# BONGATHON

I’m sorry, this is pretty serious, but I can’t get over the phrase “Big Ben’s bong.” That sounds like a weird British hipster band or the name of a weed shop and I’m not sure which one would be more appropriate.

Also, his proper name is Large Benjamin, get it right.

(Sorry, not a lot going on right now.)

# Goodbye, My Sweet, Sweet Kilogram

So today is a historic day. Why? The kilogram has been officially re-defined to be based on a fundamental constant of nature rather than a physical object.

Since 1889, our bro the kilogram had been defined by “Le Grand K,” a small platinum alloy object that was kept as isolated as possible (to try to avoid any increase/decrease in its mass) and was THE definition of the kilogram. Whatever Le Grand K weighed, it equaled a kilogram.

And up until today, the kilogram was the last of the SI base units to be defined by a physical object rather than a fundamental constant. But that all changed today when the International System of Units officially changed the definition of the kilogram to be in terms of the Planck constant.

Y’all might be like who gives a poop, but this is seriously cool and historic news. We redefined a basic unit of measurement today. How often does that happen? The last time we did it was in 1960 with the meter. Now the kilogram is actually constant and is not in flux with the minute changes that take place with a physical object.

NNNNNF THAT’S JUST FREAKING COOL I LOVE THIS KIND OF STUFF

It’s also kinda sad. The uniqueness of the kilogram always made me happy and made it my favorite of the base SI units. It still is my favorite, though, ‘cause of its history.

Anyway.

(Yes, I’m fangirling over an SI unit, what’re you gonna do about it?)

# HEAVY NEWS

It’s official! The definition of the kilogram (and a few other units) is being changed next May. Specifically, our buddy the kilogram will now be defined using the Planck constant as opposed to Le Grand K, the physical object that has been the kilogram since forever.

Very cool. Kinda sad, though. The kilogram will still be my favorite SI base unit, even though some of its uniqueness is being stripped away for more precision. Not that that’s a bad thing, but still…

# Autotune the News: 2009 Edition

I posted this video way back in 2009 when I first saw it, but for some reason that damn “HELL NO, HELL NO, HELL NOOOOOOOO!” was stuck in my head today so now we all get to relive 2009 news.

I forgot how catchy this damn thing was. Lawl, remember when Palin was the most insane republican in the spotlight?

# My heart, she pounds

More kilogram news, people! It looks like our favorite non-conforming SI base unit is finally going to join the popular crowd and get defined by a physical constant rather than a physical object. It sounds like discussions are going to take place this year and a formal vote will take place next year.

Do you know how cool that is? We could possibly see a re-definition of the kilogram. A more precise definition.

That is seriously huge.

# Hypocrites

I was watching the CTV news while I was running on the treadmill this afternoon. They had some “scientist” from Trump’s team talking about the great myth that is climate change. And he was contradicting the hell out of himself. For example:

“Climate change is a myth that has been blown way out of proportion by the liberals. Climate change isn’t happening.”

Then, in the next sentence, “It’s important that the US not limit its coal and oil production, as the extra monetary protection will be beneficial once the climate changes.”

Like, seriously. That’s almost word-for-word.

We’re screwed.

Yay, it’s election day here! Elections at the federal level are a bit different than they are in the States (for one, elections can be called at any time, not just every x years like we do down there; for another, they don’t spend 50 years campaigning before the votes), but there are still a few similarities. Right now Canada has a Conservative Prime Minister, Harper, but as of my writing this it’s projected that the Liberals will win.

Edit: Yup, Liberals won! Justin Trudeau, son of Pierre Trudeau (a former Prime Minister), is going to take the position.

Have a picture of the voting results (Canada uses blue for Conservative and red for Liberal, which is kind of opposite the US party colors…though Canada has more parties (at least more visible/impactful/electable parties) than the US does). And “NDP” stands for “National Democratic Party.”

# Sigh of Sighs.

Dear United States:

Are you seriously risking pissing off North Korea because of one dumb little movie? Really? The movie theatre threats are probably something that’s best treated with caution whether they’re real or not, so it makes sense to pull the showings of The Interview, but is it really a threat to your freedom to do so? I mean, really? It’s a movie. It’s a political satire, and probably a bad one at that (if not, then at least one in bad taste). At least Team America was poking fun at US attitudes more than anything else, but The Interview really just sounds like its goal is to make fun of Kim Jong-un. Not the smartest thing to do.

You’re a big boy now, United States. Calm down, think before you act, and play nice with North Korea. Maybe just sit by yourself and read a book or something. Or go play hopscotch with Canada.

Edit: DID THE U.S. JUST GET IN A FLAME WAR WITH NORTH KOREA? Good lord.

# Gwoba-Wubba?

So today was sufficiently awful.

But you know what made it better? The news that we LANDED ON A FREAKING COMET.

Isn’t that the most ridiculously cool thing? I, for one, didn’t even know we had plans to land on a comet, let alone that Rosetta was launched way back in 2004. I was in high school then!

It’s just so sci-fi, isn’t it? I guess now we have our backup plan ready for when global warming gets out of control even more so than it is. Comet ice mining will solve the problem ONCE AND FOR ALL!

# News from the Antarctic!

In January of 2013, a photographer’s notebook was found at one of Robert Falcon Scott’s base camps in Antarctica.

(Scott, for those of you unaware, was a British explorer who raced for the South Pole in 1912 against Norwegian Roald Amundsen, but died on his return from the Pole after discovering Amundsen had reached it days earlier).

The notebook is a photographer’s notebook and belonged to George Murray Levick, a surgeon and photographer who had been part of Scott’s last expedition. In it are notes about photos Levick had taken at Cape Adare, which is on an itty bitty little projection of land off of Victoria Land (near the Ross Ice Shelf).

Those in charge of the Antarctic Heritage Trust say that they can match up Levick’s notes with many of the pictures that they’ve already got preserved.

How cool is that?

(I still want to go down there.)

# Happenings

So I didn’t hear about what was going on in Ottawa today until a fellow student came in my office and said that there was a gunman in Parliament and they didn’t know who was alive and who was dead, including the Prime Minister.

So I go to cnn.com and sure enough

I don’t know how much of this reached those of you in the States, but the gunman was killed inside Parliament and no government officials were harmed. A soldier standing on guard at the war memorial was shot (multiple times?) and has died of his injuries. Now the government/police officials are telling soldiers across the country to not wear their uniforms for the time being, as it is unknown if the gunman acted alone and it is suspected that all soldiers are targets for similar attacks. I’ve heard a few people say that they even shut down all the airports for a bit (not sure if that’s true, though).

Pretty scary, man. You don’t expect this type of thing in Canada. When Zack came to my office to tell me about this, I actually had to clarify if he was talking about the Canadian capital or Washington, D.C. (he didn’t say “Parliament”, just “the Capital”). It sounds like the whole country is really shocked.

Edit: read about Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, the soldier who was killed at the war memorial.

# ?!

Woah, what the hell is this?!

Seriously? AWESOME! I honestly never thought this would happen until it became federal law.

Edit 1: one of the comments on the article:

Edit 2: Butch, you turd, just let marriage equality happen already!

# Please take MS Paint away from me

Waitaminutewaitaminutewaitaminute.

So a tropical storm is currently crawling (swimming?) weakly towards Hawaii.
What was the name of this tropical storm? Flossie.

I have never heard that name in my life.

*researches*

Okay, apparently it’s a diminutive of Florence, which is “derived from florens; ‘prosperous, flourishing.'”
Yeah, okay, “Florence” I’ve obviously heard. But when I see “Tropical Storm Flossie” I think this:

DENTAL DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

Up next: Hurricane Listerine!

# Jajaja

Oh, politics. Politics, politics, politics.

“My dog is on the roof! My dog is on the roof!”
I freaking lost it.

# Cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs? More like Loonie for…uh…um…just read the blog.

WHAT.

Apparently when Iceland’s economy bit it in 2008, their krona lost about 60% of its value. It has yet to recover, causing the country to fall in favor as far as foreign investors go.

To solve this, Iceland is looking outside its borders for solutions; namely, replacing the broken krona with a more stable foreign currency. The currency of choice? Canada’s!

First of all, there are way too many currency-related puns that can come out of this.

I mean, I’ll be Franc…is Iceland’s Yen for Canadian currency Loonie, or do they just have a Nakfa creating close relationships with other northern countries? Even if that’s the case, adopting another country’s currency could present a Rial problem. But assuming that Iceland goes into this with all their heart and Sol, perhaps there won’t be any major issues.

Second of all…another country with a Loonie? But Loonies are so…Canadian! What’s next, geyser-adjacent Tim Hortons? Shark-infused poutine? Rapid acquisition of excess “eh”’s in Icelandic speech?

Interesting stuff. We’ll have to stay updated to see if Canada allows its Loonie to migrate to Iceland.

(HA, get it?)

So it turns out Canada’s smarter than us and is going to start phasing out their penny. According to Time, the Canadian government released its 2012 budget without any money allotted for penny creation. Which is a smart thing to do, seeing as how a single Canadian penny costs 1.6 cents to produce (a US penny costs even more—2.4 cents).

Canada is slated to stop producing pennies this month, and while products will still be charged to the cent when debit or credit cards are used, the government is suggesting that retailers round their prices to the nearest nickel (which could have interesting consequences…imagine the guides that’ll pop up telling people what things are cheaper to buy using debit/credit and which are cheaper using cash).

Anyway, I thought this was pretty interesting news. It makes me think about Canada’s switch from paper \$1 and \$2 to coin versions. Are the coins cheaper to produce than the bills? Also, were the bills called loonies and toonies, or is that just the coins? I don’t remember if the bills had loons on them. SO MANY QUESTIONS, CANADA, JEEZ.

# Politickin’

Well here’s something I’d never thought I’d say: I have respect for a Republican politician.

Today I had nothing going on but TA-ing Logic for an hour in the afternoon, so I spent the morning and afternoon watching CNN. I happened to catch New Jersey governor Chris Christie’s speech announcing that he wasn’t going to make a run for the President of the U.S.

I don’t know much background about Governor Christie, but I have to say that I was impressed by his speech and his overall presence at the news conference. He’s a very eloquent speaker and, though he disagrees with Obama and gives him a few jabs, I don’t think he ever went out of line when criticizing the President. I also think he handled the barrage of “are you SURE you’re not running?” questions the reporters kept throwing at him very well. He didn’t get too frustrated and actually had some fun with a few of the reporters.

Anyway. This was the first time I’d actually been impressed by a politician in awhile, though that is probably in no small part due to the fact that I don’t follow politics in general. Governor Christie’s poise and lack of scumballness impressed me.

Haha, okay, that’s all.

30-Day Meme – Day 4: Your favorite book.
As much love as I have for Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby and, more recently, Nobokov’s freakishly enchanting and incredibly well-written Lolita, my favorite book still has to be Herman Wouk’s The Caine Mutiny. For a Pulitzer Prize-winning book, I’m shocked at how few people have even heard of it. The Caine Mutiny tells of a fictitious mutiny on the USS Caine, a minesweeper/destroyer deployed during WWII. Wouk paints the drama of the mutiny with a palette of quirky characters whose interactions with each other seem simultaneously forced (after all, the crew of the Caine is dealing with a mentally unstable captain) and completely natural. The mutiny itself, the way it’s written, will make you speed read through it as you’re carried along by the drama. The fact that Wouk has several lines of “wooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!” and “whooooooooooooooooosssssssssssshhhh!” to simulate the storm the Caine gets caught in makes the book that much  more enjoyable. Haha, it’s hard to explain exactly why this book rocks my socks, but it does.

Um…

# Wow

So I heard about the crazy homicide/suicide in Moscow. I didn’t know the young lady, but Dr. Bustamante was my professor for Psych 218 back in fall of 2007. It totally surprised me when I read about it, he didn’t strike me as someone who would do anything like that ever.

Strange, strange world.

# Florida, you disappoint me

So I was watching CNN (or something) this afternoon and some commercial came on. It started with a pan of some Florida beach with the announcer saying something to the effect of, “I know everyone is concerned about the extent of damage caused by the BP oil spill,” in this serious tone, making it sound as if it’s going to be a “Florida understands the environmental damage occurring and is doing its part to try and help” kind of ad.

Instead, the voice suddenly changes into a happy “but don’t worry, there are still over 200 unaffected Florida beaches, so you can rest assured that your summer beach excursions will not be interrupted. Come to Florida!” Cue pictures of happy people frolicking on Florida beach.
Okay. I understand the needs of the Florida tourism industry to continue to promote their beaches and make it known that the oil spill that is affecting so many things down there is not affecting them—they ARE just making a living, after all—but really? Could they have found a tackier way of saying it? “The oil spill is killing a whole bunch of jobs and animals, but screw that, we’ve got beach volleyball!”

Nice.

Today’s song: Supah Dupah by Sound of Stereo

# Yay Obama!

WOO!
Finally, a democrat is back in the White House.
Let’s see what you can do, Obama. I wish you luck.

# This just in: water in water pipes = problem

“Plumbing store’s inventory destroyed by flooding.”

Okay, seriously, does anyone else find that really funny? Wouldn’t you think that out of all the possible inventories that could be destroyed by flooding, the stuff from a freaking plumbing store would survive the damage? “Ugh, these pipes got water in them…we’re screwed! And these bathtubs? Now that they’ve held water there’s no way we can sell them. And oh man, our sponge department got ruined!”

I feel sorry for the owner, and I know that plumbing supplies and whatnot can get ruined if water gets on the OUTSIDE, but I still laughed for like 15 minutes when I saw this on the news.

And now I can’t do anything even remotely productive for the rest of the night, ‘cause that is just too funny to me.
Analysis of my music library to come later, promise.

# Mr. Gorbachev, first put your pants back on, then we’ll talk about the wall, okay?

Yeah. So by now, you’ve probably heard about the shootings that happened here. It’s pretty late at night when I’m typing this up, and from what I’ve heard (or not heard, I guess) everyone I know in Moscow’s okay, so if you’re not from here and are wondering, there ya go.

I feel the mood must be lightened.