Star Wars and Snow

I brushed the snow off my solar panels a couple times on the weekend, and it helped with their production a fair bit. The full sun came out, and melted the remaining flakes off too.

We watched Star Wars episode IV [8/10] and Empire Strikes Back [9/10] (Have them both on VHS), and several Star Trek The Next Generation episodes. On Friday we were at the Southland Mall to get a photo with Santa.

Another jolly bearded man at the Santa display:

My family saw the RCMP Heritage Centre for the first time. It’s priced like a tourist trap, especially compared to the admission-by-donation Royal Saskatchewan Museum. It was fun overall. Naturally my Dad and I weren’t entirely pleased with the total lack of mention about one of the first two semi-permanent NWMP presences in southern Saskatchewan, at Wood Mountain. They’ve a Sitting Bull artifact, mention Little Big Horn, and mention Walsh, but I don’t think you could find the words “Wood Mountain” if you tried. That’s a shame. It was the site of one of Canada’s first successful peace keeping missions, assigned to Walsh of the NWMP.

Sitting Bull

 

Flying Beavers and Other Technological Advancements

Air drop beavers to repopulate a species? OK, said the late 1940s.

We’ll need something better than flying beavers to survive climate change, says Bill Gates (who was once a great innovator out to get rich). Now he’s a rich person out to get innovative.

Maybe flying/falling tree planting? After all, it’s what trees do to plant themselves.

Killer Robots By Accident or On Purpose?

There are companies like Lockheed Martin making autonomous killing robots, and there are companies like Google making self-driving cars (which kill people by accident or poor design). At least cars don’t tend to kill on purpose, and the Google self-driving car hasn’t had a deadly accident (or one it caused, of any kind). So, what’s worse? Intentionally creating machines that can destroy humans, or accidentally doing it? Let’s aim at neither.

Many people have seen the Sci-Fi movie Terminator and Terminator 2. They were made before the WWW, and before Skynet seemed like a possibility. Now we have 3D printers, we have walking and flying robots who can shoot, and we have a global intelligence network those machines connect directly to. We need to be very cautious in Artificial Intelligence development over the coming years, or a small group of people could make a mistake that could cost millions (billions?) of lives.

ConCalls: Documentary Underway

I was interviewed for the E-Day documentary film being wrapped up this Summer. What’d I say? You’ll have to wait until it’s been all put together. I can’t wait!

Please help Peter put this movie in front of thousands of Canadians.

Megamind Time Machine

We kicked off a Netflix addiction with “The Croods” [5/10] last night, and “Megamind” [8/10] this morning. At Christmas we replaced a tube TV with a more modern LED version that can get free broadcast channels and hook up to a laptop. Cutting the cable was made possible also with the prospect of Netflix, which I managed to hold off pushing the go button on until last night. My parents stopped by with some pencils for the kids, some cell phone stands for us, and some birthday cards from The White House for my Grandmas’ birthdays.

I’ve spent enough time transcribing my Grandma’s journal over the last month to get a jump start on February a little bit even. This comes at a slight cost of blogging my own thoughts, but I’m finding it interesting to learn about the mid 1980s from her perspective, and the arts and culture that I’ve never heard of in some cases. It’s fascinating to put what she was watching/listening-to on TV/radio and in theatres into Google and see what comes up on YouTube. Her journal is a perpetual time capsule set to ~30 years ago. I also find it amusing that I wasn’t the first in my family to write down which movies I’ve watched.

The Hobbit Ends

I saw the last Hobbit [8/10] movie on Friday, with Jeri. We had food at Montana’s just before. I had the veggie feta burger and it was very good, it tasted just like a meat burger. My distant cousin ended up being seated at the table next to us.

The most exciting part of the movie was in the first ten minutes, but it was overall enjoyable. It was plain that if you hadn’t seen earlier installations of this series, you’d feel a bit left-out. The part of the plot depending upon the Dwarf king’s promise was a bit weakened by the promise not happening in the same movie! “You promised!” OK? I guess, but I as an audience member will just have to trust you over him, because I can’t remember details from a flick a year ago.