gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon

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Fort McMurray fires

May 04, 2016 @ 13:06 By: gordon Category: Current affairs

Fort McMurray in northern Alberta is surrounded by massive wildfires that may well engulf some, or most, of the city of 90,000. The photos and videos from people fleeing are unreal. I can’t imagine what they must actually be feeling as they’re going through this. I wish them well.

The Red Cross is accepting donations to support their relief efforts. You can donate online.

Weekend geocaching wrap up

April 27, 2016 @ 16:53 By: gordon Category: Geocaching, Out and about

So, I had a busy geocaching weekend.

Read the rest of this entry →

Statues in the river

April 26, 2016 @ 12:47 By: gordon Category: Diving, In the news

A story on CBC caught my eye this morning. Basically, the Thousand Islands chapter of Save Ontario Shipwrecks is lowering concrete statues into the St. Lawrence River near Brockville to give divers something to hold onto other than the shipwrecks when they’re diving. Wooden shipwrecks are much more fragile than they look, so any contact with them contributes to the overall deterioration of the wreck. Shipwrecks near Brockville are popular dive destinations, particularly for new divers who may have not yet mastered buoyancy control, especially in a current.

When I was actively diving, I was a member of Save Ontario Shipwrecks and served on their board of directors for a few years. The group is dedicated to the preservation of underwater cultural heritage, which includes shipwrecks, submerged villages and structures like the old canals in the St. Lawrence River, and things like old aboriginal fishing weirs. Their activities included training divers on how to properly record shipwrecks and the like, outreach activities to encourage people not to remove things from shipwrecks (that’s illegal in Ontario), and special mooring buoys so that boaters don’t have to drop an anchor near (often on) a shipwrecks. Installing these statues is a creative solution to the problem of divers touching the wrecks. Well done, guys!

Seriously? Snow in the forecast? Why?

April 25, 2016 @ 15:31 By: gordon Category: General, Weather

Have we done something wrong? I just took a look at the aviation forecast for Ottawa and am a bit unimpressed as result:

TAF CYOW 251738Z 2518/2618 30007KT P6SM BKN220 
 FM260000 VRB03KT P6SM BKN160 
 FM260600 05010KT P6SM OVC090 
 FM261100 07012KT 3SM -SN OVC060 
 FM261500 06012KT P6SM BKN120 
 RMK NXT FCST BY 252100Z=

As you can see in the line I’ve highlighted in red, there’s light snow forecast between 7AM (1100Z) and 1PM (1500Z).

If this actually happens, the morning commute will be insane as everyone has forgotten how to drive in the snow by now. Some of my coworkers have had their snow tires removed, too.

I know that the snow won’t hang around, but I really really really don’t want any more snow. (Ever.)

There is something other than snow in the world

March 23, 2016 @ 10:35 By: gordon Category: Photography

I hear that the weather in Ottawa is rather icky right now, so I thought I’d post a picture I took a couple of days ago to give everyone hope that there’s something other than snow in the world.

Identifying priorities: Speed cameras

March 14, 2016 @ 00:03 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

Apparently, people speeding on residential streets in Ottawa is a problem. From what I’ve seen, there are definitely drivers in Ottawa that seem to treat speed limits as casual suggestions — a good idea for other people, but not applicable to them.

In response to this, there’s a motion going before Ottawa City Council to ask the province for permission to install speed cameras. Ontario tried speed cameras when Bob Rae’s NDP formed the government, but they were banished by Mike Harris for a variety of reasons.

In theory, speed cameras make sense. They allow penalties to be issued to speeders without needing a police officer to be there with a radar gun. Photographic evidence is hard to dispute (“is that your car in the photo?” “Uh, yes your honour” “right, fine upheld”); the police don’t have to pull the speeder over, which is safer for everyone; and the speeder is penalized.

Well, sort of. Read the rest of this entry →

Spring forward, lose some sleep

March 12, 2016 @ 22:20 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Current affairs, General

Time_vortex-red-forward.jpgHey, it’s mid-March, so that means it’s time to move the clocks forward in a futile attempt to save energy. Or so they say. As I’ve mentioned in previous years’ versions of this post, daylight save time hasn’t been shown to actually save energy.

What it has been shown to result in is an increase in accidents because people are discombobulated by the change in their sleep pattern, much like being jet lagged, and a 10% increase the likelihood that you’ll experience a heart attack during the days immediately following the time change. And you’ll probably feel a bit jet lagged, too. I’m really not convinced it’s worth it. Read the rest of this entry →