Heat Wave Snobbery

I’ve been shocked to hear The Weather Network in Canada repeating the same dogma over the last few years. That is that a heat wave is defined to be at least 3 days in a row of temperatures above 32 degrees Celsius.

2 days in a row of 34 degrees Celsius cannot be called a heat wave. An unending week of temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius just isn’t good enough.

While I understand the reasons to impress our American friends with hot temperatures that make even them sit up and notice, I think that there should definitely be limits to this heat wave snobbery.

For instance, I live in the Great Lakes area of the continent, and when it gets hot it almost always gets humid. The humidex ranking of temperature would easily break the heat wave snobbery. Yet dry Arizona is said to break the heat wave standard almost all the time. Their dry heat is way more comfortable.

Plus, there is the basic fact that Canada sits north of the U.S. and as we enjoy colder winters, we should have lower standards for a heat wave. The temperature differential a Canadian has to survive should not be way greater than an American for us to say it is a spell of weather that is too hot.

But then there is global warming, so we had better get used to the hotter standards.

Still, I insist that Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories ought to enjoy laxer standards for what constitutes a heat wave.

This is my 500th post and hopefully by next week I’ll have spun off the serious posts to my sister site: “Nooz Spun Right”.

Posted in Announcements, Science, Wry | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Greetings From the Left End of Toronto

It’s angered me at least three times this year that Kitchener-Waterloo, Cambridge, Guelph and Brantford have all been included in maps that were said to represent the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

I have always felt that these cities were just big enough and far enough away from Toronto to have identities of their own. For instance Mississauga might be bigger than all of Waterloo Region but no one has heard of it outside the Toronto area. Mississauga is simply too close to Toronto to have its own identity.

But back to the problem of being called the left end of Toronto. Anger should be the response because the government promised us a green belt around the Toronto to Hamilton region. This should effectively block all attempts by Toronto to include the counties of Waterloo, Wellington and Brant.

But these maps are encouraging the building sector to dream of an urban area with Kitchener, Brantford, Hamilton and Toronto as its four corners. And lately I’ve heard of investors from the GTA coming to the three previously mentioned counties for the purpose of investing in the real estate. Why not? The prices are ridiculously cheap when compared to the prices in the GTA.

Normally all of this would anger me. The GTA has 6 million people. What do they need with the inconsequential 800 000 people to their west? But maybe a mega city would be powerful.

The green belt will still halt a full union. But the megacity can say, ‘Look at our mighty park. Take that, minuscule Central Park and its New York City environs.’

And if we left enders know we are going to be called part of Toronto, we can all invest in the real estate in this area, knowing that it is going to rise faster in value than other areas of the country. So we all could get richer.

And the GTA is already taking advantage. They are saying that the swath from Waterloo to Toronto is the biggest tech area outside of Silicon Valley. I’d have to say that here, Toronto is the junior partner. Blackberry, Oracle and a huge number of incubated tech companies have come out of Waterloo, largely due to the renowned University of Waterloo.

So the left side of Toronto should take advantage and demand better transportation links. Because of sheer size, Toronto has many things that the left side of Toronto doesn’t have.

So I have gotten over my initial anger and welcome my area being called the left end of Toronto.

Posted in Business, Geography, Humour, Politics, Social Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Canada: Cheated Into Conserving in the Seventies

If you think the conservation nazis are tough these days, you must admit that they are at least trying to be honest. Previously they got their way by cheating the public in 1970s Canada.

You probably have not heard even the slightest whisper of this conspiracy. That is because it was done to math phobic consumers by not so math phobic conservationists. If you can do the math that says we are consuming our way out of a future, then you can also do the math that I am going to bring to light.

The cheat that was used goes by the much respected name of the metric system.

Sure, you say, many hated the metric system, but it hardly stopped rampant consumerism.

Maybe it didn’t stop rampant consumerism but it most definitely slowed it.

You see, in Canada’s old imperial system of measurement, room temperature was said to be 70 degrees Fahrenheit. In the metric system, room temperature is said to be 20 degrees Celsius.

Just look how innocuous this looks. But it is well known that math phobes like to round off their numbers instead of knowing them more exactly. So the fact that 70 degrees Fahrenheit is actually 21 degrees Celsius, just never made it into the minds of most Canadians.

Look at that. All those winters in the seventies, Canadian heating was lessened by 1 degree Celsius. That is a huge conservation effort.

But don’t fear, consumers, because the ecopigs of the eighties started bringing air conditioning into the burbs. Since then, air conditioning has spread to virtually everywhere. And environmentally it costs more to lower the temperature by a degree than raising it by a degree. The laws of thermodynamics ensure this. So despite the great seventies start I’m pretty sure that conservation efforts went the wrong way.

But I wonder if Canada’s metric turnover in the seventies caused a brief downward blip in the overall global warming temperature increases.

Posted in Humour, Mathematics, Social Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Personality of Graphers

Most people will interpolate graphs. Interpolating is an educated guess saying that, with uniform points on either side, you can assume points in the middle follow the same shape which is sometimes a straight line.

For instance the grid like design of Toronto’s streets gives many a straight line between points. If you’re at say York University on Keele Street at Steeles in the north of the city, and you also know a point along Keele, south of Bloor, most Torontonians would guess that Keele Street connects these points in a straight line.

If you only venture to interpolate things, you are a relatively cautious person.

Science fiction writers take calculated risks and often extrapolate. Extrapolation on a graph occurs at one end that has no measured points. To extrapolate, it is assumed that known features of the graph continue in the unknown space. For example, part of a straight line would continue out to infinity when extrapolation occurs.

People who extrapolate are light risk takers.

To me the hardcore risk takers are those who place a blindfold over their eyes and wave a marker around until it makes a mark on the graph. These often flailing people are those who try to balloon around the globe, try to sneak up on a stingray or invest everything they own in a penny stock.

Don’t get me wrong, the hardcore risk takers are a delight to watch. It’s just that you learn nothing useful from them in all the time you watch their escapades.

If you ever see one of these high risk takers enjoy a truly full life be certain that someone somewhere will call them a legend. I just think that they are the lucky few who beat the odds.

Posted in Humour, Mathematics, Social Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Answer to Toronto’s Condo Wall

A wall of condos and other high rises presently blocks part of the waterfront from the rest of Toronto. Real Estate is location, location, location and the waterfront is part of Toronto’s downtown area. There is money to be made with these towers and do you know what I say to this? Let them build.

For the reason why, we just have to look at Toronto’s own history. Front Street used to be the street that was built along the waterfront of Toronto and Lake Ontario. Toronto residents would be first to point out that Front Street isn’t anywhere near the lake. This is because in historic times, the city of Toronto infilled Lake Ontario for quite a long stretch. It was only then that Lake Shore Blvd. came into existence in central Toronto.

And some of you know that Lake Shore Blvd is only the closest road to the lake in some spots. In another historical era of infilling, Queen’s Quay was created. Don’t think that Toronto’s eras of infilling Lake Ontario are only in the past. The cries amongst opponents to the wall of condos becomes louder every passing year.

I say let’s finish up the condo wall then let in a Toronto government that says the waterfront actually belongs to the public. Then the city can put in more infill, enough to host a broad street and and a beautiful boardwalk. If the city goes into debt from this expenditure, the trick is to build a tower or two to pay for these costs.

Then the city can wait until future debts get it to build tower after tower. Then the cycle can repeat.

Personally, I believe in this cycle so strongly that I plan to buy property in St. Catharines, the city across Lake Ontario from Toronto. Sure, the port of Hamilton will kick and scream about being cut off from the rest of Lake Ontario by the kilometers and kilometers of infill, but Toronto is more populous so the governments of Ontario and Canada will always take Toronto’s side.

Posted in Business, Geography, Humour, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bill C51 as a Verb

For allowing Bill C51 to rule the land I would like to do things to the right honourable Justin Trudeau and Stephen Harper.

If I could do anything to the pair, I would turn Harper into a rat. Let’s see what a reception he gets in Alberta as that province likes to brag about its lack of rats. Also, there is the low quality of life to consider.

I would turn Trudeau into a truffle hunting pig. One that never gets to taste those divine treats. Just like he’s letting us sniff true electoral reform while he’s planning to make another first-past-the-post winner-take-all system the rule of the land. Because of him we will, of course, never taste true electoral reform.

For those who don’t know, Bill C51 allows police to arrest you without a warrant and CSIS can simply get a toady judge to breach your rights and freedoms in secret so you can’t defend yourself. CSIS handles way too many cases for the current overseers to make sure it remains ethical.

But I have finally decided to make peace with Bill C51. After all, it’s not so bad if you’re the prime minister, a member of CSIS, or a high ranking judge. Since becoming a member of CSIS or becoming a high ranking judge takes too long, I have decided to run for prime minister.

To make myself one of the contending candidates, I will simply offer to the public the prime minsterial act of BillC51ing someone. Sometimes I have the pulse of the voters and imagine I can offer up some Canadian resident that they truly hate. While running for prime minister I can offer up say, Jian Gomeshi or Karla Homolka or even William Shatner. I could BillC51 the least popular or even if its close, I could BillC51 all three.

Some of you may wonder why I listed William Shatner with the other two. Obviously the questioner has never seen an episode of TJ Hooker.

Then finally after gaining the Prime Minister’s office, I can finally do what I’ve planned all along. I can BillC51 Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau. Perhaps they’ve never seen what the shoe is like on the other foot. Even former prime ministers aren’t exempt when we trod on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Which might spell trouble for me in the next election.

But still, totally worth it.

Posted in Humour, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Cultural Appropriation of the West

Much has been made about the developed world (otherwise known as the west) and its cultural appropriation of the developing world and other disenfranchised groups. But cultural appropriation swings both ways so I’d like to point out the cultural appropriation of the west.

Beijing, home to hard won smog, stole this symbol of manufacturing supremacy from the west. Beijing’s goal was the manufacturing centres of Britain that brought about the industrial revolution and also a shorter lifespan. Beijing might be able to hide the shorter lifespans due to respiratory illnesses by progressing in treating all other illnesses. I think it also wishes to steal the idea of class culture from Britain. Naturally those in power will be the new upper class.

Dubai and other Asian nations have begun usurping what once had been the pride of the west. From the time the Eiffel tower eclipsed the pyramids to a time only twenty years ago, the West had an unbroken string of the tallest buildings. But that is when the far east and then Dubai began making the tallest buildings. Finally western men no longer have the smallest junk and don’t have to over compensate.

And what small country has almost copied a decade of the west and thus has conservative westerners all in a tizzy? The island nation of Cuba has authentic 1950s cars, no shortages of doctors and an expertise in smoking. These are all things the west had in the fifties and the chance to visit that decade is top amongst conservative wishes. But Cuba has something that conservative westerners dislike. They are run by Cubans and thus have a differing cultural atmosphere.

So if the west cast Beyonce as an Indian and Rihanna as a princess of China, don’t cry cultural appropriation – it runs both…

Wait a second. Both those examples were Coldplay. Fine. Blame that British rock band. Carry on.

Posted in Fashion, Music, Social Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’m a Nerd

I’m a nerd, that’s the word,
That says I’m smart you turd,
Your insult now is blurred,
This is the same as saying honky,
I’d have said right up your donkey,
That’s your ass, sasafrass,
When you have power you don’t need class.
Any insults can be passed.

I’m a nerd, I’m preferred,
When you need to surpass the herd
And simply to be heard,
Nerds are rarely shunned
When you need that great big fund.
When you need to surpass the market,
Your money, you cannot park it,
Let a nerd make your target.

I’m a nerd and that’s a bird,
Also a dinosaur I’ve averred,
I know what once occurred,
We keep sifting through the facts,
That’s all of science’s great big act,
I’ve seen all of the sky,
And I sometimes ask “Why?”
All the gods let me pry.

I’m a nerd, I’m lightly furred,
Sometimes I’ve even purred,
For what’s right I’ve been spurred,
And sometimes I’ve even kept it,
For what’s right I’ve even helped it,
Chaotic good and lawful good,
I sometimes do what I should,
I’ve tried to do what I could.

I’m a nerd, it’s a word,
That I’ve often preferred,
Competence is averred,
By this word.

Posted in Science, Social Science, Writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Assigning IQs to Freud and Jung

Psychology has taken to assigning IQs to people who have never taken IQ tests. Einstein only garners an IQ of 160, thus we have to put up with an article every week that declares a kid “smarter than Einstein”. Who knows what biases reign supreme while assigning an IQ without an IQ test?

I guess there is nothing to stop psychologists from assigning however arbitrary an IQ to whomever they want. I do draw the line somewhere. Psychologists should be banned from assigning IQs to psychologists. This is reasonable. Like the fact that police should never be in charge of investigating police.

So I have taken it upon myself to assign IQs to both Freud and Jung. I have never taken a psychology course. To ensure that there is no monkey business, I will clearly show my assumptions.

The first thing to do is to look at the most prevalent ideas of both men. We will then decide how old you have to be to come up with such a theory. Then we will divide that age by the actual age of the esteemed psychologist when they came up with that theory. We will then multiply that number by 100 to get the actual IQ of the psychologist. In theory, IQ or intelligence quotient is mental age over actual age multiplied by 100. Thus someone of average intelligence has a score of about 100.

Many of Freuds theories concerned sex. Even what some say is his best work, The Interpretation of Dreams, has parts that later would become his theory of the Oedipus complex. So I have to ask myself, what age group can’t help but concern itself with sex, no matter the topic? Why middle school kids. They have just awakened to their own sexual desires and wonder if absolutely everything has a sexual side they hadn’t considered when they were younger.

So, despite all his training, I think Sigmund Freud had a mental age about 12 years old. Wait a second, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and say his theories showed a mental age of 13.

He willingly published books and papers that allowed sexuality to dominate them as early as 1895 when he was about 40 years old.

So 13 divided by 40, times 100 gives Freud an IQ of about 33.

Carl Jung is best known for his archetypes. He first mentioned them in 1919 when he was about 43 years old.

The age you are when you first realize that humans come in certain varieties is about 6 years old. You have reached your second teacher so you realize that is a type and you find out your friends each have a mother and a father. Obviously people fit into various types, again and again.

So Jung’s mental age of 6, divided by 43, times 100 gives an IQ of 14.

So let’s say you’ve just taken an IQ test and you realize it says you are about average because you only got 100. Well now you can say, “I’m three Freuds!” Or “I’m 7 times smarter than Jung.” Isn’t psychology so comforting?

Posted in Humour, Pseudo Science, Science, Social Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Escaped Horses Rarely Become Mighty Mustangs

From about 4 until the age of 13, I grew up with a horse and a pony. I know, every kid, especially girls, dream of having a pony in their youth. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. And no, I’m not whining about the chores I had to do to keep them. I did nothing. My Dad did all the work including shoveling out their shed and feeding them regularly. All I had to do was to, sometimes, when I felt like it, bring down a scoop of oats to the horses.

No, what I am complaining about is the temperament of our two horses. The first day we got them the pony kicked me. I was four and I don’t remember but everyone older does. The horses were in a small enough of an enclosure that they ate all the grass (which they preferred to hay) early every year. So, once done that, they would reach over the fence and and all the grass within reach would be mowed much shorter than the other grass. As a kid, I remember trying to make friends with the horses and ripped off some grass further afield and gave it to the horses to eat. I knew the proper way to feed horses, which was to place the food in my hand, palm flat. The pony bit me.

The pony wasn’t broken (this was much before the horse whisperer) and ridable. So my second oldest sister’s friend (who was very much into horses) tried to break the pony. Breaking is such a strong word. What is actually meant by this is that the rider climbs on the horse or pony and stays on long enough that the horse gives up. What happened with my sister’s friend, is that she ended up being bucked off enough times that she quit.

A few years later, my third oldest sister had friends also into horses. Two of them heard about the unbroken pony and offered their services. I don’t know what this pair did that was correct (I was probably 11), but they succeeded. So for a couple years we had it so both horses were ridable.

The horse could only be ridden by a good rider or when led. Outside the enclosure, she was given to taking off suddenly. Or she would ride slowly away from the pony, only to charge her way back. The two were good friends. In the enclosure she was prone to try to swipe people off by going under a tree branch or (as we learned with my fourth oldest sister’s friend who was into horses) try to go back into the low shed if the door was left open.

So if you wish to buy a horse or pony for your kids, make sure you pick one with a nice temperament. It is worth the extra cost.

Anyhow these horses escaped our enclosure about ten different times. I don’t remember the adventures they had when I was little, but when I was about 12, I was expected to get or help get these horses. Because they were very close, if you captured the horse or the pony, the other one would follow. So that made the work easier.

But what really made the work a lot easier is that they didn’t flee for the nearest hills to be amongst their mustang relatives. The call of the wild isn’t as big as the call of the garden for horses.

When they got loose they always ended up there, in the vegetable part of the garden or the neighbours’ garden. Sometimes when you would go to try to catch them they would flee to the other garden. But I think they were ready to come in after they got their fill of flavourful vegetables.

It usually only took about half an hour to get those horses back in their enclosure. To live their safe boring lives eating hay, oats, a salt lick and bark off the trees. Indeed, my family called their enclosure the orchard. But after a decade of horses eating bark to horse height, all the trees died. And that is my final lesson about horses that I am going to give you today.

Posted in Humour, Pets | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment