Friday, July 16, 2010

This and That - July 16, 2010

Just some thoughts on things I came across today:

Beaver kills dog, beaver to be killed
There's something missing in this story, surely. I mean, why is there an off-leash in that particular spot? Why not just move the off-leash area instead of killing the beavers? And I don't buy the "if we move the beavers they'll just fight to the death with another beaver for their territory" argument. I mean, surely there are places suitable for beavers where there isn't already a beaver. WTF?

New Superman to be made, without Brandon Routh
This is too bad. I can understand not casting Routh if they want to completely re-boot the franchise again, but Routh was terrific in Superman Returns, I thought. He channeled Christopher Reeves and was a suitable Man of Steel, physically. Making a feature with Tom Welling would be another option, but I guess he comes with the baggage of the tv series - see re-boot of the franchise idea. Casting Chuck's Zachary Levi would be bizarre, though, seeing as Routh had an extended run on the series and Levi comes with the comedic baggage. I can't see him as Supes.

Bionic legs allow paralyzed man to walk
Wait...why hasn't this happened before? Some guys in a garage came up with this? Seriously? Is there not enough money to be made in the development of this device that it hadn't been created before? I'm confused. Great for this guy, though. Great friends. If enough of these can be made and the system improved, I'm sure the price will come down even from the $150K projected price. I wonder what insurance companies think of this? These devices would have their own issues, but if it saves people the cost of special houses, ramps, etc, maybe that price tag doesn't seem so high?

Mel Gibson's lawyers say tapes were doctored
If the tapes were edited, ok, then that's a pretty serious charge. But unless they were doctored in such a way as to make it sound like he said things that he didn't, well, I'm not sure it's gonna matter in the public eye. I'm thinking of things, like, I dunno... "If you get raped by a pack of n***ers", you know, that sort of thing. Still, you gotta wonder about someone who would record and leak phone conversations. Use 'em in court, sure, but making them available to the public? Maybe they deserve each other.

Jarvis losing a lane to bikes
Not sure how I feel about this yet. I’m all for bike lanes, don’t get me wrong, but I question whether Jarvis is really the right street for them. It’s a major arterial road for cars, that’s for sure. But if you wanted to get around the city on a bike, would Jarvis really be your street of choice? First of all, it runs from Rosedale to east downtown; who is riding their bike down from Rosedale? For those coming from north of Rosedale, that’s probably not your route of choice since Mount Pleasant (Jarvis north of Bloor) likely won’t be getting a bike lane and is very hilly. So who is this for? How much will it be used? If you really wanted to be daring, you’d convert Yonge Street into a route for bikes, pedestrians and delivery trucks only. It could be converted into a terrific shopping strip. Who drives on downtown Yonge Street really? But the point is this: bikes, unlike cars, don’t converge on major arterial roads. That’s the beauty of a bike – it can go anywhere there’s pavement at roughly the same speed. Bike lanes are great, but one major development on one street that’s off the beaten path is not gonna cut it. I’d suggest separate lanes, with a curb, much like some streets in Montreal. And put them on LOTS of streets, not just one or two. Cyclists aren’t likely to go out of their way to take a bike arterial road – they’ll just take the shortest route. So let’s accommodate bikes everywhere.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Awesome journalism

I read those "commuter" papers on my way to work. They're convenient and free.

But, man, do they suck.

24 is by far the greatest offender, but Metro is filled with errors, omissions and nonsense every single day. I fear for the minds of those who take this stuff at face value.

This may or may not be related, since I saw the same story reported in The Star, but I thought I'd share this interesting tidbit of info that I came across and made me shake my head.

There was this study, see (you know how much I love those!), and in it a bunch of would-be researchers looked at immigrants to Canada versus those born here to see how they compared in terms of water safety. The headline reads: "Research compiled by the Lifesaving Society shows a strong need for water safety education targeted at Canada's immigrants."

Followed by stats.

Issue #1: "The Lifesaving Society’s survey polled 433 Canadian-born adults and 599 Canadian immigrants from the Chinese, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Muslim communities." So, basically, not immigrants from the other 70% of the world. That's thorough. I'm not sure this really represents an accurate reflection of "immigrants", but ok...

Issue #2: Metro, who published the story on their front page, says, "Even though 20% of immigrants said they cannot swim, 79% reported to the study that they planned to spend time around or on the water this summer." *GASP!* Someone warn these people!!!

...Hold on... 20% can't swim... 79% plan to be around the water... that means 21% won't be even near the water... 20% can't swim...


Wow. Way to be alarmist. This, ladies and gentlemen, is front page news.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cory Doctorow misses the point again

I haven't been over to Boingboing in quite a while. I blame the twitchy bookmarks feature on my browser since they updated the servers at work.

Did I say work? I meant home. Since they updated the servers at home.


Anyway, it didn't take long to come across a post by my fav contributor, Cory Doctorow, in which he aimed his vitriol at "The Man" and missed completely.

In this article, Cory links to another article wherein the author claims that the recording industry in America is wasting its money suing peer-to-peer users who download/share music files, presumably at the expense of CD sales. See, the numbers suggest the RIAA is spending way more in lawyers' fees ($16M) than they recoup in litigation wins ($400K). Bad investment, right? Losers, right?

Uh...not so fast. Do you seriously believe the primary objective of the RIAA is to get their money back via litigation? Come on...

Of COURSE it's "litigation terrorism" as one comment poster put it. The RIAA clearly thinks it's worth it in deterrence or they wouldn't be doing it. These guys are all about profits, remember?

Piracy may still be thriving (as many comment posters seem to be pointing out with glee), but I'm sure that there is SOME portion of the population out there that is just a bit freaked out by the threat of being singled out - maybe even $16M worth? Hell, even the UFC is jumping on that bandwagon.

The fact is that as long as the internet exists, piracy will exist. There are tons of people who feel they shouldn't have to pay a dollar for something they can potentially access for free (legal or no). Does that mean these rights holders should lie back and take it? Hell no. Is it good PR? Hell no, but they're banking on the fact that you like the artist on the front of the CD enough to ignore the name in the small print on the back of the CD.

Now stop stealing shit! Geez...