Crow's Nest barbershop, Toronto


This week involves one of my last pre-comp spurts of academic work for this term.

For tomorrow, I need to write a draft comp answer on policy failure, inequality, and political economy v. institutionalist v. agent-centred theories.

On Wednesday, my interview assignment for my qualitative methods course is due. I need to finish the astonishingly time consuming task of writing the verbatim transcript, then produce about 2500 words of analysis.

Sometime between Friday and next Tuesday, I am meant to grade the papers for the U.S. government and politics class where I am a TA.

After this, there is just one more qualitative methods assignment, along with terrifying masses of work and revision for the public policy comp. I am hoping the danger of having my entire summer ruined by the need to re-prepare in the event of failure will produce the desperation necessary to force myself to do comp adequate reading and preparation over the next month.



April 14, 2014

in Photo of the day, Toronto

Hospital in central Toronto


Whenever the many problems with nuclear power are raised, there are people who suggest that everything could be fixed with a substantial technical change: moving to generation IV reactors, for instance, or the ever-elusive fusion possibility.

Another common suggestion is that using thorium for reactor fuel could limit concerns about proliferation, as well as (modest) concerns about uranium availability.

I have read a lot of contradictory things on the subject of thorium, so it seems useful to have a thread tracking information on the issue.


Clara blowing large bubbles in the Massey quad

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Cast iron

April 12, 2014

in Photo of the day, Toronto

Cast iron frying pans


Climbing structure


Rope bridge

April 10, 2014

in Photo of the day, Toronto

Carla Hamady-Schroeder crossing a rope bridge


Many websites rely on SSL / TLS to encrypt communication: everything from passwords to credit card numbers to emails. OpenSSL is a very widely used implementation of these encryption protocols.

Right now, the internet is abuzz with the news of the ‘hearbleed’ bug. Because of a flaw in OpenSSL, attackers can extract 64 kilobytes of information from a webserver for each ‘heartbeat’. This information can include secret encryption keys, usernames and passwords, and other kinds of sensitive data.

In response, the Canada Revenue Agency has stopped accepting online filing of tax returns. There is a lot of other discussion online: Schneier, XKCD. A tool for testing webservers for the vulnerability is also online.

One take-away from this is that once various web servers are fixed, we will all need to change our passwords.



April 9, 2014

in Photo of the day, Toronto

Milan Ilnyckyj swinging

Photo by Carla Hamady-Schroeder