east coast, but further west

Strange to think that I’m on the east coast, but actually further west than home in Toronto. That whole curving away to the Gulf of Mexico thing will get you if you’re not careful.

The strange thing is, if you take my current longitude, and the latitude of our house, you get a point near Rte 16 near Brussels, ON that I’ve been through on the way back from the wind farm. That’s like, y’know, stuff, and some like other stuff too, whoah!

king ov shim

To round out the Dawes Super Galaxy, I got a pair of used Sun Tour Superbe non-aero brake levers from Bicycle Specialties. Wouldn’t you know it though, but one of them was for thicker (Cinelli?) bars than the narrow GB Randonneurs that are on my bike.
Armed with a sharp knife, a straight edge, and an empty can of Irn Bru, I cut myself some shim stock to fill out the gap. The lever has a little lateral play, but it’s not moving up or down any. I am the king ov shim!

people are stupid

There’s going to be some ranting here, so I advise folks to look at this nice picture of a monarch butterfly I took at Bluffer’s Park today, and move along:

monarch butterfly - spotty!

In the park there was a gull that wasn’t moving like the others. I got close to it, and discovered there was a large fishing lure lodged through its beak. I had no way of helping it, and a nearby parks crew couldn’t do anything either. It could fly, just, but the big lure slowed it down, and the trailing fishing line mad it stumble.
I know gulls are often seen as nuisance birds, but no animal deserved
this fate. There’s no fishing and no kite flying in this park because there are so many birds. I’m angry that someone could be so thoughtless.

There’s a picture below the fold. You probably don’t want to see it.

Continue reading “people are stupid”

mail from the city

The only downside about being part of the Billboard Battalion is that you get a lot of mail from the city. I get a separate letter for each variance contested, and sometimes duplicates, so I get between four and twelve letters after each community council meeting.
You would have thought they could have stuck them all in one envelope, or used e-mail, to save money and paper. But no; we’re a world class city, after all.

free food from Dexit

Though I still hate Dexit, I have found a place to use the remaining balance — the Pizza Pizza at the corner of Vic Park and Sheppard. Yes, their pizza is still like damp cardboard, but they have passable salads.

They still need to work on the reliability of their terminals, and training staff. The other day they said my debit was authorised, when clearly nothing had come off the tag. They wouldn’t take the cash I offered (their screen showed a green thing), so yay Dexit, free food!

The Edwards & The Feldmans

We now have fish; some scissortail rasboras and a few threestripe corydoras. Not the most challenging of fish to keep, but entertaining and hardy enough (I hope) to survive this impractical fishkeeper.

I’m emphatically not naming them individually, but as groups: the corys are the Feldmans (though may yet become the Doctorows, since the spelling is closer), while the scissortails have to make do with being the Edwards.

FUNtain.ca

Steve Mann‘s done it again: the FUNtain.

Though totally different in scope, it reminds me of a device I saw at a street fair in Glasgow. This was a bank of drainpipes, arranged in a circle. One end of each pipe had a pressure washer head with a flat nozzle played across it, and the other end was stopped at just the right length to play a note. The pressure washer triggers were arranged as a keyboard, and there was a (laminated against water damage) music book on the console. You could play simple (if very loud) tunes.

I’ve never seen such a device since then.

we’re talking fish

Called in at Finatics Aquarium (599 Kennedy Rd, Scarborough, ON, M1K 2B2 – 416-265-2026) yesterday. The owner, Mike Bandura, was very helpful for the complete novice fishkeeper. I think we’ll be stocking our new aquarium from there.

scissors, shears, geddit?!

where alpha is scissors

The presenter of this paper claimed that PowerPoint changed α, the wind shear coefficient, to ✂. We laughed, briefly.

RE Imaginations – Renewable Energy Art

I was about to rush off and tell Emma Jane about RE Imaginations – Renewable Energy Art, when I discovered she exhibits on it already.

(They had a nifty display at AWEA, and I just bought an Aleksandar Rodic print.)

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.

it’s over ….

AWEA 2006, that is. Best swag was probably the places that had USB keys; yeah, they’re only 64MB, but these are big enough for tiny Linuxes or restore tools.

Freebies aside, it was a great show, and I guess a few hundred thousand business cards changed hands.

drinking with the wind

I didn’t go to the AWEA banquet last night, but did sneak into the GE Wind event (to which I was semi-invited) at the Andy Warhol Museum, and then on to the Clipper event (to which I definitely wasn’t) at the insanely ornate Heinz Hall. I guess you could say that place amounted to a hill of beans.
Caught up with Norman & David Surplus of B9, whom I last saw more than a decade ago. As there was free drink, I am slightly fragile this morning.

And so to pack …

I’ll be your terrorist for the evening…

I’m at YYZ, and despite the Canadian passport, I’m still Mr Designated Searched Guy. Thought that the passport might’ve changed things, but no. Sigh…

It does mean I no longer have to do those dumb visa waiver things, yay!

And it didn’t help that part of one of the lighting panels started to fall off inside the cabin before takeoff, so we had to taxi back, get it fixed, and head back out an hour later. Gotta love Air Canada.

what the tortoise taught us

Just finished Timothy; or, Notes of an Abject Reptile, the fictional thoughts of Gilbert White‘s pet tortoise. Verlyn Klinkenborg has really captured the pace of the tortoise’s life.

The tortoise/taught us rhyme doesn’t work if you’re Scottish; we pronounce it tor-toys, not taw-TUSS. Lewis Carroll didn’t think beyond the RP.

In memory of Timothy, I’ve geotagged this post with the location of a bridge in a nearby ravine, near which a little turtle used to snooze in the sun.

Danish Modern in Ringkøbing

I’m currently checked into a hotel which reeks of 70s Danish modern — blonde wood, bare brick, smoked glass surfaces — and, like many places in Denmark, cigarette smoke. Being in the presence of an authentic Beocom phone makes up for it though:

Beocom Phone

Also, there’s a cute little wind farm outside; a few Vestas V27s (or smaller) on lattice towers at 56° 7′ 22.11″ N, 8° 13′ 48.94″ E:
Little wind farm near Ringkøbing, Denmark

Energy Saving Tips for Canadians, #1: a name thing

Canadians are remarkably profligate in their energy use, and I think I know why. It’s not to do with the oft-cited scale of the country, the size of our houses, our cold winters or our hot summers, it’s something simpler than that; it’s what we call our electricity.

Power here is generally known as hydro, and with it comes images of tree-lined rivers with bears happily fishing for salmon. Local electricity companies tend to have that watery thing in their name: Toronto Hydro, Hamilton Hydro, London Hydro (Crieff Hydro is something quite different, though). Some happy green images, eh?

I propose that we stop using the term hydro, and replace it with the snappier smog belching, nuke leaking, only fractionally hydro. It’d certainly make yer average Kathy or Doug drop their double-double (or donut, or dumaurier) when they got their smog belching, nuke leaking, only fractionally hydro bill in. Energy use would plummet, and at no cost to anyone!

Happy Nuke Day!

Yup, Chernobyl was 20 years ago. Let’s just have a wee pause for a technology that’s still messing us up, yet we’re told it’s the green technology of the future. Yeah, and I bet it’ll be too cheap to meter, too.
There are still farms in Scotland affected by the fallout from Chernobyl. Though, what with all the nuke plants in Scotland, it could be any one of them that’s the real culprit.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a wind farm to survey …