Hitler in India

Interesting article on the International Herald Tribune site. Apparently Hitler isn't viewed quite so negatively in India as in the rest of the world. Quite an odd read, even if it may just be the Tribune (like the restaurant in the story) drilling for publicity.

Jack Layton advocating Military Deployment?

Jack Layton, leader of the federal NDP is saying that Canada apparently has the military capacity to send a contingent of peacekeepers to Lebanon - I thought the NDP was against military deployments. Please someone tell me why he is doing this. (Found here on CTV)

The Americans have it Right on "Pocket Change"

Well, the toonie is ten years old, and I've decided the Americans do it better. In Canada anything less than five dollars is change. That seems like too high a threshold for "pocket change" (unless you work in a convienence store or Tim Hortons) - the American system of using one and two dollar bills [oops - they discontinued the two] seems much more usable, if more expensive. Anyway, personal preferences aside, they refreshed the toonie design, and it looks good, so as long as they don't change the five to a coin too, I'm cool. (If they wanted to save money on currency they could just eliminate the penny).

Editor's Note - Edited on 08.30.06 for clarification and fact-checking


New Survivor season

Well, I heard a bit of news about the new Survivor season which inspired me to let off my first rant on this blog. Apparently they are planning on dividing the teams this season along racial lines. This is wrong. They are sure to play up the racial tension between teams to boost ratings. They claim it is to avoid having the standard "token two black people" but seriously - I expect them to pick contestants who are, if not racist, then liable to be - it would be good for ratings to have the blacks bashing the whites bashing the Hispanics bashing the Aisians before and after competitions. Is this what "entertainment" has come to in our culture? Centuries old pointless feuds? Consider the other times they have differentiated the teams along some clear line - men and women, young and old, for instance - there has been some negative commenting on the "other" group - and those aren't even very divisive splits. Racism, however, will be a split for as long as there are separate races, yet CBS is ecouraging this ... it just doesn't seem like a good idea. Hopefully they prove me wrong.


Corporate politics?

Dell recently recalled a bunch of laptop batteries (because a few of the laptops were exploding - if you have a Dell laptop made within the last few years you ought to check if it's safe), the cells of which were made by Sony. Even though it was a fault in Sony's manufacturing process, Dell was getting most of the bad press. However, Apple recently issued its own recall of Sony batteries. This is just a hairbrained theory, but I almost think they may have done it to discredit Sony. Since two manufacturers have recalled the batteries, they have ceased to be referred to as "exploding Dell batteries" and are now "exploding Sony batteries". Sony competes much more directly with Apple in the computer market, whereas Dell computers are targeted towards a much different audience. Dell is Wal-Mart, Sony and Apple are more higher end and artsy. Apple's recall thus points more negative press towards its more direct competition, making Apple look better by comparison. It could be crazy, but then again, that could be what they were trying to do.
(there's my conspiracy theory for the day)


Neat cellphone idea

I was reading on PCMag.com today, and some people have made a cellphone prototype that uses a touchpad to combine screen and inputs. Makes a lot of sense, given that it lets them have both a bigger screen and more space/flexible layout for the buttons. I'd ask why no one had thought of it before, but they say its going to be rather expensive, so it was probably ridiculous before now.

Huh?!?!? Microsoft fostering competition?!?

Microsoft is offering space to help the Mozilla folks make Firefox, their browser, work on Vista (as well as Thunderbird, their e-mail client, but the browser has significantly more market share). I really want to know WHY on earth they would do this. No one would notice if MS didn't invite Mozilla to their developer conference, and the fact that they did just makes no sense. Firefox has made one of the most successful challenges to Microsoft's market dominance in years, stealing 15% of Internet Explorer's pageviews in just 2 years. Microsoft is overhauling IE for the first time in years, and I wonder why they would help the competition for their new browser. I have only a few ideas on why they would do this. 1) It's highly unlikely, but they could give the Mozilla coders deliberate mis-information, resulting in Firefox for Vista having inferior performance. This is more a crazy conspiracy theory than anything else - it would be too easy to discover, and too hard to actually accomplish (where is the line between code that is slow, and code that is non-functional?) 2) Microsoft could want something to point to as a symbol when the anti-trust folks come around again, suing them for abuse of their monopoly. This seems the most likely option I can think of. 3) Or maybe Microsoft really is committed to fostering competition. History would contradict this view though, so very few people would be that charitable towards MS.


Why Suicide Bombs?

I found a link to an interesting argument by a guy called Haim Harari about the reason for suicide bombings, and general unrest in the Middle East/Muslim world. It seems to make a lot of sense. I'll quote an excerpt here, but the full article is quite worth reading.

So what is all the fuss about suicide killings? It creates headlines. It is spectacular. It is frightening. It is a very cruel death with bodies dismembered and horrible severe lifelong injuries to many of the wounded. It is always shown on television in great detail. One such murder, with the help of hysterical media coverage, can destroy the tourism industry of a country for quite a while, as it did in Bali and in Turkey.
What is behind the suicide murders? Money, power and cold-blooded murderous incitement, nothing else. It has nothing to do with true fanatic religious beliefs. No Moslem preacher has ever blown himself up. No son of an Arab politician or religious leader has ever blown himself. No relative of anyone influential has done it. Wouldn't you expect some of the religious leaders to do it themselves, or to talk their sons into doing it, if this is truly a supreme act of religious fervor? Aren't they interested in the benefits of going to Heaven? Instead, they send outcast women, naïve children, retarded people and young incited hotheads. They promise them the delights, mostly sexual, of the next world, and pay their families handsomely after the supreme act is performed and enough innocent people are dead.
Suicide murders also have nothing to do with poverty and despair. The poorest region in the world, by far, is Africa. It never happens there. There are numerous desperate people in the world, in different cultures, countries and continents. Desperation does not provide anyone with explosives, reconnaissance and transportation. There was certainly more despair in Saddam's Iraq then in Paul Bremmer's Iraq, and no one exploded himself. A suicide murder is simply a horrible, vicious weapon of cruel, inhuman, cynical, well-funded terrorists, with no regard to human life, including the life of their fellow countrymen, but with very high regard to their own affluent well-being and their hunger for power.

Thanks to the crew at Dvorak Uncensored for finding this. There seems to be a good conversation shaping up in their comments section too.


Dim-Wit Dolphins?

I was reading an article online that just wrecked one of my favorite sci-fi books. Startide Rising by David Brin is about a starship crewed by genetically modified dolphins. However, apparently, according to at least one scientist, dolphins are dim-wits and thus wouldn't crew spaceships. Such a pity ... it was a good book too.


Random fact of the day - 08.18.06

I was reading this article online and found this interesting fact at the end. Apparently Canada is the third-largest producer of diamonds in the world (by value). Who would have thought? I figured diamonds all came from Africa. You learn something new every day.


Hello World!

Hi folks. Just set myself up a blog, so I figured I better post something on it :-) That aside, I figure I'll just put random stuff here, so check back later if you like random stuff. Oh - and I named the blog after a line at the end of Titan A.E. Cool movie. They named a planet Bob in the movie, so I figured I could use the same name for a blog. Till later,