Republican Politics, Mexican Standoffs, and Brain Scans

or alternatively "Jack's Magnificent Rise"

So I've been saddened by politics in canada. Republican style attack ads are the flavour of the day. We've watched democratic presidential candidates trying to deal with the aggressive attack ads over the last, and i feel that it's demonstrated three things.

1) Aggressive accusations in Attack ads, no matter how dumb the claim, are effective. people think: "if it wasn't at least a little true, why would they be saying it?"

2) If the politician who is attacked does not "fight back" with tactics involving denying, refusing to speak about it, and attacking back as aggressively as they can; then the accusations will stick. It's playground psychology, but if you get hit by a mudball, we need to see you throw a mudball back, or the mud will stick.

3) the first person who strikes, if they hit hard enough, will have the upper hand when it comes to their public credibility.

so it's distasteful but it has worked.

you can think of it as an old-west style showdown. If you live in a world where attack ads are the norm, the first person to get to their gun will win.

and the Conservative Party of Canada has embraced the practice whole heartedly.

Right now the leader of the liberal party is, generally perceived as being 1) a bad leader, 2) creepy, 3) arrogant, 4) someone who has come to canada in order to be king.
Collapse )

longest running series

okay, so there is this super-long-running movie series from japan, called "otoko wa tsurai yo" or "it's tough being a man". the movies all, apparently, have something like the same plot: salesman main character comes to town, tries to get girl, loses girl, leaves town.

anyway, i decided to look it up on wikipedia again tonight, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otoko_wa_Tsurai_yo, and i found that it had been usurped in the record books by a series of movies about "wong fei-hung". over 99 with the same leading man.

but on the wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wong_Fei_Hung includes a bunch of films that i'm not sure should be recognized as part of the official list... you know, movies where he appeared briefly as a character. likkkeee... "around the world in 80 days". the wong fei hung cinematography page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wong_Fei-hung_filmography has the list of entries, and it's funny how a lot of movies we wouldn't recognize as being about wong fei hong in the west ("once upon a time in china") actually have original chinese names that include wong fei hong's name.

but it got me to wondering, how would the number of movies/tv shows of popular characters stack up to wong fei hong. if we counted the number of movies Einstein shows up in, for instance. or Lincoln.

anyway. life is fun. back to grading.

politicization of independent analysis


stephen harper has admitted in the past that he thinks that the funding of a variety of charity organizations is a political act by the liberals. he therefore thinks it's reasonable to cut their funding, to "unbuy their vote" as it were.

While that seems logical, It's an awfully callous point of view, don't you think? (also, it's not logical in a broader context.)

also, they've been spending B-B-B-BILLIONS left and right, all over the place this year. New fighter jets. the G20. the "tough on crime" legislation. I'll remind you that while 3 billion to an american means a crisp 10$ bill, It's a 100$ bill to a canadian.

What can be done? I think it's clear. give money to whatever political party you support. give them 10$. The Liberals are hesitant to engage in an election with the conservatives because the liberals are pooooor, and the conservatives are so flush that they can buy attack ads all year long. That, in itself, seems like it should be outlawed. It doesn't forward the discourse at all, and it makes everyone mean and bitter.


funny number

so i was dinking around with a back of the envelope calculation.
i was wondering whether you could put a balloon up in the air, tethered to the ground, with a turbine on it. and put it up above the clouds. well, at about cloud height.
so i figured that clouds are 2 km up, and then guessed the width of a steel cable you'd need to tether the balloon up so that i could calculate how much lift power you'd need to lift it.

and then the r^3 of the helium balloon would be 108m^3 ...
so then in the process of crunching the number i accidentally googled 108

it turns out that it's a pretty cool number.
way to go 108. you're the number of the day.

All Edited UP!

so there's a bit of a fashion in the epidemics world for zombies, and i needed to edit up the research i did on zombie epidemic models back in the fall.

you'll recall that i modelled a bunch of zombies and 3 kinds of people: workers, hiders and soldiers. and that if a worker saw a zombie he'd run and hide or join the militia. and the workers are the only ones making food, so if the food ran out, hiders and solders would join the working class. all the while zombies were eating everyone.

major conclusions: if the zombies are caused by solanum (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Zombie_Survival_Guide) or the rage virus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/28_Days_Later), survival rates are okay. if zombies are caused by the living dead (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_of_the_Living_Dead) the odds of survival are pretty low, and pretty much impossible in the countryside.

it showed that you're better off leaving the zombie fighting to well trained people, rather than giving up your job and getting together with the guys and going zombie hunting. It showed that if you live in the countryside, then zombies have gotta get treated like cow poop and dead birds and horse sex: just something that you happen to see while you're working. the rural population has got to be *stoic*.

in other words, you're better off in england than the USA, and canada is probably pretty ok considering how many hunters but how few militias there are.

anyway, it's super long because of all the graphs.
and without further ado, i present to you
my Z-this!