Burka bans


In Europe these days it seems to be all the rage to ban or restrict Islamic face and/or body veils.  The latest: Belgian lawmakers pass burka ban that applies anywhere in public.

Here’s the thing, though: proponents claim this is all in the name of ensuring freedom and equality for women.  Yet, doesn’t a ban on a few specific kinds of clothing for women restrict their freedom?  I don’t like burka’s, myself, but I don’t assume I should be telling anyone else what to wear.  I’m also not opposed to defining some limits.  Some jobs, that are largely based on personal interaction, would be hampered by a full face and body covering.

The Science of Exercise

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This post on MetaFilter has a treasure-trove of great articles on exercise: The New Science of Exercise.

Most interesting are some of the new data on how exercise adjusts your brain to make you calmer and how intense interval training for short periods can have the same effects as long exercise routines.

Pension guarantees

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A follow-up from almost a year ago, when we discussed government guarantees of auto pensions: Still no movement to guarantee auto pensions.

Apparently, the Ontario government has just dumped another $500M into the fund; apparently a lot of pension funds are going bankrupt: Duncan defends Ontario’s $500-million pension guarantee top-up.

Most of us don’t have the option to join a pension fund and are forced to setup our own retirement fund.  But, for those people who were unlucky enough to be needing their retirement money at the bottom of the market crash last year, when their portfolio may have dropped 50% in value, no government money came to the rescue.  If I lost my retirement money I guess I’d be expected to go on welfare, so I’m not sure why that isn’t good enough for everybody.


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Ran across this cool site: openparliament.ca.  It aggregates info on what your MP is doing and saying.  However, I’m sure this will be a frequent source of anger given my MP is Conservative.

Watching discussions on the WikiLeaks video


It’s been interesting to watch the discussions on the WikiLeaks video over the last few days, which had been billed as a coverup of something massive.  The leaked video is from a US helicopter gunship shooting into a courtyard, after mistakenly identifying cameras as weapons, and killing up to 11 people including 2 Reuters journalists.

Here are some discussions on the subject:

Putting aside any discussion on whether the war was right or legal (since it has no real relation to interpreting this video), this video hardly seems outrageous.  We know there have been hundreds of thousands killed in Iraq (haven’t looked lately at the estimates).  I don’t see why one case where a person could semi-reasonably guess they’re seeing a person pointing weapons at them (at first glance) should be considered ground-breaking.

Isn’t it even more outrageous when a plane, or cruise missile, bombs an apartment building, which we have plenty of footage of?

The video is important, however, in providing supporting evidence against the war in general.