Sunday, December 30, 2007

36 Useless Items/Ideas/People

(not in any order)

1. The United Nations
2. The CIA - still wondering if its a rogue agency
3. Education Schools
4. Tottenham Hotspurs Defence
5. The Canadian Liberal Party
6. Sid Ryan
7. The Naomis: Klein, Wolf and Campbell
8. Affirmative Action Programs
9. Thabo Mbeki's government in South Africa
10. The Guardian Newspaper/Toronto Star
11. English Cricket Team
12. FIFA
13. The majority of current High School Math Textbooks
14. Speech Codes
15. Al Sharpton/Jesse Jackson
16. Michael Coren's Wednesday Night Show
17. Cough Medicines
18. Astrology
19. The Kyoto Accord
20. Marxist Intellectuals
21. The US-Mexico Border Barrier
22. Anti-Science Hysteria
23. School Detention/Suspension Programs
24. Gun Registeries
25. 99% of the internet
26. Homework for the sake of Homework
27. The majority of Hynotherapists
28. Negotiating with Terrorists
29. Hollywood for the most part
30. The Regular Hockey Season
31. Storylines in many of today's comics
32. The Vietnam War
33. Teachers who don't further their understanding of their particular discipline
34. Most poetry
35. Jimmy Carter dealing with the Soviets
36. Heavyweight Boxing at present

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I lament

I lament…..

……. the death of the traditional bookstore and its replacement by the superstore.
……. our infatuation with materialism.
……. our need to complicate everything.
……. the idea that bigger is better.
……. that we criticize before we attempt to understand.
……. that we have chosen idiots to worships ie. rock stars, actors and sports figures.
……. the contempt we show for the classics.
……..that money governs American elections.
……..the crushing of the free spirit.
……..the age of greed.
……..corruption and poverty.
……..our pettiness.
……..the fast pace of life.
……..that we haven’t discovered a suitable global ideology to replace capitalism, socialism and communism.
……..the domination of the Republican Party by Social Conservatives.

What I have been doing lately?

1. Enjoying the December break away from teaching . I love this time of the year - weather and all.
2. Taking care of my son - His daycare is closed.
3. Catching up on some reading in Physics - Electromagnetism.
4. Working my way through Season 1 and 2 of Boston Public - A great series.
5. Watching lots of British Football - Hoping that Liverpool can salvage the season.
6. Reading Bill Bryson's - A Short History of Nearly Everything
7. Keeping my wife on her toes - and being a nuisance at that..hehe
8. Reading up on the Cold War - a special interest of mine.
9. Scanning magazines reading the multitude of the Best of Articles that normally surface at this time of the year...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Physics Sites

As a Physics Teacher I am always on the hunt for exciting websites.
Here are a few:
Interactive tour of particle universe
More Particle info from CERN.
An excellent teaching site with lots of animations.
World famous Canadian Institute - Center for Theoretical Physics - they run great outreach programs.
A great linkage site for info on Special Relativity
A useful beginners guide to String Theory
Tutorials and Lessons on Statics.

Monday, December 17, 2007

A bit on Religion

'Offences' to Religion

This is a fantastic article that documents 20 Offences to Religion that have occured in the modern era. The comparison of the Christian and Muslim response is defintely worth noting.
Its mindboggling to learn that close to 150 people have lost their lives as a result of the Satanic Verses and Jyllands-Posten Cartoons. Not one person has died as a result of the Piss Christ.


Scientific rationalism attacks Ten Plagues of Egypt
The explanations here are not new and rely on much coincidence. The fly in the ointment of science continues to be the death of the first born.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Computer Dictionary from South Africa

A South African friend of mine sent me this....Its hilarious...of course one has to understand the South African mentality

Keeping an eye on the braai

Get the firewood off the bakkie

Hard drive
Trip back home without any cold beer

Where you hang the bakkie and bike keys

What you shut when it's cold

What you shut in the mosquito season

What mosquitoes do

What mosquitoes did

Mega Byte
What mosquitoes at the lake do

A bar snack

Micro Chip
What's left in the bag after you have eaten the chips

What you did to the lawns

Dot Matrix
Oom Jan Matrix's wife

Where the cat sleeps

Plastic knives and forks you get at KFC

Real stainless steel knives and forks from Checkers

What eats the grain in the shed

What holds the shed up

What spiders make

Web Site
The shed (or under the verandah)

The old bloke what swears a lot

Search Engine
What you do when the bakkie won't go

What you say when the bakkie does go

A steep hill

The person at the pub what brings out the lunch

Mail Server
The bloke at the pub what brings out the lunch

The neighbour what keeps borrowing things

When you have to repair your fishing net

Complicated fish net repair method

When fish maneuvers out of reach of net

When you get the laundry hung out

Off Line
When the pegs don't hold the washing up

Sunday, December 09, 2007

In the News XXXIII

Chavez fails to overhaul constitution and become dictator........for now,1,6173457.story?ctrack=1&cset=true
Don't bet on him giving up though......

Olmert and Abbas to meet again
I hope and pray that Olmert doesn't sell Israel short in order to negotiate a deal with the Palestinians prior to the end of Bush's term of office.

More West inaction in Darfur
Looking forward to the day when the British electorate gibe Brown and co. the old heave ho.

Sarkozy seems to talk tough on terrorism but still cozyies up to Khadafi (just like former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin)

Mbeki support at all-time low
Its still at 40% but by ANC levels that is really low. Has the post-Apartheid honeymoon finally soured?

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Footer Rankings

The flawed Football Statistician Ratings has encouraged me to come up with a few ratings of my own

Top 20 French Players (since 1955)

1. Zidane
2. Plaitni
3. Henry
4. Desailly
5. Papin
6. Fontaine
7. Tigana
8. Cantona
9. Viera
11. Giresse
12. Trezegeut
13. Thuram
14. Lizerazu
15. Wiltord
16. Djorkaeff
17. Fernandez
18. Barthez
19. Pires
20. Petit

Top 15 Italian Players (since 1970)

1. Baresi
2. Maldini
3. Zoff
4. Rossi
5. Baggio
6. Cannavaro
7. Buffon
8. Rivera
9. Zola
10. Del Piero
11. Pirlo
12. Bettega
13. Altobelli
14. Nesta
15. Gatuso

Top 15 German Players (since 1970)

1. Beckenbauer
2. Muller
3. Maier
4. Matthaus
5. Rummenigge
6. Klinsmann
7. Kahn
8. Voeller
9. Breitner
10. Bierhoff
11. Littbarski
12. Kohler
13. Ballack
14. Sammer
15. Brehme

Monday, December 03, 2007

Musings of the Mind II

1. It is important to be a skeptic but at the same time never intolerant toward contradictory evidence.

2. I don’t pay much attention to political opinions originating from Hollywood. Anyone who does is engaging in mindless time wasting.

3. What the world needs is more intelligent generalists. What it has in abundance is a cacophony of half-witted specialists.

4. Canada for the most part is a nation of marginal significance its luxury (as an accident of history) though is that it can afford to be so.

5. String Theory is the fly in the ointment of modern physics…..Cleaning up its overriding presence will be the great task of 21st century thinkers in the Queen of All Sciences.

6. I endeavour to constantly challenge my beliefs…Not a day goes by when I don’t drag my assumptions through the ringer. This is both a curse and a blessing.

7. I am a complex person. Sometimes this complexity paralyzes me.

8. It is not my intention to sound arrogant in my writing but it definitely ill affords me to be insincere and to censor myself as well.

9. Classical and Romantic poetry tantalizes me. I have written some poetry myself but looking back at it now these are most streams of consciousness than anything else. A lack of cadence negates the poetic volume. The ideas and richness of thought are however very much present.

10. Humanity is not a great species. Our folly as thinkers is that too often we choose to ignore this truism.

11. Ten Individuals from history that I most admire (not in order are): Winston Churchill, Maimonides, Blaise Pascal, Albert Einstein, Michael Faraday, Isaac Newton (despite the fact that he was not a likeable person), Marie Curie, Joseph Lister, Abraham Lincoln and Menachem Begin.

12. I was born and spent all of my childhood in South Africa (I immigrated to Canada in 1987 at age 18). Africa as a continent has a special place in my heart and I have a strong inclination towards understanding its politics, people, successes and failures. Sub-Sahara’s five most successful countries are:
South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique (in the last fifteen years) and Kenya. Its ten most dismal failures are: Sierre Leone, Liberia, Somalia, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe (under Mugabe), Sudan, Congo (formerly Zaire), Angola (under orthodox Marxist Rule) and Uganda (under Obote and Amin).

13. Asia’s (not including the Middle East) nine greatest success stories are: Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, India (in the last ten to fifteen years), Thailand, Malaysia and China (economically but definitely not politically). Asia’s list of failed states include: Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Iran, Cambodia, Myanmar, Phillippines (for much of its history), Sri Lanka, Laos and North Korea.

14. Above anything else I value my role as a father.

15. Modern Leftism and the anti-intellectualism that suffuses its being nauseates me. Unfortunately all too many in Canada and Western Europe have bought into the false dreams that Leftism alludes to. In doing so they often tend to short circuit reasoning at the expense of ill-thought out idealism.

16. If I was an American I would have voted for: Truman (48), Eisenhower (52), Stevenson (56), Kennedy (60), Johnson (64), Nixon (68 and 72), Ford (76), Reagan (80 and 84), Bush Snr (88), Clinton (92 and 96), Gore (00) and Dubya (04). Having said that of all the candidates listed the only three that I truly admire are: Truman, Kennedy (even if he is a bit overrated) and Reagan.

17. In Canadian politics I have voted once for the Liberals (Jean Chretien in 93 – my first election vote in Canada). All other times I have backed either the Progressive Conservatives or their later incarnation the Conservative Party of Canada. I regret voting for Chretien and consider him to be one of the worst Prime Ministers in Canadian history. Despite my opinion on this issue I am no fan of Brian Mulroney either but would have voted for him as the ‘greater’ of a bunch of lessers in 84 and 88.

18. For US 2008 I am backing Rudy Giuliani. I will not be averse though to see Al Gore come out of his self imposed exile to steal the Democrat nominations from Hilary (whom I don’t like but do respect). I am completely opposed to the candidacies of Obama, Edwards, Romney, Kucinich (the moron’s choice), Gravel, Huckabee, Tommy Thompson, Tancredo, Biden, Brownback, Hunter, Ron Paul and Chris Dodd. I am indifferent to Fred Thompson but have much time for John McCain. (although the Arizona senator shot his bolt some time ago with respect to 2008).

19. I have diverse movie tastes that span the continuum from foreign films to black comedy to political intrigue to biography. I have even been known to enjoy the occasional ‘chick flick’ or two. A trip to the video store often results in an unpredictable array of movies. On average 30% are gems, 40% mediocrities and the remainder duds. My wife sees this as being part of the crapshoot of marriage with me.

20. Britain’s three best prime ministers of the 20th century were Churchill, Lloyd George and Thatcher in that very order. Baldwin, Blair, MacDonald, Macmillan, Campbell-Bannerman, Asquith and Wilson were average while Chamberlain, Callaghan, Atlee, Major, Heath, Eden were sub-par. The rest – Hume, Balfour, and Bonar Law (who was Canadian-born) weren’t in power long enough to register an impact on the political Richter Scale.

21. I can think of only two French politicians in the 20th century whom I believe to be admirable. These were Georges Clemenceau and Leon Blum.
De Gaulle was malicious and arrogant, Mitterand and D’Estaing inconsistent, Daladier ineffectual and Chirac both useless and dangerous. Pompidou was a competent president but nothing special. I will not waste my time analyzing the leaders of the Failed Fourth Republic. I am hoping that Sarkozy brings a fresh outlook to French Policy (a movement away from short-sighted Anti-Americanism would be a start) but the jury is very much out on this one.