Dave and Morley

In my heart I understood, only a Canadian could fathom why Harper’s recent CBC bashing led to pondering Dave and Morley. Settling on Dave and Morley made sense – rather than blither over CBC’s exemplary reputation, I had a duty to explain subtle intricacies of Canadian consciousness.

CBC radio defies generalizations – the sum of many parts culminates in a uniquely Canadian treasure. Unbiased investigative journalism, opportunities for aboriginal perspectives, backbone to tackle tough subject matter and honourable attempts to make government accountable might be considered the “meat” of CBC – let me assure you, that meat comes with the silkiest of gravies.

In 1994 CBC listeners were treated to a “summer replacement” program – Vinyl Cafe, hosted by Stuart McLean. No stranger to broadcasting, McLean’s relationship with CBC began in 1979 producing documentaries for the CBC program Sunday Morning. Awarded an ACTRA that same year for Best Radio Documentary (coverage of the Jonestown massacre) McLean became a regular columnist and guest host of CBC’s Morningside. Vinyl Cafe’s summer stint became a platform for McLean, Canada fell in love with Dave and Morley.

Fictional Toronto family – Dave (owner of Toronto’s smallest record store, Vinyl Cafe) his wife Morley, their children Sam and Stephanie, became foundations of McLean’s endearing magic. Vinyl Cafe stories deliver infectious laughter. Tales to lift spirits, forget troubles, whistle for no particular reason.


Give Vinyl Cafe a listen –

Solar Sector Boundary Crossing

Spaceweather predicts a 60% chance of geomagnetic activity resulting from a Solar Sector Boundary crossing on February 28, 2015. Translation – Auroras. Hence a reblog of my lesson on cosmic magnetism.


Hang on for a lesson in solar dynamics – Earth is experiencing a solar sector boundary crossing. Let me explain….

The sun produces wind (currently 410.9 Km/second) that blasts across the cosmos. Just like Earth, our Sun has a magnetic field – known as the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF).  Whipped into a spiral rotation, wind driven IMF rotates in one direction. It divides into spiral sections pointing to and away from the sun along the ecliptic plane ( a direct line between Earth and the Sun). The edge of this swirling mass has a surface separating polarities of planetary and solar magnetism called the heliosphere current sheet.


Earth’s magnetic field points north at the magnetopause (the point of contact between our magnetosphere and the IMF). If the IMF happens to point south at contact (scientific term, southward Bz) the two fields link causing partial cancellation of Earth’s magnetic field…

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Cosmic Apps

There’s no excuse for not adding a sky app to your phone – free, idiot proof tools capable of turning heads upwards with childlike enthusiasm. Embrace unfamiliar cosmic dioramas, dazzle friends and family, enrich your perspective with a sense of wonder, or simply figure out once and for all which one is Jupiter, which one Venus.

Android phone apps have been around longer than anything “i”. My phone has Sky Map, and real time images of the Sun from Solar Dynamics Observatory. Free, reliable android apps linked below


Once upon a time iPhone users were out of luck – linked below, free cosmic apps for iphone or pad.


What are you waiting for?

Notes “star gazing” with Google Sky Map

Guo Nian

Chinese New Year is a celebration based on ancient mythology. According to legend, Nian – a horrendous blood-thirsty monster appeared on the last day each year, obliterating villages and gobbling up people. A wise elder told villagers Nian could be driven away with loud noises. The people responded with fireworks, setting fire to bamboo and banging drums. Confused and terrified, Nian ran away, hiding in a cave until the next year. Elated villagers woke on the first day of a new year greeting each other with “Guo Nian” – literally “survive the Nian”, commonly known today as “celebrate the new year”.

Arrival of the new year is based on the ancient Chinese calender. Known as  “lunisolar” observance of time,( a combination of solar and lunar progression) a Chinese month follows one lunar cycle. Since a lunar cycle averages 29.5 days, a lunar month is 29-30 days, with 12 lunar months in a year. To catch up with the solar calender of 365.25 days, every few years an extra month is added – the reason Chinese New Year falls anywhere between January 21-February 21.

Chinese lunar calenders cycle every 12 years – each year a different animal (zodiac) sign represents characteristics of people born that year. Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep, Monkey, Rooster, Dog and Pig. On February 18, Chinese welcomed the year of the Sheep.

“The sheep (goat, or ram) is among the animals that people like most. It is gentle and calm. Since ancient times, people have learned to use its fleece to make writing brushes and skin to keep warm. As it is white, people describe delicate and precious white jade to be ‘suet jade’. Thus it is close to the meaning of good things”



Young Voters Can Stop Harper

As Stephen Harper puffs, postures, and calculates his run at third term as Canadian Prime Minister, I find myself pondering a very real reality – he might succeed. Harper Conservatives count on the fact young voters don’t show up at the polls. In the 2011 federal election 61.1% of eligible voters marked “X” A look at the graph below illustrates the predominance of older voters, most notably the 66-74 age at 75%. It doesn’t take a statistician to figure out age 18-24  voters with 39% turn-out pulled national average down.

Young Canadians should be ashamed, less than 40% bothered to get off their ass. “Politics are boring”, “none of the candidates are exciting”, “my vote won’t make a difference” , “I forgot it was today” – pitiful excuses for a voice in their future.

Aging Conservative voters will be dead and gone long before Harper’s flagrant disregard kicks Canada in the face. Why young people don’t get this is beyond me. Snap out of your self absorbed little bubble young Canada, wake up and vote to stop Stephen Harper.Post a “selfie” at the polling station if you have to, Tweet, Instagram, social media your voting experience till I gag – just get out and vote.