Saturday, October 27, 2012

Seven Quick Takes: Spit-Take Edition

--- 1 ---
As it turns out, Mongkut is a bit of a mug. I was nervous of him a bit at first, because he was exhibiting a tendency to flare at the walls of his ten-gallon tank, and was reluctant to eat the food I was intent to feed him. Now he eats voraciously and is rather placid. I'm considering getting him some other tankmates once I solve a few small financial problems. 
In other fishy news, I'm pleased to announce that the test program has been a success, and that it seems highly likely I'll continue doing fish profiles on a semi-regular basis, with research time and writing time permitting. I have a small laundry-list of fish that I want to get through, all of which are common in the hobby but seem to be commonly misunderstood as well. Fish are alive too, and for some reason nobody is upset when a fish only lives "a year or two" as opposed to when a dog dies as a puppy. It's one of those things I've had a hard time understanding ever since I started to take the hobby seriously. I wonder if I can parlay my knowledge on the subject into a way to pay the rent?

--- 2 ---
Speaking of rent, a few of you have noticed the low post-count around here - for that, I obstinately apologize. I'm actually incredibly busy, between nearly full-time hours at one job, flagging hours at a second job, and trying to find a room-mate. By day's end, whether I get home early or not, I simply have no energy left to write with and very little left to say.

--- 3 ---
Yesterday (or maybe it was the day before, now. It's a blurr.), a man killed himself on a well-traveled overpass here in town. He jumped over the side-rail in an attempt to hang himself with some kind of a wire. It caused a five-car pile-up on a major thoroughfare and quite a bit of a stir, as you can imagine. Whenever I hear of news like this, I wonder what can be so serious as to push a person to suicide, and then I remember that it doesn't have to be serious. Brain chemistry just works like that, which makes these cases all the sadder. Nothing left to do but pray for the victims.

Please familiarize yourself with the suicide hotline for your area and be prepared to help your friends and family if they start showing signs of suicidal thought or behavior. Our lives are not remotely so dire that suicide is ever the only, or even the right, way out.

--- 4 ---
The F-35 fighter jet has been a matter of considerable consternation lately: whether or not DND followed proper procedure when deciding to purchase the jet has been a major thorn in the side for the ruling Conservative Party and is landing Defense Minister Peter McKay in quite a bit of trouble. It's actually rather amusing to watch. The latest development: Public Works is auctioning out a contract for a company to investigate whether or not there was wrongdoing.

Uh, guys? That's what we pay you to do. What's it say for Canada when I'm pretty certain Canadians are going to trust the company doing the investigation to do a better job than the people we actually pay to do the investigating would have?

Arctic Soveirgnty is a pretty big deal. We need those jets, or else the Americans (God alone knows why) and the Russians are going to carve up all points north of Alert for themselves. Not that I'm an expansionary thinker by any stretch, but there's expanding going on in my neighborhood and, well, Her Majesty deserves a slice.

--- 5 ---
A US study says that organic food does surprisingly little to help kids... perhaps that is because USDA organic, as a certification, only requires the absence of four chemicals. The EU certification requires (as I recall it) some 214 checks... I wonder if there's better results in Europe.

--- 6 ---
A few federal departments are hunting around for a place to store spent nuclear fuel. Being a bit of a nuke enthusiast given my fascination with physics and chemistry, I'm given to wonder... why not replace our old, messy coal plants with a few new Liquid Flouride Thorium Reactors? The darned things run on waste, and I am almost sure a proper nuke engineer could make them just as safe as the current generation of CANDU reactors.

In the absence of widespread wind and tidal power generation in the Great White North, I will gladly take an increase of nuclear power and decrease of fossil-fuel fired power plants over the opposite. Nuclear power is safe so long as we are willing to spend on it properly. Chernobyl was poorly designed by the Soviets and Fukishima was inexplicably placed on the coastline in a country with frequent tsunamis.

--- 7 ---
On top of everything else that's going on, I'm going to have to replace my bathroom ceiling. That should make finding a room-mate super duper easy, nicht war?

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  1. Her Majesty does not deserve a slice in any degree. In fact, her very existence is a waste of tax, and goes against the democracy and equality of people. It's stupid as why Canada even sings the God Save the Queenin public ceremony. We are freaking independent, and we must respect the Quebec people who got drafted on WW1 and 2, under the name of British Empire.

    1. Well, ignoring for the moment the fact that the Queen is our De Jure head of state, I didn't get into this to start an argument over the monarchy. Personally, I have no real position on the issue - I prefer my nation a constitutional monarchy if only because I don't think a constitutional amendment changing our head of state would pass, and if only because it's a rich part of our national heritage. The Quebecois aside, of course.

      For the record, Canadian tax dollars only pay for royal events in Canada. They don't go to personal income or to royal residences apart from those in Canada - see here.

      To say that a constitutional monarchy goes against democracy and equality of the people is to say that using mermaids as figureheads goes after men's rights. It's just tradition. The Dominion's 145 years old, the constitution was repatriated 30 years ago, and since repatriation and long before the whims of the royal family have not been so much of a factor in Canadian politics. Her Majesty and her representatives the Governors Lieutenant and General cost the nation next to nothing, and in exchange we don't lose sight of where we came come.

      You want to foster democracy and equality of the people? Push for electoral reform, not history lessons. I have no more problem singing God Save the Queen than singing O Canada.

      And, for the record, Canadian Troops fought under Canadian command in WW2, not the command of the British Empire. There's a difference between being allies within the Commonwealth than being a protectorate or serf-state.