuel, less for home heating) but cap and trade doesn’t address this either.

Layton raises carbon-tax alarm
BILL CURRY From Friday’s Globe and Mail
May 23, 2008 at 4:56 AM EDT
OTTAWA NDP Leader Jack Layton launched a vehement campaign against carbon taxes yesterday and was quickly accused of alarmist pandering by prominent Canadian environmentalists.

Speaking to a fundraiser for an Ottawa homeless shelter, Mr. Layton said carbon taxes would raise home heating costs and hurt Canadians living on the margins. He said big corporations should bear the lion’s share of Canada’s climate-change tab and a federal ombudsman should ensure those costs aren’t passed on to consumers.

“With energy costs soaring in Canada, we’ve got to ensure that the solutions to climate change don’t aggravate an already dire situation for those who struggle to make ends meet,” Mr. Layton said.

Posted by skooter at 1:38 PM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Carbon Tax, Environmentalism, NDP, Politics

May 22, 2008

Planet of Weeds: Tallying the Losses of Earth’s Animals and Plants

Written by David Quammen and published in Harper’s Magazine in October of 1998 everybody should read this article in its fully.

It’s a reminder of our small place in the world, and the dangerous potential of the future—a future that’s already 10 years old.

“…why has the rate of extinction—low throughout most of Earth’s history—spiked upward cataclysmically on just a few occasion?…The Ordovician extinction, 439 million years ago, entailed the disappearance of roughly 85 percent of marine animal species…The Devonian extinction, 367 million years ago, seems to have been almost as severe. About 245 million years ago came the Permian extinction, the worst ever, claiming 95 percent of all known animal species.” pp. 58

“How long is the lag between a nadir of impoverishment and a recoverty to ecological fullness? That’s another of [David] Jablonski’s research interests. His rough estimates run to 5 or 10 million years.” pp. 58

Continue reading "Planet of Weeds: Tallying the Losses of Earth’s Animals and Plants"

Posted by skooter at 5:07 AM This entry is filed under Science, Technology.
Tags: Environmentalism, Population, Poverty, World Hunger

May 19, 2008

With the Canucks Out

It should come as no secret who I’m cheering for in this year’s Stanley Cup Final.penguinsLogo.jpeg

Posted by skooter at 6:53 PM This entry is filed under Penguins, Sports.
Tags: Hockey, Penguins

May 18, 2008

37 Degrees (not in the shade)

Yes yes, according to my Swedish Rocket it was 37 degrees celsius today. I think it lacks credibility, but it was a fun number to see.

Trails were hiked, pedals were pushed and I sparked up the motorcycle and headed to Richmond for some fish and chips. It’s officially summertime, at least in my life.

Posted by skooter at 5:41 AM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Vancouver, Volvo, Weather

May 14, 2008

Going Supernova

supernovaremnant_2.jpg Nasa has discovered the world’s youngest supernova. A needle in a haystack.

Posted by skooter at 7:44 PM This entry is filed under Science, Technology.
Tags: NASA, Science, Space, Starts

May 12, 2008

Note on the Sidewalk




Note on the Sidewalk


Originally uploaded by Skot Nelson

This note sat on the sidewalk where I park my car for about a week, before disappearing just as mysteriously as it appeared.

Posted by skooter at 3:22 AM This entry is filed under Camera.
Tags: Prayers

May 8, 2008

Elusive Objects of Lust

Despite (or perhaps as a result of) the pure joy that my newly acquired Eddy Merckx Team Alu Mega bike provides for me, I would dearly love one of these.
Look 586 Mondrian

Posted by skooter at 11:48 PM This entry is filed under Cycling.
Tags: Bikes, Cycling, European, Frames

New Photos

New photos, including Lynn Canyon amongst others.

Posted by skooter at 1:53 PM This entry is filed under Camera.
Tags: Outdoors, Photography

May 7, 2008

About Time in Toronto

According to the Globe and Mail, cycling in T-dot is picking up at a pretty good rate.

Cycle mania hits high gear; good luck getting tune-up
Soaring gas prices, bad traffic and the TTC strike are getting a lot of people back on their bikes
SUSAN KRASHINSKY
From Wednesday’s Globe and Mail May 7, 2008 at 5:43 AM EDT

For cycling enthusiasts in Toronto, it was the perfect storm.

Every year around this time, a stream of people bring their bikes in for tune-ups and repairs. Cycling is growing in popularity, and it’s not easy to find a good mechanic. But this year, high gas prices, nasty weather and a traffic-choked downtown core meant tune-ups were in high demand. And when the TTC strike hit in April, a flood of desperate customers descended on Toronto’s bike shops.

“The TTC strike just blew our minds. That was the busiest day of my life,” said Eric Kamphof, a manager at Curbside Cycle near Bloor and Bathurst Streets. Curbside was so busy that it had to reject repairs. “To reject bikes is a horrible thing to do, it’s nothing we want to do. But if you’re a mechanic, you want to protect your level of quality.

The truth is, weather aside, Toronto’s actually a pretty good city for cycling. The Don Valley Bike Path is a spectacular stretch of pavement with no cars that I used to use to get downtown from Scarborough. Streetcar tracks can be a bit of a challenge, but only on a few roads. The city is relatively flat (at least compared to Vancouver) and the Waterfront path provides a convenient way to move East=West along the Lakeshore through the Beach.

December is a whole different story, although I used to ride through the winter it would be harder to commute. Vancouver’s rain can be relentless, but it’s relatively…clean.

The biggest problem in Toronto is the seemingly endless sprawl. In a city where people have the longest commute on average in Canada, cycling is tough. Commutes less than 10 km are easy on a bike: commutes farther than 20 km are quite a bit harder.

Still, it’s good to see.

Posted by skooter at 1:35 PM This entry is filed under Cycling.
Tags: Commuting, Cycling, Public Transit, T-dot, Toronto

May 6, 2008

Just An Average Weekend in Vancouver

Bear in Area

Continue reading "Just An Average Weekend in Vancouver"

Posted by skooter at 1:54 PM This entry is filed under Camera, Vancouver.
Tags: Bear, Hiking Trails, North Vancouver

It’s Better to Burn Out Than Fade Away

Posted by skooter at 4:50 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Music.
Tags: Music Cassette Vintage