I just have one question.

I was reading Thomas Friedman’s column, Mother Nature’s Dow, in today’s New York Times and saw this:

“In our more recent global model simulations,” explained M.I.T., “the ocean heat-uptake is slower than previously estimated, the ocean uptake of carbon is weaker, feedbacks from the land system as temperature rises are stronger, cumulative emissions of greenhouse gases over the century are higher, and offsetting cooling from aerosol emissions is lower. Not one of these effects is very strong on its own, and even adding each separately together would not fully explain the higher temperatures. [But,] rather than interacting additively, these different effects appear to interact multiplicatively, with feedbacks among the contributing factors, leading to the surprisingly large increase in the chance of much higher temperatures.”

"Leading to the surprisingly large increase in the chance of much higher temperatures"? There’s a statement that says nothing useful at all. How large is the increase in the chance? How much was the chance to start with? How much higher temperatures? These questions are never answered.

I just have one question for all of these scientists who use these sophisticated models:

Please tell me what the temperature will be tomorrow, for the location of your choice.

Idon’t really expect an answer. I am supposed to believe that their models will predict 50 years from now, but I am absolutely sure that they won’t be able to predict tomorrow. We just don’t understand the climate well enough, and the best models have numerous variables that are basically guesses. I doubt that they could even predict last week’s weather.

But that all pales in comparison to this comment:

“Finally,” said Harvey, “we need a price on carbon.” Polluting the atmosphere can’t be free.

Just because somebody decides to call carbon a pollutant doesn’t make it so. A pollutant is harmful or poisonous. Something we exhale and plants require could hardly be termed a pollutant. Except in a world of doublespeak.

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Economy problems? Just raise taxes.

We read every day that the global economy is collapsing. I personally think that this is a bit of a media-created crisis, but there are problems with the economy nonetheless. Yet, in typical Canadian fashion, the government of the province of Ontario, Canada has decided that this is a good time to raise taxes:

Government sources confirmed last night that today’s budget will include plans to harmonize the 8-per-cent provincial sales tax with the 5-per-cent federal goods and services tax. The sources also confirmed that the government is taking the sting out of harmonization for consumers by exempting from the new blended sales tax many household goods that are not currently subject to provincial sales taxes.

The government that too Ontario from productivity and surplus to "have not" province has now decided that the best time to beat people is when they’re down – for their convenience. They promise they won’t beat you as much as they could have. But you’ll still pay more and get nothing in return.

Only in Canada you say? Pity.


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Why I don’t use MSN mobile alerts.

I carry an iPhone, so I have access to data any way I want it. I can call, email, Twitter, Skype, MSN, or anything else you can think of. But I thought it might be cool to have MSN mobile alerts on my phone. I was all set until I noticed this little item buried in the 4th paragragh down in the terms of use:

In addition, for each Info Alert that is sent to your mobile handset, you will be charged at a rate per message of 5 cents (taxes excluded), irrespective of whether the message was successfully received by you.

So in addition to my paid text messaging plan, my 6GB data plan, and their claim of free incoming text messages, they want to charge me another 5 cents per message, even if they don’t deliver it?

I have to admit it – Rogers has guts. No satisfied customers – but guts. And no mobile alerts for this customer.


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How connected to you have to be?

Mark Evans makes an excellent point:

In reality, many employees could easily operate just fine without a Blackberry. Rather than having mobile e-mail and the Web, they could use a basic phone to stay connected – just like the old days.

I work in high technology and have for most of my life. Yet I only bought my first smartphone – an iPhone – about six months ago because I wanted to develop for it.If I could survive in a ridiculously fast-paced business without a BlackBerry, then I’m guessing that about 90% of those that have them could also survive without them.

People just seem to have conditioned themselves to think that they need 24 hour access to their email. As a result, they’ve elevated even the simplest things to the level of "urgent", and probably magnified their overall stress level as a result.

I know what I want to get done each day. Email interruptions just keep me from accomplishing those tasks.

And seriously, does anyone actually believe that the city of Toronto functions that much better with BlackBerries? If so, how did its citizens ever put up with the poor service they received before? You remember, that time before the councillors were too busy playing with their phones to listen to citizens at council meetings.


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Bravado in the face of danger.

The Canadian Auto Workers (CAW) are sticking by their guns:

CAW president Ken Lewenza has said there is no way the union will give more to Chrysler than it gave to General Motors Canada in negotiations earlier this month.

Even if Chrysler is threatening to leave Canada:

A source familiar with Chrysler’s labour objectives said the company has already started considering "alternative locations with more competitive cost structures" for its Canadian operations, which include employ about 10,000 hourly workers at assembly plants in Brampton, Ont., and Windsor, Ont., and a casting plant in Toronto.

It seems that slightly lower pay would be better than no job at all, but that isn’t the way the union sees it.This is probably not the time to play a dangerous game of chicken. This isn’t courage on the part of the CAW; it’s bravado – a dare.

Only this time Chrysler isn’t going to blink.


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Protecting yourself is now a crime.

A local man, tired of crack addicts breaking into his room, set up a pretend trap:

Yesterday David Critchley, 41, pleaded guilty to mischief. He was originally charged with mischief endangering life for rigging up wires outside the door of his rooming house and outside his bedroom door to make it look like anyone who entered would get an electric shock.

He didn’t hook up the wires, but that doesn’t seem to matter:

Court heard the traps could have been dangerous if they were hooked up.

But they weren’t hooked up. They were for show only, to scare away potential intruders.

This gentleman has been the victim of repeated break-ins, so to protect his property he put up the equivalent of a "beware of dog" sign – not a real trap but a fake one. And for doing so he was punished with jail time.

Remember the days when we would have punished the criminals instead of the victim?

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Fiddling while Rome burns.

They can’t seem to keep the potholes filled, but it seems that the most pressing problem Canadian cities have is banning bottled water:

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has asked Canadian cities and towns to phase out the sale and purchase of bottled water on municipal property.

The oft-given reason is that these cities are worried about all those bottles ending up in landfills. But they apparently don’t share similar concerns about soda bottles. Perhaps bottled water hits a little closer to home – in the pocketbook:

The push for the ban comes from Kitchener Utilities, the city-owned enterprise that distributes water to households in the city. The utility takes in millions of dollars a year from the distribution of tap water to households.

So the decline in revenue seems to be more of a concern than the environment.And the cities often state that bottle water is no better than what comes out of the tap. Though in many cases, poor quality water has gone unreported by these same cities. And they clearly haven’t seen what comes out of my tap.

These cities should stick to the business of infrastructure. They should work on getting that right and leave matters of personal choice alone.

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Play the Bailout Game.

Frustrated that you aren’t getting your fair share (whatever that is) of the bailout money? Why not play "The BailoutGame"?

Congratulations! You have been assigned the task of saving the US – and by extension the global – economy. Make your way along the game board without getting caught by the recession – or worse.

Tip of the hat to Fighting for Taxpayers.


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