On Lion Hunting


It never ceases to amaze me at times how much of the general public can have a selective “outrage” at some person or event. The latest of course, is the outrage displayed online (even some of my friends on Facebook have displayed it) toward a white American dentist who went off to Africa and killed Cecil The Lion.

I never really could see the attraction of trophy hunting myself, and have no desire ever to participate in it. It is legal in some parts of the world and illegal in other parts. I totally understand the fact that many people don’t like the practice, but it has been a practice of many cultures for generations.

Today, in Africa, the tradition of Lion Hunting for trophy purposes is carried out by the Masai Tribes. Young teenage boys who want to be seen as “respected warriors” are sent on lion hunts – not for food or for survival, but for the sheer thrill of killing a lion. The lads who kill lions then wear the lion’s mane around their head as a trophy and sign of their hunting prowess.

This is not a “once in a while” thing. And it is common knowledge; those who took any Social Studies segments of primary school and studied the Masai Tribe know about this cultural activity. Yet, there is no outrage expressed against the Masai. And even though lion hunting is illegal in some countries of Africa, when the Masai do it, the law looks the other way.

When some white guy from America does it, everyone goes berserk.

Is there some kind of satisfaction in gloating in moral superiority or showing moral outrage the loudest and longest, especially on social media, these days? And so often, much of this outrage seems to be misplaced and isn’t actually moral at all… it’s quite hypocritical.

In America, over 1,000 people are shot each year by police. Some of these killings are justified, some are known to be not justified, and others are very questionable. Yet, there is little ongoing moral outrage over these numbers.

I personally find this difficult to understand.

Further reading:
From Gamergate to Cecil the lion: internet mob justice is out of control

Can Good Come From Maasai Lion Killings in the Serengeti?

Canada – Land of Licenses


I could never figure out this whole gay marriage thing. I am not against gay relationships at all. But I don’t understand why people would even want the government to regulate their marriages and relationships. It makes no sense to me.

Many people have mythical ideas about marriage licencing and think it is “traditional.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Indeed, since humans have been involved in getting married and in relationships, the idea of the government being involved is actually a relatively new thing. Humans managed without government licencing of relationships for thousands of years. But it seems sheople just love licenses.

I’ve been reading with interest the potential for industrial grade hemp. It’s pretty amazing the number of products, both health and utility products, that can be made from this amazing plant that was suddenly banned after having had centuries of use.

I was spending some time learning about this, and discovered that in Canada, you need…… a license… to grow industrial grade hemp. It is against the law for me, to plant industrial grade hemp seeds on my property… unless the government licences it.

How insane is that?

In order to grow hemp or manufacturer hemp products you must have a license. Health Canada license forms and information are located online here.
~ Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance

The Best Hand Strengthening Grips


Sitting at my desk all day working can get to me.. and it’s always an excuse to not work out, exercise, etc. So, I ended up picking up a pair of “hand grips” to increase grip strength. I used to have a pair when I was younger, but the spring in them wasn’t all that strong and didn’t offer a whole lot of resistance. Plus, they were plastic handles. I don’t like plastic handles.

I found a pair at a large chain retail store – with wooden handles! They are made by Everlast. Oh.. I am really happy with them!

In addition to having lovely wooden handles, the spring is very very strong! It takes a lot of work to squeeze things, and gives the hand muscles a really good work out. In fact, the spring is so strong, my 13 year old son has to exert a lot of effort just to squeeze the handles together, once. And he’s pretty strong for his age. So.. that should tell you just how much resistance they offer.

If you can find them, I highly recommend them! If I get a chance, I’ll take a photo and upload later.

Can A Drink Improve Physical Performance?


Still working on my pushup challenge but for some reason, the past few days I kind of laid off the routine. Well, the reason is because I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with some other things that I need to get done. But with that in mind, I’ve been thinking about cardiovascular health and that I should be doing more to work on that, as well.

I came across some information about some research that concluded that drinking beet juice can give you an almost immediate benefit in cardiovascular performance. I don’t remember all the details but it was something about some cyclist racers drinking beet juice everyday, and they saw improved performance in their endurance on long trips.

So I admit I got interested. Went to the local grocery store and when I couldn’t find beet juice, I asked a staff person. They looked at me funny as if to say, “Why the hell do you want to drink beet juice?” and then went on to advise me they had nothing like that in the store. Went to the local health food store. “No, we don’t have that here. Heard of it, but not enough demand to carry it.”

So, the next time I was at the Farmer’s Market, I bought up several bunches of beets. At least I knew they were organic (not that I’m really into the whole “organic” thing – I think a lot of it is way too exaggerated). After returning home with them, I told my son, “Ok.. we’re going to try something different today” and proceeded to get out my juicing machine, which hadn’t been used in about ten years.

We scrubbed the beets and put them through the juicer. I must say that the vivid red color of the juice was very enticing! But the odor? Not so much… I challenged my son to be courageous enough to take the first sip, but he insisted that I do that. I think he wanted to observe my closely and make sure I did not gag before he tried it. So I did. I didn’t gag. But it was hard not to…

My son took a sip and the expression on his face was priceless. “Dad! This takes like dirt! It tastes nothing like the beets we baked.”

Ah yes… the beet juice did have a taste that seemed close to what dirt might taste like along with some other flavors, but that dirt taste was a bit hard to take.

I didn’t make my son drink any more of it, but I didn’t let it go to waste either. We didn’t get a ton of juice from the beets I had bought, but there was enough there for a few glass fulls. I wasn’t going to drink it all at once, but I found mixing it with some soda water worked well to make it more palatable.

Then, a friend of mine of eastern European descent told me about Beet Kvass. It’s not exactly the same as beet juice, rather the juices and goodness of chunks of beets are extracted out by a process of lactobacterial fermentation. It requires salt.. and that interested me, and so I gave that a try. Ok.. again, not the most tasty drink in the world, after it was ready, but it was much better than the pure juice – and apparently with similar medicinal benefits, according to my friend.

I haven’t tested it yet to see if it actually improves my cardiovascular endurance, but I am going to try this stuff out a bit more.

Tell me, would you drink this stuff?

More On Tyranny Of The Offended


Recently, I wrote about the flag and symbol debacle going on in the USA and called it “Tyranny Of The Offended.” Of course, the USA is not alone in this sort of tyranny – even in Canada, the Upper Canadian Law Society is getting involved (you’d think they would know better, lawyers and all.. supposedly defending freedoms and rights…).

It seems that a Christian higher school of learning, Trinity Western University (TWU) wants to have a law school. Problem is, it asks its students to sign a “covenant” or agreement in regard to behaviour while a student at the University. Part of this behavior includes not engaging in homosexual behavior, not swearing, not being drunk, no sex outside of marriage, etc. Basically, if a potential students want the privilege of attending (and yes, attending any higher educational institute is a privilege – Universities in Canada have many criteria by which they will accept or not accept students) TWU, they must agree to a code of ethics or behaviours that are important to the administrators of the University.

Well, the Law Society has apparently decided this is “discriminatory.” Therefore, it will not allow TWU to have an accredited law school within it’s University.

Personally, while I wouldn’t be able to sign the covenant myself, nor do I have a problem with gay lawyers (I even hired one once, because he was good and I could afford him at the time), nor do I have a problem with people who choose a particular life style, I find it idiotic that the Law Society has basically said, “We don’t agree with the right to associate with you want, no matter how good your school might be, therefore we won’t recognize you.”

The problem is, I don’t have a right to NOT associate with lawyers who are members of the Law Society, if I live in Canada. By regulation and legislation, they are given the sole right to regulate lawyers and if a person, regardless of how well skilled (or affordable) they might be, for whatever reason, is not a member, they cannot call themselves and practice as lawyers!

In other words, the Law Society has been given legislative authority to act as a tyranny. And in this case, a tyranny against a University for simply asking their students to abide by a certain set of rules and conduct while in attendance at the school. If you don’t like the agreement you are asked to sign, you don’t have to apply.

Karen Selick (an atheist herself), one of my favourite thinkers, has her own wonderful and of course, logical response to the Law Society’s tyranny, here: Be sure to read it.

Protect Your Bitcoin Wallet Passphrase!


“Oh my gosh!” Yes, those were the words (actually, there were a few more that I said out loud in a fit of panic) I exclaimed the other day.

After writing about the jump in value of bitcoin a few days ago, I realized it had been sometime since I opened my Bitcoin wallet and it likely was way behind. For those who don’t understand, it actually has to “sync” up with the system (it’s a bit over my head to understand precisely what is going on), and this can take some time.

So, I opened it up and let it do it’s thing… and then realized I was not sure if I could remember my passphrase! So, I thought I would try to change the passphrase which requires knowing the present one. Every time I tried to type something in, I’d get an error message…

Oh brother! Now what? Not that I have a ton of value in the wallet, but what was I going to do if I could not remember what the passphrase was that I had originally set up?

It would be virtually impossible to crack my passphrase, after doing some research on the possibility. But… I read some good advice that went along the line of “Hey. Relax. Empty your mind. Then just put your mind in the position you were in when you created the passphrase originally.” After a few moments of realizing the world was not going to come to an end if I could not remember it, it suddenly did come back into my mind. I hoped.

So, I tried it. “Holy f***! It worked!” What a relief.

In this day and age, trying to remember all the different passwords we need for websites, applications, PGP, and… our bitcoin wallets, can be overwhelming. It’s pretty near impossible for most of us to remember them all.

So what do you guys do? I’ve thought about using a spreadsheet, but then I’d have to encrypt it to keep it safe, and make sure it was backed up. Paper records on the other hand, can also be insecure.

How do you handle “password hell?”

Province Credit Rating Downgraded



Trillium – Ontario’s floral emblem

Ontario used to be a very wealthy Province in the Dominion of Canada. For decades, it was often seen as the economic engine that kept the rest of the country going. However, it seems under many years of Liberal Party rule, Ontario is heading towards economic disaster.

It was announced on Monday, that Standard & Poor had downgraded Ontario’s credit rating. While an A+ rating might seem good, it’s actually pretty horrible that this province that was once rich and prosperous, would have to endure a downgrading of it’s rating. But, that’s what happens when economies are mismanaged by political sociopaths, of course.

On Monday, according to the National Post, Standard & Poor’s statement about the downgrade included:

“The downgrade reflects our view that Ontario is a sustained and projected underperformer on its budgetary performance and debt burden versus domestic and international peers”

Let’s look at some of the mismanagement issues over the years:

  • Verging on fraud with regard to gas plant cancellations which cost billions
  • Mismanagement of Ontario Hydro and its debt
  • Soaring electricity rates causing many businesses to flee the Province
  • Nanny statism
  • Stupid regulations that cause small businesses to go broke or no longer able to operate.
  • Massive growth in Provincial debt over past decade
  • Stupid “Green” practices have which destroyed arable land to generate tiny bits of solar power

Of course, Ontario’s Liberal Party politicians want to point the finger at the Federal Government, but as the Fraser Institute points out after it’s analysis, this is a “made in Ontario” problem.

I personally know of several local businesses that have had to shutter their doors just because of stupid new regulations for which there was no need. This actually benefited larger corporations when local businesses cannot afford to compete due to the expense of complying with regulations that in reality, don’t need to exist. But now, because of the cost of doing business in Ontario, many of those large corporations have set up shop in other jurisdictions and others that have not yet left this once rich province, are considering moving away do to enormously increased costs of doing business here.

In the 1970’s, Ontario school children were taught to sing proudly, a song called “A Place To Stand, A Place To Grow” which was about “Ontari-ari-ario.” Well, it seems today that it no longer is a place to stand or a place to grow, and all it is is now “Ontari-Liberal-Mismanagement-o.” A place to leave. A place to not go.

Here’s the song school children used to sing proudly, but now as adults are fleeing to other places:

Truly, Ontario has slipped considerably since this song was written in 1967. I wonder how further it will go? What do you think?

See: Robyn Urback: Ontario’s credit rating gets a downgrade. Ontario government: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Bitcoin Up 10%


bitcoin logoIt’s been some time since I had an interest in Bitcoin. I wish I had taken an interest when it first came out. The problem was, I didn’t really understand it. I should have taken more time and got in on the ground floor – I know a couple of people that literally made enough money when it around $1,000.00 per. These guys had been “mining” for bitcoin since the early days and had tons of them available when the digital currency soared.

Just before the big news of the new Chinese exchange was to open, there was speculation that bitcoin could take off again. Many were certainly hoping so and there was some investing going on. I myself dabbled a tiny little bit but not enough to really make any huge gains, even if it were to hit 1,000.00 again. My total amount of bitcoin owned is about a 1/2 of one.

One thing that I was really curious about though is that the number of businesses that are accepting bitcoin as a payment option is increasing. I would have thought that would have given it’s value a boost, but it hasn’t done very much really. At one point, our own business offered to accept bitcoin for payment for some services and perhaps as partial payment on larger invoices, but even though it was well advertised, we had zero clients that even discussed it as an option with us. I suppose it is still a possibility that we could accept bitcoin if someone wanted to offer payment in that currency, but we’re not being too aggressive about it.

I think the biggest problem is that most people really don’t understand how it works, and when there is not much understanding, there is distrust. It can be weird to a newcomer to the currency to understand the management of wallets, the security that you need to have around them (although truly, this is not that difficult but to non-technically inclined people, it can take a bit of work to figure out), and how payments actually work.

With this in mind, I kind of lost interest in bitcoin, but today for some odd reason, I decided to check out it’s value. Although it’s not high, there is some excitement in the market as today, it rallied for 10% gains. But no one really knows what was behind the rally. Trading was quite heavy at the time of writing.

Some are suggesting that when a crisis is rumoured to be imminent, Bitcoin’s value will soar. With the way things are in the USA right now, if you have a bit of money to purchase bitcoin, it might be end up being a valuable gamble to you.

If you don’t know what bitcoin is, there is no point in me trying to explain when there are some great resources already out there for you to look at:

What Is Bitcoin?

Read through the FAQ’s at the bottom of that link, as well. If you’d like to trade some services in bitcoin, leave me a message and contact information in the comments. We can talk about it :)

Bike Lanes In Guelph


I’ve lived, for a time, in the beautiful City of Guelph and often have enjoyed cycling in and around the municipality. It’s a lovely city that is surrounded by rural area, and is also home to the University of Guelph, an agricultural institution of learning. Just north of the small city, located in Ontario Canada is a conservation area called “Guelph Lake Conservation Area” (imagine that!) and cycling to it from downtown is not a difficult trip.

However, there are times especially during rush hour, when cycling can be a bit nerve wracking in some parts of the city. Many of the residents are quite environmentally conscious – it was one of the first places in Canada where sorting through your trash to separate organics from non-organic trash and recyclables, became a law.

The city council there, as I recall, mostly seemed quite positive when it came to ideas about encouraging more physical activity and less driving, but as I wrote, cycling during some times of the day in some areas wasn’t always easy.

So that’s why today, when I was browsing the newspaper online of my former stomping grounds, I was quite heartened to read the headline: “Construction of cycling-walking path on Woodlawn Road to begin soon.

That is fantastic news from Guelph’s cyclists! While it is not exactly bike lanes dedicated only to cyclists, but a path that is designed to carry both pedestrian and bike traffic, it’s a great idea and obviously bike enthusiasts will be very happy with the announcement.

It would be great if more municipalities put the safety of cyclists and pedestrians onto their agendas and did this sort of thing. I realize it can be difficult in some places and I’m not so extreme that I think roads should be closed to motorized vehicular traffic, but where it can be done, making it easier for cyclists, joggers and walkers will make towns and cities a much more enjoyable place to live, work and play.

More on the announcement at the Guelph Mercury.