December 2008

As the year comes to a close, it seems worthwhile to link back to the posts that got the most attention over the past twelve months: 1) By far the most popular was this post on Greyhound bus security, arguing that incorporating airport-style security into the bus system doesn’t make sense. Largely because it got […]


The MIT Technology Review has a good article about renewable energy and the ways electrical grids will need to change in order to accomodate it. Both key points have been discussed here before. Firstly, we need high voltage low-loss power lines from areas with lots of renewable potential (sunny parts of the southern US, windy […]


Joshua Silver – a retired Oxford professor – has developed a kind of eyeglasses that can be easily ‘tuned’ for a particular individual in the field. This is possible because the glasses contain sacs of liquid silicone and have syringes attached, allowing fluid to be added or removed. Changing the quantity of fluid effectively adjusts […]

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Recently, the Pope announced that fighting homosexuality is just as important as protecting the rainforest. These comments have been rightly attacked from many angles. For me, what it highlights most is the ways in which religion can produce poor prioritization of issues. By according certain things sacred or venerated status, they can become a disproportionate […]


Umberto Eco’s The Name of The Rose reminded me of both An Instance of the Fingerpost and My Name is Red – the former largely because of how multiple perspectives were employed, and the latter on account of the character of the mystery. All are historical fiction, as well as murder mysteries. All involve the […]


Between tomorrow and Sunday, I will be visiting with family in Vermont for the holidays. As such, posts may be sporadic or absent. I hope everyone enjoys whichever holidays they care to celebrate, and that the next year is a pleasant and worthwhile one for everybody.


The science section at the Rideau Centre Chapters always depresses me. It is often the most disorganized section of the store – tucked, as it is, in the very back corner. Books have frequently been relocated by customers and not re-shelved by staff, and the organizational system is deeply flawed even when properly implemented. For […]


Want to learn how to use an external flash with your SLR camera system? Strobist has an useful ‘Lighting 101‘ series of articles. I have also had Light: Science and Magic by Steven Biver et al. strongly recommended to me. Since I will be getting my hands on a 430EX II flash on Wednesday, doing […]


Ordinarily, wood is a relatively temporary storehouse for carbon. While trees absorb it when growing, they re-release it when they burn or rot. A company called Titan Wood is seeking to enhance the sequestration potential of wood by chemically altering it. In so doing, they increase the span of time for which the carbon will […]


Tonight, I watched Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal with Gabe. My overall impression is that the film is a bit like high runway fashion: impractical, often incomprehensible, but likely to filter down and become part of many subsequent pieces of mainstream art. All told, I prefer more straightforward storytelling. Excessively arty and intellectual films annoy […]