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08 January

Natasha (my daughter) was in Europe and was heading home today for the start of classes. Her plane had to turn around, however, because there was a smoke on board! All the passengers were OK, but the plane had to dump fuel in the sea and go to Amsterdam. She wasn't clear about home much smoke there was, but even a little it unsettling.

This is what appeared recently on one of the news web sites:

KLM's flight 671 en route from Amsterdam to Montreal returned to Schiphol airport this afternoon shortly after taking off at 14:30. The return of the passenger jet was caused by one or more technical problems.

According to the Aviation Herald: "The crew subsequently reported they had smoke in the cabin and cockpit and requested to level off at FL130 and keep close to Amsterdam." Then they returned safely.

Natasha told me that the cabin was filled with grey smoke that was very apparent, and that it was also (more so?) in the cockpit. She said that the crew was running around with fire extinguishers attempting to find the source of the smoke, but without success.

This is the kind of moment when you want a real human pilot on the loop. While autopilots are great for routine flying and never suffer from fatigue, emergencies are not their forte.

By Gregory Dudek at | Leave a comment |    
04 March

This is not so good, but not too worrisome either. On Feb. 15, 2013, just under a year from now, a significant earth-grazing asteroid will come very close to Earth and has a small but non-negligible chance of hitting the earth and doing serious damage. While such an event could theoretically be averted using appropriate technology that could be build today, mankind has not build it and thus nothing can be done at this late date.

The culprit is a 35 - 80m wide asteroid labelled 2012 DA14 and it will make a near pass (27 thousand km or 0.00018 AU), with possible earth collision, travelling at 8.13 km/second on the 15th February, 2013 @ 19:26 UT. This distance is roughly a mere 4 times the earth's radius, and could result it a hit. For comparison, the distance between the Earth and Moon is 384K km or 0.0026 AU.

SInce the asteroid was discovered just 8 days ago (late Feb .2012) the accuracy of the estimate is not that high.

The asteroid is not big enough to be a planet killer though, and chances are nothing will happen at all, but it could make one heck of a big hole if it hit. On the Torino and Palero scales for this kind of risk, it;s not rated as at all scary. Palermo Scale values between -2 and 0 indicate situations that merit careful monitoring, and this one is a -4 on this logarithmic scale.

This link to the JPL LEO page gives the most accurate details and is updated as data is acquired.

By Gregory Dudek at | Leave a comment |    
14 June

Last week I was in Brussels, Belgium and London, England. Despite the omnipresent spectre of a European debt meltdown and financial calamity, everything looked pretty normal both in the halls of business and research, and out in the tourist-filled streets. Naturally, the financial situation was a recurring topic of conversation, and doubtless is making an impact on long-term planning, but at the same time everything seems to be proceeding quite normally on a day-to-day basis. This is a bit of a contrast from what some of my friends in the Canadian finance sector seems to be saying or doing, or what my friends in Greece are doing, but maybe it's due to the fact that as a casual visitor I don't really know what's going on at the more profound planning levels.

I don't like jet lag and it seems to bother me especially on trips to Europe. This time, I got a bout of food poisoning at the start of my trip in addition, so even now, a week later, I am still dipping into my energy reserves to function normally. Luckily, I was over my acure misery the next morning and was able to do the work I had come for. While I have only had food poisoning a few times, it has always amazed my how quickly we can switch from feeling great to being laid low.

After having visited both cities several times, I didn't try to squeeze in any stereotypical tourist venues, but did my work, visited a bit with old friends, hung out a bit with some esteemed colleagues, and just absorbed the general ambiance. Of course, in Belgium (after I recovered) ) did make sure I got to buy and eat a range of the exotic chocolates the city is known for.

By Gregory Dudek at | Leave a comment |    
26 September

Here's my list of assorted Internet streaming radio stations (not in any particular order). This is collected from various sources, and stored here largely for my own use.

BBC - Radio 4

BBC - Radio 4 Extra

BBC - World Service News


WFMU's Rock & Soul Ichiban


PORTLAND - KZME (Only plays local bands, or bands which are coming to Portland soon.)

OLDIES - 1930s -1940's - Abacus Radio

OLDIES - 1920s - 1930s - Radio Dismuke (This is a terrific stream, though the sound quality is a bit low.)

OLDIES - 1930's - WGBH's "Jazz Decades"

OLDIES - 1920's - 1950s  - Venerable Radio

AMBIENT - SomaFM - Mission Control (Music mixed with recordings of NASA material. )



SPACE-AGE - SomaFM Illinois Street Lounge

Birdsong Radio

GERMANY - Heimatmelodie

HOLLAND - Efteling Radio (programming for kids during the daytime hours and movie soundtracks mixed with animal noises and sounds from De Efteling amusement park otherwise!)

SWISS - Alpenmelodie

SWISS - Volksmusic Radio

ABIDIJAN - Africa No. 1 (M3U)

ATHENS - Radio Epirus (MP3)

BUENOS AIRES - Radio Periko (PLS)



CAIRO - Hona wa alaan (MP3)

DELHI - Guyana NJ Desi Radio (PLS)

HONG KONG - Chinese Classical (MP3)

HONOLULU - Hawaiian Rainbow (PLS)

ISTANBUL - Radyo Music (MP3)

JERUSALEM - Kolhalev (MP3)

LIMA - Radio Scala de Oro (MP3)

MADRID - SKY.FM, Classical & Flamenco Guitar (MP3)

MONTEGO BAY - Nautic Radio - Jamaican  (MP3)

MOSCOW- Radio Caprice Russian Folk

NAIROBI - Bongo Radio (MP3)

NEW ORLEANS - Radio Riel New Toulouse (PLS)

PARIS - Nostalgie Počtes (MP3)

http://mp3.live.tv-radio.com/2524/nosta … 114501.mp3

RIO DE JANEIRO - Bossa Nova Hits (PLS)
(Really good mix, though I wish they would take all versions of "Girl from Ipanama" out of rotation: that gets old.)
http://www.bossanovahits.com.br/radio-b … va128k.pls

ROME - Italian Graffiati - Musica anni 60 e 70 (MP3)

TOKYO - Blue Heron Radio (M3U)


The JAMmer - Decades of 'Just A Minute' (MP3)

Welcome to Weirdsville - The Silly Side of Halloween (MP3) (LO-FI)

Publicradiofan.com -- list of links


list of links to public radio stations

list of links


list of links to real radio stations

Publicradiofan.com -- list of links


list of links to public radio stations

Q107 Toronto


Toronto classic rock

Bill Sparks list


Station list

By Gregory Dudek at | Read (1) or Leave a comment |    
28 April

There was a recent furry of publicity recently over the fact that veal cows are being horribly mistreated. This is hardly surprising news, since the abusive conditions in factory farms has been extensively documented in the past, and veal is pretty far down the horrifically awful end of the spectrum: animals kept their whole lives (from birth) often without being allowed to walk, tortured, and abused in other ways.

The following article documents how baby calves, just weeks old, are kicked, punched, slapped, etc., and it's a rather horrific read. Quebec is the largest producer of milk-fed veal in Canada, producing 80 per cent of the so-called white veal and we should be ashamed of it, and with a code of good conduct that is merely voluntary; that's a blemish on our Provincial image.

The production of foie gras is another disgusting and abusive practice here that is sometimes rationalized using a range of self-indulgent excuses. In case you don't know, it uses the force-feeding of birds using "gavage" which means putting a funnel down their throats and jamming in food (daily) so that their livers essentially self-destruct to produce an exceptionally fatty residue that some people like to eat. The fact that is it exceptionally unhealthy for the people who eat it is cold consolation. It is sometimes excused on the rationale that people it eat sparingly, but that's enough to sustain an inexcusable industry. It's a shame that local restaurant's in Montreal, notably the "Au Pied de Cochon," chain have come to celebrate this greasy mess as if it was something noble, rather than what seems to be to be a badge of inhumane stupidity or callousness. In several countries it's illegal.

You don't need to go so far as becoming a vegetarian to simply give up veal, or to realize that veal and foie gras is inhumane and repugnant.

By Gregory Dudek at | Leave a comment |    
08 September

We have a science minister that doesn't know science

How sad: our Federal Minister of State for Science and Technology (since 2014) is Ed Holder. His qualifications include the fact that he "has been a member of several committees" (from his official government bio), that he was president of an insurance brokerage, he did fundraising, and he served Canada (presumable) in the military. Remember, this is our science minister, not the minister of small business development, or the minister of being a nice neighbor.

According to his official biography, as well any other sources I could find he has no substantive exposure, familiarity, training or aptitude for any aspect whatsoever of science of technology. This is the most astoundingly questionable choice of a science minister I could imagine. In an era when science and technology are the lynch pins of our economy and societal progress, how can such a thing happen. It sounds like a scenario concocted by George Orwell.

The Globe and Mail describes him as "... insurance professional with a philosophy degree. He was a community leader and a Conservative foot soldier ..." and "... community worker who has not distinguished himself in any particular way."

He is probably a great guy to have a beer with, but how can he advocate science or set policy goals? Merciful heavens, what has our country come to? Of course, we have companies to "do" science and technology, but the government plays a critical role is selecting the companies and sectors to support and promote, and to prepare the society and the economy to adapt and develop new directions through a diverse set of programs from tax incentives and export subsidies, or research funding or immigration policies.

I am supposed to find a speaker for a big international conference to speak on the government's plans and vision regarding robotics and advanced technology, aside from "high technology is good" and "we like jobs." I am very worried about who I can find to deliver that vision. In fact, there are few (if any) MP's in the current government with either a substantive science background or an avowed vision on science and technology. This is too depressing for words.

By Gregory Dudek at | Leave a comment |    
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