Wednesday, July 30

K-days Circuit

Cheezy writing, gaudy figures

Spinning primary shapes

Fancies of spun light

Temporary kingdom

Tuesday, July 29

A creative contest!

West Edmonton Mall is having a DIY t-shirt design contest--anyone can enter. Print out their template (a blank t-shirt with the seams dotted on), and decorate to your heart's content. That means painting, drawing, gluing, whatever floats your boat.

It seems as though this is the first time they have this contest, because they don't seem too specific and they haven't got examples of previous winners.

First place winner gets 1000$ to spend at WEM, plus a couple of extras. Check it out here.

Contest closes August 8th, so be sure to have your entry in by then!

Monday, July 28

Nitpicking for a laugh

There's a certain type of humour in the circles of those who correct others' grammar. Part of the attitude in these people is a desire to make things right in the world, teach others so that they can improve themselves, as well as the openness to take corrections (if there are any to make) from others. In fact, it's quite enjoyable. I know I would expect others to help me in correcting my mistakes and learning how not to make them in the future.

Crummy Church Signs

English Fail Blog

The "Blog" of "Unnecessary" Quotation Marks

Literally, a Web Log

Apostrophe Abuse

Saturday, July 26

This link

How many souls wander without carrying their purpose? For without that vital piece, life can be a grueling trudge throught meaningless time. But finding it, finding one's purpose, can make you lighter than air. One has so much more energy from the start of every morning knowing that each action is one step towards their goal.

"I wish I had a purpose in life", I think to myself.

Immediately, I laugh. It's not something that someone comes to present to you, which you may choose to accept or not. The more deterministic would agree that they must make their place in the world, making the most of their natural abilities, while others argue that one's purpose must be found, discovered, and that it is such a natural fit with their talents that it must have been fated so.

Either way does take an amount of work, with the latter doing the work unconsciously. To improve oneself, push your talents and use discipline.... and just to find the right path to walk... takes so much. I am frustrated because I remain lost, wandering along the side of the path, and I cannot even see said path, much less the direction it takes.

And it takes a great amount of courage to face the whole of the self with the good and the bad, to lose oneself enough that you find your own way.

Friday, July 25

Puppy carrier?

I haven't been thinking as much as usual lately; I tend to go in cycles of reflection followed by a burst of activity. So my posts have taken on a more brief (and perhaps more humourous and charismatic?) tone.


Guess who won't be going on a trip as a stow-away?
One day you'll have your chance, Mocha...


I have been so busy packing my stuff for the school move this week that I am taken by suprise that it is now Friday!

LibriVox is the latest project to take my fancy. They 'liberate' books into audio form and make these available as free podcasts. To stay legal, they only use books published before 1923 (U.S. copyright laws make those earlier texts public domain)

This project is entirely run off of volunteer work reading, prooflistening, editing the audio, organizing projects and maintaining the archives. You can also choose to subscribe to the podcasts, search the publications, or volunteer!

Of course when people hear of a project that is similar to one they already know of, they tend to let both parties know. LibriVox has accumulated a list of links to related projects.

Wednesday, July 23

A new(?) idea

Does homosexuality have a purpose in nature? Somewhere recently I read that other species of animals (I cannot recall which ones) have evidenced homosexual activities. Apparently some people think that homosexuality may be a natural niche to help support populations.

The biological purpose of any creature in nature is to procreate, and so the vast majority of individual animals do. However, homosexuals don't tend to produce offspring. Instead, they take on the role of 'uncle'. This benefits the population because the organism then becomes an extra provider. Being entirely unencumbered by it's own offspring, it can be more productive and may even serve multiple younglings in the new generation.

I don't know what to think of this. On one hand, I am very captivated by any theory that is sound and fits in with the rest of the picture, but on the other hand, I think I have been taken in by the wrong idea because of facts I did not know. I do not think I am informed enough to know whether or not it is true.

Monday, July 21

Underwater nightlights!

National Geographic always has a wide variety of really good pictures, and today I just can't help but share with you the translucent creatures of the deep photo collection. Of course, every picture is also in different resolutions to fit your monitor.

Awesome glowy things we don't normally see... floating in the endless black of your desktop. Now that's cool!

This mysterious thing is called a hydromedusa.. if that's not one of the best names for a floaty glowy water thing, I don't know what is

Friday, July 18

TGIF: books

TGIF: Think Green, It's Friday!

Fridays I will post something to do with the green theme, with a special focus on green + art. I also post finds to do with the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), new policies in government or industry, eco-friendly appliances and vehicles... anything green!

Today's topic is books. Sure, a waste of paper, how is that being environmentally friendly? The books' topics make it material for TGIF. Apparently. Decide for yourself with some observations from Chapters.

Note: I've tried to keep it short, because my first draft of this post was WAY too long. I include prices and special notes about the book, with a short blurb of my opinion in some cases. Please jump around and peruse at your leisure, however you like.

The books in Chapters' green section seemed to fall into three main categories:

The first category is for the hipsters, I have decided. Green is high fashion and this category is ripe with little "100% recycled paper" or "New York Times Bestseller" labels, or listing how healthy, easy, and fabulous you can be once you've saturated yourself with the information the book holds.

The second category seems quite competent. This is the real meat of environmental issues, and even within this small collection there are divergent opinions and points of interest. You're sure to learn something, though.

Finally, those two miscellaneous books on the far sides of bottom shelf, didn't quite seem to have relevance. Sure, they had to do with the great outdoors, but I think maybe these books need to be read before we see the link.

Green living choices was almost half of the selection. These usually feature easy things you can do every day to green up your act. The cleaning books, though, when examined more closely, sometimes claim to be using 'healthier' cleaning products and less toxic ways of cleaning. While this is technically green, claims like this bother me because they start to confuse people between healthy and environmentally friendly.

Green Clean,
Linda Mason Hunter and Mikki Halpin (book description)

Price: 21.95$ (
online - 14.48$)

The authors: Linda Mason Hunter is a respected green living and home ecology writer and advocate. Mikki Halpin seems to have wirtten two other books,
one on geeks and the other on teenage activism. I actually read
Your World - If You Don't Like It, Change It: Activism for Teenagers
a few
years ago and found it to be a good resource.

The book: water- and stain-resistant plastic pages.

Green up Your Clean Up, Jill Potvin Schoff. The word "healthy" is conveniently located right on the cover, for your viewing pleasure.

Price: 18.95$ (
online - 14.40$)

The book: 100% reused or recycled paper

Squeaky Green, Eric Ryan and Adam Lowry. Chemicals (and animal testing) are bad; find out how to keep your cleaning clean.

Price: 18.95$ (
online - 14.40$)

The authors: have received accolades for their environmental and humane
Method cleaning products. (source)

Easy Green Living,
Renee Loux.

Price: 20.00$ (
online - 18.48$)

The author: has dabbled in different, but related, interests: organic foods and cooking, natural beauty, advocating sustainable agriculture.

Carbon Buster's Home Energy Handbook,
Godo Stoyke. Fight climate change and make money.

Price: 14.95$ (
online - 11.36$)

The author: green consultant and President of
Carbon Busters, which reduces GHG emissions of buildings in Europe and North America

The book: 100% reused or recycled paper

Living Like Ed, by Ed Begley, Jr. Fllow Ed's example and live a long, green life.

Price: 21.00$ (
online - 15.96$)

The author: is an
actor who also has his own tv show about his green way of life. The book title, therefore, becomes obvious. I'm not sure how much of his motivation is to put an honest shout out there as he is pretty marketed... And reading the back cover, it is a book that will make you feel great.

Georgeously Green, Sophie Uliano. Making the green lifestyle choice is easy, fun, and fulfilling.

Price: 18.50 (
online - 14.06)

The book: a New York Times bestseller

Green Guide: the Complete Reference For Consuming Wisely, by National Geographic? (
visit here) Seems like it could be the 21st century's new Bible, or the basis of it.

Price: 25.00$ (
online - 16.50$)

The book: by National Geo, cool! 10% reused or recycled paper product

The Green Book, Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen

Price: 16.95$ (
online - 12.88)

The book: completely unimpressing. 100% reused or recycled paper is a publicity gimmick, along with all the famous people quoted. Flipping through I found many tips I thought were blindingly obvious, or completely irrelevant (throwing your gum in the garbage instead of on the ground doesn't lessen the number of football fields of gum 5 feet deep consumed each year!) Maybe I have judged too quickly...
New York Times Bestseller

True Green @ Work, Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin, National Geographic, Clean Up the World. Easy things to reduce your company's carbon footprint

Price: 24.95$ (
online - 16.46$)

Green for Life,
Gillian Deacon. "200 simple eco-ideas for every day"

Price: 13.50$ (online 12.28$)

This is the good stuff. What is happening, why, who is making stuff happen and how. How climate or environment interacts with the world and what this means for the future. I was pleasantly surprised to find over half of Chapters' green books section were of this type.

An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore

Price: 23.99$ (online 18.23$)

The book: was released in conjuntion with the documentary An Inconvenient Truth, on global climate change.

The author: involved with politics for over 25 years, former vice-president of the United States, who lost the race for presidency against George W. Bush. He won the Nobel Peace Prize for his activism of knowledge with climate change.

Earth In the Balance, Al Gore

Price: Softcover: 17.95$ (online 13.64$)

The book: does it have the questions or the answers?

Ecoholic: Your Guide to the Most Environmentally Friendly Information, Products and Services in Canada, Adria Vasil (web site)

Price: 24.95$ (online 18.96$)

The author: has always been an environmental activist. She's written environmental articles for 5 years and is also one of three the Chapters/Indigo Trusted Advisor Environment.

Heat, George Monbiot. "How to Stop the Planet From Burning"

Price: softcover: 19.95$ (online 15.16$)

I want to buy this book. It reminds me of Collapse and Monbiot is cool.

Bring on the Apocalypse, George Monbiot (blog) "Essays on Self-Destruction"

Price: 22.00$ (online 16.72$)

The author: should have died 6 times over, but still going strong. He's been publicly recognized for his achievements (Nelson Mandela!)

WorldChanging, Alex Steffen

Price: 21.95$ (online 16.68$)

The book: another potential for the next Bible as we descend into the environmental underworld. Looks big and looks to the future.

Dry Spring, Chris Wood. The North American water crisis.

Price: 23.95$ (online 18.20$)

The book: boldly suggests a very touchy solution to the fast-approaching NorAm water crisis for Canada.

Gusher of Lies, Robert Bryce. "The dangerous delusions of 'Energy Independence'"

Price: 20.95$ (online 19.10$)

Dangerous World, Marq de Villiers. "Natural disasters, manmade catastrophes, and the future of human survival"

Price: 35.00$ (online 23.10)

The author: a "veteran Canadian journalist", he has written books on a number on different, yet related, subjects: politics, hostory, travel, and exploration. He doesn't have his own website, or it is not willing to be found.

Stupid to the Last Drop, William Marsden. "How Alberta is bringing environmental amageddon to Canada (and doesn't seem to care)"

Price: 29.95$ (online 19.76$)

Good News for a Change, David Suzuki and Holly Dressel

Price: 24.95$ (online 16.46$)

The book: features the activists, advocates, catalysts, and organizers. What the rock stars on the environment front are doing, some fresh inspiration.

The authors: David Suzuki has been doing environmental, sciency stuff (especially in layman's terms) since way before it was cool. Holly Dressel and Suzuki collaborated on From Naked Apes to Supercecies, which is now also a documentary series.

Fixing Climate, Wallace S. Broecker and Robert Kunzig. "What past climate changes reveal about the current threat - and how to counter it."

Price: 27.50$ (online 18.15$)

The authors: Robert Kunzig is an award-winning science writer specializing in ocean science. Broecker is also into the Earth/environmental sciences

Earth: The Sequel, Fred Krupp. Restart the Earth. Stop global warming and turn to renewable energy.

Price: 24.95$ (online 16.46$)

The author: president of the Environmental Defense Fund

The Weather Makers, Tim Flannery

Price: 15.99$ (online 12.15$)

The author: has written other books about weather and environment, many about Australian animals and ecology.

Golden Spruce, John Vaillant

Into the Wild, Jon Krakaver

Thursday, July 17


You may remember a few weeks ago my cranes, that I took a picture of. Well now, they're back, in your new desktop wallpaper! All they need is to be loved, and they don't mind you admiring them superficially for their beauty. To adopt these cranes, simply click the picture, then right-click and select Set as desktop background.

Wednesday, July 16

Watercolour Showcase!

Cool colours--so many subtle differences! From Valerie

A post about art! I needed to stop thinking about the whole Myers thing for a bit, at the risk of sounding like I sound like a broken record. Echoes (found via simply photo) did that for me. It's a collaborative art blog, a project to share part of each day. There is a lot of watercolour art in it, and I am reminded why I love the medium!

From Echoes

Acrylic paint is all good, bright bold colours with strange textures too, ink is always a classic medium, making stuff look cool (or is the cool stuff all in ink?), and pastels make me remember the earth, what's real... but today I see watercolour.

mmmm look at that watercolour fantasy... from Moranga

It's a strange medium, being so luminous, almost translucent at times. It can create a light and whimsy feel. Of course, there is also the highly realistic style of watercolour, which still has a touch of dreaminess to it, maybe because it's so bright, especially compared to oils or acrylics.

Red Flowers by printmakerjenn really makes me think I can look right through the grey to the flowers, and even the sky beyond. Originally I was unimpressed with this, actually, but it grew on me!

For me, though, the real magic in watercolour is expressing so much with minimal fine detail work. Expressing lightness and memory, a playful whimsy.

From LaurenAlexander's Etsy--I just love the style!! Light and bright bold colours. "A quiet eloquence", below, has that dreamy feel to it.

Tuesday, July 15

Crackers again...

Reading Myers' blog again, to see if there were any updates. He's had to close at least two posts for commenting because there was too much! And these are thousands of comments!

I think the reason it really bothered me is ithat it was unfounded on the truth. Of course, truth is always a relative term... Myers took it out of context and yes, people wanting to kill a kid for taking the communion wafer are over the line. Yes, those are irrational Catholics. But that doesn't mean that Catholics are irrational, and I suppose that assumption would lead to the second assumption I noted earlier this week, that Myers behaves as though, because he has science on his side, he is reasonable and right and just. However, it doesn't work like that. Life is not a logic equation.

I read a book called Do you think what you think you think?. The whole premise is just to see if your idea of God is logical. It's not trying to reform you or anything, there's no religion-bashing, it's just to get you to think about it. It also has some good tips on logic, and at one point they show that in electoral campaigns, politicians say something like, "Vote for me if you want a better country", which, in our strange human decoding, translates into, "if I don't vote for him it means I don't want a better country". Pretty useful for influencing the masses, but annoying to anyone else who stops to think. Smiling waving politician at the podium isn't saying "if and only if you vote for me do you want a better country", which means that you can want a better country and vote for someone who will do that for you.

Then there are those who are so disgusted with what they see as a phoney suit trying to honey up some votes, and completely disregard everything. That would be the scientist, anti-religion Myers. Just reading some of the comments on this thread, the short-sightedness of some similar types is evidenced (note that short-sightedness goes with a lack of ability to put into context, a general apathy, or a strong desire to be 'insulted' and scientifically (or technically) prove their rightness)

Sometimes I saw replies to comments that quoted part or all of a sentence and proceeded to prove how they are right or the original commenter is wrong - note that one does not necessecarily invoke the other. However, if they stopped being so excited about finding someone wrong, they'd find that the person they are ridiculing has the same point as them. Impatience... sigh. (And yes, I am impatient too.)

To Myers: yes, it is only a cracker. Many people know that, and many Catholic people know that, at a certain point, yes, it is just a piece of bread. Part of religion is belief and importance of values. I wouldn't harken it to make-believe, because it is a couple levels above that. It's like a way to live your life, to find peace, to guide your choices. And if I'm not mistaken, I'm Catholic and I'm not ramming it down anyone's throat. Nevertheless, the Eucharist has a certain importance in the lives of those who follow God in this way, and it does have importance as that role. It's not like you can ignore stock market speculation and buy stocks at cheaper than they are listed - just the fact that it is thought to have importance give it importance - and that's a real thing, influencing the real world.

As far as awakening Catholics to the fact that it is only just a cracker, I think Myers may have just wanted to kind of look like that was what he was trying to do so he'd have some recourse - that with reason on his side he would save the poor backwards peasants.

Luck.. again?

All this thinking about luck(1 and 2), I've been seeing it from the one perspective. About seizing opportunities that present themselves in your time to make your life better, make the life you want.

What if you looked at it from the other side, all the ideas or inventions yet to be made, just waiting for the right person to come along and make them real? I imagine a lot of things just wait, wait and wait....

(On the other hand, you've got Schrodinger's cat, if they're not yet real ideas do they exist? And if someone thinks that the idea exists, without actually thinking the idea, does it exist then? Or what if someone thinks the idea, but then dies without telling anyone of their idea, and without the idea having influenced their actions? Can someone live without being affected by their thoughts? Or have thoughts unaffected by their life?)

Web comic! Questionable Content is great for mentioning random things. (Once there was LIDAR and I felt awesome)
warning: mature theme

Monday, July 14

Crackers - My letter

Dear Mr. Bruininks,

I have read Paul Zachary Myers’ two blog entries concerning the incident with Webster Cook and the Eucharist. I am concerned for Mr. Myers and would like you to impress upon him the approach of rational action.

While I agree with Mr. Myers (that many overreacted to the original actions of Webster Cook), the professor was extreme in his own reaction. It was not necessary to refer to the Eucharist degradingly as a cracker throughout his posts, regardless of his belief or lack thereof of the Eucharist as the body of Christ – a sacred item. Especially because of said sacred nature, Myers’ eagerness to defile other ‘crackers’ was unjustified.

I am concerned that a professor would—intentionally or by a lapse in thought—be the cause of such an uproar. The Eucharist is central to Catholicism, and, indeed, sacred to those of faith. The fact that it is, physically, only a cracker in insignificant compared to it’s overwhelming religious value. If a university professor cannot understand the importance of context, I am concerned that his actions and teaching in the future will have further unfavorable effects. Also, as Bill Donahue stated, Myers’ blog, accessible from the university’s web site, does not adhere to the university’s code of conduct. Such a code is adopted nearly universally in professional places of work across North America and Myers should be aware of the standard he must uphold as a professional—even in his spare time.

My intention in writing this letter is not to suppress personal opinion, nor is it to exact vengeful punishment for the wrongs done to the religion concerned. I would like to express to Mr. Myers the benefit of reason and moderation as a practical approach, which has the advantage of the greatest support every time. To respond to extremism with more extremism is in bad taste, especially when from the scientific and educational communities.


(my name)

Saturday, July 12

Bad Memory

Because of what happened that I highlighted in yesterday's post, the usual TGIF post got pushed out of the schedule. Actually, I wrote a letter that I will be sending to the university, as per Myers' request, however it is not in support of him. Unfortunately, I left it at my place of work and I will have to send a good copy on Monday. I suppose that it only would have been sent on Monday anyways since the post doesn't move on the weekends.

Just because science is usually right doesn't make everyone who uses it right in everything they do.

Friday, July 11

Fight fire with fire?

A friend showed me this post today (click here for the background story).

Some kid smuggled the Eucharist out of Mass to show his friend, apparently, and Catholics worldwide became angry. This kid has even recieved death threats! They view the act as hostage and sacrilege.

Now, the writer of the blog I linked you to above constantly referred to it as a cracker. Not just once, to emphasize what it was physically, or twice, even, to prove a point, but every time he talked about it. And I am not saying that someone who has no faith in the specific religion has to believe that it truly is the body of Christ, I'm not saying he should think holy thoughts about it, but... don't be stupid.

The Eucharist is very holy for Catholics; once it has been blessed by the priest it becomes the body of Christ. I understand that death threats to this boy might have been extreme, but the author was also extreme in his blatant baiting. If you compare any holy item of any religion to everyday objects, ridiculing them, you shouldn't be the least bit surprised when people become offended.

And it's not the same as degrading people for their actions or criticising the lack of proof for their faith, this is one of the most central parts of Catholocism. It's like calling a winning sports star an airheaded-muscler and proving how worthless and wasteful sports are. Whether you believe that sports are important and merit the huge amounts of money thrown around for it is not relevant; sports is what that person does.

I don't care if you are Catholic or pagan or Muslim or agnostic, I'm not going to try to dissuade you from what makes your life work for you, I will not needlessly insult the way you live.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I was raised a Catholic. I now follow more the spiritual path than the religious one)

Thursday, July 10

Desktop therapy

This week's background is calming (or so I like to think). Makes me think of a cozy living room with natural light. This won out over the other two made with the same picture; they looked less finished - or maybe just more chaotic than this.

Click on the image,
then right click and choose 'Set as Background'

Wednesday, July 9

A letter, a heart broken

My dearest,

Internet, our relationship has become very strained. I admit, we have our occasional huffle or two in the normal course of events, and I think that it is fine, healthy, even. However, lately, our mutual friend Capsule, the laptop, has been playing tricks on me, making me lose faith in you. As you know, Capsule is my closest friend, the one to whom I confide my pictures, internet bookmarks, and personalized options. You, Internet, are my friend, lover, and soulmate, helping me to explore the world and discover who I really am. Being forced to choose one of you over the other is intensely stressful and emotionally disturbing. Each of you has your own merits, and though I feel that you and I are just right for each other, I also feel overwhelmed at sometimes having to leave Capsule just to be with you. I sincerely hope the two of you can work out your issues so that everything will again be right with the world.

Ever yours.                   

Tuesday, July 8

Luck revisited

Another look at the illusion of luck in human lives. I did a post on this a while back, and I have found a new quote to illustrate the same idea!

"Chance favours the prepared mind"
Louis Pasteur

A friend and I were months ago discussing the novel (and movie) Stardust by Neil Gaiman. She told me that he was in the desert when he saw a star fall all the way to the Earth, when the story was born. My friend was amazed that at just seeing a star he would come up with all of that.

But I think that some people hold an idea in their minds at all times, and whenever anything new comes into their experience they (usually unsonsciously) juxtapose it with their idea, to see if it works. Of course, I can't presume to know what Neil Gaiman thinks, I'm simply noticing hints from the outside. Part of the reason I say this is that his other works often have two worlds, one of which may be hidden to the other.

Monday, July 7


Patterns! For many, they're not so hard to spot. Sometimes, we stumble upon them by accident. Many people say that we form patterns and connections where there are none (thank the left brain* for that). Seriously, when they say we're born storytellers, they're not kidding. Actually, it's more like hardwired in the brain.

*Awesome conversation, by the way. A bit of variance on the topic but all of it very interesting.

I'm not exactly sure why we do it, make stories and conceive patterns. Some kind of survival instinct, I would imagine. I was about to say that I can't see how it would have any use, but I suppose that the story is where humans started making up for their lack of animal toughness (fur to keep warm, claws to protect). If we could recognize patterns, we could recreate them to gain something.

Even pre-historic human hunters used prairie fires to direct prey, or, in Alberta, directed buffalo off cliffs to reap the rewards(see here). This seems atypical from the 'hunter' niche in the animal kingdom: predator chases prey, and in some cases (such as the venus fly trap), predator waits for prey, sometimes with the help of illusion (see angler fish). However, humans use outside tools and factors, and even when we could try to lessen the importance of that claim with symbiosis, humans consistently create new ideas and form new relations. But I digress.

Actually, when I was browsing a new-age store a few months ago I started reading a book (that was explaining what? success, time, perspective?) and it illustrated the exact opposite of my current point. That is, that when events are separated by a gulf of time or location large enough, we don't see any connection between events: they become "coincidences". Obviously, though, they are still significant enough not to be dismissed as an everyday event, and, ultimately, forgotten, but the cause was not seen to be the same, and therefore, we relegate these events to the 'things that must not be related because I cannot see how they are related' part of our memories.

It was explained like this: Imagine a giant invisible hand in the sky holding a bunch of sticks. Then the hand releases it's hold and the sticks begin to fall, but they do not all fall at the same place or the same time. Now you, a human on Earth, sees a stick. When you travel to another continent years later, you see another stick, maybe thinking to yourself, that looks familiar. Throughout your life you may see more of these sticks, but you cannot see the giant hand in the sky causing these sticks to scatter throughout the world over such a long period of time. You cannot even conceive of it, that all these sticks are of one source.

If you want to, bear with me here while we go to yet another (possibly connected) topic.

This is about people with mental illness. Both someone I know who is affected by mental illness and a source about it (if only I bookmarked more places I visit!) made it known to me that, for some with mental illness, time seems to be a lot more fluid. It can slip by quickly, or the past may be experienced after the present. I'm not sure if this is a symptom of the brain malfunctioning, causing hallucinations, or maybe... they are being freed from their human perspective sometimes.

After all, the only reason we say that time is forward-moving only is that is the only way we experience it. And if those who experience it otherwise are crazy, it is very easy to discard their point of view. But then, some scientists and philosophers with shiny new ideas were rejected too! And it was usually heresy (any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs, customs, etc.)

...Is it truly an evil thing to be heretic, or is this kind of law or rule simply a manifestation of the fear induced by new ideas and perspectives?

But maybe that's a discussion for another day.

Sunday, July 6

Internet toys!

Free time + technology = fun! This weekend I have been obsessed with Wordle, making different, well, wordles.

As you may have noticed, my blog image is currently a wordle. If you get into it (wordle), you begin to notice the variability, the options available. Of course, it is still limited, but the creator, is continually tweaking it for improvements. In fact, since Friday night, you can now choose custom palette colours.

The way it works is by analyzing input text. The words that appear most often are bigger, those less often are smaller. In this example, the words just, one, like, are found over 30 times in text taken from all my posts to date. As well, you can choose the number of words that appear (because they won't necessarily include all the words in the text, especially if it is quite long.

This example above is a result of the "Rime of the Ancient Mariner". I like to have a larger number of words than the automatic 150; it gives the resulting wordles more depth. This is especially apparent in the black and white one above, which has 1500 words.

And the best part is you can use the results however you like! Make t-shirt or mug decals... giant posters or wall murals or screen savers. If you have Adobe, click print, then choose adobe to save the file. If not, you're left using some kind of screen capture (I use my PrntScrn button then paste and cut in Paint).

What a great new internet application!

Friday, July 4

TGIF: the latest fasion

TGIF: Think Green, It's Friday!

It has been a while since the last TGIF; things have gone wildly out of the normal range of occurances in my life.

Fridays I will post something to do with the green theme, with a special focus on green + art. I also post finds to do with the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), new policies in government or industry, eco-friendly appliances and vehicles... anything green!

Well if you may have noticed, green has become all the rage. Think green, buy organic or local (or both?), offset your carbon footprint, stop using plastic bags... it can be alternately a source of confusion, annoyance, personal problems, identity crises, causing many, especially older companies, to find themselves at-odds with a suddenly over-concerned consumer culture. Some embrace it, even to the point of false or questionable claims, while others are oblivious, or, worse, in a position they are unable to do anything about.

Oh my. Canada is quite bad. Worse, even, than the US.

The question is, what really is this new movement? Children of the Earth, trying to minimize our effect on Mother Nature? Doomsayers, fearmongering for profitable market flux or favourable power shifts? Scientists and the savvy who've known for a while and are tired with the status quo?

Please send in your thoughts or questions for discussion because that's what makes this so much better!

What kinds of things are 'green'? A friend of mine put it into perspective with these terms:

  1. Impact of producing
  2. Impact of using the product
  3. Long-term impact of product (such as reusability and recyclability)

Claims by companies hoping to garner popularity by claims of the first sort usually involve using cleaner, alternative power, such as wind energy, offsetting the carbon footprint, using recycled materials or generally a lower impact from production.

The second is "what impact will the product have in its lifetime?" Benefits of this kind include lower power consumption for appliances, fewer chemical by-products or emissions (especially for cars). Frankly, in some product types, the greenest products are simply less evil than all the other products.

The third has a lot to do with product life. Does it have a short or a long service life? After one person uses it as they wish, can they pass it on to someone else? Will it stay in the junkyard, taking over 100 years to decompose? If it is recyclable, what is the impact of recycling?

When purchasing a product, or even when evaluating companies and their (sometimes) misleading claims, it is important to consider these aspects and how important they are.
I am sure that some models already exist, but... I wanted to make my own. (And I forgot about the vast resource of the internet)

I just made it up on the spur of the moment, let me know what else should be in there, especially since my brain has shut down for the night.

I think I may spend some time researching the existing models, but it's not necessary; I am not working on a project. Also, this is not yet an application becuase I would need not only specific values, conversion values to units for scoring, but also to determine the weight of each quality for the overall score value.


Thursday, July 3

Desktop Wallpaper

This is actually an old background that I made a few months ago, but this one edged out the wallpaper I had planned to publish because I thought it went so well with the theme of yesterday's post. In some random, entirely unrelated way.

As always, click on the picture to open up the bigger version, then right click and choose set as background.

Wednesday, July 2

Never the same trick twice

The thing I like about blogging is that it is exactly whatever I want. Never too serious, nor too frivolous, in general, but a mix of both. Topic-wise I can 'stay true' to my varied interests, not forced into choosing a field of specialty - not that I could truly choose anyways!

It's pressuring to post on a certain topic or behave in a certain way, even if that is the way I normally behave. Every once in a while you have to throw a curve ball in your life to freshen your image of self, both for yourself and for others. Stagnation is never good.

There is a quote, the words of which I cannot remember, but which goes something along the lines of "predictability is simply a lack of imagination".

On the one hand, it takes a lot of effort to constantly keep up different characters. But, keeping that in mind, if you extend the occasional different facet of yourself, it can be like giving a surprise gift to someone you like to spend time with. It is that pleasure of giving and sharing that makes one feel light! Not to mention it's free...

And who wants their self-image to be flat, anyways? If one becomes trapped in a role they can start to lose touch with others aspects of their lives, becoming overconfident and forgetting reality. Alternatively, the concerning lack of personal diversity in a more self-aware person can foster the beginnings of frustration and depression.

So cast off definitions from your person. Even positive labels can start to be stifling. Stop defining who are, stop trying to find yourself. Just be.

Image taken by someone whose name is currently private