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Archive for June, 2007

I just finished reading Michael Crichton’s novel State of Fear.  It’s a fictional novel about a domestic terrorist organization that is trying to create a series of natural catastrophes (by making them worse) in order to lend support for global warming.  An environmental group is holding an important conference on climate change so they contract out the organization to create the natural disaster in order to coincide with the timing of their conference.

In the book, Crichton goes over a lot of information about what is wrong with the theory of global warming.  He presents lots of charts and graphs and the characters in the book often argue about it.  Crichton’s main points are the following:

  1. There is contradictory data on global warming measurements.  For example, New York City has increased by 5 degrees F since 1826 but Albany, New York has gotten slightly cooler over the same time frame.
  2. Past predictions of climate change have proven to be wildly inaccurate and before action is taken by humans, contemporary predictions should be tested and verified.
  3. Humans may affect the climate, but our actions are very minor influences.  The earth’s climate is in a constant state of change (and always has been) and us trying to control it is unlikely to succeed.  There never was a pristine state of the world which humans have screwed up.
  4. Environmentalist groups exaggerate their claims and use excessive hyperbole when describing the risks.  Preservation groups, while good-intentioned, are incompetent.
  5. Environmentalist groups never subject their ideas to a cost/benefit analysis.

I’d like to go out and do some climate change research but I find it difficult to find unbiased research. The debate is very politicized and people will attempt to support their positions with science that is skewed to show the results they want.

I suppose everyone has an agenda.  Everyone, that is, except for me.  No wait, even me.

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Two weeks ago I attended a magic conference. It’s a conference where magicians get together and attend lectures by professional performers.

This year is the first year I attended. I had planned on going in previous years but never got around to it. Anyways, I really liked the conference and picked up a lot of good tips as well as ideas for shows. After each lecture, the lecturer has stuff that he sells that we can buy. I restrained myself to buying only $60 worth of stuff throughout the six lectures. I was quite proud of myself, I wasn’t sure I would be able to control all of my magic desires.

What made it easier was the fact that I know who I am as a performer. I don’t go chasing the latest trick because I usually have a pretty good idea what style I want to perform. So, the stuff that I did pick up I made sure that it fit the way that I perform. I do a lot of close-up magic so anything I buy will probably be used for that.

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So today, I got myself a Zune.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, a Zune is Microsoft’s equivalent of an iPod.  Best of all, it was free!

My company bought one for everyone in our entire department.  I’d been thinking for quite some time about getting a digital music player, now I don’t have to buy one.

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This past weekend I went and saw the third Shrek movie.  Let me tell you… I wasn’t impressed.

Whereas the first one was filled with humorous references to fairy tales and the second poked fun at pop culture, this one didn’t any of those things very well.  In addition, I felt that the story was rushed and the plot was not developed very well.  Shrek, Donkey and the Cat go out to find the long-lost king and bring him back; it’s a quick sub-story and there doesn’t seem to be much character development.

Furthermore, there weren’t that many jokes.  There were a few that were pretty good, but overall I’d say that there were funny bits as opposed to it being a funny movie (a lot like most recent Simpsons episodes).

There’s a part where Fiona, her mother and bunch of her friends are locked up in a dungeon.  Eventually they escape by her mother head-butting the dungeon wall and knocking it down.  I guess it’s supposed to be funny, but it begs the question: why do they wait several hours (days?) before Fiona’s mother finally volunteers to break out that way?  If she always possessed that ability, why not break out right away?

So, for the most part, Shrek the Third is okay, but not nearly as good as its predecessors.

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I’m no fan of Paris Hilton.  I think she’s self-centered and lazy, having been born into wealth.  I say this because of the way she acted on The Simple Life (weaseling out of work, stealing things from the store, etc).

Her incarceration in an LA County jail for driving with a suspended license was probably justified (she broke the law, after all) but the media circus surrounding it is simply getting out of hand.  Okay, she’s going to jail.  Her sentence was reduced (which happens all the time).  She was released due to a medical condition, but seriously, I don’t think even she merits all the attention she’s getting.  She’s going to jail, lay off already.

On the other hand, this is probably going to be very good for her career.

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I’m currently watching game 5 of the Stanley Cup Finals.  It’s the end of the first period and Anaheim is up 2-0.

I’m beginning to think that Ottawa is not going to come back and steal this one.  Well, that’s too bad.  They had a good run in the first three series but they simply ran out of gas.  I think they need to get another big defenceman.  Anaheim is pushing them around in terms of checking and hitting.  Ottawa’s got great skill and they can hit, but Anaheim’s defence is incredibly tough.  They’re choking the Senators big scorers (and it wouldn’t hurt if Ottawa quit hitting the post).

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This afternoon my company had a party to celebrate the release of a major new product of ours. It was held at a local pub and they had a whole bunch of activities including pool, darts, a shooting gallery and golf simulator.

Another one of the activities was a trivia contest. I was paired up with a few of my other colleagues. We were given a sheet of questions, 30 in all, and these were not easy questions. One of them was "Name the chick flick that starred Kate Hudson and Luke Wilson." What? Another was to name the world’s fastest growing plant. We were given four options: (a) bamboo (b) roses (c) grass (d) some sort of weird name for a vine. In other words, they were not questions I could easily get.

When all was said in done, we handed in our answers. It turned out that all of the teams got between 21 and 23 points, and ours was tied for first! The tie-breaker was a bonus question. They read it out and I got it right! Truth be told, it was an easy question about who the original CEO of the company was. Having been there from the beginning, I knew it right away. I blurted out the answer and got the points.

I have broken the curse of the second place finish!

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