So THIS happened this week…

September 27, 2014

I just don’t get it… Why do people still make decisions like this?

A mall in Guildford, BC, completely removed their physical playground for kids and replaced it wiiiith…. iPads.  I just don’t understand… With all the publicity out there, all the articles, all the journals saying that our society is getting too fat, our kids imaginations are crumbling, and our overall brain power is essentially dwindling to nothing… STILL companies do things like this; the complete opposite of every journal, every article, every news story.

What a nice camping theme.... There's a waterfall, a tent, a tree.  It's almost like you're outside!  Now keep in mind, this is the BEFORE picture...

What a nice camping theme…. There’s a waterfall, a tent, a tree. It’s almost like you’re outside! Now keep in mind, this is the BEFORE picture…

This seems like the typical playground… Kids playing, just overall ridiculously excited to be just… climbing.  I wish I could still get excited over simple things like that (even though sometimes I do), but I think it’s the fact that’s just so easy for kids to enjoy the little things, that they should be encouraged to do it!  Seeing as all the parents are sitting on the sidelines… Which, again, is typical, and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that.  They’re tired.  So why the mall completely overhaul this playground…?

... And the AFTER.  No more climbing, jumping, romping... unless there's a sweet climbing/jumping/romping app on those iPads.

… And the AFTER. No more climbing, jumping, romping… unless there’s a sweet climbing/jumping/romping app on those iPads.

Liability.  We live in a world where everyone, everywhere is afraid of getting sued.  A kid’s not allowed to get a couple bumps.  A worker isn’t allowed to lift a heavy box without permission.  A coffee joint isn’t allowed to sell coffee without a warning to the drinker that the hot coffee is indeed…. hot.  Every action by a company and government, is to protect them from being sued.  And rightly so….. why?  Because there are people out there who wait like sharks for the chance TO SUE.  Because then all of their financial troubles will be over at the expense of someone else.  But they don’t care…. They slightly burned their hand with coffee, so they deserve it.

Seeing as I’m essentially leading into a subject that I’ll probably be writing about separately (and believe me, it’ll be long…), I’m going to leave it there.  However, there’s another blog written by a man who actually took his kids to this playground (before the transformation), and he wrote a pretty good post about it, more geared towards stupid parents, which I like.

Now, apparently a volcano has gone oofff in Japan….

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Franklin, you crazy son of a bitch…

September 23, 2014

Wooden boats.  Frostbite.  Dysentery.  Not knowing where you’re going while being 100% cold all the time.  7:00pm.  My place.  BYO-1,700 litres of whisky.

Arctic explorers from the 16th to 20th century… were ridiculous.  I’m not sure if you’ve been following the news lately, but an incredibly old mystery has been partially solved; One of the ships from the Franklin Expedition of 1845 was found in the Queen Maud Gulf, near King William Island.  Coincidently, I just moved to the city (to put it mildly) of Iqaluit, which is on the southern tip of Baffin Island.  So, the discovery of a ship of a doomed expedition from 170 years ago, now essentially in my backyard, got my rusty braingears slightly cranked over.

Needless to say, I’ve been reading up on all the (super cool only) arctic expeditions of the past.  Now, I’ve been pretty enthralled my explorers of old, and I have a couple books… But this doesn’t make me any sort of expert… nor have I read said books yet, because let’s face it, I suck at reading.  Not because I’m illiterate, but it’s more related to my short attention span,  which is why I stick to magazine articles instead… By the time my mind wanders, I’m done reading!  Huzzah!  Win-win.  However, lately I’ve been picking up these before-mentioned books, and wouldn’t you know it, I’m reading a little more each time.

Side sonar of one of Franklin's lost ships.  I hate to admit, but the fact that's it's "side sonar" confused the hell of out of me for ages, as I couldn't convince myself that this was a side view of the ship.... Because it isn't.

Side sonar of one of Franklin’s lost ships. I hate to admit, but the fact that’s it’s “side sonar” confused the hell of out of me for ages, as I couldn’t convince myself that this was a side view of the ship…. Because it isn’t.

Currently, I’m reading a book called Fatal Journey, which even though I’m only 30 pages in, I wouldn’t recommend so far.  I started reading it to learn of Henry Hudson’s final journey to find the northwest passage (which ended in mutiny and was left to fend for himself in the Bay that bears his name… technically this isn’t a spoiler), which they basically covered already, and the rest of the book appears to chat about why they took the journey, which doesn’t involve as much tragic-ness and mayhem as I would’ve liked.  But I’ll keep reading it, because I’m committed like that.

However, the mention of so many other explorers that were solely looking for the Northwest Passage, got me going.  I mean come on, I live on Frobisher Bay for crap’s sake… Martin Frobisher being one of the first explorers paddling after the passage in the 1500s.  He didn’t find it (after three tries).  What he DID find was a shatload of “gold”, which he flled his boat up with and brought back to England…. Only to find it was the fooliest of minerals…. pyrite*.  Fell for one of nature’s oldest tricks in the book.  I’m pretty sure if I did that with any of my jobs, my career would be over.

*Pyrite being “fool’s gold”.  Utterly worthless and found absolutely everywhere… Super pretty, though.

Henry Hudson being the next super man to head off in a northwesterly direction in 1609.  He attempted a couple times, I believe, and utterly ended up in James Bay (just below Hudson’s Bay), where his crew said “forget you”, and dropped him and 8 others off in a rowboat, and then headed back to England in 1611.  Needless to say, people were suspicious of the whole story that the “survivors” of the expedition weaved together.

Then there was the most famous and newsworthy explorer of them all… Sir John Franklin.  Why he was more newsworthy than all the others, I’ll never know.  I figure any explorer who’s willing to tackle the relentless hardships of the arctic, deserves equal recognition.  Also, Hudson’s journey had mutiny and murder, so why not?!  Regardless, Franklin’s expedition involved two ships, forever destined to explore together: the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror, who set sail in May of 1845.  Long story short, they were technically on the right track to finding their way through the NW Passage, however their ships were frozen in at Queen Maud Bay, which is just off the northern coast of present day Nunavut.  The crew wintered for two years, where the ships never sailed again and eventually, all were lost to the winter cold.

The HMS Terror... A giant boat of a.... boat.  Ship?  She (or the HMS Erebus, they're not sure) was discovered in the Queen Maud Gulf under only 11 meters of water.  I can see why she bottomed out.

The HMS Terror… A giant boat of a…. boat. Ship? She (or the HMS Erebus, they’re not sure) was discovered in the Queen Maud Gulf under only 11 meters of water. I can see why she bottomed out.

While all of this is super fascinating to me, I kept asking myself, “After all this searching for the Northwest passage, who actually “discovered” and sailed it?”.  Enter Roald Amundsen.  A name I can honestly say I’ve never heard of… Know why?  Probably because unlike all previous explorers, he survived.

The Gjoa.... Much, much smaller than Franklin's ships.  Methinks Amundsen was a smart, smart man.

The Gjoa…. Much, much smaller than Franklin’s ships. Methinks Amundsen was a smart, smart man.

Granted, he traveled the Passage in 1903-1906, which you think would’ve been slightly more advanced, technologically, but really it sounds like it was just a different approach that determined the outcome.  For instance, Franklin (and others) embarked on his adventure with over 126 men on quite the large ship… Heavy, awkward, and full of… dudes.  Amundsen, a Polish explorer, had only a fishing trawler that he had just recently purchased, named Gjoa, with a total of….. 6 men.  Supposedly, one of the biggest reasons the Gjoa made it was due to the fact that the boat was small and light enough, that it could pass through the many shallow passages through the North.

So, this post turned out to be much much longer than I thought, so I’m going to end it there.  There’s a little history, and just overall awesomeness…


The ever-so-slow demise of Mac products

September 10, 2014

**First off, I’m still here… I know this is basically how amateur blogging goes; you start out strong, then slowly dwindle down into nothingness, then bounce back, then dwindle… repeat.  I’m cool with this… I believe the more I accept it, the more I’ll be inclined to write stuff.  Also, my recent “break” in blogging included a giant life change which may or may not have included moving to the Arctic, so I’m just going to chalk it up to that.**

The Apple Watch was released yesterday, or the (i)Watch, which I’m preeettyy sure everyone is going to call it regardless of what Apple says…

… But on the other hand, people tend to do exactly what Apple says.  Personally, I think Apple should open a new store in one of the most remote regions of the world, release a one time product that will only be released at this store, and see how many people convince themselves that they’re in shape enough to travel to this store, and subsequently take selfies of themselves dying in an attempt to get this product.  I know, that was a run-on sentence, but sometimes the best thoughts are.

The Apple Watch... Complete with the ability to TEXT your HEARTBEAT to someone, creating a new, awkward way to convey your feelings with even less actual words.

The Apple Watch… Complete with the ability to TEXT your HEARTBEAT to someone, creating a new, awkward way to convey your feelings with even less words.

Now, I’m sure there are several benefits to this product, right?  Definitely not anything I’d be able to think of in time for this post, but the next post, for sure… Maybe the one after that.  Going through the features of the watch once it was released, it basically had all the fun stuff usually associated with Apple products, but there are some features that just give that inkling feeling that Apple products just aren’t going to work out in the future.  For example, texting on this thing is obviously not going to be the most practical, being that it has a tiny screen and most of us have relatively fat fingers… with remnant grease on them, most of the time.  So instead, they develop a “new and innovative” way of communicating, where you make little swirleys and swiggly lines toooo…. communicate?  To quote off of Apple’s site:

“You don’t even have to use words.  The Digital Touch features on Apple Watch give you fun, spontaneous ways to connect with other Apple Watch wearers, wrist to wrist.”

The first sentence bothers me… “You don’t even have to use words”.  Unfortunately, unless you’re part of a Grade 8 gigglefest of girls, words are probably a little more handy than squiggly lines, ultimately continuing the tradition of Grade 8 boys not knowing what f*#% the girls are talking about.  No one is planning a lunch date or meeting with squiggles.  **Sidenote: I guarantee you it took probably 2.43 minutes from the time of purchase of the very first Apple Watch, for someone to squiggle a penis**.

Alright, it’s time I got the point of this post.  These new features are unforunately not a sign of innovation, they’re a sign of desperation.  While smartphones are capable of doing many many many things, and in some people’s eyes, they should be able of doing everything, everywhere, at all times, I believe people are going to come to the realization that there are only so many things that are practical on a smartphone.  And they’ve pretty well all been created.  Apple has reached the point (probably awhile ago) where features are simply created so their market shares stay high, which can keep a company afloat for a little while even.  At some point, however, they’re going to release a product with a feature that’s going to be the clincher… It’s going to “click” in people, as they say “I don’t get it”.  Will it be with the Apple Watch after we give it a couple days of people using it?  We’ll see… If not, we can only hope it’s with the next product launch, I’m assuming will be exactly one year from now…

… because innovation happens like clockwork.


Terminator’s Hand Found on Mars

February 11, 2013

As Curiosity is slowly making its way around Mars, it seems to have spied something not too far away. This has happened once before, but that one turned out to be a piece of plastic from the cute little rover itself. This time, it looks like quite the shiny object…. A metallic rod/arm/flower/water bottle is seen sticking out of the ground.

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They (being scientists of the rocket variety) attribute this find to simply a more competent base metal that has not erroded or rusted like most would due to the lack of oxygen on the planet.

I, on the other hand, am quite positive that those are the remains of Arnie’s metallic hand. I know it’s a little fuzzy, but I see a thumbs-up. Actually it looks more like a foot, and he just went into the ground head first. OR…….. Transformers. Regardless, I would hope that NASA would deviate Curiosity off its course and check it out, personally. However, even though it’s literally supposed to be only a few metres away, that would probably mean a 1-2 week deviation, or something like that, costing millions….. I still think it’s worth it.


Caustic Soda…. I might be the last to know.

December 8, 2012

… But oh well, I’m always glad to stumble upon a podcast of awesome.

So Caustic Soda is a fantastic podcast, mostly concerned about the most random, yet oddly relatable topics you can think of. It’s quite morbid, which is basically a required personality trait for my family, so I’m quite naturally drawn to it.

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Like I mentioned, I’m pretty behind on the episodes, but just finished listening to the Music episode, which touches base with music used in the U.S. military as an experimental form of torture, which actually makes ridiculous sense. One of the songs mentioned was “We Didn’t Start the Fire” by Billy Joel, and when it was mentioned I couldn’t remember how the song went at all. Later on that day, had a tune in my head I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what it was, until my girlfriend said “Why are you singing We Didn’t Start the Fire?”… Human brains, I tells ya!! Crazy shit….

Anyways, I digress. There’s often a solid guest host on the show, in this case Canadian comedian Sean Cullen. If you’re looking for solid Sean Cullen, CBC’s The Debaters, specifically Pie vs. Cake is a good place to start (Season 4, I think). Regardless, the podcast was a good find, and chock full of fun facts. The website is just as awesome, with extra material that is just too damned visual for a podcast.

Check it out and enjoy!

Caustic Soda Podcast


We’d probably make a mess out of Super Earths

November 12, 2012

Oh, what I wouldn’t give to go live on beautiful and aptly named HD 40307.

That, my friends is the name of the new Super Earth that was discovered in our own galaxy, not too far far away. It’s pretty slick. They (being relevant scientists) took a second look at a not too distant solar system which I believe was only known to have 3 planets. Now they’re discovered a few more, and one has the potential to be a super Earth, which to qualify have to have the right conditions for life, and….. well I think that’s pretty well it. Hopefully to qualify it doesn’t have to be inhabited by a bunch of idiots. And by bunch, I mean shitload… Did you WATCH that election last week? I was worried there for a bit.

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This game just might be handy in the future

When I hear about stories like this, I tend to think of things that we don’t necessarily take for granted, but that we tend to forget about incredibly unique to our planet. Such as the 24-hour system! Just think how different life in general would be on a planet 7 times the size of Earth, and not necessarily the same distance from its star as Earth is from our Sun. Each day could be 72 (Earth) hours long, a year could be 3 (Earth) years, oohh the possibilities are endless! Taking a plane from one side of the planet to the other might be a 2-day trip! Well I guess everything would be kind of relative. I believe I read that they did detect (don’t ask me how) that HD 40307 could have a slight tilt, just like Earth, which means seasons! Faaantastic…. Months and months of winter, ooohh man! Again, all relative.

Sidenote, watched Prometheus last week, kind of like visiting another planet with possible humans on it…… meh, not bad. SPOILER = They turned out to fucking suck.


Boats in a waterless ocean

August 13, 2012

Invisibility cloaks I guess have been in the works for awhile, it just took a clincher like J.K. Rowling to bring it to the limelight.

I’ve been reading random articles about it for awhile, combinations of materials and design that will bend light in such a way as to camouflage an object perfectly into whatever it’s surroundings. What intrigued me about my latest readings is a way to do the same thing, but with water.

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Well there's one way to achieve frictionless water travel

While the invisibility cloak that everybody knows and loves (and is built into a blanket), bends and manipulates light, an “invisibility cloak” for boats would “bend” water. Just by the shear number of quotations marks I use indicate how experimental this still is, but the science behind “bending” water is pretty wicked, and no it’s not by constantly brushing hair with a million combs (anybody?)

The theory is that a ship’s hull would have 10’s or 100’s or small propellers placed (I assume) below the water line. These propellers would push the water beginning at the bow of the ship all the way to the stern, with propellers the entire length of ship. The idea is if you can push the water the same speed as the ship (or relative to a certain speed of the ship), it would essentially eliminate friction along the hull. The ship would inherently seem…… Weightless? It would “glide over” water, but still actually going through it (I swear all quotation marks are necessary), it would simply “bend” it out of the way.

The fact that it would theoretically eliminate friction between boat and water, is interesting in the sense that it’s something I never would have thought of. Fuel consumption would drop considerably, products become cheaper and shipping becomes greener (and cheaper). “But wouldn’t fuel consumption be the same because you still need to drive the props?”. That’s what I thought, but you need quite a bit of power to overcome friction. Without friction though? I wouldn’t think nearly as much power would be required, but this is just my guess…

Anyways, point being, I’m still around.