Getting Ready for South America

I'm in the process of getting ready to go see my lovely girlfriend, Meg, down in Bolivia. I'm very much looking forward to seeing her as we've been apart for three months. Not only that, but it'll be a nice three week vacation for me.

While I'm there we'll be venturing to Peru to visit the Inca Trail, Machu Pichu, Lake Titicaca, Pisco (on the coast) and Lima. Meg has got some other plans in store for us while we're in Bolivia as well.

And sure enough, the weather here has been mostly crappy the past few weeks, and by the time I'm about to leave, it's improving.

Will MySpace Presidential Primary Result in Greater Voter Turn Out?

Will MySpace 's Virtual Presidential Primary Result in Greater Voter Turn Out?
... and ... Will Canadian politicians step up their social networking push in the next election campaign?

These are the questions I'm wondering about. I mean, when you can create virtual events in the virtual world that younger folks are taking part in, can you drive their feeling of importance for the real event? Will people see the importance of voting? Can we reduce apathy that way? It will certainly be an interesting trial, but won't be until January 2008.

Scrapbloging it Up!

So since I'm such a scrapbook artist, I decided to try out a new web2.0 service called Scrapblog.

Pretty neat stuff, you can import photos from Yahoo!Photos, Flickr, Photobucket, Webshots, or upload them directly and then use them in constructing an online (Flash-based) scrapbook. The tool they've developed is really intuitive and pretty neat. You can pretty much do anything... though I think you're limited to the content they've got up there today in terms of "backgrounds" and "stickers". You can even post videos from YouTube, use page transitions and background music.

All very neat.

Check out the example I created below, I've got crazy good scrap-foo:

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Toronto Taxes

My, oh my... Toronto is going to become even more expensive to live in. This article talks about the new taxes that the city is thinking of bringing using the "City of Toronto Act" brought in by the provincial government.

The taxes (some listed below from the Star) include sin taxes like an additional 5% on alcohol and cigarettes, an increase in the land transfer tax (0.5%) and a vehicle registration fee of $40. Not only that, but they want to put a tax on entertainment such as live events and movies. And finally they'll really nail drivers with fees for parking spaces (paid by the owner, but of course passed on to the consumer) and possibly a toll or congestion charge for using the DVP or Gardiner.

OLGC Lottery Scandal

You know, I find the whole lottery scandal absolutely deplorable, but I'm not at all surprised it happened. I don't know exactly what changes the OLGC has made since finally admitting to the problem of retailers cashing in prizes that they scammed from people. "Doo doo doo dooo doooooo" - 'Oh,' says Mr. Retailer, 'You just won a free ticket.' all the while thinking - 'Egads, this is the easiest million I'll ever make ' while pocketing the winning ticket to redeem himself.

Anyway, I heard that they were looking at self-scan machines that you could check your ticket with, which is a good idea. But heck, couldn't you just write your name on the back of all the tickets you buy... how does the retailer steal it from you in that case?

Test The Nation

My Test The Nation ScoreI watched a bit of CBC's Test the Nation tonight and decided to do the test myself online. Anyway, I think I did pretty well, bringing in a 55/60 score as follows:

  • 11/12 Language
  • 6/6 Memory
  • 10/12 Logic
  • 4/6 Visual Memory
  • 12/12 Math
  • 12/12 Perception

I had estimated my IQ was 120 (they asked you to do this) without ever taking a test but knowing that the average was 100. I've never had an IQ test done, but this gives me one of 136. It'd be interesting to do another to see how close to true this is. I ranked like this:

My Neighbours Are Bullfrog Powered

I noticed a sign beside my neighbours door yeseterday. I was a bit confused as I couldn't quickly think of what "Bullfrog Powered" meant. I guess I've not been paying close enough attention to something.

Anyway, Bullfrog Power is a clean/green energy retailer. They sell energy into the grid to supply your energy needs from either wind generation or low impact hyrdo (as opposed to high impact projects that flood valleys and such). Sounds pretty neat, and I'll probably consider it even if it is more expensive than traditional power. They retail electricity for 9.1 cents/kwh whereas I currently pay somewhere around 5.8 cents for 400 kwh a month. That's only $13.20/mth more, or less than $160 a year.

Raptor Has Dateline Issues

With the reminder of daylight savings time yesterday, someone passed this on to me today.

"It takes about 1.7 million lines of computer code to run the F-22A’s avionics, according to the Air Force. It turns out none of them deal with what happens when the jet suddenly changes dates and time zones by crossing the 180th meridian in the Pacific Ocean, the international date line.
On Feb. 11, when a dozen Raptors en route from Hawaii to Japan crossed the international date line for the first time, the jets’ Global Positioning System navigation avionics went haywire, forcing the pilots to turn around." - DefenseNews


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