Archive for November, 2009

Canadian political podcasts?

Just throwing a question out to the audience…I find I am getting alot of information from just a few American based podcasts from iTunes.  I realize that without watching TV news, and reading a few articles and blogs online, I may not be getting much Canadian political news.  I usually walk our dog for between 45 minutes to an hour everyday, and take that chance to listen to podcasts.  Right now that is the longest uninterrupted time I have.

So my question is:  Can anyone recommend any good political podcasts available on iTunes?  And if possible, are any of them humourous?

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“The Littlest Hobo” is back on the air!

This post is not really related to engineering, technology, or politics, just something of general interest.  While flipping through the channels the other day, my sister-in-law happened to come upon the “The Littlest Hobo”.  CTV is bringing it back on the weekend, and actually have season 1 and 2 online (here’s the first episode)! 

A great Canadian show from my childhood, but what I remember the most was the great theme song.  So for all you nostalgic people out there, here’s the full version of the Terry Bush song, Maybe Tomorrow.

South Korea, looking to keep ahead of the curve

Interestingly enough, it looks like South Korea is going to be spending more government money in R&D and innovation.  (see article here)In more than a decade in the electronics industry, and with some interaction with Korean companies, you can get the impression that at least some Korean companies are on the rise.   They seem to be more aggressive than their Japanese counterparts, and have a motivated government behind them. 

I remember watching a documentary about the South Korea’s “Industrial Revolution” in the early 60s.  Quite an interesting time for South Korea, but with aid from the US and Japan, and a military leader’s firm belief in industrialization, South Korea leapt into the modern century starting with a steel mill.  It was actually quite an impressive transformation–South Korea hasn’t looked back since.  (Here’s a few wiki-facts on the Park Chung Hee, the leader at the start of this transformation)  We’ll see if this current wave of government support will spawn innovation in new areas.

HST protest and the new digital age

Yesterday I received an email from a co-worker that originated from the Ontario realtors association.  The email proclaimed all the bad things the HST would bring for those who wanted to buy a house.  It was obviously a biased email–BTW, I am still researching the HST, and don’t have a final answer on what I think of it yet–but what made it so interesting was how easy they made it for someone to write a letter to their MPP.

Letters to MPPs do work in that they show that the public is interested enough to voice their complaints directly.  This can be effective because it usually takes some effort to write something up and send it.  But this new method of making it very easy for people will have new consequences.  I did not see the site they had set up (unfortunately deleted the email) but can imagine that it would not have cost them too much in this age of ready-made web templates.  If this works, look for more email/web/form campaigns going forward.  I firmly believe that you can not stop the march of new technology, but I do believe people need  to be aware of how certain groups will be able to use it.

Ayn Rand is big again.

I’ve been hearing alot about Ayn Rand recently–Crackpot Adam Curry keeps trying to get Buzzkill to read Atlas Shrugged, while Chris Gondak has reviewed the Jessica Burns book “Goddess of the Market”, a biography of Ayn Rand.  With two of my favorite podcasts mentioning her, I decided to do a bit more research.   I found recent articles talking about the resurgence including:  Huffington PostThe Guardian, Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report

My take on Ayn Rand is that she was definitely affected by her childhood and the injustice she saw with the Russian Revolution.  As a philosopher with intelligence (by all accounts she was intelligent), she probably had some very good ideas that were within her realm of understanding and experience.  But she could not fully grasp the entire understanding of free market economies and the role of government, mostly because I believe that it is practically impossible for one person to do so. (My new philosophy on philosophers!)

All being said, if I ever have time I just might have to read Atlas Shrugged–there are probably some interesting points in it.

N1N1 in Ukraine?

The guys from No Agenda have made a few comments on what’s going on with the exceptionally large death toll for the flu in the Ukraine.  Some have pointed to a new virus that is called A/N1N1.  There still seems to be a lot of misinformation coming out of there.  And of course the conspiracy theorists are all over the Baxter International link (see article here).  Hopefully all these different flu viruses get sorted out without it being a free-for-all for the vaccine companies.

Worldwide Neural Network

It’s staggering to think of the ways the internet has changed the world.  Information sharing, information storage, and various speeds of communication (from slow to very fast).  Anyone in the world with a half-decent internet connection and a terminal (I’ll define as smart phone, netbook, laptop, PC) has the ability to connect to these vast resources and directly to other users.  With this capability, does the internet not act like a large world brain?  I know I’m not the only one to make this analogy, but with recent activity of twitter and facebook the “neural” activity has defintely quickened.  Messages (electrical signals?) are travelling around faster than ever but as Loring Wirbel points out in an interesting blog post, is the world brain losing some of it’s memory capability?  Not memory some would think of (there are servers storing more information than ever) but a different type of memory function.  Definitely an interesting idea.