How To Survive a Zombie Attack

Important stuff for you to know this Halloween!

Zakaria vs N-Pod - what to do about Iran?

Listen as Zakaria eats Podhoretz's lunch.

There is an old cliche' about the neo-cons that it's 'always 1938' - and in the audio you can hear Podhoretz return again and again to the idea that somehow Iran is fascist Germany, and that diplomacy is appeasement.

Zakaria nails him everywhere and on every point.

- Iran has not been an overly bellicose actor in the ME the last 3 years

- Other nations with far less reasonable governments (North Korea) have the bomb and deterrence works on them

- Most importantly, he points out that Podhoretz creates a false choice (between appeasement and bombing) when a third option (deterrence) has worked for every other nuclear power to emerge in the 20th century.

What was most fascinating to me was how Podhoretz openly suggested that Iran because of its religious fanaticism was inherently more dangerous than other regimes.

Zakaria of course, has the answer to this to, pointing to the rhetoric of the Communists under Mao and how similar it is to the inflammatory statements of Ahmadinejad.

I call it a win for Zakaria, but Podhoretz's resorting to Hitler arguments early and often turned it into a total blow-out.


James Worthy

Top 5 reasons I love James Worthy

5. Despite superstar abilities was content to be the no. 3 player on a stacked Lakers team (behind Magic and Kareem). Winning was simply way more important to him than being 'the man'.

4. His right handed, gravity-mocking, statue-of-liberty dunks (see highlights below)

3. Was 'Koral', the impossibly tall, low dialogue, Klingon on ST:TNG epsiode 'Gambit, part 2'.

2. Three rings and the Basketball Hall of Fame. Dude was awesome good.

1. Wore #42.


My Video Bar

You may have noticed that I have adjusted the blog to include video feeds in the side-bar.

To access them, just click on the picture. The video will then load and play at the very top of the blog (you may have to move the page back to the top to see it).

Currently, I am running:

Do Make Say Think - a mega-awesome band from Canada that I am jacked to be able to see in concert.

Sam Harris - atheist and award winning author. Also, he obliterated Andrew Sullivan in a faith debate.

Carl Sagan - Astronomer, pop science philosopher, genius, and pot smoker. Was married to Ann Druyan. Wrote 4 of my all-time favourite books. My hero.

Phil Plait - Astronomer, skeptic, podcaster, debunker of nonsense.

Daniel Dennett - Philosopher of mind. Atheist, defender of free will, and all-round very big brain.

The Amazing Randi - Magician, skeptic, debunker of frauds, psychics and charlatans.

I recently dumped William Gibson (the videos were kind of lame), and I am likely to be changing it up again in the next few days, so get your fill while you can.

Quote of the Day

Andrew Potter (one of 'the three Andrews', Potter, Coyne, and Sullivan), has a take-down of fellow Andrew, Andrew Coyne whom I myself quoted enthusiastically just yesterday!

Ah bliss, when ones favourite political writers turn their pens on each other! The spat takes place over the Harper governments feints at wielding the trade and commerce power it has in our constitution to knock down intra-provincial trade barriers. Both Andrews agree that this is a good idea, but Coyne rhapsodizes about the existential dimensions of this stronger federalism, and then from the other side of his mouth speaks about a worrisome reality that contradicts it.

Give that the abov is perhaps the least interesting introduction to a great political spat ever written, here is the article by Coyne, and here is the response by Potter. I excerpt the money quote from Potter below:

"But what Coyne seems to be claiming is that Ottawa does have the legal authority, but it should negotiate nevertheless. Read again what he wrote in the spring:

Viewed strictly as a legal matter, the feds could probably invoke the Trade and Commerce power, and strike down provincial trade barriers unilaterally. But politically, they don’t dare.

Politically they don’t dare. Whatever could that mean? That the premiers would scream and yell? So what? If it’s Ottawa’s business, who gives a hoot what the premiers think. Perhaps Coyne has something more worrisome in mind, viz., that if Ottawa were to assert one of its essential legal rights, the Canadian people would not stand for it. Or, more sinister still, that the residents of a particular province might be so unhappy they would vote to separate. Is that what he’s talking about?

This isn't federalism of any sort, it's gangsterism. Gangsters get to negotiate with the police in corrupt countries because, even though the law says one thing, the police don't dare, politically, enforce the law. Is this honestly what Canada has become?

- Andrew Potter


Exploding Myths about the 3rd World

A breath-taking lecture that brings a refreshing analysis to the demographics of the third world.

Journey to the Centre of the Mind

An amazing talk on how brain damage illuminates how the brain and mind work

Quote of the Day

"The European competition commissioner, for example, can order member states to dismantle local monopolies that impede trade within the “single market.” Imagine, for example, a federal economic union commission ordering Ontario Hydro to open its market to private generators -- including out-of-province generators. For extra credit, imagine it doing the same to Hydro-Quebec.

Only in Canada is this considered outré. In other countries, internal trade barriers are regarded as an absurdity, not because their citizens are more apprised of the benefits of free trade than ours, but because of the inherent nonsense of the enterprise: to protect ourselves from ourselves. Only in Canada do we regard ourselves as not ourselves."

- Andrew Coyne


Quote of the Day

Mozart tells us what it's like to be human, Beethoven tells us what it's like to be Beethoven and Bach tells us what it's like to be the universe."

- Douglas Adams


The Skywalkers

Well, I bit the bullet (actually, it was free) and have begun my first experience with a basketball pool.

The CBS Sports draft was automatic and it meant you had to rank the players as you wanted them in advance. Which was both mystifying and terrifying. So many names I had never, ever heard of. So many others that were familiar, but totally unconnected to any sense of how good they are. Very, very, very weird.

Today I got an e-mail with what the computer drafted based on my list. Like I said, Very Weird.

Fair enough. Among the rules is that I believe we are required to have two centres, four Forwards (small and power, though they don't distinguish - something I would) and four guards (shooting and point - ditto) along with three reserves.

Anyway, without further ado, here are your....


G-Dwayne Wade
C-Yao Ming
G-Ben Gordon
F-Ron Artest
G-Ricky Davis
G-Rafer Alston
G-Stephen Jackson
F-Quentin Richardson
F-Andrei Kirilenko
F-Yi Jianlian
F-Darko Milicic
C-Chris Kaman
F-Jason Kapono

So here's my recap;

1. Wade. I have Dwayne Freaking Wade. Awesome. Here's the thing. I missed on my top pick LeBron, was almost hoping not to get Kobe (because he is evil, or as one blog I read refers to him exclusively as - 'that anal rapist') or Dirk (who is totally awesome but mentally made of jello), and Nash went to the guy right ahead of me. Next on my list would have been stat stuffer Shawn Marion. Only downside is that Wade is going to miss the first week or so.

2. Yao Ming. My centre is guaranteed to dominate all others with the possible exceptions of Howard and Stoudamire. I had seriously considered Yao for top pick overall. Only downside is that he is a classic centre in the Kareem mold. Obliterating on the defensive end, almost unstoppable in the low post, but useless in the fast break (which is more of a snail break). Painfully slow to get up and down the court. Painfully slow. Who cares, dude is 7 ft 5.

3. Ben Gordon. The Bulls shooting guard has seen his stats improve every year he's been in the league. A pure sniper.

4. Ron Artest. Without a doubt, my problem child. But he stuffs the stats sheet, especially on steals and blocks. I over-ranked him vs my competition I'm sure, but if he can avoid pulling a Mike Millbury and attacking fans during the game, I will make them regret leaving him around for me.

5. Ricky Davis. I have no idea who this guy is. I do predict his stats to be decent based on the departure of Garnett from Minnesota, and the lack of many other decent Timberwolf guards. Really wanted to get TJ Ford here but he was long gone.

6. Rafer Alston. I flat out hate Rafer Alston. But he is in Houston and should pick up some assists, steals and points playing with Yao Ming and McGrady.

7. Stephen Jackson. "Warr-iors, come out and play-ay". I like Nellie ball, and Jackson is part of the reason why. As a Pacer he once touched the same balls as Reggie Miller. That could probably have come out better.

8. Quentin Richardson. Somehow I forgot to delete all the Knick players from my rankings and ended up with Richardson. F*ck Me. I've already started to offer him in trades.

9. Andrei Kirilenko. Yes, he cries. Yes, he has requested a trade .Yes, he has expressed a desire to play in Russia rather than play for Jerry Sloan. Yes, he is in Utah, a place where fun goes to die, and where the words 'child bride' aren't spoken ironically or with horror. However, he is the one guy in John Amechi's coming out of the closet book who doesn't come off as a homophobic prick, and his wife has publicly delcared he can have a freebie once a year with another woman, and I think this could be my home run pick of the draft. I LOVE Kirilenko, and he was just named MVP of the FIBA tournament. I predict a HUGE season for him. What I want to know is how is it I could possible have had him ranked lower than Quentin F*cking Richardson and Rafer Alston?

10. Yi Jianlian. I knew I was over-ranking him. I don't care. I wanted to cheer for the international circus that is Yi. Done.

11. Darko Milicic. Since he was drafted by the Pistons ahead of Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh I have always had a soft spot for the 7ft Serbian. He was a teenager when he was originally picked and he's now 22 and gradually filling his game out. However he is also a volcano, and from all accounts a jerk. He might also get a position switch to centre giving me the deepest set of pivots in the league (does that even matter? I don't know, but I wanted to point it out).

12. Chris Kaman. A lumbering 7ft white guy with heavy metal hair and one of those horrific mustaches only a blond guy can grow. He's terrible. He's not coincidentally on my bench.

13. Jason Kapono. My token Raptor. I'm in a league with a bunch of Canadians, so the simple fact was that despite my having built some love into my list for Raptors in the hopes I would get one or two, the only one who made it to me was the the one-dimmensional three point expert. Or as I like to call him, Benchy Bench-Bench.


Intel Dump!

What these massive link-fests lack in coherence I guarantee they will make up in volume!

Here we go...

Babes with Books.

Pure eye candy for the literate.

How about this? It's 'Pole dancing cat fight' - and is as delightful as it sounds!

As my friends know, my wife and I are looking forward to getting our hands on a copy of Halo 3. It seems some fellows at MIT are also waiting. And we know that idle hands are the devils workshop.

Once disgraced football blogger Gregg Easterbrook has written the post I have been waiting for... The Patriots cheated in their Superbowl victories.

Speaking of football, here is one of the strange places where football intersects with science. Money quote;

"Dear Drew Brees,
As your fantasy football owner and a concerned fan, I respectfully request that you stop sucking. Your very manhood may depend on it."

It's worth reading the whole thing for the unexpected science angle, but clearly fantasy pool GMs everywhere will feel the author's pain.

If only we fantasy owners could somehow find some Satisfaction....

Having touched on science, here is great article on bad TV and movie science.

Money quote:

"The X-Men make a last food stand: A rough estimate of the calories Magneto had to consume to fuel the magnetic fields that moved the Golden Gate Bridge? 4.8 million, the equivalent to burning of 1,350 pounds of fat. Dieters, take note."

One of the noteworthy things in Canada is that our money is now trading on par with the US greenback. What does it all mean? According to Andrew Coyne, not very much at all. Me? I notice that four out of six of the Canadian hockey teams went from being financial basket cases to being the top six grossing teams in the league. I guess thats what happens when your revenues are in Canadian bucks but your expenses are paid in American.

While we're still hanging in Canada, it's worth noting that Alberta is by far the worst offender in Greenhouse gas emissions. Colour me shocked. Not.

Sticking with the True North, here's an article on Mulroney's economics. It contains an assessment of NAFTA, the GST, Inflation and Fiscal Policy.

Money Quote:

"The canonical study of the effects of FTA/NAFTA on the Canadian economy is Dan Trefler's 2004 AER article (26-page pdf), which concludes that its effects were - after a not-inconsiderable period of adjustment - small and positive: "a 3-percent rise in earnings spread over eight years will buy you more than a cup of coffee, but not at Starbucks."

Worthwhile Canadian Initiative not withstanding, I still don't much like Mulroney, NAFTA, or the GST.

Sticking with economics for a moment, in this case the economics of food. Here are some myths about organic farming.

Here is something I offer as a tribute to two Als, Al Chatenay my buddy from U of C who helped me come to reach an appreciation of Led Zeppelin, and Al Maclean, my Father in law who recently informed me that he once literally wore out the grooves of his Led Zep IV.

For you Al;

Well not unlike Led Zeppelin and LOTR, here are another two things go great together, Positive Liberty - my favourite libertarian political blog, and the new Battlestar Galactica.

S'all for now!