gordon.dewis.ca - Random musings from Gordon


Archive for June 2012

Senator Patrick Brazeau should consider resigning

June 26, 2012 @ 21:28 By: gordon Category: In the news

I happened to see an article on CBC’s site today about the attendance record of Senator Patrick Brazeau, who happens to be the youngest senator. Included in the article was a reference to this tweet from the senator made about a reporter:


SenPatrickBrazeau @TheBrazman: @jenditchburn while u smile Jen, others suffer. Change the D to a B in your last name and we’re even! Don’t mean it but needs saying. 26 June 2012

The Canadian Press reporter in question happened to be working on a story about his attendance record and had asked Brazeau to comment on his attendance record. He indicated it was poor due to “personal matters”. He made that tweet about an hour after the story was posted.

Since his tweet, he has tweeted a couple of apologies, but the fact remains that he spouted off in public in a manner unbecoming a senator:


SenPatrickBrazeau @TheBrazman: @jenditchburn I apologize for my comments. They were done because of my personal circumstance regarding your story. (1/2) 26 June 2012


SenPatrickBrazeau @TheBrazman: @jenditchburn (2/2) I’m a hardworker and take my position seriously but personal issues always comes 1st. Ppl are sometimes in need. Sorry! 26 June 2012

Sadly, this guy is going to be a senator for another 38 years and the only way he can be removed is for one of the following reasons:

  • Failure to attend two sessions of Parliament;
  • Declaration of Bankruptcy;
  • Conviction for treason or a felony; and,
  • Ceasing to reside or own property in the represented area

He missed 18 of the 72 sittings between June 2011 and April 2012. If he misses 4 more days then he starts being fined $250/day. As well, he missed 65% of the meetings of the aboriginal peoples committee that he sits on and 31% of the human rights committee meetings of which he is deputy chair. Given that he is a former national chief of the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, I think he should be particularly embarrassed.

I understand that one’s priorities should generally be: personal health, family and then work, but if he can’t go to work more often than 75% of the time when the Senate sits less than 100 days a year, he should resign so that someone who is more dedicated to his or her responsibilities can serve.

Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival recap

June 25, 2012 @ 12:03 By: gordon Category: Dragonboats

This past weekend the 19th annual Tim Horton’s Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival was held in Mooney’s Bay Park. With over 200 teams taking part this year, it has become the largest dragonboat festival in the world. Because they’ve increased the number of teams, they changed up the schedule a bit and moved the charity pledge challenge races from Saturday to Friday evening and changed the format of the races on the Sunday so that everyone had three races on Sunday: a 200m race, 100m sprint and 500m race. In past years, the shorter 100m and 200m races were exhibition races for the top-ranked teams. Personally, I liked the variety of races on Sunday, particularly the 100m sprint.

As in past years, I steered for the Algonquin College Singapore Slings and we’re happy with our results (even though we didn’t win our challenge cup this year):

Day Race Time
Friday Pledge challenge (500m) 2:24.47
Saturday Hospitality & Tourism Challenge Cup (500m) 2:25.19
Block 4 Final (500m) 2:32.20
Sunday 200m Mixed H Final 0:56.05
100m Mixed H Final 0:28.16
The Ottawa Citizen 500m Mixed H Final 2:28.12

The Slings were one of the top fund-raising teams again this year, so we got to race Friday evening. Many thanks to everyone who sponsored us!

I also steered one race for a women’s team called Domina. They raced well, but sadly at the end of Saturday they missed advancing to Sunday by less than one second! 🙁

This year they put together some all-men’s teams for an exhibition 200m race. Many of the men paddlers from the Slings got together with paddlers from a couple of other teams and raced against 5 or 6 other teams. The power in the boat was pretty impressive and we had a lot of fun!

Overall, the weather was just about perfect all weekend. There was a little burst of rain Sunday afternoon, but that was it.

A big thank you to the volunteers who kept the races running smoothly, but most of all a big thank you to everyone on the teams I steered for: You guys paddled well and should be proud of your results!

British Airways tells UK travellers “don’t fly”

June 21, 2012 @ 12:01 By: gordon Category: Seen on the 'net, Travelling

Usually, airlines advertise so that people will fly with them. British Airways has an ad in the UK that’s encouraging people to stay at home this summer and cheer for the home team at the Summer Olympics:

Very clever!

A tip o’ the hat to Brad at UPGRD for writing about this.

Calculating the humidex

June 20, 2012 @ 16:45 By: gordon Category: Weather

As almost everyone certainly is aware by now, it’s hot in Ottawa today. The “low” this morning was about 20°C and it has hit 32°C for a high.

However, it feels much hotter than that because of the humidity. This perceived temperature is known as Humidex. Environment Canada reports the humidex whenever the temperature is at least 20°C and the dew point (the temperature at which the moisture in the air will condense) is above 0°C and when the humidex is at least 25. So, on hot muggy days, you’re probably going to see a humidex value in the weather reports, which you can see in this graph that shows the air pressure (blue), temperature (red) and humidex (orange) for the last 24 hours in Ottawa:

You can calculate the humidex yourself using the formula found on Environment Canada’s website, which I’ve adapted slightly for clarity:

[math]a=6.11 * e^{(5417.7530 * (\frac{1}{273.16} – \frac{1}{(dewpoint+273.16)}))}[/math]

[math]b=(0.5555) * (a-10.0)[/math]

[math]Humidex=temperature + b[/math]

The “e” in the first equation is a mathematical constant that is approximately equal to 2.7182818284.

So, if the temperature is 32°C and the dewpoint is 23°C, the humidex will be 42 when you plug the numbers into the equations and round up. According to the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, a humidex of 42 will cause “great discomfort” and you should “avoid exertion”.

Of course, it’s the Wednesday before the Ottawa Dragon Boat Race Festival, which means I have two dragonboat practices this evening. At least I’m steering rather than paddling! If we’re lucky, maybe the 30% probabiliy of thunderstorms will transpire and knock some of the humidity out of the air:

TAF CYOW 202038Z 2021/2118 22007KT P6SM SCT050
PROB30 2022/2024 VRB15G25KT 2SM TSRA BR BKN015 OVC040CB
FM210000 26005KT P6SM FEW040
BECMG 2114/2116 22012KT

Steering dragonboats for the Algonquin College Singapore Slings and Domina

June 15, 2012 @ 13:04 By: gordon Category: Dragonboats

Once again this year, I am steering a dragon boat in the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival for the Algonquin College Singapore Slings. New for this year is that I’m also steering for a women’s team called Domina. And like the other teams in the festival, we’re taking part in the pledge challenge raising money that will go to support the charities selected by the Ottawa Dragon Boat Foundation. These charities do very important work in the Ottawa area and are worth supporting.

If you’d like to help my teams reach their pledge targets and thus help the various charities selected by the ODBF, please consider clicking here or on the link at the top of the right column, and sponsoring me. All donations of $20 or more automatically receive a tax receipt and you can request one for donations of less than $20.

Many thanks for reading this and thinking about it. And a special thank you if you do sponsor me. 🙂

Venus transiting the Sun

June 05, 2012 @ 22:15 By: gordon Category: Astronomy, Out and about, Photography

imageI decided to ride my bike to the pub trivia session this evening so that I could hopefully see Venus transiting the Sun, something it won’t do again until 2117.

My setup was very simple: my Canon SD850IS point-and-shoot and a piece of #14 welder’s glass.

Basically, I held the #14 glass in front of the lens and hoped for the best. The challenge was getting the camera to focus properly. I was happily surprised to see that the first picture I took was the best one. Other than cropping the image, I haven’t done any processing or enhancement.

If you look closely, you can see the little disc of Venus just clockwise of of the 12 o’clock position. The photo was taken at 18:18 Eastern, which was about 9 minutes after the start of the transit.