Profit versus Not for Profit


Dan Pollatta makes some interesting points in his talk below.

… we don’t like nonprofits to use money to incentivize people to produce more in social service. We have a visceral reaction to the idea that anyone would make very much money helping other people. Interesting that we don’t have a visceral reaction to the notion that people would make a lot of money not helping other people.

The third area of discrimination is the taking of risk in pursuit of new ideas for generating revenue. So Disney can make a new $200 million movie that flops, and nobody calls the attorney general. But you do a little $1 million community fundraiser for the poor, and it doesn’t produce a 75 percent profit to the cause in the first 12 months, [then] your character is called into question.

Our generation does not want its epitaph to read, “We kept charity overhead low.”

Dave Meslin: The antidote to apathy


As I currently sit on one of the city’s advisory committees, I find Dave’s presentation quite inspiring. His example of the Toronto newspaper announcement for a zoning change and a magazine story about a campaign opposing the privatization of transit are sharp contrasts to how similar information for the arts and entertainment are presented.

Shifting boundaries


Via the Ottawa Citizen: Shifting boundaries.

There was an interesting letter in the Citizen this morning.  It made me wonder if this “sacred ideology of growth” which Madeline Weld writes about could be successfully shifted to focus on (or include) plants and animals.

The Letter:

Shifting boundaries
By Madeline Weld, The Ottawa Citizen May 18, 2010

Re: Councillor muses about Terry Fox land swap, May 16.

This Citizen article illustrates the fact that unrestricted growth destroys the environment, while smart growth destroys the environment more slowly. As our expanding human population requires ever more space, we will just take it, wherever it may be and, however, it may be zoned.

Boundaries established to protect the habitat of endangered plant and animals will simply be shifted to accommodate relentless growth, as is occurring in the case of the planned expansion of Terry Fox Drive.

Developers know that the Ontario Municipal Board will almost always rule in their favour if recalcitrant residents or environmentalists give them any trouble.

What is playing out in Kanata is repeated countless times in Canada and around the world, as the global population soars from its current 6.8 million to a projected 9 billion-plus during the next 40 years and Canada’s population soars from 33 million to 44 million, an increase of 33 per cent driven primarily by the government’s own policies.

Environmentalists may win the occasional battle, but as long as they refuse to recognize growth as the enemy, as most steadfastly refuse to do, they will lose the war to preserve the habitat that biodiversity depends on. When push comes to shove in an increasingly crowded world, human needs for space to live, grow food, and meet their energy needs will always trump the needs of other organisms.

The developer may seem like the obvious villain in this case. But the real villains are the sacred ideology of growth, our governments who embrace this ideology, our environmentalists who refuse to challenge it, and the rest of us with our silence. The developers are merely implementing this sacred ideology at whose altar we all worship.

Madeline Weld,


Population Institute of Canada


Everything in a pizza pocket, the poster


Shared via here.

Shared by jg

This is truly a great visualization.

Justin Perricone sez, "This is a poster I designed using all of the ingredients in a Ham & Cheese Hot Pocket. First in a series."

Hot Pockets Ingredients

(Thanks, Justin!)

World Corn Production… Go Canada?


WOW! This has to be the best visualization tool for the world’s agricultural data which I’ve found to date.

Gapminder has done an incredible job here exposing some of the UN’s data and made it very easy to ‘fool around’ with.

Here is one of the animated graphs I’ve made:
CornHarvestedVisualization from Gapminder World, powered by Trendalyzer from

For each country it shows hectares of corn harvested, the yield (kg per hectare) and the total number of tons produced. Hit the “Play” button to see it change over time! Bubbles moving up it means the country harvested more hectares of corn, bubbles moving right means the country has improved overall yield.

There are three things that instantly struck me:

  1. Canada is not the agricultural powerhouse which I had perceived it to be. There are MANY countries which plant far more hectares of corn than we do! (The Philippines cover twice as much land as we do with corn crops — pretty incredible considering their size and how many other crops they grow like rice and oil palm [see image below: orange islands beside British Columbia for contrast])
  2. It really makes me wonder if GMO corn improves a nation’s overall yield. It is my understanding that France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Austria and several other countries have banned the cultivation of GMO corn. However, their annual yield is right up there with Canada’s. In fact, most of said countries SURPASS Canada’s annual yield.

  3. Annual yield jumps all over the place. While it does seem to trend slowly towards increased yield, the same happens for other nations who have more family farms and less access to technology.

Head on over to and make some charts of your own. It’s too easy… making a similar chart to the one above about strawberry production with a logarithmic scale.

Snowmen ornaments


A lazy afternoon in the city so Si and I decided to melt some glass and try making some ornaments to gift away at Christmas. Damn things were harder than they looked but the tiny dudes turned out ok in the end.

Si melting glass
A snowman’s head melting in the torch.


Glass Snowmen Ornaments
Here’s the final product… I left all of the body parts separated so they would still move and rattle round on the tree.


Tiny Glass Snow Dudes.
The hats were all Si’s idea and the few we capped of were by far the best.

Oh Swish! 1930’s Future Fashion predictions.


Wow, apart from the tie bit they got it pretty much right. I’m fitted with my phone, radio, coins, keys AND candies for cuties.

Packaging v.s. Product


Take a look at these neat pics. The pictures compare the product packaging and the packaging’s contents for over 100 food products currently available in Germany. A pretty cool idea!


Hello (molecules of the) World


Atmospheric Polution Screenshot is a pretty quick way to see what happens to some of the little molecules that we fart/breathe/spit/spray out. (The Carbon Monoxide and Sulfur Dioxide make me dizzy just looking at them).

Looking at how all of the Carbon Monoxides are captured in the Troposphere makes me think of how some people commit suicide by sitting in a running car which is enclosed in a garage. I’ve often thought, hey — what if the earth is just one big garage? … Could the same thing happen on a larger scale? Looking at this graphic (or pictures of the actual troposphere from space ) gets me a bit worried since it really isn’t all that big.

On the other hand I don’t know why I’m worried, I mean, it would take one HUGE car to fill a garage as big as the earth with poisonous gas… Heck, even if we had a MILLION tiny cars and trucks it would still probably take a decade or more before we all croaked right?




This beats all the other outdoor hot tubs I’ve seen. It’s simple, stylish and functional. You fill it with water, start a fire and convection circulates the water to heat it. They have a factory 2 hours south of Cornwall & it might make for an interesting road to go and try out one of these DutchTubs. ($6,000 US)

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