Long Term effects of Storms and Bad Forest Practices

Long time no blog again, mainly due to work, and, oddly, The Weather!. The last few weeks have been wild out here on the West Coast.

We’ve had winds reaching 175kph, Category 2 Hurricane Force.

We’ve also had torrentional rain, and a good dump of snow. All of which has made the ground fragile and tree roots vulnerable.

This brings me to this image:

originally posted on this railfan forum:

This is on the Port Alberni sub rail line of the Esquimalt & Nanaimo (E&N) Railway. Around mile 30.5

This rail line is currently not used. The last freight traffic ran through over 5 years ago. Fortunately there are plans to bring a tourist train back to the rails starting next year with hopes that it will spur interest and eventually lead to the full reactivation of rail service for both freight and commuter traffic.

No doubt, this damage will throw a wrench in those plans. Much cleanup will be done, and by the looks of it, a new culvert, tracks, and possibly a bridge will have to be installed to bring this section back to life. And that doesn’t even account for the rest of the line which is basically in an unknown state after the storms.

The storms were of course the main culprit for this damage. But how much of a role did poor forest practices by owners of the Private TimberLands surrounding the tracks (likely owned by TimberWest or Island Timberlands). Certainly the washout looks suspect. And were the rails still owned by a private company (formerly RailAmerica) no doubt, a lawsuit against the other private interet would be possible.

Instead, the railline is in the hands of the Island Corridor Foundation. A group flush with promise and good intentions, but certainly not cash for a legal battler.

That said, the list of people, groups, and organizations with a bone to pick with Private forest practices is growing.

How long before a class-action lawsuit becomes possible?

Perhaps only as long as the next Pineapple Express or El Nino inspired sudo-Typhoon. (edit: Pineapple Express is On the Way for New Years)

There are also Videos of the destruction on YouTube:
and Here

A Bit of good news… for those who grew up or have lived in Nanaimo recently. Remember the Caboose at the McDonalds in Nanaimo? It was used for parties and things?

Well… here it is… back on rails! The Alberni Pacific Railway and Island Corridor Foundation have picked it up and it looks like it will be reborn:
Here it is at the APR Station

Tech: Apple MacWorld features Intel MacBook

In my other job… I’m a committed and positively grizzled Mac fan from way back. So today, when Apple CEO Steve Jobs stepped on stage at the MacWorld Expo in San Fransisco, I was glued to my computer laptop (even more than normal).

For the Mac user community, MacWorlds garner the sort of anticipation usually reserved for, I dunno… the SuperBowl… or a Daisy Duke a.k.a Jessica Simpson closeup.

It’s big stuff… and it gets people reeeeeally excited.

Steve Jobs didn’t disappoint this year. You can read an excellent, and humorous (though the hyper-geek humour may be lost on most) rundown of the days annoucements at Arstechnica.

The biggest annoucement, however, was the inclusion of Intel Processors in Apple computers. You likely know Intel’s name… they make the brains of the majority of the computers you see. Except of course Apple. That ended today. And in true Apple and Steve Jobs fashion, the Intel Era was born at Apple (3 minute BBC Video video feed.. it’s worth it).

The BBC is also carrying a longer feed (6 minutes click on the Sci-Tech section in the Video feed) of the presentation dealing with Apples skyrocketing sales (mostly of iPods).

All I really care about though, is the laptop, the MacBook Pro. It is so very sweet. 1 inch think. 5.6lbs. Powerful enough to drive a 30 Cinema Display without breaking a sweat… and, oh ya, it might just dual-boot Windows too.

This is going to be a very good year for Apple Computer. And it’s customers.

If you’d like to donate to the “Get Chris a really sweet Apple laptop” fund… feel free to leave your pledge in the comments. I’ll tally them up and hunt yo–e rrr I mean contact you shortly.

The Music sucks in Iraq

Like a party with a bad DJ.. the people are starting to tire of the same old tune.

Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and President Bush would have you believe that it is Peoples fault that the US will withdraw in failure from Iraq. They say that this attitude is only making things worse. That its’ a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But yet, who’s directing the show? Who’s playing the tunes.

When I show up with a whole bunch of friends to a party that’s supposed to be freakin’ awesome… and at first it is, the booze is good… the food too, and I’m with all my friends, so that’s got to be good too. But then the DJ keeps playing this really crappy music, over and over. Soon enough my friends and I grow tired… it’s not fun anymore, I tell my friend this, he agrees… he tells his friend, who is a little more drunk… but not so drunk to realize that yes, the Music really does suck.

So we go ask the DJ, is there any better music coming?

The DJ says: “What are you talking about! I spin the best disks this side of Peoria!”

So you say “Well, actually it was pretty good at the start, but since then it’s really gotten bad”

The DJ says: “Well, what do you mean, it’s been the same the whole way through! We’re really rocking here! Just sit back, enjoy, I guarantee you’ll get into it.

You: “Well, no actually, we’re really not enjoying ourselves, in fact, I think we’re just going to leave, and most of my friends are too cuz they think the same as I do.”

“The DJ: “Well if you do that, my club will go out of business. It’s not my fault you guys don’t like the music… the music is great! People just need to realise that this is the greatest music this side of Peoria!”

You: “Sorry, we’re outta here”

Here’s a verse from “BYOB” by System of a Down.

Marching forward hypocritic
And hypnotic computers
You depend on our protection
Yet you feed us lies from the tablecloth
La la la la la la la la la la
Everybody is going to the party
Have a real good time
Dancing in the desert
Blowing up the sunshine
Kneeling roses
Disappearing into Moses’ dry mouth
Breaking into Fort Knox
Stealing our intentions
Hangars sitting, dripped in oil

I highly recommend checking out the preview at the iTunes Music Store.

iTunes Podcast Support

Apple just released an update to iTunes that includes support for downloading Podcasts as well as publishing your RSS feed directly to the iTunes Music Store so that anyone using iTunes will be able to use the categories and other features of the Store to find podcasts they like.

(Audio Podcasts Available)

I’m currently working on getting my feed published to the Store. Hopefully it will draw a few more people to the site.

More udpates on news soon including an update from Iran, SSM legislation, and peak oil.



Test post from Dashboard

If you see this post then I have made a post from within MacOS X 10.4 “Tiger”‘s “Dashboard”.

I will be very excited if this worked…

Update: I’m using the “WordPressDash” widget at Apple’s Dashboard Download page

Update 2

In case you’re wondering. “Dashboard” is a nifty little “pseudo desktop” in Apples MacOS X operating system. With one key press you are dropped into a place that is sort of “removed” from the regular operation of your computer. You should really go to Apples page to see a demonstration. Actions speak louder, and better, than words.

Anyway, in this “dashboard” you can have all sorts of very simply little applications (called “widgets”) running…. and since you can press just one key (F12) to make them appear and disappear, no matter what else is happening on your computer, they’re very easy to access.

So now I’m using a Widget that allows me to post entries to this blog from the Dashboard. I can start writing… press F12 to get back to my webbrowser or PDF or other source material… grab content and readings or links… press F12 to put write moer in the post.. and so on. It makes it very quick and easy for me to move back and forth rather than trying to keep track of multiple windows.

Hooray for MacOS X!