c9: (United Nations)
The conflict between Georgia, Russia, the sorta-separatists in the middle, and the rest of the west trying to figure out what to do, what to say, and how to avoid painting themselves into any corners is fascinating. Scary, too.

I've been following the commentary in a couple places, and found these columns to be quite illuminating and helpful in boiling down some issues that resonate with me.

First: “the west was right to leave [Saakashvili] hanging”: http://www.macleans.ca/canada/opinions/article.jsp?content=20080813_107233_107233

Next, the rebuttal: http://blog.macleans.ca/2008/08/14/georgia-on-my-mind/

Today, "checking rhetoric against reality": http://blog.macleans.ca/2008/08/14/georgiarussia-on-the-wests-rhetoric/

I'm also regularly surprised to find the comments section on macleans.ca still tolerable and literate. Surely it's an accident which will be corrected soon (*sigh*). The comments sections on cbc.ca, theglobeandmail.com, and many others are depressing from a future-of-my-country standpoint. Also literacy, humour, science, geography, spelling, and fashion sense.
c9: (Global Warming)
Lots of news right now about the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. You can read the actual SPM, and you can read a great intro to the overall summary.

...

The process of finalising the SPM (which is well described here and here) is something that can seem a little odd. Government representatives from all participating nations take the draft summary (as written by the lead authors of the individual chapters) and discuss whether the text truly reflects the underlying science in the main report. The key here is to note that what the lead authors originally came up with is not necessarily the clearest or least ambiguous language, and so the governments (for whom the report is being written) are perfectly entitled to insist that the language be modified so that the conclusions are correctly understood by them and the scientists. It is also key to note that the scientists have to be happy that the final language that is agreed conforms with the underlying science in the technical chapters. The advantage of this process is that everyone involved is absolutely clear what is meant by each sentence. Recall after the National Academies report on surface temperature reconstructions there was much discussion about the definition of 'plausible'. That kind of thing shouldn't happen with AR4.

The SPM process also serves a very useful political purpose. Specifically, it allows the governments involved to feel as though they 'own' part of the report. This makes it very difficult to later turn around and dismiss it on the basis that it was all written by someone else. This gives the governments a vested interest in making this report as good as it can be (given the uncertainties). There are in fact plenty of safeguards (not least the scientists present) to ensure that the report is not slanted in any one preferred direction. However, the downside is that it can mistakenly appear as if the whole summary is simply up for negotiation. That would be a false conclusion - the negotiations, such as they are, are in fact heavily constrained by the underlying science.
c9: (Towel)
Lineups threaten to stall Fredericton's hot samosa market

Two vendors at Boyce Farmers' Market in Fredericton are apparently becoming victims of their own success now that they are being told to take the lineups for their samosas outside.


These samosas are the best I've ever had. Also the first but I don't care. Whenever I have the differently-cooked, super-expensive, just-plain-wrong ones in other cities, I am disappointed.

<Little Chrissy> "Won't somebody please bring me some samosas!" </Little Chrissy>
c9: (Default)
I feel I'm justified in linking to this YouTube clip from The Daily Show because it's linked on the front page of the National Post. *sigh*
c9: (United Nations)
I received a promotional offer from Wired yesterday that was too good to pass up: $12.97 CDN for a one-year subscription. $1.08 per issue. That's so ridiculous I had to sign up to show them the error of their ways.

Today I ruined any monetary benefit I might have gotten by also subscribing to FAIR. Oh well.

I'm looking forward to FAIR. Check out their current slate of articles. I figure it will give me more ammo to use against my Dad. Or more likely right-wing blogs and news outlets, since I'm more comfortable arguing with them than with my father.

* Please note that this phrase does *not* refer to Wired.
c9: (System report)
Not really sure what I hope to gain from this, but I'm curious.

Read more... )

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