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Day 30 – April 15, 2020

By |April 15th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Politics, Business & Economics, Life in Vancouver, Travel Stories, Sports & Gaming, Philosophy, Art & Literature|13 Comments

The textbook definition of the word “optics” has to to do with light, and its interaction with the physical world. The most familiar adaptations we’re familiar with have to do with light interacting with our own eyes… optician, optometrist, ophthalmologist.

If you’re a professional photographer, this extends to different lenses and fields of vision and lighting and focal lengths and so on.

When it comes to business or politics, “the optics” refers to how it looks… to the general public. “What are the optics?” is the buzzword-question asked of advisors and consultants and marketers and branding experts and spokespeople and press secretaries — by the people behind the scenes who’ll care about the answer. How will the public take it?

Over this last long weekend, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau decided to join his family, who’ve been living in the Harrington Lake cottage for the last few weeks, for Easter. The cottage is in Gatineau Park, which is in Quebec.

That visit violated the social distancing orders that the federal government and every provincial government has imposed on its residents — the same ones Trudeau himself repeats every time he’s at the podium. That visit also violated the order with respect to crossing the provincial border which at the moment is supposed to be open only to essential travel.

And just to shove it a bit more in all of our collective faces — us, most of whom who stayed home all weekend, many of us who have cabins and cottages and places to where we’d love to have gone to get away from it all… and if not, especially in this beautiful weather, just pack up the SUV and go camping somewhere — he posted a selfie of himself and his family.

The picture shows a beautiful, smiling family of five, clear blue skies with a few light, scattered clouds in the background. Everyone dressed appropriately for the crisp, fresh air. A few wispy trees. The lake itself in the distant background. From a photographical optics point-of-view, excellent. From a political optics point-of-view, awful. Just awful.

Forced to explain himself, the PM gave a somewhat meandering and deflective comment. Within his statement was the sentence, “We continue to follow all the instructions of the authorities.” You’re supposed to be the top of that authority, Mr. PM.

Meanwhile, on … [Continue Reading]


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Day 29 – April 14, 2020

By |April 14th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Travel Stories, Sports & Gaming, Philosophy, Art & Literature|10 Comments

In simple terms, there are three initial conditions to consider if you’re going to fire a cannon: the weight of the cannonball, how much gunpowder you load into the cannon, and the angle of the cannon when you fire it.

If you’re trying to figure out what effect changing those variables can have, the right way to do it is to fix two of them and then see what happens as you vary the third.

For example, set the cannon at a 30-degree angle, and use the same weight of cannonball for 5 shots. Pack each of those 5 shots with increasing amounts of gunpowder… like 10, 20, 30 pounds and so on.

After you’ve fired those five cannonballs, measure the different distances and graph them. And draw a line through those 5 points… and extend it, beyond the last one, following the shape of that line. It might be perfectly straight. It might curve a bit. This is called extrapolation, and lets you make a pretty good guess as to what would happen if you had kept adding more gunpowder.

Now, do the same… this time, use the same amount of gunpowder, but use different weights of cannonballs. Graph and extrapolate that too.

Finally, pick one of those cannonball weights and a fixed amount of gunpowder, and fire them all, changing the cannon’s angle by 5 degrees each time. Graph and extrapolate.

Given those three graphs and their extrapolated lines, you now have a pretty good idea of how to fire this cannon, depending on what you desire. There may be many ways of hitting a target 500 yards away, but one uses more gunpowder. Or maybe you want to hit it with a bigger cannonball. Maybe there are trees in the way, so you’ll need a steeper angle.

One thing that’s certain; the only control you have with this cannonball is what you set with these initial conditions. Once you light that fuse and the cannoball blasts its way out of there, there is nothing you can do about its trajectory. Hopefully you got it right.

It occurs to me that a more modern and relevant example would be golf. When you’re trying to hit a golfball into a hole 150 yards away, there are many variables to consider, and usually, too many for most … [Continue Reading]


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Day 28 – April 13, 2020

By |April 13th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Politics, Business & Economics, Science of COVID-19, Life in Vancouver, Travel Stories, Space & Astronomy, Philosophy, Art & Literature|0 Comments

Once in a while, we have a movie night here at home…. who are we kidding, every night is movie night these days… and recently (well, before Tiger King), we saw a movie that could best be described as a combination of Groundhog Day and… Alien? Predator? War of the Worlds? If you’re not familiar with Groundhog Day — you should see it. To some extent, it feels like we’re living it these days… but to summarize (spoiler alert), in the movie, a normal guy (well, Bill Murray) is caught in a time loop where he lives the same day over and over until he’s finally lived it perfectly and then his life can go on.

Those SciFi movies I listed all have in common the good-guy-humans vs. the bad-guy-aliens. In all cases, the good-guy humans prevail, with varying degrees of importance… saving themselves, saving the world, saving the universe.

Mix the two together, and what you get is humans vs. aliens, but with an interesting twist. Typically, our hero goes from battle to battle, close call to close call… until finally, he prevails. But in this movie, our hero keeps dying… because these aliens are seriously powerful. He doesn’t last more than a few minutes the first time. But as time goes on, he gets a little further along in his quest to kill the aliens — before he’s killed, and then wakes up the next day, and starts all over again. It’s a Hollywood movie (Edge of Tomorrow) with a Hollywood A-lister (Tom Cruise), so (spoiler alert) you can guess the ending… but here’s the takeaway of the whole thing… when he finally gets it right, when he finally — after brutally and painfully dying hundreds of times — is able to extinguish the aliens and life can go on and humanity is saved… nobody knows. It’s like nothing ever happened. It’s like the aliens never even showed up. All of humanity benefitted from the suffering this guy endured, but no one will ever know.

As we starting emerging from lockdown and navigate the complicated plan of getting back to normal, more and more of the crazies will emerge. There was a protest over the weekend where some people with “Fake News” and “CON-VID-19” signs showed up. Apparently, this is all … [Continue Reading]


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Day 27 – April 12, 2020

By |April 12th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Business & Economics, Science of COVID-19, Sports & Gaming, Philosophy, Art & Literature|21 Comments

Today is the day we don’t get numbers in B.C. — Dr. Henry and Mr. Dix are taking a well-deserved break, so accurate numbers will have to wait till tomorrow. For now, as usual, I’ve plugged in my B.C. guess for the day — I’ll fix it tomorrow. But assuming a good day locally, it’d make it a good day nationally. Growth rate was down in Ontario for a 4th straight day, and 3 straight days in Quebec.

But while they’re resting, and the numbers people are resting… as many of you are as well… let’s look at things from a much bigger-picture point of view. Like, these days, the earth is also resting.

If you were to believe that the earth is in some way alive and/or conscious, you’d be making the interesting parallel these days that, as a living being, Gaia finally got sick and tired of the virus infesting Her and decided to vaccinate Herself. For the most part, the young people who had nothing to do with wrecking the place would be spared… but the older you are, the more responsible you are for the disregard and destruction and pollution and reckless abandon that have finally made Mother Earth say “Enough”.

Gaia doesn’t have to wipe us all out to heal Herself. She just needs to give us a bit of a wake-up-call, and not much of one as it turns out.

In the grand scheme of things, it’s interesting to note just how irrelevant humanity is to this planet. In a matter of mere weeks, there are changes occurring. The sky is more blue. The water is cleaner. The air is undoubtedly less polluted. People in Punjab can see the Himalayas. People in L.A. can see the Hollywood sign. If there was ever a sign that a little change can make a big difference, there you go. And for all of us thinking we’re wrecking the planet, we are… without a doubt. But if you think this planet can’t fix itself once humanity is gone, that’d be wrong. It can and it will, very easily. Our time on this earth is so irrelevant in Her own grand scheme of things, that… well, let’s explore it. Let’s start by talking about big numbers.

Let’s say you walk out of the bank … [Continue Reading]


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Day 26 – April 11, 2020

By |April 11th, 2020|COVID-19 Daily Report, The First 100 Days, Politics, Science of COVID-19, Life in Vancouver, Travel Stories, Sports & Gaming|10 Comments

For the sake this example, I’m about to virtually kill a lot of people. Please don’t feel bad — they never existed.

Let’s imagine you want to drive from Vancouver to Seattle… and let’s further imagine that there’s a winding road that follows the coastline all the way down. Sidenote — for part of it, there is… there’s a 20-mile winding road from Bellingham to Burlington called Chuckanut Drive that’s well-worth the detour. Spectacular views and much more.

So… there’s the imaginary coastline road, and there’s Highway 99/I-5 which actually exists.

And you’re a new driver, kind of nervous… the thought of the fast-moving traffic on the highway scares you a bit. But you also know the coastline road is very winding, and you’ve heard of cars losing control and going over the cliff. You do your research and quickly find a report that tells you that over the last two years, accidents killed 45 people on the highway and 24 on the coastline road. Again, I’m making this all up. Nobody was hurt in the creation of this posting.

No brainer, you think, the coastline road is twice as safe as the highway… because that’s the ultimate measure of safety, and there can’t be too much more to it…

Well, there can be… and if you keep reading down my imaginary report, you’ll find that the coastline road seems to have about one accident a month. Like clockwork, once a month, a single-occupant vehicle loses control, rolls down the 100-foot cliff and kills the driver. That accounts for the 24 deaths.

On the highway, as it turns out, some idiot last year was celebrating something… and rented out one of those monstrosity stretch Hummer limos, filled it with 43 of his closest buddies… and apparently everybody, including the driver, got drunk… and the limo, with its full tank of gas, crashed into a telephone pole, exploded into flames and killed all 45 occupants.

That changes things a bit, doesn’t it…

Those 24 single-car accidents each have a little circle around them. The HummerLimo has a single, big circle around it. Around here, the Lynn Valley Care Centre has a big circle around it too, as does the administration office of Lions Gate Hospital. The Mission Institution. The Okanagan Correctional Centre in Oliver. The Blueberry River First Nations … [Continue Reading]


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