Monday, October 31, 2005

Poor, Lonely Maureen Dowd

Poor, Lonely Maureen Dowd

Maureen Dowd wrote a long, sad essay in the New York Times the other day, entitled "What's a Modern Girl to do?" - basically bemoaning the fact that she is 53, unmarried, and childless. The essay has received lots of attention from various bloggers, like Ann Althouse, Roger L. Simon, The Anchoress, Steve Sailer, Matt Drudge, and I'm sure plenty of others. MoDo's basic thesis of the essay was that men don't want her because she's just too successful:

"... a primal fear of single successful women: that the aroma of male power is an aphrodisiac for women, but the perfume of female power is a turnoff for men. It took women a few decades to realize that everything they were doing to advance themselves in the boardroom could be sabotaging their chances in the bedroom, that evolution was lagging behind equality."

Now, from the look of her picture (top), she's actually a fairly attractive-looking woman; comparable to Buffy The Vampire Slayer beauty Alysson Hannigan (below), which is quite something considering that she's 53. So, the reason for her single status is not her looks. And really, it isn't that she is intimidating either. A columnist for the New York Times? Big Deal. It isn't like she's a brain surgeon or an astronaut.

No, the big clue as to why Maureen Dowd is still single might be found elsewhere: this essay is taken from her soon-to-be-published book, "Are Men Necessary: When Sexes Collide".

Miss Dowd should know that if you don't think men are even necessary, then it shouldn't be a big surprise that men can't be bothered to waste their time with you. Maybe that coupled with the fact that her essays (which are after all a reflection of the way her mind works) are uniformly sarcastic and snarky might have something to do with the fact that she's all alone.

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new cartoons

new cartoons

I have added a number of new cartoons to the blog. New at the bottom of the page are B.Z.Toons, Frenetic Wanderings, Rules for Duffers, The Cynic, Rockwood, and Unemployed. Also, there is now a button in the left sidebar that will pop up the daily Andertoon. I may be adding a few more over the next few days. Sorry if you've got a slow internet connection.

Update: I've also added Prune Juice. Yummy. Good for the digestion too. And as Worf said, a drink worthy of a Klingon.

Update 2: And just like that, the Cynic is gone. Dude, couldn't you have gone at least a couple of days without dropping the F-bomb?

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a mistake?

a mistake?

In an interview with USA Today at the end of September, NASA administrator Mike Griffin said that the Space Shuttle and International Space Station were mistakes:

Asked Tuesday whether the shuttle had been a mistake, Griffin said, "My opinion is that it was. ... It was a design which was extremely aggressive and just barely possible." Asked whether the space station had been a mistake, he said, "Had the decision been mine, we would not have built the space station we're building in the orbit we're building it in."

This was followed a few days later by a clarification email sent to agency employees. Griffin's USA Today interview had caused a firestorm within the agency, and he sought to put that fire out with the email:

"I was asked by an interviewer if shuttle had been "a mistake," and I provided my answer, which addressed the difficulty of the design challenge and the paucity of funds with which it was undertaken. This answer was given in the article, and was quoted correctly. But the use of words such as "mistake" and "blunder," as well as the overall pejorative tone of the article, was not reflective of my remarks nor of the general context of the discussion."

So basically, Griffin was quoted correctly as saying that the Space Shuttle and ISS were mistakes, but that what he said wasn't really what he meant. Following up on that today in The Space Review, Eric R. Hedman asks the following:

Regardless of whether or not Michael Griffin was correctly quoted still begs the question, "Were the shuttle and the ISS mistakes?"

His conclusion? Neither has been a resounding success, both driven more by politics than science or actual space exploration:

Decisions on both programs were made on factors that included many that had nothing to do with technical issues, scientific merit, or economic value. Jobs in key congressional districts, politics, and international relations have also been key factors.

Sounds like a mistake to me.

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Sunday, October 30, 2005

When you're asking for 104 billion dollars...

When you're asking for 104 billion dollars...

... the very first thing you should do is make sure your accounting is perfect. Florida Today reports that:

"...NASA has accomplished just three of 45 recommendations made by the GAO to repair its fiscal management, and has partially completed 13 others.

Unless the problems are resolved, it's certain NASA's moon plan will experience huge cost overruns, just as the International Space Station is at least $15.2 billion over budget.

For that reason, NASA shouldn't expect to get public and political support for the moon plan until it can account for every taxpayer dime."


And from SpaceDaily:

"The lack of reliable, day-to-day information continues to threaten NASA's ability to manage its programs, oversee its contractors and effectively allocate its budget across its numerous projects and programs," said Gregory Kutz of the GAO.

If NASA doesn't pull its collective head out of ... a dark place ... then the agency is liable to wind up in the sights of the Porkbuster movement.

Remember the Mars Climate Orbiter that NASA lost in 1999? A 125 million dollar spacecraft wasted because someone in NASA couldn't convert between English and Metric units. And now it turns out that they can't even do their own accounting, having failed four GAO audits in the last five years.

Mathematics is essential to launching or designing rockets. What good is a space agency that can't do math?

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scrolling blogroll

Update: I made an easier-to-implement version of the scrolling blogroll and posted the code here. This should work for any type of blogging software or any website, and works in IE6, Firefox, and Opera.

Well, that's finally done. Took me long enough.

I'd been searching for the last several days for a way to make my various blogrolls take up less space. I wanted to move them to the right hand sidebar so that I could eventually include some ads on both sidebars, but I didn't want them to start running into the cartoons at the bottom of the page. So, I had to put them into scrolling boxes.

I liked the way that Angry in the Great White North did his blogrolls, but I couldn't see how he did it, as his style sheet is separate from his blog. However, with a little searching through his source, I managed to find the URL for his style sheet and then was able to see how he did his scrolling blogrolls.

His was the only blog I had seen that did blogrolls in this way. There was surprisingly little on the net in the way of documentation to do this technique. So, if anyone else wants to do the same thing with their blogrolls, they are going to run into the same problems that I did. Therefore, I decided to post the necessary code here.

First, in between the style and /style tags in your blog template, include the following lines:



In the above code, the "scrollbar-etc" parts determine the colour scheme of the scrollbars: this only works in Internet Explorer. If you directly copy those codes into your own blog, you will see (in IE) blue sliders and white background. Adjust the hexadecimal numbers that follow to match to your own blog's colour scheme (colour codes can be found here). And of course, adjust the height and width parameters to suit your own blog as well.

Then, in the sidebar section of the body of your blog template, include these lines of code:



I hope to see more of this technique used by other blogs; some of those blogrolls are huge, and being able to scroll through them would be very nice; rather than having these incredibly lengthy lists that extend well beyond the bottom of blog entries.

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Saturday, October 29, 2005

sudoku (051029)

sudoku (051029)

Here it is Saturday again, so it is time once again for sudoku. Since the Saturday sudokus are supposed to be the toughest of the week, and since Thursday's was pretty tough, I've had to make this one especially devious. It's actually downright nasty; if you can solve this one at all, consider yourself a sudoku samurai.

The rules of sudoku: The puzzle board consists of a 9 by 9 grid, which is further divided up into nine 3 by 3 blocks. In each row, column, and 3x3 block, the numbers 1 through 9 each get written exactly once. The puzzle board generally starts with 18 to 30 of the cells in the grid already filled in. For those who need help, a short tutorial on how to solve sudoku puzzles can be found here.

To solve this puzzle, I suggest first saving the GIF on your computer. Then print it out and solve it in pencil, or if you don't feel like using paper, then solve it using a graphics editor such as Microsoft Paint.

If you solve this puzzle, time yourself and put your time in the comments. I will be posting the solution in a day or two. The winner receives a prize: nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States. Hey, so what if I'm not the President? Does that mean I can't nominate? Oh well. If you can figure this puppy out, then maybe the President should nominate you. I'm kinda hoping that Ann Coulter wins this one.

Update: Here's the solution. Yeah, I know, I know, this one was dastardly. Tuesday's will be easier, I promise.

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messing with the template

messing with the template

I'm going to be doing some things with the template of this blog over the next few days; the major change is that I will be going with a three-column blog rather than two columns. As a result, I am having to go back through all the pictures I have uploaded to this blog, mostly over the last 14 months or so, to make them all fit into the new (narrower) middle column. It's going to take a little while to get everything modified, but after I have done so I will be able to include some ads in the sidebar.

I'm also going to be adding two more cartoons to the blog; Andertoons will be available through a button in the sidebar, and B.Z.Toons will be at the bottom of the page along with the majority of my cartoons.

There will be a few other changes as well, some modifications to the blogroll code in particular. Anyhow, this will all mean that blogging will be light over the next few days while I spend time revamping the blog.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

sudoku (051027)

sudoku (051027)

Well, it's Thursday again, so time for another tough sudoku. This one took me 28 minutes to solve, see if you can do it faster. The winner of the Tuesday sudoku is Anonymous, with a time of 43 minutes.

That Anonymous guy sure gets around; I see him commenting everywhere. Does he do nothing but surf the net all day? ...but I digress...

The rules of sudoku: The puzzle board consists of a 9 by 9 grid, which is further divided up into nine 3 by 3 blocks. In each row, column, and 3x3 block, the numbers 1 through 9 each get written exactly once. The puzzle board generally starts with 18 to 30 of the cells in the grid already filled in. For those who need help, a short tutorial on how to solve sudoku puzzles can be found here.

To solve this puzzle, I suggest first saving the GIF on your computer. Then print it out and solve it in pencil, or if you don't feel like using paper, then solve it using a graphics editor such as Microsoft Paint.

If you solve this puzzle, time yourself and put your time in the comments. I will be posting the solution in a day or two. The winner receives a prize: Jeff Goldstein's famous barbequed armadillo recipe.

Update: the solution is here. And now for the armadillo recipe: barbeque it just like you would barbeque a pig. A pig with an armored back. And leprosy.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

the ultimate small car

the ultimate small car


Scientists at Rice University have created the world's smallest car. It is only 3 or 4 nanometers wide (about 1/20000th the width of a human hair), and has buckyballs (C-60 molecules) for wheels. The driving surface is a road made of gold atoms. Most nanomachines drag when moved across a surface like this, but the nanocar rolls on its wheels instead. The Rice team has also designed a nanocar that can be powered by light and a nanotruck that can haul a payload.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Liquid Water Found on Mars

Liquid Water Found on Mars

UPDATE: The post below is WRONG. The difference in the two images is not something on the ground. The right camera was indeed imaging the ground; however, on the image from the left camera, the bottom left corner of the image is actually a part of the robot itself: the leading edge solar panel. Hey, even I make mistakes. I'm going to leave the rest of the post as-is though; there's no point in saying "I was wrong" unless you can see what it is that I was wrong about.

Sir Charles Shults III has been doing lots of work over the last year and a half, analyzing the images being returned by the Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity. Among the more startling of his findings are that NASA has been editing the images to make the sky appear more red than it actually is, and that there is fossil evidence of multicellular marine organisms present.

His latest finding turns the prevailing orthodoxy about Mars on its ear. In a pair of images from Sol 50, he has spotted evidence of liquid water on the planet Mars today.

I have reproduced the images here. The first image was taken by Opportunity in Eagle crater with the left panoramic camera, using the violet (432 nm) filter, at about 12:01:24 local time.



The original image may be found at the NASA/JPL website here.

The second image was taken with the right panoramic camera, also using a violet (436 nm) filter, at about 12:02:48 local time, about 84 seconds later.



The original image at the NASA/JPL website is here.

Pay special attention to the bottom left corner of each image. In the first image there is something that absorbs violet light (and is therefore dark when viewed through the violet filter); it is missing in the second picture, exposing gravel underneath. Nothing else in the image has changed - no sand blown around. The only other differences between the two pictures is that they have been taken at slightly different angles, and in the second picture the camera was aimed a little bit to the right of the first image.

Full colour images of the area are available at Sir Charles' website.

The images clearly show something there, then not there anymore. That something is flat, bluer than the surroundings, and leaves without affecting anything else in the image. It is water.

So, what happened to it? Well, it either boiled/evaporated or else it soaked into the soil - probably a combination of both processes. Now, that puddle didn't last very long, which means that it wasn't likely there for very long before the first picture either. None of the other images from that Sol show puddles of water, so it was caused by a very localized event, most likely due to the spray of a geyser.

From this we can only conclude that there is water under the soil of Mars, very close to the surface, which occasionally is sprayed up by geyser action.

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sudoku (051025)

sudoku (051025)

Well, here we go again. I've decided to publish a sudoku puzzle three times a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. In any given week, the Tuesday puzzles will be the easiest, the Thursday ones a little harder, and the Saturday ones will be devilishly difficult.

The rules of sudoku: The puzzle board consists of a 9 by 9 grid, which is further divided up into nine 3 by 3 blocks. In each row, column, and 3x3 block, the numbers 1 through 9 each get written exactly once. The puzzle board generally starts with 18 to 30 of the cells in the grid already filled in. For those who need help, a short tutorial on how to solve sudoku puzzles can be found here.

To solve this puzzle, I suggest first saving the GIF on your computer. Then print it out and solve it in pencil, or if you don't feel like using paper, then solve it using a graphics editor such as Microsoft Paint.

Once again, if you solve this puzzle, time yourself and put your time in the comments. I will be posting the solution in a day or two. The winner receives a prize: the ability to gloat at all the other players.

Update: The answer is here.

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Monday, October 24, 2005

Wilma update

Wilma update

Well, the hurricane pretty much missed us here in Orlando. The winds are only about 40 knots (46 mph)(74 km/h) and we are getting about 2.2 inches (56 mm) of rain today. It doesn't look like Tropical Storm Alpha is going to come anywhere near Florida either, as it is already heading Northward and will be swallowed up by Wilma.

So Mom, don't worry, I'm fine.

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Sunday, October 23, 2005

Red Ensign Standard #30

Red Ensign Standard #30

Nicholas at Quotulatiousness has posted the latest Red Ensign Standard. Lots o' linky goodness, eh? Hopefully he'll get tons of hits for this; I know what a huge job it is to put together one of these linkfests, since I've done it twice in the last couple of months. Good job, Nicholas.

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recording industry paradigm shift

recording industry paradigm shift

Aizlynne linked to a woman who is self-producing her own records. Listening to Wing butcher such songs as Dancing Queen and Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds is pretty funny, but there is a serious side that is being overlooked. I think that this sort of self-published music is the wave of the future for the music industry.

Most bands don't make money from album sales unless they go platinum. A recording contract might be worth say a million dollars. Then the record company charges the band fees for recording the tracks, engineering, creation of a master, manufacturing, distribution, and so on.

If the album doesn't go platinum, the artist ends up - at best - coming out even. Usually, though, the artist ends up broke.

This was the way that albums were produced in the past, when it required a big company to make a set of master plates to press the vinyl. Now however, anyone can make a CD on their home computer. They can also do all their own recording and sound engineering with the right software, much of which is free.

One can even print out labels on toner transfer paper, transferring the image to a CD once it has been recorded. And an album jacket is just stiff paper, a laser printer can handle that easily too.

Distribution and marketing are greatly simplified with the internet as well. A band's website (such as this lady's) and internet ads leading back to that site are the marketing. Sales are by MasterCard or Visa or PayPal; distribution is via UPS or FedEx. With self-publishing, the CD doesn't even need to be burned until the order is placed.

The cost of producing an album drops down to the cost of the blank CDs (and that cost keeps dropping every year), some paper, internet access, postage, and time.

Wing is charging $5 for a CD plus $3 for shipping; it probably costs her three bucks per copy to make. It's only a little bit of profit per CD, but she's probably pulling in 10 to 20 times as much per copy as any (successful) artist who goes through a record company. Her risk is lower too; if she expects to sell ten thousand copies of her latest CD (Wing sings AC/DC) (!), but only ends up selling five thousand, she doesn't have to have the sunk cost of 5000 unsold copies sitting around collecting dust. A copy can be produced in a matter of minutes once she receives an order, so she only needs a stack of blank CDs. If they aren't used for the present albums, then those blanks can be used for future albums. She would break even on sales numbering in the low hundreds rather than hundreds of thousands.

Of course, file-sharing over the internet is a fact of life now. Any successful artist is going to have their songs shared. While record companies despise this practice (since they want to sell as many CDs as possible), for a self-published artist this is a good thing. Filesharing is viral marketing.

If a band makes money, it isn't from record sales, it is from the merchandise they sell at concerts: T-shirts, hats, keychains, coffee mugs, percentage of beverage sales, you name it. The concerts themselves are usually pretty much break-even; ticket sales pay for the travelling and show expenses. It is the three dollar T-shirt with the band's logo printed on it, sold for forty bucks, that makes Metallica its money.

Once musicians realize that they no longer need a record company to produce their albums, it will be all over for the record companies.

It isn't just record companies that should be sweating about this concept either. Movie studios should be looking over their shoulders, too. Inexpensive digital cameras are everywhere, computer animation gets better and cheaper all the time, and burning a DVD is no harder than burning a CD.

And again, it isn't really the DVD sales and rentals that make the money in movies, although those totals (including the theater release) can be substantial. The real money in movies is made the same way that the real money is made in music. I'll let Mel Brooks explain:


Yogurt: Merchandising, merchandising, where the real money from the movie is made. Spaceballs-the T-shirt, Spaceballs-the Coloring Book, Spaceballs-the Lunch box, Spaceballs-the Breakfast Cereal, Spaceballs-the Flame Thrower. [turns it on]
Dink, Dink, Dink, Dink, Dink, Dink: Ooooh!
Yogurt: [reacts to dinks] The kids love this one.
[a dink hands him a doll that looks likes Yogurt]
Yogurt: And last but not least, Spaceballs the doll, me. [pulls string]
Doll: May the schwartz be with you!
Yogurt: [kisses the doll] Adorable.


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Saturday, October 22, 2005

here comes Wilma

here comes Wilma

It looks like hurricane Wilma has finally moved off the Yucatan peninsula, which has been hit very hard over the last couple of days. Now it is heading for Florida at a stately pace of 2 miles an hour (4 km/h). Wilma hung around over the Yucatan about a day and a half longer than the NOAA expected.




The hurricane is slowly gaining strength again as it passes over the Gulf of Mexico, and is expected to increase in wind velocity from the present 100 miles an hour to about 110 mph when it passes over me here in Orlando. The chart above shows that it should hit Florida as a category 2 or 3 storm late Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Here's the latest visible-light satellite image of Wilma:



...and the latest infrared image:


I will be liveblogging this, my first hurricane, as long as I have an internet connection. If there is any damage nearby, I'll take pictures of it and post them here.

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robotic milkmaid

robotic milkmaid

I grew up on a ranch. Now, we didn't milk our cows very often, as they were beef cattle; Herefords don't produce as much milk as dairy cattle like Holsteins. We'd only milk our cows when there was a problem, such as when a cow lost its calf or got an udder infection. Since milking didn't happen often on our ranch, we had to do it by hand.

Dairy farms used to milk all their cattle by hand, but the process has become much more automated over the years. Even so, automatic milking machines required a human to monitor the process, to place the suction cups on each teat for instance.

Well, we've come a long way, baby. DeLaval has introduced a completely automatic robotic milking machine. Here's how it works:

When a cow decides that it needs to be milked, it walks into a special stall. An implanted chip identifies the cow, and athe program running the milking robot decides if enough time has elapsed since the last time the cow was milked. If so, then a trough containing dietary supplements pops out, giving the cow something to munch on. Then a robotic arm equipped with lasers and optical sensors finds and cleans each of the four teats, and attaches suction cups.

The flow of milk from each quarter is monitored and compared against that animal's past production record, providing early detection of disease. After a quarter has been drained, the suction cup pops off and retracts to a holder. When the animal is finished milking, the robotic arm sprays disinfectant on the udder, and the cow is released to the feeding area. The machine then cleans the stall with high-pressure water jets, and the suction cups are also cleaned and drip-dryed.

Video of the robotic milking machine is available here.

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sudoku (051022)

sudoku (051022)

Well, I figure you're not spending enough time on the internet. That's right, it's time once again for sudoku.

The rules of sudoku: The puzzle board consists of a 9 by 9 grid, which is further divided up into nine 3 by 3 blocks. In each row, column, and 3x3 block, the numbers 1 through 9 each get written exactly once. The puzzle board generally starts with 18 to 30 of the cells in the grid already filled in. For those who need help, a short tutorial on how to solve sudoku puzzles can be found here.

To solve this puzzle, I suggest first saving the GIF on your computer. Then print it out and solve it in pencil, or if you don't feel like using paper, then solve it using a graphics editor such as Microsoft Paint.

If you do this puzzle, please time yourself and leave your time in the comments. In a day or two I will post the solution to the puzzle.

Update: the solution for this puzzle is here.

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Friday, October 21, 2005

angry white males

angry white males

One of the funnier web comics out there is angry white males. As soon as Sean McCormick writes the necessary code for me to display his strip on my (or for that matter on any) blog, I'll be sure to add it. Here's a sample:



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where indeed

where indeed

Debbye at Being American in T.O. has a question for anti-war protestors:

"Where are all those human shields, anyway? They would protect hospitals and electrical stations under Saddam's rule but not under Iraq home rule? Couldn't they at least protect the defense lawyers for Saddam's trial?"

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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky

Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky

I was sent a link today to a story I vaguely recall hearing a few years ago. I don't know if it's for real or not, (update: it's an urban legend) but I got a good chuckle out of it:

When Apollo Mission Astronaut Neil Armstrong first walked on the moon, he not only gave his famous "One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind," statement but followed it up with several remarks to the other astronauts and Mission Control. Just before he re-entered the lander, however, he made the enigmatic remark, "Good luck Mr. Gorsky."

Many people at NASA thought it was a remark concerning some rival Soviet Cosmonaut.

However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs. Over the years, many people questioned Armstrong as to what the "Good luck Mr. Gorsky" statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled.

On July 5, 1995 in Tampa, Florida, while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26-year-old question to Armstrong. This time he finally responded. Mr. Gorsky had finally died and so Neil Armstrong felt he could answer the question.

Armstrong explained, "When I was a kid, I was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. My friend hit a fly ball that landed in the front of his neighbor's bedroom windows. My neighbors were Mr. & Mrs. Gorsky. As I leaned down to pick up the ball, I heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky, "Oral sex! You want oral sex?! You'll get oral sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!"


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Stallone doesn't have enough money

Stallone doesn't have enough money

Yes, just when you thought you'd seen the last of the Rocky movies, Sylvester Stallone crawls out from whatever rock he's been hiding under to bring you Rocky 6.

In tribute to the legendary Rocky Balboa I give you this brief musical interlude:

da dun dada dun dadadaaa dun dun
da dun dada dun dadadaaa dun dun
dun dadun dadun dadun DUN DUNNNNNN

dadnuh daaaaaaaah
duhnuh duuuunnnnn
dahnuh daaaaaaaah
duhnuh duuuunnnnn
nahnahlaaa na na na
duhnana nana nana DUN DUNNNNNN

(image via Caricature Zone)

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sudoku (051020)

sudoku (051020)

In a comment on this post at Small Dead Animals, Kelly said:

"Kate I swear if you posted the daily and weekend crosswords I would never again purchase a newspaper"

Well, I think that's a great idea - such a great idea in fact that I decided to add a regular puzzle here in my blog. Now, I don't have the patience to put together a crossword puzzle every day (but that could change). However, there is one puzzle that isn't a problem for me to put in here. That puzzle is sudoku (which means "number single" in Japanese). A puzzle of this type appears in the New York Post, USA Today, the San Fransisco Chronicle, the Orlando Sentinel, and the British national newspapers the Guardian and the Times.

The rules of sudoku are simple. The puzzle board consists of a 9 by 9 grid, which is further divided up into nine 3 by 3 blocks. In each row, column, and 3x3 block, the numbers 1 through 9 each get written exactly once. The puzzle board generally starts with 18 to 30 of the cells in the grid already filled in. For those who need help, a short tutorial on how to solve sudoku puzzles can be found here.

Don't worry about me running out of sudoku puzzles to post here, or seeing one you've already solved. If symmetries are taken into account, there are 5472730538 unique sudoku puzzles.

To solve this puzzle, I suggest first saving the GIF on your computer. Then print it out and solve it in pencil, or if you don't feel like using paper, then solve it using a graphics editor such as Microsoft Paint. In a day or two I will post the solution to the puzzle.

Update: the solution is here.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

wilma blows up

wilma blows up

Last night, Hurricane Wilma was a category 1 hurricane; this morning it has rapidly increased in strength, and is now a category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Wind speeds are now 175 miles per hour (280 km/h) and the central pressure is 882 millibars (88.2 kPa), making it the most intense hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin.




I'm in Orlando, Florida right now; Wilma should be directly overhead on Saturday at around 8pm. By that time it should have dropped down to a category 4 hurricane. Of course, yesterday the NOAA was predicting the Wilma would only reach category 2 before dying down, and instead it intensified, with the winds increasing by more than 60 miles an hour beyond what they had predicted.

Here's the visible-light image of Wilma from about two hours ago:



and the infrared image:



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Monday, October 17, 2005

subtly different

subtly different

Regular visitors to this blog will notice that the font size just got a whole lot smaller. I recently added the I am Pro-Victory blogroll to my sidebar; that particular script uses whatever size text that the links in the body of the blog uses, and so without the changes to the text size of those links I had blogroll running onto the body of the blog. So, I changed the text size for links, which immediately made the rest of the blog look screwy, with font sizes changing back and forth. I finally decided to go with a 13 point font for both the body of the blog and for the links. Even so, the Pro-Victory blogroll still overlaid on top of the body, and I had to adjust the width of the sidebar and the left margin of the body.

Well, now that's all done. I'm going to keep this format for a little while and see whether I get any complaints. Of course, I'm not done fiddling around with the format of the blog by any means. In a few weeks, Pyjamas Media will be up and running, so I'll be adding a second sidebar for ads. May as well try to make a few bucks doing this, right?

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saturn's moons up close

saturn's moons up close

The Cassini spacecraft has been taking lots of pictures of some of the moons of Saturn over the last few days. Cassini was particularly busy on October 11th, imaging three of the approximately gazillion moons. From October 11th, here is a picture of Telesto at a distance of 14630 km:



Also from October 11th, Dione at a distance of 22481 km:



and from a little further away, an image of Dione eclipsing Rhea. Rhea is the larger of the two but appears about the same size because it is 330000 km behind Dione:



Finally, on October 13th Cassini took this picture of Mimas at a distance of 710418km; it is the little dot on the edge of the ring. This picture is taken at a distance roughly equal to twice the distance from the earth to the moon.



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Why should we stay?

Why should we stay?

Barry Cooper says that Eastern Canada is driving Alberta out of confederation:

"And as for easterners, what do they fear? That the Crown in right of Alberta will let them freeze in the dark? No one proposes that Alberta move geographically, for heaven's sake, and Albertans will still sell easterners the oil and gas of their province -- at market prices, of course. They will do the same for the Americans or the Chinese, too.

And what is wrong with that? Do easterners need charity? Have they not received enough already? Have Albertans ever been thanked for their generosity? Or have they been despised as greedy rednecks? The answer to all such questions was summarized in a recent and widely reproduced column bearing the title Envy, thy name is Canada. Envy is not a political virtue. Nor is it a personal one, for that matter. Canadians should never lose sight of the fact that their envy will likely corrode their own will to exist as a political community, but it will bolster the will of Albertans to stay the course. In this anxious and worsening context, you can bet your boots that Albertans will both despise and scorn pleas to share the wealth, their resource wealth, in the name of distributive justice, the Kyoto Protocol, or national unity, none of which they trust in the slightest."
(hat tip to J. Franklin at Dispatches from the Western Alien Nation)

This column builds on Don Martin's recent National Post column, Jealousy, thy name is Canada and the Leon Harold Craig article Let's Get While the Getting's Good. From the latter article:

"The political reality Albertans need to face is that the sponsorship scandal is not an aberration, but the epitome of the Liberal party's secret of perpetual success; it is its norm, and unusual only in the combination of brazenness and clumsiness that allowed it to come to the public's attention.

However, it is the reaction of that public that reveals the depth of Canada's sickness. For as is now clear to even the meanest intelligence, the problem is not merely one of an arrogant, cynical ruling party that uses every unscrupulous and several criminal means to maintain its grip on power; nor that the bloated federal bureaucracies are thoroughly politicized, led by careerists who understand their self-interests to be wedded to Liberal party fortunes; nor that something similar is increasingly true of both the national police and the military establishments; nor that the opposition parties offer no credible alternative (as has become painfully obvious).

All that is true, but what makes Canada's political sickness practically incurable is that a substantial majority of the citizens east of Thunder Bay are essentially debased.

Like many hard truths people would prefer not to face, this bears repeating: a majority of eastern Canadians are not worthy of their civic heritage, as is shown by their passive acceptance of the revelations of the Gomery commission and their casual indifference to the Liberals' squalid shenanigans in Parliament.

...

Why stay? Why fritter away our resources to remain in association with eastern provinces so alien to us that demonizing Alberta - portraying it as rustic, benighted, intolerant, selfish - is the Liberals' most effective electoral strategy (as the recent federal election once again clearly showed).

Why stay? Consider Canada's position internationally: it has become such a nonentity that there is no advantage in remaining a part of it, and some serious liabilities resulting from the souring of our inescapable relationship with the United States.

...

What Albertans have to understand is that the present Canadian reality is profoundly prejudicial to the interests of our children and grandchildren - economically, culturally, morally, politically - and that there is no realistic prospect of it ever getting better in their lifetime.

Quite the contrary: there is every likelihood that it will only get worse, as Canada goes the degenerating way of Old Europe: stagnant, corrupt, spiritless, impotent."


Now, in the past I have written a couple posts detailing Alberta's frustration with Canada and urging Albertan independence. Those posts were enough to prevent my membership the Blogging Tories, as they don't want to associate with an Alberta Separatist. I hope this post doesn't get me kicked out of the Red Ensign brigade too; however, Alberta is all that is left of the Canada that flew the Red Ensign. The separation of Alberta from the rest of Canada may be the only way that the values of the Canada-that-was will be preserved.

Update: Western World Politics questions whether Canada is still strong and free. (hat tip to Warner)

Here's a sample:

"... the leftist social assault that has been waging since the 1960's in all Western states has taken a particularly heavy toll on Canada. One could argue the toll taken is on a par with the leftist moral ruins that we see in Scandinavia or the Netherlands, and many commentators would agree that Canada is the most left wing politically correct nation outside of Europe. Even many liberal American states look right wing in comparison to Canada. It's successive governments have all had very strong socialist tendencies, stifling the free enterpise that made the dominion great. Leftists in Canada have done what leftists everywhere in the West are doing; they dismantle the things that make a society stable and successful, introduce radical and sometimes bizarre social reforms to mould a society in their image, then stifle any criticism of their plans from anyone brave enough to object."

Upperdate: For those in the rest of Canada who think that I'm exaggerating, this October 16th 2005 Calgary Sun editorial should be cause to sit up and take notice:

"Preston Manning’s warning should not be taken lightly.

The Reform party founder this past week suggested the possible re-election of another Liberal government in Ottawa will spur separatist sentiment not only in Quebec but in Alberta.

...if Alberta’s grievances against the ingrained political establishment in Ottawa rise to the height of emotions in Quebec, it’s hard to see how our nation can hold together in such an uneasy alliance."


Look, if Preston Manning says the re-election of Liberals would spur a separatist movement, pay attention. This is the guy who crushed the PC party - did it on the slogan "the West wants in" - and who took a party from founding to being Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition in just ten years. This is no died-in-the-wool separatist.

But do I honestly think anyone in Ontario will pay attention? No, not really. What I expect is for Ontarians to say "Preston Manning? Redneck Fascist!" and go blissfully on their merry way, inevitably leading Canada down the path of dissolution.

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Sunday, October 16, 2005

dee-en-naynaynaynaynaynaynayyyy

dee-en-naynaynaynaynaynaynayyyy

Celestial Junk has a very funny history of religion.

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sticky situation

sticky situation

Sister Toldjah links to this story about a Swedish sperm donor being sued for child support. A similar legal situation exists in Australia, which is why that country has to search as far as Canada for men willing to be sperm donors; a couple years ago an Australian fertility clinic was giving away all-expenses-paid two week trips for men to Australia, in exchange for seven "donations" while in that country.

Heck, I damn near signed up for it myself (Canadian winters are cold). I decided against it because I figured if I was ever going to have kids, I wanted know them. This Swedish case makes me doubly glad I didn't travel to Australia.

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

the unseen genocide

the unseen genocide

Over at Feministe, Jill cheers on the efforts of Colombian abortion crusader Monica Roa.

In 1999, 173 people died of HIV in Colombia, 1841 died in motorcycle accidents, 19482 of heart attack, and 25812 were murdered. 183553 people died in Colombia that year.

The Economist article reprinted at Feministe states that on average 400 thousand women in Columbia have backstreet abortions every year. So in Colombia, more than twice as many people die due to being aborted by their mothers than all other causes combined.

No wonder the government of Colombia and the Catholic church are against abortion.

Most of what I have written so far in this blog post was part of a comment I wrote at that Feministe post. Now, I'm going to go a little further and look at places where abortion is legal: Canada and the United States.

218062 people died in Canada in the year 2000. In the year 1995 (the latest year for which I could find the data) there were 106658 abortions. Abortions are not counted among the mortality statistics. If they were, 1/3 of all deaths in Canada would be due to abortions.

A chart on the page at the latter link shows that for every 100 live births in Canada, there are 28 abortions; for the US, for every 100 live births there are about 34 abortions.

There were 1.29 million abortions in the United States in 2002, compared with 2403351 total deaths in the USA in the year 2000; those abortions are the equivalent of a September 11th every single day in the United States. In contrast, in the year 2000 there were 16339 murders in the United States, an average of 79 abortions for every murder.

In all three countries, abortion is by far the leading cause of death. More people are killed every year in abortuaries in the USA than were killed in the genocide in Rwanda back in 1994.

This is evil; there is no other word to describe it.

Update: The comments at Feministe are moderated, so my comment does not appear on that post. I guess that facts get too uncomfortable sometimes. That's ok, as I copied most my comment here to this post.

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Red Ensign Standard XXIX

Red Ensign Standard XXIX



Welcome back to my little corner of the blogosphere for this day-after-Thanksgiving edition of the Red Ensign Standard. I hosted Standard XXVI back in July, and liked the experience so much I decided to do it again. Let's get right to it; here are the top Brigade posts since September 26, 2005:


This first one gets its own category, as I don't think we do this enough: Temujin of West Coast Chaos thanks a veteran. C'mon people, it isn't just something to do on November 11th and then forget about for the rest of the year. Go down to your local Legion and do it today.


David Dingwall and Liberal corruption

The former president of the Canadian Mint (and prior to that, MP and cabinet minister) was in a lot of hot water from the blogosphere these last few weeks, resigning over allegations of padding his expense account - followed by the government's outrageous offer of severance pay totalling a half million dollars.

The Phantom Observer says that John McCallum is stuck on stupid when it comes to David Dingwall and that the Canadian government's scandal problems are only going to get bigger. The London Fog puts a pig's snout on David Dingwall and calls Paul Martin a liar. Stephen Taylor has lots to say about David Dingwall and the absurdity of paying severance to someone who has quit particularly under a cloud of corruption. Rootleweb came back to the topic of David Dingwall again and again. M.K. Braaten thinks David Dingwall might know too much. Keith at Minority of One is furious at David Dingwall. Just Between Us Girls has a theory on David Dingwall and hush money. Grandinite connects David Dingwall with the raping of watermelons. Andrew at Bound by Gravity says that David Dingwall is not entitled to severance pay. Angry in the Great White North piled on David Dingwall as well. A Chick Named Marzi takes the opportunity to laugh at Paul Coffin and the Liberal Party.

On related topics, Toronto Tory finds some shenanigans in the funding of Paul Martin's leadership bid. And finally, Chris at Striving Against Opposition thinks that the Martin government is nihilistic, a Seinfeldian/Neitzschean government about nothing. Shane at The High Places wonders at the minority government's ability to cling to power. M.K. Braaten thinks this sitting of Parliament should be an interesting one and theorizes that Stephen Harper has something up his sleeve. Meanwhile, the Raging Ranter says that Parliament has been neutered. Andrew at Bound By Gravity says that the Conservatives and the NDP ought to work together to defeat the Liberals. The Phantom Observer says that Ralph Goodale can take lessons in class from Stephen Harper. Enter stage Right has a message for Canadian conservatives.


Brian Pallister and Svend Robinson

No, they aren't getting married, silly. These two are characters in their own right though; Pallister for singing in the House of Commons and Robinson for wanting to return to the HoC after leaving in disgrace, having been caught on tape stealing a $25000 diamond ring for his boyfriend.

The Phantom Observer has a musical critique of Brian Pallister singing in the House of Commons as does Andrew at Bound By Gravity. Ray at Raging Kraut isn't surprised that Svend Robinson is musing a comeback and the Raging Ranter isn't surprised at the return of Svend Robinson either.


Serenity

Few non-political, non-tragic topics have captured the blogosphere this year as the movie Serenity, a film based upon the all-too-short-lived TV series Firefly.

Ith at Absinthe and Cookies saw Serenity - twice. Nicholas at Quotulatiousness loved the movie. Kate at The Last Amazon went out into the Black and took the tribe to see Serenity. I got into the act too and review the movie here.

In contrast, Chris of Taylor and Company thinks the movie Flightplan is junk.


Piglet, Saint George, and Islam

At first glance, one would think that the lovable character from Winnie the Pooh and the dragon-slayer had nothing in common. Well, over the last few weeks, they do.

John of Argghhh! joins the crusade to free Piglet. Kate at The Last Amazon's inner pig is roasting. John the Mad defends both Piglet and St. George. Alan at GenX at 40 asks how Al Qaeda could establish an empire. Canadian Comment has some advice for Muslims. Angry in the Great White North says that Norway has surrendered to Al Qaeda.

Keith at Minority of One is upset with Canadian ambassador to the USA Frank McKenna and Islamic terrorists.


Michaelle Jean

Keith at Minority of One fumes at the new Governor-General. Just Between Us Girls says that the new Governor General isn't showing too much in the way of smarts. John the Mad isn't impressed either.

The London Fog has some harsh words for former Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson.


hockey, football, and baseball

This is the time of year when Canadian wives lose their husbands to the TV and sports bar. With all three sports going on at once, it's a wonder they ever see their husbands in late September and early October.

Ace at Raging Kraut Ace welcomes the return of the NHL. Ryan at Blue Perspective gets off to a bad start in his hockey pool. ChrisCam finds solace in baseball so his world was crushed by the Chicago White Sox. Alan at GenX at 40 says Don Cherry has lost it. John the Mad plays Dodge the Scooter. Chris at Striving Against Opposition likes the new NHL rules and shares his hockey pool picks. The Meatriarchy also does some hockeyblogging. Enter Stage Right does some Monday night quarterbacking as A Chick Named Marzi laughs at some football players.

And while it isn't quite a sport, it is similar to hockey: Darcey at Dust My Broom talks about getting beat up and giving a beating in return.


Church and morality

Shane at The High Places has a dissection of "Emerging Church" complaints and points out why Christianity is unique. North Western Winds looks at an ad campaign by Australian churches and says that there are no pro-family political parties in either the US or in Canada. Keith at Minority of One is troubled by the ravages of social relativism. Rebecca at Doxology admires Mother Theresa and has some good advice from an old farmer. Angry in the Great White North has comments on both the Anglican Church and the Catholic Church. Finally, Ith at Absinthe and Cookies alerts us to the return of the Temperance movement.


MPs' gas allowances

Rootleweb had lots to say about the MPs' gas rebates. Hammer Into Anvil is miffed at the MPs' gas allowances.

Shane at The High Places asks for government to cut taxes rather than paying us with our own money and complains that government is pissing away our money studying a problem they have no interest in fixing (gas prices).


Cindy Sheehan

Angry in the Great White North must have a crush on Cindy Sheehan. Sometimes it seems like his blog is All Cindy All the Time. He posted so much about her in the last two weeks that his posts deserve a category of their own.


Miscellany

These last few weeks the Red Ensign Brigade has been all over the map as far as post topics go. Although I have attempted to categorize them all, it just isn't possible. So, here are the rest of the top posts of the last two weeks, all mashed together in one big pile of Thanksgiving stuffing:

Turning 30 and a Half is disappointed with her photography teacher, is afraid of spiders, likes the idea of merit badges for grownups, remembers her surgery as her niece goes through the same operation and thinks some happy thoughts.

Toronto Tory smirks at Carol Jamieson and her supposed "conservative" supporters and shows Liberal bias in the media (as if you needed more examples).

Tipper has found something nice (comparatively speaking anyway) to say about Ontario motor vehicle bureaucracy and Canadian healthcare.

The Phantom Observer says that underfunding of the Canadian Forces has taken a toll on its peacekeeping operations, that the guidelines for use of the government Challenger jets is in need of revision, that the blogosphere has a role to play in catching lies told to the Gomery inquiry, shows the differences in the selection of Supreme Court justices in Canada and the USA, and questions whether Canada's military could handle a Katrina-level disaster.

The Monarchist remembers the Battle of Trafalgar in a great many posts, and is spitting mad at the Prime Minister of New Zealand.

The Meatriarchy says that his readers are funny.

The London Fog thinks that the city of London, Ontario's garbage pickup plan is, well, garbage, doesn't like the idea of being forced to vote, promotes the Freedom Party of Ontario, is disinclined to believe that governments can solve anything, urges Bono to crawl back under a rock, says that France and Chicken just go together, that the CBC never sounded better than when they were on strike, that while criminals might grow marijuana, marijuana is not the cause of criminality, and how on some days, the London Fog hates Canada.

Kate at the Last Amazon alliterates: Keystone Cops brought to you by Kaddoumi, says happy birthday to Margaret Thatcher and questions whether Canada is more peaceful and law abiding than 30 years ago, or whether trauma medicine is just better.

Shane at The High Places asks if a Goliath is signing up to take on David in Surrey North.

The Freeway to Serfdom dreams of a free-market freeway and says that if a loved one goes missing in Vancouver, forget calling the police. Hire a private investigator instead.

The Conservative Hipster welcomes Janeane Garofalo to The West Wing and calls Toronto the capital of lost opportunity.

Chris of Taylor and Company says that the average Canadian citizen is grossly ignorant about the army, that the crash of Air France flight 358 could have been avoided, but disses the Toronto Star's suggestions as to how, and takes to the streets in search of a good book.

Stephen Taylor expressed hopes that Peter McKay would stay with the federal Conservative party, hopes which were answered in the affirmative, and rails against hooligans at the Queen's University homecoming.

Rootleweb calls for fixed election dates and says that Canadians have forgotten what the concept of justice means.

I play with Katherine Harris's photograph, have a picture of the 10th planet and its newly-discovered moon, point out the new breathing tax, and have some stills from a totally cool (and probably fake) video of a meteor striking mere meters from the camera.

Paul at Ravishing Light still isn't dead and says that in the US, a life sentence once again means a life sentence.

The Raging Ranter says that Canada has the best health-care system in the world, as long as you're not a human.

At Raging Kraut, Ray has some thoughts on the 15th anniversary of the reunification of Germany.

Nicholas at Quotulatiousness talks about the right to die, questions the end of oil, laughs at the idea that news organizations are objective and has a synchronicity moment at lunch.

North Western Winds questions a British reporter's journalistic integrity, looks at the politics of paranoia and the philosophy of biology and critiques Ayn Rand.

Jason at Musing asks why people still look to the government for disaster relief, takes the ALF to the woodshed for threatening preschoolers, and shows that for the amount being requested by Louisiana senators, the US could buy 10 to 15 Nimitz class aircraft carriers, complete with 51 aircraft each.

Just Between Us Girls looks at an impending Rural Revolution.

Italics Mine sees something sinister about the UN's attempts to take over the internet root servers from the USA, mocks Donald Sutherland, and laughs at the supposedly "brutal" winters in Afghanistan.

Hammer into Anvil reviews Eric Idle's latest book. He also calls for the privatization of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario.

Grandinite sees FedEx as a global economic indicator, asks why the taxpayer-funded CBC has commercials, posts some truck porn, has a theory on why Canadian blogs haven't yet had their Dan Rather moment, says that a surplus of lawyers in politics creates a surplus of laws, talks about Albertan plans to build a nuclear power plant for the heat to extract oil from the tar sands, and eats a llama.

Alan at GenX at 40 agrees with David Frum and takes a swipe at futurists.

Enter Stage Right says "duh" to Sunni Iraqis, explains why England lost its empire and takes the road to hell.

Dust My Broom had a murderer living next door, finds that Canadians and Americans are more alike than we think, says that PETA kills animals, has pizza with Joe Volpe , shows that money won't buy happiness, has thoughts on urban reserves, has a list of reasons to like Canada, warns of yet another change to Canada's flag looks at the federal government's attempts to buy native votes, and asks why work if you can make a better living on welfare?

Huck at BumfOnline had a great time at the Arcade Fire show at the university of Calgary.

Andrew at Bound By Gravity gets rid of Microsoft Office, looks at the cynicism of Canadians regarding the federal surplus, and points out that if global warming is caused by people, then Kyoto is the exact wrong approach.

Ryan at Blue Perspective wishes Margaret Thatcher a happy birthday and has a good swift kick in the ass for ruffians at Queen's University.

Babbling Brooks has given up blogging.

Asiapundit says that South Korea is likely to nominate one of their own to be the next UN Secretary-General, visits a Korean sex museum and admires one woman who is standing up to North Korea.

CW4BillT of Argghhh! remembers the good old days of Hollywood Squares and rules of engagement. John of Argghhh! talks about milbloggers' rules and is troubled by a lack of clarity on the treatment of detainees.

Anthroblogology does some underwater photography.

Angry in the Great White North highlights moonbattery in American schools
and animals in the same schools. He also has fun with bigamy and Ward Churchill.

Rue at Abraca-pocus reveals some wisdom from her children, smells like a cupcake, and shows her boobies to the world.

A Chick Named Marzi takes a swipe at Al Gore and at Donald Sutherland.
Rebecca at Doxology buys a workout DVD.

That's it for this edition of the Standard. Nicholas at Quotulatiousness will be hosting the Red Ensign Standard XXX (that's the Roman numeral for 30, you perverts) in two weeks' time.

Oh yeah, one last thing. Be sure to go over to Small Dead Animals for the Small Dead Blog Awards, and vote for me under the category of Weirdest Canadian Blog. With your help, I just know I can beat Buckets of Grewal.

Update: Now listed on the TTLB ├╝bercarnival.

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Monday, October 10, 2005

we have a winner

we have a winner

The Stanford University team's entry, "Stanley", has won the DARPA Grand Challenge. It completed the complicated 132 mile desert route in 6 hours, 53 minutes. Not bad at all for a machine whose only driver is a computer; no human intervention at all. This same technology can be applied to rovers on other planets or for autonomous vehicles on the battlefield. It is also a fun way to earn 2 million dollars. Well done, Stanford.

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I'm so far behind I think I'm in first place

I'm so far behind I think I'm in first place

Happy Thanksgiving, Canada.

Today I was supposed to be hosting the Red Ensign Standard. However, I have procrastinated, and didn't start working on it until Saturday. I'm about half to two-thirds done. Rather than release a sub-Standard, I am going to wait until tomorrow morning to finish it. My apologies to the other members of the Red Ensign Brigade.

Update, 9am Mountain Time: Well, I finally made it through the Red Ensign blogroll, so anything posted after now will not make it into this edition of the Standard and will have to wait for Red Ensign Standard XXX. Now I only have to put it all together in to some kind of a coherency.

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perspective from Down Under

perspective from Down Under

I received an email today from someone I have never met in Australia. I assume that this person is a reader of my blog. Warner has some interesting things to say to Canadians, and I have to agree with him (her?). I think most Albertans would agree with him too, and that most Quebeckers and Ontarians would disagree. And, I couldn't say it better myself. Here's what he wrote:

"I can’t help remembering how much affinity I used to feel with Canada, as an Australian of Scottish parents growing up after the war I would get a Christmas card from a distant aunt who lived in Canada & it seemed, despite the different climates of our two countries, that we were somehow from the same pioneering stock of people with common blood ties & attitudes who pulled our own weight & didn’t sit around theorizing while the ship drifted toward the rocks. I have to say that I no longer have that same respect for Canada because it seems to have gone the same way as New Zealand in our hemisphere or the Irish Republic in the British region. The three nations I’ve mentioned are comfortable with themselves in reducing their armed forces to the levels of a national guard, happy in the knowledge there’s a big brother nearby willing to overtax their citizens to defend themselves & their freeloading neighbours . New Zealand is forever criticizing Australia’s foreign policy & our alliance with the U.S. & is all so “progressive & inclusive “, judgmental & self righteous without ever having to demonstrate that their utopian concepts work. I suspect from what I read on American blogs that Canada has taken up the same superior position vis a vis the U.S. My advice is ….Stop it!....if you want to be respected in the world because living under the “umbrella of safety” with a holier than thou attitude is not a good look. Let the eunuch not pride himself in his chastity."

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