Northern Voice 2011 – Conversation Starters

Northern Voice 2011 is coming up this weekend. What are we going to talk about in the hallways? Here are some potential conversation starters and/or topics to stay away from if you don’t want to hear me expound on the topic. 🙂

Canadian Politics

Too bad about that Canadian election outcome, eh? The Conservative party won a majority and the previous “official opposition party” The Liberals as well as the froggy Bloc QuĂ©bĂ©cois were reduced to rubble, and the proper lefty New Democratic Party became the new official opposition.

Canada has polarized into a false us-against-them situation much like the US. Why do so many Canadians think that massive corporate tax cuts and housing bubble incentives will benefit them? Will the left continue to suffer under vote splitting for the foreseeable future or will they commit a marriage of convenience?

Will the Canadian “Christian Right” remain quiet for long? Or will they pressure Harper to make further cuts to education and science, the environment and other fact-based initiatives; will they push through limitations on Canadian women’s right to abortion, etc?

International Politics

Osama Bin Laden is dead. Good. Too bad that it happened the way it did with an illegal smash-and-grab.

I hope the US will remember to stay cool when the tables are turned and special troops from various Central American and Asian nations launch military operations on US soil to retrieve former dictators, terrorists, military leaders, torturers-in-chief, etc. who are now living out their retirements in Florida courtesy of the CIA. Will we see smoking ruins of Miami villas and Hawaiian condo buildings on TV overlapped with crowds of jubilant brown people?

Technology Industry

Microsoft bought Skype for an obscene amount of money this week. Is this the end of online communication as we know it, or just a little consolidation? Will Microsoft kill Skype on FOSS platforms such as Linux?

I still haven’t seen The Social Network (2010). But I have seen that other Facebook movie Catfish (2010). Have you?


I squatted 4 reps with 450lbs. Why? Because I could, I guess. Hey, if the inane “Because they’re there” excuse works for mountain climbers, “Because I can” ought to work for strong people. This beats my personal record from 15-or-so years ago by a lot, and I’ve no idea why I’m suddenly so strong again at 41.

Death to stupid photo filters, apps and websites that make pictures from $500 phones and $1,000 cameras look like they were made with a disposable pocket camera from 1964! This is just a small symbol of the hipster trend, but because of social media it’s pushier than personal grooming (or lack thereof) fads,  ugly clothes, fixie bikes, etc. Being a Dickhead is (not) Cool.

Nuclear Energy

The recent nuclear energy accident in Japan pushed me over the edge: I’m now wholeheartedly in favor of nuclear power. William Saletan’s “Nuclear Overreactions” in Slate points out the disproportionality between the actual damage to humans, nature and property in the recent accident at Fukushima with the constant ongoing environmental and human tragedy that is our oil-based energy infrastructure. From the article:

Even if you count all the deaths plausibly related to Chernobyl—9,000 to 33,000 over a 70-year period—that number is dwarfed by the death rate from burning fossil fuels. The OECD’s 2008 Environmental Outlook calculates that fine-particle outdoor air pollution caused nearly 1 million premature deaths in the year 2000, and 30 percent of this was energy-related. You’d need 500 Chernobyls to match that level of annual carnage. But outside Chernobyl, we’ve had zero fatal nuclear power accidents.

Derek K. Miller and Frank Langgaard, R.I.P.

A lot of my friends in Vancouver knew and loved Derek K. Miller who recently died after a long fight with cancer. Derek was my age, he was 41.

I did not really know Derek. I only met him in passing a couple of times over the years. To all of his friends and of course to his family: I’m sorry for your loss!

I recently learned that my old friend and workout buddy Frank died from complications from the flu back in Denmark. He was 45, and he was one of the fittest people (of any age) I’ve ever known. Obviously “taking care of your health” doesn’t work 100%. Bad things happen to good people.

One Comment to “Northern Voice 2011 – Conversation Starters”

  1. raincoaster 11 May 2011 at 20:58 #

    Somehow I don’t think anybody will need to resort to “conversation starters” with you. You always have something interesting and fresh to say.
    raincoaster´s last blog post ..Google Calendars- Now with more WordPresscom embeddability goodness!

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