Land of the Left – Santa is Being Relocated

Here in the ‘Land of the Left’ (Canada) our Government is attempting to cut our 1.69% of the world’s Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Though our emissions are as you would expect for one of the coldest, largest countries in the world, our Federal Government is doing everything it can to let the world know they simply don’t want warmer winters (the season that has experienced the most warming in Canada).

Our government is even willing to sacrifice the ‘North Pole is Santa’s home fable’ in order to advance their cause. They published this document on its Policy Horizons website this past December:

Is it Satire? An attempt at humour? Virtue signalling?  Whatever it is, it misrepresents the basic facts about the North Pole (which isn’t on a land mass) but is a location in the Arctic Ocean where the water is usually covered with drifting ice 6 to 10 feet (1.8 to 3 m) thick and where the annual mean temperature in the winter is minus 40F (minus 40 C).

Does the Canadian Government really believe that Canadians, or the world for that matter, think that Santa can be dislodged from the North Pole by the ‘on again, off again’ vagaries of Arctic Ice and a couple of Ice Breaking ships that pass by now and then?

Consider this: Santa’s mode of transportation circles the globe in 24 hours and makes billions of stops. He has stealth capabilities and all weather traction. He has an intelligence network that Google would die for. He can enter and exit any building without tripping alarm systems, and he can eat millions of cookies and drink gallons of milk in a single night without feeling ghastly sick. Would Santa (who has maintained a residence there since about 1866 when an American illustrator, Thomas Nast, declared it was so) agree to being labelled a climate change refugee and consent to being shipped off to the South Pole? I think not.

What a wasted opportunity for a better message. The Canadian Government could have announced they were in support of a global initiative to establish the S. Claus Marine Life and Sea Ice Research Station

… or better yet, they could just leave Santa to the children.

 

Increase Your Chances of Being Right

In “post-fact culture”, where rationality seems to vanish in the storms of lies and conspiracy theories, beliefs about the future are crucial.
– Gapminder Data System –

Are you smarter than a chimp? Watch this funny, entertaining and encouraging video to see how your knowledge compares to the chimps at the zoo.

How much do you know about the world? Hans Rosling, with his famous charts of global population, health and income data (and an extra-extra-long pointer), demonstrates that you have a high statistical chance of being quite wrong about what you think you know. Play along with his audience quiz — then, from Hans’ son Ola, learn 4 ways to quickly get less ignorant.
– TED Talk by the Gapminder Founders

What facts surprised you or made you think more positively about the future of the world?

Wrongology

Wrongology – the study of what is ‘not right’ – not in conformity with fact or truth, not required, not intended, not fitting, not suitable, not appropriate; deliberately misleading.

I made this definition up for a word that is not in the dictionary. There is, however, an interesting TED talk by “Wrongologist” Kathryn Schulz who explains why we should admit and embrace our fallibility. (She also wrote a book: Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error.)

Kathyrn points out that the state of being wrong often feels exactly the same as being right. We feel good, (though we are puzzled as to why others don’t agree with us). We don’t attempt to understand why others disagree because if we are wrong, we won’t feel so good.

It is incredibly easy to be wrong in the age of biased mass media. I read a report last week that criticized our Canadian Prime Minister’s fiscal priorities  when he responded  to a disabled veteran at a Town Hall Meeting:

“I was prepared to be killed in action,” said Brock Blaszczyk, a former corporal who lost his left leg to a roadside bomb in Afghanistan. “What I wasn’t prepared for, Mr. Prime Minister, is Canada turning its back on me.”

Prime Minister Trudeau responded: “Why are we still fighting against certain veteran’s groups in court? Because they are asking for more than we are able to give right now.”

This report supported my previous opinions of the ‘virtue signalling’ fiscal choices of the Trudeau government. However, when I looked at less biased, more complete reports of this confrontation, Trudeau went on to say: “And what I know from veterans I’ve spoken to is nobody wants after having served their country with valour and honour and sacrifice to have their government say: Here’s your cheque. Now don’t bother us anymore.” The prime minister then defended the new system of providing compensation and support to veterans, which includes money for rehabilitation, job-training and caregiver support.

Two news reports, both right, but one that was kind of wrong (or misleading). I would have been wrong to believe the report that supported my bias, because there was more to the story.

Everyone and everything has flaws, and we’ll all make mistakes in life. If we learn to accept this, while also acknowledging the value of failure, we might finally become comfortable with uttering those three simplistic, yet complicated words: “I was wrong.”
– John Haltiwanger, Science Of Strength: Why Successful People Admit When They’re Wrong, Elite Daily, Feb 17 2015 –

The QuipperyI’ve lost track of how many times I’ve been totally wrong, partially wrong, or right but wrong. It is part of the journey of learning. What I learned about the Trudeau government’s approach to veterans doesn’t mean I would vote for him, but it makes me more cautious of the media I think is ‘right’.

When was the last time or most important time you said “I was wrong”?

Half a World Away

When the Internet publicity began, I remember being struck by how much the world was not the way we thought it was, that there was infinite variation in how people viewed the world.
– Eric Schmidt –

The Belchen (35 Km south of Freiburg) is a mountain in the Black Forest of Germany. The Belchen Cableway takes you up to scenic viewpoints and hiking trails.

If you do a web search for The Belchen, you will find lots of photos of the scenery, but no photos of a bee and some thistles on the grassy slopes of the flanks of the mountain. You also won’t find very many moderately funny or interesting quotations about variations. Until now…

Original of my favourite photo from a trip to The Belchen.

I’ve been getting a lot of science fiction scripts which contained variations on my Star Trek character and I’ve been turning them down. I strongly feel that the next role I do, I should not be wearing spandex.
– Marina Sirtis –

Creativity varies inversely with the number of cooks involved in the broth.
– Bernice Fitz-Gibbon –

Time rushes towards us with its hospital tray of infinitely varied narcotics, even while it is preparing us for its inevitably fatal operation.
– Tennessee Williams –

No patent medicine was ever put to wider and more varied use than the Fourteenth Amendment.
– William O. Douglas –

More varied than any landscape was the landscape in the sky, with islands of gold and silver, peninsulas of apricot and rose against a background of many shades of turquoise and azure.
– Cecil Beaton –

Country people do not behave as if they think life is short; they live on the principle that it is long, and savor variations of the kind best appreciated if most days are the same.
– Edward Hoagland –

How many vacation photos have you taken that could just as easily depict something in your neighbourhood or backyard?

This week’s WordPress.com Photo Challenge is Variations on a Theme.

Frozen

It was very cold here in Alberta in late December 2017 and early January 2018. The overnight low temperatures were below -20C (-4F) for 7 days straight during the holiday season. The lowest temperature was -31C (-24F). January 2018 was briefly milder before sinking into another 4 day stretch of extreme cold. When it finally warmed up to a balmy -8C we packed the Jeep and made a dash to warmer climates for a while!

As Alberta was plunged into extreme cold warnings on Boxing Day…  Alberta was about as cold as Mars’ Gale Crater, the home of the Curiosity rover. Mars is subject to pretty violent temperatures shifts, and Curiosity regularly encounters temperatures below -80 C. But this week, the highest temperature experienced by the rover were -23 C. A Calgary Boxing Day shopper, therefore, might have found themselves getting into a car that was literally colder than a Martian spacecraft.
– Tristin Hopper, National Post, Dec 27, 2017 –

Snow Flakes, sharpened and color corrected

We spent a lot of time indoors in December and January. Inconveniently, it snowed regularly. I did a lot of snow shoveling, but only for short periods of time. It was just too cold. As for The Car Guy and the tractor – neither would start on several occasions…

Canada is one of the coldest countries in the world, having an average yearly temperature of about -5C. Viewed through this lens, it is no wonder that by the New Year we start to forget that we ever had summer…

By January it had always been winter.
– Annie Proulx, Shipping News –

How has your winter been so far?