Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A new weather report from Mars thanks to Canadian Technology!

So, I was just watching the daily news briefing on the Phoenix mission from NASATV and it turns out that our Canadian built meteorological station is up and running. The CSA site doesn't have Martian weather reports up live on their site yet, (though there's a space for it on the page!) however at the press conference they did have data from the station, which is up and running now, and the scientists did give the first weather report from Mars.

Very cool.

Also very cool is that we now have basically real-time satellite surveillance of the surface of Mars. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took a picture of the Phoenix lander parachuting to Mars, the first time a picture has been taken of a human vehicle actually landing on another planet.

Again, very cool.

I love that we're back on Mars, but I also love that we're now at the point where we have satellites orbiting Mars that can take pictures of us landing on Mars!

Did I mention how very cool this all is?

UPDATE: The CSA's site now has the weather report on their homepage (left hand side, about half way down the page). Today's forecast calls for a maximum of -30 degrees (C) and a minimum of -80 degrees (C) (put on a sweater!). Currently, it's sunny and clear, the pressure is 8.5 millibars, and the wind is coming out of the NE at 20 km/h.

Very cool.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Playing with Primary numbers again...

Well, Kentucky and Oregon are done, and now the Democratic nomination race comes down to Puerto Rico, Montana and South Dakota (and a bunch of Democratic Party big wigs). So, as has been my tradition lately, let's go to CNN's handy delegate counter and play with some numbers.

Today, I've decided to give Senator Clinton a landslide. Large victories in all three remaining races, and a veritable STAMPEDE of super delegates to the Clinton camp. I have her winning the last three races 70-30 and taking the remaining super delegates by a mind-boggling 80-20. What's that add up to?

Obama wins by 25 delegates.

So, if Hillary wins every race left by a larger margin than she's won any single race to this point (OK, besides Arkansas, which she won 70-26) and takes the remaining superdelegates 4 to 1, she STILL LOSES.

Now what about Florida and Michigan you ask (because you're a Clinton supporter and you now have an ENTIRELY different opinion about the Florida and Michigan races than you did back in February).

Well, yes, counting Florida and Michigan as they voted would be a substantial benefit to Clinton, though only if you count ALL of the Michigan votes for her. If you give Clinton 55% of the Michigan votes (her share of the votes cast) and Obama none (since he WASN'T EVEN ON THE BALLOT) and give Clinton 50% of the Florida delegates to Obama's 33% (again, based on the ballots cast in a state where no one campaigned) then Senator Clinton is... STILL LOSING. That's right. Give her Michigan and Florida straight up as voted and the race STILL has Obama in the lead (2031-1968). It's a much closer race then, but she's STILL 63 delegates behind, and it'd be more if Obama's name had been on the ballot in Michigan (where 40% of voters chose "uncommitted" rather than vote for Hillary in an unopposed race).

Senator Clinton pulls into the delegate lead if, and ONLY if, you give her all 157 Michigan delegates (utterly ignoring the fact that Clinton only got 55% of the vote, that 40% of voters voted "uncommitted" on the ballot, and that the ballot didn't include Senator Obama's name at all). I'm willing to concede though that if you give Senator Clinton 100% of the Michigan delegates and 50% of the Florida delegates you get a race that shows Clinton at 2039 and Obama at 2031. So there you have it, an 8 delegate lead and all one has to do is give 100% of Michigan's delegates to a candidate who only got 55% of the vote in a vote where her main rival was not even listed on the ballot.

However, we all know there's just no way that the party seats Florida and Michigan delegates based upon vote totals in races where there was no campaign, or worse yet where leading candidates didn't even appear on the ballot. Even if they do though, Obama's STILL WINNING. He's got an over 60 delegate lead WITH Florida and Michigan counted. That means Clinton would need to win 73% of the remaining 86 delegates (with no movement from the supers) to come out of the campaign tied, IF you include Florida and Michigan and give Obama zero Michigan delegates. Well, she's not getting 70-30 splits in the last 3 races, so I don't see how a candidate can be losing after all of the races have been decided (EVEN INCLUDING FLORIDA AND MICHIGAN) and still argue that they should be given the nomination. Not that Clinton supporters won't try.

"Vote for me, I'm more electable" is a great slogan, but it loses some punch when the person you argue is "less electable" than you has won more states, more delegates and more votes than you. If Obama shouldn't be the nominee because he supposedly can't beat McCain in November, what sense does it make to give the nomination to Clinton, who can't beat Obama now? Well, no sense whatsoever, which is why I hope this tedium is over soon.

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

So, has anybody else linked to a CNN story lately...

... and found a bunch of American commenters suddenly appear to talk about your post?

Well, my last post on the Edwards endorsement of Obama is up to 12 comments (OK, 14, but two of those are mine) which I realize for most of you is peanuts, but for me that's a lot of comments for a post that's only up to 9 votes at Progressive Bloggers. Plus, none of them were from people I usually see commenting on my blog, most seemed to be from Americans, and a large number of them were anonymous. It was all very strange to me at first. What gives? Where did all these people come from? Did someone somewhere link to me? Is there a big story about Progressive Bloggers on CTV or something?

Then, I went back to the CNN story that I had linked to about the endorsement. And low and behold, right there on CNN (the most trusted name in news) was a link to the post "Nail, meet coffin" right here at good old "Lord Kitchener's Own". I've somehow hit the (automated) big time. CNN is linking to me.

Am I unique that my reaction was at least partly, WTF?

As I said in the comments to that post when I realized what had happened, it is simultaneously amusing, strange, and mildly worrying. I know many people would be thrilled with increased traffic (especially those making money off ads on their blogs) but I wonder if CNN has ever considered that a casual little blogger like me might not absolutely love the idea of being linked to from a huge international news network.

Of course, it's CNN's prerogative to link to anyone they please, no question, but still. Do the majority of bloggers realize that the new "From the Blogs" feature of CNN means that by simply linking to a CNN story suddenly a link to their blog may very well appear on the CNN site? It certainly took me by surprise.

Again, not that it's not their prerogative, but isn't there a tangible difference between me linking to CNN and CNN linking right back to me? Is there not an inherent power imbalance that's a bit off-putting? Of course, by posting on the internet I'm throwing my thoughts out to the world, technically, but posting my thoughts on my blog is a bit different from posting them on CNN's site isn't it? (and if it isn't, should it be?). And does anyone else find it to be a bit strange that CNN has taken me from Point A to Point B without me even being cognizant of it until a bunch of Americans started commenting about a post they'd otherwise never have seen.

Not that I particularly object to being linked too, but I can't say it was a pleasant surprise either.

Frankly, it's a bit creepy.

One things for sure, I'll think twice before linking to a CNN story again. Do I want my story to appear to readers of CNN.com? If not, I guess I'll send anyone who reads the post to the Globe and Mail for more information. I don't think they've started linking right back to their readers.


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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Nail, meet coffin.

John Edwards to endorse Obama.

You fought a good campaign Senator Clinton, and I for one think you're going to be Senate majority leader in t
he very near future. Best of luck in all your future endeavours.


The story I'm linking to hasn't been updated yet, but it's official. I've got John Edwards playing at the Obama rally from CNN's live online feed right now in the background. "The reason I am here tonight is that the Democratic voters in America have made their choice, and so have I... There is one man who knows in his heart that it's time to create one America, and not two, and that man is Barack Obama" (crowd goes nuts...)

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Hillary Clinton wins West Virginia, and it couldn't matter less...

So, Hillary had a "big win" last night in West Virginia. She beat Obama, as expected, 67% to 26%.

Let's take a stroll through the other big wins this primary season shall we.

Races Obama won by 60% or more:
the District of Columbia

Races Clinton won by 60% or more:
West Virginia

Total net delegates gained by Clinton in her huge win in WV last night: 10
Delegate lead for Barak Obama this morning (CNN): 165

So, I guess all Hillary needs now is 17 more West Virginias, or for more than 77% of the 214 remaining super delegates to move to her camp (or some combination thereof).

In other words...

Nothing to see here.

Move along.

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Monday, May 12, 2008

Clinton simply can't win. Period.

I think Hillary Clinton's really got to start thinking seriously about how she wants this all to end, because she can't win the Democratic nomination for President. Not convinced? Look at the graphic below from CNN's handy dandy delegate counter. In the hypothetical scenario below, I've given Clinton 70-30 wins in West Virginia and Kentucky, and 60-40 wins in Oregon, Montana, South Dakota and Puerto Rico. A clean sweep with huge to sizable wins for Clinton. I've also given her the lead in super delegates 60-40 (even though Obama has recently pulled ahead in super delegate support). The results of this fantastic hypothetical for Clinton? She loses the race to Obama 2046 to 1983.

A 63 delegate loss from arguably the best, most spectacular scenario one could possibly fathom for Hillary Clinton. Anyone want to argue she can still win?

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Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Clinton is DONE...

Not to be overly harsh, but the former first lady is toast.

I just went to CNN's handy little delegate counter to confirm my suspicions.

Go the the counter and give Hillary 60-40 victories in EVERY REMAINING RACE. Then, put in that the super delegates ALSO go for Hillary 60-40. You'll agree, I think, that this scenario is IMPOSSIBLE for Clinton to achieve, but take a look at the results.

60-40 Clinton in all the remaining races, AND among the super delegates gives you:

Obama 2039 delegates

Clinton 1980 delegates.

So, if Clinton does the impossible, she'll only lose by 59 delegates.

Good luck with that Hillary.

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Thursday, May 01, 2008

OK, now this is just getting ridiculous....

The Tories are now threatening to make Bill C-10, the freakin' movie tax credit Bill, a matter of confidence!!! Now, leave aside the merits of the Bill (which proposes to deny tax credits to films that are "offensive" where the government gets to determine what constitutes "offensive") what really grinds my gears here is how obvious it's become that the Tories are using "confidence" motions as a sledge hammer.

Any time the Tories feel there's the smallest chance that a bill might not get passed (or in this case, not even that, just the chance that the Bill might be AMENDED has them foaming at the mouth) the Tories will proclaim the Bill to be a matter of confidence and dare the Liberals to do something.

And they won't.

Canadians elected a minority government so that the parties would be forced to compromise, and come up with better and more balanced legislation for all Canadians. Well, "screw that" say the Tories. We'll do what we want, and if you even think about amending the bills we propose we'll make you force an election over it.

And it's working.

At this point it occurs to me that the Liberals are keeping the Tories from being elected to a majority position in the House by simply GIVING THEM majority power in the House, without the need for anything so awkward as an election. The strategy, so far as I can tell, is to save the village by burning it down. We can't risk an election, because then maybe the Tories would win majority power, so we'll give the Tories majority power to prevent an election from happening.

So, this is me getting on the bandwagon with those who want to quit this inanity and just rip off the band-aid. Sure, maybe Harper and the Tories would win an ensuing election. I'd be mildly surprised, but not shocked. But SO WHAT??? At least then all the things they're doing would have some democratic legitimacy. At this point they have all the power, and none of the veneer of legitimacy. How is that BETTER than allowing the people of Canada to decide whether they WANT the Tories to have a majority or not??? Why is giving it to them by default better than letting the people decide???

Knock it off already.

This is just a farce.

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