Monday, January 30, 2012


So it's 2012. I got thinking that means it's been 5 years now since 2007. That blip report that US subprime mortgages were defaulting at a 16% rate, way up from the usual 7%. Then the 2 bear stearns hedge funds blew up. and, well then everything else since then that happened. Still not back to normal or close to back to normal five years later now.

I remember sitting at Jack Astor's for a work lunch. SupportSoft was good for that. It was late spring or summer and we were outside on the patio. Real nice Nova Scotia day. Just shooting the breeze and making jokes about Alabama deadbeats. I'd never heard terms such as subprime, CDO, CDS and such. I had just discovered HousingPanic and was reading and absorbing so much. I wonder what Keith is up to these days and if he ever returns to USA and Phoenix.


Speaking of subprime and trailer park trash. The lolsite of the day is liarscheatersrus. This is where people expose cheaters using their real names. Some of them with comments are entertaining like this one.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Daughter of Kura by Debra Austin

I finished another book it was Daughter of Kura by Debra Austin. It was a good book, well written. It's the story of a young girl named Snap set half a million years ago in Africa. The author skilfully weaves together known archaeological evidence to tell a believable and compelling story. In the book they don't yet have speech and use sign language to communicate which helps put the reader into that time.

In Austin's view the primitive societies are led by women. The related women live together year round in settlements. During the summer months the women and children migrate to harvest grown food. The men spend the summer away from the tribe hunting and trading and rejoin in the fall. Men join a different tribe than they grew up in and women stay in the tribe of their birth. In the fall there is a ceremony and the women by rank choose their mate which is just for that fall-spring.

Live is dangerous back then and the early people are often hunted as much as hunting. Having to dodge lions, leopards, hyenas, rhinos, scorpions. The author also explores themes such as emergence of pagan religion, male dominated societies, permanent mates, tribal conflict and wars. I wonder if there's an element of fantasy in Austin's writing of women dominated societies and the men having to compete every year for mates while the women get to pick and choose.

The writer is an interesting person. A former obstetrician who got into writing using her interest in paleoanthropology. You can tell in her narrative of Snap's gestation that she is in her comfort zone in that area.

This was a kind of different book for me. I had pretty much used up the Michael Crichton series so looking for something new. I used the second hand on my watch to just select a random shelf and I required myself to just pick from that shelf. So that's how I found this book. There's some hit and miss with that approach. There's been a couple of interesting books like this one. As well as some bad books which I just quit on after 20 pages or less. And that's fine. I just take 3-4 from the library and if a couple don't work out then just move on.

autism / Asperger's back to sanity in DSM-V

I was surprised to hear about proposed changes in the upcoming DSM-V [1] [2] [3] around autism and aspergers. According to the ATV piece Saturday and the links. The criteria to diagnose autism is being sharply tightened. Aspergers is being eliminated as a diagnosable disease.

Let's discuss them separately. From the ATV report there was a study back in 1994 and even then half of the children diagnosed with autism were misdiagnosed and didn't even have it. The DSM is recognizing that diagnosis is too loose, too subjective, too prone to pressure from self interested psychologists who know how lucrative a diagnosis is, especially when it is obvious what the parent wants to hear, especially when there's a benefits plan to stick with the bill.

As for aspergers. This is a "disease" whose symptoms include holding down high paying jobs and being in stable long term relationships. How many websites are out there about "husband has aspergers"? honey if there was a problem why did you get married? why did you stay married? why did you have children and then more children? You didn't seem to mind living off his paycheque all those years or stuffing your face with prescription drugs off his benefits plan.

It took the APA a lot of courage to make this move. There is an enormous entrenched industry in big pharma and psychologists around the status quo. They won't give up the gravy train without a fight. We already see the media starting to mobilize with the ATV piece. I expect a lot more resistance.

equality and the Costa Concordia

Per Steyn there are reports of some of the men, including crew members, using their size advantage to jostle and push their way ahead of women to get to the life rafts. Well what do you expect in a culture where the captain himself scooted off early and left his crew and passengers to fend for their own lives, in some cases unsuccessfully.

At some level this seems wrong, at least untraditional. Then again going back to the 70s with feminism and the demands for equality, affirmative action, pay equity etc. All of these demands have been met. Then you could see equality means equal opportunity to fight for places on the lifeboats. The men could rationalize that you can't have it both ways. And there has been very little pointing out how the men behaved. Perhaps this is the manifestation of political correctness.


Speaking of political correctness. There is a dramatic distortion of proportion of expected value in the handling of the search and the gigantic full oil tanks on the ship. It is criminal that gear is on site ready to defuse the potentially devastating situation with the ships fuel hold, and they are told to delay while divers continue an incredibly inefficient and ineffective search for survivors.

Given the situation with the oil bunker and the damages that would occur if it erupts, versus the expectation of finding anyone alive in the vessel at this point, then quite obviously someone should have had the courage to stand up and call off the search days ago - by far the greatest priority at this point is to move swiftly to protect the environment and the thousands of people and wildlife in that area.

President Newt - why not

It was hard to believe when he first appeared on the campaign trail. This old fossil Newt Gingrich shows up and what's he doing?

Now he's surging and does he really have the right stuff to be president? First of all it's not too "unlikely" that he can win. After what happened 4 years ago America elected a black man, a community organizer, an unknown first term senator, as president. So Newt today is no more unlikely to actually win than Obama 4 years ago.

The other point is about Newt's, shall we say moral shortcomings. Well Newt apparently enjoys the company of beautiful women, and with his fame and stature as speaker of the house he may have had more access than most regular guys. Newt obviously does not believe in staying in a bad marriage and is cool with moving on when a marriage goes bad. Him and millions of others.

ok sure. There are two important points here. First that is stuff in his personal life away from work. It doesn't have any bearing on his ability to function as president. Second, and this is very important. Newt's "failings" in his personal life are no worse than Bill Clinton's and Clinton was never considered disqualified from running for or continuing as president.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

USA: go freeze in the dark

So America doesn't want the Keystone pipeline. What a crock! Here we are attempting to create thousands of high paying industrial blue collar union jobs in both countries in construction, manufacturing, transportation, engineering, services, etc. and America turns up their nose and says no.

Hard to believe. If America is supposedly so concerned about terrorism you would think they would want to wean themselves of terrorist Saudi oil. Apparently terrorism isn't an important issue after all.

You would think America would have figured out by now that you can't build an economy on CDOs and flipping condos. You need a real industrial base. Apparently they still don't understand that yet.

I hope Prime Minister Harper does the right thing and makes good his threat to sell the oil elsewhere, i.e. China. Build a pipeline to Vancouver instead and we'll put it on tankers to the Far East.

Monday, January 16, 2012


It was weird the first week back at work. I had trouble sleeping all week. I wasn't tired going to bed, and was waking up during the night and not getting back to sleep quickly.

On the Thursday I awoke around 1:30 and I don't think I got back to sleep, or not for much if I did. Finally gave up and looked at the clock: 5:30. Screw it got up for the day. I was surprisingly alert and untired all that day at work.

I can't recall this ever being an issue. For the last how many years it was just go to bed too late, asleep nearly instantly, up too early and tired. I thought maybe it was adjusting to being back at work after away for the three weeks. I wondered if it's aging, could be.

After that Friday I did pick up some Unisom. I heard their ad on House of Hair on Hal FM so I figured that would be as good as anything. As a consumer it's important to support businesses who sponsor shows I like. It was around $6 at Sobeys pharmacy.

I also changed to the comforter I was using before December on my bed. That seemed to help I think those sheets produce a more even heat during the night so I don't get too cool at the start or warm later and wake up. In any case I haven't even opened the unisom. After getting them I was able to get to sleep a bit better over an anxious weekend and since then it has been back close to historic norms. Plus I've been consistently sleeping through the night which is important.

I considered taking back the unisom but I think for $6 it's kind of a reassurance. I think just knowing it's there as a backup helps to relax; and then not even need it as kind of a self fulfilling prophesy. I don't take any medications and I really want to keep it that way as long as possible. It was pretty depressing at the Sobeys. Pills to get to sleep, pills to wake up, pills to stay awake. I wouldn't want to live like that.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Everything you need to know about Greece

As I've written before Greece is unworthy of bailout and should have been left to default on its debts and been kicked out of the Euro. This is what the German taxpayers and savers money is being used to pay for. This is a sampling of headlines just from today.

pedophilia is a disability and eligible for government disability pension

anarchists take over radio station. In the article note that trials are only now getting under way (in 2012) for a group accused firing a rocket-propelled grenade into the U.S. Embassy in Athens in 2007.

paintings worth millions stolen from museum. due to a strike there was only one guard working guarding many millions of dollars of easily removable inventory in a building with many points of entry and exit

Saturday, January 07, 2012


I deleted my facebook account. No drama or anything, facebook just wasn't fun any more so I decided to move on. Last fall I went through an exercise cutting my friends from about 150 to 125 or so. However I found my news feed was still clogged with people I don't know, people I don't like, people I don't care about. That and the endless blocking of apps.

So that's that. I haven't missed it or noticed it gone yet. I'll have to rejoin around December there's an annual ball hockey game organized on fb. Otherwise see how it goes.


I went to the Halifax oval last week with the kids. It was a good time. The ice is really good since it's now on a permanent poured concrete. It was quite a few people there on new years day. The ice is nearly arena quality. Some amenities have been added including a sit down warm up hut and a better organized seating area to lace up.


I made shake and bake tonight. I think it's been around 10 years since I made that. It turned out pretty well. I used chicken thighs as the meat. It was good. I looked at the chicken breasts but the price of them was obscene. I'll have to watch for specials on chicken breasts.


Heading out with a friend from away tonight. I think I'll suggest the Rodeo. It was a good time back in October there.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

World War Z by Max Brooks

Continuing the zombie theme, I finished up World War Z by Max Brooks. I borrowed it from my nephew and read it over the Christmas break.

It was a good and fast read. It was nice to be able to get through it in chunks over the break although I neglected some other activities I'd meant to do, oh well that's what vacation is for.

The book is the chronology of the zombie war from the earliest outbreaks through the Great Panic and beyond. Brooks tells the story from a unique perspective as a series of interviews across the world. It is a sweeping tale touching all continents.

Brooks is a recognized authority on zombies and you can tell he spent a lot of time thinking about how a global pandemic might play out. It's very believable.

That will be it for zombie reading for a bit. I've got at least one more zombie book to work through. But I'll look at some other nonfiction and other fiction first.