2010-12-30

A Wikipedia Edit We'd Like To See

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What's Your Bookshelf number?


So, what's your bookshelf storage space?

When putting away Christmas book gifts today, I ran out. Thinking about it, I went and measured the width of my bookshelves (all roughly 22 1/2", as it happens) and multiplying by the number of shelves. Then factor in half-full shelves where you can't fit them all in because of DVDs, or video games, or other such non-book items that also need to be on the shelves.

What's your book storage number? My shelves of books (not counting those front-loading racks, of which I have another 15 or so books) add up to 202".

2010-12-12

What do Dr. Gregory House and Linus Omark have in common?

This is acclaimed British actor Hugh Laurie as Dr. Gregory House, from the hit NBC series. A true character cut from the Holmsian cloth, he's a brilliant medical doctor and diagnostic analyst, but he comes with a couple of critical character flaws. First off, he's a drug addict: suffering from the after-effects of a botched treatment of limb infarction, he finds himself a habitual user of painkiller vicodin. This has gotten himself an his colleagues in and out of legal troubles as they all become enablers of his fix. Secondly, and there's probably a lot more graceful ways to put this, but Dr. House is an asshole. Like Holmes, his interpersonal skills are not quite up to par -- but also like Holmes he fully understands matters of the heart and how to apply how people interact in order to solve cases. In House's case, it means insulting people seemingly at random, refusing to show care and compassion, and playing people like chess pieces in order to advance his own goals. How then, as the motivational poster asks, does House keep his license?

Well, besides the obvious (TV rules), it's because as Cracked.com puts it, House is right approximately 100 percent of the time. So we the audience and his coworkers forgive him for (the eventually successful!) sexual harassment of his boss, ordering underlings to commit crimes, insulting patients religions, and making racial jokes about a fellow doctor. Basically, if you can pull that sort of shit, they have to keep you around for some reason, and its basically that this guy saves 26 people a year who would die in the hands of every other doctor on earth.

Which brings us to this man: Linus Omark. Omark has been the talk of the NHL this weekend after his "spin-o-rama" move that beat Dan Ellis in the shootout and won the game for Edmonton. He has his fair share of supporters, and at least amoungst the Tampa Bay Lightning, a fair number of detractors. If you haven't watched his move at least 400 times already, here it is again:


The key though about this move has to be, however, that it worked. As I mentioned on Twitter, if Dan Ellis didn't like this sort of garbage move and wanted to see Omark pay a price for it, all he had to do was stop the puck. If Ellis had made the save, the entire talk would instead be about how Omark did a silly little spin before he got stoned. We'd be discussing how Omark maybe isn't ready for the big leagues yet, how he has a lot of learning to do about what it takes to compete at the NHL level, and how hotdogging is better left to skilled players. A save by Ellis might have decimated the kid's confidence to the point that when Hemksy returns in a month Omark would find himself back in Oklahoma, his brief NHL stint a mere footnote. Omark could have been the goat in that game had he missed. It would have been like Dr. House's asshole racist double, who violates all sorts of ethics rules and completely fails to save any patients, and ultimately gets booted out into the street.

TSN got this when they asked "if players have to earn the right to be flashy:

To the victor go the spoils. Today just about everyone (except the Lightning) is praising Omark's unusual shootout marker. What if he had missed, pulled the spin-o-rama and accidentally lost control of the puck, voiding his shot, or following it up with a weak wrister wide of the net? Instead of commending Omark today, would fans and hockey pundits instead be criticizing the first-year player's brazen, misguided cockiness? Is the fact that puck went into the net all that matters when all is said and done?
Of all the Lightning players upset about this goal, Ellis is the last one allowed to mouth off about it. Omark has (at least some) skill to back up his hotdogging, and his job in the league is to score goals, particularly in breakaways and the shootout where he excels. Omark was not called up from Oklahoma City in order to not make Dan Ellis look like a weak goaltender (I'm not sure, offhand, who they could have called up to fulfill that role). So long as Omark keeps on saving lives at the Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital, he's allowed to do spin-o-rama's in mid-ice in the same way that Gregory House can keep using every word allowed on broadcast TV to insult the black race and by extension Foreman if it means he will continue to put the puck in the net and help the Edmonton Oilers win hockey games.

2010-12-11

Third Edge of the Sword turns 5

What I will do in this blog is I'll be discussing science, conservatism, baseball and hockey, Alberta Indepedence, food, women, life, good books/movies, and anything else that comes to mind.


And with those immortal words mid-afternoon on December 11, 2005, Third Edge of the Sword was born. 1749 posts later, we continue to bring you the high quality blogging that was so promised many moons ago.

In celebration of these 5 years, let's just take a look back at a post a year.

2005: Porn proves internet not to blame for sales slumps
Now you've put your porn together, and slapped it on a DVD ($30 for a 50-spool of DVD-Rs at A&B Sound), and sold it. The article above says the prices are under $50 now. Now if the whole operation cost you about $10,000 and you charged $30 per unit, barring shipping and promotion costs you would recoup your ten grand after a mere 334 sales. Let's say you went to $20, then you need 501 sales. How hard can it be to sell 500 copies of a porn? There are tons of adult video stores in Edmonton... even if each only bought a copy and you cut it down to $15 for them (typically the movie industry charges rental places more...three guesses which practise is likely the better idea) you'd already be two-thirds to your total without a single private sale. A couple hundred on a website with promotion and suddenly you can sell a few hundred more, and boom you've just made a profit.


2006: To beat the impossible team -- The Miracle on Shale
Adam Stern is the big story of this Team Canada win. Under contract to the Boston Red Sox, Stern was considered a long shot to make the major leagues this season (that has to be considered slightly differently today, one thinks). He was used only occasionally in Boston late last season as a pinch runner (he got fewer hits for them all season than he scored for Canada today), and didn't even make it onto TSN's rundown of Canadians in the majors (that, too, has to be reconsidered). Which highlight from today's game did you want? His triple in the second inning with Canada up 1-0 to that drove in some guy named Aaron Guiel to put the Yankees down by 2? How about his single in the third inning to score both Justin Morneau and Pete LaForest? Maybe you'd prefer his third consecutive hit: an inside the park home-run in the fifth inning to put Canada up by 8 runs. That was a good one too. And those were his offensive plays. Now lets cover the defense: when he made a catch in centre field in the 6th inning when it looked like Michael Young was going to get a base hit blooper...Stern went down, and the ball hit the ground. For sure it hit the ground. Sure Stern made a valiant effort, but he was a split second too slow. And then he rolled over, triumphantly raised his arm into the sky, and you could see that in fact he had caught the ball, as it hung precariously at the very edge of his glove. It was an impossible catch, and he made it. But he wasn't done: in the 8th inning, score 8-6 with 2 outs, Vernon Wells makes it to 2nd base when Johnny Damon is walked, and substituted 2nd baseman Chase Utley blasted a monster shot to deep centre-right field. The ball soared high and wild, almost as potent as the Jason Varitek deep-bleachers grand slam 2 innings earlier. Its back, its back, they don't even mentionthe warning track, and the ball comes firmly down against the top of the way-too-high-fence...dropping down into the waiting globe of Adam Stern!


2007:Gretzky/Messier starting a grand Edmonton tradition
2. The Whitemud Drive can be named after Chris Pronger, which should cut down on traffic. Hell, I'll put an extra 30 miles on my car a day to avoid taking Pronger Drive.
3. Edmonton City Hall can be renamed Mike Peca City Hall. Both Peca and City Hall cost way too much money, didn't do what they were supposed to do, and ultimately weren't needed anyways.
4. A police station should be named after Dave Semenko.
5. Likewise, a rehab centre should be named after Grant Fuhr, along the Betty Ford model.
6. Since Paul Coffey could skate rings around most players, and Anthony Henday already has a university residence named after him, the latter's name should be taken off the outer city ring road, and the former's put in its place. Alternately, Coffey could be the name given to the west half of the ring road currently under planning stages.
7. 91.7 The Bounce, in deference to the only reason anybody listened to it, should be named 91.7 The Laraque
8. The now closed Sidetrack Cafe should remain a legend, and the new home for live music should be "Club Niinimaa".


2008: Queen Victoria Day 2008:
From my own experiences in Quebec and dealing with transplated Quebecers, there's not a thing on this earth save perhaps Eve and the Apple which cannot be directly traced back to "the hated English". And there's not a normal Anglais thing that the goddamned useless French can't allow to exist without their own sick subversions.

So, I have a plan. As you may know, June 24th is Saint-Jean Baptiste Day where St. John, the patron saint of Quebec, is honoured. It is Quebec's biggest holiday, and the "pride" of their culture.

We should totally subvert it.

I propose that June 24th become a statuatory holiday in the Province of Alberta, and that we name it General Wolfe Appreciation Day


2009: Better a lean agreement than a fat lawsuit
n the end, Harper reached an agreement that didn't give either side everything they wanted (as all agreements do), but in the end Canada got $4 billion of the $5.3 billion we were owed back. Ignatieff says that he wishes that we got all $5.3. No shit Sherlock. Of course, just saying you want the money somebody owes you doesn't bring it to you. In the end, the post title's old adage came into play: we got most of what we were owed from an organization that was perfectly willing to pay us nothing. In negotiations, there's something called a BATNA (no relation to NAFTA): the best alternative to a settlement. This is your proverbial "ace in the hole" (though in the commonly understood sense of the term this isn't how you treat it). In the event of no softwood lumber agreement, the Americans simply keep $5.3 billion (back when the U.S. government cared about $0.0053 trillion dolalrs).

This is a good thing, and that Harper and Bush allegedly did it all in one half hour phone call speaks to Harper's skill (and Bush's easygoing nature). Naturally Ignatieff has to trash it. What would he have done?


2010: Alberta: where the poor are choking to death in the streets (we can make a .pdf, so it must be true!)
At the forefront is the hilarious implication that "access to social programs" is a measure of quality of life. Check the people using social services, then check the people not using social services. Hey, anybody wanna guess whose quality of life is lower?

Next comes how their lofty goals are to be reached: right away you see that involves spending more of your money. That's right, spending those social worker salaries just aren't enough. AUPE has a lot more members in the education and healthcare fields that could use some sugar too! ACSW has scratched their back, and surely the next glossy .pdf you can read from the Alberta Teachers Association will contain some seemingly random tidbit about the need for more social workers to identify special needs and problem children right away to scratch in return. When they say "increased spending for culture and leisure" you didn't think they meant tax cuts so that families could spend more on culture and leisure, did you?

Same with "reduced working hours and increased vacations". Is anybody dumb enough to read this yet think the point was we're supposed to ask the boss to up our annual vacations from 15 business days a year to 25? Of course not. What they want is to petition to legislate a 34 hour week rather than a 44 hour one, or increase mandatory vacation pay from 6% to 12.

2010-12-03

Daily Environmental Polluted

If you want a laugh, go visit JerryCanada's website, where you can read about products of questionable legality and unquestioningly untrue health claims.

My favourite is for Men's Essential, their all-natural version of Viagra:

An active and happy sex life is an important part of a generally happy life. Yet, many contributing factors can prevent the modern individual from this important aspect of life: pressure from work and home, daily environmental polluted, an imbalance in the retention or absorption of nutrients as well as lack of fitness and so on. As a result, the modern persons' sex life can be substantially less than desired. The men's essential, studied and produced by Biotechnologies Explorer Canada Inc., provides the ideal choice for men.
Ah yes, its not that my wife has gotten fat and ugly on me: its an imbalance of absorption of nutrients.

But wait, there's more! How do they harvest this miracle cure?
It is well known that the substances withdrawn from seal penis are abundant in male hormone, active protein and fat. For many years, the seal penis has been used to treat sexual impotence, premature ejaculation, cold semen and so on. The "men's essential" is made up of substances extracted from seal penis by a scientific formula. Moreover, several precious chinese medicines for stimulation and invigoration have been added to increase the curative effect even further than the seal penis alone.

Holy Christ. Even further than the seal penis alone? However will mankind recover from the ozone depletion caused when these super-erections blow a hole in our atmosphere?

As a final joke, is it perhaps a bad idea to take your penis enhancement pills from a Chinaman??? [NSFW]

2010-12-01

The power of the internet

About 18 months ago, I posted this blogpost asking about a couple of science fiction stories.

The first one, about an historian who tries to invent a time device, has been solved thanks to the power of the interwebs.

A few hours ago, Donal placed a comment on the ol' post:

I was trying to remember, too, and was just told it is T. L. Sherred's "E for Effort."


Well, I Google E for Effort and discover a summary that is not my story. I'm about to close the window in sadness when I realize my story is also on the page:

The Dead Past, written by (who else!) Isaac Asimov in 1956.

So that's one down. Thanks internet! Now onto the second mysterious book:
Sci-Fi novel that I believe was written in the 90s by a writer who is actually a M./Ph.D Physicist? It's about two pieces of... something. They are 4-pole rather than 2-pole (I forget if its magnetic-related or what), and as a result the two pieces are trying to come into contact with each other. When unshielded (lead? forcefields? I forget what the shield was) the pieces "want" to travel towards each other, and do so extremely violently: burning/cutting through anything they touch in a relentless struggle to contact each other. Early in the novel, one piece is in orbit and causes a space station or vehicle to tilt as the other piece becomes unshielded. That's about all I remember about that little tome, though again it is a full length 90s novel. The scientist/author does a little "Afterward" where he discusses the realistic probability of his tale: basically if this 4-pole material does exist, our solid state models indicate it will behave in the manner he has indicated.