Post-Publication Update: Effective the afternoon of February 1st (if not earlier), Bust A Move has dropped Jenny McCarthy from the line-up and replaced her with Tommy Europe. I'll admit I know nothing about Mr Europe, but he's most likely an improvement over Ms McCarthy. (If nothing else, he is not the public face of a crank organization like Generation Rescue.) Here's to one and all who wrote in to the ORCF, the Bust A Move committee, posted on Facebook, Tweeted, and otherwise campaigned to make this happen.
While taking my son to an appointment at the local children's hospital (Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario - CHEO), I was most displeased to spy, in the newspapers offered at the gift shop, an article noting that Jenny McCarthy, model and actress-turned-anti-vaccine activist, had been invited by the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation to participate in their "Bust A Move" fitness fundraiser for breast cancer research (see article describing criticism of this action at the Ottawa Citizen online edition).
So I've decided to write the ORCF and express my dismay. If you're interested, see their contact page, from which the email addresses of the CEO and various marketing folks at the foundation can be contacted. I encourage you to write in if you think it's inappropriate for someone whose advocacy distorts scientific research and denigrates lifesaving medical practices to be taking part in a cancer foundation fundraiser.
Here is the (very slightly edited) text of my email (hyperlinks have been embedded for brevity):
Friday, February 1, 2013
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
Thoughts on Newtown
The Sandy Hook Shooting & The Shooter
This past Friday, December 14, a 20-year old man fatally shot his mother in the town of Newtown, Connecticut, and then, armed with weapons his mother had owned, attacked the local elementary school, Sandy Hook.
There, he fatally shot 20 students, all from two first-grade classrooms, and six staff. He injured at least one other adult. Somewhere between 10 and 20 minutes after arriving at the school, the attacker shot himself dead. See more details here, if you have not already got your fill.
I want to take the opportunity to post some thoughts on these events and on the reactions I have seen and read elsewhere.
Monday, September 3, 2012
A Quick Peek Under the Covers
Feather Canyons Everywhere
I would like to begin a semi-regular feature on this blog, during which I will review a piece of music and one or more alternate arrangements, settings, or cover versions, as long as they are superior in some respect to the original (or at least offer something interesting the original does not).
If you have any songs you would like me to review, please post them in the comments!
Both Sides, Now
"Both Sides, Now" is a song by Alberta-born singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell. According to her, she was inspired to write the song while flying and reading Henderson the Rain King, by Saul Bellow. (I know of neither the book nor the author.)
Mitchell wrote the song in 1967. It was first recorded commercially by singer/songwriter Judy Collins in 1968, while Mitchell herself recorded it for her 1969 album Clouds. (1)
Friday, August 31, 2012
Annals of Notpologia: Krista Ford
September 1 Update: Discovered this morning almost all of the links were broken. Hopefully they are now all fixed.
Recently, Krista Ford, the neice of current Toronto mayor Rob Ford, got in a bit of hot water.
Due to a recent spate of sexual assaults in the Toronto area, the local police have been advising the public to be wary (you can see from the news releases that there have been twelve sexual assault alerts released since August 25, which is quite a few, even granting that they may not all be related).
Following one such news release, Ms Ford elected to tweet (1) the following advice to aid women in avoiding sexual assault:
|Screen capture from torontoist.com. This Tweet was eventually deleted from Ms Ford's feed, but everything is forever on the Internet.|
I'm sure I don't need to spell out the problem with her message.
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
The National Post's War on Science:
Note: I had intended this post to be completed around Hallowe'en; however other considerations (particularly my new baby) made this unfeasible. I will keep the general theme despite the much later scheduling.
December 1 Update: This post garnered Idiomatic Composition its first spam comment. I'd like to think that the blog is going somewhere if it's starting to attract spam.
ScienceBlogs' writer Tim Lambert generally blogs on the topic of climate science. One of his long-running categories of posts deals with an Australian newspaper called (wait for it...) The Australian. Per Mr Lambert, The Australian has undertaken a campaign of misinformation, misrepresentation, character attack, and FUD-spreading pertaining to climate science (and climate scientists) so egregious that he characterizes it as a war on science.
Shortly before Hallowe'en, I came across a copy of Canadian newspaper The National Post in which I found an opinion piece consisting of an excerpt from a book written by one Donna Laframboise. The book itself is The Delinquent Teenager Who Was Mistaken For The World's Top Climate Scientist; the opinion piece which I found was the second of two excerpts printed by the NP in its Financial Post sister publication (see online here).
As I hope to demonstrate, Laframboise's work as put on display by the Financial Post is of a piece with the sort of material printed by The Australian as criticized by Lambert and is a worthy candidate for inclusion in the annals of the 'War on Science'. I contend that there are three strains of criticism that can be levelled at the excerpt: it engages in guilt-by-association smears (which I perceive to be the core of the excerpt), it engages in conspiracy theory, and it engages in misrepresentation.
Friday, November 11, 2011
In 1756, the monarchy of Prussia, ruled at the time by Frederick II (later called 'the Great'), faced a perilous situation. An alliance with Great Britain had resulted in Prussia's strategic encirclement and a war with Austria, Russia, and France (and some of their lesser allies) simultaneously.
Despite the odds, and numerous setbacks throughout the war, Frederick and his forces were able to leverage inherent advantages (interior lines of communication, Frederick's leadership, and the excellent Prussian army) and good fortune (namely, the death of Tsarina Elizabeth and the withdrawal of Russia, temporarily, from the war) allowed Prussia to defeat or make peace with all of its (1) enemies and end the war in an improved political and strategic position in Europe.
|Frederick II of Prussia, aka 'The Great'|
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Flying on the Wings of Liberty
A Note on Image Credits: All images and videos are, to my knowledge, created by and property of Blizzard Entertainment, save for one image which is property of Paramount Studios.
Starcraft 2: Wings of Liberty is a real-time strategy video game produced by Blizzard Entertainment. It is the first of a trilogy of games to comprise the Starcraft 2 franchise to be released by Blizzard (the second, Heart of the Swarm is in development and is expected to be released in the not-too-distant future).
I should like to provide in this post my review of Wings of Liberty. It having been over a year since the game was released, I assume anyone who really wanted to has played it through, and feel no compuction about providing plot spoilers (if you haven't played the game, want to, and care about being spoiled, then read no further).
Starcraft 2 follows the continuing struggles of three species: Terrans, human beings descended from colonists sent from Earth to a distant sector of the Galaxy; Protoss, a mysterious species of physically-strong, psychically-gifted and technologically-advanced beings, and Zerg, an aggregate of genetically-modified creatures collected in a hive mind called the Swarm which indulge in consuming, absorbing, or destroying other beings.
|You get three guesses which species (okay, aggregate of species)|
this is, and the first two don't count.
Players control one or more of these species in single- or multi-player games, trying to accomplish varying objecties or simply defeat the forces of other players.
To play, players manipulate combat units which they produce at bases which they must build up and manage. Players collect and spend resources to build units and structures. These combat units are moved around a map in which players operate in a fog of war and in real time, without the benefit of taking turns or otherwise getting extra time (e.g. by pausing play) to make decisions. Players win when the units they manipulate achieve victory conditions or defeat opponents. I shall have more to say on these mechanics below.