Forgive this test post please.

2011-03-15 Leave a comment
Cathedral_city-palm_desert-201

I'm reconfiguring my posting tools for my blog, Twitter and Facebook. I'm trying to simplify this a bit for myself. This is just a test post to make sure everything is working.

Here's a picture of where I was last week, for fun.

Categories: Neat Geek Stuff

Edmonton Needs Help With Its Premiere Aquatic Facility Plans

2011-02-17 2 comments

In Edmonton, the best aquatic sports facility we have is the Kinsmen Sports Center. It was built in 1968, and played host to the aquatic sports during the 1978 Commonwealth Games. It used to be the home to the most powerful swim club and some of the best swimmers in the country.

It has been a sad slow progression over the past thirty years from the Kinsmen being a premiere high-performance sport facility to one that the City prefers to be used as a public swimming pool for kids and families. The Kinsmen is the only facility in Edmonton suitable for hosting high-performance swimming competitions, and it is the best training facility for aquatic sport clubs in Alberta. The city has a dismal record in recent years of servicing those groups, however, and instead caters preferentially to recreational use. Edmonton has a history of producing world-class swimmers, divers and synchronized swimmers, but that legacy will remain history if the city does not take a more active role in servicing competitive sporting organizations.

The Kinsmen is the only facility we have that is designed for competitive aquatic sports. Let the city’s high-performance clubs use it for that, and encourage the pubic to make use of the city’s other pools for recreation, or build a dedicated recreational pool along side of the Kinsmen.

The city should also give more time to swim clubs at the new Terwillegar pool, and stop preventing swim club access to that facility with the misguided intent of preventing clubs from competing with the city’s swimming lesson programs.

The only alternative is to kiss Edmonton’s storied history of national champion and Olympic swimmers and divers goodbye.

You can weigh in on the City’s plans for the Kinsmen on the Transforming Edmonton website. They have a survey open from February 16 -25 that you can fill out as well. Details of the City of Edmonton’s Master Planning process for the Kinsmen are available here.

Categories: Editorial, Swimming

Canadians need to speak out on Copyright Reform

2011-01-17 Leave a comment

The Canadian Copyright reform bill, Bill C-32, is getting close to the end of the legislative process. There is one final opportunity for Canadians to speak their minds on the bill by sending email to the Bill C-32 Legislative Committee at CC32@parl.gc.ca before the end of January.

This bill is important for culture, education, and consumer rights in Canada, so if you have an opinion on the bill, please send an email expressing your views to the committee.

Law Professor Dr. Michael Geist from the University of Ottawa has some good resources explaining the issues around the bill on his website. Go there to understand the bill and the discussion around it.

Here’s what I sent to the committee.

To the Bill C-32 Legislative Committee:

While I appreciate legislative reform for Canada’s copyright law is necessary, I oppose the digital locks provisions in the proposed Bill C-32 as written. It must not be an infringement for citizens to circumvent or remove digital locks for the purposes of fair dealing. By including such a provision, fair dealing in the Bill is trumped by the desires of the content publishers. The digital lock provisions in the final Bill should be clarified so that circumvention of a digital lock is only an infringement if it is for the express purpose of copyright infringement. This protects publishers and businesses that depend on revenue from content publication, but does not allow those businesses to jeopardize education, culture, and consumer rights by restricting fair dealing.

Thank you for your work in this matter and for your consideration of the best interests of all Canadians.

Categories: Editorial Tags:

Another Blow to Anti-vaccine Nuts

2011-01-05 Leave a comment

It’s time for another update about anti-vaccine kooks. Happily this will be the first positive one I get to write.

Last year, the father of the Anti-vaccine nut-brigade, Andrew Wakefield, a former doctor from the UK, who wrote the deeply flawed paper that claimed a link between vaccines and autism, had his paper retracted as unethical and erroneous by the journal Lancet, which originally published it. He had his medical license revoked in the UK for incompetence, unethical research, and conflicts of interest related to the paper.

In 2011, after a thorough investigation, he is being accused of deliberate fraud in fabricating the link between vaccines and autism. The investigations have shown that first, he had created his own, competitive vaccine for MMR that he wanted to have supplant the widely used one at the time, and second, he was paid upwards of a million dollars by predatory lawyers to “find” a danger in the vaccine to provide an opportunity for major lawsuits.

According to the investigators, it appears that his paper was deliberately fabricated to create fear and distrust of the MMR vaccine for his own financial gain. This should be the last nail in the coffin of the credibility of Andrew Wakefield, and hopefully also for the misguided belief a lot of people have in the anti-vax movement. Wakefield still has a chance to be a hero, take the fall for his alleged unethical behaviour, admit he lied, and completely discredit the anti-vax movement, but I predict he won’t show that much character.

As a result of the recent events, if you know all this, and you still haven’t gotten your kids vaccinated, I think you are behaving dangerously negligently, and you are not just endangering the lives of your kids, but everyone they come into contact with. Get it done. There’s no reason not to and every reason to do it. Stop listening to idiot b-list celebrity anti-vaxxers, and start listening to real medical professionals.

Categories: Editorial

Matched Last Year’s Bike Commuting

2010-11-02 2 comments

It’s taken a while, and I’m into November again, but I’ve matched my bike commuting total from last year. I hadn’t ridden in a couple of weeks due to work being really busy, but I decided to ride today. At the beginning of November here, sunrise is at about 08:35, and sunset is at 18:00. That means the whole commute to work is in the dark, and it will be after sunset before I get home again.

I prepared for the dark by getting my night-time riding gear ready, including reflective jacket, headlight, two flashing taillights, extra batteries and clear lenses for my sunglasses. Despite having biked to work lots this year and last year, the break I took for the past couple of weeks combined with the darkness had me nervous about riding today.

I left home to a clear sky with lots of stars and a sharp quarter moon, with five degree temperature. It was beautiful. I got warmed up and feeling good, and partway through my trepidation evaporated. I enjoyed the ride tremendously and realized that with the right lights and some safe riding technique, it wasn’t anymore dangerous than riding in the daytime.

Then I got a flat. Ah well.

Categories: Recumbent Biking

Bike Trail Un-submerged

2010-10-15 Leave a comment

The bike trail along my route to work runs along beside the drainage ditch on 137th Avenue. Over the summer, every time it rained the path got a little more covered in water. By early October a part of the path was covered in water deeper than the hubs of the wheels on my bike, and was too deep for me to ride my recumbent trike on without getting my butt wet.

I called the City of Edmonton Parks and Rec department to report the trail problem. Within a week, the drainage problem was fixed, the trail was dry, and it has remained clear since then. Good job City of Edmonton. Thanks for fixing the trail.

Categories: Recumbent Biking

Another Bike Update

2010-09-29 Leave a comment

We’re getting well into fall weather now, and there’s been a lot of rain in August and September. My kids’ swimming season has also started up, so we have carpooling for swim practice. Despite these impediments, I’m still trying to ride as much as I can.

For the season, I’m up to 26 or 27 commutes, including today, for about 1200 km of commuting, plus another 450 km of recreational riding. Since I bought the bike I’ve done more bike trips than trike trips, but I still enjoy both.

I’ve had four flats this year, something I didn’t experience at all last year. Once my tire even went flat in the bike parking area at work during the workday. I’m not sure what happened there.

Dammit! 3rd flat tire this summer! on Twitpic
I also stupidly broke the seat frame of the bike last week. The bike came with a seatback bag that has a sleeve that slides over the top of the seat. It wasn’t fitting properly, and I noticed that the two rails that make up the top of the seatback were bent towards each other a bit, making the top of the seat to narrow to retain the seat bag. I foolishly tried to bend them apart, and ended up breaking off one of the rails. I created a frankensteinish repair using a hardwood rod inserted inside the aluminum frame tubing of the seat and it seems to be holding up reasonably well, but I need to get it repaired or replaced. I wrote about it on the Bent Rider Online forums, and I may have a line on a used replacement seat from a generous reader.

I’ve also been being plagued by a section of bike trail on my route that is getting deeper and deeper underwater. The city of Edmonton built the trail last summer along a major road, beside the ditch. The storm water culvert at the end of the ditch is at least 30 cm higher than the lowest point of the trail, and the result has been that there is a 40 metre section of trail under water. This morning the rear cassette on my bike was submerged as I traversed the water.

I’m going to keep riding as much as I can this fall, as long as the weather holds out. Last year my last commute was November 18. Judging by the fall we’ve had so far, I’m not going to make it that late in the year this year.

Categories: Recumbent Biking
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.