Saturday, March 27, 2010

Soccer Roundup

The Spanish League is much more of a two horse race this year than it normally is. Real Madrid and Barcelona are both locked in with 71 points, 18 points ahead of 3rd place Valencia. Atletico Madrid (Fernando Torres' old team) are light years behind the leaders with a mere 37 points but are still in contention (like Liverpool) for the Europa League.

Inter Milan will probably win the snooze fest known as Serie A for the fifth year running. Derby rivals AC Milan and Roma are keeping up the pressure but Jose Mourinho's team are unlikely to crack. The big disappointment this year are Juventus - who are 18 points behind Inter in 7th spot - and have no European fortunes to look at having been scuttled out of the Europa League by the 'powerhouse' of Fulham.

In the training league of France Bordeaux will be hard pressed to beat off the challenge of the pack - consisting of Montpelier, Auxerre, Marseille, Lille and Lyon. If I were betting on the outcome I would put my money on Laurent Blanc's team but the drama should be played out on the last day of competition.

As expected Bayern Munich have surged into top spot in the Bundesliga. Schalke will fight them to the finish as will Leverkusen but the Red Machine will prevail - they have too much quality not to succeed. The big dud for this season is the well supported Hertha Berlin who currently foot the table.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fifty Areas thay have seen conflict in the last 20 Years

1. Afghanistan
2. Sierre Leone
3. Burundi
4. Rwanda
5. Western Sahara
6. Liberia
7. Basque Territory in Spain
8. Iraq
9. Kurdish Regions of Turkey
10. Algeria
11. Mexico-Chiapas Region
12. West Bank and Gaza Strip
13. Algeria
14. Peru15. Columbia16. Guatemala
17. Fiji
18. Solomon Islands
19. Congo
20. Honduras
21. Zimbabwe
22. Bosnia
23. Kosovo
24. Nagarno-Karabash Region in Azerbaijan
25. Somalia
26. Ethiopia/Eritrea
27. Sudan
28. Yemen - North vs South Tension
29. Burma - Karen insurrection
30. India/Pakistan/Kashmir
31. India/Assam
32. India/Punjab
33. Sri Lanka
34. Papua New Guinea
35. Indonesia/Aceh Region
36. Moluccas
37. Egypt
38. Western China - Muslim uprising
39. Tibet
40. Angola
41. Russia/Chechnya/Dagestan
42. Georgia - South Ossetia and Azaria
43. Moldavia - TransDniester conflict
44. Serbia-Montenegro
45. Greece/Macedonia border
46. China/Taiwan
47. Nepal
48. Philipines
49. East Timor
50. South Korea/North Korea border

Champion's League Draw

Bordeaux vs Lyon - French teams are generally not a threat in Champions League Football (except for Marseilles in 1993). Nevertheless a French team has to emerge victorious from this one and my pick is Lyon (they beat Real Madrid after all).

Man U vs Bayern - The Germans have Schweinsteiger, Ribery and Robben but United have Rooney and Van Der Saar. I expect that the Mancs will persevere.

Bacelona vs Arsenal - Arsenal are a smoke and mirrors team with a great manager. Barcelona are pure class regardless of management. Expect the Gunners CL run to end here.

CSKA Moscow vs Inter Milan - Jose Mourinho is a crafty devil but the Russians have a dodgy pitch and a younger squad acting in their favour. Samuel Eto'o will be key. This will be a close one but I am going out on a limb and calling for a Muscovite win.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Big Bang Super Quiz

1. According to the Big Bang Theory the universe emerged from a ………
2. This scientist coined the term Big Bang who was he?
3. What is expanding as a result of the Big Bang?
4. What is the best estimate for the Age of the Universe?
5. Which force was the first to separate from the other fundamental forces?
6. With what is Alan Guth most associated?
7. Which Catholic Priest developed an early version of the Big Bang where matter emerges from a primordial ‘atom’?
8. What is meant by the term CBR?
9. What does the inverse of Hubble’s constant give one?
10. How did Edwin Hubble determine that the Universe is expanding?
11. Which observatory was Hubble’s laboratory?
12. What sub-atomic particles joined to form nucleons during the nucleosynthesis era?
13. What role did Cepheid Variables play in the development of the Big Bang Theory?
14. Which of the Three Cosmological Principles was shattered by the Big Bang Theory?
15. Which two Cosmological Principles still remain intact (for now)?
16. This modern day popularizer of science (scourge of the chiropractor society) and author of Fermat’s Last Theorem wrote a book on the History of the Big Bang. Who is he?
17. Which Russian mathematician is associated with the early development of the Big Bang Model from its theoretical foundations in General Relativity?
18. What did Einstein call his greatest mistake?
19. Who was Ralph Alpher’s chief partner in the early theoretical modelling of the Big Bang?
20. What entity seems to be causing the universe to expand at an accelerating rate?
21. Whether the universe expands or collapses in a Big Crunch is ultimately dependent on this factor associated with its mass and volume. What is the factor?
22. What is the earliest time from the origin of the universe that the laws of physics can be reasonably applied?
23. What are Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson most noted for?
24. What theory was the leading competitor to the Big Bang at the time of the latter’s introduction?
25.This physicist wrote about the Big Bang in his celebrated work – ‘The First Three Minutes’. Who is he?
26. What is the shape of the universe spatially?
27. The imbalance between matter and anti-matter in the universe is also known as ?
28. What was the name of the spacecraft launched on 30th June 2001 to study radiant heat from the Big Bang?
29. In M-Theory this term is short for a membrane. What is it?
30. An omega cosmological parameter that is less than 1 indicates a …………….. universe.

Big Bang Answers

1. Singularity
2. Fred Hoyle – as a term of derision. Hoyle was a Steady Stater.
3. Space (not matter)
4. 13.7 billion years old
5. Gravity
6. Inflationary Expansion Theory
7. Georges LemaƮtre
8. Cosmic Background Radiation – The Echo of the Big Bang
9. The Age of the Universe
10. By analyzing the Red Shift on the spectra of Light coming from distant galaxy
11. Mount Wilson
12. Quarks
13. These standard candle stars allow for an accurate estimate of galactic distances
14. The non-changing nature of the Universe
15. Isotropy and Homogeneity
16. Simon Singh
17. Alexander Friedmann
18. The Cosmological Constant (as it turned out it wasn’t a mistake at all)
19. George Gamow (One of the Greatest minds in modern physics)
20. Dark Energy (makes up 73% of the mass of the universe)
21. Critical Density
22. 10E-43sec
23. They both one Nobel Prizes for discovering evidence of the Cosmic Background Radiation
24. Steady State Theory
25. Steven Weinberg
26. It is flat
27. Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe
28. Baryon asymmetry
29. Branes (there is a theory that the universe was born from the collision of two branes)

30. Closed

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I am on this real astronomy kick thanks in part to the Grade 12 Course I am teaching but mainly to my new found love of the heavens...

Albert Einstein's Birthday -14th March

..........Happy birthday Al from an appreciative Physics teacher

Precious: Based on the Novel by Sapphire

This movie wasn't bad but it was not earth shattering (as several liberal critics would have you believe). I would classify it under the disturbing-but-better than average category. Full credit to Mo'Nique for her role as the hateful Mary and Gabrourey Sidibe showed potential in her debut as the lead character. Several head-in-the sand conservatives (who often decry any negative depiction of America) have bashed this movie, despite the fact that its anti-welfare pro-education message was very much evident. I urge them to give it a second try.
Rating: 6.5/10

So much for Higher Education

David Frum Dishes it to York University...
Well done David. Score one for sanity.

Here is the excerpt

Two weeks ago, I published a National Post column about York University in Toronto, and its policy on student speech about the Middle East. The column included this line: “Since the anti-Israel people might use violence, the speech of the pro-Israel people must be limited. On the other hand, since the pro-Israel. On the other hand, since the pro-Israel people do not use violence, the speech of the anti-Israel people can proceed without restraint

That column has elicited more reaction — from Canadians, as well as correspondents in other countries — than anything I have published in the National Post in many years. Let me share some of that reaction with you today. I have withheld names and identifying details.

“I attended York briefly, from September to December 2000, when I was trying to complete a one-year Master’s degree in English Literature. What I found on that campus disgusted me. Closed-minded professors; ignorant, bigoted students, and an overall atmosphere antagonistic to any form of free speech or thought. Fortunately for me, my year was cut short by that famous labour dispute which began in October and ended in February 2001. That was the end of my university days and I’ve not looked back. Over time, I have come to see the labour dispute as a blessing and consider myself fortunate that I do not hold a degree from York University. Since then I have counselled many prospective university students to stay clear away from that place. I would never step a foot back on that campus … My decision to attend York University was the only regret I have.”

“I worked for security there during undergrad and TA strikes. The administration is only the tip of the iceberg. I would argue the faculty/TAs are the worst of the bunch by facilitating a culture of ‘open discussion’ — as long as the open discussion doesn’t extend to pro-Israel views."

For more go to Frum

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Its a week late but so what.....

Congrads to my home country for Winning the 2010 Men's Olympic Hockey Title.
Also to be proud of Canada won more gold medals than any other country in the 2010 Olympics . Considering that Canada failed to win a single Gold at Calgary 88 this is one remarkable improvement.

Final Olympic Standing

United States 9G, 15S, 13B = 37
Germany 10G, 13S, 7B = 30
Canada 14G, 7S, 5B = 26
Norway 9G, 8S, 6B = 23
Austria 4G, 6S, 6B = 16
Russia 3G, 5S, 7B = 15

The Book of Eli

I saw this on Saturday night...Although there are a few oversights dealing with the prowess of the main character in combat the movie itself is worth seeing.
Rating: 7.5/10

Horowitz on Progressives and Conservatives

I agree about 75% of the time with the crowd at Front Page Magazine. However in this piece by David Horowitz, the former Radical Son, is 98% on the ball (he misses out on the full 100% as I would not classify leftism as progressive to begin with).

I have reproduced part of the post....

Conservatives look to the past as a guide to the future. The past tells them who human beings are, and how they behave, and what is possible. In their approach to the future, conservatives are pragmatic and ground their hopes in experience. When the Founders were drawing up plans for the Republic they looked at the history of past republics and concluded that democracy was the least problematic form of government but that it posed the danger of a populist tyranny. So they instituted a system of checks and balances to guard against tyrannies of the majority and to provide the public with a cooling off period in which their emotion driven agendas could be corrected by reflection.

Progressives, by contrast, look to an imaginary future as a guide to the present and regard the experience of the past as “reactionary” and “backward.” Progressives have in their heads an image of what the future should look like based on emotion (hope and change), and they discount the experience of past and present as products of ignorance, prejudice and selfish interests, which they are determined to overcome.

Their agendas are actually much worse than this would suggest, since progressives imagine a future that is perfect, a new world in which there is no poverty, no bigotry, no irreconcilable conflict — where there is “social justice.” Against this imaginary ideal world nothing that exists can be justified or defended, or in the words of the arch rebel “everything that exists deserves to perish.” These were words were spoken by Goethe’s Mephistopheles, and quoted approvingly by Karl Marx.

Progressives are focused on destroying what is in the name of an impossible what-can-be (“hope and change”) and it’s very hard for them – impossible for the truest believers — to correct course when they are on the march and their programs aren’t working. All contrary counsel is seen not as experience-based wisdom but as obstruction and reaction.

Some years ago there was a C-Span debate between the “Democratic Socialist” — an oxymoron if there ever was one — Barbara Ehrenreich and the bloviating Cornel West on the left side and two Heritage Foundation fellows on the right. The subject was socialism and its failure in the Soviet Union and China. The Heritage team pointed out very politely and circumspectly as though embarrassed for the socialists on the platform that progressives had encountered some problems in implementing social justice in these countries and there were some casualties along the way. Responding, Barbara Ehrenreich said (or words to this precise effect): We’ve only been trying socialism for 250 years and it’s not surprising that mistakes were made. Side note: This woman’s book attacking American capitalism and re-invigorating socialist delusions is assigned reading for students in virtually every university in the nation – at some schools required for all incoming freshmen with no countervailing text.

For the rest go to: Front Page Mag