Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Millennium Falcon Reproduction

Crazy Star War fans are building a full scale Millennium Falcon. They are selling T shirts to fiance the build. May the force be with them.

Update from Boing Boing.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Aeroscraft Airship Mega Lift

This reminds me of the airships in the Robert Heinlein novella Waldo & Magic, Inc It seems obvious that airships should be used to install and service windmills, and to transport heavy loads to remote locations. Now another staple of science fiction is on the verge of reality.

Buried Spitfires expected to be mint

Whats better than a treasure hunt that succeds. Before this find only 65 working Spitfires existed. The 140 found have a estimated value of $470 million.

Update April 2013, they looked found nothing.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Effective Tax Rates

A frequent whine from the right is how overtaxed Americans are. Like most Republican talking points the truth is a long way from the rhetoric. Imagine if the US was taxed like Sweden, the streets would be paved with gold.

NASA Bike Shirt

For the price of 4 bicycles made of carboard you can buy this beauty from ThinkGeek. How cool!

Cardboard Bicycles

Izar Gafni claims his bike made almost entirely of cardboard can be made in highly automated production lines for $9 per bike. If this proves to be true it could transform urban living. Toronto has 1000 Bixi bikes, it cost $95 a year for a membership. Imagine instead you buy 10 bikes, and then sell advertising on your bikes, so to have a bike available may cost $50 a year. Flood the streets with bikes, no one will steal them, as there is no gain to be had. Likely it will become futile to steal even expensive bikes because the market for them will be so exclusive.

 Imagine universal free access to a bike everywhere in Toronto. To buy 10,000 bikes would cost less than $100,000. I hope someone who loves bikes walks into City Hall and lays $100,000 on the counter. GO  could buy 10,000 and place them at stations, maybe 10 to 20% of commuters would leave the car and take the bike. Thereby increasing parking capacity by the same amount, and taking thousands of cars off the road, reducing gridlock and increasing sustainablity.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Dalton McGinty Resigns

I have seen them come and seen them go for forty years and very few where people I trusted to do what's right:For the people they represented. Dalton McGinty was one of those.
His investments in the right things
are his legacy. 

Education, green power.
Sure in the short term windmills and solar panels can not compete with coal, let alone gas.
But despite the cost can anyone say continuing
with pollution in a denser world is a good plan.
Let alone if we are actually harming the worlds thermostat with our actions. 

It was political mistakes on this file, not policy mistakes that probably made him fall on his sword.
In doing so he brings us back to the whole idea of accountability something our current political system treats as an obstacle instead of a pedestal. 

Good for you Dalton, Good for you stepping up to the plate and saying I screwed up, and I can not go to the public and say trust my judgment again.
On education he was 100% right. The citizens of a country or province make it rich not the government.
But making sure every scrap of potential is developed is the job of government.
Not everyone has a great parent, even the richest people push their prodigy down dead ends.
All day kindergarten is a investment in people instead of the bureaucracy of social work
and the Justice system.
Farewell Dalton  the opposition that could not carry your briefcase.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Homeland TV Show

In the last 7 days I have consumed all of season one and the first episode of season two. That it consumed the Emmy Awards is reason enough to lose most respect for an Emmy. Homeland is an overwrought drama whose primary device is to consume time. It took twelve episodes to explain one plot. America is a scary place if Mandy Patinkin and Claire Danes are the bulwark of our security through intelligence. Its a gung ho defence of American state sponsored gansterism. The audience is collateral damage.
Its like watching a car about to crash, its horrible but you can not look away.
That said it has a hook into me, I never said that it was not well done. Honestly skip the first 6 episodes of seaon one, you will not miss a thing.

Update Dec 17 2012.

Its got me. Its crazy stupid but its got me.

Update Dec 17 2013.
Brody is dead. Homeland is the only thing I currently watch on TV. GOT etc are in hiatus.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Median Wealth by Country

I am in a Tim Hortons, Bill Gates rolls in for a double double, the average wealth of the people in the coffee shop is now in the billions. Thats why average is a mostly useless statistic for comparing wealth. Median comparisons are usally a more accurate measure of reality. My big question, is why is resource rich Canada, not doing better than Austrialia?

multi tools

I am one of those people who can never have enough screwdrivers. I would make a lazyboy with a screwdriver compartment. I love multitools. This is a very cool one, only $8 bucks.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Tesla Model S

Have you been waiting forever for the future. Well Eldon Musk is now delivering it to your driveway. The all electric all singing all dancing people mover takes a backseat to no automobile. Yes it costs the same as the big boys, but it delivers so much more. It is a real gamechanger.

Feeling the Globe's love.
Winning the Motor Trend Car of the Year Award
Full Review

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Ultimate Tourism Destination 2012

Sara Brightman (Phantom of the Opera star, voice behind the opera in Fifth Element) joins an exclusive club of less than a handful of space tourists. She will spend 12 days on the space sation. Estimated cost $50 million dollars. If I had $100 million it would be something I would seriously consider. If SpaceX works as expected, space tourism may become much more common. The space station cost taxpayers mostly American $150 billion dollars. First launched in 1998, in 2020 it will splash down on earth. So that is close to 8 Billion a year. It must be nice to have the capitalist connections to sell tickets to this taxpayer funded wonder. At least space tourism has a purpose, something the space station has yet to find.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Obama's debate performance explained

What’s behind the empty podium?  President Obama’s unspun performance is worthy of a conspiracy theory.  It had to be deliberate. The question is was it Obama’s idea?
Two facts: first his posture, remember how he was leaning on the podium and the frequent screenshots of him dangling one leg? Second his closing statement, a meandering mess. At the presidential level the closing statement is not ad libbed.
Two performance disasters that even the most elementary debaters are schooled against. Therefore there are only three explanations. 1) He was drugged; 2) its part of a strategy to let Mitt lie himself into oblivion or 3) most plausibly the men in black paid the campaign a visit.
Somehow Obama was persuaded to blow the debate. We can only wonder what was the stick or the carrot.

Friday, 5 October 2012

50 Years of Bond

If movie is not ranked its tied between 6 and 10.
My Rank Bond Movies (list from Klist.Net)
1. Dr. No (1962-Sean Connery)
2. From Russia With Love (1963-Sean Connery)
3. Goldfinger (1964-Sean Connery)
2 4. Thunderball (1965-Sean Connery)
1 5. You Only Live Twice (1967-Sean Connery)
6. On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969-George Lazenby)
7. Diamonds Are Forever (1971-Sean Connery)
8. Live and Let Die (1973-Roger Moore)
9. The Man with the Golden Gun (1974-Roger Moore)
3 10. The Spy Who Loved Me (1977-Roger Moore)
11. Moonraker (1979-Roger Moore)
12. For Your Eyes Only (1981-Roger Moore)
13. Octopussy (1983-Roger Moore)
14. A View to a Kill (1985-Roger Moore)
15. The Living Daylights (1987-Timothy Dalton)
16. Licence to Kill (1989-Timothy Dalton)
17. GoldenEye (1995-Pierce Brosnan)
18. Tomorrow Never Dies (1997-Pierce Brosnan)
19. The World is Not Enough (1999-Pierce Brosnan)
20. Die Another Day (2002-Pierce Brosnan)
4 21. Casino Royale (2006-Daniel Craig)
5 22. Quantum of Solace (2008-Daniel Craig)
23. Skyfall (November 2012-Daniel Craig)
Other films
Casino Royale (1954-Barry Nelson)
Casino Royale (1967-David Niven & Peter Sellers)
Never Say Never Again (1983-Sean Connery)
Goldeneye (1989) & Spymaker (1990), films about the life of Bond creator, British author Ian Fleming
Top 10 Bond Cars

I was seven years old when I saw my first Bond film, You only live Twice at the Molu Theater in its original theatrical release. I have never missed a Bond movie release since. My most memorable was opening night in New York city for a View to a Kill. Sean Connery will always be Bond for me. Daniel Craig has redefined the role in a positive way. Aside from the David Niven movies I love all the Bonds. To date Casino Royale is the top grossing move.Thank you Ian Fleming.

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Parkour Human Mousetrap Game

Mousetrap Game

I saw this  Freerunning stunt at Boing Boing. Dont know Parkour. If you watched the opening sequence of James Bond Casino Royale you saw it. Its a French invention and there are two terrific movies about District 13 showcasing the inventor.

Peter Parkour

Frank Lloyd Wright

Maybe the Simon and Garfunkle song makes me such a fan. I knew the song long before I was aware of the man. Now one of his masterpieces is threatened. I sure hope somehow such an iconic work is preserved.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Whats going on in Merica?

It appears the shadow government is if not selling, maybe facilitating the sale of illegal drugs in America. This is not the first time smoke if not fire has indicated the CIA is a part of the illegal drug industry. If it's true is it a part of national security, or just plain old greed? Lets imagine a fictional land.

We will call it Mercia. In Merica just like America 50% of Federal prisoners are drug related. With a felony conviction in Merica you cant vote. However you can work for pennies an hour making profits for private industry. In fact private industry can make a profit just running prisons  and can demand that incarceration be kept at 93%. Now with crime rates dropping where are you going to find the people to fill those bunks? The answer drug charges. But in Merica they are playing both sides, profit from the sale of drugs, and profit from locking people up for using drugs. Merica borders a third world country. In this country the El Presidento declared war on the drug cartels. However it seems his army had its own loyalties  and sided with one cartel. Just like what is happening in Mexico, 35,000 people have been killed since the cartel war began. The shadow government in Merica it seems was also allied with the Cartel supported by the army of its neighour. Just like in America scandals like fast and furious suggested the cartel was supplied with weapons and given permission to import tons of cocaine. In the fictional country of Merica the people got sick of this and voted for people who would restore democracy. I wonder what will happen in America?

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Speakers to Consider

Why listen to me about speakers? Well I have better ones than most. I have been to CES and listened to the finest systems ever made.

There has always been a big bang for your audiophile buck buying self powered speakers. The cheapest computer speakers connected to your Ipod give an perfectly acceptable sound. The  
  look like they a capable of providing outstanding. sound for only $200 CDN. While they are made in China, the tech is all from a former JBL top engineer.  Another benefit of most self powered speakers is they use digital amps, consuming a fraction of the power of the class A or B.
review here

KEF is one of the big boys. A mass producer of rare and expensive audio implements. Their R-Series is a result of trickle down from the blade. Which gave the first "single apparent source" loudspeaker to the world. If you look at the speaker cone in the top right, you see the tweeter is in the centre of the speaker cone. This placement solves all kinds of acoustic problems. The Blade retails for $30,000. The complete R series home theatre system pictured above retails for $6,000. If you were to buy a Totem or Paradigm system of equal sonic supremness they may not seem expensive.

Axiom's business model mirrors the original Dell, direct to customer, eliminate the middle man and in theory provide double the bang for the buck. The reviews say, "Mission Accomplished".
For between one and two thousand dollars they make a highly regarded product. Visually they do not have the refinement of some of the big boys, but sonically I doubt many could tell the difference.

Paradigm is another major player. Like Axiom and Totem they are Canadians. The MilleniaOne systems make the critics drool. Gibbys online will sell you the home theatre version for around $2000.  There are several variants including a 2.1 self powered system, that would have to make any wanna be audiophile reconsider a soundbar. Paradigm has a huge range of products.

IMHO their visual aesthetics are only surpassed by some B&W speakers.

On Dec 14, 2012 I installed my new mini monitor series 7. Not only do they sound fantastic, they look so good a speaker grill will never touch these cabinets. The white speaker cone you see in the picture is actually aluminum and silver in real life. Not a screw or bolt visible. They were chosen as best surround system speakers of 2012.

Totem makes beautiful acoustic totems. My favourite stereo shop is BayBloorRadio, and Totem is one of the select brands they carry. The $4,000 a pair forest speakers remind me of the early Totems my parents had.
The cheapest Totem 5.1 system using the Dreamcatcher bookshelf, centre, and Storm self powered subwoofer, come in at $2,810.

Magneplan speakers are not widely distributed. They use ribbon magnets of differant widths on a mylar sheet to generate a unique (dipole) lifelike sound. I have a pair of SMG's: there are downsides, they have a large footprint, and unless you only play acoustic music they need a subwoofer. Because dipole speakers rely on sound generated both forward and rearward placement is critical. Exact pricing is hard to determine. The pair above are $2000, but they do have smaller less expensive lines. If you have the room, definitely consider using Maggies as your front pair in a 5.1 or 7.1 system. If money were no object I would likely have a pair of Maggies as my principal speakers.

Speaking of a lack of constraint:Bowers and Wilkins. The Nautilus is a piece of art, a sound architecture that looks like it was designed by Frank Gehry or Frank Lloyd Wright. A pair costs the same as a loaded Porsche Boxter ($88,000), they weigh in at 44KG and are about 1.5 meters high.

Pro equipment is tricky. The first thing to consider is they are called pro for a reason. Designed to be completely neutral/accurate, so if the rest of your kit is not up to the same standard the sound may not stand out. Secondly the acoustic environment will have large impacts on how they sound. KROKIT monitors have built in sound controls, but like anything you have to know how to twist the dials. Nevertheless these come highly recommended and the versatility of being self powered give them a huge edge over the conventional route. And for pro equipment the price is right.

Some great Youtube about speakers to buy.

Some great reading about setting up and playing audiophile quality sound from your computer.


Monday, 1 October 2012

Just when I think I am out they all me back in

I have always copied my CD at a higher bit rate. So far not much evidence it is necessary. For example in my car the 128 bit burn disc sounds better than original CD or Mix CD. My stereo which is up to making above normal sounds, seems indifferent to Apple lose-less or 128 bit. Now Neil Young has joined the fray. Maybe if the source was pure, the bit rate does make a difference. And then I will be purchasing the same old music for the fifth or sixth time.


Movie fans from Canada will remember Elwy Yost the host of the Saturday night movie show on TVO. His son Graham has created a contemporary Rockford Files. based upon a Elmore Leonard character. IMHO James Garner was the most charming, charismatic actor ever.  The Rockford files was about a hard luck detective, Justified is about a hard luck US Marshal. Timothy Olyphant perfectly portrayed the complicated straight shooting frontier Sheriff in Deadwood. In Justified he works with the same template updated to fit today's Harlan county Kentucky. Arguably Raylan Givens exudes greater charm and is more handsome than Jim Rockford.  Justified mines the complicated relationships that can be created by a beautiful ex wife and beautiful ex girlfriend. There are family feuds, high school friends to shoot, and good ole boys being good ole boys.  As he wades through a swamp of weed, meth and moonshine his inclination is to put his own extra- legal stamp of justice on the situation. The fourth season is just about to start, so catch up and add Justified to your upper  echelon of dramatic TV productions.

My Top Shelf
1)The Wire
2)The Sopranos
4)Breaking Bad
7)Walking Dead
8) Battle star Galacticia
10) Rockford Files