Archive for February, 2007

David Suzuki on Carbon Credits

February 28th, 2007

We all know about the David Suzuki “do as I say, not as I do tour” and the “rock-star-style” diesel-burning tour bus by now. And we know it’s OK because, like Al “I’m already rich, so lets stop economic expansion” Gore, he’s buying carbon credits. And carbon credits are good; we know that because?

The federal government has frequently and publicly declared that Canada
will make the majority of it’s emission reductions through domestic action. This
ensures that the reductions will be real and not just “hot air” purchased

And where does that quote come from? From a document called Keeping Canada in Kyoto” by the David Suzuki Foundation (Sorry I can’t link to the document directly, my computer keeps crashing when I try).

So not only is it OK for Suzuki to use a massive 50 person bus to transport 8 people, while the rest of us Canada’s aging population is supposed to give up comfortable vehicles for efficient ones, but now it’s OK for Suzuki to buy carbon credits, but when the country does so it’s not real reduction, just hot air being bought?

By the way, if you read the document you will find that hating Alberta is not something new to the (ahem) good doctor, it is policy of the David Suzuki foundation. As Licia Corbella notes in todays Sun, the Suzuki Foundation is supposed to be non-partisan, or lose it’s charitable status.


Punchline Tuesday

February 27th, 2007

It’s simple, use the comments to put the punchline (and only the punchline) to your favourite joke. Try and keep it reasonably clean please (punchline, joke can be as dirty as you please, as long as the punchline is clean).

eg. The circus is a cunning array of stunts.



February 27th, 2007
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I am heading out with nothing but a cooler full of booze, my guitar & a whack of music, The Godfather set, Kissology and The Stern Report.

While I do have a laptop, connectivity is a potential issue, so I expect to be Brian, not-the-blogger until at least Friday.

Hopefully I’ll return with a bunch of new pictures of the day:

Current weather in Winston-Salem?

61 and sunny!

I’m going to… Parry Sound.


The Entertainment Industry Blows It On Downloading … Again

February 26th, 2007

Hollywood interests have launched the Bittorrent Entertainment Network, an opportunity to download your favourite movies, legally, through bittorrent technology. A great idea, who’s time has come. Bittorrent works amazingly well, and is a very efficient mover of data. People have been downloading movies this way for a few years, usually illegal versions.

Want to see a movie that was released in your Cineplex last weekend? It’s on some bittorrent network somewhere right now. Lousy cam-cordered version usually, but it’s there. Lets not do as the music guys did, think the Hollywood smart guys, lets make this stuff available.

The result?:

BitTorrent’s newest entertainment network partner is MGM, the legendary Hollywood studio and owner of the world’s largest modern film library. With a roster of over 35 content partners, BitTorrent is offering a breadth and depth of content not found in any other download service. At launch, the network at will feature over 5,000 titles of movies, TV shows, PC games and music content, as well as over 40 hours of high-definition (HD) programming. Consumers will be able to enjoy both new releases and catalog movie titles such as “Superman Returns,” “Mission: Impossible III,” “World Trade Center,” “Jackass: Number Two,” “An Inconvenient Truth,” “Napoleon Dynamite,” “Sideways,” and “Thomas Crown Affair.” TV programming will include hits such as “24” and “Prison Break” from 20th Century Fox; “My Super Sweet Sixteen” from MTV: Music Television; “Celebrity Deathmatch” from MTV2; “Muscle Car” and “Xtreme 4×4” from Spike TV; Emmy and Peabody-Award winning “South Park” and “Mind of Mencia” from COMEDY CENTRAL; “Hogan Knows Best” and “Breaking Bonaduce” from VH1; “SpongeBob SquarePants” and “Avatar: The Last Airbender” from Nickelodeon; “Skyland” from Nicktoons Network

Beautiful. Time to check it out. Lets pick a movie… Chinatown … how much to buy, where’s the buy button? Oh:

You may watch this on one computer. You have 30 days from the transaction to download the file and 24 hours to watch it after you first click play. See full terms of service.

Rules. I hate rules! I’m trying to buy a movie, and there’s rules. Rule one: can’t buy – rent! Cost $2.99 US. It will take a day to download, then I have to watch it on the computer, can’t burn a version and if I can’t finish watching it when I start, I got 24 hours to watch it. All for the same price as I can get it at blockbuster.

So much for the whole learning from the music industry. And sadly, what they failed to learn is you have one chance to get this right, or some guy and his linux will do it for you.


Blogging Tories Site of the Week

February 25th, 2007

Le Politico

.. a blog, a collection of things, and random.

I particularly liked the picture of Stephane Dion jet skiing.


Saturday Fluffernutter

February 24th, 2007

All the weeks fluff stories about those celebrity nuts

Fluffernutter Update, There is a new Fluffernutter ice cream (right), possibly the greatest combination of junk foods since that whole “you got your chocolate in my peanut butter” debacle.

Britney Spears went back into rehab this week, then promply left. Then went back in…

The Van Halen reunion tour is apparently off.

The anti-Oscars, the Razzies, hold their 27th annual worst of Hollywood award Saturday Night in Hollywood. Nominated for worst picture is a stellar cast of junk, of which there seems to be no shortage:

Basic Instinct 2 (a.k.a. Basically, It Stinks, Too), Bloodrayne, Lady In The Water, Little Man, Wicker Man

Worst Actor: Tim Allen (The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause,
The Shaggy Dog and Zoom), Nicolas Cage (Wicker Man), Larry, The Cable Guy (Dan Whitney) (Larry The Cable Guy: Health Inspector), Rob Schneider (The Benchwarmers and Little Man), Marlon Wayans & Shawn Wayans (Little Man).

Worst Actress: Hilary Duff & Haylie Duff (Material Girls), Lindsay Lohan (Just My Luck), Kristanna Loken (Bloodrayne), Jessica Simpson (Employee Of The Month), Sharon Stone (Basically It Stinks, Too).

Other categories include worst supporting actor, worst supporting actress, worst director, worst screen couple (Tim Allen and Martin Short), worst remake or rip-off, worst prequel or sequel, worst screenplay and worst excuse for family entertainment (Deck the Halls)

Britney Spears is back in/has left rehab.

Liberal leadership candidate, and fiddler ordinaire Ashley MacIsaac has married his boyfriend, Andrew Stokes, on stage in Halifax. To which I can only add – ewwww.

Van Halen tour is on/off.

Soccer superstar David Beckham and his wife Posh ‘Victoria’ Spice have been house hunting in LA. Unfortunately, $20M doesn’t buy what it used to, and the pair are frustrated, unable to find an appropriate house that doesn’t need work.

Britney Spears is back in/has left rehab.

Van Halen tour is on/off.

Britney Spears is back in/has left rehab. Actually, as much fun as this is, don’t you get the sad sick feeling that we are witnessing this girl having a breakdown in front of our eyes? At this stage nothing would please me more than having to not write the name Britney Spears again. Sadly, I expect that to not happen. I just hope that I won’t be ending this segment with Britney Spears sometime in the near future.

Newfoundland Artist Dermot O’Reilly, guitar player for Ryan’s Fancy, died last Saturday of an apparent heart attack. O’Reilly was in his mid-60’s, and was keeping a regular performance schedule after emergency quintuple bypass surgery in 2005.


Doing Kyoto From the Car Pool Lanes

February 23rd, 2007
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I found two items of interest this week, the first, an opinion piece from The Economist magazine, attempts to explain champagne socialists (or gulfstream environmentalists, if you prefer).

THE European Commission’s recent proposals to limit car pollution, and the climate-change debate in general, are revealing a cultural divide in Europe: nothing less than a continental rift over what really constitutes political leadership.

The northern view (for want of a better term that embraces the Swedish and the Dutch) is that the responsibility to set a good example is part of a politician’s job. If a new leader decides to change his party’s policy to make it greener, as David Cameron did with Britain’s Conservatives, it is incumbent on him to be seen going to work on a bicycle (even if a car is following with all his papers). Equally, if the European Commission wants to legislate to reduce car emissions, the commissioner responsible must promise to swap his gas-guzzling Mercedes for a puny Toyota Prius—even if that offends Germany’s mighty car lobby. He and the commission must, after all, set an example.

the southern (or Mediterranean) view is that public authorities should make and enforce the law, but not otherwise nag on about personal behaviour. Hence, the French left has always rejected criticism of champagne socialism (gauche-caviar) on the ground that what matters are the policies, not the lifestyles, of Socialist leaders.

This holds even though the environment commissioner himself is Greek, not Swedish or Dutch. He is supposed to take on the ethical and moral characteristics of his portfolio. He inherits, as it were, the view from Europe’s Protestant north that personal behaviour is central to political leadership.

There’s much more, and it’s an interesting piece. It also explains Stephane Dion’s shuffling around in a limousine. Granted the story is about his limo driver’s hotel bills, but shouldn’t Kaptain Kyoto get out of the limo? Shouldn’t the greenest Liberal since Ted Kennedy at the Carter inauguration find a more fuel efficient car? If I can drive a Neon, why can’t the man who knows beyond all doubt that we’re doomed unless we all drive Neon’s? or Priuses


World War 1 veteran, Victor Clemmett passes

February 22nd, 2007
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Victor Clemmett, one of Canada’s three remaining World War I vets passed away in Toronto Wednesday night at the age of 107.

Condolences to family and friends of Victor Clemmett.

Clemmett was one of three remaining vets when the Dominion Institute created a petition asking the federal government to grant a state funeral for the three remaining WWI vets. The two remaining vets are John Babcock and Dwight Wilson. Parliament passed a unanimous motion in November to hold a state funeral for the last World War I vet.


Now That’s Unparliamentary Behaviour

February 22nd, 2007

h/t to All Things Canadian for this one. Just before yesterdays rukus, in which the opposition shouted down a sitting MP, the Prime Minister none the less, some one yell “Oh Fuck Off!”

Who? Who yelled across the aisle for the Prime Minister to Fuck Off? And why is he (clearly a male voice) not being taken to the woodshed, especially when it is so clear on the tape, compared to that maybe he did maybe he didn’t dog comment of recent notoriety.

Listen for yourself here. The offending remark come right about the 20 second mark, and immediately before the other MPs start yelling shame. It is one voice that cuts across Parliament for just one second.

Does the speaker now about this?


More Kyoto Economics

February 22nd, 2007
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Yesterday I focused on Germany. Today, the rest of Europe. Again, my source information is from the International Council for Capital Formation. Much of what they say in the reports on other European countries is repetitive, but you can read the reports yourself: UK; Spain; Italy; Summary. However, here’s a numerical overview of the reports.


Gas Price: 2010 – 7.4%; 2020 – 9.3%; 2025 – 10.3%
Diesel Price: 2010 – 8.8%; 2020 – 10.9%; 2025 – 12.1%
Heating Oil Price: 2010 – 44%; 2020 – 55.4%; 2025 – 60%
Natural Gas Price (Industrial Sector): 2010 – 46.5%; 2020 – 56.8%; 2025 – 62.4%
Electricity Price (Industrial Sector): 2010 – 34.9%; 2020 – 34.1%; 2025 – 37%

% Decline in GDP: 2010 – 1.1%; 2020 – 1.7%; 2025 – 2.5%
Can$ Decline in GDP: 2010 – $33.6B; 2020 – $65.1B; 2025 – $109.5B
Employment Decrease: 2010 – 336,000; 2020 – 547,000; 2025 – 673,000


Gas Price: 2010 – 10.7%; 2020 – 13.4%; 2025 – 14.7%
Diesel Price: 2010 – 14.1%; 2020 – 17.6%; 2025 – 19.3%
Heating Oil Price: 2010 – 32%; 2020 – 40%; 2025 – 44%
Natural Gas Price (Industrial Sector): 2010 – 41%; 2020 – 51%; 2025 – 56%
Electricity Price (Industrial Sector): 2010 – 23%; 2020 – 26.5%; 2025 – 26.2%

% Decline in GDP: 2010 – 3.1%; 2020 – 4.5%; 2025 – 5.6%
Can$ Decline in GDP: 2010 – $39B; 2020 – $70.8B; 2025 – $96B
Employment Decrease: 2010 – 611,000; 2020 – 785,000; 2025 – 708,000


Gas Price: 2010 – 8.2%; 2020 – 10.4%; 2025 – 11.5%
Diesel Price: 2010 – 11.1%; 2020 – 14.1%; 2025 – 15.6%
Heating Oil Price: 2010 – 11%; 2020 – 14%; 2025 – 15%
Natural Gas Price (Industrial Sector): 2010 – 43%; 2020 – 53%; 2025 – 58%
Electricity Price (Industrial Sector): 2010 – 12%; 2020 – 14%; 2025 – 15%

% Decline in GDP: 2010 – 2.1%; 2020 – 2.8%; 2025 – 4%
Can$ Decline in GDP: 2010 – $41.3B; 2020 – $65.1B; 2025 – $98.6B
Employment Decrease: 2010 – 221,000; 2020 – 305,000; 2025 – 433,000

(Note: Italics are mine, and designed to improve readability, not provide emphasis).

The real shock in the numbers is dollar decline in GDP, and employment numbers. Spain particularly already has an 8.5% unemployment rate, and is forcasted to increase between 3 and 4%.

Another note in these surveys is there is an assumption that “due to high taxes already in place on transportation fuels, the percentage change in price due to the addition of the carbon permit fees is less than the change in price in other sectors.” In other words, the gas price is so high that a large increase does not appear large, percentage wise.

Note that Spain has the highest percentage jump in gas price. Thats because they have the lowest price of the countries, about $1.00/US Gallon cheaper. Canada, on the other hand, is about half the price of Spain and our gasoline prices would have to more than double (100+% increase) to catch up to Spain post-Kyoto.


Penn and Teller Want to Ban Dihydrogen Monoxid

February 22nd, 2007
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Penn and Teller, who I don’t find funny, nailed one here. Their petition to ban Dihydrogen Monoxide got hundreds of signatures at some “Worldfest” rally. They got signatures “left and right… well mostly left.”

It’s an old schtick, to be sure, but this is the first time I have seen this ruse for myself. Some facts about Dihydrogen Monoxide:

What is Dihydrogen Monoxide?

Dihydrogen Monoxide (DHMO) is a colorless and odorless chemical compound, also referred to by some as Dihydrogen Oxide, Hydrogen Hydroxide, Hydronium Hydroxide, or simply Hydric acid. Its basis is the unstable radical Hydroxide, the components of which are found in a number of caustic, explosive and poisonous compounds such as Sulfuric Acid, Nitroglycerine and Ethyl Alcohol. For more detailed information, including precautions, disposal procedures and storage requirements, refer to the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for Dihydrogen Monoxide.

Each year, Dihydrogen Monoxide is a known causative component in many thousands of deaths and is a major contributor to millions upon millions of dollars in damage to property and the environment. Some of the known perils of Dihydrogen Monoxide are:

  • Death due to accidental inhalation of DHMO, even in small quantities.
  • Prolonged exposure to solid DHMO causes severe tissue damage.
  • Excessive ingestion produces a number of unpleasant though not typically life-threatening side-effects.
  • DHMO is a major component of acid rain.
  • Gaseous DHMO can cause severe burns.
  • Contributes to soil erosion.
  • Leads to corrosion and oxidation of many metals.
  • Contamination of electrical systems often causes short-circuits.
  • Exposure decreases effectiveness of automobile brakes.
  • Found in biopsies of pre-cancerous tumors and lesions.
  • Given to vicious dogs involved in recent deadly attacks.
  • Often associated with killer cyclones in the U.S. Midwest and elsewhere, and in hurricanes including deadly storms in Florida, New Orleans and other areas of the southeastern U.S.
  • Thermal variations in DHMO are a suspected contributor to the El Nino weather effect.

So there you have it folks, be careful of Dihydrogen Monoxide… or hippies bearing petitions.


Seperated at birth: Angry Greenpeace Kid and …

February 21st, 2007

Hats off to Brian at Canadian Blue Lemons for his fine work uncovering that annoying angry kid from the Greenpeace commercials.


What Happened to the Green Parties Momentum?

February 21st, 2007
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Remember December? Elizabeth May came second in London, and the punditry where aflame with glee, The Green party was about to break thorough. Nuh-huh, said I:

I subscribe to e-mail lists from all the parties, Green included. During the by-election I received all sorts of e mails about the vote, 100% of them for the Greens. In the last weeks of the campaign, the Green Party where offering transportation and lodging for anybody who could travel to London to help out. They threw everything, EVERYTHING, they had in London and still couldn’t win. They had their leader running, the full resources of the party, they blanketed the riding with their people, and came away with bubkis. Never mind a breakthrough, my guess is they threw all the money they had at the election, hoping for the big payoff of electing their own MP. I wonder if they’ll be able to afford to run a campaign in the next general election.

So where is Elizabeth May now? Trying to convince the Liberals and NDP not to run against her, and searching everywhere, literally coast to coast for a riding she can win:

“One morning I wake up and think for sure I’m going to run in Cape Breton-Canso,” she said.

“Then I think maybe I should run in Sydney-Victoria by the end of the day. And all I have to do is spend one afternoon in London North Centre with my friends there and I think I really should run in London North Centre. . . . So I have to decide soon. I also keep hoping that some kind of bolt from the blue will clarify everything for me.”

Then there’s Peter MacKay’s riding, because:

“I went into being leader of the Green party motivated as I was by deep-seated concern bordering on panic about Stephen Harper’s government and his intentions,” she said.

“So I’d find it more satisfying on a day-in-day-out basis in a campaign . . . to be running against someone . . . who represents the policies of the Harper government.”

So to clarify, she is going to run against Peter MacKay because “deep-seated concern bordering on panic about Stephen Harper’s government.” Or because it’s much less humiliating to lose to the Minister of Foreign Affairs than to Joe Nobody from Schenectady.

May needs to get the idea out of her head that the NDP and Liberals will help her, it is in their best interest, far more than the Conservatives, to have her lose. The NDP have told her so, the Liberals are stringing her along, but aren’t going to giver her one.

The truth is, Elizabeth May needs to start acting like a politician and stop acting like a school girl scared of the bogey man under her bed… or a Globe and Mail reporter.


The Costs of Kyoto

February 21st, 2007

I have been looking over a report from the International Council for Capital Formation in the costs to Germany of the Kyoto protocol. The report, Kyoto Protocol and Beyond: The Economic Cost to Germany, concludes that home heating oil prices will rise by nearly 30%; gasoline and diesel prices 9 – 12%; industry would pay 30% more for natural gas and electricity; GDP would shrink 1.4-1.7 by 2025 (60 – 73 Billion Canadian Dollars); and Job losses would be 318,000 by 2010 and between 519,000 and 622,000 by 2025.

All these conclusions are based on the assumption that Germany’s nuclear capacity remains unchanged. However, Germany has made a commitment to retire it’s nuclear capacity by 2020, meaning the “economic implications of the proposed policies to limit CO2 emissions would be more severe.”

Also of note, the loss of 600,000 jobs (approximately 1.5%) would pile on top of Germany’s present 9.5% unemployment rate.

Here’s some selective sections from the study:

Mechanisms for Achieving the Required Carbon Emission Reductions

For Germany to achieve it’s targeted reductions in carbon emissions would require a dramatic reduction from currently projected levels of energy consumption. As there is no cost-effective technology currently available to capture CO2 emissions, domestic actions to achieve a reduction in carbon emissions from the energy sector over the next few decades fall into three broad categories:

substituting non-carbon-emitting fuels for fossil fuel use: Some emission reductions could be achieved through the increased use of nuclear or renewable energy in the generation of electricity… Under a carbon emission limits policy, other renewable energy technologies would be steadily more economically attractive. However, significant investment in renewable is underway and incorporated in the Global Insight base case. The next trace of renewable would likely be developed after 2020.

substituting lower emitting fuels for higher emitting fuels: Switching from fossil fuels with higher (i.e. coal and petroleum) to those with lower emission rates (i.e. natural gas) can provide some of the reductions needed to reach a target. However, the potential is limited over the next ten to twenty years due to increasing reliance on lower carbon fuels that is already included in baseline analysis. Further, the prospect of steady reductions in carbon emissions assumed under the post-2012 period reduces the incentive for infrastructure developments needed to expand gas use dramatically.

using less energy: Achieving a carbon emission target through reductions in energy use would require cutting edge use by nearly the same amount as the desired change in carbon emissions from the baseline. To the extent that some of the reductions would be obtained with the two previous options, the necessary reduction in energy use would be less. As these options are not expected to provide substantial relief from the target reductions under the Kyoto Protocol, to achieve this reduction, some form of intervention in the market (such as fee or tradable permit) would be required. Once in place, energy use would be curtailed through four mechanisms:

1. investment in energy efficient capital

2. investment in process change

3. reduction in purchases of energy and electricity by business and consumers

4. leakage of industry to other countries.

I love number 4: “leakage of industry to other countries”. Nothing like economic understatement.

Economic Impacts

Output and employment losses would be expected under the Kyoto Protocol because: energy using equipment and vehicles would be made prematurely obsolete; consumers would be rattled by rapid increases in living costs; and financial ministers concerned over possible inflation would most likely need to target more slack in the economy to deflate non-energy prices and thus stabilize the overall price environment.

The analysis assumes that the cost of emission allowances would be passed along to consumers in the form of higher energy prices and ultimately high prices for all goods and services. Consumers’ purchasing power would be reduced by the higher cost of using energy, reducing real disposable income.

Consumption and residential fixed investment would be the hardest hit components of real GDP because of the direct loss in real disposable income.

Residential fixed investment would be hardest hit. In other words, the value of your home would plummet, because potential buyers would not have sufficient disposable in come to purchase it.


Happy 40th Birhday

February 19th, 2007
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Benicio Del Toro

Because Snatch is one of the best movies ever; and because you were great in it.