We are Borg Update

Silicon and Steel

The future and impact of Nano-Tech, from Soft Machines


John Safran vs Mormons


Mars Global Surveyor presumed lost

On 2 November – just five days shy of its 10th birthday – MGS notified Earth that it had trouble adjusting the position of one of its two solar panels. It has not been heard from since, except for a very weak signal on 5 November. The failure to position the solar panel properly may have left the spacecraft with too little power to transmit a signal to Earth (see NASA struggles to contact lost Mars probe).

- The above is curtesy of New Scientist.

Just depressing.

Part of me hopes against hope it collided with an alien craft, merging the two damaged bodies into one, and then made a bee-line for it's original home.


Quote of the day

"Conservatives in the US are a governing philosophy without a party. Conservatives in Canada are governing party without a philosophy" - Cameron Hilton

The Bollywood Superman

The video above simply blows me away with its incandescent loopiness. Here's my top ten list of reasons you have to watch the whole thing;

10 - Superman and Spiderwoman doing their dance moves while in full flight. Apparently nobody contacted them to point out that Spiderwoman can't actually fly.

9 - Superman's 'S' - which isn't on his chest like a crest so much as it covers his entire upper torso from groin to goiter.

8 - Supes black boots. There's a sort of porn-guy-with-socks-on charm to this. Like he just forgot that he was supposed to pull the big red boots on and went with the regular footwear.

7 - The gratuitous fight scene is worth the price of admission alone, but the best part is when he twirls the villainous wannabe rapist over his head by the groin, and then pulls his hand away to leave the guy spinning above his head half out of frame. Simply excellent.

6 - Superman is mere fraction of inches away from sporting a full-on Indian Mullet.

5 - Spiderwoman's booty - lets just say the costume isn't kind to her assets as she appears to be hiding small animals beneath the blue tights, and every twirl she makes threatens to set them free.

4 -The total absence of any remotely human emotions other than unbridled joy. Even when defeating villainous wannabe rapists Superman looks like he is one bong hoot away from permanently wiring his face into a Cheshire grimace.

3 - The multiple faux kisses at the end. Priceless.

2 - The video has apparently zero budget for special effects, but a cast of dozens for the dance scenes wasn't an issue. Exactly why there are dozens of on-lookers waiting around for Supes and Spideygal to arrive so they can launch into an extended dance montage is a question best left for those in possession of large amounts of LSD or a working knowledge of Indian film language conventions. My understanding is that all Bollywood films are required to have utterly ludicrous situations involving hundreds of dancers to move the plot along.

1 - Supes busting a move in the garden. Just awesome.
The Bollywood Superman


Pluto responds to its planetary declassification

T-Shirt is available here.

Quote of the Day

"Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy" - Benjamin Franklin

This may be the only proof for God's existence I respect.


Pic is from AJ's Halloween party

It was SMOKIN! But these parties will be the death of me.


I spoke too soon....

It seems I let my enthusiasm for Boogaard get the better of my judgement.

The heavyweight champion of the NHL is still George Laraque (3-0-1 liftetime vs. Boogaard). I'll link to the video of tonights bout as soon as someone posts it to YouTube.

Medical Marijuana - the Even Steven Debate

Taking a ride on the Nostalgia train - Jen reviews Chilliwack Live in Concert!

Personally, I'd have been one of those friends who would prefer root canal to seeing Chilliwack try to 80's ballad their way to the grave as they careen through their dotage. But the sentiment is spot on. Some bands become 'ours' through a variety of circumstances, and the lack of objectivity we have towards them is part and parcel of their appeal.

For me, I know looking back on one of my favourites that 'Saga' wasn't the world changing force for progressive art-rock that I thought when I was 15-17, but I have never been able to disavow completely.

However, just because Saga has that imperviousness to criticism about it for me that Chilliwack does for Jen, I nevertheless maintain that my Kung-Fu is more powerful than hers.

Here is the proof of my superior Kung Fu;

- Saga, like David Hasselhoff, are perplexingly huge stars in Germany. (though as you can see they, like Chilliwack, have aged a little since the concert in 1988 here)

- Saga, unlike David Hasselhoff, are perplexingly huge stars in Puerto Rico;

"The band has been constantly successful in Germany since its inception. It is also very popular in Puerto Rico: Saga has visited the island eleven times. Saga's third concert in Puerto Rico (1981) caused riots from fans trying to crash into a sold-out concert that sold over 10,000 tickets. Most of the inner cover photographs from the original vinyl release of Worlds Apart were taken in Puerto Rico, particularly (and prominently) a live photograph from the 1981 concert. The band received formal recognition as distinguished visitors of the country from the Puerto Rican legislature in February 2005.

(all emphasis mine, Cameron)

I'll give Chilliwack points for; being Canadian, being a fringe on the mainstream pop culture (mostly urban pockets of English Canada), and for having talent, if albeit of lightweight stature.

But I would say those things of my beloved Saga as well.

Unless Jen has a Kung Fu defense to match my devastating 'We're so big we get riots in Puerto Rico' move, I call my Kung Fu the most deadly.


Canada is No. 1!!

At putting the sex into video games!
A teenagers guide to self control



Rumsfeld Quits

"I would not say that the future is necessarily less predictable than the past. I think the past was not predictable when it started."

"We do know of certain knowledge that he [Osama Bin Laden] is either in Afghanistan, or in some other country, or dead."

"We know where they are. They're in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat." –on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction

"Death has a tendency to encourage a depressing view of war."

"Freedom's untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things." –on looting in Iraq after the U.S. invasion, adding "stuff happens"

"As you know, you go to war with the army you have, not the army you might want or wish to have at a later time."

"I am not going to give you a number for it because it's not my business to do intelligent work." -asked to estimate the number of Iraqi insurgents while testifying before Congress

"I believe what I said yesterday.I don't know what I said, but I know what I think, and, well, I assume it's what I said."

"Needless to say, the President is correct. Whatever it was he said."

"Reports that say that something hasn't happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know."

"If I said yes, that would then suggest that that might be the only place where it might be done which would not be accurate, necessarily accurate. It might also not be inaccurate, but I'm disinclined to mislead anyone."

"There's another way to phrase that and that is that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. It is basically saying the same thing in a different way. Simply because you do not have evidence that something does exist does not mean that you have evidence that it doesn't exist." -on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction

"It is unknowable how long that conflict [the war in Iraq] will last. It could last six days, six weeks. I doubt six months." -in Feb. 2003

"Well, um, you know, something's neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so, I suppose, as Shakespeare said."

"Secretary Powell and I agree on every single issue that has ever been before this administration except for those instances where Colin's still learning."

"Learn to say 'I don't know.' If used when appropriate, it will be often."

"I don't know what the facts are but somebody's certainly going to sit down with him and find out what he knows that they may not know, and make sure he knows what they know that he may not know."

"I'm not into this detail stuff. I'm more concepty."

"I don't do quagmires."

"I don't do diplomacy."

"I don't do foreign policy."

"I don't do predictions."

"I don't do numbers."

"I don't do book reviews."

"Now, settle down, settle down. Hell, I'm an old man, it's early in the morning and I'm gathering my thoughts here."

"If I know the answer I'll tell you the answer, and if I don't, I'll just respond, cleverly."

The other seals....

I ended up going with my third choice (as seen below) after trying these two alternatives out first

The reasons? I dig the Enterprise as much (ok, probably a lot more) than just about anyone, but nobody takes ST Geeks seriously. Nobody. So I tried out the 'atom' symbol instead, and while I liked it, it makes me look like I'm into atomic physics, etc. - which (though very very cool stuff) isn't the case.

The other problem is the motto - (latin for 'doubt everything') - which is in and of itself OK, the problem comes with its origin. Seems that the motto originates with one Karl Marx - and for me that's a deal breaker. And so, I keep trying to find a better fit.


He is the most ridiculously gifted heavyweight fighter in the NHL.

He stands 6'7", and weighs in over 270lbs. That's not heavyweight, thats SUPERheavyweight, the class of indvidual usually reserved for that fraction of 1% of the population capable of going toe-to-toe with Andre the Giant.

He's a freak of nature. Who can also skate.

As John Buccigross put it;

"There is no theory of evolution. Just a list of creatures Derek Boogaard has allowed to live."

In the fight with Fedotenko a player on the Ducks described the results of Boogaard's beating of Fedotenko thusly;

'Boogaard simply caved his face in'.

Fedotenko is out with multiple facial fractures - for what I would guess will be quite a long time. Worth noting that Boogaard;

A. Didn't pick this fight. It was Fedotenko who went after him. I pity the fool.

B. Didn't overly celebrate (ala Domi's 'phantom belt' or 'speed-bag' gestures). He may be impossibly strong and incredibly vicious, but he isn't a showboat more interested in his own fights than the team he is fighting for.

C. Hasn't had a bought with Phx Coyote (and former heavyweight champ) Georges Laraque. For that, I would pay money to see.

D. In many ways, he's a throwback goon. If he can skate well enough to stick in the new NHL though, he'll be the most terrifying goon, ever.


Your Heavyweight Champion of the NHL


Intel Dump!

Lots of stuff has built up in my files over the last month, and I finally have a chance to blog it all.

As always, let me know what you think....

The Intel Dump:

Is everyone's favourite fascist barbie Ann Coulter going to prison?!?! Probably too
good to be true.


More evidence that porn might be good for you (or just for society as a whole) as it seems that when internet porn arrives in a community, reports of rape go down.


Science progresses ever further, as transuranic element 118 has been created. But are we nearing the limit for adding new
elements to the periodic table?

"At some point, the forces that are holding the nucleus together are not going to let another proton be shoved in there," said Nancy Stoyer, co-author of the study and a scientist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. "You put [another proton] in there and it's going to immediately break apart. At some point, we're going to reach the end of the elements. Where that is, we don't know"

(tip of the hat to AJ who alerted me to the discovery)


Michael Ignatieff gets a well deserved thrashing from Andrew Coyne for his unforgivably naive ressurection of the 'Canada is my country, Quebec is my nation' nonsense. Even more than his abhorrent support for the Iraq war long past the point were any such support was even theoretically sensible, Ignatieff's Quebec talk has me looking longingly at Stephane Dion to upset him for leader of the Liberals. The LAST thing our country needs is for Seperation Zombie to walk to the Earth again.


Apparently the real weakness of vampires isn't garlic, silver, or guys named Van Helsing. No, it seems thing most lethal to vampires are math geeks. Kill joys with pocket protectors all of them.


The Guardian's AC Grayling demands that religions get no special treatment.

"...to believe something in the face of evidence and against reason - to believe something by faith - is ignoble, irresponsible and ignorant, and merits the opposite of respect. It is time to say so."

The rest of his argument is definitely worth reading, if a tad splenetic - fortunately I find spleneticisim in the face of religion to be no vice.


The Guiding Light will be adding a SUPERHERO to its cast of characters in an effort to attract younger male viewers.

Proof positive we live in the end times.


Here's something my Dad and I are in total agreement about - Maria Sharapova. Yummy


My old stomping grounds at the U of C produced the following strategic studies paper on Canada's military. Some excellent stuff (and some infuriating stuff) if you can get through it all. Fellow poli-sci fans can geek away...


All the economics that you need in one lesson

"Economics as taught in our colleges and universities and propounded by our pundits and politicians is a good example of a tyranny of "unexamined opinions and inherited prejudices."



One of my favourite awards is the 'Ignoble' handed out for 'improbable research' - Here are the winners for 2006. My favourite is this one;

LITERATURE: Daniel Oppenheimer of Princeton University for his report
"Consequences of Erudite Vernacular Utilized Irrespective of Necessity: Problems with Using Long Words Needlessly."

No bonus points for guessing why.


William Saletan (the science writer at Slate) has this excellent analysis of how the pro-life movement might come to embrace contraception as a means of reducing abortions.

"In short, the good news is that we no longer have to fight about abortion. The bad news is that we're now fighting about contraception. The old question was abortion as birth control. The new question is abortion or birth control. To lower the abortion rate, we need more contraception. And that means confronting politicians who stand in the way."

For an uglier side of Saletan, you might check this article out where he hyperventilates about the successful first penis transplant.

A 13% teen pregnancy rate at an Ohio high-school prompts the school to rethink it's abstinence only policy. Better late then never.

Anthropologists have found another skeleton of the infamous 'Lucy'. No word on whether this one is to be named 'Charlie', but we can assume he's been waiting a very long time to kick the damn ball.


This site is fantastic - my own results are below:


For those of you (like me) who simply can't get enough
Battlestar Galactica, I give you this excellent blog.


In England, the Archbishop of York has sided with the Muslim extremists against the evil of
secularism. It seems that any invisible super being, even that of someone trying to kill you so he can bag his 72 virgins, is still better than none at all for some people.



Pinhead Tom Nichols asks the question that has clearly been troubling him for some time.

"I don’t know quite how to ask this question, but I suspect that a lot of Americans are about to, so I’ll put it as directly as I can: Are Canadians stupid?"

The answer is (of course) 'no', but the people writing for the National Review haven't been known for their blazing intellects since the days William Buckley used to edit the rag himself. What is genuinely hysterical about this is not the article itself (which is basically just a whine that Canadians didn't leap into the cesspool of Iraq the moment Bush said 'Jump'), but the fact that Buckley himself has come out as critical of the Bush administration, it's war and how it is being waged. Perhaps Mr Nichols should, you know, read what the guy who owns the magazine thinks...just a thought.

It's sad really. The NR used to be a place of quality writing from conservatives and libertarians. Now, it's been reduced to a partisan rag devoid of talent.

Firing Line, where have you gone?

Don't get me wrong, I'm no sycophant of Buckley's - he is an evil toad, but at least he was a compelling and intelligent evil toad.


This makes me glad - it seems the Chinese are seeing a boom in home-grown science fiction!


Kasi Jackson has an interesting article in The Scientist about - female mad scientists in B movies, and their relation to nature.

"I explore the way that such films deal with our inclination to view science as masculine and nature as feminine. When men are doing the science, this isn't a contradiction; in these films, masculine, rational science dominates and controls irrational, feminine nature. Sometimes, the pattern is obvious, such as when a wild-haired, wild-eyed Frederick Frankenstein (Gene Wilder) from Young Frankenstein (1974) shouts that he will use science to "penetrate into the very womb of impervious nature herself."

But what happens when the mad scientist is a woman?"

To find out, you'll have to read the article. For me, I was less impressed with the article itself (which was pretty good) then that someone actually GOT PAID to write about it.

I. Am. Jealous.


As someone who stands between 6'2" and 6'3" in my stocking feet, I am always interested in finding out why being tall matters.

Turns out, it matters more than I thought. Suck it up shorties.


You ever wonder if people who donate organs, ever regret their decision?

"I feel helpless," she says. "Part of my body, my DNA, is stuck inside a person who's going to hell."

Yup, a wingnut wants to get the organ they donated back - seems the recipient wasn't Christian enough for her liking.

"Smith suffers nightmares of her former organ filtering "strange Asian teas, pig blood and witch doctor brews in Africa," she says. She wonders if the Lord really wanted her to donate the kidney, or if she acted on a "triple-espresso high" she had that morning. She is also concerned that when her body is resurrected, it might be incomplete."

I will have to check my bible, but I believe the Lord fully supports organ donations made under triple espresso highs.

My Gods are totally down with Juan Valdez.


Doing the math on fear, terrorism and car crashes.

"The bottom line is, terrorism doesn't kill many people. Even in Israel, you're four times more likely to die in a car wreck than as a result of a terrorist attack. In the USA, you need to be more worried about lightning strikes than terrorism. The point of terrorism is to create terror, and by cynically convincing us that our very countries are at risk from terrorism, our politicians have delivered utter victory to the terrorists: we are terrified."

Worth noting that I located this link on William Gibson's blog (that is the WG of 'Neuromancer', not my mad-scientist Dr. buddy with the same name).


Dark matter, once a topic of speculation for why the universe is missing so much of the mass that it appears to have, seems to have found some evidence for its existence. They have pictures!

To get the picture they had to watch a galaxy as it shred itself to pieces. Some jobs are just way more fun than mine.


One of the more interesting advances in neuropsychology has to do with identifying the different modules that make up our unconcsious mental processing. Here's an article on the 'intentional module'.


American tax dollars at work in the war on terror - it's the National Counter Terrorism Centre for KIDS! Fun for the whole family, and wholesome too!


Whew! Ok, I admit there was lots more (including an especially big thing I was doing on the ME for my Mom), but I'm tired, hungry and in a Saskatchewan hotel room - so it's time for me to change at least one of those circumstances (I'm going to go eat).

More blogging when I get the chance.