TED talks: Hans Rosling show the best stats you’ve ever seen

Defending Freedom of Speech

OK – this is tough for me to admit:  I actually agree with something the McGuinty government’s policy on something!

Whenever this happens, I check my position – again and again…and I did so here.  Still, it is inevitable that even a government as misguided as McGuity’s will, eventually, get something right!

So, what is this singular policy of the McGuinty regime that I support?

It is their curriculum on sexual education, of course.

By the time they are 5 or 6 years of age, each and every child should be fully aware of the scientific facts surrounding reproduction – as well as of the effects sex hormones have on brain development, including all forms of atypical hormonal effects.


Because shortly after this age, a third phase of sex-hormone-driven brain differentiation will take place.  This third phase (the first take place in utero, the second shortly after birth) is, perhaps, the most nuanced in that it will greatly emphasize the gradations that demonstrate the continuity – rather than discreetness – in the gender ‘category’.

In other words, the more science we know, the less able are we to define what is ‘male’ versus what is ‘female’.

The old ‘X’ and ‘Y’ chromosome convention simply fails, especially when we have ‘XX’ individuals with external presentations as ‘male’ and ‘XY’ individuals with external presentations as ‘female’.  And don’t even get me started on ‘XXY’ individuals, who can present as either male or female – and who are fully capable of reproducing as such.  Then there are ‘XXXY’ males, who are typically unusually prone to cruelty and violence.

In addition to these many variations along the line between male and female, there are numerous hormonal effects that have nothing to do with the genetic makeup but with maternal health during pregnancy, which will also affect the hormone-caused brain differentiation:  the variations here are numerous – and all are shown to become more prominent (and more consciously comprehended by the individuals affected) in this age-group.

Of course, this does not account for more typically male/female ‘reasoning’ associated with non-hormonal effects, but, say, things like Aspergers’ syndrome and other perfectly naturals states of being!  Those effects, too, become acutely felt at this stage of development.

In other words, I think it is essential that, at the latest by grade 1, sex education must inform children that ‘male’ and ‘female’ are cultural constructs of convenience, which nobody really properly fits in – and that this is natural and normal.  (I would add to this that we should all boycott all events, cultural or sports, that continue to differentiate against individuals based on this artificial and unnecessary group construct – but, then again, I have a deeper sense of fairness than most people!  After all, a person’s a person, no matter where they fall in the ‘sexual differentiation’ continuum…)

Having explained my position, it will, perhaps, be clear just how abhorrent and irrational I find the advertisement that Sun media is running – and which has got a lot of people up in arms – for the right and the wrong reasons.

What I find even more abhorrent is the tactics employed by some opponents of this ad in order to intimidate and silence those who made the ad, approved the ad and aired the ad!!!

Having said this, here is a link to Brian Lilley talking about – and showing – the ad in question!

Nothing is more essential in a society than preserving the freedom of speech.  I find this speech particularly foolish and destructive – but, I will fight to the death for the people who made the ad and paid for it to be aired to be able to do freely speak their foolish minds!!!

To do anything less would be standing by and not stopping evil – and we know where that leads!

The ends never justify the means.  To the contrary:  the means define the ends!

If we permit evil methods to pervail, even when they are employed to oppose an evil, destructuve message, we have already lost the war!


BC Supreme Court rules against polygamy

The Supreme Court of British Columbia has upheld the law which forbids polygamy.  This is an important ruling – and one which is bound to end up before the Supreme Court of Canada.

It is also an issue I am deeply conflicted on:  just where does the line lie between individual choice and State interference lie?

This article by Lorne Gunther in the National Post captures much of my own thinking on the subject:

“On an intellectual level, polygamy amongst men and women who have reached the age of consent should be no one else’s business but the participants’.”

“The cold, hard fact is that in the real world, non child-abusing polygamists are pretty much non-existent. Non-wife-abusing polygamists are rare, too.”

While I might disagree with some minor points Mr. Gunther makes, these are tangential to the subject of his article, the body of which reflects my own opinions quite accurately.

Let’s hope that now that we have confirmation of the validity of anti-polygamy laws, these laws will be applied to all members of our society equally!


City of Toronto ‘multifaith’ prayer room

BlazingCatFur got a tip:

‘The cab driver was mortified to see that prayer room, it is in no way shape or form inclusive or respectful of others, in fact it’s downright threatening to those who suffered at the hands of Muslims in their countries of origin.’

Living up to the challenge and went to investigate:

Head over to his site and check it out.

Of course, I maintain that prayer – under all circumstances – is demonstrably immoral and offensive and that not a penny of any taxpayer money must be permitted to go to anything even remotely related to religion(s).  No publicly funded prayer rooms, no publicly funded preachers and no praying in public.  That would avoid this all mess!

In somewhat related news, here is some advice from Mark Vandermaas over at VoiceOfCanada:

‘Our Western countries have become divided states, one part for the radicals and one for the majority of citizenry — and, by virtue of our free and fair society, they are both afforded the same rights.’

And, I know this is a few days old, but:  check out women’s rights under Sharia! (And, yes, this is precisely why we must not have a law banning the burka:  the moment the state is given the right to legislate how we dress, we are giving up our right and ability to protest against this.)

Feeling Dehydrated? Don’t say that drinking water may be beneficial – in the EU, you could go to jail for that…

OK – the idiotcracy that is the EU has been my pet peeve for a long time now.

Having been born in what is now the EU, I ‘get an earful’ about how things went from ‘optimistically enthusiastic’ to ‘pre-WWI-Austrian-bureaucracy-induced-paralysis’ (my great-grand-father lived to almost 100 years of age and he used to tell us, kids, the stories – plus I read ‘The Castle’).

This, however, takes the cake!

According to the EU, after a ‘multi-year-study’ by 21 ‘scientists’, ‘there is no evidence that drinking water may prevent dehydration!?!?!

Whom the {insert expletive of choice} are they using as ‘scientists’?  The IPCC quacks?

Oh, and if you make a claim to the contrary, you just might face a 2-year jail term

The EU has systematically stripped away the ability of citizens within the EU zone to affect the laws.  The EU bureaucrats have methodically and systematically replaced democratic processes and constitutional civil rights guarantees with bureaucrat-designed-and-implemented rules which, once drafted by the bureaucrats, even the elected members of the EU Parliament are unable to prevent from being enacted:  the best they can hope for is to delay the implementation for a few months!

This is yet another glimpse of the disconnect with reality among the ruling bureaucrats and the actual physical world.

Abolish the EU now, IF you still can!!!

And all of us living in North America:  we need to increase our vigilance against the NA zone (which would mirror the EU zone), which can be glimpsed in acts such as SOPA….

When reason and the scientific method are thrown out the window are thrown out the window in favour of some ideological ideals (be they religious or secular – it does not matter at this level), it signal the type of corruption which sounds the death-knoll for society and ushers in an era of oppression of individuals in the name of these ideological ideals.

It’s happened before.

It has started again.

Let’s not let it come to fruition!

A little bit of humorous poetry: Tim Minchin’s ‘Storm’

xkcd: ‘inside job’ was an inside job


Me too!

Conspiracy ‘theorists’ can be extremely entertaining.  I like to play with them.

P.S.  The word ‘theory’ in ‘conspiracy theory’ should always be in quotation marks:  let’s face it, a bunch of rantings do not a theory make!

The Agile Panda: US Bill Creating the Great Firewall of America

A few places have been picking up on the implications of the US SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) bill, but I think that The Agile Panda has a very good analysis of the situation with comparisons to how this is being done in China.

Michael Geist, of course, has an excellent post:  SOPA:  All Your Internets Belong to US

“To put this is context, every Canadian Internet provider relies on ARIN for its block of IP addresses. In fact, ARIN even allocates the block of IP addresses used by federal and provincial governments. The U.S. bill would treat them all as domestic for U.S. law purposes.”

Yes, SOPA would define ‘all’ Canadian IP addresses as being under US jurisdiction – and if you want to argue about it, just to get your foot into the door to register a complaint, you must acknowledge US has jurisdiction…no, I am not being circular, SOPA is.  And, as we have seen with other internet legislation, an accusation is sufficient to force your ISP to deny you service – as well as all online financial services would be cut off based on an accusation.

Lovely, is it not?

The Agitator points out that the US is trying to make it a federal crime to lie on the internet.

As I have said before – and doubtlessly will say again – we really really really need a diffused peer-to-peer internet alternative that will, by its very structure, be uncontrollable.

H/T:  Hacker News, Blog of Walker

So many wrongs – and they don’t add up tp any ‘rights’

I have little liking for the #occupy folks and have said so before.


There is so much wrong in the police responses to the #occupy evictions that I don’t even know where to begin ranting.

Please, consider the following video:


First, a cop assaults a bunch of #occupiers (he uses unreasonable force against clearly non-violent people who offer no resistance, at least one of whom had to be taken to a hospital for treatment as a result of the assault), then the whole group of cops gets cowed and cowardly runs away when the mob advances on them!

The use of unreasonable force, especially against people who do not resist, is the second worst thing the cops here did.  The worst thing they did was to let themselves be run out by the mob.  A peaceful mob, but a mob none-the-less.

The lesson here?

If you are non-violent, police will assault you.  If you begin to – even just a tiny bit – look menacing, the cops will run away.

Just marvellous…

This sends a clear signal that the police are willing to neither obey nor uphold the rule of law.

Of course, we have seen this type of a response by police before:  peaceful citizens are bullied, beaten and arrested while violent law-breakers go unchallenged.  This is true from the Islamist rallies in the UK to Caledonia in Ontario and on and on.

All this type of police response will result in is that all protests will take on a violent streak, if only to protect themselves from police violence.  People will loose any vestige of trust they still have in the police,and, by extension, in the rule of law.

How can those calling the shots in the police responses not get it?

xda-developers: The Rootkit of All Evil – CIQ

Do you have a smart phone?

Then you might want to read this article at xda-developers about CIQ (CarrierIQ), which proclaims on their own website:

“…we give Wireless Carriers and Handset Manufacturers unprecedented insight into their customers’ mobile experience.”


‘Unprecedented’ is right!

It is understandable that any business would like to have a deep insight into their customers’ needs and desires in order to serve them better: satisfying customers is good for business.

However, customers also have a right to – and most have at least some expectation of – privacy.

The problem arises when customers are not even aware of the volume and detail of information about them that their mobile devices routinely report to their carriers: this lopsided information level makes any meaningful discussion about privacy vs data-mining virtually meaningless.

From the article:

“This [CIQ software] is given root like rights over the device, which means that it can do everything it pleases and you will have nothing to say about it.”

“…Because of all the metrics that could be obtained via the different triggers, that same network admin will not just know that you got a dropped call at 5 pm in California, but he/she will also know where in California you were located, what you were doing with your phone at that given time, how many times you accessed your apps until that time, and even what you have typed in your device (no, this last one is not an exaggeration, this thing can act as a key logger as well). Scared already? If not, here is a snippet of some…”

“…what kind of permissible purpose is out there that can allow a company to legally place a key logger on something and use it when you are not even getting service out of them?”


And, of course, we know no person or corporation would ever abuse any information they get access to!

Read the full article and weep.

H/T:  CodeSlinger