Monday, November 26, 2007

Riders rule!

Rider_logo.jpgI've been away for a long time (some of it work, some of it vacation) and I've neglected my blog.

I've got lots of things to say, but for now, let's just savour the moment.

Did you watch the Grey Cup on Sunday? THE RIDERS WON!!!

Although I don't live in the province anymore (except for a month each summer) I'll always be a Rider fan, like virtually every other ex-pat I've ever met. We're a loyal bunch and while we've suffered over the years, that was all wiped out yesterday. How sweet it is!

I was a reporter for the Saskatoon Star Phoenix when the Riders last won in 1989 and I wandered the streets and bars late into the night gathering colour for my story on the fan reaction after the game. What a feeling.

So I can only imagine how good it felt last night in the Queen City.

Congratulations to everyone in Regina -- and to Rider fans everywhere. It's been a long wait, but it was worth it.

Friday, November 09, 2007

What writers want

If you've been annoyed because you're missing your daily dose of The Daily Show (like me) you might be interested in this video from the striking writers about what they want.

This is a good use of the medium. The video is short, snappy and lays the issues out in a clear fashion, with plenty of graphics to back up their points. Anyone looking for advice on how to put together a presentation that works should take note.

What I can't understand is how the issues in this strike have been allowed to go on for so long. It was almost 20 years ago that the writers agreed to give up a significant part of their share of the home video pie, to help get the business going. Now, 20 years later, everyone agrees that what's happened to them is unfair and should be fixed. But during all this time, the writers' share of those revenues hasn't changed. Why didn't anyone from the big companies ever say "This is silly and needs to be fixed"? Seems like a no-brainer to me, but then, I often thing that common sense should prevail. Silly me.

If you support the writers, head over to to see their blog, or sign their petition.

Friday, November 02, 2007

More on the Spinning Dancer

Remember the Spinning Dancer graphic that I posted about a couple of weeks ago?

Well, it turns out that while it's an interesting illusion (see the comments on that post), it's scientific validity is in some question.

Some minds a great deal more learned than mine spent time on the illusion and came up with interesting results. It seems the linkages between which way the dancer appears to be spinning and which side of your brain is dominant are not so clear cut. In fact, they may be wrong.

Over at the Freakonomics blog, Steven Levitt used his readers to conduct some statistical analysis. His results would seem to indicate that the confusion might stem from the initial article mixing up the hemispheres -- by stating right, when they meant left, or something like that.

As a follow-up, Levitt points to a post at by Jeremy Hu, which goes into a lot more depth on the whole Spinning Dancer issue, and casts further doubt on the validity of the whole thing.

I'm not sure whether any of this is of value to us, but I am intrigued by what some very smart people can come up with when they look at an animated graphic on a website. Most of us look at it and say "cool" while they come up with a whole theory about what it might mean - or not mean. I guess that's why I'm not an academic.