Why I may make a summer pilgrimage to Calgary

Art, Canada, News, People No Comments

KHAAAAAAAAAAAAN!.

Why I won’t buy the new Coldplay CD

Music, News, Ranting No Comments

Turns out that Coldplay (or, at very least, Coldplay’s label) doesn’t really understand their audience. I like Coldplay well enough. Our household has purchased (legally, with actual money) all of their CDs in the past. But, no longer. Their latest CD apparently comes with anti-piracy technology that prevents the disk being ripped to MP3 (ie: no iPod, no iTunes) or played on certain car stereos (!?!) among other things.

Well, thanks but no thanks. Call me when you stop treating your customers and fans like thieves.

Wikipedia is literally changing the world

General, News No Comments

I have to read more about how “Wikipedia played an important role…after the tsunami had struck”, but now there’s a doctor using Wikipedia’s Avian influenza page as a central clearinghouse for flu-related information towards helping prepare for a pandemic.

I think this is what they had in mind when they said, “information wants to be free”.

The last word, revealed.

Books, News No Comments

I would be remiss if I failed to post a link to the following story, given what I’ve linked prior to this.

I’m not happy about what’s revealed in this article. I’m not sure how to feel about it at all, actually. He did what he did for whatever reasons. It doesn’t make it right. It doesn’t make it understandable or justifiable or honourable or any of that. But it is part of his story.

It’s the ugly part of this story.

“See,” I said, “I didn’t want to know that particular part of this story.” I still wish I didn’t. But I do.

My respect for the man’s writing remains undiminished. Of the man himself, I can only ask, “What the fuck?” What could you possibly have been thinking, Hunter, to have rendered yourself so much hamburger while your six year old grandchild was in the house?

Here’s the story. Make of it what you will. I…still don’t know how to react.

“You idiot kid, you don’t have a clue…sometimes you just get caught in the eye…you’re pulling him through…” – Elliott Smith

New York Times Book Review Archives

Books, General, News No Comments

This morning I stumbled across the New York Times Book Review Back Issues archive today. It appears to be the full text of every NYT:BR magazine (published Sundays) since the beginning of 1997. Happy day!

Update!

News No Comments

A while ago I posted two stories about prostitutes. It has come to my attention today that the first is, indeed, a hoax. I shall now chortle at myself for taking it on face value and not following up with the required research. Luckily I have friends who take up the slack on my behalf.

Two stories involving Prostitutes

General, News No Comments

The first, highly unamusing. I cannot believe that this can happen in a civilised world. Hopefully it’s just a hoax and I can laugh off my horrified (and slightly underinformed) indignation later.

The second, recommended to me by shaver (who finally posted a new diary entry) is a short story by Woody Allen that made me laugh out loud twice while sitting in my cube at work.

The Health Council (not FKA The Style Council)

News No Comments

Canada has been going through a lot of handwaving and general low-grade panic about the state of our health care system. Health care is one of those things that tends to define us as Canadians (well, not really, but the joke is that “A Canadian is an American with Health Care and no Guns”), and we tend to take it very, very seriously.

And for good reason. We spend a lot of money on it and general consensus (including from me) is that we don’t get our money’s worth.

In an effort to come up with sane approaches to dealing with (or at least understanding) the problems involved, Canada created The Health Council in 2003. They released their first report yesterday. Not only am I surprised that a government committee managed to produce anything after only two years, I’m surprised by the things it apparently says. You can read the full Globe and Mail article over here, but here are some relevant bits that make it sound like that committee is actually competent.

…the Health Council report distinguishes itself in a couple of important ways. Nowhere in its 94 pages do you find the word “crisis.” There is no chest-beating call for massive increases in spending.

In fact, the report repeatedly says progress is being made in each of these areas, and offers up concrete examples of approaches that work. And the council members have the good sense — and the backbone — to wonder aloud if Canadians are actually getting value for money for the $130-billion that is spent annually on health-care delivery.

Hurry up and deal with the human-resources problem. Here, the council had a nuanced message. Not the typical cries of: “We have a doctor shortage” and “We have a nursing shortage,” but a call to start with a clean slate and determine how many and what kind of workers are needed to deliver health care in Canada, and create the multidisciplinary team that can do so in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

Hurry up and create a national system of electronic health records. Accelerating the use of information technology will improve patient care and safety and lift a bureaucratic burden from health workers.[*]

the Health Council also breaks new ground, making an explicit call to recognize the role socioeconomic determinants play in health and acknowledging that many factors other than health-care delivery — income, housing, inequality — have an impact on the health of individuals and communities.

[*] This part, after the fiasco that is the multi-billion-dollar-failure Gun Registry, sort of scares me. I just hope they hire some competent programmers and managers to do this.

I might actually see if I can dig up a copy of the full report sometime. It sounds, from this article, that it might be sane.

Headline of the Day, Gold Star

News No Comments

“Bush sworn in, vows to end tyranny”

That is all, carry on.

Iraq, Tsunami, and Terry Jones

News No Comments

Terry Jones (yes, that Terry Jones), has written a short piece for The Guardian that reflects something that has crossed my mind several times since December 26th:

“Of course it’s wonderful to see the human race rallying to the aid of disaster victims, but it’s the inconsistency that has me foxed. Nobody is making this sort of fuss about all the people killed in Iraq, and yet it’s a human catastrophe of comparable dimensions.

According to the only scientific estimate attempted, Iraqi deaths since the war began number more than 100,000. The tsunami death toll is in the region of 150,000. Yet in the case of Iraq, the media seems reluctant to impress on the public the scale of the carnage. ”

It goes on for a bit, and one really has to ask: why is the global reaction to these events — both so utterly devastating — so different?

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