Monday, January 31, 2005

Fractal

What does it look like to you?
I've added a couple more fractal pieces generated using Apophysis. This one -- shown in the thumbnail on the right -- took over twelve hours to render. It was worth it though -- I like it.

Unnatural Selection

Technology Review
MIT's Technology Review has a good summary of the genetic algorithms [PDF] and their adoption to create real world products. (I've posted previously on this topic.) Evolutionary algorithms, genetic algorithms or genetic programming -- by whichever name they go by, they all amount to the same thing -- using the evolutionary principles of biology in software code to create the most functional product based on prescribed criteria. Just as in biology, genetic algorithms uses the traits of two parents to seed a child, allowing for random genetic mutation in the process of producing the child. The most successful parents are allowed to seed an offspring, and so, the computer does in seconds what biological evolution takes millions of years to complete. The result: children that improve over their parents over time. While the products produce are quite functional, often they're also bizarre in their design. Take an antenna designed for NASA's Space Technology 5 mission -- it's "a corkscrew contraption small enough to fit in a wine glass, yet able to send a wide-beam radio wave from space to Earth."

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Another fractal

Fractal Art
Another fractal generated with Apophysis. This one took over six hours to render. Does it usually take that long? I know I'm choosing high resolution images ... but over six hours? Anyway, this one looks a little blurred. That's how it was generated. I was OK with it. Is this art?

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Casshern

Casshern
I hope this Japanese movie is brought to North America -- translated of course. It looks like it's a visual treat. If you're into action movies that is. See the trailer via Apple's Japanese site, or read the review here.

First Fractal

Click to see the image.
OK, I just finished my first fractal piece. Is it art? You be the judge. It needs a name at the very least, so suggestions please. The image was done in Apophysis. It took some time. The rendering was over two hours -- what was surprising however, was that it didn't take advantage of both CPUs on my machine. I guess Apophysis is only coded for single threaded operations. Anyway, many thanks to J.A. Redwolf for introducing me to Apophysis.

Fractal Art

Fractal Art
Check out the cool fractal art of J.A. Redwolf -- stunning and beautiful art. The programs used to generate the fractals are Apophysis, a freeware application under GPL license, and Ultra Fractal, available for a small price. I'm almost inspired to give this a shot. I haven't played with fractals since the days of yore -- which was when DOS was king. This might end up being quite the time waster.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Global Aging

Global Economics: How Aging Nations Can Cope
The global population is living longer and having fewer kids. Thanks to the baby boomers, we've enjoyed unprecedented economic growth, personal wealth and health. Unlike their parents however, when the boomers became parents, they produced less children -- freeing much of their wealth to be spent on themselves -- further fueling the economic growth. But what happens when they reach retirement age?

The pessimist school of thought will have you believe that since there will be a smaller labour force to the retired population, we're heading for a world economic disaster. Less wealth created by the smaller labour force in the future, spread across an aging population that is expensive to maintain is not a good equation. Nations will fall. The industrialized nations won't be the only ones impacted -- the emerging economies are also heading rapidly into the same crisis. It's a compelling argument.

The optimists however, have a different view. They're placing their bets on the continuing rise in productivity. The belief is that as the labour pool shrinks and the aging population increases, the burden on our children will not rise because they will be far more productive than we were. They will therefore create more wealth than we ever had, and will therefore be able to fund our stay in convalescence homes

What future you expect of course, depends on your outlook. There's evidence to support both the optimists and the pessimists -- and since we've never experienced anything like this in the past, we have no reliable models to depend on. If you want to bet on the safe side however -- and there is a safe side -- I'd place myself in the pessimist camp -- prepare for a frugal future and save some money. And if you're wrong -- well, that's good news too.

Check out the BusinessWeek cover article, and see the links below for more on this topic.
  • McKinsey Global Institute -- The Coming Demographic Deficit: How Aging Populations Will Reduce Global Savings
  • Knowledge@Wharton -- Older Workers: Untapped Assets for Creating Value
  • World Economic Forum -- International Pension Readiness Report Finds Most Major Industrial Countries Unprepared for Coming Crisis and Pension Readiness Report by Country
  • The Macroeconomic Implications of Aging in a Global Context [PDF] -- this is a PDF document, even if the extension is wrong.
  • Federal Reserve Bank -- Live Long and Prosper: Challenges Ahead for an Aging Population [PDF]
  • Report to World Leaders: Findings and Recommendations of the Commission on Global Aging [PDF]
  • Population Change and Economic Growth: The Long-Term Outlook [PDF]
  • Thursday, January 27, 2005

    Linux Inc.

    Linux Inc.
    The latest BusinessWeek has an excellent cover article on Linux, Linus Torvalds and the open source movement. It's not that much different from the many publications on the topic in recent times. Linux has hit its stride, even with the SCO suit, and continues to make big strides into the server and desktop market. Big organizations are taking notice and joining the movement, as they see the business potential of pooling resources and sharing the costs of developing what has become commodity infrastructure for the IT industry. If you've never had a peek into how the open source movement works, what Linux is all about and why IBM is setting itself up to be its Uncle, then this article will serve as your grounding introduction.

    Information Clearing House

    It may be left-wing, liberal and very one sided -- but when stacked up against the 'Bush-Administration-can't-do-anything-wrong' reports from CNN and FOXNews, it's quite refreshing -- not to mention disturbing. If you believe in his holiness, George W., can do no wrong, this site will not change your opinions. Unfortunately, many of us are already firmly entrenched in our opinions, and nothing can change our minds -- no matter how hard reality shakes us. For those of you who are constantly being proven wrong, yet continue to bury your head in the sand, look at the world you've helped to create.

    Error Message Generator

    A fun way to waste some time. Generate your own error messages -- oh, the amusement -- if you have an imagination that is.

    New Photos

    Click for Vol. 30 of Nature Pics!
    This past Sunday, my wife and I braved -20s temperature to get some winter shots at the Sunnybrook Park. It didn't take long before my camera went dead. I have to get new batteries. Her's need new rechargablables as well. It's amazing how fast the cold takes the energy out of the batteries. The cameras succumbed before we did.

    Out of Context

    This out of context gem harks back to last week, a lifetime ago. I was off recovering from a self-diagnosed stomach-flu -- but never fear -- intrepid informants are always listening! Always!

    "No, as long as it's soft I think I'm okay." - JD.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2005

    I'm a Nerd ... but not too much.

    I am nerdier than 71% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!
    OK, I had to find out. It's silly -- I gave in to temptation. So should you.

    Aid by the Numbers

    An update on the givers is captured by CBC News. Australia still at the top, with the most given in total dollars of $1 billion Canadian -- although on a per capita basis, Kuwait beats them all at $53.23. Total donated to date by all countries: $5 billion US.

    Tsunami - 1 Month Ago

    One month ago, a tsunami hit Asia. Today, nearly 300,000 are dead as a result. The mourning continues. The rebuilding continues. And for some, the opportunity to profit continues to be exploited. Hot on the black market is amateur videos of the disaster, including grisly scenes that would never make broadcast, and producers apparently can't keep up with the demand. This one is so disgusting, I'm actually at a lost for words.

    Driving at Night

    I was curious. So on Saturday night when I went to pick up my daughter from work, I took the camera. This is what resulted. See more on my photoblog.

    Driving at Night

    Tuesday, January 25, 2005

    Business Plan Archive

    The Internet boom to bust lasted 6 years. 6 years of glory and agony. Now the past can be relived -- yes, in all its glory and agony. History is being served up for the future to learn from. The Business Plan Archive aims to be an online repository of business plans and related planning documents from the dot.com era. Now future entrepreneurs can have a leg up to get their ideas, products and services to market. Whether they go from boom to bust, or succeed is another matter.

    The Man Who Would Live Forever

    TR Cover
    MIT's Technology Review has a great, well written article on Aubrey de Grey, the man who would live forever. The Cambridge University computer scientist provides computer support for a genetics research team for his "day job" and dabbles in life extension science for his obsession. It is for his obsession that de Grey has earned worldwide fame, respect and a following. de Grey firmly believes that humankind need not die. He believes that we should be able to live for thousands of years, and given the choice, expects most of us would want it. It is in our nature he believes, for us to not want to die.

    de Grey taught himself biology. He's never been in the lab, but is rather, a theoretician. He has published numerous papers on the subject of life extension -- many of which are co-written by giants in the field. He has outlined seven areas which must be conquered for humans to break the bonds of death, and what must be done to enable successful prolonging of life. The science behind his Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence is complex and only wistful thoughts for most biologists, yet de Grey believes that within the next 100 years, we can be successful -- in fact, he thinks that if we expend some effort now, we could achieve success in about 25 years.

    Is he crazy? Read more at MIT's Technology Review. [HTML] [PDF]

    Monday, January 24, 2005

    It's Winter!

    It's so cold, ice is forming on the inside of our windows!

    Winter on the Inside!

    Last Week in BusinessWeek

    I'm lazy, and tired. Too much to do, and too little time to do it in. So, I'll summarize from my subway reading last week. Here are some articles of note from the Jan. 24th issue of BusinessWeek magazine:

  • Apple's Bold Swim Downstream -- the latest from Macworld is gobs and gobs of new products. Notables include the iPod Shuffle and the Mac Mini. Jobs and company however, remain total bastards for wanting to sue the enthusiastic faithful. Stop being such a fucking control freak Steve.
  • One Way to Hammer at Windows -- ever wonder what's in it for IBM in their ongoing support for the open source movement? Why profits of course. And if Microsoft loses marketshare, well, they won't mind either.
  • Korea's LG -- back in the 90s, LG and Samsung were racing neck and neck to be South Korea's biggest export. The LG made a mistake and Samsung invested heavily in innovation and design. LG hasn't given up, and promises big things are in their future.
  • Hydrogen Cars Are Almost Here, But ... -- hydrogen fuel stations are few and far in-between. So what's a person to do? Buy a BMW H2R. It's not a fuel cell car, but BMW is hoping that it will fit the gap before we get to affordable and sustainable hydrogen powered cars. The engine in the H2R is capable of burning either hydrogen or gasoline -- although the hydrogen burning does produce nitrogen oxides pollution.
  • Get FirefoxThe Gnat Nipping At Microsoft -- in case you haven't heard, Firefox is kicking some IE butt! Join the ranks of the converted and never look back!
  • Sunday, January 23, 2005

    No Place to Hide, Robert O'Harrow

    No Place to Hide
    BusinessWeek has a review of Robert O'Harrow's No Place to Hide. The book looks at the surveillance society America has become, since 9/11. Not only is the government looking, checking, screening and handling quite a bit of information in secret -- so is private industry. Private industry has been doing some of that for a while, but now, in partnership with the government, their actions have been legitimize for the greater glory of fighting terror. Some private industries track more than just your financial trail -- they're "now able to provide lists of people who take Prozac for depression, believe in the Bible, gamble online, or buy sex toys." If you're gay, you may be worried about "the Gay America Megafle," containing some 700,000 names -- and a company named ChoicePoint, brags about its 250 terabytes of data on 220 million people.

    Should you be worried? Let's see: with governments, at least there is some degree of transparency, some degree of accountability to the public -- with private industry? The public doesn't know what information they have, what it is being used for, who it is being shared with, and -- if you want to know what they have on you, it's none of your business. They don't have to divulge anything. Worried about Total Information Awareness? How about Non-Obvious Relationship Awareness? What the government can't accomplish alone, because they're at the mercy of the public, they're soliciting industry to complete. Should you be worried? Damn right you should be worried. You don't know what profile your data is painting of you out there. You don't know what misinformation may be contributing to you being singled out as the next potential terrorist.

    New Photos

    Click to see the gallery!
    I've added a few new photos to my online gallery -- they were taken last weekend, downtown. Click to thumbnail to see the gallery.

    Saturday, January 22, 2005

    Terry Pratchett's Going Postal

    Order from Amazon!
    I just finished Terry Pratchett's latest, Going Postal. I picked this just after Thanksgiving last year for my wife -- a "happy Tuesday after Thanksgiving" present. I was waiting for it for sometime to be released, and kept visiting Chapters every week to see if it had hit the shelves. I am a big Terry Pratchett fan. In fact, Terry Pratchett may be my favourite author. There is no other author that I've read as complete as him. If you're a Pratchett fan, you need not read any further. You've already read this book, and every other novel he's written, and you will find nothing new here. If you've never heard of Pratchett however, read on.

    Before I go any further, here's the description that comes with the book:
    Arch-swindler Moist Van Lipwig never believed his confidence crimes were hanging offenses -- until he found himself with a noose tightly around his neck, dropping through a trapdoor, and falling into ... a government job?
    By all rights, Moist should have met his maker. Instead, it's Lord Vetinari, supreme ruler of Ankh-Morpork, who promptly offers him a job as Postmaster. Since his only other option is a nonliving one, Moist accepts the position -- and the hulking golem watchdog who comes along with it, just in case Moist was considering abandoning his responsibilities prematurely.
    Getting the moribund Postal Service up and running again, however, may be a near-impossible task, what with literally mountains of decades-old undelivered mail clogging every nook and cranny of the broken-down post office building; and with only a few creaky old postmen and one rather unstable, pin-obsessed youth available to deliver it. Worse still, Moist could swear the mail is talking to him. Worst of all, it means taking on the gargantuan, money-hungry Grand Trunk clacks communication monopoly and its bloodthirsty piratical head, Mr. Reacher Gilt.
    But it says on the building neither rain nor snow nor glo m of ni t ... Inspiring words (admittedly, some of the bronze letters have been stolen), and for once in his wretched life Moist is going to fight. And if the bold and impossible are what's called for, he'll do it -- in order to move the mail, continue breathing, get the girl, and specially deliver that invaluable commodity that every human being (not to mention troll, dwarf, and, yes, even golem) requires: hope.
    In typical Pratchett fashion, the book introduces memorable characters and interspersed with the stable of previously created ones. Lord Vetinari, tyrant of Ankh-Morpork plays a prominent role, and guest appearances are made by Otto Criek, the City Watch, Lady Sybil, the wizards of Unseen University and many of the places and things that inhabit Pratchett's Discworld universe. Thrown together, the characters seemingly sort themselves out with humour, danger, politics, mystery and loads of entertainment for the reader. The characters themselves could probably produce a novel if Pratchett let them out to play, but, under his careful crafting, a story is woven that is serious, even while being funny.

    The book deliciously pokes fun at our world, pop culture, businesses, politics and, well, the post office. I won't give away too much of the story -- that would spoil your fun, however, I will leave you with a few choice lines from the book.

    On being offered the position of Postmaster General, rather than death, Moist responds:
       'Oh, all right. Of course, I accept as natural born criminal, habitual liar, fraudster and totally untrustworthy perverted genius.'
       'Capital! Welcome to government service!' said Lord Vetinari, extending his hand.

    Lord Vetinari, sole ruler and tyrant of Ankh-Morpork, on freedom:
    Freedom may be mankind's natural state, but so is sitting in a tree eating your dinner while it is still wriggling.

    Pratchett comments on the use of words in business:
    It was garbage, but it had been cooked by an expert. Oh, yes. You had to admire the way perfectly innocent words were mugged, ravished, stripped of all true meaning and decency and then sent to walk the gutter for Reacher Gilt, although 'synergistically' had probably been a whore from the start.

    The Great Dying

    Some 250 million years ago, Earth was reduced to an almost lifeless planet -- a geologically active, but dead planet, with no remaining witnesses of its endless journey around the Sun. Paleontologists looking at the fossil record noticed some time ago that there is a gap in life's history on Earth. All signs of life just about vanished around 250 million years ago. For a brief moment in geologic time, the Permian-Triassic extinction, or the Great Dying, occurred.

    This is not the same as the Cretaceous-Tertiary mass extinction that took out the dinosaurs around 65 million years ago. The Great Dying was different. 9 out of 10 marine species died. 7 out of 10 land species died. Plants, trees, microbes -- every class of life was impacted. It was like the planet itself was dying. It was slow -- it lasted millions of years. If we were there, we'd probably see the signs. The smart ones amongst us would be worried. Sadly, most people would have the same reactions they have today -- disbelief.

    Researchers have recently published findings that points to a cause of the Great Dying. A combination of massive Siberian volcanic flows and a drop in ocean levels due to geologic activity lead to global warming and oxygen deprivation. Other scientists have also suggested that an asteroid impact, a nearby supernova or the formation of a super-continent may also have played a roll in, or caused the Great Dying.

    For more information on this topic, consult the following links:
  • The Permian-Triassic Mass Extinction
  • Paleomap Project - see what the Earth looked like through geologic history.
  • A Modern Mass Extinction? - are we heading for the end of the world?
  • Rapid eruption of Siberian flood-volcanic rocks and evidence for coincidence with the Permian-Triassic boundry and mass extinction at 251 Ma [PDF]
  • New reptile material from the Lower Triassic of Madagascar: implications for the Permian-Triassic extinction event [PDF]
  • Changing Fluvial Environments in the Karoo Basin, South Africa, as a Result of the Permian/Triassic Extinction [PDF]
  • Free Spirit Spheres

    Free Spirit Spheres
    I just came across this nifty design for the habitat for the future. I hesitate to call it a home, because I'm not entirely convinced, but think of it as a potential replacement for the cottage. These are 2.9 metres in diameter spheres, suspended from trees. Inside, they're quite habitable, containing electricity, lights, and other amenities. Free Spirit Spheres are designed by Tom Chudleigh -- quite the tree house!

    Monday, Jan. 24th -- The Worst Day of the Year

    Someone with too much time on their hands has determined that Monday, Jan. 24th, will be the worst day of the year. Using a formula concocted while heavily inebriated, Dr. Cliff Arnalls from Cardiff University, confirmed what most people suspected for a long time -- quite a bit of academia is a waste of taxpayers money. The formula:
    1/8W+(D-d) 3/8xTQ MxNA

    where, W = Weather; D = Debt; d = Money due in January pay; T = Time since Christmas; Q = Time since failed quit attempt; M = General motivational levels; and, NA = The need to take action; has no scientific basis, and was made up by a tutor looking for some attention and will most likely not get him tenure. Of course, the general media has gone hysterical over the news, and haven't stopped for a minute to think, "Hey, is this bullshit?" If they did, Arnalls would probably sheepishly admit that it is.

    Friday, January 21, 2005

    Out of Context

    It once made sense ...

    "The guy can hardly speak! Touchy, feely my ass!" -- JD.

    Thursday, January 20, 2005

    Second Term

    Bush sucks!
    JibJab has done it again, and are gaining fame. I actually say the tail end of their Second Term video on television last night -- before I even saw it on the net. How media has changed! Check out Second Term via Yahoo.

    F4, July 1, 2005

    I can't wait for this to hit the big screens! Click the picture to see the trailer.

    Fantastic Four Movie -- trailer

    Out of Context Chicken

    Why?

    "Just nod and say yes, I'm sure there is a chicken in your future." -- JD.

    I read this somewhere ...

    "Somewhere in Texas, a village is looking for their idiot." I don't know who to credit it to -- it was damn funny, thank you!

    Huygens Raw Images

    On another Huygens note -- for those who can't get enough of Titan, check out the ESA site hosting the raw images that Huygens took of Titan. Just for those who want to do their own image reduction.

    Huygens Descent Movie

    NASA/ESA has released a Huygens Descent movie, showing what a passenger on board the probe would have seen as it descended from the heavens onto Titan. The movie starts out high in the clouds of Titan, and takes you to the surface. It is a composite of still images taken with a couple of the probe's cameras.

    It was the summer of '85 ...

    Young Bill
    If there was a song written about stuff like this, it would start out something like that. Check out the photo-spreads of the young Geek Lord. Oh, so sexy! Who would have thought he'd grow up to rule the world? Who would have thought it?! Can you imagine you geek grrls (and boys, probably) having those pinups in their lockers? I wonder how many of the now rich and geeky were inspired by young Bill's flaunting of his software? Come people, fess up!

    On another funny note -- in the first picture of the series, you will notice the computer in the background, furthest to the top right -- it's a Mac. Jobs is laughing!

    Also, it has been reported elsewhere that these were photo-spreads for Teen Beat magazine -- that's a hoax. They were taken back in 1985 after the release of Windows 1.0 by celebrity photographer Deborah Feingold.

    Wednesday, January 19, 2005

    Disturbing Images

    U.S. troops fire on car, killing 2 civilians
    Frontier Justice: Cowboy Ethics and the Bush Doctrine of Preemption

    Vomit

    Yesterday was an interesting day. I haven't barfed in a long time -- so long that I can't remember the last time I did. Yesterday morning came as shock. I didn't know I lacked control over what came up. My apologies to the unsuspecting commuters on the Sheppard subway line for the unsuspecting Exorcist-attack they fell victim to. It was embarrassing. I wasn't feeling well when I left for work in the morning, but I thought I would get over it. The rocking back and forth before the subway arrived at the Yonge station though did it for me. Without warning, the contents of my stomach just moved up and frothed out of my mouth like an erupting volcano. I couldn't believe it. There was no warning. It just happened. Right out onto my gloved hand and onto the subway car. One person who was facing me turned away in disgust. Everyone else continued their conversations or appeared not to notice the sick-fuck who was upchucking his guts in the corner. In hindsight, I suspect that was how I appeared to my fellow commuters.

    Now I am a big boy -- I know it was gross -- I can take care of myself -- but if I was a witness to someone else in distress, I hope that I would at least reach out to help. Thinking about it in hindsight, I've come realize that we have become an uncaring society. Yes. I witnessed it yesterday.

    I cleaned up as best as I could before I took the Yonge line to work. Got to worked, cleaned up properly, but by noon, I realized that something was within that needed taken care of -- so I came home early. Barfed well during the afternoon and took today off to recover.

    My daughters took care of me when I came home -- especially my youngest, who busied herself being a 'mommy.' I had such a chill that lasted for hours, it was unbelievable. I don't get sick often -- other than the cold. Nothing has taken the wind out of me in such a way in a long time. The speed at which I was incapacitated was stunning. My youngest covered me with multiple afghans, a blanket and a comforter. When that didn't work, she applied a heating pad. I drifted in and out of sleep for much of yesterday afternoon and evening. It wasn't until the evening that I was allowed to try solid food. A slice of toast with apple butter. By midnight I had managed to keep down three slices of toast. That was all I had yesterday. This morning I woke up famished. Just one day without food and I had missed it. Real food. I wanted something with salt in it. I wanted coffee or tea. I wanted taste.

    Just as fast as I was brought down, I came back up. Tomorrow I will be heading back to work. I look forward to seeing my fellow commuters on the subway. I look forward to seeing the friendly faces of Toronto that don't reach out to those who need help.

    Women Ain't Naturally Smart

    So says Harvard's President, Lawrence Summers. At the National Bureau of Economic Research conference on Jan. 14th, Summers made insulting comments regarding women's innate abilities in science and math -- suggesting that the lack of their natural smarts may be what prevents some of them from achieving a successful career in science and math, not discrimination. In support of his argument that women are just plain dumb, Summers used his own dumb daughter (he didn't mention which one), who as a child named her two trucks "daddy truck" and "baby truck" -- just as if they were dolls. His parenting philosophy continued in his tenure as Harvard's president, where each year during his presidency, the number of senior job offers to women has dropped.

    Goes to show you -- dumb daddies make dumb presidents.

    New Art

    Click to see the gallery!
    I was just being a bit of an artsy-fartsy.

    More on Teilhard

    I just got a ping that someone had commented on a post regarding Teilhard Technologies and their obtaining of patents pertaining to some of the basics of ETL methods -- so I decided to see what Teilhard has been up to lately. Well, things just get worse. In a move that is a akin to Saruman joining the ranks of Sauron, Brian Mulroney -- who gave in to the power of the ring a long time ago -- has joined the ranks of Teilhard.

    Mulroney has joined Teilhard as a special advisor to "provide strategic advice with a specific mandate to assist the Company in optimizing, for its shareholders, the value of its integration patents and software." In other words, Mulroney [PDF] will be whoring the network he gained whilst serving himself as Prime Minister, for Teilhard's gain. Teilhard's intentions aren't hard to spot either -- on their website, they specifically listed their legal team -- separate from the management team. They're going to ask you nicely for some money for using what is now their intellectual property, and if they don't get it, they're going to turn to the courts.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2005

    Don't worry

    I was just thinking today about how people sometimes worry needlessly over things. Sometimes that worrying is justified – a deadline to meet, a reputation or image to keep – sometimes it isn’t. Always remember though, that when you have people around you who really love and take care of you, that’s one of those times that you don’t need to worry at all. Get better soon.
    Don’t worry about a thing,
    ’cause every little thing gonna be all right.
    Singin’: don’t worry about a thing,
    ’cause every little thing gonna be all right!
    Rise up this mornin’,
    Smiled with the risin’ sun,
    Three little birds
    Pitch by my doorstep
    Singin’ sweet songs
    Of melodies pure and true,
    Sayin’, (this is my message to you-ou-ou:)
    Singin’: don’t worry ’bout a thing,
    ’cause every little thing gonna be all right.
    Singin’: don’t worry (don’t worry) ’bout a thing,
    ’cause every little thing gonna be all right!
    Rise up this mornin’,
    Smiled with the risin’ sun,
    Three little birds
    Pitch by my doorstep
    Singin’ sweet songs
    Of melodies pure and true,
    Sayin’, this is my message to you-ou-ou:
    Singin’: don’t worry about a thing, worry about a thing, oh!
    Every little thing gonna be all right. don’t worry!S
    ingin’: don’t worry about a thing - I won’t worry!
    ’cause every little thing gonna be all right.
    Singin’: don’t worry about a thing,
    ’cause every little thing gonna be all right - I won’t worry!
    Singin’: don’t worry about a thing,
    ’cause every little thing gonna be all right.
    Singin’: don’t worry about a thing, oh no!
    ’cause every little thing gonna be all right!
    (Lyrics taken from a Bob Marley lyrics website.)

    Borat Strikes Again!

    Borat
    A middle eastern man, claiming to be Boraq Sagdiyev from Kazakhstan was introduced to the rodeo crowd of the Salem Civic Center two weeks ago, Friday night. He claimed to be an immigrant touring America and wanted to sing the "Star Spangled Banner" to show his appreciation of America. He started off by telling the pro-American crowd that he supported the war on terrorism. Going on to say, "I hope you kill every man, woman and child in Iraq, down to the lizards. And may George W. Bush drink the blood of every man, woman and child in Iraq." He then took off his hat and sang what he claimed to be Kazakhstan's national anthem, then broke into a butchered "Star Spangled Banner." By then the crowd was ready to riot.

    Too funny! Borat strikes again!

    Out of Context

    Guessing what was meant here is just half the fun. The other half is being there to hear them being said. So where did these gems come from? The lunch-time entertainment. Really! I couldn't make this stuff up!

    "It's just every now and again, I like to scratch." -- JD
    "He's not the brightest cookie in the tree." -- JD
    "Ah, I'm the one on the muscle relaxants, don't go back there." -- JD
    JD: "Did you want to lick it clean?" DH: "I just did, you missed it."

    Monday, January 17, 2005

    30% Evil, 70% Good

    The Germatriculator has rated my site:
    This site is certified 70% GOOD by the GematriculatorThis site is certified 30% EVIL by the Gematriculator

    Sunday, January 16, 2005

    New Photos

    I've added some new photographs to my online gallery. Check them out!
    Click for the gallery!Click for the gallery!Click for the gallery!

    Saturday, January 15, 2005

    Battlestar Galactica

    Battlestar Galactica is back, in a new series anyway. Naturally, since I believe TV will rot my brain, I managed to miss it tonight.

    Global Dimming

    According to a BBC science show, less and less sunlight has been reaching the surface of the Earth in the past years due to particulates in the atmosphere. Air pollution reflects sunlight back into space and seed clouds causing them to form more water droplets, which reflects more sunlight into space as well. Less sunlight reaching the planet's surface disrupts the global rainfall pattern. The BBC report mentions that the droughts in Africa 30 years ago that claimed hundreds of thousands of lives may have been a result of global dimming, and that may again be happening now in Asia.

    The reduction of sunlight could mean that we have been underestimating the threat of global warming. Global warming, caused by CO2 in the atmosphere, causes global temperature to rise -- but the rise has been estimated only at 0.6°C. Global dimming has been cooling the planet. Global dimming and global warming effects may have been canceling each other out -- which means that the impact of global warming is probably higher than we had previously thought. While it is projected the CO2 levels will be increasing in the coming years, particle pollution will be declining. A global temperature rise of 10°C may be in our future by 2100. That would leave most of the planet bone dry.

    For related information, see the following:
  • Observed reductions of surface solar radiation at Sites in the United States and worldwide from 1961 to 1990 [PDF]
  • African Climate Change: 1900-2100 [PDF]
  • One small thump ...

    Huygens landed on Titan yesterday and sent back some beautiful images of the surface of Saturn's moon. The ESA probe, which traveled on board NASA's Cassini's spacecraft for the last seven years, was ejected by Cassini to travel the last 4 million kilometres of its journey to Titan on its own. At 5:15AM yesterday, the probe entered Titan's atmosphere, collecting data and taking pictures. The descent took 2.5 hours, and the probe continued transmitting data for an additional 1.5 hours after landing on TItan. All data was sent to Cassini to be recorded and relayed to Earth via NASA's Deep Space Network. In addition to the photographs and chemical data that was collected, the Huygens also listened. Click here for the audio -- mostly of the probe descent through Titan's atmosphere.

    Composite of Titan's Surface Seen During Descent

    Taking back the night

    A little candle of hope was lit in the state of Georgia when a federal judge ruled in favour of moving that state's school board out of the dark ages. Since 2002, the school board has had a sticker in public school science texts stating:
    “This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.”
    That statement was ruled to violate the Establishment Clause of the US Constitution by the federal judge. In his decision [PDF], the judge said that the sticker sent the message that some citizens were political insiders, while others were political outsiders -- that it endorsed religion. Despite the victory however, there are still school boards out there that have enacted policies to curtail the teaching of evolution, while battles are being waged in still other school boards. This is just another sign of the decline of the American civilization.


    In other news, backwards-bucktoothed-inbred-hillbilly-southern states are debating whether to restart the witch trials. God loves a fundamentalist!

    Legally Funny

    Seems like some lawyers can't take a joke. A couple of guys telling lawyer jokes in line to get into a Nassau court were arrested for causing a disturbance. The pair are founders of Americans for Legal Reform, which advocate greater access to the courts for the public.

    Out of Context

    It's amusing to take something out of context -- this quote for example:

    "It's like sucking on a big triangle."
    Janine D., 05/01/14
    or ...
    "Oh, guys, I'm going this way. I need some drugs."
    Janine D., 05/01/14

    Distrust of US Companies

    A Global Market Insite survey of international consumers shows that American foreign policy, viewed as "arrogant and self-interested," is hurting some companies closely associated with brand America, such as American Express, AOL, Starbucks, American Airlines, Marlboro, GM, Exxon Mobil, Chevron/Texaco, Chrysler, Budweiser and McDonald's. The negative view of some American companies is due their aggressiveness and arrogance; their insistence of doing things the American way, because anything different is wrong; and their disrespect for non-US cultures. GMI has also collected data from Chinese and Japanese consumers -- and while Asian consumers aren't as negative about America, their responses do trend with those of Europeans.

    America's image is mostly influenced by its foreign policy, including its war on terror and the war in Iraq according to 30% of respondents, while 23% said it was their country's media depiction of America and 17% said it was American music and movies. On distrust of America, 79% said they didn't trust the American government, 50% didn't trust America companies, and 39% didn't trust the American people. America's image and consumer distrust of brand America translates to 20% of consumers from France, Germany, Canada and the UK, avoiding American products.

    Other companies, not closely associated with brand America, are view as trustworthy and likeable. These include Kodak, Visa, Kleenex, Gillette, National Geographic and Heinz.

    What would be interesting for me, would be what non-US multinationals are percieved by international consumers as being American, and therefore suffer the same decline in trust.


    Click to enlarge.

    Thursday, January 13, 2005

    Search Engine Analysis

    This blog links to a few really cool tools to perform analysis on how your site is doing in the search engines. Check it out!

    750 Million Miles Away

    Tonight, just as the sun sets, Saturn will be rising in the sky. Saturn will be the closest it gets to us, at 750 million miles -- and will therefore look brighter in the sky, appearing as a bright star. If you have a small telescope, you should be able to see its rings. If you have a really, really powerful telescope -- more powerful than any in existence, you will be able to see Huygens, which will begin its descent to Saturn's moon, Titan, tomorrow.

    Wednesday, January 12, 2005

    SOX Sux!

    It is estimated that large US companies are going to be spending upwards of $35 million each to comply with the Sarbanes-Oxley bill, while for smaller companies, the bill will be in the single digit millions. As the go live date for the law drifts closer and closer, and CEOs and CFOs realize that they're in a uglier mess than they had initially thought, the protests have started. Complaints are coming in that the law is just way too detailed, requiring too many things to be documented. But slow down a minute here -- the only additional stipulation of SOX over existing laws, is that executives and auditors need to certify that internal controls are in place and that they work. What's the big deal?

    Very big deal apparently for some companies. They're having troubles complying with laws that have been in place for at least 25 years. No one was checking, that's all. Now with the government scrutinizing companies, they're finally having to ensure that they haven't been breaking the law. When you've spent that long getting away with it -- well, SOX does suck.

    Read more in BusinessWeek.

    Urban Jumping?

    I picked the link up for this movie from Techno-Hick. I haven't figured it out. He jumps, and jumps and jumps. Why?

    Shameless

    I've seen this button on too many blogs lately, so I had to add one on my site. But I will try to be different. I will try not to be shameless. Don't click on the button below -- read first. BlogClicker is like BlogExplosion. If you know what BlogExplosion is, then you won't want to click the button below. If you haven't signed up to BlogClicker yet, and would like to, then click on this: http://www.blogclicker.com/ to go there. Don't click the button.

    Clicking the button will take you to BlogClicker, but it will also earn me a referral price from you, if you sign up. And forget closer your browser, shutting down your computer and coming back later to BlogClicker. It leaves a little reminder behind that you were referred by me. It doesn't forget. And you will be indebted to me. Every credit you earn will be shared with me. If I play my cards right, I may even make some money off your sorry butt. Now I warned you -- don't click the button. But you know ... if you're just a tinsy-insy-winsy curious as to how different the BlogClicker site will look when you click the button, then go on ... give it a try!

    Oh, and I almost forgot -- shame on you bloggers that are begging people to click your button without telling them they're going to be hooked by their throats on your downline!

    The Hydrogen Economy

    Physics Today has a great article on the physics of the hydrogen economy. It talks about the primary drivers to adopt hydrogen as fuel -- the potential pitfalls and the hurdles that still need to be overcome. Puts things in perspective.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2005

    Tsunami Video Images

    The SEA-EaT blog also has a post of video footage shot in Indonesia during the carnage of Dec. 26th. The video was broadcasted on Indonesian television. It shows streets turned to rampaging rivers, carrying vehicles, buildings and wreckage. [Direct link to video -- requires RealPlayer.] More videos can be found at waxy.org -- but some of those might give you nightmares.

    Satellite Measures Tsunami Waves

    The SEA-EaT blog has a post on some recent measurements that were done on the tsunami waves that blasted Asia. It may come as a surprise to many that the waves at the epicenter of the quake were not that high -- two hours after the quake, the waves were about two feet high, and quickly dropped in size. In contrast, the waves that hit the shores, killing tens of thousands was 30-40 feet. More on the science of tsunamis can be found in one of my old posts, and references to tsunami satellite images in an even older post.

    Kurt W. Mortensen's Maximum Influence

    Maximum Influence
    Another book review I read today, was of Kurt W. Mortensen's Maximum Influence: The 12 Universal Laws of Power Persuasion. I highly recommend this book for my staff and peers at work -- think of the wonderful head games you can play as you manipulate me!

    Persuasion -- the review introduces it as "one of the most important skills to develop if you want to be in control and achieve all you can in life." Yes, this does actually mean that you can get away with doing no work, have control over people and probably take over the world. (Don't knock it, it's working for Bush!) It also has practical everyday uses, one of which is on the job, where it is generally accepted that your ability to persuade people positively impacts your income and career mobility. So what do you need to know to persuade? The twelve laws:
    1. The Law of Dissonance -- people generally behave in a manner that is consistent with their beliefs, attitudes and values. Behaving differently causes discomfort.
    2. The Law of Obligation -- people generally feel a strong urge to return favours -- they feel obligated, as if something is hanging over their head.
    3. The Law of Connectivity -- people are generally more easily influenced by those that feel connected to. Connection comes from the presence of an attraction, a similarity, your people skills that allows you to make a good first impression, and the existence of a rapport.
    4. The Law of Scarcity -- people generally want something more, when it's scarce -- the perceived value increases.
    5. The Law of Verbal Packaging -- language is the tool used for persuasion, therefore the more skilled you are with the use of language, the more persuasive you will be.
    6. The Law of Contrast -- when two vastly different alternatives are introduced in succession to people, it is generally easier for them to make judgment comparisons.
    7. The Law of Expectations -- people generally behave and perform the way it is expected of them to.
    8. The Law of Involvement -- you will be more effective in persuading people if you engage all of their senses actively.
    9. The Law of Esteem -- people generally respond to compliments.
    10. The Law of Association -- when there isn't enough time to make logical decisions, the association of what is being presented with people's life experiences allows them to make judgment calls.
    11. The Law of Balance -- in persuading people, you have to balance the appeal to their emotions and their logic.

    The Best of Branding by James R. Gregory

    The Best of Branding
    I read a book review of James R. Gregory's The Best of Branding today. The book is a 101 on branding and offers some best practice advice for corporations -- but it can all be extrapolated to a small business, to yourself. So what is a brand? It is the experiences provided and resulting emotions that are felt by people associated with your business. Every company is a brand -- and to some degree, every person is a brand. (Hell, I am a brand -- just haven't been branded yet.) Your brand is basically the sum of everything you do and say. Gregory puts brands into four categories -- and it seemed quite suited for a quadrant.


    ^
    F
    A
    M
    I
    L
    I
    A
    R
    I
    T
    Y

    INFAMOUS BRANDS

    They need to fix what is broken and tell the world about it.

    LEADING BRANDS

    Challenge is the maintain this position.

    CHALLENGED BRANDS

    There is no where to go but up -- if they work at it.

    PROMISING BRANDS

    Increased communications would enhance their brand.

      F A V O U R A B I L I T Y  >



    As well, he lists twelve best practices in branding, complete with examples from some well known corporations, and how these best practices helped them achieved greatness. Applied wisely, with just a little tweaking as time goes by, your brand will grow stronger and stand the test of time. The twelve best practices:
    1. Have Vision
    2. Create Emotional Bonds -- with your customers, partners and employees
    3. Live the Brand
    4. Create a Culture
    5. Align Brand and Business
    6. Be Bold -- take some calculated risks
    7. Be Consistent -- a consistent message will be remembered
    8. Communicate 360°
    9. Own Industry Innovations -- don't be a follower; lead with your own innovations
    10. Know How to Choose Your CEO -- they can make or break a company
    11. Treasure Your Employees -- they do all the work; if they're happy, your customers will be happy
    12. Build a Brand on a Budget -- it takes time; don't throw bazillions at it

    Earthquake's Impact

    According to NASA, the earthquake of December 26th had a lasting impact on the planet. It changed the shape of the planet, shortened the day by 3 microseconds and shifted the north pole by centimeters. Wow!

    Video Blogs

    BusinessWeek has an interesting read on the return of online video via video blogs -- or vlogs. Bloggers that don't just want you to read -- they want to show it to you, too. Scary. For some sites, check out:
  • undergroundfilm -- a distribution site for independent digital videos
  • ourmedia -- a site that will soon be launched that will be home to blog service that will allow videos, flash animations, etc.
  • atomFILMS -- an online distribution site for independent filmmakers
  • vidblogs.com -- an index of sorts for video blogs
  • Best & Worst Managers of 2004

    BusinessWeek, Jan. 10, 2005
    BusinessWeek's latest cover article rounds out last years top managers -- the best and worst of the pack. It's a light, entertaining read. No, I'm not kidding you -- a business article with appeal. The article provides a brief on those that made their lists -- and provides reasons for why they made it. The heads of some well known companies made the list: GE, PepsiCo, AMD, Dreamworks SKG, Home Depot, and more. That was nice. Reading about their accomplishments could be a little bit inspiring too -- although some of them had a little bit of help from general industry trends, great people working for them and a dash of luck. These people aren't necessarily geniuses -- although with their salaries, you'd think they were saviours.

    The best however, is the trashing the worst got. Topping the list: Donald Rumsfled -- for being a moron, mostly -- he was worse things as well. Not only did he not listen to the advice being given to him by his staff, but after he screwed up, he continued to screw up. To make it better, he was then handed his job all over again. If the intelligence fairy sprinkled some Baghdad dust on Bush, he would have seen the light and kicked Rumseld's ass out of his cabinet. No wonder Powell quit. They army was being run by a moron ... but I repeat myself. Others that took a whipping from BusinessWeek were Michael Eisner of Disney -- the big rat that didn't know when to just quit; Gary Bettman -- for not fixing the NHL salary problem the first time, and stealing hockey from Canadians this season; Raymond Gilmartin of Merck -- for being a murderer with Vioxx; and Franklin Raines of Fannie Mae -- for being a lying, cheating thief. Here's hoping you all get jail time in 2005!

    "They fought the law" and the law won! A section of the cover story reserved for those who thought the law of the land just didn't apply to them because they were rich, powerful and invincible. Martha Stewart locked up. Oh, she deserved it. So do many others that get away with what she did -- I could care less if she was just used as an example. She broke the law. She cheated. She stole. Criminal! The Enron crooks will also get their jail time. Already ex-CFO Andrew Fastow is booked for a 10-year stay in the pen once his lovely wife finishes her 1-year stint. I'm sure she's making him new friends in the joint. Here's hoping Kenneth Lay gets a few decades. Of course, here in Canada we have our own arch-villan in the one and only Lord Conrad Black -- also known as a thief. It's so much fun watching the rich and mighty fall -- they who thought they were our betters.

    Monday, January 10, 2005

    McShwarma

    McDonalds is promoting their new turkey pita in Israel, called the McShwarma -- check out the Pulp Fiction ad for their new offering. Too funny! [Thanks to the Roman Wanderer for this link.]

    New Photos

    Click for the Gallery
    In the last few weeks, I've taken quite a few photographs -- haven't had the chance to post any online. So I started with the most recent last night. These shots were taken last week at the Serena Gundy Park in Toronto. Click the picture to go to the gallery.

    Sunday, January 09, 2005

    Born to Buy, by Juliet B. Schor

    Born to BuyBusinessWeek magazine has a short review of Born to Buy: The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture by Juliet B. Schor -- and if I see this book in my favourite used bookstore (cause I just don't buy anything new -- I think of it as me being environmentally friendly), I will buy it. The book compares the American public school system with the mall, where most lunchrooms double as fast-food joints, television sets in classrooms beam advertising for video-games, movies, more fast-food, and the school curriculum has been infiltrated by 'free' materials from Corporations that teach lies. Despoil their stomachs, despoil their brains and despoil society's future by indoctrinating our children with the Corporate dope.

    Schor, a sociologist at Boston College, interviewed marketers, worked with 5th-6th graders and uses academic research to prove her case, that our children are being commercialized -- and corporations are actively targeting them at a younger and younger age. She sites businesses that pay parents and schools to have access to their children; the hiring of cool kids to push goods to their peers in schoolyard playgrounds and host parties where the products are used. Corporate sponsored curriculum include those of Exxon, that teach kids that fossil fuels pose few dangers and that alternative energy is costly and unattainable; and the American Coal Foundation, which teaches that the earth could benefit from more carbon dioxide.

    You have to wonder about the people who make such advances at our children -- how depraved? how predatory? how abusive? Shouldn't they be going to jail?

    For related reading, see:
  • Sloan Work and Family Research Network Vol. 4(2) pg. 6 [PDF], as well as the newsletter's website.
  • New American Dream website
  • How Marketers Reach Young Consumers [PDF]
  • The Influence of Commercialism on the Food Purchasing Behavior of Children and Teenage Youth [PDF]
  • Psychologists Challenge Ethics of Marketing to Children
  • Marketing Food to Children [PDF]
  • Who's dat?

    Sketched last night!

    Dog Island

    Is this for real?

    Update: Jan. 9/05 -- later that night ...
    This is a hoax. See comments. Thanks Steve!

    Discerning?

    Bite me, Brian Daly! Or better yet, take your discerning writing and it shove it ... you know where. aka.alias has a post regarding a Toronto Star article by Brian Daly, in which he says:
    Weblogs, known as blogs, are growing by bits and bytes as everyday people become self-publishers who espouse their personal views without the discerning filter of the mainstream media.
    I don't know about you, but I take offense to that. The mainstream media is discerning and bloggers aren't? The mainstream media whores itself to advertisers, political platforms and other interests. They're not discerning! They've become tabloid journals that have earned the rags moniker, feeding mush with no discerning value to a torpid public. The mainstream media is slowly losing the relevancy they had in public discourse -- they're just too slow to realize it.

    UNICEF says no to adoptions

    More on my post regarding the adoption of orphans from tsunami affected areas, aka.alias has a post on her site where UNICEF has taken issue with Canada's plan to fast track adoptions. UNICEF thinks the adoptions should wait for a few years. Why? Adoption represents a trauma for the kids. Hello?! Some of them just lost everything, may have to live in refugee camps -- I think we stop worrying about the trauma of moving to a new country. That, and the fact that if they stay there, they just might die of disease.

    Saturday, January 08, 2005

    Monobrow.com

    They're special people!
    This is a site about guys (mostly) with a single brow -- one trail of hair that grows across their forehead to crown their eyes. At Monobrow.com, they "celebrate the unity of your eyebrows." I thought I had seen it all on the internet. I thought wrong.

    Hello iPod-Moto ...?

    Apple fans, rejoice. You can now buy a cell phone. Motorola will be producing a cell phone that licenses Apple's iTunes technology. It will sync with iTunes and probably have at least 1GB of flash memory.

    Hooray for Global Warming!

    By the 22nd century, the world could be a very different place. If the environmental catastrophe of global warming continues to its predicted end, the polar ice caps will thaw, and with it, access to the frozen land of the north. The north-west passage could be open to the shipping industry, and mining and energy exploration could finish what global warming started, and turn the vast emptiness into a greasy industrial wasteland. Welcome to the Arctic -- the smog capital of the world.

    Already, nations are rushing to stake their claim to the frigid lands. The Vikings are back, as Denmark continues their study to see if Greenland is connected to the Arctic so they can claim the North Pole. Canada has sent our military in on a training exercise -- soldiers got lost, helicopters caught fire and other embarrassing mishaps occurred to demonstrate that giving a person a rusty gun and a uniform doesn't constitute having an armed force [PDF]. The Soviets are already patrolling the Arctic Sea in their nuclear submarines, and nobody has a clue what the Americans are doing up there, but rest assured, they are doing something. All of this, and no one knows for sure if there are any natural resources worth the big fuss. Not to mention that the massive climate change is not such a good thing.

    If global warming continues unabated however, and the Arctic does turn green, I have a suggestion ... how about if we all just leave it alone? How about if we make it into a global park? No humans allowed. All the nations can patrol its waters to ensure that nobody goes ashore. If anybody goes there, shoot on sight. A pristine place on the planet, unaltered by human activity there. Maybe someday when we learn to take care of the planet -- maybe then we can drop by and see how things got along without us. I wouldn't be surprised if things got along just fine without us.

    2004 Vapourware Award

    Wired has released its annual vapourware awards, for technology companies that over promised and under delivered -- companies that made announcements on impending product arrival, even showcased demos, but nothing saw the light of day. Wired mentions 3D Realms, but didn't add it to the list, as it was awarded a lifetime award in 2003, for promising the new Duke Nukem game and never delivering (they're still working on it apparently). As selected by Wired readers, here are the top 10: (10) Alienware's Video Array, (9) Intel's Pentium 4 at 4GHz, (8) Apple Computer's G5 Chips at 3GHz, (7) Team Fortress 2: Brotherhood of Arms, (6) Gran Turismo 4, (5) ATI's Radeon X800 series of video cards, (4) TiVoToGo, (3) Microsoft's Longhorn, (2) CherryOS, and the winner ... drum roll, please ... (1) Phantom Game Console. So what does this tell us? A lot of Wired readers play computer games. Not much else. In case anyone hasn't learned -- those in sales and marketing are liars. That's their job -- to over promise, under deliver, and the really good ones make you feel good about it. As a former boss of mine advised, 'Sales people were put on Earth by god to be abused.'

    Death to the Infidels

    I agree with the Canadian Cynic. The big problem with the internet is that now even the unintelligent dumb fucks have a platform to post their dumb ass opinions. You'd think by now we'd have a cure for stupidity.

    Tsunamis to Come

    I just caught the tail-end of a Discovery Channel show regarding the potential of future giant tsunamis -- and it ended with the revelation (to paraphrase) that 'since people started to inhabit the planet, we've felt falsely secure that we were above nature -- yet tsunamis a hundred times bigger have moved across the oceans the geologic past left behind entirely changed landscapes.' Tsunamis can be caused by earthquakes, undersea volcanic eruptions, island landslides into oceans and asteroid impacts into oceans -- with increasing potency as you move from earthquakes to asteroid impacts. The message here: the earthquake induced tsunami that hit Asia is nothing compared to the rest. An asteroid impact induced tsunami could have waves of a few hundred feet, while volcanic eruptions or landslides could generate waves of about one hundred feet. In comparison, the earthquake induced tsunami that hit Asia generated waves of 30-40 feet.

    As asteroid impact is quite remote, but tsunamis as a result of undersea volcanoes and island landslides aren't. The Discovery Show was about a potential landslide that could happen within the next one hundred years on the Canary Island of La Palma. That landslide would have enough force to generate a tsunami that would travel across the Atlantic Ocean in 9 hours and hit the shores of North America with 30 feet waves. Not all geologists agree however that such a wave could be sustained -- and all the way across the Atlantic Ocean. Regardless, it probably doesn't hurt to side on caution and have monitoring and evacuation processes in place. Read more on mega-tsunamis by following the links below.

    Papers from Journals
  • Evaluation of the Threat of Mega Tsunami Generation from Postulated Massive Slope Failures of Island Stratovolcanoes on La Palma, Canary Islands, and on the Island of Hawaii [PDF, pg. 13]
  • Papers by Steven N. Ward, UC, Santa Cruz
  • Landslide Tsunami [PDF]
  • Asteroid Impact Tsunami: A Probabilistic Hazard Assessment [PDF]
  • Cumbre Vieja Volcano -- Potential Collapse and Tsunami at La Palma, Canary Islands [PDF]
  • More publications regarding tsunamis and for a simulation of the Sumatra tsunami, go to Steven N. Ward's website.
  • Potential for large-scale submarine slope failure and tsunami generation along the US mid-Atlantic coast [PDF]
  • Tsunami from Asteroid/Comet Impacts
  • ZeD

    What do you know? CBC can be hip and cool. I think. I expect such things from Moses Znaimer, and it's a little disconcerting when you see it coming from CBC. In fact, if I saw the same thing from CHUM, I wouldn't even bat an eyelash -- not that I bat my eyelashes mind you -- but from CBC, it seems a little contrived, as if they're trying too hard to be hip and cool. So what am I talking about?

    ZeD is more than the TV show that has a half an hour slot on CBC every weeknight. Together with its online presence, it aims to be "launch pad for independent creative expression that's slipped the leash of expectation. A synapse-teasing space where the yin of the Web slips seamlessly into the yang of TV, and back again." Read those words again -- what do they mean? They mean hip and cool, that's what they mean. They mean that somehow, the uncultured managed to usurped the fortified culture of CBC and bring it into gasp this century! The online face of ZeD acts as a community of sort for pretentious, hipster types, to collaborate and publish their original works. ZeD is constantly looking for new material, so if you want to be part of pretentious crowd, join. You never know, with enough pretending, you might be able to fool some cultured stalwarts to part with some of their inheritance.

    Ziya TongWhile you're at it, check out the unabashed face of ZeD: Ziya Tong. She's so cool, it hurts. Is it just me, or is she trying too hard? You be the judge.

    On a cool note -- yes, there is something I found cool in all the self-indulging site -- ZeD the site is entirely a product that employs open source software. Maybe that's how they managed to secure funding from the tightwads at CBC. The site employs Apache, Jboss, Tomcat, Linux and Java. Having taken from from the open source community, ZeD is giving back. The entire code drop for the site is available for download and use. Now that's something that's cool.

    Yeah, and maybe some of the artsy-fartsy stuff is cool too.

    Friday, January 07, 2005

    Receiving ... by the Numbers

    I haven't seen figures as yet that show where the current $3 billion will be allocated across the countries hit by the tsunami, but in general, Australia is very focused on helping out Indonesia, while Canada is making a point of expending their efforts in Sri Lanka. The United States is pretty much everywhere, as they have the facilities to extend the help across the geography of the region. The sheer global impact of the tsunami probably won't be realized until the situation is under some sort of control, and relief and rebuilding efforts become routine.

    I looked at some numbers of the major donor countries below -- how much they give baseline to their population and GDP. Here now I look at some of the countries who will be the beneficiary of the help. I'm not interpreting the numbers in anyway, just putting them out there for the conclusions to be drawn -- if there are any that can be drawn. Again, all of the data for the comparison comes from the CIA World Factbook and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development. The numbers represent the latest numbers available. Some are from the 1990s.

     
     IndiaIndonesiaMalaysiaMaldives
    Population in Poverty266M64M2Mn/a
    External Debt$102B$136B$49B$281M
    per Person$10,472M$1,757M$482M$1,208M
    Foreign Aid received per Person in Poverty$11$43$0$0
    Military Spending % GDP2.41.32.08.6
     
     MyanmarSomaliaSri LankaThailand
    Population in Poverty11Mn/a4M7M
    External Debt$6B$3B$11B$54B
    per Person$7,107M$3,194M$1,892M$1,207M
    Foreign Aid received per Person in Poverty$12$0$132$20
    Military Spending % GDP2.10.93.21.8
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