Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Have 4 minutes? I want you to meet someone..

One of the people I greatly look up to... a short introduction to the world of Richard Feynman.

This is from a 1981 Horizon Special, "The Pleasure of Finding Things Out".

They'll be plenty more on Feynman when I get the chance... sort from the 'not really about science, science category'.

ps. One of the great things about this video is that Feynman doesn't actually know the bird names in those languages.. he explained once he doesn't know any of those languages at all! But, he knows how they sound... (!)

Fisheye lens

What a fantastic comparison!

Yup, I'm looking into getting a fisheye lens for my D40. Will try to hold out until mid-June for something to pop up used.

This website has some good info on the lenses:

New on the bike scene...


We've all heard about Jarvis street by now .. one thing I didn't realize was that Jarvis was being minimized to four lanes no matter what; they just didn't know what they wanted to do with it... seems that bikes should be 'blamed' for taking priority over wider sidewalks and extra trees/greenery, not the loss of a lane on Jarvis.

Interesting article here by Andrew Steele and future voting implications for Miller.

Also, there is an increased bike locker plan:

I know there was a small one before... Not sure if it's worth it for me and my bike in the end (isn't getting a good lock good enough?) But, any infrastructure helps the promotion, I figure.

More here:

While we appreciate the attention your publication is currently devoting to cycling, and the needs and concerns of cyclists, we take issue with three things:

  • Your incendiary use of the `war' theme to describe city council's recent efforts to improve conditions for cyclists. There is nothing "warlike" about reallocating a small portion of public space dominated by cars to other more beneficial uses such as walking and cycling.
  • Cyclists are not freeloaders. Motorists' user fees pay for highways, not local roads, which are paid for by property taxes we all pay. Since bicycles impose much lower roadway costs than cars, bicyclists are actually subsidizing motorists.
  • Licensing bicycles is a bad idea. Don't just take it from us. That's what city hall has decided as well – on five separate occasions over the past 50 years: 1) it would discourage people from cycling, 2) the cost of administering the program would be higher than fees collected, 3) it would have no effect on cyclists' behaviour, already regulated by the Highway Traffic Act.
Nancy Smith Lea
Program Director, Toronto Coalition for Active Transportation
Yvonne Bambrick
Executive Director, Toronto Cyclists Union


Furthermore, cyclists in the Netherlands enjoy dedicated signal lights, lanes, tunnels and bridges. Many one-way streets for cars are two-way for bicycle traffic. As I watched an elderly couple leave an opera -- he in suit and bow tie, pedalling, she, in an evening gown, sitting side-saddle across the back rack--I was reminded that cycling need not be a pursuit of the young and athletic alone but can become a cultural reality that is healthier for both the cyclists and the Earth.


Most of this was gathered up from

UPDATE: Inside the Union station bike parking:

LSAT question!

13. Economist: Money, no matter what its form and in almost every culture in which it has been used, derives its value from its scarcity .whether real or perceived.

  Anthropologist: But cowrie shells formed the major currency in the Solomon Island economy of the Kwara'ae ,and unlimited numbers of these shells washed up daily on the beaches to which the kwara'ae had access.

  Which one of the following, if true about the Kwara'ae, best serves to resolve the apparently conflicting positions cited above?

  (A) During festivals they exchanged strings of cowrie-shell money with each other as part of a traditional ritual that honored their elders.

  (B) They considered porpoise teeth valuable, and these were generally threaded on strings to be worn as jewelry.

  (C) The shells used as money by men were not always from the same species of cowrie as those used as money by women.

  (D) They accepted as money only cowrie shells that were polished and carved by a neighboring people, and such shell preparation required both time and skilled labor.

  (E) After Western traders brought money in the form of precious-metal coins to the Solomon Islands. Cowrie-shell money continued to be used as one of the major media of exchange for both goods and services.

So, I wanted to figure out if this was actual fact, or more LSAT writers have fun, in their own way...

Turns out it's true!

Pretty cool eh?... Now, this material was taken from Google Books, and more specifically from here:

Money and modernity: state and local currencies in Melanesia
By David Akin, Joel Robbins, Association for Social Anthropology in Oceania. Meetings
Edition: illustrated
Published by Univ of Pittsburgh Press, 1999
ISBN 0822956896, 9780822956891,M1

And the right answer to the LSAT question? D, of course!

... and sometimes the LSATers lie.

(Ignore the yellow highlights - those were just my search terms.)

The effect of alcohol on body heat loss.

The effect of the ingestion of alcohol on cooling in seminude human subjects was examined at 25 and 30 degrees C in air; in heavily clothed individuals at -23 degrees C in air; and nude subjects in a water calorimeter at 25 degrees C. It was observed that consumption of the equivalent of five bar whiskey drinks did not affect the cooling rate of subjects as measured by infrared techniques or by thermistors. Total heat loss, measured in the calorimeter, was also not affected by drinking alcohol. It is concluded that the ingestion of alcohol does not cause an increase in cooling rate in humans.

Just a myth either way, apparently.

Correct answer? (B)!