I have no words…
I read a lot of stuff (no, I don’t), and by reading, I mean flipping through catalogues, such as the outdoor catalogue of MEC (Mountain Equipment Co-op).
Background: For all the non-Canadians, MEC is a is a cooperative business specializing in outdoor equipment where every member buys a share for $5 (I think it’s $5) and then technically you own a part of the company. There are stores located across Canada and you can order online, yada yada. For Americans, it’s basically REI.
Anyways, I was flipping through the catalogue and read this little piece about these three people taking a wicked initiative to not buy any consumer goods for a year (excluding food, but there are rules about that deliciousness too). I thought this sounded like a pretty cool idea, especially when I heard that they’re not hippies… honestly, if they were, I probably wouldn’t pay attention… sorry hippies.
I went to their site, and noticed that they’re almost done, which kind of bummed me out a bit. Only 20-30 some odd days to go. But, while I think their project is a good idea, and I say kudos for taking it on (because I probably wouldn’t survive), I’m more anxious (excited-wise) to see their documentary about the whole ordeal. I especially like the bit in the preview where the girl, Jen I presume, mentions that while having no waste for your groceries while in line at the grocery store, the person behind you is double-bagging all their stuff anyways… so will it make a difference? Honestly, I think about that everytime I go to the grocery store, or any store for that matter. Because I’m so used to brining my own bags (when I forget them I feel like everyone is watching), that I don’t understand how everyone else hasn’t caught on? It doesn’t make sense to me…
Anyways, I hope that the documentary reaches a lot of people when it comes out, and is made out of recycled Steven Seagal DVD covers (I’m sure there are a lot of them). While it might not make a difference on a global scale, even getting a hundred people to at least think about consuming less will do some good… it’s not rocket science, just science.
Good on ya guys, and congratulations on your $1000 MEC gift certificate which I’m sure you’ve enshrined on top of your fridge of something. And for the record, MEC is the only catalogue I read… and Mohair Clothes Weekly.
Alright, so this is pretty much old news, but I wanted to write about it anyway. So this massive black hole at the center of a quasar was discovered recently, said to be as massive as 18 billion of our Suns. Now, I’m kind of confused about when this was discovered, because even though I’ve been seeing it in the news in the past month, all the articles I read are dated 2008 and 2007, so this might be really old news.
Technically, you can’t observe a black hole directly because it swallows up everything around it, including light, making it… well black, against a backdrop of black space, making them pretty hard to spot. So how can you tell how big this thing is? Well, click on the picture and read on, but believe it or not, there’s a smaller black hole orbiting around the big one, and twice a ‘year’, it goes through the disc of matter surrounding the large one, creating a burst of light/energy that can be measured from Earth. With countless measurements, the data can infer the size of the larger black hole without ever actually ‘seeing’ it.
I thought that was pretty cool, and no worries, it doesn’t look like it’ll swallowing us up anytime soon.
I’m in the midst of reading a really good article following 4 experts (I hate using that word) discussing the up-to-date ‘what’s going on’ with climate change.
… And I came across a wicked quote. First off, there are so many different opinions with climate change, I probably shouldn’t even bother writing about it. There are so many steps, it seems, into doing anything about climate change, or any global change for that matter. Having people believe it’s actually happening, is step one. Having governments to believe it’s happening is step two. Having governments believe in what their people are believing, is yet another step.
Personally, I think climate change is a total lost cause… Yes, I believe it is happening, but do I think we’re going to end up doing anything about it? Definitely not… most ‘solutions’ that we hear about in the news, are very quick and very local fixes that basically put the public mind at ease. Those will last for a few years, until people realize that nothing has really been done because the global effect is still occurring. This is the reason I completely agree with this quote:
“… I’m also optimistic about our abilities. Unfortunately I’m pessimistic about our wisdom. We have the capability to do amazing things in a short amount of time, but it takes a political decision with follow-through. I’m not confident we’ll get it.”
– Ken Caldeira
While there are definitely a lot of skeptics out there, there are also many people who want to do big things, and yes if they have the motivation and drive to do it, then they’ll succeed and get scholaships and recommendations, and publish their work in journals and magazines. Unfortunately, when it comes to contributing to a global society, you have to go through the politicians, and they’re most likely not as interested as you are.
So, my personal conclusion is that, yes, things will be done to help with climate change… will it change anything on a global scale?
Whenever some new government gadget comes out to enhance security and keep you even more safe, there always seems to be some catch that just keeps you that much more paranoid.
In recent months, several provinces in Canada have adopted to create and offer ‘enhanced driver’s licenses’ which will replace passports as a necessary piece of identication to cross the border in the U.S. Before 9/11 and all the security enhancements that have been steadily increasing over the years, all you needed was your regular driver’s license to get across the border, and most likely your birth certificate in most cases. But starting June 1, 2009 (two weeks), showing your passport will be mandatory, along with anybody who has an enhanced driver’s license.
Now, when I heard of these licenses coming out a couple years ago, I thought it was a pretty good idea, until I heard how ‘enhanced’ they’re going to be, and just recently, how they’ll have a tiny radio transmitter embedded into them.
I just read an article on CBC.ca about the type of radio transmitter that will be placed into these licenses. Read the article for the full deal, but basically there are two types of transmitters: close-range transmitters where you basically have to be holding it to get a signal (or say, beside the booth at the border crossing), or a longer-range transmitter that you can detect across a street for instance. For some reason, the Canadian government opted to go for the longer distance, which is confusing to say the least, especially to the public. The simple question being…. why?
Going back to how ‘enhanced’ these licenses are going to be, they intend to place on the card a great deal of personal information. I don’t know what specifically, but I’m figuring a lot more than your birthday and address. Now that’s fine with me, but if a government’s looking to protect it’s country from people slipping by their borders by putting more information on a drivers license that everntually everyone in this country is going to have, I think more measures should be taken to also protect the information on this card and making sure that this information stays on this card, except when needed by authorities.
That being said, there’s obviously no fooling on how much information we can shove into a tiny speck on a piece of plastic these days, so I fail to see the need for any type of transmitter to put your information at risk when a simple enhancement on a technology already in use would most likely be safer; I’m talking about the black stripe on the back of every card. How come the government can’t introduce specialized card swipers only used by government officials which would be necessary to get the information off of your card. That’s my two cents…
The one thing I like about these licenses is that they’re completely optional. So until I see what goes down with these new licenses, I’m sticking with my tried and true passport which I have no problem carrying around only when I go to the border, unlike a drivers license that I’d have with me all the time, at risk of being scanned as I’m walking on a sidewalk. I know, it’s unlikely, but until I hear an idea that’s sound, I’ll stick with what works.
For more information on the Ontario version of the enhanced driver’s license, go here.