gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for February 2010

Own The Podium a failure? I think not.

February 28, 2010 @ 18:21 By: gordon Category: Current affairs, In the news

There’s been a lot of people disparaging our athletes, saying Canada’s Own The Podium program has been a failure. Some of the athletes have responded, saying that it works.

Fourteen gold medals — the highest count for a host country in the Winter games. Ever.

I think it works.

Congratulations Team Canada!!!


February 28, 2010 @ 14:15 By: gordon Category: Meta

image Gather ’round, boys and girls, for I am going to tell you the story of the CAPTCHAs. Once upon a time, the Internet was a wonderful place, full of intelligent people, and useful sources of information. People could have serious conversations in public forums and everything was good.

Then came things like AOL and the Freenets came along and suddenly this wonderful place started filling up with not-so-intelligent people. The useful sources of information became less useful as ads started to appearing in the middle of the conversation threads because some people thought it was acceptable to post their ads wherever they went. Some even went so far as to create programs that surfed the web and automatically posted their ads wherever they went.

The intelligent people who ran the sites didn’t like this, so they started coming up with ways to confirm that the messages being posted in conversations were being written by people and not ‘bots.

And thus the CAPTCHAs were born.


IOC to probe women at Olympic hockey game

February 26, 2010 @ 12:54 By: gordon Category: In the news

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you probably know by now that Canada’s women’s hockey team kicked ass at the Olympics yesterday. Claiming a 2-0 victory over Team USA, Canada’s women’s team took their third gold medal in as many Olympics.

But it seems that half an hour after the fans had left the arena, the locker room party spilled onto the ice and some of the women were spotted drinking beer (gasp!) and champagne (double gasp!) and smoking cigars (triple gasp!) on the ice while still kitted out in their team uniforms and wearing their gold medals. But the biggest shock is that Marie-Philip Poulin was apparently spotted taking part and she’s only eighteen (infinity gasp!!1!1eleven!!!).

Are you still with me? Do you need some smelling salts? Ok, carrying on…

The IOC’s executive director of the Olympic games, Gilbert Felli, after being tipped off by an AP reporter has launched an investigation into this behaviour and is quoted as saying:

“…that is not good. It is not what we want to see. I don’t think it’s a good promotion of sport values. If they celebrate in the changing room, that’s one thing, but not in public.”

“We will investigate what happened. … We will first find the facts and then act accordingly.”

Sucked into this “investigation” are the International Ice Hockey Federation, the Canadian Olympic Committee and Hockey Canada.

Hockey Canada‘s response last night was

“The members of Team Canada apologize if their on-ice celebrations, after fans had left the building, have offended anyone.”

“In the excitement of the moment, the celebration left the confines of our dressing room and shouldn’t have. The team regrets that its gold-medal celebration may have caused the IOC or COC any embarrassment.

“Our players and team vow to uphold the values of the Olympics moving forward and view this situation as a learning experience.”

Which I really think can be best summed up as “meh, our bad” and a possible “get a life, Gilbert”.

Oh, and for those going “but an eighteen-year old was drinking and BC’s age of majority is nineteen!” — she’ll be nineteen next month.

And she’s of legal age where she lives.

And she scored two points in the first round of the game.

Did I mention that we won by two points? I’m willing to cut her a bit of slack.

Trashee mentioned this in his week’s summary.

“The members of Team Canada apologize if their on-ice celebrations, after fans had left the building, have offended anyone,”

One can actually use too much salt

February 17, 2010 @ 12:55 By: gordon Category: Environment, General

Salt is a popular way to get rid of ice that’s formed on sidewalks and roads. The City of Ottawa applies tonnes of salt to Ottawa’s roads and sidewalks every winter. So much, in fact, that a few years ago they started using brine solutions and pre-wetting the rock salt because both are more effective than dry rock salt and result in less salt being used, which is a Good Thing.

From a driver’s point of view, salt is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it results in safer roads and a curse because it can damage cars. From an environmentalist’s point of view, it’s a real problem because it can have a serious impact on the plants and animals it comes into contact with.  From a building owner’s point of view it’s also a a mixed blessing: No ice means people aren’t going to sue you, but at the same time it can quickly damage concrete and cement.

But some building owners seem to be sacrificing the longevity of their buildings at all costs. Last week, one building I walk by every day on my way to work had almost a solid layer of salt on all of the steps and walkways. Salt was building up in the corners and you could see it creeping up the concrete, outlining every crack and crevice. Yesterday, I noticed bright new patches of rust on some of the railings that were caked in salt, so it’s starting to eat away at them, too.

True, the building has absolutely no ice problems, but that less because of the salt and more because there hasn’t been a lot of ice this winter. If they keep this salt application strategy going, they’re not going to have much of a building left.

I’m wondering how they’re going to clean up all their salt when spring finally arrives. Hopefully, they’ll be responsible and scoop it up to be used next winter rather than getting the pressure washers out and washing it down the storm sewers. Already you can see trails from the runoff from their property leading to the sewers.

“We apologize for the inconvenience…”

February 07, 2010 @ 17:53 By: gordon Category: Meta

I moved my blog to a new server this weekend. Because the IP address changed I had to update the DNS records for gordon.dewis.ca. Whenever you do this sort of thing, it can take a while for the new information to propagate across the Internet. The records have been out there for a while now so people should be connecting to the new server, but I can see from the logs there are still a few people connecting to the old server. (They seem to be mostly ‘bots, so it’s not the end of the world.)

There are often problems when you switch servers. The most annoying one so far occurred in the wee hours of the morning when the network adapter decided to “forget” that it was supposed to be listening to the IP address, so my blog “disappeared” for a little while today. That problem has been resolved (no pun intended!), so it shouldn’t happen again.

I hope.