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senatorhung's pad
ramblings of an information troubleshooter

changing of the seasons

Sunday, 02OCT2005:

first snowfall of the season in 
iqaluit, october 2, 2005
woke up to the first snowfall of the season. accordingly, it was a day designed to putter around the apartment, doing dishes, putting away laundry and getting some take-out chinese food from the nav so that i wouldn't even have to cook.

i vegged in front of my computer, watching one episode of 'northern exposure' on dvd and then a wong kar-wai double-header of 'in the mood for love' followed by '2046'. while ITMFL is in my top 3 all-time favourite romance flicks, 2046 left me a bit befuddled. christopher doyle's cinematography was just as wondrous to look at, and a lot of the themes of ITMFL were echoed, but i found it quite a bit more obtuse than its nominal prequel.

a lot of characters were introduced without seeming to add up to any kind of coherent storyline. i understand the process was just as organic as the one for ITMFL, which took over a year to film and then another few years to edit, but this film seems to be more spectacle and splintered bits of surrealism rather than a finely edited showpiece.

good news on the ip front. a new book of essays critiquing canada's proposed copyright amendments has just been published by irwin law. besides the welcome public interest focus of the collection, the authors have also released it under a creative commons license. talk about putting your money where your mouth is. i might even have to spring for a personal copy beyond the one i've already ordered for my library.

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the art of balance

Monday, 03OCT2005:

we read thru act 2 of the rez sisters twice and planned out the rehearsal schedule until the show opens in december. i took a cab up, but i was still late arriving as the roads had gone horridly icy and many vehicles found themselves spinning out. the snow had started to fall down a bit heavier late in the afternoon and by the time evening came it looked almost like we might get a blizzard tonight.

however, it's now well past midnight and the winds seemed to have calmed down a bit. darn it, it would have been nice to have gotten snowed in tomorrow, a scant 3 days after the first snowfall. and it would have given me an excuse to take my snowmobile out for a test drive ! :)

spent the rest of the evening fiddling with my latest mix of great tunes, many of which i acquired from mixes that i had traded for, including ones from salman, lipstick vogue, bingsy and salon.com. a bit of trimming of dead space, a bit of level-fiddling with an e.q. and endless re-arranging of the tracks later, and i think i have something worth posting to aotm. heck, it might even survive the onerous wake-up test, i.e. a mix that will continue to be able to wake me up after a week's worth of mornings (no easy task, that).

  • ip idiocy link of the day: james boyle comments on the fanatical efforts of WIPO to enact a new treaty dealing with ip issues related to broadcasting and webcasting
    First and most lamentably, 
    intellectual property laws are 
    created without any empirical 
    evidence that they are necessary 
    or that they will help rather 
    than hurt.  Second, the 
    policymaking process has failed 
    to keep track of the increasing 
    importance of intellectual 
    property rights to everything 
    from freedom of expression and 
    communications policy to economic 
    development or access to 
    educational materials.  
    
    We still make law as though it 
    were just a deal brokered between 
    industry groups  balancing the 
    interests of content companies 
    with those of broadcasters, for 
    example.  The public interest in 
    competition, access, free speech 
    and vigorous technological markets 
    takes a back seat.  What matters 
    is making the big boys happy. 
    Finally, communications networks 
    are increasingly built around 
    intellectual property rules, as 
    law regulates technology more and 
    more directly; not always to good 
    effect. 
    
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high-speed hijinks

Tuesday, 04OCT2005:

stayed quite late at work to make up for doing what seemed like squat during the day. when i left the office, i went straight to the gym just to shake off the lethargic feeling.

after that, i went home and installed my new high-speed modem that i had picked up earlier in the day. the setup was hassle-free and everything worked as advertised. it will be nice not to be tied to the 40 hour monthly limit, tho i have some concerns that i will go way beyond the download cap of 2 gigs. it was definitely nice to be able to talk on the phone with my brother in calgary and visit the websites that came up in our conversation in real-time.

i also had a nice chat with a pollster doing a survey on attitudes towards climate change. it was very funny to be able to answer all the 'hard' technical questions, i.e.:
  • what are some of the causes of climate change ?
    ANS: human industrial development, volcanoes, the water cycle, historical weather patterns;
  • do you think that anything you do personally will affect climate change ?
    ANS: nope. only international co-ordination will have any effect, and even then will merely moderate the rate of change rather than reverse it
and yet be unable to answer some of the 'simplest' questions due to bad assumptions made by the survey designers, i.e.:
  • which of the following vehicles do you drive - car, truck, SUV, boat, etc. ?
    ANS: none of the above (was not even included as an option)
  • would you consider purchasing compact fluorescent light bulbs that fit into standard fixtures ?
    ANS: i would if any stores in town actually stocked them !
found out at the end that the survey was being undertaken on behalf of natural resources canada to determine the awareness level of the public regarding their one-tonne challenge to have canadians reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by either the equivalent of one-tonne, or 20% of their current use.

  • ip link of the day: jonathan band's copyright analysis of the googleprint project.

    band posits that the leading decision that considered the fair use issues relating to search engine operations is Kelly v. Arriba Soft, 336 F.3d 811 (9th Cir. 2003). in that decision, the court analyzed 4 'fair use' factors to determine whether the image search engine violated copyright by copying images and making thumbnail versions available to web searchers. the court ruled the use by Arriba Soft would tend to drive web users to Kelly's site rather than away from it.

    in a similar fashion, the googleprint project would tend to drive web users towards the publishers and copyright owners of the library materials being scanned, rather than taking them elsewhere. thus, under u.s. law anyway, if the Arriba precedent is followed, the googleprint project would fall under the fair use provisions of the copyright act and would not be considered a violation of copyright.
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driving back and forth

Wednesday, 05OCT2005:

attended the first meeting of the local organizing committee for this year's banff mountain film festival tour that we plan to host next march. i volunteered to assist with the tech stuff again, but we're going to need a few more volunteers to work on the fundraising efforts for now.

after that, i hit the atm to pay my visa bill and then went back home to change into my broomball gear before heading over to the old arena.

broomball chronicle:

team white: mark, siobhan, jukipa
team black: julian, cindy, alistair, me

we played 3 on 3 for most of the game, but after team white had beaten team black down into submission with countless goals, team black brought their extra man onto the ice to try to even things up. that still didn't help them. jukipa's smart passing was added to the potent combination of mark's end to end rushes and pinpoint shots. siobhan's great position play kept the team black defenders chasing from one side of the rink to the other with little success.

however, the night was not a complete write-off for team white. julian scored the first goal of the night and being the speediest player on the ice, went on to score a few more besides. alistair and cindy held their own in their first appearances of the season, standing up in much better form than my own ragged showing last saturday. my accomplishment was managing to get my first goal of the season with a floppy shot that banked in off the post behind jukipa.

  • link of the day: the only way to change driving behaviour is to apply economic principles:
    It's not just that we choose to 
    drive a lot. We make residential 
    and other lifestyle decisions 
    based on an artificially low cost 
    of driving.  When someone buys a 
    big-ass house 62 miles from work 
    and nowhere near public transit, 
    they just assume that they can 
    commute every day on a free or 
    cheap road at 8:30 a.m.  The 
    reality is that for society at 
    large, that 124-mile round trip 
    commute is anything but free or 
    cheap.
    
    ...
    
    If you raise the price of 
    something, people use less of it. 
    So congestion pricing has 
    predictable effects: It will move
    some drivers to off-peak hours, 
    when tolls are lower; it will 
    encourage carpooling and public 
    transit; and in the long run, it 
    will encourage people to live in 
    places where they have to drive 
    less (and perhaps inspire 
    businesses to make smarter 
    location decisions).
    
    And remember, if we raise 
    additional revenue by making it 
    more expensive to drive, there is 
    no reason we can't cut taxes on 
    something else that we would like 
    to encourage -- like working.
    
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doesn't seem like work if you're having fun

Thursday, 06OCT2005:

jean had talked yesterday about having a poker game this week - turns out he was planning on hosting it tonight ! short notice, but with a bit of arm-twisting, we managed to get chris and janine to join us. we played tourney style which made me happy as it maximized my playing time while minimizing my losses.

the gameplay was pretty even for the first hour and a half with agressive betting from everyone but jean. no one built up a huge chip lead, but the short stack was never too close to extinction either. however, janine had other things to do tonight, so when the time came, she began to go all-in into every hand, and she did it blind. when she started this, she was the short stack, and i was first up to challenge her. however, her A-J beat out my suited K-J when the board didn't help either or us.

with her doubled up stack at my expense, janine took on chris next, but also beat him blind to become chip leader. when jean's turn to challenge her came around, he proved that she wasn't invulnerable and with his short stack, nipped a few chips from hers. the next round was the final one of the night for janine as chris and i both challenged her. i was short stack of the trio, but managed to eke out the best hand while chris took down the rest of janine's stack on the side pot.

with 3 players left, i began to go all-in occasionally after the flop to shake things up. chris was tempted many times, but didn't bite until he had a pair of pocket jacks and the flop came down 4-4-K. with his 2 pair, he called my all-in bet and shook his head in exasperation as i turned over a K-4. nothing on the board added to either of our hands so i took his chips which had only been 4 shy of my stack.

chris stuck around to deal as jean and i faced off. the final showdown went back and forth as we see-sawed between agressive and conservative betting. after another half an hour of play, tho, i pulled out a straight after the turn, and jean called my all-in bet. after that, i just had to wait it out as his stack was bled down by the blinds. compared to my last showing at the house of jean, i was understandably much happier with tonight's results.

  • link of the day: paul graham outlines what business can learn from blogging and open source
    I suspect professionalism was always
    overrated - not just in the literal
    sense of working for money, but also
    connotations like formality and  
    detachment.  Inconceivable as it 
    would have seemed in, say, 1970, I 
    think professionalism was largely a
    fashion, driven by conditions that
    happened to exist in the twentieth
    century.
    
    ...
    
    Those in the print media who dismiss
    the writing online because of its low
    average quality are missing an 
    important point: no one reads the
    average blog.  ... you can read 
    any writer you want.  So the average 
    quality of writing online isn't what 
    print media are competing against.  
    They're competing against the best
    writing online.
    
    ...
    
    Another thing blogs and open source
    software have in common is that 
    they're often made by people working
    at home.  That may not seem surprising.
    But it should be.  It's the 
    architectural equivalent of a home-made
    aircraft shooting down an F-18.
    
    ...
    
    Ironically, though open source and blogs 
    are done for free, those worlds resemble
    market economies, while most companies,
    for all their talk about the value of
    free markets, are run internally like
    communist states.
    
    ...
    
    So these, I think, are the three big 
    lessons open source and blogging have
    to teach business: 
    
    (1) that people work harder on stuff 
    they like,
    
    (2) that the standard office environment 
    is very unproductive, and
    
    (3) that bottom-up often works better 
    than top-down.
    
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friday revelations

Friday, 07OCT2005:

skipped out on tonight's press club meeting to attend a friday nite rehearsal. a couple of people couldn't make it, so we just did a quick read-thru of a couple of scenes. i volunteered to draft up a schedule of scenes / actor availability to see if that would help bella co-ordinate smaller group rehearsals.

after that, i ran over to the legion to pay for my 2006 membership (getting a sticker to qualify me for one of the early bird prize draws) and then went across the street to the nav to see if i could scarf a late supper. alas, they had closed up at 9, so i was a good half hour late. on my dejected way home, however, i noticed that the kamotiq still had its neon 'open' sign lit, so i decided to give it a shot.

so, i ordered a hamburger steak to go and gobbled it down as i watched some previews and behind the scenes videos from 'star wars: revelations'. while downloading the main event, tho, i scouted out my blog roll and gave my brother a call after reading his blog entry about his first texas hold-'em tourney. the lucky dog took home all the bacon on his first time out ! we'll see if it goes to his head ...

anyway, after that, i watched the 'revelations' fan flick. the special effects were definitely kewl, tho i'm not sure how well the storyline holds up - kind of like the official films, come to think of it. the one effect that i really noticed was that i had used up a quarter of my 2 gig monthly quota in less than 3 days. good thing i'll be down south for a few days this month or else i'd max out long before hallowe'en.

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happiness is *not* a sore back

Saturday, 08OCT2005:

broomball chronicle:

team white: JF, johann, kevin, dan, me
team black: mark, julian, alistair, jacques, christian

well, it was nice to get a 5 on 5 matchup going, at least until injuries took their toll. while team white snagged all 3 rookies, they performed with great mettle. 15 minutes in, i somehow gave myself back spasms while simply running down the ice. i still got a decent pass off to JF, but hobbled my way back over the center line. i played a few more minutes in net, making a glove deflection on one of mark's rockets (*ow*), but when the back pain didn't subside, kevin wisely kicked me off of the ice. team black was happy to send a man off to gain sub potential, but kevin's astounding theatrics in net negated their greater experience level and the teams closed off the first half in a scoreless tie.

the second half started off with a bang as JF managed to stuff in a quick goal in the first 2 minutes. team black quickly struck back as julian snipered a steep-angle shot from the side to ricochet off of the far post to get past kevin. even if he had missed, christian was standing right outside the crease, ready to bat it in. the extra man began to help team black as JF and johann began to tire from making end to end rushes. mark tried to deke out dan on one of his rushes but then spotted jacques sliding down his wing and passed him the ball. jacques wasted no time in scoring the go-ahead goal. with only a few minutes left, team white began to kick it up a notch, putting pressure on alistair in net, but the buzzer sounded before they could capitalize.

after some stretching and a shower, i decided to go up to the inukshuk high school tisi to take in the 'beats 4 eats' concert, a fundraiser for the iqaluit food bank. i figured that i would just find a seat and sit there to rest my back, but i ended up hobnobbing with folks all around the room instead. i missed the sets of molly, jennifer and andy, but did manage to catch the 'road to nowhere band' and 'higher ground', a local pentecostal gospel group.

after helping to put away the chairs and tables, i went to the storehouse for a round with heather, molly, jennifer, melissa and robert. when they talked about heading on to the astro to check out 'the constant gardener' followed by a trip to the legion, i was forced to beg out as my aching back was definitely not up for any further adventures that night.

  • happiness as a subject of academic study:
    Survival in a time of adversity 
    forged our brains into a 
    persistent mould.  Professor 
    Seligman says: "Because our brain 
    evolved during a time of ice, 
    flood and famine, we have a 
    catastrophic brain.  The way the 
    brain works is looking for what's 
    wrong. The problem is, that worked 
    in the Pleistocene era. It favoured 
    you, but it doesn't work in the 
    modern world."
    
    Although most people rate themselves 
    as happy, there is a wealth of 
    evidence to show that negative 
    thinking is deeply ingrained in the
    human psyche.  Experiments show that 
    we remember failures more vividly 
    than successes.  We dwell on what 
    went badly, not what went well. 
    When life runs smoothly, we're on
    autopilot  we're only in a state of 
    true consciousness when we notice the 
    stone in our shoe.
    
    ...
    
    At the Royal Institution, Nettle 
    explained how brain chemistry foils 
    our pursuit of happiness in the 
    modern world: "The things that you 
    desire are not the things that you 
    end up liking. The mechanisms of 
    desire are insatiable. There are 
    things that we really like and tire 
    of less quickly  having good friends, 
    the beauty of the natural world, 
    spirituality.  But our economic 
    system plays into the psychology of 
    wanting, and the psychology of liking 
    gets drowned out."
    

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