Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Another Eurovision 2007 entry

Check out Youtube for more of the Eurovision 2007 entries. Clive was correct--the UK entry was appalling...actually, if possible, it was worse than appalling...Here's the entry from Bulgaria. France had, well, ermmm, one really has to see France's entry themselves.

Something for the Women

Where the women bloggers are......

Monday, May 21, 2007

It Gets Worse

According to this CBC story, NASA scientists are finding that the Antarctic ice shields are melting much faster than previously thought.
The 2005 melt was extensive enough to create a layer of ice when the water refroze, but was not long enough for the water to flow to the sea ... if enough water from melted snow is created, it could slip through the cracks of the continent's ice sheets and potentially affect their movement.

What this means is that areas like the Ross ice shelf is in more danger of breaking free and sliding into the ocean, and when that happens, the Pacific basin will face a tsunami that will make the 2005 Boxing Day Tsunami look like a splash in a kiddie pool.
But it gets worse.
It seems that the Antarctic Ocean carbon sink, thought to account for 15% of the world's carbon sinks, has already reached its upper limit in its ability to absorb carbon dioxide.
"Ever since observations started in 1981, we see that the sinks have not increased [in their absorption of CO2]," Corinne LeQuere told the BBC's Science in Action programme.
"They have remained the same as they were 24 years ago even though the emissions have risen by 40%."

We may have vastly underestimated the speed at which our environment is falling apart. We're in trouble, and we're not catching any breaks.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Falwell Meets His Maker

I note that Jerry Falwell met his maker yesterday. Of course, Falwell's maker was the guy with the red complexion, the horns, pitchfork, pointed ears and the fire fetish.
It is ironic that Falwell, who blamed the 9/11 terrorist attacks on "pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and the lesbians," should pass away yesterday, the National Day Against Homophobia.
The Lord works in mysterious ways.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Long Recovery Week 25

A couple of weeks ago, my physio-therapist washed his hands of me and my course of prescribed therapy ended. This doesn't mean I'm done - I'll be stretching and working shoulder for the rest of my life.
But I'm glad to see my therapy end. As much help and encouragement that Jim was, I'm glad that I don't have to see him anymore. I'm sure he understands. :)
Today was another giant step in my recovery -- I rode to work for the first time since the accident. I didn't push it. I stayed in the middle gears and had a nice slow ride.
It went great. My arm and shoulder survived and were fine. No pain, no soreness.
I can't explain how wonderful it felt to be on my wheels again.
The only disappointment was during my ride home. All day long I thought about what I would do when I encountered the small piece of trail between Burnside Road and Tillicum Road where I came off all those weeks ago. Would I ride it? Or would I just avoid it and alter my route?
I didn't decide until I was riding home. I decided that I was feeling okay and I would ride that bit of trail. I would go slow, I might even stop for a moment of contemplation. I would ride that trail.
But as I approached, the trail was roped off. The municipality was in the middle of beautifying the area, and the trail was closed for the duration of the work. As I got closer, I realized that they had changed the path completely. The little trail that I fell on isn't even there anymore.

The piece of ground where I left my mark is gone now, but the marks it left on me will stay with me. The scar on my shoulder and the metal in my arm will be a constant reminder to me of how close I came.
And how lucky I am.

Surprise! The White House Backs Wolfowitz

According to CNN, "the White House came to the defense of the embattled World Bank president Tuesday, saying his behavior did not amount to 'a firing offense.'"
This shouldn't come as a surprise. Look at the source -- nothing that goes on in the White House amounts to a firing offense!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Closing the border in more ways...

I received an email from Pandora, a streaming website, which allows people to build their own radio stations based on similar music. Considering the radio stations I've built are Sarah Maclachlan, Blue Rodeo, mostly Canadian content, I find this email a bit amusing...especially as it prevents me from accessing Pandora all based on my IP address.

Dear Pandora listener,

Today we have some extremely disappointing news to share with you. Due to international licensing constraints, we are deeply, deeply sorry to say that we must begin proactively preventing access to Pandora's streaming service from Canada. We began blocking access from almost all countries outside the U.S. last week and had originally hoped to maintain access to Canada. However, it has become clear in the last week that we just haven't been able to make enough progress to continue streaming.

It is difficult to convey just how disappointing this is for us. Our vision remains to eventually make Pandora a truly global service, but for the time being, we can no longer continue as we have been. As a small company, the best chance we have of realizing our dream of Pandora all around the world is to grow as the licensing landscape allows.

We show your IP address is xxx xxxx xxx, which indicates you are listening from Canada. If you believe you are seeing this by mistake, we offer our sincere apologies and ask that you please reply to this email.

Delivery of Pandora is based on proper licensing from the people who created the music - we have always believed in honoring the guidelines as determined by legislators and regulators, artists and songwriters, and the labels and publishers they work with. In the U.S. there is a federal statute that provides this license for all the music streamed on Pandora. Unfortunately, there is no equivalent license outside the U.S. and there is no global licensing organization to enable any webcaster to legitimately offer its service around the world. The volume of listening on Pandora makes it a very expensive service to run. Streaming costs are very high, and since our inception, we have been making publishing and performance royalty payments for every song we play.

Until last week, we have not been able to tell where a listener is based, relying only on zip code information provided upon registration. We are now able to recognize a listener's country of origin based on the IP address from which they are accessing the service. Consequently, on May 16th, we will begin blocking access to Pandora to listeners from Canada. We are very sad to have to do this, but there is no other alternative.

We will be posting updates on our blog regarding our ongoing effort to launch in other countries, so please stay in touch. We will keep a record of your existing stations and bookmarked artists and songs, so that when we are able to launch in your country, they will be waiting for you. We deeply share your sense of disappointment and greatly appreciate your understanding.

Eurovision Entry

Clive, my friend from the UK, has sent me another clip from Eurovision. Unfortunately the UK's entry was appalling, according to him. He did send this to me, this was the entry from Georgia on the Baltic coast. I rather like it!!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Majority of Iraqi Lawmakers Reject the Occupation

According to
...[o]n Tuesday, without note in the U.S. media, more than half of the members of Iraq's parliament rejected the continuing occupation of their country. 144 lawmakers signed onto a legislative petition calling on the United States to set a timetable for withdrawal, according to Nassar Al-Rubaie, a spokesman for the Al Sadr movement, the nationalist Shia group that sponsored the petition.
It's a hugely significant development. Lawmakers demanding an end to the occupation now have the upper hand in the Iraqi legislature for the first time; previous attempts at a similar resolution fell just short of the 138 votes needed to pass (there are 275 members of the Iraqi parliament, but many have fled the country's civil conflict, and at times it's been difficult to arrive at a quorum).
Reached by phone in Baghdad on Tuesday, Al-Rubaie said that he would present the petition, which is nonbinding, to the speaker of the Iraqi parliament and demand that a binding measure be put to a vote. Under Iraqi law, the speaker must present a resolution that's called for by a majority of lawmakers, but there are significant loopholes and what will happen next is unclear.

Will the US ever leave Iraq?
Scarecrow doesn't think so.
"All this reminds us there is something seriously wrong with the Bush/Cheney logic and their strategic assessment. All that rhetoric about “them” “following us home” — what Richard Clarke calls the White House’s “puppy dog theory” — sounds pretty ludicrous, because it’s exactly backwards. Instead of worrying about al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia following us home, American policy should stop breeding wannabe terrorists here by what we’re doing there. We should worry that this Administration has an incoherent, and dangerously delusional understanding of the threat to America that bears no relationship to reality. And that’s the real danger to the country."

According to Think Progress, Condi thinks the US is staying.
In an interview last night on the Charlie Rose Show, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pointedly said, “[O]ur friends in the [Middle East] need to know and the Iraqis need to know that we are not looking to leave Iraq.” “Ever?” Rose asked. Rice responded, “We are not going to leave an Iraq that is not capable of defending itself and with a foundation for future reconciliation.”
Rose then asked Rice if she believed she’ll have the support of the American people to continue the war. Rice claimed the American people are looking for “progress.” Rose replied, “But nobody can answer the question: If it doesn’t happen, what?” Avoiding discussion of a Plan B, Rice answered, “Charlie, because as the President said to you, we’re focused on having it happen.”
In the interview, Rose also noted that Rice once worked for President George H.W. Bush, who was “famous for insisting there be an exit strategy. [But] no one seems to know what’s the exit strategy [now],” he said. Rice responded that Iraq is “a long-term proposition.”

Richard Clarke is not optimistic, either.
"For as long as I'm alive, there will be Iraqis who hate us," Clarke told about 300 people gathered in the Gaiser Hall Student Center.
In the "battle of ideas" crucial to U.S. success in the Middle East, "We're not only losing, we've never really started," he said.
In fact, al-Qaida terror cells have multiplied much faster since the 9/11 terror attacks and subsequent American offensive in Afghanistan, Clarke said. The United States let al-Qaida "off the ropes" to invade Iraq, he said.
That was one of many failures Clarke listed as he recounted steps before and after the Iraq invasion that have left many Americans numbed and millions of Muslims seething, he said.
"The question is, how quickly can we undo that mistake?" he asked.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Arctic Ice is Melting Three Times Faster Than Thought

According to this CNN story, Arctic ice is melting three times faster than previously believed.
We're screwed.

There Is No Exit Plan...

...because the Bushies don't plan to ever leave.
"The United States maintains 737 military bases in 130 countries across the globe. They exist for the purpose of defending the economic interests of the United States, what is euphemistically called "national security." In order to secure favorable access to Iraq's vast reserves of light crude, the United States is spending billions on the construction of at least five large permanent military bases throughout that country.
A new Iraq oil law, largely written by the Coalition Provisional Authority, is planned for ratification by June. This law cedes control of Iraq's oil to western powers for 30 years. There is major opposition to the proposed law within Iraq, especially among the country's five trade union federations that represent hundreds of thousands of oil workers. The United States is working hard to surmount this opposition by appealing directly to the al-Maliki government in Iraq."

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Colbert is The Man

The Long Recovery Week 23

Okay, here we go - the first bike ride in 160 days!

I survived!