17 March 2010

Conservative Spam: Ignorance, Arrogance, and Lack of Governance

Today, I received the most recent spam from our beloved Conservative Party of Canada. I usually took these straight to the garbage bin, but I happened to glance over the name of the MP that sent it. My MP is Brian Murphy, Liberal, representing Moncton–Riverview–Dieppe, New-Brunswick. However, today's waste of taxpayer money hasn't been brought by Murphy, it has been brought to you by Leon Benoit, Conservative, representing Vegreville—Wainwright, Alberta.

On one side of the two-dimensional piece of garbage is the typical "The Conservative Party rocks, Michael Ignatieff sucks!" campaign propaganda. On the other side is some attempt at slandering Ignatieff, and a great demonstration that the Conservative Party doesn't understand democracy.

The first two images are relatively uninteresting, but the third shows a few things.
  1. Calling America his 'country'.
  2. Signing on a backroom coalition power-grab with the NDP and the Bloc Québécois.
  3. Trying to force an unnecessary election during a global recession.
  4. Does this sound like a man who is putting Canadian first?
  5. Michael Ignatieff is not in it for Canadians, he's just in it for himself.
Now concerning #1, Ignatieff has dual citenzenship. It's not the first time they attack people for dual citizenship. Would the Conservatives take a shit on Michaëlle Jean for calling Haiti "her country"? I doubt it. It is funny that the Conservatives are trying to strike the anti-American cord, since they are the ones who constantly bent over backwards for the Americans, and tried to turn Canada into the United States of George Bush by covering up torture, and would rather prorogue government for three months than face the heat they deserve for turning a blind eye to violations on human rights.

Which brings us up to #2, the coalition. It is a shame that the coalition didn't work, it is one of the most democratic process, and probably the most productive one we could ever have gotten. It would have marked a new era of Canadian politics, one where a party is forced to work with others. A coalition would be the pinnacle of democracy, and again, the Conservatives prorogued government rather than face the heat for trying to cripple their opponents. The Conservatives also have a very short memory, since they attempted the same thing in 2004, when they wanted to join forces with the Bloc Québécois.

And concerning the rest, the Conservatives lost any moral high-ground they might have had when they broke their own law by calling a snap election in 2008. Right now, Canada has a government that supports torture, bullies their opposition, refuses to govern, and which spends taxpayer money on slandering their critics rather than address them. Anything would be better than that.

If the Conservatives want to see people who only are in it for themselves, they only have to look in a mirror and at their own leader.

14 February 2010

Quotable quotes 1

I've decided that I'll run a recurring series on some quotable quotes I stumble upon from time to time.

This one I came across while reading a reply[1] to Susan Mazur's latest article[2] on the "censorship conspiracy" behind the peer-review process. In a nutshell, Mazur claims that some authors had their idea censored because they failed to be published.

To the layperson, this may seem abhorrent. After all, refusing papers because you don't agree with what is being said in them, looks a lot like censorship. However, ask yourself this question: Do you expect a journal like The Astrophysical Journal to publish the work of someone who submitted a paper claiming that the Sun is powered by coal-burning rather than by fusion? I hope you answered that you wouldn't expect so, because that idea wouldn't be published in any self-respecting journals of any field of science, and the reason for this is well illustrated by today's quotable quote:[3]
Science is mean to people whose ideas suck. — Ty
And it is for this reason, and this reason alone that the papers of Mazur's friends were rejected.

In science when your papers gets rejected, you work on them and make them better. If you think the reviewers made a mistake (and they sometimes do, because no one is perfect), you can ask for a re-review, or submit your paper to another journal. There are several dozens of journals, if not hundreds, that publish papers on evolution. If you have to get morons like Mazur to champion your ideas, you've pretty much admitted that your idea is devoid of actual merit.


[1] J. Shallit (8 February 2010). "Suzan Mazur - Perpetually Clueless", Recursivity. Accessed 14 February 2010.
[2] S. Mazur (4 February 2010). "Secrecy and Bias in the Old Boys' Network: The Peer Review Prison", Counterpunch. Accessed 14 Febuary 2010.
[3] Ty (8 February 2010). "Comment by Ty", Recursivity. Accessed 14 February 2010.

See also

• G. Landry (17 October 2009). "The Dirty Window", The Head Bomb. Accessed 14 February 2010.
Science by Press Conference, Wikipedia. Accessed 14 February 2010, rev 340724961.
Peer Review, Wikipedia. Accessed 14 February 2010, rev 343485010.

24 January 2010

Interstella 5555

I've always been a fan of Daft Punk. Their Discovery album was simply mind blowing – the electronic equivalent of the Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon. Some of you may have seen the videos for Harder, Better, Faster, Better, which featured an extraterrestrial band being changed into a human-looking one. Well recently I've found the entire movie on youtube, named Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem, and it's one hell of a ride.

So without further ado, enjoy:

11 January 2010

New Book namespace created

Here's something I co-wrote for this week's issue of The Wikipedia Signpost. Again, this version has been slightly edited to be more understandable to non-wikipedians.

By notafish and Headbomb, 11 January 2010

On 28 December 2009, the Book namespace was deployed on the English Wikipedia, intended to host "books" produced by the collection extension. The idea was first proposed in March 2009, and again in December 2009. Shortly after a poll showed clear consensus, the namespace was implemented.

Books were previously hosted in the Wikipedia namespace (Wikipedia:Books/Title) and have since been moved to Book:Title. The namespace is recognized by Wikipedia's magic words, enabling templates to take full advantage of it. The WPBannerMeta template, which is used by several WikiProjects to keep track of articles, has already been updated to recognize the book namespace, and will automatically assess these pages as Book-Class. (See previous article.)

Since the launch of the collection extension about a year ago, more than 550 books have been created. They are typically used by wikiprojects to present selections of their best articles (Book:Anime and Manga Recognised Articles), exhaustive selections of articles on a topic (Book:Hydrogen), or exhaustive biographies (Book:Frédéric Chopin). These can then be downloaded electronically or ordered as printed books. Editors interested in books can join WikiProject Wikipedia-Books, and ask their own wikiproject(s) to support the book-class.


• notafish, Headbomb (11 January 2010). "New Book namespace created", The Wikipedia Signpost, 6 (2). Accessed 2010-01-11.

23 December 2009

Pride and Prejudice ... and Zombies

So today I walked into my local HMV looking out for potential Christmas presents. Didn't find anything that would make good presents for my parents, but I did stumble upon something that picked my curiosity.

I saw a book titled Pride and Prejudice, which I though was pretty weird for HMV to carry. But upon closer inspection, turns out that the full title is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies! Being a zombie aficionado, I just had to buy this (especially since it was 25% off, so retailing at 15$ including taxes).

Here's the first page:
IT IS A TRUTH universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains. Never was this truth more plain than during the recent attacks at Netherfield Park, in which a household of eighteen was slaughtered and consumed by a horde of the living dead.

     "My dear Mr. Bennet," said his lady to him one day, "have you heard that Netherfield Park is occupied again?"
     Mr Bennet replied that he head not and went about his morning business of dagger sharpening and musket polishing—for attacks by the unmentionables had grown alarmingly frequent in recent weeks.
     "But it is," returned she.
     Mr Bennet made no answer.
     "Do you not want to know who has taken it?" cried his wife impatiently.
     "Woman, I am attending to my musket. Prattle on if you must, but leave me to the defense of my estate!"
     This was invitation enough.
     "Why, my dear, Mrs. Long says that Netherfield is taken by a young man of large fortune; that he escaped London in a chaise and four just as the strange plague broke through the Manchester line."
     "What is his name?"
     "Bingley. A single man of four or five thousand a year. What a fine thing for our girls!"
     "How so? Can he train them in the ways of swordsmanship and musketry?"
     "How can you be so tiresome! You must know that I am thinking of his marrying one of them."


Anyway, I never read the original, but to have a zombie novel taking place in early 19th-century England, with aristocrats as protagonists... Well that's just fucking brilliant.

And so I begin my read of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I'll post another blog after I finish reading it.

05 December 2009

New ''book-class'' released, WikiProject Wikipedia-Books looking for volunteers

Here's something I wrote for this week's issue of The Wikipedia Signpost. I trimmed some technical sections for brevity.

By Headbomb, 30 November 2009

Wikipedia books can be downloaded electronically in PDF or ODT formats, or ordered in print.

On 23 October 2009, WikiProject Wikipedia-Books, PediaPress, and the Version 1.0 Editorial Team discussed the best way to monitor Wikipedia-Books (collections of articles that can be downloaded electronically or ordered in print, not to be confused with Wikibooks; see previous story). As a result, a new WP 1.0 assessment class was created: the book-class.

This book-class would permit individual WikiProjects to monitor the various books that fall in their scope, and thus oversee merges, renaming, deletions, and so on, by tagging the talk page of individual books with the projects banner (with |class=book). WikiProjects that are interested in adopting the book-class can do so by [...] contacting Headbomb.

WikiProject Wikipedia-Books is also looking for volunteers to join the WikiProject and help convert Good topics and Featured topics into books, as well as participate and create discussions about all things related to Wikipedia-Books.

For more about Wikipedia-Books, see Wikipedia:Books and Help:Books. For pages that need to be tagged by WikiProjects, see Category:Wikipedia Books. To create a Wikipedia-Books, click on "create a book" in the print/export box on the left side of your screen [when editing wikipedia as a logged-in user].


• Headbomb (30 November 2009). "News and notes: New book-class released, WikiProject Wikipedia-Books looking for volunteers", The Wikipedia Signpost, 5 (48). Accessed 2009-12-05.

23 November 2009

Follow the LHC progress as it all develops

...or at least, what the CMS [Compact Muon Solenoid] team are doing,[1] with some pictures of stuff going on in the detectors. New stuff is added at the top so read from the bottom if you want to start from the beginning. (See also their 23 November 2009 press release, which also has some purty pictures.[2])

I'll look up for additional feeds from the other teams, so check out this page every now and then.


[1] CMS team. CMS e-commentary for 2009 LHC beams. CERN. Accessed 23 November 2009.
[2] CERN (23 November 2009). Two circulating beams bring first collisions in the LHC. Accessed 23 November 2009.