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Archive for the ‘General’

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.)

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. (more…)

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. (more…)

There’s always 1 comment in your spam queue

February 12, 2016 @ 10:26 By: gordon Category: General, Meta, WordPress

As anyone who has a blog knows, there’s a whole lot of spammers out there trying to promote their crap stuff via comments on other people’s blogs. Naturally, tools like Akismet have been developed to automatically identify likely spam and generally make life harder for the spammers.

Akismet is very good at what it does. Any comments it suspects are spam end up in a queue in WordPress for later review. That review usually consists on quickly skimming the list of comments and then hitting the “Empty Spam” button because Akismet rarely makes a mistake.

Lately, one persistent spammer trying to push vitamin C serum has been consistently hitting a post I wrote about graffiti and posting one single comment. And every time I see the notification on the backend “There’s 1 comment in your spam queue right now”, I check out the queue and  hit the “Empty Spam” button.

A little while later, the “There’s 1 comment in your spam queue right now” is back and sure enough, another vitamin C spam. It’s getting kind of monotonous. The least they could do is change it up a bit so I have something new to read before I delete it.

Oh look: “There’s 1 comment in your spam queue right now”. Again. (Seriously.)

 

Redeveloping LeBreton Flats

January 31, 2016 @ 20:08 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, General

The NCC recently announced the two development proposals for LeBreton Flats that are moving on to the next step in the process. I visited the open house at the Canadian War Museum last Wednesday to learn all about the proposals.

Both proposals are professionally put together, but in my opinion one of them is much better than the other.

First, the proposals (in alphabetical order):

As you’ll see, the proposals share a number of common elements, but the one that’s attracting the most attention is a new arena to replace the aging Palladium Corel Centre ScotiaBank Place Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata. There are two main differences surrounding the arena: how it is used in the overall site proposal, and whether it will even be used by the Senators.

(more…)

Clear the snow off the roof of your car

December 27, 2015 @ 19:56 By: gordon Category: General

I drove down to Kemptville this morning for the baptism of my friends’ baby. The weather wasn’t the greatest, with various forms of frozen precipitation in Ottawa progressing to freezing rain somewhere between Barrhaven and Manotick and then rain around Kars. But the highway was clear so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. On the way home in the afternoon, I noticed an alarming number of vehicles shedding huge slabs of ice and snow from their roofs as they drove along. The chunks flew up in the air to an impressive height before shattering on the ground.

Fortunately, as far as I know, none of them landed on the other cars, but if they had the results could have been disasterous. At highway speeds, ice and snow flying off cars and trucks case easily smash a windshield. If the driver is lucky, they won’t be injured and they’ll be able to stop safely. But if they’re not so lucky, they could be cut by broken glass, lose control, or worse.

Last January, for example, there was a driver whose car was hit by a chunk of ice that shattered their windshield. Fortunately, she got off with little more than a few shards of glass in her hands, but it could have been much worse.

So, remember to clear the snow off the roof of your car before you head out. It could save someone’s life.

Night photography

November 29, 2015 @ 01:20 By: gordon Category: Out and about, Photography

I love taking pictures at night because the low light lets you take long exposures and get some rich colours and other effects that you simply can’t get during the day, so I headed out Saturday evening to see what I could find downtown.

People standing around the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill:

Cars and buses on Wellington: