Layman's Lens

Life is beautiful.

Archive for March 2009

Earth Hour

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They should really think about switching over to LEDs...

The lights at Honest Ed’s were off during Earth Hour on Sunday.

 really want to get one of the new LED bulbs to judge them for myself...

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 31, 2009 at 2:08 pm

Posted in Earth Hour

Hart House Singers

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I love my wide angle lens...

Hart House is one of my favorite things about U of T. This is the Great Hall where Tonya’s choir (Hart House Singers) performed on Sunday. Searching for Bobby Fisher was filmed here.

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 30, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Posted in Choir, Hart House, Singing

Go big or go home

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It would make the remote much harder to lose...

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 27, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Posted in Oversized, Remote


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Some wine from the train station LCBO. It’s huge in there. The highlight was the tasting bar.

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 26, 2009 at 3:06 pm

Posted in wine


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Wow. Summerhill used to be considered the north part of the city.

North Toronto or Summerhill CPR Station. Now it’s an LCBO.

What a great building.


Written by Tilak Dutta

March 25, 2009 at 1:57 pm

Posted in LCBO, Train station

Prime Minster of Ontario

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Almost posted to failblog...

Colin spotted this plaque a while ago. We thought someone had made a typo. Turns out it’s acceptable to call the leader of the province the Prime Minister.

From Wikipedia: “The title of Prime Minister of Ontario, while permissible in English and correct in French (le Premier ministre), is generally avoided in favour of “Premier” to avoid confusion with the Prime Minister of Canada.”

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 24, 2009 at 2:15 pm

Posted in Plaque, Prime Minister

Pillow Fight

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Yonge and Dundas square on March 21 just after 3pm – a whistle blow marks the start of the pillow fight.

There were almost as many photographers as pillow-fighters. I admit to being part of the problem and not the solution.

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Happy Norooz

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CWhat's your Norooz resolution?

Norooz is the Persian cultural new year celebration which coincides with the first day of spring. For me, the first day of spring marks the return of nice biking weather. Time to swap out the the studded tires. They served me well this winter.

I've never felt so stable on ice as with these tires.

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 20, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Posted in bike, Norooz, spring

Corn Dolly

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I would have thought a corn dolly would look more like a doll...

This is a corn dolly from St. Jacobs.

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 19, 2009 at 4:00 pm

Posted in Corn Dolly


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It's almost shorts weather...

I’m so happy that we’re getting some great photo weather lately.

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 18, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Posted in AGO

Nice day for a protest…

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We need more researchers in government...

Tamil Tigers held a protest to raise awareness of what is going on in Sri Lanka.

In other news: Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear was interviewed in today’s Globe.

I found the interview troubling. Mr. Goodyear suggests that scientists “already know everything”. Presumably, he is referring to the theory of evolution vs. creationism. I think Mr. Goodyear’s comments demonstrate a misunderstanding of what science is.

As I understand it, the role of science is to continue to ask questions and gather evidence in an attempt to disprove a theory. A theory gains acceptance if it manages to not be disproved through continued investigation – though it can still be disproven in the future.

I also have a problem with Dr. Alters’ assertion that evolution is “scientific fact”. I think this confuses the issue for the public further. The theory of evolution may have managed to avoid being disproven for many years, however, this does not mean that it will never be disproven. It just means that it has stood the test of time, so it is our best guess as explaining how life on the planet came to be. Evolution may be overtaken by a new theory at some point just like Einstein’s relativity disproved Newton’s laws of motion near the speed of light.


Scientists need to take to the streets…

Minister won’t confirm belief in evolution
Researchers aghast that key figure in funding controversy invokes religion in science discussion
March 17, 2009 at 2:00 AM EDT

Canada’s science minister, the man at the centre of the controversy over federal funding cuts to researchers, won’t say if he believes in evolution.

“I’m not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate,” Gary Goodyear, the federal Minister of State for Science and Technology, said in an interview with The Globe and Mail.

A funding crunch, exacerbated by cuts in the January budget, has left many senior researchers across the county scrambling to find the money to continue their experiments.

Some have expressed concern that Mr. Goodyear, a chiropractor from Cambridge, Ont., is suspicious of science, perhaps because he is a creationist.

When asked about those rumours, Mr. Goodyear said such conversations are not worth having.

“Obviously, I have a background that supports the fact I have read the science on muscle physiology and neural chemistry,” said the minister, who took chemistry and physics courses as an undergraduate at the University of Waterloo.

“I do believe that just because you can’t see it under a microscope doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. It could mean we don’t have a powerful enough microscope yet. So I’m not fussy on this business that we already know everything. … I think we need to recognize that we don’t know.”

Asked to clarify if he was talking about the role of a creator, Mr. Goodyear said that the interview was getting off topic.

Brian Alters, founder and director of the Evolution Education Research Centre at McGill University in Montreal, was shocked by the minister’s comments.

Evolution is a scientific fact, Dr. Alters said, and the foundation of modern biology, genetics and paleontology. It is taught at universities and accepted by many of the world’s major religions, he said.

“It is the same as asking the gentleman, ‘Do you believe the world is flat?’ and he doesn’t answer on religious grounds,” said Dr. Alters. “Or gravity, or plate tectonics, or that the Earth goes around the sun.”

Jim Turk, executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers, said he was flabbergasted that the minister would invoke his religion when asked about evolution.

“The traditions of science and the reliance on testable and provable knowledge has served us well for several hundred years and have been the basis for most of our advancement. It is inconceivable that a government would have a minister of science that rejects the basis of scientific discovery and traditions,” he said.

Mr. Goodyear’s evasive answers on evolution are unlikely to reassure the scientists who are skeptical about him, and they bolster the notion that there is a divide between the minister and the research community.

Many scientists fear 10 years of gains will be wiped out by a government that doesn’t understand the importance of basic, curiosity-driven research, which history shows leads to the big discoveries. They worry Canada’s best will decamp for the United States, where President Barack Obama has put $10-billion (U.S) into medical research as part of his plan to stimulate economic growth.

But in the interview, Mr. Goodyear defended his government’s approach and the January budget, and said it stacks up well when compared to what Mr. Obama is doing.

He also talked about how passionate he is about science and technology – including basic research – and how his life before politics shaped his views.

Now 51, Mr. Goodyear grew up in Cambridge. His parents divorced when he was young. His father was a labourer, his mother a seamstress who worked three jobs to the support her three children.

His first summer job was laying asphalt when he was 12. At 13, he got a part-time job at a garage, pumping gas. At 17, the young entrepreneur started his own company selling asphalt and sealants.

He was in the technical stream at high school, taking welding and automotive mechanics. No one in has family had ever gone to university, but he secretly started taking academic credits at night school so he could get admitted to the University of Waterloo. He didn’t want his family to know.

He took chemistry, physics, statistics and kinesiology, and was fascinated by the mechanics of human joints. After three years of university, he was admitted to the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, where he was class president and valedictorian.

He had his own practice in Cambridge, where he settled down with his wife Valerie. He worked as chiropractor for two decades, and set up private clinics to treat people who had been injured in car accidents, sometimes using devices that he invented to help them rebuild their strength and range of motion.

He had sold that business when, before the 2004 federal election, a friend approached him about running for the Conservative nomination in Cambridge. His two children were then in their late teens, so he agreed. He took the nomination and won the seat. He was re-elected in 2006, and again in 2008, when Prime Minister Stephen Harper named him science minister.

“Now I have got a portfolio that I am absolutely passionate about and frankly connected to,” he said, adding that his days of experimenting with engines in high school automotive class gave him an appreciation for what it feels like to come up with something new.

“When I was in high school, we were already tweaking with a coil that would wrap around the upper [radiator] hose and it got an extra five miles to the gallon. … So I’ve been there on this discovery stuff.”

Commercializing research – the focus of the government’s science and technology policy – is an area where Canada needs to make improvements, he says.

“If we are going to be serious about saving lives and improving life around this planet, if we are serious about helping the environment, then we are going to have to get some of these technologies out of the labs onto the factory floors. Made. Produced. Sold. And that is going to fulfill that talk. So yes, we have to do all of it, we have to do discovery … but it can’t end there.”

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 17, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Protest, Science

Half and Half

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Sorry...the focus is a little bad on this...

This is one of the drinks that Pogue Mahone’s was featuring leading up to St. Patrick’s day. It’s Guinness floated on Harp Lager. It’s tasty and it has some great colours. Their special yesterday was Liver and Onions. I had some. I have since concluded liver is an acquired taste…

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 13, 2009 at 3:30 pm

Posted in Guinness

Anesthesiologist Car

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I Sed8u

My best guess is that the owner is an anesthesiologist. (Photo by T. Martin).

This video is amazing. Cirque de Soleil should hire these guys. Thanks for sending this to me Kaveh.

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 12, 2009 at 2:57 pm

Posted in License plate

44 Jackes

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The cab driver who drove us there yesterday pronounced it Jakes...I'm going with that...

We signed the lease last night. How exciting. The only problem is I don’t know how to pronounce our new address. Is it pronounced ‘Jaques’,’Jacks’ or Jakes?

Being able to communicate your address is almost as important as ‘elimination communication‘.

I can't wait to do laundry here...

One of the nice features of this building is the huge laundry room. We’re told this room was once a pool. I think she was pulling our leg…but it does look like it could have been a pool.

And there’ll be no more scrounging for loonies! WooHOO! The machines work on a card.

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm

Posted in 44 Jackes, Apartment

4 Tra 4 Carny

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Both these cars would be horrible on gas...

We spotted a whole bunch of vanity plates this past weekend. These two made me wonder if Tra and Carny bought each other his and her trucks.

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 10, 2009 at 4:01 pm

Posted in Vanity Plates


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This guitar had a built in tuner. All guitars should have built in tuners...

Tonya and I went to Elite Music to look at guitars. This is Tonya test driving one.

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 9, 2009 at 4:03 pm

Posted in guitar


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I still need to see pineapple express...

There are two kinds of people: Those who like pineapple on pizza and those who do not. I do.

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 5, 2009 at 7:09 pm

Posted in Pineapple

Art Matters

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Marci Ien (from Canada AM) was the MC at the Governor General’s Art Matters event in the City Hall rotunda on Monday March 2nd.

Mr. Lafond spoke in a mix of French and English without translating back and forth. I liked how it made me focus on understanding the French parts. I've always thought it was too slow saying everything in trench again in English.

After Mayor Miller and the Governor General spoke, Mr. Lafond (The Governor General’s husband) took the stage to say a few words. Mr. Lafond spoke in a mix of French and English without translating back and forth. I liked how it made me focus on understanding the French parts.

The slag pouring scene in men with brooms was awesome.

Present at the event were the winners of the 2009 Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. They are sitting in the front row with Mayor Miller and Michaëlle Jean. One of the winners was Paul Gross. Due South was an awesome show. I loved the sexual tension between Paul Gross and Camilla Scott’s characters. Also, the curling movie (men with brooms) he was in was worth watching as it was shot in Sudbury.

What was her name...argghhhh...

The idea was the evening was supposed to be a dialogue about the importance of music in society. One of the questions came from a past Much Music VJ who’s name I’ve forgotten. I think she’s with the CBC.

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 4, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Square Root Day

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I'd like some beets please...

Happy square root day! Apparently the thing to do is to cut up root vegetables into squares.

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 3, 2009 at 4:27 pm

Posted in Square Root Day

Time to Vote

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I wonder if any of these displays were vandalized...

The lines are now open for voting. Vote for Woolwich!

I could think of some compromising positions for above hockey player be caught in...

Written by Tilak Dutta

March 1, 2009 at 4:00 am

Posted in Hockeyville