Thursday 25 July 2013

Working in Ottawa today --Free trade, locked up citizens

Be afraid, be very afraid.

But first an apology.  I really set up my readers, last week a satirical (and dammed funny according to you) look at home reno and self help TV shows and then this week, BAM! Back to scary political shit.

Under way right now are negotiations that will sell your soul to the multinational corporations or at the very least sell away all of your rights to privacy, anonymity, and perhaps even your freedom.  Oh yeah, and guarantee profit to corps when they can't pursue activity because its been ruled as dangerous to the environment or human health.. boo hoo.

The TPP.  The Trans Pacific Partnership is a 12 nation free trade and corporate rights partnership spearheaded by the U.S. and includes Canada, Australia, Japan, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.

Interesting it is called a trade agreement but only 2 or 26 chapters of negotiation have to do with trade, the rest deal with things like the criminalization of copyright infringement.  Also things like holding ISP executives (like me) criminally liable for customer and third party content and copyright infringement.  Wouldn't it be nice to lock me up because customer Billy threatens his ex-wife in an email where he also included a jpeg of Itchy and Scratchy?

I suppose holding ISP accountable is cheaper than dealing with the root issues of copyright infringement of Intellectual Property which is that the movie houses and other content producers have failed business models and although they pay no property tax on IP, they want the cops (funded by prop. tax) to chase down infringers (see: .  ISP executives are easy to find, society can just hold them accountable and have them develop (and pay for?) systems to stop copyright infringement and let Disney benefit from 120 years of copyright protection (yeah, the TPP provides for even more years of protection).  

Is 120 years enough?  I mean without 120 years of copyright protection we risk actors saying, "oh the hell with this, why should I act if someone can copy me in 70 years!".  Same thing with poets and musicians. :p

Carefull if little Johnny starts drawing crayon pictures of Mickey Mouse, that blantant disregard for the intellectual property rights of Disney can land him straight into Juvie!

To continue.. The TPP would eclipse the current the North America Free Trade agreement and constrain democracy in the interests of the multinationals.  We are already seeing this with the secret negotiations by Harper and what remaining staff he has (lost a few to resignations lately :).  The Canadian trade negotiator has stated that he would not say how the agreement will cause changes to Canadian laws.

This is a very dangerous treaty that will impose a corporate globalization on Canadians without a single vote from the electorate.  The TPP will allow the transfer of your private information including banking and tax data without regard to our current privacy laws.

I cannot stress enough how much Canadians should be against this selling off of your rights to the U.S. and the multinationals all so the U.S. can block China into a corner and impede alternative and sustainable laws and business models.

Have a good day.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Working in Montréal today --Girl mad as hell!

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Montréal today.

National Post front page story:  Girl 'mad at wind'.   Isabelle Webster is mad as hell and she isn't going to take it anymore!  3 year old Isabelle and her family left their home in Regina on Monday and on their return later that day Isabelle found that her playhouse assembled in the yard had been blown apart by the wind.

Was it the actions of the big bad wolf? The Wicked Witch of The North? Nope.. according to the story a tornado, albeit quite localized, may have been the culprit.  The girl's father takes it all in stride and promised to rebuild what was a $300 kit house from Costco.

TV's Mike Holmes however isn't quite so relaxed, claims that this is the result of unlicensed builders not following the building code and risking the safety of the occupant's lives and those in neighbouring communities..  "The gov'ts need to step up to the plate and crack down on these unlicensed, uncertified weekend builders before someone is killed!  Come on now!".

Holmes assessed the damage to the one room playhouse and explained that the main house will also have to be torn down as there was some loose shingles and an unknown amount of internal damage.  The girl's father has protested Mike's decision and has blocked the access road to his property.

"I don't know who this Mike guy is, but his workers have started demolishing my house!  There is nothing wrong with it, it wasn't even touched!"

Not to be outdone by Holmes and his crew, Ty Pennington and his band of hammer wielding TV personalities from Extreme Makeover had a tear filled interview with Isabelle where she explains, "I'm mad, somebody broke my house.".

Ty has secured corporate sponsorship to build Isabelle a new 5000 sq ft multilevel playhouse with an indoor pool, game room, music studio and live petting zoo.   Ty explained, "this little girl and her family have gone through so much already, it just breaks our heart to see her standing out among the rubble of her once beautiful home.  She and her parents need our help, they deserve our help.".

Isabelle's father has pleaded with local authorities to have the TV crews removed, that he will fix up the playhouse and repair the loose shingles.

The local authorities efforts were thwarted when late in the day Gail Vaz-Oxlade arrived. "Well it's no wonder that Isabelle has got her self into troubles, she been relying on her parents to pay her bills and hasn't even started paying back the $300 for her house or saving anything for her retirement!" .. "If she continues this way, in a few years she will be half a million dollars in debt."

Isabelle stood her ground against Gail and explained she was only 3 and likes jelly beans.

Have a good day.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

Do It Yourself Soda Water Carbonation

Daniel's Soda-Water Machine

I drink a lot of carbonated water.   I enjoy the fiz and the bubbles bouncing off of my tongue.  Don't judge me, it is the way that I am.

What I don't like is filling our Blue Box Recycle bins with plastic bottles or aluminum cans after a binge night of hitting the ol' bubbly.  So.. I decided to make my own bubbly and reuse PET bottles.  Poly-Ethylene Teraphthalate, those clear or green, rarely blue plastic bottle that soft drinks are sold in.

Now one can buy a machine to make soda water, but these tend to require non-standard CO2 cartridges or tanks that are expensive to buy or refill, or worse.. disposable.  So I decided to make.

This is a practical DIY item, similar to my Homemade Geiger Counter from January 2010.

This is my new Water Carbonator.  I slowly gathered the requisite parts over the last year.  Bought the 7 1/2 lb CO2 bottle last year, then the regulator, then the food grade beverage tubing, ball lock connector and finally the ball lock connector -> PET bottle cap adapter.

Caution to others: do not use reinforced tubing.  You really want the tubing to be the weak component.  In the event of a defective regulator dumping 900 PSI into your line, a split tubing line is a non-event in the safety world, whereas an exploding PET bottle will effectively redefine for you the words 'exciting' and 'shrapnel'.

I have seen others where the maker used a tire chuck at the end of the tubing instead of a ball lock connector and set tire fill Schraeder valves into PET bottle caps.  Problem with that is the black rubber seal bits breakdown and can end up in your water (ew).  Also, the tire air chuck and valve stem are not made of food grade metals.. also (ew).

Ambient air == no fun, squeeze it out!
The ball lock connector is the standard for connecting a CO2 supply to beverages, what was tough was finding an adapter to connect a PET bottle to a ball lock connector.

Fortunately a company in the U.S. makes just such an adapter. Search the web for Carbonator Cap PET and you should find any number of online suppliers willing to sell you one for anywhere between $12 and $20.  The come in red or blue.  You usually do not have a choice. I like the blue.

To use: Fill a PET bottle with dammed cold water.  You can use kinda cold water, but you will fail at getting much fiz.  You can take my word for it or Le Chateleir's Principal.  "When a chemical system at equilibrium experiences a change in concentration, temperature, volume, or partial pressure the equilibrium shifts to counter the imposed change and a new equilibrium is established".

Remember in school when you asked your Physic's prof why you needed to learn this stuff and when would you ever need it?  This is why and magically also the when.  Water down at near freezing will absorb CO2 at the most successful rate.  I caution that if using 0 degrees Celsius water that you use CO2 pressure at less PSI then warmer water levels since the PET bottle pressure will increase dramatically should that bottle be left on a room temp counter.

Carrying on..  squeeze the bottle to force out the ambient air mixture as nitrogen and oxygen will interfere with our process.   Attach the PET bottle adapter and give the bottle one last squeeze as you press down on the valve on the adapter to 'burp' out any remaining air.

CO2 absorption
Now the FUN!  Connect the ball lock connector to the PET adapter and open your CO2 supply line.  I have set my regulator here to 25 PSI.  Others recommended 10 PSI and others 40.  I figured 25 was a good starting point.  As the pressurized CO2 is applied, the bottle immediately inflates and a shaking motion back and forth allows the water to surface contact the CO2 and absorbs it.

How much CO2 can be absorbed is limited by Henry's Law.  That law states: "At a constant temp, the amount of a given gas that dissolves in a given type and volume of liquid is directly proportional to the partial pressure of that gas in equilibrium with that liquid".  The more pressure, the more will be absorbed.

Continue to shake for 30 seconds.. rest for 30 shake.. for a couple of minutes.  There is no set routine, really damn cold water will take on CO2 faster than cold and surface area is a factor.  The nice thing about this set up is that I can deliver constant CO2 pressure to the solution whereas the air chuck guys need to keep topping up their bottles during the shake and dance phase.  DO NOT allow your solution to flow up your line.  That would be bad form as you would contaminate your line with your beverage.  Not a huge deal when just carbonating water, but messy when you start to make your own fizzy lemonade or gin :)

Let the bottle rest for a bit under pressure, and then release the ball lock connector.  You need not close the regulator exit barrel valve (the small red lever pointing straight down in the open position in the pics above) prior to releasing the ball lock, the ball lock will maintain line pressure all by itself.  But if you are done for the day, then close your main tank valve.

Put in the fridge with the PET bottle adapter in place for an hour or so to complete the carbonation and then remove the PET bottle adapter and replace the PET bottle cap, toss back in the fridge.  That's it.  Enjoy your bubbly!

Thursday 11 July 2013

Working in Ottawa today --mmmm duck

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Ottawa today.

Early warning..  the next few paragraphs may have a blah blah blah effect, a bit of math, some chemistry and a tiny reference to an element on the periodic table (hanging out between Phosphorus and our friend Chlorine).  But fear not.. If you can hang on a bit I promise to thinly spread a pâté of duck liver across the known universe, and maybe even a few others.

I recently came across the description of a [pseudo] scientific paper titled:  Extreme homeopathic dilutions retain starting materials: A nanoparticulate perspective, after  I finished coughing out the word 'bullshite' I read the synopsis "demonstrated for the first time by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction and chemical analysis by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy (ICP-AES), the presence of physical entities in these extreme dilutions" at this point my eye rolled completely over.

In effect, the authors were claiming that despite Homeopathic dilutions that exceed the point where NONE of the active ingredient exists, the active ingredient still has an effect.  Essentially stating that if you dissolved a pinch of your special salt in the ocean (and then shook the ocean), that you could detect the effect of your pinch of salt.  And therefore should be able to sell small bottles of the sea water to others so that they too can enjoy the effect of your special salt.  Perhaps others that are painfully unaware of the definition of placebo or its effect but still have a few dollars in their pocket.

Let's examine Homeopathic dilutions.  But first an extremely short description of Homeopathy.  The Latin roughly translates to 'like suffering' and the general premise is to cure a cough, you should treat the patient with something that results in coughing but in very low doses.  Essentially treating the symptom with a symptom producing drug.  Got a large stick in your eye causing pain?  Put a small sliver into it too. Huh?  Yeah, but when you consider that it got its start in the very late 1700s and western medicine was using blood letting and dirty surgical instruments, it doesn't sound that bad.

Now then.. the low doses.  Written on each Homeopathic dilution is a number and either a X or a C.  This describes the dilution into water, alcohol or lactose at a 1:10 ratio and shaken, and then for each C value dilute 1:100 and shake (perhaps to music and disco lights?).  A 30C dilution of Sulphur is a solution that has been diluted 30 times over by this process and results in a dilution of 10^-60.  That is a really extreme dilution to the point that if you gathered up all of the bottles of solution ever made of 30C sulphur, it is unlikely that you would encounter a single atom.  It is extremely convenient that the doses are actually non-doses since many Homeopathic drugs are quite toxic.

I read that the standard dilution of Oscillococcinum which is some extract made from duck liver and duck heart.  It is sold at 200C dilution or 10^-400.  A gentle reminder.  There are a mere 10^80 particles in the universe.  When I first heard of this particular remedy I wondered about the donor duck.  As you would only need one duck liver diluted with all particles of our universe plus several others universes.

And then it all came together in a Eureka moment.  If the Homeopaths are right,  then vibrations of the duck ARE imparted into the solution, they are imparted into everything!  You need not pay good money for the solution but merely close your eyes and allow your self to accept the good vibrations of that magical duck that must by all Homeopathic definitions be everywhere, throughout this universe and those parallel.

have a good day, enjoy the duck.

Thursday 4 July 2013

Working in Montréal today --Walk like an Egyptian

Good morning folks,

I will be working in Montréal today.

Out of one pan into another or just right into the fire?  Egypt traded one dictator for another tin pot and then were surprised when they discovered they had a dictator although I don't know why.

Mubarak ran a secular dictatorship and apparently back in 2011 the most vocal of Egypt's citizenry thought that trading that for a theocracy would be a better idea.  It wasn't and I don't think that it ever is.

Now please don't misunderstand me, secular is not synonymous for good and pure, rather a dictatorship is a dictatorship is a dictatorship, although with a secular one you can generally at least count on the motivations to be good old fashioned greed and lust for control and power.  

The theocracies though are a handful. The motivations are still generally greed and power hunger, but they do it in the name of a giant invisible guy that lives in the sky with complicated and indecipherable rules, unclear motivation and a petty animosity towards gays and poets and women's hair.

The problem with all forms of gov't is that those in the execute office love to overstep their role and boundaries.  The executive branch of gov't is to execute the administration of the country.  Someone has to do it.  You can't ask the judiciary, they are busy interpreting laws and their application to events.  You can't ask the law makers, be it Parliament or Congress, House of Lords or House of Commons (every country tends to have some form of law proposing and passing) their job is to represent the districts to the gov't, the politics and ethos to the people and to pass laws, resolutions and regulation.

The executive is to go out and do it.  Unfortunately, the executive is also there to provide leadership which provides ample opportunity to lead a gov't and a peoples down  oppressive paths.


So Morsi failed the people's expectations but totally satisfied mine.  I was as leery of a Muslim Brotherhood political party as I would of a Christian Brotherhood political party or a Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu, Sikh or Flying Yogic(remember them?).

What remains to be seen is how Egypt moves forward.  The military coup had huge potential for disaster, always bad when a General takes the executive chair since they are used to dictating orders to the ranks and having them followed to the letter.  But in this case the military installed a non military interim executive, chief justice of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Adli Mansour.

Mansour has some immediate challenges before him, repair the constitution, bring about some calm to the conflicts that have escalated in the last day between local factions and see to a new election that hopefully will result in less theocracy and more good gov't.

Have a good day.