Waterloo Construction Safety Violations

Michael writes about Louisette Lanteigne’s watchdog site, where she is posting photos of purported safety violations at a local construction site. She has come under some legal pressure from the builder, Activa Holdings Inc, to take down the site. There’s no indication whether Activa is going to investigate the alleged safety problems. They have threatened further legal action, though.

Update (2005-11-14): Activa has filed suit. Read more about it here.

What’s Wrong With Me?

Mandy thought I might be suffering from Hyperlexia. I show all the signs:

  • Learn expressive language in a peculiar way, echo or memorize the sentence structure without understanding the meaning (echolalia), reverse pronouns
  • Rarely initiates conversations
  • An intense need to keep routines, difficulty with transitions, ritualistic behavior
  • Auditory, olfactory and/or tactile sensitivity
  • Self-stimulatory behavior
  • specific, unusual fears
  • Normal development until 18-24 months, then regression
  • strong auditory and visual memory
  • Difficulty answering “Wh–” questions, such as “what,” “where,” “who,” and “why”
  • Think in concrete and literal terms, difficulty with abstract concepts
  • Listen selectively, appear to be deaf

But it turns out I’m just an anti-social jerk. Thanks, Mind Hacks.

Who is John Galt?

Apparently Frank Schmidt and Matthias Heiden are. Their company, EnOcean, develops radio switches and sensors that require no batteries. They harvest energy from the environment.

The smallest changes in temperature, vibration, pressure, light or motion all produce energy that can be harvested and used to send a signal.

The principle of energy harvesting is not new (self winding watches have a history dating back hundreds of years), even the concept of using energy from the immediate environment to power wireless sensors has been done before (using outdoor solar panels on a sunny day). EnOcean’s radical breakthrough is to reduce the energy required to send a signal to an incredibly small amount. This change in energy requirements means that EnOcean sensors operate where other technologies cannot. A simple example is when our sensors are solar powered they can operate indoors, in a low light environment.

EnOcean just raised $13 million.

Nutty Political Idea

The problem: My vote in a national election is practically worthless. Whoever is elected the MP for my region will be expected to vote with his party, whose agenda is driven mainly (entirely?) by corporations and special interest groups who can afford to pay full-time lobbyist to schmooze with party leaders. At best, my vote chooses which lobbyist will hold sway. Nobody in government is listening to me.

One nutty solution: A new political party; one without a platform. Instead it has a process, a process that ensures that the will of the people it represents is heard and the influence of big money is eliminated. Think of it as a government within a government.

In this new party, any MPs from the party would be bound not by party leadership, but by the will of their constituents. How? Individual constituents would be able to vote on every bill presented to parliament in an online referendum. Party MPs would vote according to the results of the referendums in their region.

Bills could be proposed by anybody anywhere in the country. Like bills in parliament, individuals would vote on proposals in online referendums. The ones that passed the referendum would be presented by a party MP to parliament.

How’s that for nutty?

[Note to self] This post is destined for Crank o’ the Day for sure.