Sesame Street is 40

Quick: go and see the best moment from Sesame Street!

Well, maybe not THE best, but one of my favorites.


Not sure who's stupider here

Your choices:

The Conservatives, who
  • campaigned on a premise that there was no crisis, surpluses would continue, and life would be good;
  • got into office and immediately announced a fiscal update that was going to be $30 Billion in the red;
  • announced six months later that things were really much worse than forcast and therefore the deficit was going to be more than $50 billion (that's more than)
or The Liberals who
  • demanded $30 billion of stimulus spending in the first place but will now be delighted to jump all over the Conservatives for making the hole deeper than demanded
And they wonder why people don't vote.


Talking to the TV

I got a phone call at the office today. Today, my youngest was watching TV, and when the TV asked him who he was, he answered it back. He then went on to participate in the other segments of the program -- singing, moving, jumping. I am at once thrilled that my youngest is participating, and sad because he is participating in a way that his elder brother is yet to do.

Autism is an isolating condition. In our case, the vast majority of children we have any significant exposure to are also challenged in some way. And when compared to this set of children, my eldest does very well. He has potential that some of them don't, has learned things some of them have not.

But every so often I get a snapshot of life in the neurotypical world -- a child wearing the same jacket as my eldest, who explains to me that his birthday is only six weeks before my son's. An interaction that I've never had with my son.

Sometimes it is a wonder how quickly children develop, but sometimes I fear the gap my son is facing is only increasing, no matter how hard he works.


Programming Note

To: programming@ctv.ca
From: me


I am writing to you to express a frustration with a couple of shows being broadcast on your network, specifically Law And Order, and to a lesser extent, Fringe.

My complaint is that both programs are obviously filmed in a widescreen format, however are being broadcast in a non-widescreen transmission. The net effect of this is that the shots which are carefully framed to take advantage of the widescreen format are wasted, as characters or other on-screen details frequently "fall off" the edges of my non-widescreen TV. Specifically, shots framed wide to have two characters talking to each other from the edges of the widescreen can be reduced to two talking noses, or even be gone completely.

While I am sure that the programming executives at the networks from which you obtain your programs all have nice plasma widescreens with which to enjoy their TV, some of us are still stuck with 1995 technology, and are likely to be so stuck for quite some time.

An acceptable compromise would be to broadcast the show in a "letterboxed" format.

My questions for you are:

Is there a reason why the shows are broadcast in this manner?

Is there a reason why the shows can not be broadcast in a "letterboxed" format?

Is there a more appropriate place that I should raise such issues?

Thank you for your time.

David Mackintosh




Isn't that a great word? It refers to the theory that life isn't an Earth-only process.

This article on Panspermia Flowers is about Freeman Dyson's insistance that we refocus our search for extra-terrestrial life procedures somewhat:
“I would say the strategy in looking for life in the universe [should be] to look for what’s detectable, not what’s probable,” Freeman Dyson said on Saturday at a conference in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
“We have a tendency among the theorists in this field to guess what’s probable. In fact our guesses are likely to be wrong,” Dyson said. “We never had as much imagination as nature.”
Dyson holds up the flower as something detectable, and therefore something we might find; for example flowers growing on Europa.

My problem is that he is basically saying we are looking for life as we know it because we are extrapolating from the only life we have as examples; instead, we should try guessing as to how life might work and look for evidence of that, instead!

Because, you know, our guesses could be better than our examples.