personal Archive


August 14th, 2014

If you’ve searched and found this post, it’s probably because you’ve found my Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) which has the UIN / Hex Code 278E7AB5B8FFBFF. Hopefully it’s because I lost it, rather than because I used it in an emergency. The correct procedure if you find a PLB is to report it to the police. All PLBs in Canada should be registered with the Canadian Beacon Registry. Mine is, and they have my contact / emergency info. Thanks.

Solving Google Chrome Flicker on second external USB monitor

December 13th, 2013

I currently use two external monitors with my MacBook Air – one connected via the mini displayport, the second via a USB graphics card. When using google hangouts in chrome, on either the laptop screen, or the first external monitor, any chrome windows open on the second external monitor would flicker like crazy. This was especially problematic for a typical layout / work-flow for me: hangout on large screen, relevant doc for the conversation open to the side on the USB monitor.

It turns out there’s an easy fix:

Go to chrome://flags/ and enable “GPU compositing on all pages” then click restart at the bottom of the screen.

I’m posting this because it was relatively hard to find a solution, so I’m hoping this post will include enough of the keywords I tried when looking for a fix to show up for others in searches. You’re welcome.

European Union Pushing Back on Canada’s Taxpayer Funded Tar Sands Lobbying

March 31st, 2011

Canada does not – as yet – export much tar sands oil to Europe. So why, you might ask, have the Canadian and Alberta governments been working overtime using tax dollars to fund a massive misinformation and lobbying campaign on the other side of the Atlantic?

There’s a clue in this press release from January announcing Alberta Energy Minister Ron Liepert’s $40,000 lobbying jaunts to the US and Europe“The European Union is not currently a major market for Alberta’s oil sands products, but any legislation or tariffs adopted by the union’s government can serve as a model for individual nations around the world. We want to continue to share our story with the legislators so they have the facts about our clean energy strategies”

(I’ll let the “clean energy strategies” rubbish slide for now.)

It’s not about protecting existing markets. At the moment the vast majority of exported tar sands oil goes to the US. For the most part, it’s not even about securing a regulatory environment in Europe that protects future potential markets (although that is no doubt a contributing factor). I’ll tell you why the Canadian and Albertan governments are so worried that they’ve been applying pressure on European legislators to a degree at least one EU parliamentarian has declared “unacceptable”.

It’s about precedent. And they’re scared.

Read the rest of this story at →

Controversial TransCanada Keystone XL Pipeline Criticized By U.S. Farmers and Mayors

March 31st, 2011

new policy adopted by the US National Farmers Union slams the proposed Keystone XL pipeline that would pump bitumen from the Athabasca tar sands in Alberta thousands of miles across America’s farm belt to Gulf Coast refineries in Texas. The Nebraska Farmers Union notes:

“The proposed route of the 1,980-mile pipeline would slice through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. It would cross the Ogallala Aquifer in Nebraska – source of 30 percent of the nation’s agricultural water and drinking water for millions – with a pipeline carrying diluted bitumen, a thick, heavy, corrosive and toxic form of crude oil associated with pipeline ruptures at 16 times the rate of conventional crude.”

Read the rest of this story at →

Unelected Canadian senate kills climate bill

November 17th, 2010

In a surprise move yesterday evening, Canada’s unelected senate held a vote on the Climate Change Accountability Act, and killed it.

The bill would have forced Canada’s government to set long-term targets for emissions reductions in line with science: 80% below 1990 levels by 2050, and interim targets for 2015-2045, as well as report on progress to parliament on a regular basis. It was a simple framework requiring the government to come up with a plan – nothing more, nothing less.

The lack of willingness to take action on climate change at the federal level in Canada is nothing new. We’ve had years of stalling under Stephen Harper’s minority conservative government that goes far beyond simply failing to act, to intentionally derailing international efforts to make progress. Last year at the climate negotiations in Copenhagen, Canada was named “Fossil of the Year” for continual obstructionism and inaction.

The real surprise here is the outright and flagrant subversion of democracy.

The bill had the support of the majority of Canada’s elected Members of Parliament, and had already been approved by the House of Commons. Harper was unable to prevent the bill being approved when all three opposition parties banded together in support of it. Getting the bill passed by the House of Commons took a huge amount of work to build cross-party support, but was a great example of Canada’s democracy functioning as it should; a majority of MPs came together to push through legislation that the majority of Canadians wanted, even though the party in power (with the largest number of MPs, but a minority overall) was against it.

Despite promisses to the contrary, in late 2008 Harper, fearing his government would be defeated, stacked the senate with new appointments. Yesterday, his unelected appointees did what he could not accomplish through democratic means in the house of commons, and killed the climate bill, contrary to the will of parliament.

The NDP leader Jack Layton put it bluntly:

“This was one of the most undemocratic acts that we have ever seen in the Parliament of Canada … To take power that doesn’t rightfully belong to them to kill a bill that has been adopted by a majority of the House of Commons representing a majority of Canadians is as wrong as it gets when it comes to democracy in this country.”

And so off Canada will go to Mexico, where we have one more shot at a climate change deal, with no plan and no targets. If ever there was a need for democratic reform in Canada, it is now.

Originally published at

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