I’ve found out why the US health industry is so expensive


Who is paying for this?

“Riding a bike is as effective as walking briskly at helping premenopausal women keep from gaining more weight, a new study reveals.”

A Little Biking May Help Premenopausal Women Stay Slim

Really?  We needed a new study to reveal that if a (specific subset of) people burn calories they will lose, or help maintain, they weight?

Deciding on a new camera

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It’s almost time for a new camera, I think.  I like the higher-end point-and-shoot models that can take good enough video to not miss a camcorder and don’t suffer from the lag of lower-end point-and-shoots.  The S90 looks decent, but I’m also partial to Canons for no other reason than that’s what I’ve always had.  This comparison of the specs with the S90′s main competitor was helpful, but I’d also like to hear any opinions.  Thoughts on the S90?

Surprise: downloading copyrighted digital media is theft

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The tone of the following post sounds to me like “Oh my gosh!  How dare he say it’s theft!”: ‘Piracy Is Theft, Clean and Simple’ US Vice President Says.  This comes on the heels of Canada’s potential move towards harsher copyright laws, similar to the US.

But, isn’t it theft?  My opinion has shifted over the years as it becomes obvious that attempts to justify copying digital media are quite obviously thinly veiled excuses to just get something for free.  This isn’t to say we don’t all do it, but at a minimum we should at least accept what we’re doing.

The difficulty is that it’s kind of a moral grey area, at least on the surface.  The act of downloading a copy of some movie isn’t directly hurting anyone, right?  So, doesn’t that make it acceptable?  I’d say no; we can’t avoid the fact that a product is being used without the compensation expected by the creator.  Further, I’ve even heard people try to show how copying it helps the creator.  Unfortunately, that’s all irrelevant because the creator isn’t getting what they wanted for their product and this is possibly the only part of society where it’s acceptable for the consumer to unilaterally decide a product isn’t worth it’s price, yet then still take it for free.

If you think the creator is asking too much money for it, don’t buy it.  They’ll probably learn and drop the price.  I would like to think that harsh copyright and protection would end up scaring off consumers, and therefore naturally move back to a more sane scheme.  There’s a bit of evidence of this with iTunes and others moving away from protected music, but we’ve seen DVDs go in the opposite direction.

One of my difficulties with the new copyright laws being considered in Canada is that they (apparently) void the concept of fair use.  I expect that any media I purchase can be legally transferred to any device I own for my own uses.  If that’s not true, the value of the media to me is significantly less.  I’m not particularly interested in purchasing a license to use a movie only on the particular plastic DVD that it came on.  Discs degrade, break and become obsolete.

Although it’s not perfect, the iTunes model seems better, especially if the provisions pass in the laws where it is always illegal to work around copy protection, even for your personal use.  If I purchase music or movies there I can legally transfer them amongst my computers, TV, iPhones and iPods.  Sure, it’s a closed ecosystem, but that’s still a lot more useful than just a DVD.

What do you think?  Is copying copyrighted material always theft?

97% of climate scientists agree


Wow, and this isn’t a lead-in to a bad joke.  I’m surprised the number is so close to 100%.  Given all the political backlash against climate change (especially in the US) I thought the number would have been lower, more like 80 or 90%.

Why don’t we trust climate scientists?

Yet, many people still think this is some huge conspiracy.  I’ve always wondered what they think the motivation for this conspiracy is?  Maybe they’ve been duped into thinking it’s a ploy to get more of their tax dollars?

Going solar without a huge investment


I’m very interested in trying out solar but am hesitant to invest in a full home install, given we don’t know how many more years we’ll be in our current home.  I’ve posted an article on some ideas for small-scale solar setups here: How To Go Solar Without A Huge Investment.

I’d be happy for any thoughts or feedback!

Coalitions, Israel, and …

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There’s lots to think about these days.  A possible coalition of the left in Canada.  Helen Thomas being fired for harsh words towards Israel.  Israel being put under a lot of new pressure.

But, that’s not what’s on my mind this week.  This is:

iPhone 4

iPhone 4

Yes, the new iPhone.  Specifically, whether to purchase this new dreamy piece of hardware.  I really want it, but I can’t help wishing for 2 things from my smartphone: a slightly larger screen and a physical keyboard.  The Droid2 looks nice, but I’m still not so sure about Android.  The OS seems good, but the Apple app store seems to have much more selection and quality apps (as well as 100x more junk, too).  Plus, it doesn’t look like Rogers will be getting a good Android phone any time soon.  So, maybe I’ll have to suffer with the iPhone 4…