it was a Kalle Lasn quotation

A beeping truck, backing up in the alley, jolts you out of a scary dream—a mad midnight chase through a supermarket, ending with a savage beating at the hands of the Keebler elves …

— from Culture Jamming.

“It will feel strange …”

Leo Marks, on hearing of an old couple who died within days of one another, and were buried together:

It will feel strange
Not to nudge you
Or to talk to you
Or keep you warm
When you’re lying there
Only a few feet away
Or perhaps even less
But we shall get used to it in time
Of which we’ll have plenty

We always treasured silences
In which we said everything
We shall continue to treasure them
And to say everything
Throughout the longest silence of all.

 — from Between Silk and Cyanide: A Codemaker’s Story 1941-1945.

in the running

Almost ‘Best of The Year’ time. In the running are:

A Hawk and a Hacksaw – The Way the Wind Blows
A.C. Newman – Souvenir of Canada – EP
Beck – The Information
Calexico – Garden Ruin
Casper & the Cookies – The Optimist’s Club
Colin Meloy – Colin Meloy Sings Shirley Collins
Eels with Strings – Live At Town Hall
Elf Power – Back To The Web
Erynn Marshall – Calico
Faun Fables – The Transit Rider
Grandaddy – Just Like The Fambly Cat
Grant-Lee Phillips – nineteeneighties
Hidden Cameras – Awoo
Joanna Newsom – Ys
Jolie Holland – Springtime Can Kill You
King Biscuit Time – Black Gold
Mayor McCa – Cue Are Es Tea You
Peter Stampfel – The Jig Is Up
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – Olé! Tarantula
Sufjan Stevens – Songs For Christmas – Volume V: Peace
Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche – Outtakes And Extras From The Illinois Album
The Be Good Tanyas – Hello Love
The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
The Essex Green – Cannibal Sea
The Flaming Lips – At War With The Mystics
The Handsome Family – Last Days of Wonder
The Instruments – Cast A Half Shadow
The Sadies – In Concert Vol. 1
The Wailin’ Jennys – Firecracker
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
Thomas Dolby – The Sole Inhabitant
Wendy Arrowsmith – Crying Out
Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass

Miraculously, all of them fit on my iPod Nano, so they’ll be in heavy rotation over the next week or so while I decide.

yeah, I get this too

Every few weeks someone contacts me with a proposal for what is, in effect, a perpetual motion machine. He (for it is always a he) can demonstrate to my satisfaction that, unlike all the quacks and cranks and mountebanks I have heard about, he really has solved the problem. He has a special catalyst, or a new equation, or a hotline to God, which demonstrates what all other physicists consider impossible: that energy can be created. … My only defence against these people is to ask them for an article in a peer-reviewed journal, whereupon I never hear from them again.

 — from Heat, by George Monbiot.

boo {gerund} hoo

[Rick Ciarnello, president of the Vancouver Hells Angels chapter] claims he has been treated rudely by his local supermarket staff, and he says many people are no longer friendly toward him, and instead fear him or avoid him altogether.

Hells Angel says he feels shunned.

providing cannon fodder for empire since 1867

Prime Minister Stephen Harper says the toll of Canadian soldiers killed in Afghanistan is the price Canada is paying for playing a leadership role in world affairs.

I reckon that if I took a random street poll anywhere (anywhere outside Canada, that is), no more than 3 out of 10 people would consider Canada as having a leadership role. I do not wish to make light of the soldiers’ plight; I just don’t want them there in my name.

(I was going to make a comment about the nearest thing to a role to most Canadians would be a Swiss Chalet 1/4 chicken dinner, but that doesn’t work in a written context, and barely works when spoken.)

no, it just isn’t

Finding a source of “Unlimited free energy” would be the most unimaginably heinous crime possible against humanity. For it would inevitably turn the planet into a cinder. Hastening an isoentropic heat death. If you find a free energy source, you damn well better find a new free energy sink as well. Even then, the relative flux rates will still nail you.

 — Don Lancaster, How to Bash Pseudoscience.

Rum Do At WindShare

WindShare‘s having a special general meeting tonight to discuss the following resolution:

Moved that the Board of WindShare recommends to the WindShare I membership at their general meeting of June 7, 2006, the merger of WindShare I and WindShare II for the purpose of entering into the activities necessary for the development of the proposed Lakewind Proposal.

This is quite an important step, and since I’m still in Pittsburgh, I’d hoped to vote by proxy. I was informed by the WindShare administrator that this wasn’t possible; the Cooperative Corporations Act does not allow proxy voting.
I’m annoyed by this, as it looks like WindShare is going to merge its capital with a 10MW project being built on a site with a 6.5 m/s mean wind speed. I wouldn’t develop a project on a site with this low a wind speed, so I asked the following of the board:

Can you clarify, please, that the vote can only be carried if a majority of WindShare members are present at the meeting? It would be grossly unfair if an important vote like this one was carried by a minority.

I would also like to have questions brought to the board, and if possible, the meeting itself. The LakeWind information package states that Bervie has “an average wind speed of 6.5m/s … making this an excellent site for Ontario”. I would not consider a site having this wind resource to be excellent, and it would certainly not be one that would attract a commercial developer. So my questions are:

  • Is it in the membership’s best interests to develop a relatively low wind site? WindShare made their political point with the ExPlace turbine, and now we must show that community wind is economically viable.
  • Would either of the potential sites be forced to curtail output when/if the extra Bruce units come online? While LakeWind would be connecting to local distribution, any generation in that area might be subject to queueing limitations.

So far, I’ve heard nothing, which makes me uneasy.

the commitments

When I was testing BlackBerry typed-alike words (dactonyms?) I found that sqlite was averaging about 1 insert per second. This is by no means good.

It turns out that, under Perl, sqlite auto-commits after every write. This slows things down terribly. Here’s how to fix this:

When opening the database handle, turn AutoCommit off:

my $dbh =
DBI->connect( “dbi:SQLite:bberry2.sqlite”, “”, “”, { AutoCommit => 0 } )
or die “$!”;

Then, only commit occasionally — say every thousand writes:

while ( … ) {

…$id++;
$dbh->commit unless ( $id % 1000 );

}
$dbh->commit;

It works out about 1000 times quicker this way.

This wind study brought to you by the Canadian Nuclear Association

So there’s a new report on wind integration in Canada, written by The Conference Board of Canada. People are picking up on it, and even the doughty Refocus quotes… electricity from onshore wind is uneconomic in comparison with traditional alternatives“. Hmm.

So I read the report, and what do I find in the Preface?

As part of an ongoing initiative to investigate energy policy options and the future of the Canadian energy system, the Canadian Nuclear Association contracted The Conference Board of Canada to conduct a comparative study of various countries’ experiences with supporting and implementing large-scale wind projects.

So we’re expected to believe that the CNA would wish to have an objective and non-partisan report written on wind power, eh?

Standard Offer is Go – March 21

From OSEA:

The moment we have all been waiting for has arrived! The Ministry of Energy, the Premier, David Suzuki and OSEA will be announcing the Standard Offer Program on March 21st. We are organizing a celebration and press event in partnership with the Ministry of Energy that will take place at 3 pm at Exhibition Place, Toronto, home to Ontario’s first community wind turbine.

Please mark this date in your calendar and watch for further notices (via email and at www.ontario-sea.org) on details regarding location, speakers and entertainment.

This is a celebratory event – please everyone, let us celebrate the positive role the Standard Offer Contract program will play in Ontario for renewables, for community power, for cost effective power, and for our air quality and health!

Thanks to everyone for their efforts!

If the province has got this right, we really will see a lot more wind power in Ontario.

How to dismantle an nuclear power station

… [the] process is only projected to be completed by the end of this century, as it is not considered safe to start dismantling the highly radioactive core until the 2080s

 — BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Tackling the UK’s nuclear legacy

A little Irish festive spirit

If I stood on the bow-backed chair, I could reach
The light switch. They let me and they watched me.
A touch of the little pip would work the magic.

— Seamus Heaney. Electric Light

and also Airtricity’s Christmas e-card

I (heart) languagehat

languagehat, on begging the question:

This is one of those issues that is catnip to the adolescent language-lover but which a sensible person grows out of. I too used to enjoy tormenting people with the “truth” about the phrase, but I eventually realized that, whatever its origins … I had never seen or heard the phrase used “correctly” except by people making a point of doing so (cf. “hoi polloi”); in current English usage, “beg the question” means ‘raise the question,’ and that’s that. I got over it …
[T]his … is a sign that the language has sailed on, leaving wistful archaists treading water and clutching at the stern.

EcoBunk Unplugged: the 15th Annual EcoBunk Awards

ecobunk unplugged 2005
TEA sez:

EcoBunk Unplugged
the 15th Annual EcoBunk Awards

For advertising excellence in confusing the public & compromising the environment.

Our annual fundraiser and comedy show pokes fun at the most outrageous corporate green advertising of 2005. Sometimes we even point the finger at ourselves. We present nominated ads under nine different categories and reveal the winner. The laughter lasts for two full hours.

Of course, we don’t actually send awards to the winning companies.

Come celebrate with us! Ecobunk is a popular and favourite event among the environmentally-minded in Toronto, Waterloo and points beyond.

Thursday, December 8th, 2005
Plaza Flamingo
423 College Street
Show starts at 8:00pm
Doors & Cash Bar opens at 6:30pm
Tickets: $20
To reserve your seat(s) call TEA 416-596-0660

*** Note we are asking for prepayment this year and can accept credit cards or cheques. ***

Don’t miss the event this year!

I’ll be there. Will you?

no, I don’t get this, either

BBC NEWS | Scotland | Crews face bonfire night attacks:

Firefighters and police faced a series of attacks from gangs as they attended bonfire night call-outs in the Strathclyde area.

When I read this, I’m glad I left the Land of Ned.

best e-mail disclaimer ever

You’ve seen those page-long legal disclaimers that legal counsels require on outgoing e-mails? Well, I’ve been dealing with an Irish company that has the best one ever:

If this e-mail does not relate to Company‘s business then it is neither from nor authorised by Company

Short, to-the-point, and all you need.

Debunking the 25% Myth

My dad called yesterday, asking, “Wind turbines do run for more than 25% of the time, don’t they?”. Seems he read an opinion piece in his favourite fair ‘n’ balanced rag (The Telegraph) that said that wind turbines only run 25% of the time.

I see this factoid popping up more and more from the anti-wind crowd. It’s a particularly difficult one to refute in the press, as by the time you’ve tried to explain the difference between capacity factor and operation time, you’ve lost them. Or gone over your allotted time/word count, at least.

I’ve got a year’s production data from WindShare/Toronto Hydro‘s turbine in front of me. It’s on a marginal site, one that probably wouldn’t be developed by a commercial entity. So, does it run for more than 25% of the time?

Yes; the turbine is generating 63% of the time. I’ve defined generating as providing a net export of power to the grid. Our turbine’s a bit more cranky than most, and I have a suspicion that our metering system is dropping some production, but even so, 63% is way more than the claimed 25%. So it gives me great pleasure to say:

MYTH: Wind turbines only run for 25% of the time.
BUSTED! Wind turbines run at the very least 60% of the time, usually more.

(I can’t guarantee that Country Guardian won’t quote me out of context. I could make a cheap shot about not blaming them for their paymasters in the nuclear industry requiring value for money, but I won’t …)

timely quotation

Anent George W. Bush’s “God Told Me To Do It …” revelation, was it purely coincidence that the week’s quotation in Catherine‘s Women Artists Datebook is:

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.

 — Susan B. Anthony
?

ex dexit, or trying to be

Coo, was I really all fired up about Dexit, like I appear to have been in January 2004? ‘Cos, basically, Dexit sucks.

The coffee place I get my morning fix got rid of its unreliable Dexit machine when it changed hands. So I’ve got nearly $70 sitting on the useless Dexit tag, doing nothing.

Today I called for a refund, and discovered that Dexit won’t refund your balance. I wouldn’t have signed up for it if I’d known there’d be this in the ultra-sneaky Dexit user agreement (PDF):

Only in the event of your death (and upon receipt of such documents as Dexit reasonably requires in such circumstances as to whom is entitled to your estate funds), or Dexit closing your Dexit Account without cause, will the remaining funds in your Dexit Account be repaid to you. “Cause” will include any violation of this Agreement, any fraud or attempted fraud, any other operation of the Dexit Account or use of a Dexit Tag in an unsatisfactory manner, or non-use of your Dexit Account for over three (3) years.

So, do I hafta kill myself to get my money back?

Oh, and Dexit’s phone support staff are untruthful. I needed to speak to a supervisor. They promised one would call before 8pm this evening. It’s 9:55 now, and I’ve heard nothing.