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I Am Skooter
So here's us, on the raggedy edge.
She used to work in a diner / never saw a woman look finer / I used to order just to watch her float across the floor
— Neil Young, Unknown Legend
February 25, 2009

The Long, Slow Death of the Newspaper

According to the New York Times, the owners of the San Francisco Chronicle are considering folding the paper. This won’t be the last, and it’s not surprising that San Francisco would be the epicentre of this quake as it has been for much of the revolution.

Posted by skooter at 1:38 PM This entry is filed under Technology.
Tags: Articles, Newspapers

February 24, 2009

Bike Parking in Japan

Posted by skooter at 5:07 AM This entry is filed under Cycling, Technology.
Tags: Cycling, Technology

February 23, 2009

The Finest Olympic Facilities Money Can Buy

My favourite part about this is the fact they they knew something was wrong but decided not to do anything about it. Lucky no one was on the chair when it fell.

Whistler chairlift crashes to the ground
BY KELLY SINOSKI, VANCOUVER SUNFEBRUARY 22, 2009 8:01 PM

Whistler Mountain technicians knew there was a fault in the high-speed Harmony Express chairlift late Wednesday night, but because the mountain was closed at the time, they didn’t follow protocols and inspect it.

In the morning, one of the chairs was found to have crashed eight metres to the ground. Nobody was on the lift at the time of the incident.

Posted by skooter at 6:15 AM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Articles, Vancouver Olympics, Whistler

February 19, 2009

Faces of the Dead

The New York Times has created one of the most compelling memorials to American soldiers who have died in Iraq I can imagine. This is reminiscent of Life Magazine’s One Day Dead feature published in 1969, but the update uses current technology in an effective way.

Posted by skooter at 3:37 AM This entry is filed under America, Politics, Technology.
Tags: Interaction Design, Iraq

February 18, 2009

If alien life does exist on Earth…

Mono Lake would be one of the more believable places to find it. A very cool place.

Posted by skooter at 1:40 PM This entry is filed under Science, Technology.
Tags: California, Science, Science Fiction

Levi Leipheimer at the AMGEN Tour de California

Levi Leipheimer’s leading the race, and Velonews has an impressive sequence of photos showing his crash earlier today.

In other news Lance Armstrong’s bike was stolen which just seems stupid. Here’s hoping he had a lot of Kryptonite locks on that thing: it’s one of a kind probably worth a fortune.

Posted by skooter at 7:17 AM This entry is filed under Cycling, Sports.
Tags: Cycling, Lance Armstrong

Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse

Joss Whedon’s new show Dollhouse premiered on Friday night. It’s only the second show in the last three years that I’m going to be watching on a regular basis. 30 Rock is one of the others, of course, and this year’s Fringe has done a great job of holding my attention.

Whedon’s history is good with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and of course Firefly and Serenity the movie it spawned.

Something struck me about Whedon’s writing while I was watching Dollhouse: he’s got a reputation for writing strong female characters and, while this is true, he also seems to write replaceable female characters.

What exactly does this mean?

Continue reading "Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse"

Posted by skooter at 2:26 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment.
Tags: Angel, Buffy, Dollhouse, Firefly, Joss Whedon, Serenity, Television

The Battle on the Plains of Abraham

I understand the sentiment behind why this was cancelled, but I can’t help but perceive this as political correctness winning over history. I had actually considered going to see this.

At this point, I’d like to see a modern day recreation with Rene Levesque leading the French & Pierre Trudeau leading the English side. These modern day warriors are deserving of a tribute, and I can’t help but think that rather than complaining about it happening Levesque would have had the event go forward, thumbing his nose at it the whole time and using it as a tool to remind the Québécois of their oppression by the English majority.

Plains of Abraham re-enactment cancelled
Safety, security concerns spur National Battlefields Commission to pull plug on controversial replay of 1759 France-Britain battle
RHÉAL SÉGUIN, Globe and Mail Update, February 17, 2009 at 2:18 PM EST

QUEBEC — A slugfest of insults between federalists and separatists that threatened to turn to violence led to cancellation of the re-enactment of the Battle of the Plains of Abraham marking the 250th anniversary of the British conquest of New France.

For weeks a war of words erupted in newspapers, on the web and on open line radio shows where extremists on both sides threatened to use violence to either stop next summer’s re-enactment from taking place or protect it against disruptions.

It appeared as though a modern version of the Plains of Abrahams battle was in the making, which led the head of the federal agency known as the National Battlefields Commission André Juneau to back down from his idea to re-enact the 1759 French defeat at the hands of the British.

“Given the excessive language in the past few days and the threats mad through the media, we could not as responsible agency compromise the security of families and children who could attend the event,” Mr. Juneau said in cancelling the event. “It was odious and unreasonable to have suggested that the Commission planned to celebrate a military defeat.”

Posted by skooter at 1:59 AM This entry is filed under Canada, Politics, Quebec.
Tags: Pierre Trudeau, Quebec, Rene Levesque, Separatism

February 13, 2009

Well, Duh!

One would think this would have been self evident by now. I’m just glad they didn’t create a Royal Commission to study this. The emphasis is mine.

Tasers potentially lethal, RCMP head tells MPs
Commissioner says stun guns ‘far, far less lethal’ than conventional firearms
Last Updated: Thursday, February 12, 2009
CBC News

A revised RCMP policy that restricts how officers can use Tasers recognizes the stun guns can cause death, especially when fired on “acutely agitated” individuals, the head of the Mounties said Thursday.

“The RCMP’s revised CEW policy underscores that there are risks associated with the deployment of the device and emphasizes that those risks include the risk of death, particularly for acutely agitated individuals,” Elliott told the committee.

Posted by skooter at 2:58 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Police, Politics

February 12, 2009

The Silicon Chip Inside Her Head Gets Switched To Overload

The Boomtown Rats popped into my head today, which doesn’t happen that often. A performance from the Secret Policeman’s Ball that I saw a few years ago was just beautiful. Wait for the pause after the reverb at 2:46.

Posted by skooter at 6:22 AM This entry is filed under Entertainment, Music.
Tags: Irish Music, Music

February 10, 2009

Vancouver Cuts Downtown Ambassador Funding

Vancouver’s had these red clad Downtown Ambassadors wandering around, seemingly aimlessly, for a few years now. I can’t remember when I first started noticing them, but it was about three years ago that they started becoming more common.

I could never figure out what they were and who they were for. I sort of thought they were a summer tourist season thing, and presumably volunteer or summer students. I always thought it seemed like a decent way to create some employment at low cost.

It turns out I was wrong, and they were intended to be actual security guards, working on behalf of the business. As with any number of private security guards, the look of most of these ambassadors didn’t really inspire…confidence. It also turns out that the NPA led city was funding these security guards: your tax dollars going to work to create a private police force on behalf of the businesses downtown. Not police, mind you. A private force, not accountable the way police are. (Whether police are properly accountable is another discussion.)

Not anymore. The city’s cut funding in what seems like a rational, sensible move.

Of course with six shootings in Vancouver in the last six days, I hope they invest in policing.

Posted by skooter at 3:50 AM This entry is filed under Politics, Vancouver.
Tags: NPA, Politics, Vancouver, Vision Vancouver

I.D. Interview with Majora Carter

My first exposure to Majora Carter was after viewing her presentation at T.E.D. just after they went online. She’s phenomenal.

I.D. magazine interviews her this month and the interview is available online.

Posted by skooter at 3:16 AM This entry is filed under Politics.
Tags: Environmentalism, TED

February 5, 2009

The Ants Go Marching 10 by 10

Ten lanes. Sheesh.

There’s an upside to this, if you want to look at it that way. Two lanes will be dedicated bus lanes. These aren’t HOV lanes these are bus lanes. I’m not sure if there’s going to be an HOV lane as well. There should be.

That’s the upside. The current Port Mann bridge is too narrow to provided dedicated transit. It’s three lanes each way. The new bridge at five lanes each way could actually be defined as adding HOV and Transit capacity only: three lanes for all traffice, one 24 hour HOV only lane and one bus lane only. The new bridge creates the ability to finally provide mass transit with dedicated road space to the Fraser Valley.

But sheesh. 10 lanes, with a budget that’s just growing and growing. I hope this goes well.

New 10-lane bridge to replace Port Mann
BY KELLY SINOSKI, VANCOUVER SUN, FEBRUARY 4, 2009

_METRO VANCOUVER—_The provincial government has scrapped its plan to twin the Port Mann Bridge in favour of building a new 10-lane crossing over the Fraser River, at a cost of $3.3 billion.

Premier Gordon Campbell said the new bridge, which will be built to accommodate rapid bus service, expanded cycling and pedestrian lanes and a possible light rail line, will ease congestion clogging the crossing and commuter delays by about one-third.

Posted by skooter at 1:42 PM This entry is filed under Politics, Vancouver.
Tags: Cars, Gordon Campbell, Transportation

February 3, 2009

It’s Like Vancouver, But With Better Architecture

London got snow, and the city ground to a halt. Almost the same thing happened in Vancouver in early January.

Our roads are finally clear enough to reliably cycle to work, which has been nice to be doing lately.

Storm Leaves London With a Rare Blanket of Snow and a Frozen Transit System
By SARAH LYALL and JULIA WERDIGIER
Published: February 2, 2009
LONDON—A fierce winter snowstorm crippled London’s roads, subways and buses and all but shut down many parts of Britain on Monday. It was followed by a barrage of complaints as stranded travelers asked why the government seemed so ill prepared for the bad weather, when everyone had known for several days that it was coming.

“I think it’s pathetic,” said Matthew Hickley, a writer in his 30s, who was fruitlessly seeking a train home at the High Street Kensington subway station in West London.

Posted by skooter at 1:43 PM This entry is filed under Vancouver.
Tags: Snow, Vancouver, Weather

February 1, 2009

Yeah, Canucks Rule!

At this rate, it’s easier to be a Leafs fan:

Canucks lose their 8th in a row
Last Updated: Saturday, January 31, 2009 | 10:06 PM PT, CBC Sports

The return of all-star goaltender Roberto Luongo and addition of high-scoring Mats Sundin was supposed to turn the Vancouver Canucks into Stanley Cup contenders.

But at the rate they’re going, the Canucks will be lucky to qualify for the playoffs

Posted by skooter at 3:55 PM This entry is filed under Sports, Vancouver.
Tags: Hockey, Vancouver Canucks