Dory

I was lucky enough to see one of my favorite people today – Dory Kornfeld. Hopefully we will go biking together before she must return to Toronto. Maybe even the sun will come out.

Kerrisdale Alpha tonight. (I think).

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What drives Science?

UBC environmental sciences professor is skeptical about climate change. He agrees that humans have had the effect of raising Co2 levels, but that it is not yet possible to state that weather events are “caused by climate change”, rather that the weather events we have experienced lately fall well within normal variation. The fact that his views are not shared by most of his colleagues is not a problem to him, because as he states, “Science is not driven by the majority, it’s driven by what can be proven.”

Now, while proof is certainly a benchmark in science, he is profoundly wrong that science is not “driven by the majority”. What is accepted by the majority of scientists become the confines within which future research can be done, because funding for research that is based on assumptions that contradict the concensus positions is only available from special interest groups (i.e. ciggarett companies are willing to fund research questioning whether smoking causes cancer well after the American Science Foundation is willing to fund such a study).

Science is an exercise in concensus building. Scientists that opposed the major revolutions in Chemistry, physics and biology continued to publish work for the remainder of their careers, but were mostly ignored because they were working effectivly outside the field. I am not certain if recognizing climate change is a major paradigmatic shift (this will be up to Milan to decide), but it is at least a minor and important one – because it establishes new limits on what research can be done and funded. Proof is indeed crucial, but only inasmuch as it succeeds in building concensus.

In other words, science is driven by what can be proven, but only inasmuch as the proof is compelling to the majority. Fundamentally, absolute proof is absolutely impossible, so all proof is only ever an exercise in elucidation and persuasion for your cause anyway!

Xmas Skiing?

This year, for the first year ever, xmas morning did not mean trying to wake up mom and pop so presents could be opened. Rather, a 7:30 alarm rang bidding us to get ready for a 1.5 hr drive to a ski hill. As per normal, we arrived at Sun Peaks an hour after it opened, but – differently – no lift lines all day. Not entirely surprising, who skiis on xmas day? We do, I suppose. It was in short, an awesome day. Especially since I explored (foolishly) at the end of the day the T bar area, which was closed, and which required a 7 mile sort of out of bounds trail back to a poorly covered double black down to a lift that was technically closed. Luckily, they let me on the lift and I skiied into the village 45 minutes after the lifts had closed. The snow was excellent, and bounding between the three mountains gives a real sense of the expanse that Sun Peaks offers. It’s a truly large ski area. (And from bottom to top of the Burfield quad there is more than 800 meters of elevation change).

Dinner was prepared by all after we arrived home (at 5:30). For once – we had done enough exercise to merit such a feast!

This is a big Fuck You to “B.C. Ferries”

If you didn’t already know, B.C. Ferries is no longer a crown coorperation, existing for the benefit of the people of B.C. It is a private, for profit coorperation, whose goals are not the benefit of the people of B.C. the the benifits of its shareholders. This sounds like leftist nonsense, I know, but look at how it plays out in real life.

1) The new northern ferry is not built in B.C. but bought from Germany, and then they try to have the 17 million dollar duty waived. That duty exists to protect B.C. shipworkers. When you build a ship in B.C. any cost overruns are mitigated by the fact that the money is flowing back into the province. When you buy a ship from overseas you take Canadian dollars and put them somewhere else. But, it was cheaper, and hey – they might be able to get the duty waived, so higher profits.

2)The new northern ferry is called “Adventure of the north” or some crap – not “Spirit of Hartley Bay”. If it were not for the natives in Hartley bay who assisted in the rescue of the passengers from the “Queen of the North”, it is quite possible that hundreds of passangers would have died that night. Furthermore, it is becoming more and more suspicious that it was error on behalf of high ranking officers that this accident happened in the first place. There were no officers on bridge, just a boyfriend and girlfriend. The ship was running full bore on radar guided auto pilot. All the high ranking officers were having a banquet-booze up. Then the head of the ferries went and shredded many documents relating to the sinking!

3)The other two northern vessels have been relabelled aswell – and this is right from their mouths (on CBC radio) the renaming of the two existing vessels and the failure to name the new vessel after Hartley bay is their new “marketing strategy”, to “market the beauty of the north”. Fuck marketing, these ferries are a public service – part of the highway system. Even after Gordon Campbell allowed them to be privatized, they remain part of the highway system functionally, if not in spirit. There is no need for this gross indency, robbing ships of their names, and not naming the new ship as it ought, to fit in with a “marketing strategy”.

It’s this kind of inhuman nonsense that makes me want to become a communist. But, I won’t because I know at heart, that they are just as ideological and dumb to the world – which is saying a lot.

Red Light Means Stop

Milan’s brother has done it again – a wonderful music present video for christmas!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WN-uhR2ywYI

plus special bonus – everyone who watches gets a candy cane! (Just come to my house to pick it up)

In other news – my annual XMas party is This friday (please don’t be insulted if you didn’t get an email, I couldn’t find everyone’s email). The party is in Surrey at my parents house, starting at about 7. So – everyone please come! (You can stay over of course, as transiting home from the almost langley is no fun).

UBC’s attempt to keep me off their wireless network – failed

For the first time since not being a student I attempted to connect to ubc’s network. The normal means didn’t work – my cwl login failed. Not surprising as it’s only meant to work if you are a student. However – a last ditch attempt I made by trying to engage my old virtual private network to the non secure UBC network – SUCCESS! Take that bitches!

20% off at chapters

As an I reward club member, I get 20% off everything instore at chapters on wensday, dec 13th. The reason I’m telling you this is that I can share the discount with anyone, member or not, simply by forwarding them the email. Since 20% is a lot less than, well, not 20%, if you want this email, simply tell me so by commenting and if neccesary leaving your email address, or you could email me, and I can forward you the email either way. I set it so for this entry comments won’t show up, so you can put your email down without the spam bots, or your stalker, getting at it.

Library

Using “library” in the now ancient sense (the current term is “personal book collection”, or “bookshelf” – I am truly beginning to develop my own library. With the arrival of Heidegger’s “Mindfulness” and Deleuze’s “Thousand Plateauxs” I am the proud owner (and soon to be, although I have already read at least some of both these works, reader) of two more of the great works of European philosophy. In some sense, all of us amass libraries over our lifetime – we hang onto books that we consider the most crucial, while others (sometimes – merely borrowed from “the library”) pass through our hands like so many cups of starbucks. I don’t consider the bulk of the books I “own” to truly be part of my library. Those that have a place are cherised with an uncommon delight and endurance.

Anyone else have thoughts on their libraries?