All posts by scruss

Everybody needs a Level 43 Tickle-Mimic

ProgressQuest!The display gets a bit mixed up under Linux, but Progress Quest is still delightful.

It also has some of the best Release Notes ever:

  Changes for version 6.1:

     * I really just don't remember.
     * I also don't see how it could matter much.

Fetch me a teratoma!

Power, at what price?

It’s the Canadian Electricity Association’s Electricity in Ontario week. Can’t you feel it in the air?  A brochure, snappily titled “ELECTRICITY ARE WE GETTING VALUE FOR THE MONEY WE PAY?” [pdf] was in my dead tree media stack this morning. I think it’s trying to say our power is too cheap, as in this graph yoinked from the text:

powerforthefuture_graphBut as ever, hand-picked statistics only tell half the story. Digging into the IEA Key World Energy Statistics handbooks for 2011 and 2012, the data look something more like this:


2010 Domestic Electricity Price / USD/kWh

2010 Annual Electricity Consumption per capita / kWh

Annual Cost per capita









United Kingdom








United States













So really, because Canadians use such an obscene amount of energy per capita (srsly; we should be ashamed of ourselves), the graph should look more like this:

realchartSo we’re not actually that inexpensive; solidly mid-range. Since our electricity price per kWh is so low, if we spent a little money on energy conservation, we could have really cheap power for everyone.

The Yonge & St Clair Autoharp Guy

This guy sets up on the SE corner of Yonge & St Clair most afternoons, and plays endless variations on the above recording. He’s playing an autoharp with the chord bars removed, and run through a homebrew battery-powered amplifier with much reverb and distortion. A bunch of the burbly noises are 8kbit/s voice recorder artifacts from my phone.

Although the themes seem repetitive, I don’t think they repeat exactly every time. He seems to be in a happy place playing them.