Monday, November 27, 2006

Egos, Quebec Nationalism and Birth Control

Kudos to Michael Chong, Canada's intergovernmental affairs minister for resigning his post. The "Quebec as a nation" retread bill before the house is Canada's answer to the tired sitcom plots imported from America. Its not very funny and is as predictable as it is tiresome. I also applaud Mr. Kennedy, Liberal leadership hopeful for having the stones to oppose such a sour frosting to an otherwise bland unity cake. Of course, Kennedy has the luxy of speaking from the political wilderness which seems to offer its denizens the ability to speak with unfettered conditions. In case you missed it, here's the federal problem in Canada, and it has little to do with Quebec nationalism.

Having lived and worked from one end of this country to the other, I feel as though I can speak with some authority on the Canadian experience. And I have uncovered the following: Every part of Canada has distinct needs and solutions to their own problems. These problems can be generalized as the following: increased ability to innovate or in other words, decentralized federal power. Whether its fishing on the east coast, oil wealth in Alberta, agriculture in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, manufacturing in southern Ontario, or the inferiority complex that is the province of Quebec, EVERY part of Canada feels hard done by the federal bargain. The difference in Quebec is that this discontent has been harnessed and the language of that disconnect has been altered and turned into a nationalist discontent and agenda. In fact, its the same discontent that's to be found Everywhere. Quebec has been hoodwinked into thinking that there is something unique about their discontent.
This is why the Quebec problem gets so little sympathy in the rest of Canada. Because no-one understands how Quebec is more different than anywhere else! After all, how can a pear be more different from an apple than an orange is! Its an absurd comparison without logic or resonance. Of course the argument is presented this way in Quebec because it elevates those who expound it and strokes the egos of Quebecers that support it. Thankfully the whiners in the rest of Canada lack the creativity to present this gripe in the same regional terms.

A story that probably did not escape Calgary this week involved a Calgary doctor that refused to give a prescription for birth control pills on the grounds that she was opposed to birth control! This doctor's governing body when questioned said that it was her right to do so! Im only assuming that the doctor is Catholic mostly on the grounds that few other institutions have been a greater impediment to rational thought and human dignity. But she may not be catholic. Its possible. Unquestionably, the patient has been betrayed here by a nation that cannot enforce its values. Birth control is legal. Last time I checked. This legality was a decision by the state. This crusading, shitforbrains doctor apparently has elevated herself to the highest law in the land and defied that legality. And I am forced to say things like religion is essentially a socially respectable form of self aggrandizing egomania. Its a sobering ponderance when I wonder what other lapses in judgment this doctor is capable of making. It only goes to show that being a dunce is no obstacle to obtaining a degree that is generally respected by society. It also makes me wonder why buildings don't crumble, bridges collapse and planes don't plummet to the ground more often than they do.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

your tax dollars at work

I enjoyed fifteen minutes of fame today as I was in a CBC documentary about treeplanting that aired today on Country Canada. The film crew followed around some of my rookies all season so it was all about them but I did get a few speaky bits. I wore a wireless mike around which is a little surreal in the middle of nowhere. Anyway, here's a couple stills from their doc.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Phenomenology of Republicans

It might seem like the master's got it made: the slave does all his or her work, and recognizes the master's power. The problem is, this isn't the kind of recognition that the master wanted. The master wanted to be recognized by somebody that he or she respects as an equal, as a peer. Instead, the master gets recognition only from a slave, and the master knows that the slave doesn't really respect him or her, but resents and hates the master.

For some reason, elections often remind me of Hegel. And while its often said that nobody ever lost money underestimating the American public, it seems that last Tuesdays election has become the exception that proves the rule. In any case, a hearty "Hazaa!" to those that voted. Its comforting to to know that after years of cowing to the politics of fear and the bizarre false dichotomies presented by Carl Rove and the Republican machine, Americans got a chance to show their metal.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Sir, Your Civilization has entered a Golden Age!

On a scale from 1 to 10, computer technology is finally non-zero! Witness the arrival of the Pentop Computer. There are a few digital pens on the market that optically record your penstrokes but a new product from Leapfrog has made an important leap. It has software in the pen that tutors math, spelling etc. Yes this is cool but here's the best part: You can draw a 'lil calculator on the page and then press the buttons of your drawn calculator to perform arithmetic. Sure, it doesn't really do anything that a 5 dollar calculator cant do- except I can draw it anywhere! Admit it, thats better than alot of technology on board the starship enterprise. Tools that create tools, however rudimentry, is my threshold for the stone age of computing. In terms of the evolution of computers, they've finally crawled from the primal soup. Indeed waiter, there's a Fly in my soup.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

quantum jackets

I realized today that my outerwear is not continuous- it is in fact packets of quantum outerwear. My fleece, which is good to about o Celsius can only be replaced by my fall leather coat good to about -5. The next jump is my winter coat which is too warm at -10. I seem to be living at a scale of the universe which approximates the Plank Outerwear Length. At this scale I can experience the discomfort that exists between my discrete jacket packets- or shells. In addition, the uncertainty principle does not interfere with my observations. Except when its about -7 in which case the uncertainty principle seems to vex all experimental decisions. While many theorize that at very high jacket energies, strings will be shown to hold the jackets together, but in my privileged scale, I can confirm that there are no strings but rather an elastisized waistband. At lower jacket energies, these are replaced by buttons. Early experiments have shown that at a distance, the force holding the buttons together is in fact, very weak. As the sidewalks become more icy, hopes are high that the many collision experiments will solve several mysteries.