November 2008

Fellow photographers: if you had the following collection of SLR bodies and lenses, which piece of glass would you aspire to next? Bodies: Canon Rebel G film SLR Canon Elan 7N film SLR Canon Rebel XS digital SLR In practice, I expect to be using the Rebel XS far more than the film bodies, from […]

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Among a number of other strong points, this WWF report (PDF) on “The end of the oil age” highlights some of the problems with hydrogen as a fuel, particularly for vehicles. One major issue raised is the difficulty of transporting the stuff: Despite having a high specific energy (i.e. energy content per unit mass) of […]

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Surprising statistic of the day: according to The Economist, half of the state income taxes in California are paid by just 144,000 wealthy individuals. They represent about 0.39% of the state’s population of 36.5 million. That can be interpreted in two rather different ways. On the one hand, you could highlight the degree to which […]

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Research conducted by Kees Keizer of the University of Groningen has demonstrated that the willingness of people to litter and steal increases when they are in disorderly surroundings. When experimental subjects were exposed to law- or rule-breaking, they were significantly more willing to litter, trespass, and steal. This is suggestive of how even relatively subtle […]

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Given the evidence that acupuncture doesn’t work (except possibly for some kinds of pain and nausea) and chiropractic is downright dangerous, it is a bit saddening that Gary Goodyear – Canada’s Minister of State for Science and Technology – has fellowships in both. Is it too much to ask that the cabinet minister in charge […]

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On the occasion of my 25th birth{}day (intentionally misspelled to protect against spam robots), I will briefly enumerate the best things that happened in the past year: Spending the summer with Emily Surviving an Ottawa winter, without losing any fingers or toes Visiting Montreal and Toronto many times The well-attended party in North Van last […]

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In another drug war skirmish, the owners of a company selling fake penises and urine for beating drug tests have pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy in an American federal court. The situation demonstrates how any security situation generates countermeasures. Banning outside alcohol from football games led to the Beerbelly, just as submarine warfare led […]

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Peter Lilley, a British Member of Parliament, seems to have rather missed the point of climate change legislation. He is kicking up a fuss about how the UK’s Climate Change Bill might have costs larger than benefits in the period between now and 2050. Of course, the whole point of climate change mitigation is to […]

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This previous post on Canada’s new commitment to generate 90% of its electricity from sources that do not emit greenhouse gasses by 2020 was a bit too wide-ranging, since it sought to consider all possible mixes that satisfied the 90% criterion. A more reasonable approach is to consider two plausible scenarios. In the first scenario, […]

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Adding once again to our ever-present debate about the ethics of air travel, a study from the University of California, Berkeley concludes that the major reason planes are more problematic than trains or buses is that people simply travel farther in them. This has two major implications. For one, it suggests that efforts to curtain […]

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