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Friday, October 26, 2007

How much rice is your vocabulary worth?

Find out at FreeRice.* Here is a litte quote from the site's About page:
FreeRice is a sister site of the world poverty site, Poverty.com.

FreeRice has two goals:

1. Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.


They may be optimistic — who can say? But it's an addictive little exercise. Give it a go.

*The link arrived in an email from a friend.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

[99] Lift Balloons

Okay, I made the 99 part up -- but seriously, a balloon carrying a solar telescope reached an altitude of almost 23 miles above the earth:*
The Sunrise project has presented engineers with a number of extraordinary challenges. The balloon is designed to carry 6,000 pounds of equipment, including a 1-meter (39-inch) solar telescope, additional observing instruments, communications equipment, computers and disk drives, solar panels, and roll cages and crush pads to protect the payload on landing. The equipment must be able to withstand dramatic changes in temperature, and the steel and aluminum gondola cannot vibrate in ways that could interfere with the operation of the telescope.
6,000 pounds!
This is the future of space travel.

Who needs rocket science?


*I found this via Sci Fi Tech.


Privacy Threats Video (and lawful access legislation)

Update: To get a feel for the direction in which lawful access legislation points us, watch PBS Frontline's "Cheney's Law." (Synopsis here.)

Michael Geist, author of the weekly column 'Law Bytes,' made the concluding remarks at the recent (end of September, 2007) International Data Protection and Privacy Commissioner's conference in Montreal. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has posted a video of those remarks on youtube.



Geist has been following the efforts of the Harper "government" [sarcastic quote marks inserted by me] to introduce "lawful access" legislation to Canada. The aim of lawful access appears to be to eradicate any notion or illusion of privacy we hold as citizens by giving law enforcement agencies to listen to any phone call and to requisition any and all data on the activities any ISP's subscribers with one phone call to the ISP. Here is a partial list of entries on Geist's site which deal with lawful access.

Watch the video, read up on lawful access. Help find a way to stop this erosion of our rights as Canadian citizens. Booting Harper and his Bush-licking conservatives out of office would be a good way to start.