Green Waste

I find it more than a little frustrating that these stupid Green Bins (plus the household collector bucket, which confusingly is white) that we have been given functionally require liners.

But the best part is that the only "Green Bin" friendly liners that are available in my local Metro (the one on March Road at Carling) are "fully compostable plastic for municipal Green Bin programs that accept plastic".

This goes directly against the hand-out that came with the Green Bin says explicitly: "no plastic bags, not even the compostable kind."

Lovely. Metro is selling a product we can't use.


Wrong Approach

Ontario drivers get ready for 'tremendous' fine increases
Ontario will ring in the new year with hefty new punishments for several traffic infractions, including a $2,000 ticket the first time you follow a fire truck too closely and a possible prison sentence the second time.

Drivers caught violating a range of traffic laws will soon face licence suspensions, demerit points and fines that are double — and even quadruple — what they are now.
Yeah yeah, this won't work.

The cops even admit it:
Windsor police Sgt. Steve Bodri said he hopes the province's new measures for bad drivers have an effect, because little else has.

"In the new year, we're going to start some campaigns to target aggressive driving," he said. "If it requires writing more tickets, then we will."
I noted this back a few years when the local police when through a phase designating some areas as "Community Safety Zones". And in those "Safety Zones", fines for traffic infractions were doubled.

I observed that merely doubling fines wouldn't do anything to act as a deterrent. Let's face it, the province could raise the penalty to be summary road-side execution, and it wouldn't be a deterrent if there continued to be NO POLICE OFFICERS AROUND TO CATCH THE OFFENDERS.

More regulation, more fines, and no more cops does exactly nothing except possibly punish the people who were going to get caught anyways -- and if the penalties for infringement goes up, there's more incentive for the police officers to exercise "discretion" and just issue warnings instead. Meaning that more regulations, more fines equals less deterrence.

Here's an idea. Streamline the Highway and Traffic Act so that it is actually possible for the average driver to know what it is all about and comply with it all. Reduce the fines to administrivia, but keep the points. Double the police officers. Remove their power of road-side discretion. Watch the people who get caught start to accumulate points and losing their licenses -- just as the system was designed. Watch other people take notice of this. Watch the compliance level increase.

Of course, putting more cops on the roads would cost money and be unpopular in a society where crime is actually falling. So it will never happen.

Instead, the politicians will continue to pass new and exciting laws and fines which will do exactly nothing except make them look like they are doing something.


Sysadmin's Holday Wishes

Christmas wishes from The NetWorker Blog:
In the spirit of this site, I hope that:
  • You’re all able to take a break;
  • All your backups run smoothly while you’re on that break;
  • No-one needs a recovery while you’re gone, and if they do –
  • Someone else knows how to do it.
...which is pretty much what we all hope for, isn't it.


Ares 1-X a fraud?

Buzz Aldrin on the Ares 1-X launch:
Turns out the solid booster was - literally - bought from the Space Shuttle program, since a five-segment booster being designed for Ares wasn't ready. So they put a fake can on top of the four-segmented motor to look like the real thing. Since the real Ares' upper stage rocket engine, called the J-2X wasn't ready either, they mounted a fake upper stage. No Orion capsule was ready, so - you guessed it - they mounted a fake capsule with a real-looking but fake escape rocket that wouldn't have worked if the booster had failed. Since the guidance system for Ares wasn't ready either they went and bought a unit from the Atlas rocket program and used it instead.


Unoriginal Thoughts

So I split the sports blog into two blogs. What the heck, Google blogs are free, right?

Turns out that there's already a hockey blog called "Healthy Scratch". However it is about the Washington Capitals, and it doesn't seem to have any hockey content newer than 2007. So while they were here first, I'm here now, and in the last year I've pumped out more items than they did total.

So for now I think we'll just keep things as they are. If another change is required, we'll just do it.


Kanata Kourier-Standard -- A Free Paper That Isn't Worth What You Pay For It

I wanted to title this article "...completes its slide into irrelevance", but it was pretty irrelevant anyways.

The Kanata Kourier-Standard and I have a strange relationship. The K-S is a free community paper that is published once a week. Like all the other weekly community papers, it has a mix of op-ed, stale news, and community sporting information.

Oh, and advertising. But more on that later.

When we lived on Evanshen Crescent, the K-S showed up weekly on our doorstep. I made a point of going through the paper whenever it arrived, as it usually contained a weekly police report of the incidents reported in Kanata. This let me keep a feel for the pulse of the community and whether or not I needed to be concerned about anything.

When we moved to Klondike in 2002, the weekly delivery continued, and I continued to read the paper when it arrived.

Sometime in the first two years the paper stopped showing up. While the delivery had not been 100% reliable up to that point, it did show up more often than it it didn't. But it took a while before I clued in to the fact that it had not been showing up. At the time I wondered if it had something to do with the urban/rural boundary in the expanded City Of Ottawa, as we had occasionally received Ottawa Rural Community Updates in our mailboxes.

A year or two after that, I happened to be out on my front lawn getting my ass kicked by dandilions or the like, and a gentleman went by with a shopping-cart full of that week's K-S, and I though, oh maybe we're about to start getting them again. But we didn't that week, nor the vast majority of the weeks that followed.

In any case, I stopped caring.

A couple years ago we changed how we do groceries. And when we do groceries on Wednesday, there' a dump of this week's K-S in the store. Since it has been free, I have been picking it up again. And I found that little had changed, although perhaps the advertising content had increased as an absolute percentage of the total content provided. Oh, and there were fewer police items to be found.

Earlier this year, the K-S made a big deal of the fact that they were changing their publishing schedule, to a new format published a day earlier than they had been. I noted at the time that the new format seemed to include less content and (even) more advertising. Looking at the paper in following weeks did little to change that initial impression.

This week, the K-S is in a public fight with city councilor Wilkinson over the paper's decision to stop running a weekly column for each of the two councilors with wards covering urban Kanata. While there was little in the way of real content coming from the councillors that you couldn't get from elsewhere, it was a method that the councilors could use to communicate to their constituents.

While it is entirely the right of the paper to withdraw any free services that it is offering, I feel that this step completes the K-S's transition from weekly community paper to advertising circular. As such, I don't think the K-S is worth the time or effort on my part it costs.