Monday, February 28, 2011

West end Toronto

Seems like the final southern extension of the railpath, and a great, safe way to access the downtown core/vice versa.

Whereas this just seems like they're making room for more condos. 

Alright, that's it for now. Two lazy updates... but, I really do have a few "good" ones coming up. I've been in Toronto (with nights in Ottawa and Montreal) for almost a week (Reading week was the shit), and now the final 8 weeks of first year law are already here. Time flies by so fast... you might as well not waste it. 

Tyger Tyger

From Angela's feed, I saw this video:

The video is pretty wonderful. And the song is gorgeous as well.

The band is from Toronto, but that's all I know so far...

Brew up some tea, pull out your crafts, and here's their album fed for you over the internet.

Download the album (5 songs) for free here.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Combining math and art. Or something like that.

Prepared for our semi-formal this year.

Just a heads up...

Brian Greene is scheduled to be on CBC Radio 1 in about 30 minutes discussing the mathematical inescapability of parallel universes.

Brian Greene is an American theoretical physicist and one of the best-known string theorists. He has been a professor at Columbia University since 1996. Greene has worked on mirror symmetry, relating two different Calabi-Yau manifolds (concretely, relating the conifold to one of its orbitals.) He has become known to a wider audience through his books for the general public, The Elegant Universe, Icarus at the Edge of Time and The Fabric of the Cosmos, and a related PBS television special.

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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Watson vs. the Humanoids, Day 2

I won't tell you what happens, but I will tell you that Watson got the final Jeopardy question wrong, with an incorrect tip of his (its?) hat to Toronto.

The clue was: "Its largest airport was named for a World War II hero; its second for a World War II battle." Jennings and Rutter answered correctly, but the machine said "Toronto?????" rather than "Chicago."

Flying Aces:

O'Hare International Aitport:
Lieutenant Commander Edward Henry "Butch" O'Hare (March 13, 1914 – November 26, 1943) was a naval aviator of the United States Navy who on February 20, 1942 became the U.S. Navy's first flying ace and Medal of Honor recipient in World War II. Butch O'Hare's final action took place on the night of November 26, 1943, while he was leading the U.S. Navy's first-ever nighttime fighter attack launched from an aircraft carrier. During this encounter with a group of Japanese torpedo bombers, O'Hare's F6F Hellcat was shot down; his aircraft was never found. In 1945, the U.S. Navy destroyer USS O'Hare (DD-889) was named in his honor.

O'Hare was honored when Colonel Robert R. McCormick, publisher of the Chicago Tribune, suggested a name change of Chicago's Orchard Depot Airport as tribute to Butch O'Hare. On September 19, 1949, the Chicago, Illinois airport was renamed O'Hare International Airport

Chicago Midway Airport:
The airport was officially renamed on July 8, 1949[3] by a unanimous vote in the City Council to "Chicago Midway Airport" in honor of the World War II Battle of Midway[3] 

Toronto Pearson International Airport:
The airport was renamed to Lester B. Pearson International Airport in 1984, in honour of Lester B. Pearson, the 14th Prime Minister of Canada and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Toronto Island Airport:
The Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, commonly known as the Toronto Island Airport. At its annual meeting on September 3, 2009, the TPA announced that it would rename the airport after William Avery "Billy" Bishop, a Canadian First World War flying ace. The name would become the "Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport". The proposal drew criticism from TPA critics such as Adam Vaughan, charging "the port authority is putting together a "feel-good story" to prevent people from asking tough questions about how the island airport is governed."[62]

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

If you're within shooting distance of Waterloo...

I highly recommend this lecture:

My Top 10 Bonkers Things About the Universe
March 2, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Did you know you could fit the entire human race in the volume of a sugar cube? Or that, if the Sun were made of bananas, it wouldn't make much difference? Or that 98 per cent of the universe is invisible? Award-winning science writer Marcus Chown invites you to come along and discover how the universe we live in is far stranger than anything we could possibly have invented.

Tickets are available for free tomorrow morning at 9am. 

Of course, if you miss this, all past lecutres are available online here, but more on that later...

MAN VS. MACHINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This week on Jeopardy, Watson the Supercomputer takes on Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter!

Ken Jennings, who became a household name when he won 74 games in a row, and the all-time biggest Jeopardy money winner, undefeated Brad Rutter, who has won more than US$3.2 million over several tournaments, will take on IBM's Watson on Feb 14th-16th. Jeopardy executive producer Harry Friedman says most of Watson won't even fit on a stage. Its size is "the equivalent of ten refrigerators," he says. It has, for one, 15 TB of RAM!

So, what do I think is going to happen? I'd have to agree with the BoingBoing analysis.

The difference between winning and losing isn't mental agility, but the ability to time the milliseconds between the moment Alex finishes the clue and one of the producers activates the buzzers, slamming your thumb down with either (a) near-perfect reflexes at the off-camera lights telling you the buzzers are go, or (b) a near-perfect guess at the off-stage producer's timing.

Since a computer can obviously react to the "go" lights more rapidly and consistently than any human, it will probably win.

This seemed to be pretty much confirmed if you watched the practice round, which Watson won.

More: A former software engineer, Jennings remembers thinking, when he was first told of the idea behind Watson a couple of years ago, that a computer capable of playing Jeopardy! was decades away. "I was very skeptical," he says.

But then he watched Watson play its pre-game sparring matches, and he felt a growing nervousness in his stomach. "It's really amazing," Jennings says. "Watson gives you only the tiniest window. It never forgets. And its buzzer reflexes will make me look like... What's an example of someone with really bad reflexes?"

More info on the "parallel probabilistic events based architecture" machine:


Big picture Jeopardy analysis.

Most popular Jeopardy categories>:

An ENORMOUS Jeopardy archive with past questions:

Oh, and this:

Soooo......   hey there. Does anyone have cable tv (or an antenna) they would like to share for an evening or two? I won't be able to make the 14th, but can bring dinner and drinks (plus whatever else--boardgames? It's the week before reading week!) to your place on the 15th and 16th around 7-7:30! This is going to be GREAT.

More ice bike race info

National Post article on the race.

For its first five years, Icycle took place on a figure-eight course, on a lagoon in Lake Ontario, off Toronto Island. "We would go out there with chainsaws and cut 800-lb pieces of ice out of the lake to build a track," recalls Derek Chadbourne, owner of Harbord's The Bike Joint, and Icycle organizer. "But the weather became too unpredictable." This year marks Icycle's 10th at Dufferin Grove rink.

Here is Mr. Chadbourne's advice about cycling in winter: "The thinner the tires, the better. Keep your ass on the saddle--it's like putting sandbags in the trunk of your car. If you do hit ice, stop pedalling and pray."

I brought my dslr last night, but forgot the sd card in the laptop. The iphone filled in admirably, but wasn't capable of the zooms, obviously. However, got to try out the Pro HDR functions.

More pics here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Icycle 2010 - Still racing on ice

If you're in Toronto this weekend, check out the fun, annual event organized by Derek (The Bike Joint).

Watching people fall on ice has never been so much fun.

Dufferin Grove Ice Rink. Saturday, February 12 · 6:00pm - 9:00pm

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Conductin' Thangs

From here.

Saturday, March 12, Tom Allen hosts his Classical Good Time Variety Show with the Kingston Symphony.

When it comes to the world of a symphony orchestra, we sometimes fall into the category of "predictable" and "uptight." That's not a bad thing, because being classic is what we do best – and we need to be tight to present masterpieces as their finest. But Tom's ability to connect with the audience will, I hope, give everyone (orchestra members included) a more rewarding – and very entertaining – understanding of the music in a really fun and relaxed way.

As Tom says himself: "There are great stories behind the music – sex, riots, prison, syphilis and man-eating goats." You'll have to attend the concert to hear these stories in their entirety…

Tom, currently host of CBC Radio 2’s Shift program, will bring his knowledge of classical music to this light-hearted evening that mixes up story-telling, history, humour, music appreciation and audience participation.

He'll talk about music's connection to society, the sordid lives of composers, why some instruments are funnier than others, and how great music is always relevant.

The evening will feature Cage Match, In the Shadow, This Day in History, and other aspects that have been part of his radio career at CBC over the last 20 years. Tom will put two pieces against each other in a competitive comparison and ask the audience to vote for their favourite. Other pieces will include Bizet's Carmen Suite, Holst's Jupiter, and Debussy's L'Apr├Ęs-Midi d'un Faune, to name just a few. Then he'll prove to you what it takes to create a masterpiece. And he'll give you some random trivia facts along the way that, if nothing else, will be a great conversation starter the next time you're in an awkward social situation.

Click here for all the details on this concert. 


Anyone up for a night of this?? Lots of tickets are available, and it's being held at the Grand Theatre in downtown Kingston.

Also, this:


So, workin' late last night, and felt like a bit of a snack. And felt like procrastinating. What better time to make black bean hummus. Black beans, gram for gram, have more fibre and 25 per cent fewer calories than chickpeas. And they beat out other beans when it comes to antioxidants (link).

Fast and really easy.

Can of black beans, drained
1.5 teaspoons of tahini
2-3 cloves of garlic
some lime juice
some lemon juice
some cumin
some paprika
some dill weed

All ingredients to taste, and really all are optional other than the beans and tahini.

one cup. hand blender.

So, it came out a bit runny... too much tahini I think, and too long under the blender. But, really, really delicious, and a ton of leftovers.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Your prayers have been answered, Kingston

An all-chick Weezer cover band, that plays only Pinkerton and the Blue Album, is coming to Kingston the last Sunday of Reading week.

$9, The Mansion.

... and one from Pinkerton.

Pre-drinks, dancing and singing at my house.

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Female singer connections / music for today

Zoe Keating, Canadian Cellist, moved to San Francisco, like Andrew Bird, uses electronic sampling and layers during her live performances.

Zoe Keating - Escape Artist

Also, she's been on a RadioLab blog episode, where Jad and Zoe discuss the physics of looping sound, and how to use a 17th century instrument to make awesome electronic music. 

More: (I really like this song)

Zoe's old band, Rasputina, is playing Lee's Palace Feb 19th.

However, that's the same night Jenn Grant is playing at the Horseshoe, which sounds like the better deal.

She's getting good reviews for her new album, and sounding more and more like the new Julie Doiron, which, I think, is a good thing... a little more lively/poppy wishing for edgy. (Download here)

Julie Doiron: I can wonder what you did with your day - Click here to download great album.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Bike Helmets

I know I've talked about this before, but the video below just reaffirms some thoughts.

"This almost pornographic obsession with safety equipment... this culture of fear has created a bubble wrap society."

"If the bicycle helmet was a vaccine or a medicine there is no way it would be approved by the ministry of health; there is simply not enough proof."

The fact is that there is a strong negative correlation between the safety of cyclists and the prominence of bicycle helmets. Wear a helmet if you like, but certainly don't begrudge anyone who doesn't. Instead, just thank them for being out there with you, cuz the number of active cyclists is the single largest contributor to your safety.

"Every single health warning on a pack of cigarettes applies directly to car traffic. We don't even have to write new texts... we can just copy and paste them."

Did you know that the automobile industry is one of the largest proponents of bicycle helmets?

Why? To instill that feeling of fear in a potential cyclist. It's also certainly no coincidence that this is precisely juxtaposition to the false sense of security and power they have injected into their vehicle owners (against all statistics).

It's actually scary (and hilarious once you realize) to the extent our lives are controlled by these subtle influences. A great Slate article looked at Hollywood's contempt for the carless. How not having a car became Hollywood shorthand for loser.

"And so anything outside this dominant culture is treated as, well, a little weird. Hollywood's representation of cyclists, for example, as blogger Bike Snob puts it, has "pretty much been nerds on 10 speeds." The list of prominent bicyclists in film history includes misfit teens (Napoleon Dynamite), eccentric Einstein-like scientists (the license-less Jeff Goldblum character in Independence Day, in which the bike is, admittedly, shown as a pretty decent way to escape Manhattan), vaguely countercultural types (Mark Wahlberg's character in I Heart Huckabees, or Carl Bernstein in All the President's Men) perpetual man-children (Pee-Wee's Big Adventure), and people who otherwise refuse to grow up or are out of touch with real life and the working world. (Consider the couch-surfing Owen Wilson character in You, Me, and Dupree, whose answering machine message announces: "If this is in regards to employment, please be aware that my Class Four driver's license has expired.")

In The 40-Year-Old-Virgin, for example, Steve Carell is that rarest of filmic creatures: a bona-fide bike commuter, shown pedaling to work, navigating the various hazards of the traffic landscape. A boon for alternative modes, perhaps, except for the fact that the bicycle, like the character's penchant for collecting action figures and his virginal status, is treated with a certain condescension. "I'm not the only person in the world who rides a bike," he protests to his co-workers, one of whom replies: "Yeah, everyone rides a bike, when they're fucking 6."


Interesting article addressing the subtle manipulations all around us. Next up? Gender roles!... just kidding... kinda...

Anyway, that's it for now!

It's not the weekend yet,

but I wish it was!

Profound, I know.

Ok, so this weekend, Cuff the Duke plays the Grad Club on Friday night. Saturday night is our semi-formal, to which I'm just finishing up some "art" to submit (more on that later.. ). Also, I've been told there may be a potential visitor or two! Trying not to get my hopes up, but ya know...

BUT, what this post is really about is that I wanted to let you know, if you haven't heard already, about the PATHS Conference being held over the weekend.

From the facebook page:

The purpose of the conference is to provide diverse career options to law students. We explore various career alternatives available to law students who are not interested in pursuing work in large firm settings. We focus on legal education as a tool for enacting social change, developing specialty law practices, achieving professional excellence, and discovering truly rewarding careers.

The conference is FREE for all Queen's Law students and registration is not required.

Schedule is as follows:

Friday, February 4 (room 001):

Opening Remarks by Professor Darryl Robinson
1:00 - 2:30: work-life balance in the legal profession

Leann Beggs - Director, Career Services, Queen's Law
Jasmine Daya - Associate, Wolfe Lawyers (personal injury litigation)
Christine Peringer- Mediator, private practice
Lynn Wheatley - Deputy Judge, Small Claims Court (Toronto)
Moderator: Nick Bala
**Pizza lunch provided.

Saturday, February 5 (room 001):
9:30-10:00am: Breakfast provided (law lounge)
10:00-11:30am: Panel 1 - new lawyers in practice up to 5 years
11:30-12:30pm: Lunch provided (law lounge)
12:30-2:00pm: Panel 2 - seasoned lawyers in practice 5+ years

Speakers (Panel 1):
Travis Allan - Zizzo Allan Climate Law LLP
Jennifer Hockey - Litigator, Department of Justice
Kristin Muszynski - Templeman Menninga LLP
Jan Peiris - In-house counsel, Uni-Select Inc.
Moderator: David Freedman

Speakers (Panel 2):
Steven Bookman - Sole-practitioner, family law
Michael Dineen - Criminal lawyer, Pinkofskys
Marco Filice - Director of Development, Liberty Development Corporation
Kirsty Mathers McHenry - Policy Counsel, Legal Aid/ sessional professor, Queen's.
Moderator: Art Cockfield

Closing remarks by Associate Dean Corbett


See you all there!

The Paths Committee


Alright, so a really great opportunity to bust the chops of lawyers succeeding outside of the Bay Street path. On top of that, a familiar face in Steven Bookman is going to be on a panel. Steven has helped me out huge in the past (from getting me a job driving limos way back when, to writing a recommendation letter for Queen's Law) and it's more than fair to say that I wouldn't have the opportunities I have today without his help.

Fresh Kils

One of my buddies from high school became an officially nominated JUNO award producer yesterday! Fresh Kils (Andrew Kilgour) actually has his name on two of the five albums nominated for Rap Recording of the Year; D-Sisive's "Vaudeville" (which also features a Ron Sexsmith cameo) and Ghettosocks' "Treat of the Day".

His MySpace page here.

I got to admit, it's not my cup of tea (a cup of tea is more my cup of tea), but geez, this is pretty awesome/inspiring news.

This would also be a pretty good time to whip out those grade 10 photos, but as he's only going to get bigger, I'll bide my time.

Congratulations man. This is really exciting news.


Vaudeville. Download here (this download is a bit complicated (not impossible), but it's the only source I found... )

D-Sisive is a one-man music machine cruising to the hum of his own engine. After last year’s triumphant return to the hip-hop limelight with both his Polaris Prize nominated gem Let The Children Die, and his second classic full length of 2009, the acclaimed Jonestown, one would think the accomplished Toronto MC would be content to rest on his ever-expanding laurels. Not D-Sisive. The enigmatic one is back – and this time taking things to an entirely new level with the epic Vaudeville. Produced in tandem with Andrew ‘Fresh Kils’ Kilgour and featuring a surprise cameo from legendary Canadian songsmith, Ron Sexsmith, Vaudeville is filled with incredible hip hop tracks, smoke and mirror gags mixed with punch lines, and intense stories. An album that showcases the wide variety of influences and themes which only an enigmatic master of ceremonies like D-Sisive could pull off.

Kilgour's name is also all over the Ghettosocks album.

TREAT OF THE DAY. Download here.
Written and performed by Ghettosocks except where noted
Arranged by Ghettosocks and Fresh Kils at The Kilzone
Tracks 04, 06, 07, 08, 09, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16 recorded at The Vault Studios in Halifax
Tracks 01, 02, 03, 05, 10, and 11 recorded at The Kilzone in Toronto
Additional production on track 04 by Ghettosocks
Additional production on track 15 by Dexter Doolittle
All Tracks recorded by Fresh Kils, except tracks 08, 09, 14, and 16 recorded by Beatmason
Mixed by Fresh Kils at The Kilzone
Mastered by Tom Rogers at Atomix Media

Go see Fresh Kils live when you get the chance. I've seen him in Toronto twice now (with More or Les) and both were great shows. Not sure if I could get through an entire album myself, but live, I gotta admit, the music kicks ass.