Archive for the ‘Science’ Category

Time for solar power to take the lead

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

What is the delay with bringing solar power to the average consumer on a massive scale? We have had solar powered calculators and even watches for many years. It seems as though governments who stand to benefit the most from solar power by reduced costs thereby having more money in the budget for healthcare, education and infrastructure investments are doing almost nothing to promote its widespread adoption and usage.

The question is why?

The answer could be infrastructure.

In the case of electricity and oil there are lots of middlemen who receive government money and support from the industry to build and maintain refineries, processing plants, parts companies and all the other aspects of electric and oil companies. Ethanol has received major funding and tax breaks even though it has caused major devastation in the world by using food (corn) to fuel machines, thus causing millions of people to suffer as the price of corn rises while their standard of living decreases. That means millions of families are having a harder time putting food on the table while multi-billion dollar corporations receive money to convert food to fuel.

One of the best ways to save the planet and use the best free, renewable resource that we have available, would be to go solar.

1. Government buildings should be converted to run at least 20% of their needs on solar power.
2. Cars paid for by the government should be hybrids.
3. An incentive such as a rebate or low interest rate loan should be given to all homeowners and builders to make/purchase/renovate homes and make them solar energy friendly.

Some more stories on the issues surrounding ethanol:
globalresearch.ca
Technological Review

More stories on solar energy:
Triangle Business Journal
New Energy
UB Reporter

Canadiana

Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

The world wide web is a big place, full of lots of information about people, places and things but many people still don’t know a lot about Canada. So I thought that I would list and provide some links to some of the interesting people and events in Canada’s history and present. Enjoy.

Musicians / Bands:
Leonard Cohen, Michael Buble, Alexisonfire, The Dears, Jacksoul, Jully Black, Barenaked Ladies, K-OS, Sam Roberts, Nickleback, Nelly Furtado, Diane Krall, Oscar Peterson, Celine Dion, Montreal Jubilation Gospel Choir, Avril Levine, Billy Talent, Nathaniel Dett Choir, April Wine,
Guess Who, Bryan Adams, Anne Murray, Simple Plan, Buffy Saint Marie, Luc Plamondon, Alanis Morrisette, Mario Pelchat, Oliver Jones, Paul Anka, Glenn Gould

Performers / Directors / Producers
/ Painters:
William Shatner, Christopher Plumber, Donald Sutherland, Keifer Sutherland, Jay Baruchel, Ellen Page, Gordon Pinset, Sarah Polly, Sandra Oh, Trey Anthony, Ngozi Paul, Jim Carrey, Brent Butt, Atom Egoyan, Norman Jewison, Lorne Michaels, Wayne & Shuster, Al Waxman, Dan Aykroyd, Brent Butt, Mike Myers, Nia Vardalos, La La Human Steps, Robert Bateman, Alex Coleville, Group of Seven

Companies:
Bombardier, McCain Foods, Power Corporation, Hudson’s Bay, Canadian Pacific Railway, Bank of Montreal, Simons, Eaton’s, Molson Brewing, Seagram Company Ltd, Tim Horton’s, Research In Motion (RIM), AECL (CANDU reactors)

Media / Newspapers:
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation – (CBC), CanWest, Montreal Gazette, Globe and Mail, Le Devoir, National Post, Vancouver Sun, Ottawa Citizen, National Film Board – (NFB), TV show – This Hour Has Seven Days, Alliance Films, CTV, Cinar, Muse Entertainment

Writers:
Pierre Burton, Margaret Atwood, Farely Mowat, Douglas Coupland, M. G. Vassanji, Robin W. Winks, Marshall McLuhan, Peter C. Newman, Mel Hurtig

Politicians:
John A MacDonald, George Etienne Cartier, Wilfred Laurier, Pierre Trudeau, Lester B. Person, Louis St. Laurent, John Diefenbaker, Robert Borden, Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien, Jeanne Sauve, Jean Drapeau, Claude Ryan, Agnes MacPhail, Maurice Duplessis, Ralph Klein, Rene Levesque, Robert Bourassa, Tommy Douglas, Charles Tupper, Louis Riel, Lucien Bouchard, Mel Lastman, Brian Tobin, Ed Broadbent, Sheila Copps, Preston Manning, Hedy Fry, Louis-Joseph Papineau, Robert Baldwin, Louis-Hippolyte LaFontaine

Personalities / Athletes:
Laura Secord, Roberta Bondar, Jean de Brefeuf, Huron, Private Leo Major, Romeo A. Dallaire, Donovan Bailey, Mark Tewksbury, Don Cherry, Guy Lafleur, Marie-Joseph Angelique, Rick Mercer, Adrianne Clarkson, Terry Fox, Dr. Henry Morgantaler, Dr. Norman Bethune, Samuel de Champlain, RCMP, Gordie Howe, Maurice Richard, Bobby Orr, Darryl Sittler, Chantal Petitclaire, Jacques Plante, Bob Gainey, Rick Hansen, Steve Nash, Ken Dyrden, Wayne Gretzky, Israel Asper, June Callwood, David Suzuki, Michaelle Jean, Jean Beliveau, Ed Mirvish, Edgar Bronfman, Valerie Pringle, Bruno Gerussi, Toller Cranston, Crazy Canucks (Alpine skiers), Patrick Watson, Barbara Frum, Ted Rogers, John Cabot, Jacques Cartier, Sieur de Maisoneuve Paul de Chomedey

Events / History / Canadiana:
The Quiet Revolution, Bill 101, 1970 October Crisis, Oka Crisis, 1837 Rebellion, Canada Arm, Canada-Russia ’72, 1867 Confederation, 1759 Plains of Abraham, Death of Dudley George, Underground Railroad, Expo 67, 1976 & 1988 Olympics, Quebec Referendums 1980 & 1995, Queen Charlotte Islands, Quebec Act 1774, Responsible Government, Chinese Head Tax, Slavery in Canada, Women’s Suffrage Movement

Well, that was fun…

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

What will Dion’s legacy be? The historically low voter turnout helped weaken the Liberal party and possibly end Dion’s career as its leader. I hope not. Dion is a good man for this country. His poise under the tremendous pressure of the past two years from Harper, Layton and the media, as well as his vision and policies, have convinced me that he would make a excellent Prime Minister.

Why did so many people stay away? I feel that the reason why so many people did not vote was due to the lack of attention on the issues by the media. They barely questioned Harper’s reason for calling the election and didn’t really challenge him when Harper and Layton tried to prevent May from participating in the debates by threatening to boycott them. The media allowed Harper to dictate the format and change the structure of the debates (which were almost a waste of time because it allowed Harper to just sit there and not speak) and they also avoided asking him the tough questions about his platform and the comments made by his MPs (Ritz’s joke and Richardson’s comments about immigrants).

CBC’s Canada Votes was a bad joke. The commentator was completely biased. It was obvious from day one that the CBC was pulling for Harper. When callers made comments that supported the Liberals, they would be cut off, the commentator would make strange comments about her life or something else to change the topic. She also spent a great deal of time laughing instead of informing the public on the issues. When a caller asked her to go to the Liberal’s web site and use the Green Shift calculator to test how easy it was, she just brushed the caller off. The CBC actually had a fortune teller on the show to predict the outcome of the election… It was really quite silly.

In fact, the bias that the media had towards Dion was apparent to me when he revealed his Green Shift plan this past summer and sat through a rough interview with “Canada’s foremost environmentalist and economist” Wendy Mesley (!?!) of the CBC, whom I found was very harsh with him. Her famous last words to Dion during the interview were “What if you’re wrong?” I thought it was strangely hostile from the CBC to be seemingly so mistrusting and critical of Dion’s green plan based on all the issues that had gone wrong with Harper’s government over the previous 2 1/2 years (lack of media contact, general belligerence towards the media, backing out of Kyoto, income trusts flip flop, canceling women’s programs, canceling the Kelowna accord, canceling the National Day Care program, no figures on the war in Afghanistan, the intrigue surrounding the Cadman affair, Mulroney, Bernier, the surplus disappearing, the Finance Minister suggesting that the province where the nation’s capitol resides, is not a good place to invest…)

CTV has been just as biased and might have cost the Liberals the election by releasing a portion of a bizarre interview question that even most English speakers did not understand. The interview was taped and Dion had trouble understanding the question. Dion asked the interviewer to redo the session and he agreed. Normally that is the end of the story, but in a purely malicious gesture, designed to mock and further humiliate the Liberal leader, the segment of the tape showing a confused Dion was released to all the media outlets in the country. I don’t know if the redo was released, so we do not know for sure, how he actually answered the question. It seemed as though the situation was created on purpose to belittle Dion. It was shameful, tabloid journalism. CTV also broadcasts the show Etalk where their official car has been the “Hummer” through much of the past season – The statement speaks volumes on how the owners of the Canadian media and the Conservative government have weakened the discussion on the issues of the environment.

Harper stopped what he was doing (did someone send his team a copy of the tape?) and had the only late evening address to the media throughout the entire 30-plus days of the campaign to mock and criticize Dion for his confusion during the interview. Normally these things are not released because everyone makes mistakes during a recorded interview. This was released over the last weekend of the campaign when the Conservatives were losing ground… Smells pretty bad from this end.

Other notes: the Economist endorsed Harper for Prime Minister and there was also weekend summit of world leaders and finance ministers. Conservative Finance Minister Flaherty attended the international meeting (after Harper had repeatedly stated throughout the campaign, that everything was fine and that we were in good financial shape) to deal with the financial crisis over the last two days of the campaign. Miraculously, the TSX had a huge gain on the day of the election. Canadians stayed home in record numbers with only 59% of eligible voters showing up to vote. The Liberals lost 19 seats from the last election and Ontario gave the Conservatives 50 seats on their way to winning a second minority government.

The day after the election, the TSX dropped hard and has continued to fall…

This was one of the most bizarre elections I have ever seen. The media spent more time attacking Dion than actually finding what Harper wanted to do for the country. The Green Shift isn’t a new tax. It’s about giving Canada new jobs, lower personal income taxes, shifting the tax we are charged on our paychecks to pollution and giving us a rebate too.

People would not have lost their jobs. Payroll taxes would have been lowered. There were plans to help Canadians modernize our homes, investments for new technologies and money for the infrastructure in our cities. The Auditor General was going provide an annual report to be sure that the Green Shift was revenue neutral, meaning that the government would not take in more money from the program than it returns to the population.

Now Harper gets another chance to destroy our health care programs, cut funding for social groups, families, give out more money to oil companies and hurt the economy with the secret war budget…

Only 21% of Canadians (35% of 59% = aprox. 21%) voted for Harper. The following is just some of his plans for Canada. I do not recall anyone in the media mentioning these issues during the campaign. What else don’t we know?

http://healthandfitness.sympatico.msn.ca/abc/News/ContentPosting.aspx?isfa=1&feedname=CP-HEALTH&showbyline=True&newsitemid=122433045

http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2008/06/20/military-plan.html?ref=rss

To the Green and NDP supporters: Layton is 4th and May isn’t even on the chart. Hopefully her party will get at least one seat in a by-election but next time, don’t throw your votes away. It almost handed Harper a majority. Proper strategic voting (1. Voting to support the non Conservative candidate and 2. voting for the next choice after the Conservatives, in ridings where they held seats from the 2006 election) would have easily defeated the Conservatives. Canada would have had a Liberal minority, supported by the NDP and a possibly, a couple of Green seats too. It was only a matter of 20,000 to 25,000 total votes to completely reverse the results in favour of the Liberals. What happened on Tuesday was really sad for our country. We have spent so much time laughing at the USA for their choices and now we have gone and voted the same way they did over the past eight years…

Let’s hope that it only lasts for a short time (less than two years). Canada is going to go through a real test on how strong this country is. Harper wants to change the country beyond recognition into small, separate, polarized regional areas like the United States has become and it is going to take a lot of determination to stop him from doing that. Ironically, Obama might help bring Americans together on a level that hasn’t happened for many years. Canadians seem to be drifting apart into different political and social camps, due to Harper’s tactics and help from the media.

Here are some ideas to encourage a higher voter turnout: All businesses should close at 1 pm on election day. Many people work half days on Christmas Eve, even if they do not celebrate the holiday. Why not give voters a half day off, so that everyone can vote? Canadians who work in schools, hospitals and daycare facilities could vote in the advanced polls or in shifts, giving the staff 4 hours off to vote (3 hours is not enough time for many people due to traffic and commuting issues). In the case of Universities and Colleges, the students and staff could have polling stations set up in the schools or, it could just become an extra school holiday where post-secondary students would have the day off so that they could actively participate in their country’s future.

Another idea could be to make every major election (municipal, provincial, federal) day a civic holiday. Maybe that would encourage people to come out and vote. During an election, the debates should be over 5 or 6 nights (3 or 4 in English and 2 in French where the parties would have to answer questions, debate and present a platform. It would really engage viewers by giving us a chance to hear each candidate’s vision of the future and their plans for the country. The topics could include economics, education, environment, health care, social programs and crime. The moderator(s) could be leading authorities in the various topics or a single person. If we are going to have debates, then questions need to be asked to and answered by all the parties. Never again should a candidate be allowed to call an election and not release his party’s platform until after the advanced polls are closed. It made this election a total joke and a waste of time and money to the sum over 300 hundred million dollars.

Dion should not lose his job over this phony campaign!

Next time: Go out and Vote!

So what did you think about this election? What was your impression of Dion? The Green Shift? Harper’s lack of transparency and avoiding real question from anyone? Are there any Europeans who would like to comment on how a carbon tax works in any of your countries?

Here are some more sites for info on what we still have a chance to achieve together. It is up to us to build the society that we want. Dion is on the right path. Let’s help ourselves and help him too!

http://www.carbontax.org/

www.youtube.com/watch?v=5l43JHQ5cqY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMnB6V5yG1I

https://www.iema.net/news/envnews?aid=9728

http://ecoworldly.com/2008/05/01/freiburg-germanys-eco-town-flagship/

http://www.energyresearchproject.org/j/energy-videos/RK713EYYdLo.html

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2001/07/45056

http://www.solarregion.freiburg.de/solarregion/freiburg_solar_city.php

Carbon Tax info

Friday, October 10th, 2008

Here are a few web sites that provide some information on why a carbon tax is effective, necessary and simple. Some of the countries with a carbon tax include Finland, Germany, Denmark and Sweden. Google it and find out for yourself.

For Canada’s sake, vote Liberal!

http://www.slate.com/id/2159113//

http://www.carbontax.org/

http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N09312213.htm/

http://www.metronews.ca/ottawa/Live/article/118877/

This is your brain on music

Monday, September 17th, 2007

So far, very interesting. What the author Daniel J. Levitin seems to great at doing is presenting his research in a highly readable way. His extensive knowledge of music and the brain based in real life experience as a researcher and well known music producer/session musician gives his book even more weight as a serious study on why music is important and what happens to our brains when we practice and listen to music. What do you think?

Raw Food

Monday, September 17th, 2007

I saw an episode of Oprah today where Dr. Oz was talking about eating raw food. Apparently, humans in the UK were put on a raw food diet for 10 days eating 11lbs (!?) of food per day! Interestingly enough, the result was significantly lower cholesterol counts as well as many more bowel movements. Discussing this with a very lovely friend of mine, she stated that she would find the diet boring and miss all the flavouring of her everyday foods. My thoughts, grains and nuts are the basis of bread, pasta, food spreads (humus, nut butters – peanut, almond, etc.) and beans provide protein (as well as soy nuts, almonds).

So what about it? Any experience with raw food, sushi, steak tartar, Inuit cooking? Any comments from real health professionals or athletes? Speak your mind and let me know.

Hello everyone!

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

Well, it’s almost a go! I am getting closer to understanding what I am a-doin’ ;) . Stay tuned, it is going to be a lot of fun!