Crawl Across the Ocean

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Building Manager - Role Playing Game Fan?

A sign in the elevator of my apartment building momentarily threw me for a loop:

"...As stated in the tenancy agreement, neither the tenant nor the tenant's quest shall disturb the other tenants due to loud conversation, music or other noise..."

Yeah, that's all I got this week. In Politics our 'Conservative' government led the charge to restart a nuclear reactor over the objections of the nuclear safety regulator. In Economics, many of the largest financial institutions in the world are relying on cash infusions from anyone who has some around, from oil sheiks to Chinese government funds, so that they have enough capital to keep functioning, and the Central Banks are doing everything but dropping money from helicopters trying to get enough cash into the financial system to get it moving again. Meanwhile, in the Arts, the only new TV show I liked ('Journeyman') was predictably the first one cancelled due to low ratings. But mainly I've been focussed on trying to get a high score on this addictive geography test flash game. Go on, ask me where Bouvet Island is...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Embarassed to be Canadian

Sarah is at the climate change conference in Bali. I imagine if you pointed out to people in other countries that the Conservative party only represents a minority of Canadians, they would then just point out that not only are we obstructing progress on one of the world's most pressing issues, we have a really screwed up electoral system too.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

John Wright and Ipsos Reid

Here's something to keep in mind next time you see some poll results from Ipsos-Reid. Also, something a little funnier than Canada's inaction with regard to climate change...

1) Paulitics writes a post showing how in the last few Federal polls, Ipsos-Reid has been an outlier, consistently showing much higher support for the Conservative party than other pollsters. There are also some suggestions in the post made by commenter 'Martinp' in the comments to the original post that this might be linked to the fact that Ipsos-Reid generally does its polling work for Conservative media establishments.

2) Jim Harris, former leader of the Green Party, sees the Paulitics post and cross-posts it on the Green Party site here

3) John Wright, who works for Ipsos-Reid, drops by the comment section of Paulitics to threaten legal action,
"So, folks, let’s not waste time and words on “freedom of the web” and anything that says we are trying to “intimidate you”…honestly, good political discourse is fun…but when this stuff gets said and is now posted and defacto endorsed by a national political party, it is over the line.

By way of this blog, you and the Green Party of Canada, are hereby given notice, that if these accusations noted above and now extended to the Green Party site by its former President are not removed and expunged by Monday, December 3, 2007 at 10:00 AM EDT we will be compelled to seek legal redress.


We are very, very serious about this. Please remove the offending parts now and let’s resolve this amiably before we get involved in something more protracted."

It's my uninformed opinion that few words characterize their user more precisely than 'expunged', but I digress.

4) Saskboy comments humourously on the bruhaha here.

Note that the original Paulitics post has been edited after the threatened lawsuit. Follow-up from Paulitics here.

Meanwhile, patrolling the internet is clearly nothing new for Mr. Wright, as various pieces of debris such as this amusing one-sided conversation show.

Probably stressful for Paulitics, but just good humour at Mr. Wright's expense from over here. As one of Saskboy's commenters says, it might be more effective for Wright to simply offer some potential explanations for why the Ipsos-Reid methodology (unchanged for 20 years, apparently) has been consistently finding higher levels of support for the Conservative party than other polling outfits recently. Obviously somebody is wrong (which could be due to random sampling of course, but as Paulitics notes, this is quite unlikely given the size and persistence of the gap) and it's the Canadian polling industry on one side and Ipsos-Reid on the other, so you think they'd be interested themselves in what is happening to cause the divergence.

As a final note, I have to say that I find Wright's proud declaration that, "Darrell Bricker and I have been doing this at the same firm with the same methodology for 20 years and we haven’t changed a thing" a little odd. You'd think that over all those years they could have improved something, but maybe they've been
too busy threatening to sue people...

The Position of the Conservative Party-led Canadian Government on Climate Change

We refuse to give up our second cars until the world's poor countries agree not to buy a first car.

I'm sure future generations will look back with gratitude towards the Canadian government's efforts to block any action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Kevin goes into more detail on the truly unjust and immoral nature of this stance.

I tried to put some of the various arguments for doing nothing in simpler terms, back here.

And I included a chart on per capital emissions back here.

One thing Kevin says that I don't agree with is that if Canada makes cuts to GHG emissions, these could be swamped by increases from other countries. Regardless of what other people/countries do, the impact of Canadian action is the same. If we cut our total emissions by 1MM tons, then emissions will be 1MM tons lower, whether total emissions have gone up or not. Given that we don't know the relative sensitivity of the climate at different levels of emissions it's hard to say that our 1MM cut will make more or less difference. It's possible that cuts by Canada might be even more important if emissions by other nations are higher as the climate may be pushed closer to various potential tipping points.

I guess you could make an argument that it's unfair for us to make cuts when others don't, but when you consider how much more each one of us emits than people with an income one tenth of ours do, making this case is akin to playing your stereo 10 times louder than your neighbour and then arguing that it's unfair for you have to turn yours down, if your neighbour doesn't turn theirs down too.