ss_blog_claim=8dcabb3175f064b32823a45ed345083b Majik's Thoughts: February 2008


What's In the Water?

Today I read an article about the C.D.C. suppressing a report on pollution in the great lakes area. I must say that I am a little concerned about this. Really makes me wonder, what's in the water? I don't live very far from one of the great lakes and most of our tap water is purified near the lake, but with the news of a report on pollution in the great lakes I am concerned. Any one else in the great lakes area should be concerned as well.

If there is any health risks derived from chemicals in the great lakes, then we need to know. I don't know if they are afraid of widespread panic or just the astronomical cost of cleaning up the lakes. Either way people in those areas need to know the results of the study. If you were in a high risk area don't you deserve to know about the potential health risks in the area? I certainly want to know the health risks.

There have been people trying to get the study into the public eye. Two Canadians, Mike Gilbertson and Herb Gray are both trying to get the Centers for Disease Control to release the study. This could affect millions of people in the great lakes area both Canadian and American. What do you think, should they release the results of the study as soon as possible? Why do you think they are delaying the release of the study?


Not Your Average News

Today I was checking out my favourite source for news and came across a story that really is out of the norm. The story was about a man's body being found in an irrigation ditch in Alberta, what's unusual about the story is that the man had been decapitated. This kind of thing does not happen here in Canada very often, in fact this is the first time I heard about something even remotely like this here in Canada.

What is our country coming to? Granted that our population has grown a little bit and some crime rates have gone up, I've heard about a few different murders in the past couple of months, but a decapitation? What kind of a person would cut someone's head off? I've watched a few informative television programs that explain that decapitation is not as easy as it looks.

Back to the news article, police are having some trouble identifying the body. This story broke last Friday, at the time police were still looking for the head. They say the person was the product of a high level of violence. But seriously this is not an average story.

The R.C.M.P. are not releasing any information, it is too soon to know any motives or even the cause of death. There were multiple abrasions and injuries on the body, it's too soon to know of the head was severed before or after death. After reading this story, I feel better knowing that I have some distance between me and the place this unidentified body was found. None the less this is a tragedy; lets hope the police can find the person who did this.

Image source: Dirk Ingo Franke
News Story: Unidentified body found in Alberta ditch was decapitated


A Tight Squeeze

Last night on my drive home, I heard a report about the price of gasoline going up today. I don't know if all the publicity was such a good thing, but here in Canada, higher prices are more news worthy than before. Ever since our Canadian dollar soared to trade above par with the American greenback, a lot of Canadians have been complaining to suppliers and retailers about prices being too high. This is good, but what exactly does that mean? Well after hearing about the rise in gasoline prices, I knew there would be some kind of report the next day telling us that we have to pay higher prices. This has been done to death lately and all this complaining about high prices is not going any where in terms of the price of gas.

The inlayed photo on this post is a graph of U.S. average gas prices from 1974 to 2000. As you can see, the price of gas through out the years has been on a steady climb. Here in Canada we have been doing a lot of complaining about the price of gas in social circles, but not very much in the media. We do have to use the media wisely if we are going to see any change. But in terms of gas prices, I think it is time for all of those alternative fuels that everyone has been talking about to make more of a debut than just hear say and research reports. Granted the change between gasoline and alternative fuels will be hard, but no change that is worth making is with out sacrifices.

One of the reasons for delaying our cross over to alternative fuels from gasoline and crude oil products is the enormous cost of the infrastructure needed to complete the change. I may not be an expert, but wouldn't switching to a form of ethanol instead of gasoline be a little cheaper. We could use the same infrastructure we have for gasoline and begin selling alternative fuels on a much larger scale then we are currently. Some countries frown on this, especially ones that have rich oil reserves but the time for a change is now.

Burning fossil fuels have put our planet in grave danger and we need to start using alternative fuels before its too late. I'm sure that the cost of alternative fuels maybe high right now, but unless you start producing them, more cost effective ways of producing them are merely theories. Everybody is being squeezed by the high cost of fossil fuels and the only way to change that is to change our way of thinking. We definitely need to switch to another fuel source that is renewable and clean before we end up poisoning our world beyond the point of no return. Well that's my opinion, what's yours?

Image source: Wiki Media Commons
Inspiration for this rant:
Canadian pump prices soar
And an empty wallet after filling up at a gas station!


Need To Sell A Product Online?

I'm going to take a brief break from my normal style of posts to tell you about an interesting website. What I'm talking about is a shopping cart software website. If you have a product you want to sell online and need some e-commerce software, this is the website you've been looking for. I've been working on a product to sell online myself and just as soon as my product is ready to be sold the first place I am going to stop will be at this website.

I'm sure some of you out there are wondering why you would want to choose this website to help you sell your product online. Well one of the biggest reason's I would choose this website is because of their "Search Engine Optimized Structure." As a blogger I can appreciate the need for Search Engine Optimization. Also their software is easy and affordable. I can't forget that you also can customize your shopping cart template.

I hope you all can appreciate this website and will make a stop on the information highway to take a look at this shopping cart software. All of their shopping cart software is hosted on their "ultra fast web servers" and have good technical support. Before you go somewhere else to find some e-commerce solutions, make sure you stop by ashop and see what they are offering before you decide which software to use.


Another Nation Added to the United Nations Roll Call

I have to admit, I'm addicted to current events; especially when the news is about a fledgling democratic state. I read today on my favourite news network's website that Kosovo is following in the footsteps of its neighbour, Montenegro and declaring its independence from Serbia. Of course there are a couple of objectors to the diplomatic move, like Serbia and Russia. Russia even called for an emergency session of the United Nations over the matter. There are few things that can be done to stop the state of Kosovo from becoming its own sovereign state, considering the European Union and the United States are supporting the move.

Whether or not this move for independance will bring more stability to area is not really known. Ambassadors from Europe and the U.S. are asking all parties involved not to resort to violence which tells me that there are a lot of people unhappy about Kosovo becoming a sovereign and democratic state. This just seems to be the nature of change in today's world, people make moves to become independent of large conglomerates and other people's first instinct is to panic. I guess that's just human nature, but really, change is good.

With all of the unrest in the world, a change towards a democratic independent state is good news. As to how it would affect the average Canadian, well let's just say we will have another competitor for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. Of course there will be an effort from Kosovo to get Canada to acknowledge them as an independent state, but that really doesn't affect the average Canadian. I'm sure that the Canadian government would be willing to support Kosovo's independence. Well that's my opinion, what do you think about Kosovo becoming independent?

Image Source: Wiki Commons
News Story: Kosovo declares independence


Not Exactly Star Wars

My neighbour to the south never ceases to amaze me. I'm not talking about one person in particular, but the country south of my current place of residence. I was perusing my favourite news networks website and stumbled over a story about launching a missile into space to shoot down a spacecraft. If I was in orbit right now, I would be a little worried. I know that space is extremely immense and the actual risk of being hit by a missile is slim, but has this been tested before?

What am I talking about? Well I'm talking about the use of a surface to air missile to down a space craft. This has been done before by China to get rid of an old weather satellite. Even though China was successful in destroying the satellite, the danger to other orbiting technology must be considered. In the article I was reading, China received a lot of bad press over the incedent, with that in mind how will this affect the global view of the U.S. if they proceed with plans to destroy a satellite?

Public opinion of George W. Bush is extremely low right now as there are rumours of a recession in the U.S. and planing on removing a satellite by destroying it probably wouldn't help. I can understand the danger of a satellite falling from orbit containing harmful chemicals, even if the point of impact is not in a public area. The fuel for the thrusters on board the satellite is hydrazine. Apparently hydrazine can cause a burning sensation similar to chlorine. The security risk for the technologies on board is really low considering any technology on board will vaporize during re-entry to our atmosphere. I guess the risk of the satellite falling in a populated area out weighs any other risk.

Now after reading through the article, I can understand how downing a satellite with a missile is much cheaper than a shuttle mission to retreive it, but that's really not concerning. What is concerning is the amount of near earth objects that will be careening around our planet after the satellite is destroyed. An explosion in space would send pieces of the satellite in every direction and with no wind resistance, any object in the way would be damaged. What about the astronaughts on board the International Space Station. What are the chances of one of the fragments from the destroyed satellite end up putting a large hole in the Station?

I could just be over analyzing the news story, but I'm sure there is a chance. Its possible that this really is the safest way to avert any injury or death from a satellite. As for how this affects the average Canadian, well it certainly gives us a topic to debate. I'm sure that the global view of the U.S. will suffer a little bit, but with all of the other events that are going on in the world, it will get over looked. If it does damage the global view of the U.S. our Canadian dollar could see a little more prosperity, but I'm just speculating. Well that's my opinion, what are your thoughts on launching a missile to destroy a satellite?

Image source: Wiki Media Commons
News Story: U.S. plans to shoot down spy satellite


Another Triumph For Another Canadian Company, Cheers!

Now here's a typical Canadian story for you. I was checking out one of my favourite news networks' website and came across a story about a Canadian beer company announcing that their fourth quarter profits were up by over 70 percent. This really doesn't strike me as odd at all, considering two of our favourite past times are drinking and watching hockey, you can't watch your favourite hockey team win or lose with out a beer in your hands. The picture for this post was really easy to find to, considering I had just finished drinking a beer and used my camera phone to take the picture, yup I'm definitely Canadian eh!

The part of the article I was reading that I found the most interesting was that the companies stock jumped from just over $4 to almost $50 on the New York Stock Exchange. Now the company I am talking about is Molson Coors, one of my favourite beers happens to be made by Molson and is definitely Canadian. I'm sure all the noise us Canadians made about having to pay much higher prices than Americans on similar goods while our dollar continues to hover around par with the American greenback, had a little something to do with their jump in profits. We're Canadians with a little bit more disposable income, what else would we spend it on especially during the holiday season?

Now don't get me wrong, not all Canadians are heavy beer drinkers, although a lot of us do like drinking a fine cold brew every once and a while. Even though not every Canadian drinks beer, I'm sure a lot of us will rest easier now that some costs have come down and we can enjoy a cold beer. Personally I prefer to have a nice cold "Brown pop" after a long day at work. Now as for what the news of one of Canada's largest breweries trading higher on the N.Y.S.E. means for Canadians, well I'm sure the cash injection from a higher trading value will definitely bring more value to our dollar. Not that I'm predicting another record rise of our dollar, just saying that the stability of our dollar is more of a sure thing than in recent years. Well that's my opinion, what do you think?

Image: my camera phone
News Story: Molson Coors stock surges as profit beats estimates


News From Space!

Well it's official now, the shuttle Atlantis is in orbit. This is definitely good news for the European Space Agency (E.S.A.) considering the pay load on the shuttle is the E.S.A.s Columbus research module. The module has been in limbo for too long, even though the delays gave engineers longer to make upgrades to the systems on board.

The space shuttle left the launch pad on Thursday of last week and docked with the International Space Station yesterday. Attaching the Columbus research module is said to require three space walks or extra vehicular activities. So far there has been no mention of using the stations robotic arm to attach the module just the shuttles robotic arm. Although I'm sure the Canadian technology will be used during the space walks to give astronaughts a work platform.

Astronaughts on board will also be conducting an inspection of Atlantis' wings. The initial backflip performed by Commander Stephen Frick allowed for footage of the shuttles heat shields to be recorded. The U.S. Space agency doesn't expect to see anything that could endanger the crew upon re-entry.

All in all it is good to hear that the International Space Station program is making progress. One of our most challenging construction projects, albeit far behind schedule, is finally moving forward. My only thoughts about this news is, its about time!

News Story: Shuttle docks with space station
Image Source: Wiki Media Commons


An Appeal to N.A.T.O. For a Thousand More Troops In Afghanistan

Today I was watching a report on the C.B.C. News network that I found really interesting. The report was on Canada's appeal to N.A.T.O. for a thousand troops that are needed for the current mission in Afghanistan. I found it interesting because Peter MacKay, Canada's Defence minister met with other N.A.T.O. defence ministers and he flat out said that there is a need for 1000 more troops in Afghanistan.

Now I know that this push at the meeting for N.A.T.O. defence ministers in Vilnius, Lithuania was part of a new plan the Conservatives tabled yesterday and is rumoured to bring another election with it if the government votes against it. This really is a motion that could break the current minority government in Canada. Mostly because at least once a week I hear something coming from the Liberal opposition that clearly states that they are not happy playing the role of the opposition. I don't know about the rest of Canada, but the current economic boom we have been enjoying is not entirely due to the rumours of a recession in the U.S., the minority government has reduced the Goods and Service Tax by two percent since taking office, as well as boosting the funding for our military. Granted some still consider our military to be a joke, but I have a really bad feeling that if the Liberals get back in, our defence forces will suffer greatly.

I know that our neighbour to the south has a very strong military force, but we still have to protect our sovereignty regardless of which country is on our borders. Not only will our defence forces suffer from a potential general election in which the Liberals could form a majority government, but from my perspective, I would actually be ashamed to be Canadian if the Liberals formed a majority government. The last time they had power, many funds were squandered while our military was using dangerous used goods to protect us. I can understand politicians making claims against each other slinging mud back and forth because that has been what I have seen from them, but there comes a time when the interest of the people need to be considered.

I personally support the mission in Afghanistan, mostly because I have a friend or two serving over there as well as a co-worker who hails from Afghanistan. I have heard a few horror stories from before the whole "War on Terror" began in Afghanistan and I believe that we are needed to help rebuild. I have also heard from various news programs that we are only keeping the Taliban at bay while the people of Afghanistan are rebuilding their country from the bottom up.

But I digress, back to the news story I started with. The fact that we are trying to take the lead on keeping troops in Afghanistan on a mission to help the efforts to rebuild is incredibly important. Democracy takes time to develop and not even the most powerful nations in the world can deny that. It is always disheartening to hear about our soldiers being wounded or killed in the line of duty, but in this imperfect world of ours it takes sacrifice to make changes. But what about the global image of Canada? We have been peace keepers for many years, we have helped bring peace to many different parts of the world and the mission in Afghanistan is just as important as any peace keeping mission in the past.

Now the story also includes some hope. France has heard our call for more troops in Afghanistan. Just how many troops is purely speculation and rumours, although the rumoured number is 700. There is also a chance that other nations could commit enough troops to fill the void. Now what does this mean for an average Canadian, well it could mean nothing or yet another trip to the polls to vote for another Prime Minister or the same one. As this is a developing story we will have to watch and wait. That's my opinion, what's yours?

Image source: Wiki Commons
News Story: France heeds Canada's call for more troops


Drub Prohibition

I read a rather controversial article today on the C.B.C.s website. The article was about the war on drugs. I found it really informative considering that there is a 10000 member orginization that is for the legalization of drugs. Interesting. I've been in some interesting debates with friends about the legalization of marijuana and some very interesting points were made.

I understand that marijuana can be used for medicinal purposes. A friend of mine has a note from his doctor allowing him to legally smoke marijuana. I won't mention any names. As for the legalization of marijuana, I can't say I'm totally for it but I also can't say that I'm for it. Granted that there are lots of medicinal uses for different herbs, some people just smoke marijuana for fun. The article also mentions the legalization of heroin, that I know where I stand, absolutely not. Any drug that requires a needle to 'catch a buzz' doesn't interest me. I know heroin can be sniffed as well, but that doesn't interest me either.

What do you think about the issue of legalizing these two drugs? For me, the lesser of the two can be decriminalized, but I wouldn't vote for legalizing heroin. I'm sure the government would have a lot of money to gain from legalizing these drugs, but what about the current legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco? Granted there are much different affects from the use of different drugs, but isn't our society strained enough with the current legal drugs out on the market? What's your opinion on legalizing marijuana?

New Story: Drug legalization proposed at conference on drug use


A New Month Begins

Well its the start of another month. And even though it is only the second day of the month I am glad that I still have time to create a new post. This month and the following 8 months are going to present me with new challenges in terms of managing two blogs. My full time job has me working very long hours for most of the week and it will be hard for me to continue posting every day or every other day as of late. But thanks to 'Entrecard' I managed to hit the goal I had set for the month of January. I had set a goal to get an average of 30 hits a day to this website and I'm glad that you have stopped by to see what is happening here on 'Majik's Thoughts.' For the month of February, I will continue to work on the unfolding story I have over at Majik's World which is my second blog. I hope you will take a minute or two to have a read through "Dustin's Chronicle."

As for what is up and coming for this month, this blog is currently in the running for the 5th iBlog Cup. I will leave a link at the bottom of this post for any readers who wish to vote for me. I have been recieving quite a few hits from search engines looking for comparisons between Starbucks and Tim Hortons. Back in September of last year when I first started this 'Weblog' I wrote a post called "Tim Hortons Vs Starbucks" and it has brought me quite a few hits from search engines so I will try and write another comparison this month.

Right now I have to head on over to "Majik's World" to create the next installment in "Dustin's Chronicle" so I will finish this post quickly. I know this is not my usual post for this blog but every once in a while we need to go on a tangent. For all of you who take the time to stop by and have a read "Thank you very much" and for all you chain droppers from Entrecard, thanks for stopping in and leaving a momento! Peace out!

Image source: 2008 Calendar