March 14 every year is a special day for me. In North America, it’s “pi day” (3.13…. 3/14… get it?) I was going to celebrate with some actual pie, but my fasting blood sugar levels suggested that that’s not the wisest move, so I reneged.
Today, it’s also a sad day, due to the passing of Dr Stephen Hawking. When I was a young physics student, Hawking fascinated me (as he did everyone else) for so many reasons. His debilitating disease gave him an air of specialness that, thankfully, was well correlated with his intellectual heft. Continue reading On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies
Huzzah! The Chinese have just successfully landed a rover on the surface of the Moon. The landing marks the first so-called “soft landing” in four decades. The last one was by the USSR in 1976. It also marks China’s definitive status as the #3 space power in human history, and –dare I suggest it– the #1 contender for a promising deep-space human presence. Let’s not forget that China in 2003 became the third country to independently put people into space. Continue reading A New Moon Race? China Might Win It.
About ten years ago, I started working for a company in the Washington, DC, area as lower management. As part of my training, I was required to take the standard management trainee classes, which included everything from conflict resolution to guidelines for appropriate inter-personal actions. (I’m sure the latter will surprise many of my friends, as I am not particularly known for conforming to any standard definitions of appropriateness). In one such training session, the topic of religious tolerance was brought up. It was stressed that we must allow employees to display tokens of their faith in their place of work.
Utterly bored by this point, I needed to turn the affair into something more akin to a philosophical discussion. So I asked, “What if I were to wear a swastika to the office?”
Continue reading The Rising Sun
In recent years, I’ve had an up-and-down relationship with Canada’s national passenger rail service, Via Rail Canada. I like to think of myself as a fair person. So when I experience or observe something positive about a travel experience, I will usually tweet that observation, as in this tweet about Via’s great new Renaissance trains.
Similarly, if I’ve had a negative experience, I will also let the world know via social media. Why do I bother? Why not. It’s how I entertain myself. Continue reading Almost Arrested on the Via Train