because the world needs more lime green.


Different View of Problem Solving

This post struck me as particularly insightful.

Think of a problem as a lack of something. Then, find a solution by attacking the lack, rather than attacking the problem directly!


the web out there

and you know what i'm realising more and more? there is so much out there. on the internet specifically, but everywhere else, by extrapolation (there's a better word for that). i'd been sheltered in my stupid little online text-based game world. and now i'm exploring the rest of the internet. and this shit has been here for years, under my nose. so many ideas, sites, tools, communities. recently found, which is a "manifesto" site. it's mainly business ideas i.e. managing smart people, making money, etc, but even that... its made me realise how much thought people put into these things.

i think a big reason why teenagers get depressed is because they think they are alone. especially the smart ones. they think their thoughts are abnormal, and that no one else thinks like they do. because while some of us like to be unique in some things, we have an overwhelming urge to fit in. hell, i feel nervous when i'm taking photographs sometimes because i think i'm afraid of looking like a photographer - and not being normal. i think it was just a few years ago when i realised that other people have the same thoughts i do - you know, deep thoughts about things that don't seem very relevant and that aren't discussed in every day life. and among teenagers, discussing them is often seen just as weird. for guys it's probably worse, it might be seen as gay. girls it's just weird. sociopath. loser. etc. and yeah, it's not really that clear cut, there are groups of teenagers who can discuss things like that - but not everyone has the opportunity/luck to belong to such a social group.

i've gone off topic, haven't i?

we think so much about our world - about its properties, about its behaviours, about how we interact with it, and about how we interact with ourselves - either personally or interpersonally. and yet, how much of that thought would be readily apparent to an outside observer? sure, if you dug for it you'd get an idea of it, but at first glance? at first glance we'd seem like drones, oddly solitary and dependent on machines. but there's oh so much more than that. there's even numerous books on things like how to be creative, web communities devoted to it, community groups, etc. there's just so much out there.

and some people work really damn hard and care a lot about... whatever they do or are interested in. and it's inspiring.


I wish ecto hadn't stopped working.

Yes, I didn't pay for it and the trial expired, but the first time it expired it let me restart the trial. The second time, it didn't tell me that it wasn't planning on working, but it froze in the middle of the configuration process. Consistently. And downloading a new one didn't help.

And I can't find anything else that posts to Blogger.


Progress out of the chaos

"Progress has to come out of the chaos, but it will take a long time before we react. It's human nature. The Romans didn't react until Hannibal was in front of the gates. The reports kept saying, "He's coming," but he had to arrive before they finally strengthened themselves and beat him."

-Robert Schad, president and CEO of Husky, about global environmental change

This is one of the smartest things I've read recently, I think. I am concerned about the environment, and I do believe that we should take drastic action to alleviate the problems as soon as we can, but it's unrealistic to expect society to actually do so.

A hole in the water

"Having a boat is akin to having a hole in the water into which you pour money"

Apparently it's a fairly common adage, but I hadn't heard it before. And the newsanchor just used it to introduce a clip about one of the BC ferries that was undergoing renovations and is now back in service.

"If I took a cephalopod and unwound it, it would look like this."

Looking back on it I don't really know why, but when my historical geology prof said that this afternoon, I totally cracked up.

Cephalopods are a class of mollusk, and its most well-known members are actually octopus and squid. But some also have hard shells, and that's what we were talking about.

Maybe I thought it was funny because I could actually picture this guy trying to unwind a hard shell and expecting it not to break.


Tragedy of the Bunnies

For anyone who knows about the tragedy of the commons (like me, I've only learned about it in three different geography courses), you'll appreciate how poignant this is.

Tragedy of the Bunnies

And it's BUNNIES!


nimiety's word of the day is nimiety.


Superfluity; excess.


parse's word of the day is parse.

v. parsed, pars·ing, pars·es
v. tr.

1. To break (a sentence) down into its component parts of speech with an explanation of the form, function, and syntactical relationship of each part.
2. To describe (a word) by stating its part of speech, form, and syntactical relationships in a sentence.
1. To examine closely or subject to detailed analysis, especially by breaking up into components: “What are we missing by parsing the behavior of chimpanzees into the conventional categories recognized largely from our own behavior?” (Stephen Jay Gould).
2. To make sense of; comprehend: I simply couldn't parse what you just said.
4. Computer Science. To analyze or separate (input, for example) into more easily processed components.

v. intr.

To admit of being parsed: sentences that do not parse easily.

potboiler's word of the (yester)day is potboiler.


A literary or artistic work of poor quality, produced quickly for profit.


coquette's word of the day is coquette.

I can't draw. I know this. But I was feeling creative, or something. Or possibly inspired by Bunny which I just discovered and that really really rocks.


Leopards and Farmers and Scotland, oh my!

In Sri Lanka, leopards have moved into the foothills of the Knuckles Range, possibly due to loss of habitat in other areas. The article calls it a blessing because the animals may scare off illicit loggers and poachers, but fails to express concern for the ecosystem or loss of habitat. Interesting view, eh? I'm sure we've all noticed other instances where the media has put a positive spin on a negative event.

A recent study suggests that human farming practices "saved" the world from an Ice Age 8,000 years ago. The use of saved is inappropriate in this situation as it implies an ice age to be a bad thing instead of a natural occurrence that allows certain species to prosper. But moving on.

"The theory, based on studies of carbon dioxide and methane samples taken from Antarctic ice cores, is highly controversial - a point acknowledged by Ruddiman. 'Global warming sceptics could cite my work as evidence that human-generated greenhouse gases played a beneficial role for several thousand years by keeping the Earth's climate more hospitable than it would otherwise have been,' he states in the current issue of Scientific American."

'However, others might counter that, if so few humans with relatively primitive technologies were able to alter the course of climate so significantly, then we have reason to be concerned about the current rise of greenhouse gases to unparalleled concentrations at unprecedented rates.' "

And finally, The European Commission is forcing Scotland to stop giving grants to encourage reduced emissions because the initiatives break aid rules. We've seen similar acts from NAFTA, so I suppose this shouldn't be a surprise...

Or maybe I'll ramble about the environment.

Warnings that China's rapid growth could have negative environmental implications! OMG, whoda thunk it!

But what can China do about it? They managed to wiggle out of having to make any changes for Kyoto (for now) and you can bet that if that changes in 2012 when the current Kyoto expires that they aren't gonna be jumping on the bandwagon to sign it if they actually have to control their emissions in any way. China is a very rapidly growing economy. Kyoto called for REDUCTIONS from 1990 limits, and went into effect this February. In that 15 years from 1990 to 2005, emissions skyrocketed in many countries, not necessarily because they were neglecting the environment, but because their economies grew.

The article also noted that "Beijing has to try and change the mentality of provincial officials, who, vying for promotion, are eager to show off their management prowess by presiding over strong economic growth on their watch." Isn't China basically doing the same thing on a global scale? They want their economy to grow, and why would they possibly want to hobble their rapid growth by being environmentally friendly? After all, the Western countries didn't have to do it when they were growing.

Okay, next!

The New Zealand Herald reported that there are fears of an ozone hole developing over Europe.

"The danger, which will also be assessed by scientists meeting in Zurich this week, has been provoked by the coldest winter on record, 19km above the Arctic, which provides the ideal conditions for the destruction of the ozone layer.

"It is linked with global warming - as the atmosphere nearer the Earth warms, the stratosphere cools. "

And "For more than 20 years a hole as big as the US and as high as Mt Everest has opened over Antarctica every southern spring. But since the continent is almost entirely uninhabited the hole has posed little danger to human health - though skin cancer rates in southern Chile are three times as high as elsewhere. "

I could see this triggering increased concern about global warming and pollution in Europe, and possibly even anger amongst some Europeans at the US, who might blame the US for being a big cause of climate change and not signing Kyoto.

The battle is still raging about drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska. " Environmentalists have fought hard to protect the refuge's coastal plain, home to polar bears, caribou and musk oxen." Well, the polar bears might all be extinct by 2100 anyway so why bother preserving them now? I kid, I kid. Maybe they shoulda thought of this before creating it in 1960 and expanding it in 1980?

Rare bird seen for first time in over 50 years. Only mentioning this because of something that came up in Historical Geology the other day... people claim that the rate of extinctions has increased dramatically in the last 100 years, but has it really, or have we just gotten better at noticing extinctions?

Any why don't we hear about protests against genetically modified foods anymore? Has that particular issue gotten boring? And it's not like things aren't happening with regards to GMOs - The EU lifted its 6 year ban on importing GMOs, India has decided to allow farmers in some areas to grow genetically modified cotton, and Brazil is ending its ban on growing GMOs - all in the past few weeks.

This is fun. I have more, but I think this is long enough for now.

The Take

I saw The Take a couple days ago (an unrelated sidenote - wow IMDB URLs are ugly). I actually also saw it a few weeks ago, at a film festival at Langara College, but the lady sitting in front of me was craning her neck back and forth to read the subtitles through the person in front of her, and because of her it was difficult for me to read them without duplicating her behaviour which I refused to do - and my Spanish is nonexistent so I missed out on a lot of the commentary.

First off, yes, it's very left wing, anti-globalization, anti-corporation... but expecting a Naomi Klein film to not be like that is akin to expecting a Michael Moore film to praise the Republican government.

The cinematography and the whole composition of the film from an artistic standpoint were absolutely excellent - good music, some of which I believe was actually written for the film because I can't find it online, excellent visuals, it flowed smoothly, etc. I think I've become more aware of things like this in movies because of my interest in photography - I've begun to think like a photographer, and notice when I see something that I think would make a good photograph, and many of the same principles apply to film. It also had excellent personal touches and many moving scenes.

The film was about a movement in Argentina where factory workers are occupying abandoned factories and putting themselves back to work. The factories are then managed by the workers, with profits going to the workers, etc. Your standard idealistic communist scenario that has never been all that successful when imposed by a goverment, but that seems to be working in this case - when it's small-scale and initiated by the workers themselves.

The workers face opposition from the factory owners (remember, these were abandoned factories, not worker takeovers of operating factories), and in some cases, from the government. It did seem like the film left some things out with regards to the government's reaction - one group of workers had their request to occupy the factory refused by a judge, so they had to turn to the legislators as a last resort - who passed their bill almost unanimously. The film didn't explain WHY this happened, which bugged me.

It was an upbeat look at what the people can do, even without corporate or government support. Workers' empowerment. And if the worker occupation strategy could work in Argentina, could it work in North America where factories and other companies are outsourcing and cutting jobs? Maybe, though I imagine there might be more hoops for them to jump through. But the most important factor as to why it isn't happening here is because we're not desperate enough. Klein said that some areas of Argentina had unemployment rates of 60%, which is unheard of in Canada (and, I imagine, the United States).

But another suggestion made by the film is that eventually, because of globalization, increased competitiveness, and the race to the bottom, what happened to Argentina will eventually happen to prosperous North America.

Possible? Yes. Likely? No.


religion ramblings

I tend to get rather contemplative in my Cultural Geography class. We just finished a section on religion... I am fascinated by religion, have been for a few years, despite not being religious myself. But really, I'd love to be religious. I'm jealous of people who are religious and really believe what their religion says. It seems like it would be comforting, in a way, to be part of something like that and to know that other people think the same way. I guess I'd classify myself as an agnostic, and yes, I know that other people have the same "beliefs" as I do, but it's not the same...

I jotted down some notes in class...

Prof: "seems to be something in human nature that can't get away from that" referring to worshipping deities. This was referring specifically to one sect of Buddhism that builds idols of Buddha and sees him as a supreme being despite one of the four noble truths of Buddhism being, quite specifically, to not do that. So why did this develop? To help convince people to convert? Or because humans really have some tendency to worship things? And if so, why?

See, so many interesting questions in religion.

What I'd really like to believe in is animism - that nature and the entire world is full of spirits, and has personality, will, etc. Spirits all around you, you'd never be alone. And really, if I can have consciousness, why can't a tree? Or anything? We understand so little about the world, that it could simply be beyond our comprehension. Just because something doesn't have a brain doesn't really mean for sure that it couldn't "think" in some way - it just means that it doesn't do so in any way that we recognise. But do I really believe this? No, I just think it'd be nifty. Can I believe what I want to be even if part of me doubts it? Is that faith? Or is that just dishonest?