Friday, March 27, 2009

Criticism of Israel

You hear a lot of criticism of Israel in the press. The Israeli war against Hamas (which is recognized as a terrorist organization in Canada) is likened to another holocaust, but this one perpetrated by the Jews. Seems you can get away with the most outrageous statements if you start by saying, "Look what the Jews did...".

But here is an interesting article. The first part is interesting, about how an Israeli was arrested for failing to follow orders in dismantling a Jewish settlement. But the second part is more interesting. Knowing that some Israeli young people were throwing rocks at Arab owned cars, the Israeli police used an Arab owned car as part of an effort to arrest the Jewish rock throwers.

I'm under no illusions that the secular state of Israel is perfect, but let's not pretend that any of the Arab nations around Israel would take such steps to protect Jews.

On the same website, news that the Israeli "Iron Dome" anti-missile defense successfully shot down a "Grad" missile that was launched at Israel. But I thought there was peace? Nope.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It's Odd

Ever notice how the people who scream the most about freedom of speech and censorship, are the most willing to use the coercive power of the State to censor others?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Iranians smarter than Americans?

The are Iranians smarter than the Americans? The evidence would seem to suggest so. President Obama made a video appeal to the Iranian government for a change in their relationship with each other. Besides the spectacle of the POTUS grovelling to the Iranian government, this whole event was very illuminating. Obama pulled out his election winning strategy on the Iranians, he cried out "Change", and instead of losing their minds like the American electorate the Iranians said in effect, "Go ahead." What will Obama do now? The best arrow in his quiver has failed. There are a people on the face of the earth that will not follow him when he says the magical word "change". The Iranians actually expect him to do something.


The local newspaper yesterday had a headline saying that a survey of high school students in my neighbourhood showed that 5% claimed to belong to a gang. Police are disputing that claim saying that our community does not have the demographics or city layout that would encourage gangs. But I guess the question must be asked, doesn't it seem disturbing that 5% of high school students would want to be identified as being part of a gang?

About a week ago, there was an article stating that violence in schools now needs to be reported to the school Principal, and to the parents of the victim and the accused. I very much support the idea of mandatory parental involvement. Too many parents don't make time for their children, or have been told by society that they have no right to "intrude" on their children's lives. Nice to see parental involvement coming back, even if it is the State that is mandating it!

About two weeks ago the same newspaper ran a statement. I forget if it was from the school board or the police, but it stated that every school in our community has a drug problem. The article went on to discuss a number of measures to deal with this (all of which I applaud).

I should add that the community I live in is nice, modern, and has one of the highest per family incomes in Canada. There are playgrounds, modern schools, well used libraries, etc. It really is a nice place to live. It is not the kind of neighbourhood that you would drive through and say, "this place is trouble".

But given all of the above, I do find it surprising that people ask us why we homeschool. Or even more surprising that they imply (or outright state) that we need to stop sheltering our children and send them to school. To which I state that there are usually many reasons why an individual family would choose to homeschool, but sheltering my children from gangs, gang admiring attitudes and drug dealers are definitely on my list of reasons.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

New Sound Recorder

Our church has just purchased a new sound recorder. Recording sermons is a tricky thing, since most recorders are meant only for music, have digital copyright protection (ignoring the fact that I want to CREATE my own material, not rip other peoples material), etc.

One of the issues is to find something that is easy to use. It is no use if you have a recording device that only one person in the church knows how to use.

What we purchased the other day was the Edirol R-09HR. It has a good quality built in microphone, and a mic and line in. It runs on batteries or AC adapter. Press the record button once to check the volume, a second time to record and hit stop once to stop recording and save the file. Uses an SD memory card and has USB download. I am saving to a 96kbs MP3, but it also supports WAV.

Pretty slick.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Wall Street

I am a big believer in capitalism, but some people (especially on Wall Street) don't seem to get it. Bonuses are for outstanding performance, not for cutting your share price by 90% over a 6 month period. Read what Jack Welch wrote in "Straight from the Gut" about the cultural problems when GE bought a large brokerage house (I think it was Kidder Peabody). They handed out huge bonuses during good times, and were "required" to do the same in bad times to "keep talent motivated". Eventually Welch realized his mistake, cut his losses and sold them off.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Silicon Valley vs. Silicon Valley North

I got back from a business trip to California yesterday. I came in on the red-eye and so I'm pretty wiped out.

While there I got a bit of insight as to why the Valley is different, though technically I was in Telecom Valley rather than Silicon Valley. Anyway, there are tons of people there who not only use the latest technology, but are immersed in it. It is part of their everyday lives, and they are aware of the new innovations coming down the pipe, and innovation flows from this. They own/use what is currently the latest state of the art, they have friends working on the next state of the art, and they are developing synthesized ideas about what the third generation state of the art will be.

Ottawa, sometimes referred to as Silicon Valley North, has a lot of talented developers, but we don't seem to have this level of innovation happening on a wide scale. Some innovation, but not as much as the Valley.

The obvious answer is for people in Ottawa to start buying more state of the art toys. So, I'm off to Future Ship... 8-)