Toyota’s Artificial Intelligence

The Prius is a neat car. When you step on the brake, the batteries absorb the energy of the slowing car. This happens because very sophisticated computers run the car. Now, a rogue Prius is the subject of a huge scandal. An American, who could be mistaken for my brother, is claiming his Prius went wildly out of control…up to 150 Km/per hour..when he stepped on the brakes. He called 911, a rather clever and unusual thing for him to do..I thought. I’m not sure I’d do that. I’m thinking I’d try turning the ignition off and maybe shift it to neutral, before called 911. Anyway, the cops came to the rescue and actually got in front of his car and forcibly slowed him to a stop.. Sure…just like in the movies.
When I saw the guilty Prius being hauled away to the labs for inspection, I couldn’t help thinking of HAL 5000 in the movie “2001 A Space Odyssey”
Could this be the first case of a rogue computer acting on it’s own? After all, Toyota technicians and USA federal inspectors are stymied. Either the Prius’ owner is a liar, they say, or the Prius, somehow, acted on it’s own. Hmmmmm

Golden Memories

A few final observations about the Olympics. I’ve had a chance to actually view the Gold Medal Men’s Hockey Game (I hate the Olympic Committee’s use of the term “Ice Hockey”…what the hell, Canada invented the game and we’ve never called it “Ice” hockey. It’s “hockey”) Anyway, I watched the replay of the game twice….the NBC version and the CTV version. I was so tense during the actual broadcast itself, I’m not sure I actually knew what I was watching. The replays, however, made a few things clearer. For one, Canada seems to have legitimately won. That is, they did actually outplay the Americans for the most part, although the Americans have to be given full credit for their tenacity and determination to withstand the onslaught. Two posts in the third period, certainly made things frustrating for the Canucks. The Americans’ first goal, by Ryan Kesler, who plays for my beloved Vancouver Canucks, appears to have been off-side. There were a few dirty shots by the Yanks. At the end of the second period, well after the buzzer, an American took a Canadian player into the boards. And twice, once in the second and once in the third period, the Americans continued the very dangerous enterprise of slashing away at the puck in the crease way, way after the whistle had blown. So the Americans were given a lot of slack in the game but it made for a good game. By the way, the Old Ruminator is actually old enough to have seen the 1972 series (the famed battle between democratic Canada – the birthplace of hockey, and the evil Soviet Empire) as an adult and that series was, by far, a much more dramatic and tense confrontation. It was a monumental clash of cultures, values and national pride which I believe has never been duplicated at any other time in any other sporting enterprise.

Hello World

Hey everyone….and all you CSIS spys out there lurking around this site just waiting for some ole lady retired widowed school teacher to say something incriminating and breath takingly political ……Guess what?
You’ve all got a long wait.
After much ado and many attempts to get in, my brilliant younger brother (The old Ruminator……I object to the “old” part – to me, he’s still my baby brother.)sent me a new e-mail link which allowed me to enter my password etc. and get in.
I mention CSIS spys because after my last e-mail on the Afghan Detainee issue, I received messages from two of my younger brothers….both who shall remain anonymous, but …hint….one is in Florida and the other is the Old Ruminator himself. I was told that I SHOULD post my most intriguing and politically startling musings anonymously on this site …but to remember….the world can read them (it).
Ha Ha…like I care?
Hmmm… was this a hint that they didn’t/don’t want their e-mail in box cluttered with the astute political musings of myself and my sister “Cioccolato”? Hmmmm……
Anyways, the reason that I didn’t post on here previously was because I couldn’t get into it. The Old Ruminator solved my problems – I’m in.
So, if anyone else is having problems getting into the Admin part of this site, I suggest that you e-mail the Old Ruminator for instructions. Who knows? He may even beat you to the punch and e-mail you first.
Happy March break everyone!!

CBC and Taliban “Fellows”

“FELLOWS”…now, just how warm and fuzzy is that? The only thing missing from this diplomat’s report are some adjectives in front of the word “fellows” to make the poor, misguided and ill-treated Taliban detainees even more lovable.

I, for one, am sick and tired of CBC treating these “FELLOWS” as if they are purse snatchers in downtown Toronto…or shoplifters in downtown Vancouver…what gives?
These “FELLOWS” were detained in the first place for God knows what in their religious zeal to kill our young Canadian troops.
This detaining took place in a War Zone.
What exactly, were the Canadian Troops expected to do with an Afghan they caught planting an I.E.D…..give them a candy bar, pat them on the back, and say “Sorry?”……..then let them go on their way to plant another I.E.D. later?
I guess that would be the “Canadian Way…….ay?”
Be Canadian and tell them that they’re being set free for time served. After all, it was a long, hot trek to the military vehicle that transported them to their fellow Afghans in an Afghan prison.
Maybe they deserve compensation for all of the dust they had to inhale along the route.
Not to mention the anguish their entire family must have endured because of their capture….they should be compensated too.
The Americans are sending in FORTY THOUSAND troops to deal with the Taliban in Kandahar.
Canadians have been doing the same for the past five years with 2500….that’s TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED…..and, I understand that only 600 of them are actual foot soldiers, the rest are support personell.
140 of our beautiful young men and women dead.

Enough said!

CBC’s Politics

My clock radio woke me this morning with the 6:00 am CBC news and it began it’s lead story with these words ‘The issue of Afghan detainee abuse is back on the front burner’. They then went on for a full 2 minutes of their 5 minute newscast to tell us all about how some woman, now retired, told them that we should know what happens to the ‘fellows’ we turn over. These guys are digging and obviously on a mission. What gives? They don’t like Conservatives and want the Liberals back in I think.

Personally I have no opinion at the moment about if one party is better than the other. What I’m interested in observing is that the CBC (and I’ll keep watching, perhaps the written media as well), are deciding who should be the government. They have no business doing that. They should give us the news and be impartial. We should make the decisions. That’s what democracy is about, not us being spoonfed biased information, the purpose of which is to influence our thought.

Okay so there’s my beef for today. Once again, I am going to be watching the media to see what they want me and you to think.


CBC’s war on the troops

They’re at it again on The National. Tonight we heard the hyperactive Terry Molewski reporting breathlessly that the Opposition is still concerned that there’s a chance that maybe some Taliban terrorists were actually handed over to local Afghan authorities by Canadian troops. I’m as puzzled as most Canadians over CBC’s and the Opposition’s pre-occupation with the welfare of Taliban terrorists. I just don’t get it. And tonight Terry dutifully had Ujal Dosanjh, the guy British Columbians royally gave the to boot to six years ago when he pretended to be Premier after winning a leadership contest that most sane people widely suspected as being rigged. Now that WAS a scandal. But, Ujal, the eternal bleeding heart Liberal (former NDP and one step away from a Marxist) was imagining what might have been IF certain unproven claims had actually happened. What if a Taliban Terrorist, murderer or rapist had actually been handed over to his fellow countrymen by Canadians? Yah, and what if the moon really is made of green cheese? Of course, the Liberals conveniently have avoided repeating the call of their illustrious former leader, the eminent Messr. Dion, who at one point actually recommended that Taliban terrorists be returned to Canada for trial. Can you imagine what a farse that would have been?

Hooray for the girls

The Old Ruminator should know better by now. Women are equal to men…just different. So I am offering an unequivocal apology for suggesting that women’s hockey is not quite up to the male variety. Not because I’m necessarily wrong…but because it is wrong to suggest such so. Only a few hours after I lamented the absence of body checking in the female game, I happened to be watching our heroic women’s team playing the Finn’s. Some poor Finn player had passed the puck and a Canadian completely crushed her. It was a check that the Old Ruminator would never have survived. No penalty was called! I put an exclamation point there, because it would appear that body contact…very serious body contact of the team sports variety…(or Lord. the double entendre is killing me) is clearly NOT absent from the womens’ game. Meanwhile, a Ms. McIvor from Vancouver, hauled in a gold medal today in the women’s ski-cross race…not a sport for the faint of heart. Canadian women, once again, are carrying national pride on their backs. The men, meanwhile, apparently blinded to practically all winter sports except hockey and hiding beer in snow banks must beat the Russians in a quarter final hockey contest tomorrow to be able to show their faces in public.

Olympic tim-bits – The Chinese women’s curling team lives eight months of the year near Leduc, Alberta, in the heart of Canadian curling country and they have a Canadian coach.

Looks like the leading Japanese women’s skating champion has North American coaches.

Owning the Goat’s Horns

Well. I squirmed in my commuter car four years ago when the wizards behind Canada’s Olympic sport efforts announced Canada intended to “Own the Podium” in these Olympics. I had trouble understanding what that meant at the time. Then, it struck me. They are actually saying, they are going to be at the podium receiving medals so often that they practically own the podium?
I thought it was loud-mouthed, presumptuous and in very poor taste at the time. Very un-Canadian. I mean, who wants a loud-mouthed braggard as a team-mate. “The humble shall be exalted” says the bible and I suspect we are getting just deserts now.  I DO NOT blame our athletes for this. This is some crazy creation of the tagalongs who make it their living to live off the efforts of our athletes.
The Americans, God bless them (for they seem to avidly cheer on the Canadians) are cleaning up on the medals. The Americans really do have a competitive spirit deep in their hearts and don’t seem to be stressed at all by the “occasion”. In fact, the Olympics seems to always bring out their best performances. When the going gets tough the tough get going. I am really bugged by the fact the Americans seem to be right there whenever we win a medal and we are no where in sight most of the times they win a medal. 
Of course, I have every expectation that we will crush the Americans in hockey…one of the few really manly sports around. (Excuse me girls, but women’s hockey looks like a bunch of kids playing). I know…I know…their hearts are in it…they are working soo hard, etc. but I’m an old guy who loves the game and the women are playing different game (e.g. no checking allowed) I’m sorry, but that makes it an entirely different sport…kind of like basketball on ice. You have no idea what effect body checking has on the overall ability of a human to perform at top capacity until you’ve played the game with body checking.  I mean, for my American friends out there who have never skated…it’s like flag football..verses regular, full-contact football.  See what I mean?

How many sports really do require strength, endurance, stamina, courage, and sheer mental toughness forged on the field of physical battle? I give those downhillers and lugers credit..but they really are competing against the mountain….a different kind of phychology. The Old Ruminator, has actually taken part and competed in many of these sports, so this is not all hot air.
I want to say however, that Canada seems to “Own the Coach’s lounge” I was watching the Norwegians compete against the Canadian curlers and they called on their Canadian coach for advice. Same for the Swiss Hockey team…a coach from Manitoba…same with figure skaters from Japan and Korea and of course Canada invented short track speed skating and they are coaching the world…especially the Koreans… to success in that sport.
I can’t fault all these Canadians making a career in other countries…but don’t you wish they would just stay home and help our kids?

Olympics-So far so Good…But

The opening ceremonies were marvelous. And I’ve got to say the aboriginal component was splendid…if not the best part of all. The native peoples danced their hearts out. The only semi-religious reference I saw, was in the rather disheartening tribute to the very significant celtic influence on our nation’s culture. There actually was a symbolic celtic cross in one portion of the ceremony…although I’m certain it would have been expunged if the producers had any clue of the symbolism behind many popular celtic symbols of the day.

The Old Ruminator and Mrs Ruminator accompanied two other baby boomer couples on a tour of Vancouver on the first day of the Olympics. We met former PM Jean Chretien in the lobby of the new Fairmont hotel on our way to the Olympic flame. There was no way I was going to have my picture taken with that clown, but a couple of our Liberal friends….both born in the nether regions of the world…posed for a wonderful photo with the old Liberal hack.
It was then onto the flame, which to our horror was hidden from the public by a giant chain link fence adorned in sporty Olympic motifs. Thousands of people were being turned away without an opportunity to go anywhere near the flame, which is situated on a well-known little waterfront park which fronts the Vancouver harbour. We were told it was because of “security”. Earlier that morning, vandals and hooligans posing as demonstrators smashed the wonderful display windows of the Hudson Bay store about six blocks away. What a God-awful shame!. That we have become captive to hooliganism in a democratic society. I suspect if the flame were in China, it would not be behind chain link fences because there would be no fear that a bunch of fools would try to destroy it in any way.
I fully expect the courts will slap the wrists of the hooligans who smashed the Hudson Bay store windows thereby placing one more brick into the wall of our gradual decline.
But, our overall day in Vancouver was beyond belief. Truly, it is the most clean, beautiful, modern city on earth. Oh sure, it has problems…but nothing compared to the majesty of its unbelievable geography. The whole city is alive with excitement and joy and beauty. You can stroll for days on the kilometers of seawall walkway  that now completely surround the entire city.

Lets keep religion out of the Olympics

It’s heartening to hear that Canada’s native people will play a lead role in the Vancouver Olympics. I’m looking forward to the opening ceremonies, but am concerned that some fool may have authorized the unpardonable. I’m talking about the propensity of our society to frown on any religious symbolism in any of our public ceremonies except for those primitive, and primal beliefs of some of Canada’s aboriginal peoples. I don’t want to see any kind of sweet grass smoking ceremonies or references to the “Great Whale God”. No thanks…not in a ceremony paid for with my tax dollars.
But I honestly hope I am proven wrong and that the opening ceremonies truly celebrate the wonderful contributions of our native people to the Canadian mosaic without reference to primitive religious nonsense.