keeping sane, one word at a time
Male; Age 25; Likes Ultimate Frisbee;
Here's a favorite quote of mine from Tropic of Cancer p.99, "I have found God, but he is insufficient. I am only spiritually dead. Physically I am alive. Morally I am free. The world which i have departed is a menagerie. The dawn is breaking on a new world, a jungle world in which the lean spirits roam with sharp claws. If I am a hyena I am a lean and hungry one: I go forth to fatten myself."
Friday, May 25, 2007
This photo was taken by a friend as we hiked the Juan de Fuca trail last weekend. After two days of intense rain, the sun broke through Sunday evening. Monday was all clear skies and sun.
Labels: Juan de Fuca '07
Monday, January 01, 2007
As a believer in Kyoto, and global warming, it was really interesting to get a chance to speak with Dr. Darrel Reid, Chief of Staff for Rona Ambrose (current federal environment minister). This converation was the inspiration for this rant.
The environment ministry is currently facing a potential reshuffling because it has not lived up to expectations (at least there are rumours). The Clean Air Act was a definite flop, because none of the major parties [Liberals, Bloc, NDP, Greens] thinks it's aggressive enough to mitigate climate change. Plus, it seemed to take a long time for the Act to be delivered, with Miss Ambrose travelling the globe to inform everyone that Canada won't meet its Kyoto obligations in the meantime.
This might be true. It's very possible that we should take a more "realistic" stance. We've trained ourselves to emit GHGs in such large quantities that we've past the point-of-no-return, and that we'll have to deal with a certain amount of adaptation. There are many reasons why I don't believe in this position. The first is that, as an engineer, I believe we can create whatever world we want. When the human race is inspired to make something happen, it can do anything. Canada's mobilization during WWII is a good example: 4000 troops in '38 to over a million by the end of the war. The entire country was transformed into a warmachine.
What motivated Canada to mobilize? Fear, I suppose, but also an interest in helping countries in need. The problem was initially more obvious as well (i.e. invasion of Poland), but it is now equally apparent that global warming is taking place, and the public is starting to notice.
So what to do? Regulation of GHGs won't take nearly as much humanpower as that needed to mobilize during WWII. The governments job should be to motivate these changes by setting serious emission caps. Emission caps that will immediately be quantifiable in company budgets. And I mean in the next couple fiscal quarters. This will create R&D, and motivate companies, and universities to investigate the various proposed solutions (Hydrogen/Electric Cars, Renewable Energy, Carbon Storage) with more vigor. Because it's not enough to simply decrease our emissions anymore, we need to permanently regulate them, and this means "terra-forming" - large-scale geo-engineering of the planet's atmosphere. This is a very useful tool, that the human race will need in the near future. If Canada can gain an edge in this technology, it will likely pay big dividends down the road.
And what else should the government be doing? Well, after heavily regulating the country for GHGs, we'll likely alienate Alberta and Ontario: the major centers for the Oil and Gas Industry and the Automotive industry, respectively. One way to reunite the country is the following. Both Alberta and Ontario desperately need cheap electricity to run their economies, to get the oil out of the ground and to build the cars. BC, MB, and QC all have access to existing and potential clean hydro power that doesn't produce GHGs. The solution: use government capital to bridge the grid across all provinces. Just like the national railway project. As an example, Manitoba Hydro, like the hydro companies in the other provinces listed, is a net exporter of electricity, and is considering over 2000 MW of new generating capacity in the coming years. Hydro Quebec has even more planned. These are considerable amounts of baseline power, that could allow much larger dependance on the grid. A dependance, for example, that might come from plugin-hybrid cars, and growing populations. Near zero emission cars getting their energy from a clean grid. Just watch Canada's emissions stabilize and fall.
Geo-engineering of the planet's atmosphere might be a bit farther off, but the above goals are very tangible, and could be implemented within a decade or so. But its going to take true leadership. Politicians who care more about their country, and their planet, than their political affiliation. And who realize that it will not liikely be the government's job to find the right technologies, but to simply motivate their discovery and implementation. As someone who considers this problem often, it is simply refreshing to see all the major parties fighting to see who can be greener. I'll be voting for the party that sets real goals, such as the ones mentioned above, for falling inline with Kyoto within the next decade.
Sunday, December 03, 2006
Labels: Ocean Technology Logo
Thursday, October 19, 2006
This is my latest logo creation/theme, again, inspired by the creation of an ultimate frisbee team. This one really speaks to me, but, alas, although the theme and name were chosen, the logo itself was shelved. I hope to put it to print regardless one day. I like it's clean lines, and immediately recognizable shape as a hummer. It also strikes me as fairly unique, something that will draw your attention. A real classic. I'm probably full of it.
Saturday, May 13, 2006
I was in Kelowna, BC last weekend for an Ultimate Frisbee tournament. It was probably one of the better tournaments I've been to in a while. The group I played with were really fun. We had a rough start on Saturday, going 1-3, but rallied on Sunday, ending up 3-4 and playing in the B Pool finals. We accomplished this, even after partying hard the night before. The tournament coordinators had booked a bible camp for the venue, and I doubt those haloed grounds had seen that much debauchery and tomfoolery in years.
In keeping with my interest in creating ultimate logos, I came up with a catchy team theme: Gil Rock-ers! "We'll sink your boat!". We would be named after the rock that recently sunk the Queen of the North (BC Ferry). I created "Gil", as shown to the right. It was eventually vetoed by the team (thank god) as being too recent a disaster. I got my idea for Gil from the "Rock Biter" character from the Never-ending Story. I've added the only pic of the Rock Biter I could find on the net.
Thursday, April 06, 2006
Made a trip to Vienna to present research at PIRA conference. The conference was interesting - Vienna even more so. I was able to haggle with gypsies in German over trinkets at a local market. Spoke with cab driver near my age about politics - gave him the impression that Canadians and Americans like to pretend they're different, but in fact are quite similar. Stumbled across St. Stephan's Church while out getting dinner one night. Was awe-struck. See pic to left (I found this shot on the web).
Sunday, January 22, 2006
I've been working to design a logo for our Ultimate Frisbee team. The finalized design:
Saturday, December 03, 2005
The Budget Expedition:
I spent last weekend in Carmanah-Walbran (CW) Provincial Park. The park was formed through a campaign led by environmental activists seeking to save the 1000 year-old sitka spruces from being clear-cut. The only way into the park is via logging roads, and along the way you're constantly reminded of this age-old logging tactic.
The trees in this park are impressive: hundreds of feet tall and covered with a glowing green moss. I've attached some pics I found on the net because I we didn't bring a working camera with us.
We managed to flat one of tires in the car on the trip. Our choice of vehicles maybe not the greatest; a pontiac bonneville is hardly at home on these roads. Luckily we had a spare. Unfortunately, about a minute after we got it on, we flatted it as well. The spare had sat too long in the trunk, and the full weight of the car broke the seal on the already partially deflated tire.
So at that point we were stranded on a logging road, and we weren't expecting much traffic. We didn't really have time to come up with a plan of action, because soon after the second flat was discovered a truck appeared. We were introduced to a pair of trappers, who showed us their martin to suppress any doubts of their skills. Anyway, they had a tire plug and pump and 15 minutes later we were on our way. Because of this mishap and the maze of logging roads we spent much of our time driving to the park, instead of hiking in it, but it was still worth it.
Monday, October 03, 2005
The beautiful and frigid waters of Arnica Lake, in Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island. Our campsite was atop a bluff which overlooked the lake. I haven't done too much alpine hiking, but I think this is the archetype. A lot of switchbacks (77 in total) to get to this height of 1100 m.
Monday, August 15, 2005
Man, this blog is going to be orders of magnitude better with pictures! Here's a pic of my recent West Coast Trail hiking adventure. It's hard to summarize the trip with one shot, so here's two!
Friday, July 01, 2005
The sweet, sweet power of a Manitoban storm. [Update: This picture is a fraud, it wasn't taken in Manitoba, but it still inspired this blog, so I'm going to leave it up until I can find something better] I've been living on the west coast now for over a year. The prairies, where I grew up, always seem to get the short end of the stick when it comes to the discussion of landscape beauty. My argument continues to be that while the mountains are amazing, they're pretty damn static. Also, you'll never see a storm like this on the west coast. The prairies offer a never ending canvass of scenes like this... okay it's true that we don't get tornadoes very often, but the thunderstorms are usually really rocking!
Tuesday, March 01, 2005
So I've been sick almost continuously with a cold/flu since January 17th 2005 until the present. Based on a visit to a doctor a little over a week ago, I'm supposed to believe that this is just a series of viruses. After my visit, I was thinking of ways to improve the walk-in clinic system. I thought it might be interesting if doctors were to post diagnosis/prognosis info of patients for the day online. The posting would be voluntary and anonymous, but it could provide a valuable resource for those considering a visit to their local walk-in clinic. I thought I'd catalogue the symptoms of these various parasites to aid anyone who might be suffering this season:
January 17th, 2005
General Classification: "Chest Cold"; overall weakness, developed nasty cough that would keep one up at night (cough syrup was nearly useless). Was bringing up a lot of flem during coughing. This lasted for approximately 2-3 weeks.
General Classificiation: "Head Cold w/ Sore Throat"; there was a period of about a week here where I had regained almost normal energy levels, but was still coughing. After that week I caught something else, it caused a mild fever and seemed to be focused in the head. A sore, scratchy throat accompanied it, that was mainly focused to one side of the esophagus. The sinus pain was pretty spectacular.
Last two weeks of February
General Classification: "Head Cold w/ Earache"; another period of a few days where I thought I was recovering. The cough is still around, but a shadow of its former self. This new virus seems to be focused in and around the jaw, ears and back of the throat. Glands, sinuses are definitely swollen in those areas (I'm not sure what exactly is there, but it's swollen). For example, it's painful to lay your head back against a pillow. One of the reasons you wouldn't want to do that anyway, is the large amount of saliva being produced in your mouth. You basically need a bowl beside you at all times. I'm talking 50 - 100 mL per hour. A reasonable amount of thick flem is coming from your sinuses. It's March 1st and there's no end in site baby! Bring it on!
Monday, February 14, 2005
We had a speaker from AECL (Atomic Energy of Canada Limited) in last week. He spoke of "NuWind", that is, a wind-nuclear hybrid system to produce electricity for the grid and hydrogen (through electrolysis) for vehicles. I was always a firm believer in nuclear energy, and I will try to become even more knowledgeable in the field and praise its pros when I get the chance...
Sunday, January 30, 2005
My favorite desktop.
Tuesday, January 25, 2005
There's no room in my life for minimalism:) I've purchased a "Lifetime" brand folding 5 foot collapsible table for a desk.
Sunday, January 23, 2005
I've recently been left without bed and desk. This has got me asking myself whether I really need replacements. Yes, unequivocally. I was considering playing up the minimalism in my life, but it's already quite barren, in terms of material goods. Plus the ergonomist would have a heartattack if she/he were ever to stumble into my room.
The futon mattress is looking like a reasonable choice - without frame of course. And I was thinking of a door, bridging four ABS pipes, for a desk. Or maybe just a folding table: big and cheap.
Sunday, October 31, 2004
Our house signed up for delivery of local, organic vegetables through a company called: SPUD, or Small Potatoes Urban Delivery. They can be found at www.spud.ca. I'm using this as my footprint reduction for the week.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
So the plan is to make an effort to diminish my footprint on the planet. The strategy is to come up with a new green task each week. This past week, I replaced incandecent bulbs in my room with the flourescent type (in a helix shape) that claim to be 5 times more efficient. What will next weeks task be?
Monday, August 30, 2004
And Here We Go Again...
I'm referring to my relationship with the National Student Loans Service Center (NSLSC), who seem to be out to get me. Being a student (and borrower) since '97 I'd like to think I'm somewhat aware of the process called "Confirmation of Enrollment", which involves sending a form to the NSLSC. The form contains your period of study and signature and the signature of someone at the Registrar's Office. I'm constantly surprised at how difficult it is to convince these people that I'm still in school. I was originally born in Manitoba, but went to school in Ontario, which makes me "out of province" - apparently the most complicated form of borrower:) and a brand I wouldn't wish on anyone. Anyway, although I have forgotten in the past, I'm confident my Schedule 2 (S2) form (the confirmation of enrollment) arrived before the deadline this year. I'll note here that it seems damn near impossible to talk to a human at NSLSC. Regardless, I was again deferred to Tricera (?spelling), which is the collection agency NSLSC uses. These guys seem to be quite a bit more severe and immediately begin acruing interest on your loan.... TBC
Sunday, August 15, 2004
Nuclear power seems to be the appropriate choice to fill any gaps in Canada's power supply for the near future, economically and environmentally. How many provinces actually need the power? Well, you can definitely put Ontario down for a few reactors, to replace existing fossil-fueled generation plants and the existing (and ageing) nuclear plants of Pickering and Bruce Stations. At approximately 23,000 MW of generating ability at any one instant, Ontario is in an energy crisis scenario every summer.
"As of September 30, 2003 OPG’s [Ontario Power Generation] electricity-generating portfolio had a total in-service capacity of 22, 733 megawatts (MW). This consisted of three operating nuclear stations with a capacity of 6,103 MW (comprising four units at Darlington, four units at Pickering B and one unit at Pickering A); six fossil-fueled stations with a capacity of 9,700 MW; 36 hydroelectric stations with a capacity of 6,796 MW; and 32 EcoLogoM-certified green power stations (29 hydroelectric and three wind) with a capacity of 134 MW. Two nuclear stations, formerly operated by OPG, are leased on a long-term basis to Bruce Power L.P. " (Source: www.opg.com)
Manitoba (www.hydro.mb.ca) and Quebec have well established hydro generation programs that supply 100% of their power (at least in MB). Manitoba is expecting to export about $350 M in hydro electric power in the coming year. How does nuclear power stand in Canada (http://www.nuclearfaq.ca/)? There are a bunch of neat sites on nuclear power, both for(http://pw1.netcom.com/~res95/energy/nuclear.html) and against (http://www.citizen.org/CMEP/). So, what's going on in the other provinces? I'm going to find out.