Tuesday, April 26, 2005



How often do you think you will see a head honcho with the BATFE admitting to perjury? Check this out - Tom Busey of the National Firearms Act branch of the BATFE admitting perjury.

Money quotes: "When we testify in court, we testify that the database is 100% accurate. That's what we testify to and we have always testified to that. But you may well know that may not be 100% true ... when I first came in a year ago our error rate was between 49 and 50 percent ... the error rate now is down to below 8%". (emphasis mine)

So, with an error rate of 49 to 50% a year before Busey started, yet the BATFE testifying in court that they are 100% accurate... how many baseless warrants have been issued? How many people have had their homes invaded by the jackbooted thugs at BATFE?

Sunday, April 24, 2005



I have tried over the last few days to piece the Adscam mess together into one easy-to-follow whole. The problem is, where to start? I have concluded that I simply cannot summarize it all in one blog post, without leaving out many of the details. What I do know is that the more I dig into this, the dirtier I feel, for having come in contact with so much oily slime.

The people who come out looking good out of the whole mess are Allan Cutler, a bureaucrat who first lifted the lid on Adscam, and Sheila Fraser, the Auditor-General of Canada.

The ones who come out covered in bovine excrement are: kingmakers Maurice Strong and Paul Desmarais; Prime Minister Paul Martin and former PM Jean Chretien; flunkies like Alphonso Gagliano, Benoit Corbeil, Jean Brault and Paul Coffin; the RCMP; bought judges; anyone involved with TotalFinaElf or Power Corporation; the entire Liberal Party. On the take, stealing from the Canadian public, criminals the lot of them (yes, even the RCMP, to the tune of two million dollars).

Ewwww. I have to stop now. Maybe some other time I will elaborate on all the above. Or maybe I will just leave it in the capable hands of Andrew Coyne and Captain Ed.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

trudging through the muck

trudging through the muck

It has become very difficult to keep track of the many interwoven threads that make up the Adscam mess - so difficult that I find myself in need of a crib sheet just to keep track of the various revelations coming out. I don't expect I will be posting anything else today or tomorrow, as I sift through this scandal, putting together a sort of Cliff's Notes version of Adscam. By Saturday I hope to have a post which summarizes what is known so far, who the key players are, and how Adscam ties into the other big example of corruption, the UN Oil-For-Food scandal. See you then.

Monday, April 18, 2005

Sunday, April 17, 2005

DART vs Soyuz

DART vs Soyuz

NASA's DART - Demonstration of Autonomous Rendezvous Technology, a $110 million vehicle intended to dock with a defunct military satellite, got within 90 meters (300 feet) of the target craft... and then ran out of fuel for its maneuvering thrusters. This was, unbelievably, NASA's first ever attempt at automated docking.

In nearly simultaneous news, the Soyuz TMA-6 vehicle completed an automated docking at the International Space Station's Pirs airlock module.

Hey NASA, wouldn't it be less expensive to just buy a Soyuz and reverse-engineer it? Those babies run about $20 million, and they have been doing automated docking for decades. Just a thought.

Friday, April 15, 2005

failing the Turing test

failing the Turing test

The World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics, and Informatics accepted a paper entitled Rooter: A Methodology for the Typical Unification of Access Points and Redundancy. Only problem: this paper was generated by a computer program called SCIgen, which was written to generate computer science papers using context-free grammar. The resulting paper is complete gibberish. Obviously, the WMSCI overlords did not actually read the paper prior to accepting it for presentation at the conference, which calls into question (a) the quality of other papers accepted for presentation, (b) the WMSCI's ability to detect total BS when they see it and (c) the WMSCI's credibility. Guess which conference to which I will never submit any papers.

Thursday, April 14, 2005



Is Yulia Tymoshenko the hottest prime minister ever, or what?

: I posted topless photos of Yulia Tymoshenko here.

(via ukrayinska pravda)

More photos of this beauty here and here.

OK, sure, Benazhir Bhutto was pretty, and Kim Campbell wasn't exactly ugly, but we're talking a whole new level here.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

south park

south park

This is what I would look like as a South Park character:

If you want to make your own South Park character, go here.

not ticked

not ticked

I found this piece after following a link from Curmudgeon's Corner. Jason Verheyden figured I would be ticked that he is

starting to wonder what real use Pathfinder or any of these other robotic missions have played.

I can understand perfectly the desire to go into space. Hell, I want to go myself. If humans don't go into space, then the robotic missions become unnecessary - I mean, what's the point of sending robot after robot if one isn't planning on sending people too?

I don't think that this needs to be an either/or proposition. Any humans sent into space absolutely rely on robotics. The Canadarms on the space shuttles and the Canadarm 2 on the international budget buster (errm... space station) are indispensable tools; without them those pieces of space hardware would be even bigger pieces of junk.

Robots have one main advantage over human beings in space exploration: they are expendable. They don't need heavy life support systems. Nations don't mourn and bring their space programs to a screeching halt for two years when a robot dies. They don't need to come back to earth, so they don't need to have enough fuel to come back. They can find out things like the composition of the atmosphere and soil of say, Mars, so that we can tell how much necessary stuff can be made in situ, so we know what to send on subsequent manned missions. The could do other things like set up a base for eventual human habitation.

And that is the key: robotic missions must be followed up by subsequent manned missions. It isn't enough to send robots hither and yon, while forever consigning ourselves to the earth/moon gravity well. Robots can lay the groundwork, but people have to go too.

I wouldn't count on NASA being in any hurry to send people anywhere though. They have spent the last thirty years going around in circles, and (notwithstanding Bush's Moon Mars and Beyond plan) I can't see that changing anytime soon. Burt Rutan showed us that private companies can "do space". It is high time that the private sector stated sending up its own robots, followed by and concurrent with its own manned missions.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

looks like i'm not going to jail after all

looks like i'm not going to jail after all

CTV reports that the bulk of the publication ban has been lifted. Hmm... I guess I'm going to have to search for more publication bans if I want to have the kind of readership I've had the last few days. Sure has been fun though.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

was Gold right?

was Gold right?

Thomas Gold has a hypothesis that oil is not of biological origin; instead he holds that oil is formed by trapped pockets of methane and other such simple hydrocarbons that were formed at the same time the earth itself formed. Evidence from Eugene Island seems to bear his hypothesis out. If Gold is correct, then that means that there would also be oil on Mars and Venus, and that the chicken littles out there proclaiming the end of oil reserves are right out to lunch.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

more adscam

more adscam

Via Captain's Quarters, we get this link from the Free Will Blog. It is a little hard to follow; it appears somebody took bullet-point notes in French and then translated them into English. As Captain Ed says, it is consitent with the information he has received over the last few days, however this information is in a lot more detail. Directly implicated are Alphonso Gagliano and Jean Chretien's older brother Gaby.

courage? nahhh

courage? nahhh

A couple of people emailed me, congratulating me on my "courage" for all the links in yesterday's post. The thing is, courage implies an element of personal risk. Yes I am a Canadian, and yes my permanent residence is in Canada... however, my blog is hosted on a computer in the United States, and I myself am presently in the USA. There is no way that any contempt of court charge would apply to my situation. No risk: no courage.

Would I have still published yesterday's post if I was in Canada right now? Probably - I am curmudgeonly sort, and this is precisely the sort of information that Canadians need to know about the Liberal government. Would I have been charged if I was in Canada yesterday? Possible, but unlikely: once Captain's Quarters published, the publication ban was moot.

Will I publish the same sort of thing when I return to Canada? Could be... however I have a sneaking suspicion that a similar situation will not present itself anytime in the near future.

Some things the events of the last few days have shown me is that (1) it is really easy to get oneself placed pretty damn high on Google searches, even unintentionally (2) publication bans are ultimately futile; in the age of the blogger, all it takes is one bigmouth to render such bans ineffective, and (3) Justice Gomery (intentionally or not) did us all a favour by applying the ban - it served to bring an inordinate amount of attention the the Inquiry.

Now, if only voters in Ontario will remember this Inquiry when Canadians go to the polls next time, there might still be hope for my country... they might actually throw the bastards out of office, rather than rewarding them with 75 out of 100 Ontario seats in Parliament. Of course, that may be too much to hope for; a 2 billion dollar waste by HRDC and another 2 billion waste on a gun registry (which has yet to catch a single criminal) wasn't enough to do it last time; a 250 million dollar waste on the federal Sponsorship program may not be enough this time. Oh well, time will tell...

Monday, April 04, 2005

contempt this

contempt this

Here is a link to Captain's Quarters, the blog that has been publishing some of the Brault testimony at the Gomery inquiry. Canadian officials may also want to review the Universal Declaration of Human Rights specifically article 19:

Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.


Oh yeah, article 10 is interesting too:

Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

Holy crap. Who would have thought this would be such a big story? It's not like Liberal party corruption is a sudden revelation; Albertans had it figured out decades ago.

My site meter traffic has (comparatively speaking) gone through the frikkin roof. Anyhow, here are some more links:

The Political Staples link that I meant to have linked to on the 1st but didn't.
More from Small Dead Animals.
and this from the Cyber Menace.

I have also seen that one of the central figures involved in this scam, former public works minister (and former ambassador to Denmark) Alphonso Gagliano, has been linked to the mafia.


I guess I should also link to this post by Captain Ed.


The Winds of Change has more, and Captain Ed just keeps sailin' along.

BTW, this is by far the most hits I have received on this blog in one day... hell, today's hits have outstripped my most-viewed month. So to all my new readers, kick back, pop open a brewski, and check out my archives.

uppitydatestestest (can you tell I'm running out of things to call it?)

my sitemeter graph for the last month:

Friday, April 01, 2005

Gomery Explosion

Gomery Explosion

Political Staples is all over this. Apparently the testimony in the Gomery Inquiry on Friday was so explosive that it may bring down the present Liberal government.

Some background for my non-Canadian readers: after the 1995 separation referendum in Quebec, which was only narrowly won by the Non side (ie less than 50000 votes in a province of seven million) the federal (Liberal) government under then-prime minister Jean Chretien set up a "sponsorship" fund, basically paying ad agencies to plaster the word Canada at various cultural and sporting events around Quebec. According to Chretien, this was done in the hopes of "saving the country". Don't ask me how that was supposed to make Quebecers feel better about Canada or prevent another referendum in the near term.

Auditor-General Sheila Fraser took a look at the sponsorship program and concluded that millions of taxpayer dollars had been spent for little or no actual work done - or simply disappeared. That triggered the Gomery Inquiry. Testimony at the inquiry over the last several months has implied that quite a bit of that money went straight back into Liberal Party coffers in the form of donations.

Journalist Andrew Coyne gave this sponsorship scandal the label Adscam, which has since stuck. Now, I obviously don't know what the testimony was on Friday due to the publication ban, but if the CTV is saying "disclosure would prove so devastating that Paul Martin's Liberal minority could fall if it became public" then it must mean that either (a) Jean Chretien or Paul Martin (or both) are directly implicated) or (b) money was directly funnelled from the taxpayers to ad angencies and right back to the Liberal Party or (c) the scandal is even worse than we have heard so far.

Monday in the House of Commons ought to be very interesting. Members of Parliament have privilege on the floor of the House, so they can ignore the publication ban. Look for the Bloc Quebecois to ask the PM some uncomfortable questions.

second blogiversary

second blogiversary

It's hard to believe that it has been two years since I started this little corner of the web. It looks like the readership has been climbing though, especially in this last month. What brings people here? Well, it sure hasn't been my semi-regular antiNASA rants. It hasn't been my links to various robot news sources either. Nor has it been my political commentary.

So, what happened in the last month? Why is it that at the beginning of March I had 1000 hits over an eleven month period, and another almost 500 since? A quick perusal of my sitemeter showed a ton of hits from Scandanavia right around the time of the women's world curling championship; it turns out that this site is at the top of the Google chart under the search term "Linn Gitmark sexy". I don't even have any pictures of her! I just said that she is gorgeous, that's all... and I had said that another curler was sexy... and that was a year ago fercryinoutloud.

Another big source of hits was the bit I wrote about Terri Shiavo a few days ago; I guess I have The Claire Files to thank for that.

And of course there was my little video; the file transfer site has now expired, but I am still working on it from time to time. When I get that video done I will most likely re-render it using POVray, so that the picture quality turns out a little more photo-realistic (ie better shadowing, no aliasing etc.).

So what's in store over the next year for this blog? Well, I'm working on a few little projects, at least one of which is sure to ruffle some feathers in the aerospace industry. I may even have the occasional worthwhile thing to say. Stay tuned.