You know you’ve been studying engineering law too much when …

… you think that you’d want to start a band called The Tortfeasors, with stage names derived from precedents: Hedley Byrne, Rivtow Marine, Junior Books, Donoghue Stevenson, Lambert V. Lastoplex

Then you realise that would be a bad idea. On every level. Not least that I wouldn’t know what to do in (or with) a band.

I’m resitting the legal part of my PPE for the PEO next Saturday. Was somewhat taken aback when I heard I’d failed it first time, but now studying again, and seeing my notes and sample answers from last time — what, if anything, was I thinking?

cram, cram, cram

I have my PPE exam today for my Professional Engineers Ontario licence. This is my first exam in 15 years (not counting citizenship, which was more of a test). I think it’s my first essay-question exam, possibly ever, certainly since school.

I never was very good at studying; last minute and aim for one point above the pass mark was more my style. I’m sure Catherine can confirm it hasn’t changed.

hey livejournal, quit claiming my content

Read this. Oddly familiar, huh? It would seem that LiveJournal is republishing my blog on its own site http://syndicated.livejournal.com/wesawachicken/.

The thing about syndicated publishing is that the author has at least given permission that it takes place. I gave LiveJournal no such permission. Sure, I have a public RSS feed, but I don’t expect people just to grab my whole site and publish it for their own ends. That’s not syndication, it’s theft.
They also have the gall to claim there’s a “syndicated user” wesawachicken. Again, I didn’t set that up. I wonder if I can make it implode by getting it to syndicate its own feed?

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.

look out!

I see that my company’s Outlook Web Access does much niftier things on IE than on FireFox:

outlook web access on IE

You don’t get those options of Firefox. Bah

But in true MS dunderhead fashion, when you quit the mail client, it clears all your cookies — including the ones of sessions on other sites. Microsoft, this isn’t DOS; people multitask these days …

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.)

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.

flahz

Our peonies are the envy of the neighbourhood, despite our (well, my) slightly lax gardening skills.

peoniespeonies

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?

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.