gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon

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Watching a satellite being launched

March 28, 2015 @ 14:04 By: gordon Category: Amateur radio, General, Out and about, Photography, Travelling

I used to work in the space field when I was the operations administrator in Satellite Acquisition Services at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing in the last 1990s. While I programmed various low-Earth orbit satellites to take pictures of the Earth, I never had the opportunity to see a launch in person. On Wednesday, however, that changed. Read the rest of this entry →

Springing forward: Sleep deprivation, accidents, and heart attacks

March 07, 2015 @ 18:49 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Current affairs, General

Time_vortex-red-forward.jpgIt’s that time of year, again. It’s time to change the clocks for daylight saving time.

This evening most of North America sets its clocks forward an hour in a vain attempt to save energy. I say vain attempt because there hasn’t been any sound evidence that adjusting the clocks to chase the sunshine has actually resulted in any reduction in the demand for energy.

CBC had an article this morning that talks a little bit about the history of daylight saving time, and then points out that sleep experts say that many people who make the change will feel sleep deprived and probably take two or three days to fully adapt. If you’re already sleep deprived, well, good luck! As I mentioned last year, your risk of experiencing a heart attack goes up by 10% for the first couple of days, and you’re more likely to be in an accident.

Read the rest of this entry →

Proposals for the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats

February 20, 2015 @ 13:21 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

According to various reports in the media, the NCC received proposals to redevelop Lebreton Flats from five groups, of which four have been selected to prepare more detailed proposals. Each of the four will receive $75,000 to expand on their initial proposals.

According to their website, these are the four groups that have been selected:

  • Claridge Homes proposes indoor and outdoor concert facilities, cultural enterprises surrounded by green spaces, and residential and commercial developments.
  • Devcore Group proposes a concept with multiple cultural institutions developed around a grande allée, green spaces, and residential and commercial developments.
  • Focus Equities proposes to house the headquarters of an international organization, accompanied by cultural venues, green spaces, and residential and commercial developments.
  • Rendez Vous LeBreton Group proposes a major event centre for sports and entertainment performances, complemented by green spaces, and residential and commercial developments.

The first three listed above are builders and developers. Claridge Homes has experience developing in Lebreton Flats with their Fusion condominium project in addition to other residential projects in the city. Devcore Group is a Quebec-based developer with experience building on both sides of the Ottawa River. According to its website, Focus Equities is both a developer of large complex project and an active financial investor, who has been involved with more than 10,000 residential/condominium units throughout North America. From what I’ve been able to determine, and based on the proposal, the Rendez Vous LeBreton Group represents the Ottawa Senators.

There isn’t any more information about the proposals beyond what I’ve mentioned above. Based solely on these summaries, I’d have to rank my preferences in the following order:

  • Devcore Group
  • Focus Equities
  • Claridge Homes
  • Rendez Vous LeBreton Group

As I mentioned at the end of December, I really do not want to see a new hockey arena “event centre for sports and entertainment performances” built in LeBreton Flats because it’s just not the best use for this parcel of land. I know there are a lot of hockey fans in Ottawa who probably feel otherwise. I’m sorry, but it wasn’t that long ago that the owner of the Senators was complaining about taxes and how he might have to rethink where the team is located because it wasn’t that profitable. That doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in me when they turn around a couple of years later proposing to spend millions and millions on a new arena when nothing really has changed.

The other three proposals all talk about cultural venues, which can mean a lot of things from art galleries to concert halls to museums and libraries. The design element of a grand allée has a lot of potential to be visually impressive and keep the intensity of the development under control.

As I said before, one thing that could be a cornerstone for development would be a new home for the Canada Museum of Science and Technology. And the Ottawa Public Library needs a new home, too, and this would fit nicely in the site, too. There would still be left over land for some residential development and probably even a little more space for events like Bluesfest.

The selected proposals all have until November 2015 to submit their high-quality design proposals and financial plans, with the NCC making a decision in about a year’s time. Hopefully there will be public consultation sessions at some point to solicit input from the public on the various proposals.

Wind chill: Ok, fine, I’m sorry

February 19, 2015 @ 20:30 By: gordon Category: Weather

So, my post from yesterday suggesting that wind chill is a matter of perspective was perhaps not well received by some. In particular, it appears to have not been received at all well by the local weather gods who are blessing Ottawa with the following bit of weather:

3:14 PM EST Thursday 19 February 2015
Extreme Cold Warning in effect for:

  • Ottawa North – Kanata – Orléans
  • Ottawa South – Richmond – Metcalfe

A prolonged period of very cold wind chills is expected.

Bitterly cold arctic air has once again returned to Southern Ontario. Strong northwest winds will combine with the frigid temperatures to produce wind chill values of minus 35 to minus 40 tonight into Friday morning. Wind chills will slowly improve by Friday afternoon as temperatures slowly rise.

warnings about frostbite, et cetera…

Meanwhile, in Florida (the state I may have smirked at in the aforementioned post):

ORANGE-SEMINOLE-SOUTHERN BREVARD COUNTY-OSCEOLA-INDIAN RIVER-
OKEECHOBEE-ST. LUCIE-MARTIN-NORTHERN BREVARD COUNTY-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...ORLANDO...ALTAMONTE SPRINGS...SANFORD...
WINTER SPRINGS...OVIEDO...CASSELBERRY...LONGWOOD...GOLDENROD...
PALM BAY...MELBOURNE...ROCKLEDGE...KISSIMMEE...YEEHAW JUNCTION...
VERO BEACH SOUTH...VERO BEACH...GIFFORD...OKEECHOBEE...
TAYLOR CREEK...FORT PIERCE...LAKEWOOD PARK...PALM CITY...STUART...
HOBE SOUND...JENSEN BEACH...PORT SALERNO...INDIANTOWN...
TITUSVILLE...COCOA
645 PM EST THU FEB 19 2015

...FREEZE WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT TO 9 AM
EST FRIDAY...

* TEMPERATURE...LOW TEMPERATURES ARE FORECAST TO FALL BELOW
  FREEZING EXCEPT ALONG THE BARRIER ISLANDS AND THE EASTERN
  PORTIONS OF MAINLAND MARTIN COUNTY. DURATION OF FREEZING
  TEMPERATURES WILL RANGE FROM 2 TO 4 HOURS. TRADITIONALLY
  COLDER SPOTS OVER THE INTERIOR WILL SEE COLDER READINGS IN THE
  UPPER 20S FOR 1 TO 3 HOURS JUST BEFORE DAYBREAK FRIDAY.

* IMPACTS...THIS HAS POTENTIAL TO BE A ECONOMICALLY DAMAGING
  EVENT FOR SELECT AGRICULTURAL INTERESTS. SMALL ANIMALS AND
  TENDER VEGETATION SHOULD BE PREPARED FOR THE COLDEST
  TEMPERATURES SO FAR THIS WINTER. THIS INCLUDES BRINGING SMALL
  PETS INDOORS AND COVERING SENSITIVE PLANTS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A FREEZE WARNING MEANS SUB-FREEZING TEMPERATURES ARE IMMINENT OR
HIGHLY LIKELY. THESE CONDITIONS WILL KILL CROPS AND OTHER
SENSITIVE VEGETATION.

A LAKE WIND ADVISORY INDICATES THAT WINDS WILL CAUSE ROUGH CHOP
ON AREA LAKES. SMALL BOATS WILL BE ESPECIALLY PRONE TO CAPSIZING.

Geez.

This atypical weather in Florida is almost certainly going to have a significant impact on the fruit crops such as oranges and strawberries, which are an important part of the economy in Florida.

My mom posted on Facebook yesterday evening that there were warnings on tv telling people how to safely operate their space heaters. I guess when you rarely have to use them, you may not be aware of how to use them safely, something that we in Canada take for granted.

Still, it’s bloody freezing cold out and the only respite in the near future seems to be a weekend of yet more completely unnecessary snow.

Sorry Ottawa. Sorry Florida. I’m sorry.

Wind chill: Sometimes it’s a matter of perspective

February 18, 2015 @ 13:03 By: gordon Category: Weather

My parents are hiding from the winter in southern Florida, a strategy I can’t find any fundamental flaws with given the stellar weather we’ve had of late in Ottawa. Their emails have included pictures of the beach at the place they’ve rented, pictures from the golf courses and so on. They’re not exactly gloating about the sunny warm weather, but…

So, when I checked the weather for where they are this morning, I must admit that I may have smirked a bit.
Florida wind chill advisory
16 °C and a wind chill advisory … It’s even possible I snickered ever so slightly. [ Just kidding, Mom & Dad! I’ll see you down there in about 3 weeks! :) ]

(For reference, at 11am this morning, it was -13 °C, with a wind chill of -19. And today is one of the warmer days lately. The weather tomorrow morning (when their wind chill advisory is for) in Ottawa is forecast to be -14 °C, without the wind chill.)

The Superbowl

January 30, 2015 @ 10:18 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, Seen on the 'net

Avid football fans please take note:

Documenting Holland and Scott for OSM

January 04, 2015 @ 14:22 By: gordon Category: Out and about, Photography

A comment on OpenStreetMap about turn restrictions at the intersection of Holland and Scott that I’d resolved was reopened because information on Mapillary suggested there were. (To be fair, there used to be turn restrictions from eastbound on Scott heading into Tunney’s Pasture, but they were lifted a while back.)

So, I headed out into the freezing rain and took a few photos of the intersection: Read the rest of this entry →