February 27, 2003

It seems that a friend

It seems that a friend of mine, while in line for communion at her church on Sunday, could think of nothing but a word I coined off-handedly a week or two ago: transubstantialicious. One of these days I'll learn that people remember things that I say, sometimes. It's a scary prospect.

Here's an article in Maclean's about the Jet Train. There's a strange band of white space about halfway through the article. If it seems really short, just keep scrolling -- there's more.

Posted by madhava at 08:57 PM | Comments (0)

February 26, 2003

Some stuff to read: On

Some stuff to read:

On the golden ratio [The Guardian]

On the sociopathy of SUVs [The New Republic]

On relativism [butterfliesandwheels.com]

On creating markets, not just products [The New Yorker]

On framing as interpreting [The Guardian]

Posted by madhava at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

February 21, 2003

I keep doing this thing,

I keep doing this thing, see, where I have stuff to write about for this weblog, but I don't because there are photos that aren't online yet, and, rather than moving on to the next day and coming back to the aforementioned stuff later, I wait. And wait and wait.

That said, the stuff is now ready. Photos from the Intervarsity Choral Festival 2003 are now up in the photo album. Some points of more general interest:

Poor Design

The picture of the key on this hotel key card suggests a certain orientation for insertion. In fact, it goes in the other way.

Poor Taste

What is an anti-semitism coat check?

Hmm... so that was two weeks ago, more or less. Oh, and just before then I went to Pangaea for dinner to take advantage of the Winterlicious week prix fixe. The menu was

  • Green Salad: Wild and cultivated greens, shaved vegetables in a pear and pommery dressing
  • Mushroom Risotto: Sugar snap peas, wild rice, tomato concassé, parmesan cheese, veal reduction
  • Chai masala creme brulée
  • Far from the more daring items on their full menu, but very tasty.

    The other noteworthy even that comes to mind was the 2003 kick-off "all hands" meeting at the lab where I work. The guest speaker was Ted from Survivor Thailand, who, it turns out, works for the company in the US. I found his speech not so much inspirational as frightening, but the part that was most remarkable, to me, was that he was there at all. He's clearly been trying to make the most of his minor celebrity since the series ended, registering www.bigted.tv and taking speaking gigs. The thing is, it's working. There's really no reason that I can see to bring him, specifically, to speak to us at the meeting except for his status as a Survivor alumnus. Oh, he didn't win.

    Finally, for those of you have seen the rock opera episode of Clone High, Mike has put together a page documenting the subliminal message frames. Confidential to Dr. Scudworth: any character with lines like "Any group that controls this many fonts ... and is bold enough ... to use all these exclamation marks, must be incredibly powerful" doesn't need the subliminal help.

    Posted by madhava at 10:54 AM | Comments (0)

    February 06, 2003

    Hmm. Well, I sure was

    Hmm. Well, I sure was dour yesterday. Anyway, guess what's being released in February.

    Also, the compellingly named Winterlicious Toronto Restaurant Week is on next week (Feb. 7-13th). If you eat, you may want to take advantage of the specially affordable prix fixe menus. Alternatively, to quote Clone High, you may simply wish to "crank it in your face hole." Who can say for sure?

    Posted by madhava at 01:51 PM | Comments (0)

    February 05, 2003

    There is a fascinating article

    There is a fascinating article over at Fastcompany.com about the group that writes the software that controls the Space Shuttle. I first read it a couple of years ago, but it's resurfaced in the last few days, given recent events. It describes the amazing rigour with which this software is designed and tested, and it serves as a much-needed antidote to popular careless misunderstandings of the complexity of space travel.

    I've been posting quite frequently recently. Some would call it a sign that we're living in the End Times. Recent Toronto weather would certainly support that interpretation.

    Posted by madhava at 02:25 PM | Comments (0)

    February 04, 2003

    Anatole has his new political

    Anatole has his new political commentary site (sobersecondthought.com) up and running, so I've linked to it in the right-hand column of this page. In his first entry, he talks about the Canadian origins of the phrase "sober second thought," and it got me looking for general upper vs. lower house of parliament information. I came across the following wonderful anecdote on a page of quotes about the Senate.

    "His [Sir John A. Macdonald’s] view of the necessity for a second chamber may be expressed briefly by the story told of Washington, which Sir John was fond of relating. It is said that on his return from France Jefferson called Washington to account for having agreed to a second chamber.
    ‘Of what use is the Senate?’ he asked, as he stood before the fire with a cup of tea in his hand, pouring the tea into his saucer as he spoke. ‘You have answered your own question,’ replied Washington. ‘What do you mean?’ ‘Why did you pour that tea into your saucer?!’ ‘To cool it,’ quoth Jefferson. ‘Even so,’ said Washington, ‘the Senate is the saucer into which we pour legislation to cool.’ " (J. Pope, Memoirs of the Rt. Hon. Sir John Alexander Macdonald, [Ottawa, 1894] vol. II, p. 233)
    . . .

    I've surprised myself a little by not compulsively following the details of the Columbia disaster investigation. At first I thought it might just be a wildly improbable lack of interest. Yesterday, though, people at lunch were discussing it and playing armchair mission controller, and I very nearly got up to leave the table. It turns out that I just don't want to talk about it, yet. Luckily, the topic changed relatively quickly to a discussion of space elevators, and I was able to stop being moodily silent.

    Posted by madhava at 11:52 AM | Comments (0)