Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Is the world a safer place because of the war on Iraq?

There is but one week remaining until the US election. Man, I wish
could vote. Frankly, I feel that this election is much more important
to the world than it is to the US - and that is unnerving. Someone
made a point to me that since this election affects so many people,
maybe everyone in the world should get a vote... an interesting idea,
and one in which I can see the merit.

Regardless, there a lot of blogs on this site that offer great insight
as the US election approaches. Here are my two favourite:

http://www.quotidianmeander.blogspot.com/
http://davejustus.blogspot.com/
(If you have the time, please check them out. Both insightful people
who will shed some light on the left or right side of this issue)

Each have some strong points to consider. But frankly, I'm sort of
getting away from the left-right debate and thinking about it in more
of an immediate sense:

-Is Bush lax (and backtracking) on making environmental progress? Yes

-Is Bush addicted to fossil fuels? Yes (the man wants to drill in
Arctic Wildlife Preserve, for god sake! There's no end to his
addiction.)

-Is Bush a christian fundamentalist trying hard to disguise his utter
distaste for things non-God? Oh yeah. His social policies would be
back in the 50s if the US people were just a little more on his side.

-Did Bush lie about his motives for the Iraq war? Yes

-Did the war on Iraq accomplish what it was sent out to do? Debatable,
but we can all agree that it's a mess now.

-Is the world a safer place because of the war on Iraq? No - and this
is the clincher. Hard-core righties might suggest that Hussein might
have eventually put some sort of attack together against the US (and
a lot of us might say that this is because being scared of 'terror' is currently all the rage).

In reality, Hussein knew that the sh!t would hit his fan
if he ever pulled something on the US, and he'd be screwed. And so...
what is the result of this war? I'd argue that hatred of the US (as
Bill Maher has pointed out) internationally is at an all-time high,
and people now have more incentive than ever to drop a bomb on or mail
some Anthrax to the US.

Bush has created this culture of fear in the US, and the result is a
culture of hatred for the US internationally. Fear and hatred do not
make the world a safer place.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Your geographic fact for today

Did you know that during the Precambrian Era (of geologic history,
between 4.6 billion and 570 million years ago), when the Canadian
Shield was being formed, there existed a mountain range that was over
12,000 metres high? In contrast, Mt. Everest is 8,848 metres high.

Pretty cool, huh?

Today, much of the Canadian Shield has been eroded and scraped away by
glaciers during the last ice age such that the bedrock is now exposed.
Hence the great many lakes in Canada throughout the mid-northern
latitudes.

And each of those lakes is teeming with child-sized mosquitoes just
waiting to drain your precious, precious blood.

Anybody who has canoed in Ontario knows what I'm talking about.

Saturday, October 23, 2004

"Shorties, and the act of popping them"

In grade 7, I was an akward, skinny, unconfident boy starting at a new
school. I didn't know anybody. But that year I would meet someone
who would be my close friend - and remains so to this day.

Jason is a unique character. Unique in the only sense of the word.
Not "really unique," "kinda unique," "truly unique," or even "very
unique." He is unique. He is a big, strong man with a soft heart and
a propensity for doing things that are kinda dumb but funny all at the
same time. To know him is to know that he's smart, but he does stupid
things. He is not a scatterbrain, but he is in no way what I would
call a responsible person.

Two days ago, I found out that he and his wife were having a baby.
Although congratulations were in order, I was in a state of awe.

So I wrote another long-time (and mutual) friend, Mark. I asked him
about what he thought of the baby, and here's what he wrote. I
consider this email a classic.

"If you're talking about shorties, and the act of popping them, I knew
from the get go. Here is something that is going to sound trippy...
It may even blow your mind and resign you to an institution...The
sheer magnitude of the following statement may turn your world
inside-out, reverse the effects of gravity, spiral us all through a
black hole and into another dimension where it is cold in the summer,
it rains coffee, and there are no such thing as manhole covers..After
pondering this statement it will be as if you are constantly looking
through rose colored sunglasses...

JASON BAKER IS GOING TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR A HUMAN BEING OTHER THAN HIMSELF.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

Mark

ps: I hope it's a boy so I can fight him."

I thought you'd enjoy that.

And the funny thing is, I think Jason is going to be a good father.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

How to win the war on terror

(I'm on fire today, let me tell you.)

In the most recent poll, Kerry has a current 49% of popular vote, Bush
46%. But 17% of those are undecided, and more than half of the 17%
think that Bush is more capable of protecting the country and winning
the war on terror.

You're the president of the US, and you want to win the war on terror?
Sit down at the UN and say, "I'm sorry for invading Iraq. I'm sorry
for providing clandestine support for Israel. I'm sorry for funding
Afghan forces, who then became an oppressive government that I had to
invade. I'm sorry for consuming as much oil as I do, and dragging the
world into a state of chaos because I need that oil. Most of all, I'm
sorry for being so god damn arrogant as to think that I never need
take advice from the other intelligent citizens of the world. Heck,
I'm just sorry."

That'll go a long way towards fixing this f*cking mess.

I love David Suzuki (most of the time)

This is a letter that I wrote to U of Ottawa' student newspaper (The
Fulcrum) in response to a David Suzuki piece. I thought you might
like to read it:


Dear Fulcrum,

thanks for the insightful little piece on David Suzuki - who we all
should appreciate. I remember watching an episode of The Nature of
Things where Suzuki (and others) canoed down the Nahanni River. At
supper, he gloriously chomped away on his chicken breast. This might
not seem strange, but for an active, informed environmentalist, eating
meat is just another way humans are destroying the planet.

Raising livestock is an inherently inefficient process. As studies
have proven, it takes anywhere from five to 10 kilograms of vegetable
protein, when fed to livestock, to produce one kilogram of animal
protein. Essentially, North Americans are growing healthful,
fibre-rich grains and cycling them through animals to produce a
smaller quantity of fatty, fibre-lacking animal proteins. The
practice is akin to taking 10 litres of fresh water, pouring it down
the sewer, and then only having one litre of dirty water to drink.

Due to this inefficient process, huge amounts of natural resources are
used to produce the grains that feed the animals, and for the animals
themselves - from growing the grains, transporting the grains to the
feedlots, feeding the animals, transporting the animals to the
slaughterhouse, operating the killing floor, and trucking the meat to
the grocery stores. Fossil fuels, clean water, and land are all being
consumed at an alarming rate due to livestock production and
consumption.

Consider these figures:
-To produce the meat for the diet of one North American for one day,
about 1000 litres of water is required. For a vegetarian, about 200
litres is required.
-The energy required to produce just one fast food hamburger is the
same as that required to drive a car 25 kilometres.
-Livestock animals are the single biggest polluter of our water
supplies; in North America, the total amount of excrement from these
animals is a staggering 130 times that of the population.
-In the United States, 87% of agricultural land and an incredible 45%
of total land is used for livestock production.
-The world's cattle consume the equivalent caloric needs of 8.7
billion people, more than Earth's current tally. It could thus be
argued that eating meat contributes to hunger in developing nations.

North Americans have no idea the effort required to bring a pork chop
to their table. Our society is disconnected - now more than at any
other time in our history - from how we harvest and produce our food.
The amount of resource waste and pollution is astounding.

Most people who consider themselves environmentalists will
passionately defend recycling and public transit, but will never stop
to consider how their diet affects their ecology. Eating animals is
just about the worst thing that everyday consumers do to contribute to
a polluted planet, and so I was surprised to see eco-champion David
Suzuki chowing down on his chicken. I would hope that anyone who
takes their environmental stance seriously would do their own research
on the issue.

How many times must I test this blog?

Not enough, apparently.

R.I.P and C.A.R.

Today I saw something weird. In a highschool parking lot, no less.

As I was walking to my (old) car, I saw a pimped-up Honda Civic, with
ground effects, decals, and a big-ass spoiler.

However, one interesting thing was the decal imprinted on the driver's
side window:

R.I.P.
In memory of Jay
1979-2000

Clearly, the owner of said car wanted to honor his lost friend. The
cynic in me wondered how this friend (who himself had befriended
someone who wants to pimp up a Civic) would have died, and if it would
have involved drugs or guns.

But then a part of me - buried deep, having receeded, something like
those genes that no longer function because we have evolved past their
use (the name of which I forget, so email me if you know it) -
wondered....

Cars are often used as expression of self. Sometimes, they are used
as an over-expression of self. Regardless of my feelings on the
matter of people needing to affiliate and demonstrate their self-ness,
I couldn't help be touched that this individual - who takes his vehicle
pretty seriously - wanted to honor his friend's memory on his car. It
was a sad thing.

(See, I'm not always on a rant)

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

This is only a test

Do not press the "initiate war on terror" button. This is only a test.

The powerlessness of reason

And I know you know what I'm talking about before I even talk about it.

When you're discussing something with somebody, and you've done your research, and you dazzle them with facts, logic, an appeal to humanity's (rapidy dwindling) moral decency.

And in the end, they say, "I see your point. It makes a lot of sense. But I'm still going to believe in what I believe in." Why? "Just because."

OK, then.

I've come to feel that it's my job in life to get people thinking about things they've never considered before. It's my Jenny's job to get me to do it in a non-caustic way. We'll see how the progression goes.