Monday, October 5, 2009

Another Web Portal

A friend pointed out Documentary Wire to me the other day. It seems like a great resource. Lots of high quality documentaries that stream quickly. Enjoy!

On Whose Side?

I must admit that I was saddened by the NDP's recent move to support the conservatives in parliament. Iggy and his Liberals had finally decided that enough was enough - but Jack moved in and replaced them as lapdog to the Canadian Republicans. I've voted for the NDP several times - all while living in an urban area - but I've had a hard time understanding their politics recently.

My first inkling that something was amiss was when they fought to keep Elizabeth May and the Green party out of the national debates (The Greens typically represent more than 10% of Canadians). I thought this was a strange move for a party that was once on the outside looking in. I also wondered why they were so aggressively anti-liberal when the obvious opponent is Stephen Harper. Now, they are propping up Harper's government. Why? Listen to Jack's reasoning. Apparently he's trying to "make parliament work". If that were true, why doesn't he form an alliance with other left-leaning parties such as the Greens or Liberals to run a single conservative opponent in important ridings? (As Dion did in Elizabeth May's home riding). Then they could run parliament in a more egalitarian fashion that wasn't girded by party lines.

In reality, I think that the NDP has finally become a 'party'. They don't care about the people they represent, or the country they run. They only care about their share of power and maintaining it for the future. It's a sad state of affairs. I'll have to add Jack to the list of leaders who I cannot support for moral reasons. (As opposed to Stephane Dion, who I could not support for political reasons.) These are trying times - but Harper and Layton represent diametrically opposed world-views. I can't understand how Layton can put that aside for the sake of EI benefits.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Iran Tests Missiles

Iran has tested two different types of short-range missiles and plans to test a new long range missile. I see this as a response to increasing international pressure to halt uranium enrichment (which Iran says is for energy). After watching the brutal crackdown and media blackout after the Iranian election I find it difficult to believe most of the information coming out of the Iranian government. If you somehow missed the last Iranian election, I strongly suggest that you do some research into the fraud allegations and massive protests.

Regardless, I find today's news disconcerting...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Fall Election?

It seems that the Liberal government will no longer prop up the ailing Conservative machine. While time will tell if the Bloc or NDP will replace the Liberals as Stephen Harper's running mates, the Liberal Party has released their first ad which seems to indicate they are ready for a fall election. You can find the video here. I'm not sure what I think of Michael Ignatieff. His rhetoric tends to sounds big-government and spend-heavy, but so did Chretien's. After the economic destruction that Harper has wrought in our country, almost any change would be a change for the better. If only the parties could work together to shape a future that all Canadians might enjoy...

Friday, August 7, 2009

You are what you eat.

I have recently read a book called The Omnivore's Dilemma. It is authored by Michael Pollan, who also wrote In Defense of Food. The book follows the origins of 3 meals from the farmer's field to the table. A brief history of corn (the most farmed crop on the planet) and it's current state today as an industrial commodity comes in the first part of the book. I know it doesn't sound like an interesting read but I found the information quite enthralling because of my current political beliefs. What is fertilizer anyway? Where does it come from? Why do plants grow better because of it, especially corn?
The next part of the book is about beef. The author buys a young steer and wants to raise it to be a hamburger or a steak. It live on the ranch for a few months and the heads away to the C.A.F.O. (centralized animal feeding operation) with 30,000 other cows. You then get a brief history of domesticated cow and it's eating habits. You learn how cows are meant to eat grass and that their diet at the C.A.F.O. consists of corn and lots of antibiotics and hormones that help the cow digest the corn. The Vet at the C.A.F.O. talks to the author and tells him how the health of the animals it is constant flux all because of their diet and that we eat beef that is 16 months old is because they would die before they were two years old. Then we learn how there is an absence of heart-disease in countries that raise the beef in pastures and eat those that are around 5 years old.
The last part of the book is about him foraging for his own meal. From wandering the forests looking for edible mushrooms to learning how to slaughter his own animals.
All together a good read and lots of valuable info about food we should all know.

Remember not only you are what you eat but you are also what you eat eats.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Some Housecleaning...

I've returned to my native soil. Expect much more Canadian content from this point on, especially content dealing with the upcoming Canadian election. Judging from the commercials, our election is between a 'risky' elitist who can't speak English and a sweater-wearing hockey Dad. Hmm.... I think I'll vote ABC.

In an effort to make my facebook page give as little information as possible, I've decided to port 4 links over the channel-one.

1. The Great global warming swindle is an excellent counter-argument to global warming hysteria. The wiki page lists some of the criticism that it has received, as well as several awards. Whether you believe in global warming or not, you should watch this video to provide yourself with a different point of view.

2. Confederacy of Dunces was written by John Taylor Gatto about American public schooling. While it doesn't wholly apply to Canadian schools, certain bells ring true. Critical and thought-provoking reading for any teacher, student, or parent.

3. The Raw Milk vs. Pasteurized Milk debate is one that hits home for me, as a dairy farmer. I grew up drinking raw milk and missed 1 day of school during public school because I had chicken pox. I was seldom sick - but was my health at risk? You decide.

4. Why is fluoride in our drinking water? To harden our teeth? Why then, do we drink and bathe in this toxic and deadly chemical? Here are 10 facts about Fluoride...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Linfen - The most polluted city on Earth

Northwest of Xian, the city which houses the Terracotta warriors, you will find a small city (4.3 million, which is small by Chinese standards) called Linfen. The Shanxi province is perhaps the energy capital of China. Like Niagara Falls for Ontario, Linfen produces much of North China's energy, typically using coal. The province has roughly 1/3 of all of the coal in China.

VBS recently made a documentary about this toxic city, and it's worth check it out. If you like it, you might also like their documentary about North Korea that I watched after visiting the DMZ.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Very Important

Whether you are interested in politics, history, health, education, or any other topic, you should check out this link. I would offer some kind of analysis, but I think that the website really says it all - and quickly too. If you want more information, check out the wiki page.

In a follow-up to my last post, I have found out how Chinese people type. They utilize Pinyin, which is a romanized (or english-letter) version of Mandarin. The chinese user would type mā on his keyboard, and 媽 would display on the screen (It means mother). I wondered how they could utilize their word-based script without using a phonetic keyboard.

If you have any general questions about China, send a comment.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Who controls the Web?

Evidently, it will be China soon enough. There are now more internet users in China than in North America. We still have more computer owners, because the workers who build the computers can rarely afford to buy them.

How will this the internet? Is Mandarin computer friendly? Since I'm in China right now, I'll try to check out a Chinese keyboard...

Saturday, August 2, 2008

In the People's Republic

I've written this post in advance, because today marks the midpoint of my journey to the People's Republic of China. My trip will take me from Beijing to Xian to Guillin to Shanghai. I'll see the Great Wall, theForbidden City, some Olympic Venues, Tienanmen Square, The Terracotta Army, and some of the most fabulous scenery in Guilin (described as the 'best under heaven'.) I'll also check out the most modern city in China - to get an idea of what to expect from this eastern juggernaut in the future. I would have liked to squeeze a trip down the Yangtze River to the 3 Gorges Dam, but we just didn't have enough time. Of course this isn't a tour - we'll be playing it by ear as we backpack around the eastern portion of the country.

Friday, August 1, 2008

The REALLY Long March

It's China week here at channel-one. Often, I've found myself defending China against some westerners. I would place it in the same class as the U.S., albeit for different reasons. There are a lot of things about both countries that I dislike - however since most of my conversations are with English speakers, I find that most opinions of China tend to be negative. Many times, there are good reasons for these negative impressions, however China also has a lot of strong points.

Anyways, I found an article today that provides an excellent counterpoint to my usual pro-China perspective. The Washington Post tempers praise for China's growing economy and I find the writer's analysis to be sound and fair. Essentially, he cites concerns with China's authoritarianism, environment, and economic ownership as reasons that China might never become the superpower that everyone expects.

To be fair, most of the problems he lists also affected the Soviet Union, and they had no problems becoming a superpower. Then again, the U.S.S.R. didn't have to feed 23% of the world's population with only 7% of the world's arable land...

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

We have thousands of probe droids searching the galaxy. I want proof, not leads!

Science-fiction or science-fact?

Soon enough, Americans will be watched by robots. They already have them in the middle east. Now, these Big Brother-esque machines will be seen in North American skies. Alas 24 years too late.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

4000 U.S. Combat Deaths

And counting...

Of course, nobody ever 'sees' the dead, so it can have no effect on you. It's just a number on a screen. There could be a million deaths - if none of the soldiers fall within your Monkeysphere, then you probably won't care that much. Once you're wrapped your head around that, it should be easy to understand why the U.S. government doesn't want pictures of dead soldiers coming home. Despite this, some pictures survive...

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Straw Bale Homes

Have you ever heard of building a home out of straw? Afraid of the big bad wolf? My father and I read an article about this about 6 or 7 years ago and loved the idea. Here are some pictures from google of straw bale homes. Why build out of straw?

1. Typical insulation gives you an R20 rating. Straw Bale insulation gives you an R60. This can mean instead of paying 900 to heat your home, you might pay 300. Or it might mean that you don't need to heat or cool your home at all, if you install something like earth pipes, or solar radiant floor heating.
2. Sound. Your home will be much more soundproof than a traditional home, because your walls will be much thicker.
3. The environment. You will be using a 100% natural renewable product, replacing much of your wood and 'chemical insulation'.
4. Cost. If you live in the country, you might already have access straw bales, which are essentially a waste product when you grow grain. Typically, farmers use straw for cattle bedding, since it has no nutritional value.

If you are looking for more information, you might try the Straw Bale Building Coalition, or this page. There is a family that lives roughly 10 minutes from me that runs yearly workshops. If you are looking for more general information about straw bale construction, then check out these quick and easy articles from Muskoka News and Alberta Home and Garden. I'm hoping to build a small straw bale structure with my family some time in the next 3 years. It will probably be a cabin or vault design.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Fiat Currency

During the lead-up to the American election I was really excited by a Republican candidate named Ron Paul. He strictly supports the constitution and opposes the Federal Reserve. If I was American, these would be the pillars of my political beliefs. The constitution represents the rights and freedoms of each citizen, while the Federal Reserve represents the domination and subjugation of the elected government by banks and hyper-rich individuals. While I disagreed with Paul on certain social issues, he seemed to be the candidate who would present America and the world with the most optimistic and realistic leader. Alas, twas not to be. The Republican faithful have long abandoned the small-government, anti-war, true capitalism set of values that were the party's roots for so long.

Today, I'm posting two relevant pieces authored by Ron Paul. The first is a video in which Paul responds to the current 'bailout' of the mortgage industry (and the subsequent reporting of all credit card transactions to the IRS). The second is an article written by Paul about fiat currency. As I've grown older I've become more and more interested in economics. How do governments actually work? How does money actually work?

I'll leave you with a thought experiment I've been working on for a while. Imagine that there is a global, or at least North American economic collapse. Suppose that you live in an area where people still produce something with their labour (ie: food, merchandise, etc). How would you establish a new currency? How would you distribute the first notes? How would you increase or decrease your money supply? Who would control these things?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Here's a pair of videos from CSPAN:

1. Ohio Democratic lawmaker and former presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich presents articles of impeachment against President George W. Bush to Congress. It's not the first time, and it probably won't be the last. Clinton was impeached for lying about his relationship with an intern. Bush lied about Iraq and led the nation to a disastrous war. Which is worse? According to Fox News pundit Bill O'Reilly, the price of oil is far more important than an illegal war which has destroyed the international reputation of the U.S.

2. Bob Barr, the Libertarian candidate for president outlines the mission of his party. Essentially, he advocates most of the same goals and desires as Ron Paul. Obviously, he has no chance of winning the election - but it is nice to see a third party getting air-time. I haven't heard much from Ralph Nader, which is unfortunate because he is a true American visionary.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Awesome Video Games!

All of the recent political talk has got my mind racing, and most of my online time has been spent investigating these topics. Alas, all work and no play makes channel-one a dull blog, so I decided to post a couple of lighthearted videos I've found recently.

First I'll start with a review of the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) on Inside Edition. That's right, Bill O'Reilly. Except by this point he wasn't a such a scumsucker just yet. If that brought you back, check out a clip from Awesome Video Games, a weekly review of games from the 80s - complete with neon colours and Vanilla Ice Posters. If you're a bit more cynical, you might prefer the Angry Nintendo Nerd's review of Back to the Future for the NES.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

History is Written by the Winners

Oliver Stone's '91 film JFK was by no means a blockbuster. The media criticized the director's blurring of historical facts. I think to a new generation it made them start looking at the way things happen in history. Hopefully in 'free' nations people of a all generations have started to watch the actions of their government a little more closely as there are many great men warning them about
actions they perceive as a threat to the safety of their nation.

Eisenhower's outgoing presidential speech did that for a generation before, the famous military industrial complex speech. Stone has this as his opening scene. Followed by quite possibly the speech JFK was killed for making. So here it is The Sequel to a great movie.

Gomi Style

Everyone learned the 3 Rs in school: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Unfortunately, we tend to forget about that second R. Most of our packaging, while recyclable, isn't easily reused. Or is it?

Forget your throw-away society! Gomi Style shows you how to reuse discarded items. Whether its cardboard furniture, an electric motorcycle, stolen artwork, or a mirrored-aquarium, Gomi Style has some great ideas. Does it inspire you?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Black and White

John McCain and Barack Obama have two very different views about the war in the middle east and America's future. Our good friends at TPMtv have set these two perspectives beside each other. Take a quick look and tell me what you think. Whether you are American or not, the upcoming election will have a major impact on the world and your own life.

In a follow-up to an earlier post, I would also like to point fellow teachers towards Wikispaces. If you enjoyed the "Portal to Media Literacy" video you might have wondered how you could set up a wiki in your own classroom. Wikispaces provides free, unlimited wikis for educational purposes. Take advantage of these amazing participatory classroom tools.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Crown of Olive Leaves

The Olympics are nearly upon us, and this year's host is the rising superpower of our world. Today, I added the new Digg gadget to my IGoogle homepage and was presented with some photos of China's Olympic venues. Since I will be traveling to China within the next 2 weeks, it perked my interest.

I think that the "Bird's Nest" and "Water Cube" look awesome. The Olympics are an amazing way for China to propel itself into the global community once again. For years, China has closed itself against a world which exploited and dominated it. Whether it was European powers colonizing individual cities, or America supporting a brutal dictator, outside forces left a lasting impression on the Chinese psyche. Thankfully, the Chinese seem to have forgiven the past, and are looking towards the future. I only hope that the West can take advantage of this gesture to forge a lasting partnership with the East. Otherwise, the Chinese might be justifiably insulted by western hypocrites who decry China's human rights records while they purchase t-shirts at Wal-Mart made in Chinese sweatshops.

Monday, July 14, 2008

To Arms! To Arms!

Following the dismissal of Jacques Necker on July 11, 1789 the people of Paris began to fear for the lives of their representatives in the Third Estate. Having no arms with which to protect themselves, they resolved to storm the Bastille (a prison and arms depository). This is considered the third step of the French Revolution. (First, the nobility refused to pay higher taxes to finance the American War of Independence. Second, the Third Estate were forced out of their chambers and made the Tennis Court Oath.) The storming of the Bastille led to the Third Estate drafting the Declaration of the Rights of Man - a pivotal document by any historian's standard.

July 14, now known as Bastille Day or the "Fête Nationale" in France, is a French national holiday which celebrates the uprising of the French people against classes which oppressed them politically and economically. It should be noted that without the arms within the Bastille, the people of Paris, and their uprising, would have been easily squashed by the French military. What if they did not secure these arms? Would the revolution have been successful? More to the point, how will the modern citizen revolt against his or her government if their government follows the pattern of almost every government in world history?

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Disappearance of the Neanderthal?

What happened to this descendant of homo-erectus?
1. Neanderthals evolved to a separate species which became extinct and were replaced by early modern humans traveling from Africa.
2. Neanderthals was a contemporary subspecies which incidentally bred with Homo sapiens and disappeared through absorption.
3. Neanderthals never split from Homo sapiens and most of their populations transformed into anatomically modern humans between 50-30 thousand years ago.

I have not done alot of research on this topic but it interests me. So I want to know what you think?

We are Anonymous. Expect Us.

Here's a pair of videos that might be good for a laugh. I was watching Craig Ferguson on Youtube a while back and I came across this parody. Unfortunately, I hadn't seen the original video before, so I didn't quite get it. To make a long story short, watching these two videos sent me along a stream of research into Scientology and all of its craziness.

If you are interested, here is the Scientology wiki. You might also be interested to know that a large internet group called Anonymous declared war on Scientology a while back using this this video as their declaration. Who is Anonymous? Fox news described this group as a bunch of 'hackers on steroids'. Go Fox! In reality, we are all part of Anonymous. It refers to members of the anonymous internet culture - the uncollected collective. It is everyone and no-one. For the record, Anonymous was responsible for the arrest of internet predator Chris Forcand in Canada. It was the first time an internet predator was arrested because of 'internet vigilantism'.

Saturday, July 12, 2008


In the media, we often hear about how Israeli troops are 'reacting' to Palestinian rockets when they attack and kill civilians in Palestine. The irony if this statement should be obvious.

The laws of these lands are created to push the Palestinians away. The most insidious of these laws is the demolition of Palestinian homes. If you're interested, you can check out the wiki for more information. What would drive you to go to war? To fire rockets? To suicide bomb? What if you were completely oppressed, your home was destroyed, your children were stillborn because their mothers could not pass Israeli checkpoints to get to a hospital, your brothers and fathers were arrested because of alleged ties to 'terrorist' networks?

The video I've posted documents the actions of Jews who are against all of this. The people who resist the occupation, who resist the demolition, and who assist in the rebuilding. Check it out.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Portal to the Future

Back in teacher's college I came across this video. It's awesome. It really helped me evolve as computer user and teacher. I actually prepared a presentation for my history class based on this information, but sadly was never able to deliver it.

Nonetheless, the author has released another video that blew me away. His name is Michael Wesch, a professor at Kansas State University. Today's video is a seminar that he gave at the University of Manitoba. It's a long one, but incredibly interesting. Whether you are a teacher or a student, you should be able to understand the significance of what he is talking about. If only my profs had been anything like this guy. His students ended up learning and remembering FAR more than they would have. And it looks like (gasp!) most of them actually came to a first year class. All without textbooks or lectures.

Watch it and please comment below. I would like to know what other people think.

On this day...

On this day in 1804, the most famous duel in American history happened. Vice-president Aaron Burr and former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton exchanged pistol shots in New Jersey. The confrontation started at a dinner party the two men were at, Mr. Hamilton had been discrediting the Vice-president while he was running for Governor of New York against a family member of Hamilton's. There were only two witnesses to the duel in which Hamilton was fatally wounded and died the next day. The intentions of the two men are disputed to this day. Monuments of the duel exist in New Jersey today although the originals, must consisting of busts of Hamilton, have been vandalized since 1841. This duel was fought at a time when dueling was being outlawed in the northern US.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Harden the Fuck Up!

Ever heard of Chopper Read?
He's a hard-ass Australian con.
Now that he's 'on the outside' he makes CDs.
Anyways, Ronnie Johns does a pretty good impression of him.
Harden the fuck up, Australia!
Of course, Chopper doesn't think much of the impression.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

With the Future of the World at Stake...

Who will be the next U.S. President?
Are you as interested as me?
Smooth talking Barack or straight-shooting McCain?
Veracifier is my #1 source for American election information. They seem to lean Democrat (after the last 7 years what fool wouldn't?) but strangely enough, they present their information in a relatively unbiased fashion. I found these guys on Youtube. They started out at as TPMmedia (Talking Points Memo). Josh Marshall is their anchor, and all-around guy-in-charge. He's one of the best in the business. Relevant and succinct commentary of important issues. It doesn't get much better.
It's worth checking out, and maybe even subscribing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Spirit of the Age

Welcome to a brave new world.
Our first video, Zeitgeist, has some politics, history, and more.
It has served as an awakening to many people, and I felt that it would be a fitting first post.
At the very least, it should provide some light for those still inside the cave.
Drop a comment if you have something to say.