120 calories

What does 120 calories look like?

(hat tip: “Jeremy Zawodny”:http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/)

posted at 5:07 pm on Monday, July 30, 2007 in Links | Comments Off on 120 calories

no corn syrup

The no-corn-syrup diet | overstated

I love the venn diagram! (hat tip: “Jeremy Zawodny”:http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/)

posted at 5:06 pm on Monday, July 30, 2007 in Links | Comments Off on no corn syrup

Outsourcing the Picket Line – washingtonpost.com

I’m not sure if this is irony or hypocrisy. The Carpenter’s Union is outsourcing its picket lines to random people off the street, paying them $1 above minimum wage ($8/hr) to protest … low wages.

Outsourcing the Picket Line – washingtonpost.com

posted at 2:18 pm on Wednesday, July 25, 2007 in Current Events, Links | Comments Off on Outsourcing the Picket Line – washingtonpost.com

potter economics

Megan McArdle: Harry Potter: the economics

bq. The low opportunity cost attached to magic spills over into the thoroughly unbelievable wizard economy. Why are the Weasleys poor? Why would any wizard be? Anything they need, except scarce magical objects, can be obtained by ordering a house elf to do it, or casting a spell, or, in a pinch, making objects like dinner, or a house, assemble themselves. Yet the Weasleys are poor not just by wizard standards, but by ours: they lack things like new clothes and textbooks that should be easily obtainable with a few magic words. Why?

An interesting touch on the subject. It seems true that in the Potterverse, magic is free, something that never works very well for story telling. C.S. Friedman just published _Feast of Souls_, the first book in a trilogy based on the opposite extreme; the source (and cost) of magic is life force. in _The Magic Goes Away_, Larry Niven deals with magic as a finite resource, to interesting effect. There are lots of other examples in SF&F literature.

So why don’t we care about this inconsistency in Rowling’s work?

posted at 1:22 pm on Tuesday, July 24, 2007 in Current Events, Links | Comments (2)
  1. Nita says:

    Because nowadays, dissing Rowlings works in public is much like going to Rome and picking on the pope?

  2. Greg Wilson says:

    I think it goes something like this:

    1. Magicians can conjure up anything, so why would any of them be poor?

    2. Hey, if they can do that, why would any muggles be poor either? Or have diseases?

    3. Hm… Why are so many people in the real world poor/hungry/sick, when we could clothe/house/feed/cure them if we wanted to?

    4. This train of thought is making me uncomfortable, so I’m going to stop worrying about it and get back to the story.

lessons of history

From Bruce Schneier’s security weblog:

bq. Here’s a “clip”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xs3SfNANtig from an Australian TV programme called “The Chaser”. A Trojan Horse (full of appropriately attired soldiers) finds its way past security everywhere except the Turkish consulate.

bq. At least they remember their history.


posted at 7:30 pm on Monday, July 16, 2007 in Current Events, Humour, Links | Comments Off on lessons of history


This sounds familiar:


posted at 10:58 am on Monday, July 16, 2007 in Links, Personal | Comments (1)
  1. Nita says:

    A-yup. Painfully so.

tab dump

Not worth blogging individually, here is a bunch of links that I wanted to share:

* “Binary marble adding machine”:http://woodgears.ca/marbleadd/index.html – watch the video!
* “Chore Buster”:http://www.chorebuster.net/ – Web 2.0! enter people and chores, and it will automatically generate a ‘fair’ schedule and email it to you weekly!
* “flotsam”:http://edition.cnn.com/2003/TECH/science/05/28/coolsc.oceansecrets/index.html – rubber duckies travel from the pacific to the atlantic via the arctic ocean! – see also “Beach Comber’s Alert”:http://www.beachcombers.org/
* “War on Clutter”:http://www.43folders.com/2007/07/02/war-on-clutter/
* “Teach Your Kids to Clean Their Own Rooms”:http://www.curbly.com/badbadivy/posts/1058-Teach-your-kids-to-clean-their-own-rooms

posted at 3:03 pm on Wednesday, July 04, 2007 in Links, Personal | Comments (2)
  1. Helge Koch says:

    Friday, 20 July 2007, Globa and Mail lead article on page two, all about the rubber duckies arriving in England. This is getting global and more fun. May be on the Globe website, but I cannot find it. Helge

  2. chk says:

    I found this article in the Daily Mail, as well as numerous others…


steam trek

Star Trek meets “Steampunk”:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steampunk.


If I knew more about 19th century Science Fiction I could use this as a campaign seed… :-)

posted at 10:19 am on Saturday, June 09, 2007 in Gaming, Humour, Links | Comments Off on steam trek

Fantastic Toronto

Toronto is a happenin’ place! A list of SF&F stories set in Toronto:

Fantastic Toronto

Someday I’ll have to go through the list and figure out which ones I’ve read.

I liked the thematic lists at the end of the page:

bq. *Vampires*: Nancy Baker, “Cold Sleep,” “Exodus 22:18,” The Night Inside and Blood and Chrysanthemums; Stephanie Bedwell-Grime, The Bleeding Sun; Robert Boyczuk, “Doing Time”; E.L. Chen, “Fin-de-siècle”; all of Tanya Huff’s Blood novels plus seven related stories; Karl Schroeder, “Dawn.”

bq. *Werewolves*: Kelley Armstrong, Bitten and Broken; Don Bassingthwaite, Breathe Deeply, Pomegranates Full and Fine, and As One Dead; Sara Joan Berniker, “My Mother in the Market”; Tanya Huff, Blood Trail.

bq. *Zombies*: Kelley Armstrong, Broken; Tony Burgess, Pontypool Changes Everything.

posted at 7:07 pm on Tuesday, May 29, 2007 in Books, Links | Comments Off on Fantastic Toronto


I’m apparently totally out of the loop these days.

Bill Amend announced that he was pulling back, moving Foxtrot to Sunday Colour only as of December 31, 2006, and I only just noticed this week!

Universal Press Syndicate: News Release

posted at 1:24 pm on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 in Links | Comments Off on foxtrot

high power job

This guy has an unusual and amazing job: inspecting operating power lines. The video is cool enough to share:

glumbert.com – High Power Job

(via “Ned Batchelder”:http://www.nedbatchelder.com/blog/200705.html#e20070514T163107)

posted at 8:19 am on Tuesday, May 15, 2007 in Links | Comments Off on high power job


First tropical storm of the year: “Andrea”:http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/text/refresh/MIATCPAT1+shtml/091443.shtml on May 09, 2007. And so begins another year of watching hurricanes…

(with my luck the remnants of a hurricane will blow through Atlantic Canada when we’re supposed to be on the ferry between NS and NF…)

posted at 11:04 am on Thursday, May 10, 2007 in Current Events, Links | Comments Off on first

culture of fear

AlterNet: Rights and Liberties: Culture of Fear: Poetry Professor Becomes Terror Suspect

bq. Because of my recycling, the bomb squad came, then the state police. Because of my recycling, buildings were evacuated, classes were canceled, the campus was closed. No. Not because of my recycling. Because of my dark body. No. Not even that. Because of his fear. Because of the way he saw me. Because of the culture of fear, mistrust, hatred and suspicion that is carefully cultivated in the media, by the government, by people who claim to want to keep us “safe.”

“Bruce Schneier”:http://www.schneier.com/ has been collecting a bunch of these stories lately. His point is less about civil liberties, though. If police and emergency services are kept this busy chasing false alarms, it’s that much easier for the real criminals to slip past unnoticed…

I’ve linked to some of his recent entries:

* “A Rant From a Cop”:http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/04/a_rant_from_a_c.html
* “Stage Weapons Banned”:http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/04/stage_weapons_b.html
* “How Australian Authorities Respond to Potential Terrorists”:http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/04/how_australian.html
* “Another Boston Terrorism Overreaction”:http://www.schneier.com/blog/archives/2007/04/another_boston.html

posted at 7:46 pm on Wednesday, April 25, 2007 in Current Events, Links | Comments Off on culture of fear

the whiz

Now all of the women I know can “pee standing up like a man”:http://www.whizbiz.com.au/ …

What _will_ they think of next?

(In all seriousness, I can see a use for this; many public washrooms are truly disgusting places that _I_ wouldn’t want to park my buttocks in…)

posted at 3:13 pm on Tuesday, April 17, 2007 in Health, Humour, Links | Comments Off on the whiz

morning smile

Why the treasure ships from the Americas were allowed to skip Customs: no one inspects the Spanish acquisition!

(Shamelessly stolen from “olletho”:http://olletho.livejournal.com/381557.html)

posted at 11:04 am on Monday, March 05, 2007 in Humour, Links | Comments Off on morning smile

Pachelbels Canon

As seen in the Pachelbels Canon – CollegeHumor video, it really is everywhere.

Maybe you have to be a bit of a music geek, but I laughed myself silly over this one…

posted at 11:00 pm on Monday, February 19, 2007 in Humour, Links | Comments (1)
  1. Heck, I even heard that routine while I was riding on the bus a couple of weeks ago — one of the local radio stations rebroadcast it.

    (Wandering through from Out of Ambit)

house of the future

The house of the future: complete computer control.

bq. The House of the Future: Complete Computer Control

bq. As Don Sheppard punches his special code into the electronic keypad at the entryway, a monotone computer voice says, “Welcome-home-Don-come-rightin.’ The front door then glides open.

This is from a 1983 issue of Creative Computing. It amuses me that the “House of the Future” articles haven’t changed all that much since then. The technology has improved (“Insteon”:http://www.insteon.net/ by “SmartLabs”:http://www.smartlabsinc.com/ is pretty cool) but it’s still to expensive (and too geeky) for the average home buyer. Because retrofits are so hard (and labour intensive == expensive), this stuff is best installed by the homebuilders, but there’s no demand…

posted at 9:38 am on Friday, February 16, 2007 in Links, Science and Technology | Comments Off on house of the future

a couple of wordpress plugins

After reading “Rick Klau’s weblog”:http://www.rklau.com/tins/archives/2007/02/06/more-on-the-site-update.php I installed a couple of useful WordPress plugins:

* “404 Notifier”:http://alexking.org/projects/wordpress
* “Redirection”:http://www.urbangiraffe.com/plugins/redirection

They’ve already found a few errors within my website, and a few dangling URLs leftover from the days when I converted my Movable Type URL format. Recommended to my fellow WordPress users…

posted at 7:28 pm on Saturday, February 10, 2007 in Links, Site News | Comments Off on a couple of wordpress plugins


Via “Ned Batchelder”:http://www.nedbatchelder.com/blog/200702.html, I am now reading indexed, a collection of tongue-in-cheek venn diagrams and charts by Jessica Hagy.

I laughed myself silly reading the first page, so I thought I’d share…

posted at 10:39 pm on Friday, February 09, 2007 in Humour, Links | Comments Off on indexed

guessing better than planning

Why Career Planning Is Time Wasted

bq. One group has to choose which sandwiches they want for an entire week in advance. The other group gets to choose which they want each day. A fascinating thing happens. People who choose their favourite sandwich each day at lunchtime also often choose the same sandwich. This group turns out to be reasonably happy with its choice.

bq. Amazingly, though, people choosing in advance assume that what they’ll want for lunch next week is a variety. And so they choose a turkey sandwich Monday, tuna on Tuesday, egg on Wednesday and so on. It turn out that when next week rolls around they generally don’t like the variety they thought they would. In fact they are significantly less happy with their choices than the group who chose their sandwiches on the day.

posted at 4:58 pm on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 in Links | Comments Off on guessing better than planning
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