I took 3.6kg of small change (quarters and smaller) to the CoinStar machine, and it netted approximately $107. I actually got back about $96, as the machine keeps about 10% as a sorting fee.

So, weight for weight, Canadian small change is equivalent in value to prime steak.

Glasgow Science Centre needs a Wind Turbine

Glasgow has a Science Centre. Glasgow Science Centre has a 150m tall tower that is supposed to turn with the wind. Unfortunately, its main bearing has been broken since 2002, and it has been closed to the public.

Glasgow is a windy city. I spent more than 30 years of my life there. You could put a wind turbine there, and not merely would it be attractive, it would be educational and would earn some revenue for the centre.

If WindShare can build urban wind turbines, so can Glasgow.

It’s not as cold as you’d think

I use Gnome Weather Report, an applet that shows the local temperature and weather conditions on my desktop. For the last few days, it’s been showing something really weird: celsius.png. It’s nothing like -17°C here; it’s nearer 0°C, according to Environment Canada.

Things become clearer when you change the view to Fahrenheit view: fahrenheit.png. It’s clear that the sensor or protocol is broken, but is being mis-interpreted as a zero signal.

As an avid RISKS reader, I know that confusing zero and null values is pretty much unforgivable. I’ve wired up enough 4-20mA current loop instruments to know that having a zero-value signal being the same as a no signal value is bad.

But there’s no real risk here. I mean, I could always go outside and find that it’s not 17°C. You don’t need a weatherman, as Bob said.

I vant to drink you-all’s blood

Have you ever noticed that Jimmy Carter has pointy, pointy teeth? In the above photo (copyright AP, used without permission, taken from a CNN story about Georgia wanting to claim that evolution never happened [politeness prevents me cracking the obvious joke], don’t sue me) he’s kinda got that Transylvanian thing going on.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve always liked Jimmy — he was the first US president that I was old enough to really remember what he did — but by the looks of this picture, I’d have the garlic handy if he ever came visiting.

Happy Runeberg Day

Finland’s national poet Johan Ludvig Runeberg was born 200 years ago today. If you can’t have a holiday, at least have one of Runeberg’s cupcakes. They sound yummy.

30 minutes of my life gone

… dealing with Mr Tramadol Hydrochloride Comment Spammer.

If you’re considering spamming this site, why not stop and consider doing something worthwhile?

Comment Spam

I’ve had to close comments because someone comment-spammed the site. Having to deal with this is a bit like dealing with something unpleasant you’ve trodden on in the street.

Attack of the Dodgy Duracells

My Palm gave up the ghost yesterday, less than a couple of weeks after fitting new batteries. I should have been suspicious of the remarkably cheap Duracell brand batteries I got from the corner shop. They are marked For Original Equipment ONLY.

A set of Duracell brand AAA batteries usually lasts me about two months. I wonder if these were some kind of pirated battery?

The Triplets of Belleville

Go and see this. Best animation I’ve seen in a long time; it’s edging out “Spirited Away” for me. Fabulous score, and many wonderful tips o’ the beret to C20th French popular culture.

The Belleville residents look like refugees from The Quigmans. The structural gangsters in their 2CV limos are both menacing and comic.

Oh yeah, and stay for the end of the credits.

bogla bogla bogla

cn train
Something odd has started to happen on the CN freight link behind our house. Trains have started stopping on it for up to a day at a time, right next to the level crossing.

They stop with their engine running, so we have to deal with fumes and noise. I know it’s cold and all, and it would be hard to restart a big engine, but do they really need to keep this thing going for 24 hours in a residential area?

If you’re wondering about the title, that’s the sound that trucks, buses and other commercial vehicles make in British political cartoonist Steve Bell’s strip, If.

WindShare AGM tonight

It’s the WindShare AGM tonight, and I’m up for re-election. There are four places, and five candidates. I hope I get back on, because there’s a lot we need to do.

Would you buy some fresh, green electrons from this man?

Stewart Russell is standing for re-election to the board of WindShare. After a successful year heading up the Technical Committee and hosting public meetings, he’s keen to get to work building more renewable energy capacity in and around Toronto.

Stewart is a long term advocate of renewable energy. After working on Fair Isle, where most of the power is generated by the wind, he was determined to work in wind energy. For several years he worked as an engineer for Renewable Energy Systems Ltd, one of Europe’s largest wind energy consultancies.

Car-free since 1996, he is committed to a sustainable Canada, and is pleased to see that an active Canadian renewables industry is growing. He brings considerable industry experience and engineering training to the co-op, and is dedicated to making WindShare a centre for excellence in community power generation.

Well, would you?

No ISSNs for Canadian blogs

I applied for an ISSN yesterday after reading Joe Clark’s ISSN for Weblogs page. This is what I got back from ISSN Canada today:

Thank you for your application. At the moment, we are no longer assigning ISSN to weblogs, but the situation is under review. The question of whether weblogs will be able to be assigned ISSN is under discussion in the international ISSN Network. The question hinges on the scope of the ISSN but also on the very real consideration of the limited staff resources of ISSN centres worldwide.

I guess it’s their ball and they can take it away if they wish. Blogs are serial publications, though, and therefore have all the rights of any regular publication.

dexit, or something

a dexit tag
I just signed up for Dexit, a direct payment smartcard thing that’s just starting up in downtown Toronto. It looks useful, if only to cut down the huge amount of small change I have.

The ergonomics of the card could be better. It’s about the width of a quarter, but twice as thick, so doesn’t fit well into your credit-card wallet. I think it’s supposed to go on your keyring, but I don’t often carry one. We’ll see how it goes.


grader snow plough
Yes, they use graders as snowploughs here. Then they have a JCB that follows behind to clear out driveways. You still have to clear out the wall o’ snow that’s left before it freezes, something I learnt the hard way last year.