Freedom and Reform

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A few ideas have crystallized for me as I've read about the ongoing furor over the Danish and other European newspapers publishing offensive cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed. Without repeating too much common knowledge, certain Islamic scriptures forbid realistic depictions of the prophets, but depictions of that sort have been made for centuries. Various newspapers are reprinting the cartoons, citing freedom of the press, and the images are not only in violation of this particular scripture, but also offensive (see the above link).

I've also read this opinion by a 'Muslim dissident', which says, amongst other things:

A democracy cannot …
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Touchstone

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I make frequent attempts at humour. Often they fail, because most of my jokes are referential. I depend on lateral thinking to insert the unexpected or (seemingly) unrelated into a situation or a conversation. The humour is created either by the juxtapositon of the two items, or, more commonly, poached outright from the thing I'm referencing.

Either way I rely on a whole lexicon of stock phrases, quotations, tidbits and so on to execute this sort of joke. What follows is an informal guide to the most common of these. For the most part the humour isn't explained -- because any …

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Lifehacking

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Computers make us more productive. Yeah, right. Lifehacker recommends the downloads, web sites and shortcuts that actually save time. **Don't live to geek; geek to live.** [Lifehacker.com](http://www.lifehacker.com)

I'm not sure why I haven't read this site before, but it's definitely on my reading list now. It's an admirable message that I sympathize with. Computers, the Internet and the software and data on them are wonderfully powerful tools; but they're just that: tools. There's no point owning a massive industrial lathe when all you need is a Dremel tool.

I'll use Lifehacker for suggestions from here …

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'2006'

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Well, well. A New Year! I got wildly and inexcusably drunk on New Year's Eve at Konrad's place (Lil's blog has photos). Moreover, I did it intentionally, which is a rare and awesome thing. Today was the annual Kishimoto Family New Year's Day Open House (KFNYDOH, sounds like a martial art) at my uncle's place in Weston. For the uninitiated, this involves a lot of pre-cooking during Boxing Week, and about 125 guests (mostly adult friends of the family) coming by between 3 and 10 PM. The amount and variety of food defies description, but I'll try and find a …

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Nostalgia

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I'm so emo - I've been listening to a lot of music by Stars. They're great:

God that was strange to see you again
Introduced by a friend of a friend
Smiled and said "yes I think we've met before"
In that instant it started to pour

Captured a taxi despite all the rain
We drove in silence across Pont Champlain
And all of that time you thought I was sad
I was trying to remember your name

This scar is a fleck on my porcelain skin
You tried to reach deep but you couldn't get in
And now you're outside …

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Michael Geist

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This is why I love the Canada Research Chair program, the Ontario postsecondary education system, and Michael Geist. His observations on the Internet are always legally informative, politically neutral, and rhetoric-free; at the same time they embody the sort of values, enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, that Canada's laws are designed to protect.

His work is the exact antithesis of the partisan committee-authored 'think tank' reports that a lot of American lawmaking and lobbying seem to be based on, a direct effect of the mandate of the CRC. I find it very refreshing.

Now Playing: Badly Drawn …

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Archives Fixed

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Woo! I should be studying.

Now Playing: Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin III - 06 - Gallows Pole

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Blackjack

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I'm 21! I wish I could say I had more to show for it, but other events have overshadowed it.

I had the flu from roughly 26-29 November. While I was under I exacerbated my headache by redoing the layout of this site; it's a lot simpler and cleaner now. Some notable changes:

  • The blurbs have been moved to the front Media page.
  • I added a list of the anime I have burned to DVD; let me know if you want to borrow anything.
  • Some books added as to-reads; I've got some spoken-word and lyrics to go into the poetry …

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Lyrics

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Instead of going off on extensive tangents the way I usually do, I'm just going to quote a lot of really good or striking lyrics and let you make what you will of them.

Call me over and I trust We lay here 'til we must Make our break to our star bodies go

There's a shake with the shock And a gift off with them They carry the dust of the failing wisdom For you there's not any warning And love is 5 in the morning

'Til we skip through the towns to the bright sweet past on And …

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Utterly Terrifying

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LG-118A Peacekeeper Reentry The above photo is of a test of the LG-118A Peacekeeper ICBM, which carries up to ten 300 KT MIRV warheads. Little Boy (the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima) rated about 13 KT. What these measurements mean is that detonating 300,000 tons of TNT (a common explosive) or one of these warheads releases equal energy. That TNT would form a solid cube about 20 storeys high. The test warheads were inert (obviously), and dropped on an uninhabited atoll in the Pacific. The bright lines result from the heat created by their reentry into the atmosphere at over five times …

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Daddy, won't you please come home?

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I've been looking for this song for years. I've found a shitty, skippy 80 kbps mp3 of it. I am willing to buy the album to hear more. Apparently Nine Big Dogs were around in Canada from 1990-1992, released one album called Bite and one of the members went on to help found the Killjoys, though he didn't record with them. Someone has mentioned that Alan Cross might have used this song on a History of New Rock segment. Any info is appreciated.

Now Playing: Nine Big Dogs - Bite - Dougie's Lament

Dougie's not like any other man, no no no …
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Interesting Times

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May you live in interesting times [and attract the attention of interesting people [and may all your dreams come true]] Unknown

I just read an interesting article on the supposed origins of this curse, which I first stumbled across in a novel by Terry Pratchett years ago. I think it's fair to say we live in interesting times.

Here's a new take on the teenage-angst cliché "noone understands me," which is clearly a false generalization in anyone's case. Everyone has a store of items which resonate with them deeply - bits of writing, poetry, music, phrases, concepts, etc. Given how complex …

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Plus ça change…

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…plus c'est la même chose, non? Frighteningly enough I can't even say it's mid-October; that's come and gone. The term is nearly half over. I'm having less than complete success keeping my vague resolutions for this year, but any progress is better than none. Improvements:

  • Working out more; doing circuit training once or twice weekly, usually with Calden. Ultimate games on weekends. CN Tower Stairclimb this Saturday.
  • Marks are decent; none of last year's "just didn't submit it" events.
  • Doing laundry and cleaning roughly weekly; doing dishes.
But nevertheless
  • Down to ~4h nightly sleep, and up to ~1.5 cups …

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Well

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I tell everyone about this sooner or later, so maybe it's important. This is one of my favourite songs—which is a rare thing, since I'm not generally one for favourites.

I don't know when I got this album, but I remember when I started really liking the song. In Air Cadets, we had a long squadron trip, usually in March Break, for the first few years I was in. Two years we went down to NAS Oceania in Virginia. The trips were fun - on one occasion we'd hardly got off the bus and formed up when a prototype of …

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I Don't Know Why…

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…but I started reading War and Peace, which I bought back in September. I'm on page 283 of ~1500, and it's really not as painful as some people have led me to believe. Nor, however, is it the masterwork others sell it as. Then again, I'm not even into the meat of the plot. We'll see. At the same time I've watched 24 episodes of Great Teacher Onizuka in the past four days or so. It's a great anime, not sure what was keeping me from it.

Why does noone else like White Stripes? Jeez. Last party we had, Danielle …

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Idiom

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During the past week, bent under the weight of multiple problem sets, we (Bob, Kim, Calden, Kari, Nicole, Sara, 'Henrì,' Niels [all of them] and others) devised a new system for qualifying the immense injustice of the work we've brought on ourselves. For those not familar, we're in Engineering Science, known to Arts & Science students at the University of Toronto as 'the hard one' and to other engineers as 'suicide' or just 'haha.' In short it's a program that looks very advanced and edifying on paper, makes for great bragging and only adds eight months of grief to your $8000 …

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Stayin' Alive

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Well, it's Thanksgiving, more than a month already into the Fall term. I think it's fair to say I'm staying afloat so far, but I'm not sure if I'm up to the 80%+ standard I've set for myself. Still, I feel like I'm doing a much better job staying on top of all the assignments, labs, problem sets, and midterms (already!). Time is still short for fun and games.

Random stuff:

  • I've started reading War and Peace. I'm on p. 140 of ~1500, but it's surprisingly easy reading so far. I think people are just easily intimidated by large books …
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In Full Swing

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Hooooooooo boy. Things are getting busy. Here's what's up:

  • The Iron Dragons have gotten approval for sponsorship to buy a full team set of PFDs and get them screening. We are going to look hardcore badass next year - and I mean moreso than previously.
  • School's started - studying and problem sets out the wazoo. I'm happy to report that I haven't failed to hand anything in - yet - and I'm actually understanding the math. Aerodynamics in particular is a fascinating course, PDEs is horrid, and the prof for Control Systems lectures at lightspeed. About all these more later. Honour roll, here I …
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In Threes

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…is how bad news comes - or is it good news? Anyway, it turns out I was struck by both a dead motherboard AND defective RAM. Figuring this out involved a lot of time and grief, which I'm thankful is over - EXCEPT for the fact that the HD with my 80 GB music collection and most of my IM received files has tanked. It's under warranty, but it'll be hell and a half downloading it all again.

Make no mistake, though - I intend to!

Now Playing: Nothing.

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