Monday, June 16, 2008

The weather on Mars

At the site of the Phoenix lander, anyway: Sunny, with a high of -26 C.

[CSA via Environment Canada Weather Office]

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Memo to arXiv cs.IT users

Hey guys. I realize that you're all brilliant and have so much to share, but do you think you could possibly condense your ideas a bit? I read interesting abstracts, and download the paper to find -- every damn time -- a 40-page horse pill that I don't have time to read, and that feels like a waste to print if I'm just going to skim it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The next station is St. George. Repent your sins.

There are a few transit routes I can take to work -- all are about equally fast -- but one of them has me connect from the Bloor-Danforth line to the Yonge-University line at St. George station. In the midst of an unusual number of transit backups and delays (though happily none in my direction), I got off at the B-D platform to make the switch ... only to find that it was impossible to make it up the stairs to my next train. There were so many people waiting on the Y-U platform that the crowd was backing up down the stairs and onto the B-D platform.

It took me a moment to realize that, to get to any exit, I would also have to go through the Y-U platform. So in an emergency, everyone on the B-D platform would have been stuck. I guess we could have made our way down the tunnel, but that doesn't sound like a key to a long and prosperous life -- especially if the problem (like a fire) were in the tunnel in the first place.

Which reminds me of another St. George experience. A few months ago, I was making the same connection -- this time I got up to the Y-U platform all right, but there was a stalled train on the southbound track and a building crowd, as well as an acrid smell of smoke. I actually saw a firefighter make his way down the platform and head into the tunnel ahead of the stalled train, and noticed the smoke getting worse ... but, happily, just then my northbound train arrived and I left the problem behind (I don't know what happened, but it wasn't on the news so it must have worked out).

Friday, June 6, 2008

The CDS and RMC

Lt.-Gen. Walter Natynczyk, the government's pick as the next CDS, received his bachelor's degree from CMR in St-Jean. That makes him the fourth CDS in a row who did not graduate from the Royal Military College, Kingston.

The last RMC grad to get the top job was Jean Boyle, who resigned amid scandal 12 years ago.

The new guy is also the first graduate from any Canadian military college to get the top job since Boyle: Baril did his degree at Ottawa, Henault went to Manitoba, and Hillier went to MUN.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

A stirring "dunt-da-DUNT-da-dunt"

What's that you may ask? The mating song of the sea elephant? A sofa falling down the stairs?

Neither. It's the Hockey Night in Canada theme song, according to the Globe and Mail.