Garstor's World, My realm of 3D art, LEGO and atheism

Archive for the ‘News’ Category

R.I.P. Gord Downie (1964 – 2017)

Saturday, October 21st, 2017

On Tuesday, The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie succumbed to the terminal brain tumour that he was diagnosed with last year.

I’ve spent the rest of the week processing this and listening to The Hip constantly. Much of Canada is still mourning this collective loss. Downie’s music and poetry has a way of vibrating the Canadian nerve.

He will be missed deeply.

R.I.P. Hugh Hefner (1926–2017)

Thursday, September 28th, 2017

Farewell Mr. Hefner and thank-you for all your work.

Although I suspect that much of this news will surround Playboy and nude photography; I actually prefer to remember Hef’s work promoting and defending the First Amendment. His fighting against censorship laws and his promotion of feminism and same-sex rights have helped build the bulwark against theocracy in Western society.

Nudity aside, Playboy magazine did advance lifestyle and culture in new directions. It helped to get people thinking outside norms that were barely altered clones of past generations.

Hef will be missed. I hope that Playboy will carry on his legacy. The First Amendment must be defended constantly on many fronts.

Happy Birthday America!

Tuesday, July 4th, 2017

Happy 241st birthday America!

I sincerely hope that you are around to see number 242…

Happy Sesquicentennial Canada!

Saturday, July 1st, 2017

The Constitution Act (aka. the British North America Act) was signed 150 years ago today. It essentially formed Canada.

I am very proud to be Canadian. We are not a perfect country by any means; however we get the gist of it correct and we are always trying to move in the right direction.

There is an odd sense to it this year. I can hear the fireworks outside and the country has made a big deal of this anniversary. But the world seems to be spiraling downward. I’ve mostly kept politics from this blog and most generations feel that theirs is the worst.

But I look forward to Canada continuing to set an example for the world.

Thank-you.

Farewell, Mr. Cohen

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

What a week! A tumultuous upset in the United States’ election – which I kept out of on this blog but was rather active on Facebook. I’ve had a lingering sore throat all week and that was what got me out of bed on Friday morning at 1am.

My cousin Hana had posted the news about Leonard Cohen’s passing.

2016 has not be kind to music. This time I felt it much deeper.

The sore throat got worse and the only positive is that I could sing in closer tune to the Cohen songs that I’ve been playing on WinAmp all weekend.

So long sir. Thanks for everything you’ve given us.

I Did Not Expect This Today

Monday, June 27th, 2016

One day after the wonderful first anniversary of the Obergefell decision and SCOTUS gives us this excellent decision.

This stupid Texan law was a naked assault on the rights of women. It served absolutely no medical purpose in spite of the gibbering, spittle-flecked blubbering of Re-thug-licans to the contrary. It was nothing more than kissing the ass of the dying evangelical christian movement.

I hope this deters other states in the South that have implemented or are considering such backward, anti-women, anti-choice laws. I hope this is one more nail in the coffin of the current GOP.

The United States desperately needs reform across all its halls of power. This is a step forward.

Happy 1st Anniversary To The Obergefell Decision

Sunday, June 26th, 2016

Today marks one year since the SCOTUS Obergefell decision legalized marriage equality across the United States.

Suspiciously absent is the god-spawned smiting we were promised.

No-H8

Everybody should have the right to marry the person that they love. It is simple as that.

EDIT: I want to link to Camille Beredjick’s post at Friendly Atheist. A celebration of major victories is important; but work remains. There is much prejudice and discrimination that still must be overcome.

Weird Weather

Monday, December 28th, 2015

While I am grateful to have escaped such violent weather – my second spring in Texas was an introduction to incredible windstorms – I spent yesterday trying to find out if my friends are alright.

So far, it appears that everyone is fine. But sadly, these storms have brought sadness and grief to many families. I feel sorry for these people.

Yet one cannot and should not escape thinking, “Tornados in December?”

How can this not be due to anthropomorphic climate change? Of course, plenty of Texan politicians deny this issue because they are bought-and-paid-for whores to their donors from the fossil fuel industry. Sorry Texas, but you should gear up for more extreme weather events like this.

We did it to ourselves…

Congratulations To SpaceX!

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

WOW! What an incredible accomplishment. Congratulations to everyone at SpaceX for advancing the technologies for space travel and exploration.

My last post let Phil Plait at Bad Astronomy do all the talking. This one isn’t much different – he nails all the technical details far better than I can.

This news excites me because it brings the USA closer to getting itself back into space instead of relying on Russia. By re-using the first stage booster rocket, SpaceX has made space launches less expensive. I cannot wait to see what they do in the future and I cannot wait to see SpaceX handle crewed launches.

Just amazing stuff!

The Ahmed Mohamed Incident & Texas Stupidity

Sunday, September 20th, 2015

Texas - Days without being a national embarassmentOh boy was I pissed off when I read about what the Irving school district did to Ahmed Mohamed. I live in Irving (my property taxes go to the Coppell school district though) and even though I have a general distaste for Texas, this felt like it hit close to home in more than a geographic sense.

I have no doubt in my mind that this is nothing more than anti-Muslim bigotry stirred-up by hateful, small-minded idiots.

Such are the types of people that Texans – though many are intelligent and caring people – seem to prefer electing to represent them. The current Irving mayor, Beth Van Duyne, campaigned around not “allowing Sharia law into Irving.”

I was disappointed that Bill Maher (whom I frequently agree with) supported the school district. Maher does clearly draw a distinction between the 14-year old geek who happens to be Muslim and the radical Islamists that routinely – and correctly – draw his ire. However he is completely misguided when he says, “…and the people at the school thought it might be a bomb. Perhaps cuz it looks exactly like a fucking bomb.”

Obviously the school did not think Ahmed’s clock was a bomb. Multiple teachers saw the clock and did not react. The school was not evacuated and the bomb squad was not called. I cannot accept that line of weak sauce reasoning. I have seen enough of the South’s ill-concealed racism to believe that the school was reacting to Ahmed’s name and his religion. Sure, the authorities deny this.

The clarifications that Mark Cuban adds are very interesting. Chris Matthews’ outburst was unexpected and funny but also spot-on.

It was heartening to see so many support Ahmed. That was a nice counter-balance to the spectacular stupidity from the school and from moronic bigots like Bristol Palin. George Takei, Satya Naedalla, Mark Zuckerberg and even President Obama.

Many have called out the support of technical companies like Microsoft and Google as crass marketing gimmicks. That might be true to an extent. However, I think that these companies are also sending a message to the rest of America’s youth – and America’s political leaders. “Hey! Listen up! This is the creativity, curiosity and technical knowledge that we want to encourage and eventually hire.”

This is about more than fear, racism and religious bigotry. This about the United States miserable and worsening performance in the STEM fields of studies.

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