23 April 2009


Videos that are scary-dumb

Example the First: I stumbled into this fine satire of a climate change denial video the other day. It's hilarious, with its ironic attempts at hipness, images of the world exploding, and with-it clip art youth proclaiming "Shut up!", "What the hell?", and "No way!"

Except, um, it's not a satire. It's an actual, serious video from our pals here at Vancouver's right-wing think-tank the Fraser Institute. I think it may very well be the "Gathering Storm" of anti–global warming videos—so ridiculous it's laughable.

Example the Second: Via Phil Plait, I found this astonishing record of Texas congressman Joe Barton, yesterday asking the U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu (also the winner of a Nobel Prize in Physics, by the way) where all the oil in Alaska came from. Chu is obviously puzzled at why Barton would ask something so basic, but as the congressman continues his question, Dr. Chu realizes that Mr. Barton apparently doesn't have the first clue about geology or plate tectonics:

Wow. Even more depressing, Mr. Barton thought he'd stumped Dr. Chu, and said so on his Twitter account! The rest of the Twitterverse (me included) quickly corrected the congressman. Since Dr. Chu only had six seconds to respond, and was obviously so aghast at Mr. Barton's lack of knowledge, he couldn't formulate a proper response. Given a minute, he could have said:

Hundreds of millions of years ago, when Alaska was in a different place on the globe because of continental drift, trillions of microorganisms lived and died there. Immense heat and pressure converted their bodies, buried deep underground by geological processes, into simpler hydrocarbons, like oil. That’s why they’re called fossil fuels.

Not an Example: As a relief from those, here's something amazing (via Tim Bray and kk+):

That's more like it.

Labels: , , , ,

29 May 2008


Hips don't lie

Bike boyTo misquote a recent Head & Shoulders shampoo ad, dudes don't usually talk about their hips, but today I will.

I haven't been very physically active since I got my cancer diagnosis nearly a year and a half ago. Before that, I regularly bicycled to work, about 12 km each way, and when I took rapid transit I'd often walk an extra stop or two past the closest one to get some exercise. Now that I'm back up to fighting weight (having regained the 25 kg—55+ pounds—I lost before and after my surgery last year), I'm making some efforts again in that direction.

But holy cow, am I inflexible. I've never been a yogi master, nor have I ever in my life been able to touch my toes. Still, yesterday when I took my bicycle out (the first time in months) for some errands and a ride through Burnaby's Central Park, I nearly fell over in our driveway, because my minimally-mobile hips almost prevented me from lifting my leg high enough to get on the damn bike.

Things improved some once I got rolling, and some of my stiffness was probably due to my Italian-sandal–induced wipeout a couple of days ago, but I also noticed that I really had to gear down the mountain bike while pedaling up even the slightest hill, and my speed on the flats was far from what it used to be.

I felt great when I got home, despite a bit of soreness, so I plan to ride some more in the next little while, particularly since I'm having a break from chemotherapy for the next few weeks. Some stretching would also probably be in order.

Labels: , , , , ,