No woman no country

Mars and China have one thing in common: they both need women. Thanks to a pro-son cultural bias and China’s one-kid-per-couple law, China’s newest generation has too many males compared to females.

While this may mean a lucrative market for the Japanese makers of the girlfriend lap pillow, the implications of the one-child rule are far more ominous for the Chinese. With no women to keep them in check, they’ll grow up to be lonely, irritable young men with too much spare time on their hands – a recipe for a rebellion.

It is a scientifically provable theory, said political scientist Valerie Hudson of Brigham Young University. And it’s backed up by what any high school graduate can recall: “When guys got together, did they sometimes do stupider and more reckless things than when they were alone?” she asked.

The crucial factor is the effect of bachelorhood on behavior. “The reason that’s important is that only when they are married do they begin to have a stake in a system of law and order that will protect their loved ones,” Hudson said.

In a classic case of chaos effect, their government’s own seemingly benign natal-societal policies could mean its political downfall.

Maybe they get a continental discount

Yes boys and girls, before the Internet, if you didn’t have rich friends with those then-$600 CD burners, you had to have an Asian connection. I personally remember Hong Kong’s warez bazaar called the Golden Arcade.

Boing Boing reports on crazy Chinese bootlegged DVDs, watching movies in China, and more. Those plucky Chinese manage to make even terrible movies into inadvertent moments of entertainment:

“The DVD cases are works of pirate art. They are all made in the same style from hard glossy cardboard. Cheaply made, but professionally graphically designed. They’re so uniform, you can tell they almost all come from one maker. What makes them art, though, are the mistakes: made by a genius dyslexican who flunked the TOEFL. English literacy here is almost zero.”

Gentlemen, start your engrish.

Words on OpenText

Our university held a gala event at the Royal York Hotel featuring Tom Jenkins, the CEO of Open Text Corporation. They’re into enterprise content management systems (ECMs), and with $100 million in the bank and $100 million spent on R&D last year, are doing very well to boot. Jenkins has a background in Engineering Physics, plus a Masters in Engineering and an MBA. He spoke to us on a variety of topics:

On Sarbanes-Oxley
Spitzer may be the McCarthy of our era. “We live in litigious times.” He feels that the strictness of the rules dissuades companies from taking risks and innovating.

On being good ol’ Hamilton boy
He thanks RedHat/ co-founder Bob Young for buying the Hamilton Tiger Cats football team, or else he would have had to. “My wife wouldn’t have been too happy.” He loves what Young has done to revive the Ti-Cats, but disagrees on Young’s mandate to drop the “Argos suck!” fan diss toward the Toronto Argonauts.

Bad bets
Open Text built a 3D Yahoo! in VRML in 1996. It was very slow and VRML never reached mass acceptance.

The future of information
Despite the lukewarm adoption to VRML, we will soon communicate as avatars on a “virtual Internet” similar to the Metaverse of Snow Crash.

Good bets
Open Text achieved fame in the mid-1990’s as the search engine of Yahoo! However, in late 1996, Digital approached Yahoo! with an offer it couldn’t refuse: a search function and content system for free. The only thing they wanted in return was a link back to their new search engine, Altavista. Open Text decided to not match this offer, and abandoned the consumer sector for the slower but safer journey into the enterprise content management market.

The rest is history: Digital is no more, and the Open Text is a $400 million company.

All conferenced out

Went to both the McMaster World Congress and CUTC 2005 this week. Who knew that personal development could be so fun?


  1. Richard Camilleri, President of CanWest, talked about the “20-step rule”; you can tell a great deal about a company’s creative potential by walking twenty steps into its headquarters and seeing if anyone is having fun.
  2. Exceptional people are often masters of more than one trade. That we learned when corporate raider Eric Rosenfeld launched into his own renditions of timeworthy Broadway showtunes, including Chicago‘s “Mr. Cellophane” (aka “Institutional Investor”).
  3. Joel Spolsky likes Lynyrd Skynyrd. Oh, and he’s a very entertaining speaker. He artfully discussed the creating of positive, user-friendly product experiences in a positive and user-friendly manner.
  4. A strange little computer game I saw at the CUTC TechExpo was the engrish-o-rrificly named Journey of Wild Divine by a UK company called MagiTam. It’s a Myst-like game where you solve puzzles through a biofeedback device that measures your pulse. For example, you need to exude calmness to open a large door. The graphics are so-so, but if it works, it could be neat to play.

Drive by blog entry

In honour of the Detroit International Auto Show, which is wrapping up after an eventful week:

Autoblog A general purpose site for checking out the newest designs, and post comments about how you love Mopar and what’s with all those cheap faux wood interiors these days??

The Truth About Cars Frank yet eloquent car reviews. What other autojournalist would describe the Chrysler 300C alternatively as “stylish malevolence” and a “bad-ass gangsta-mobile”?

GM FastLane Blog General Motors entered the blogging scene this year, and their blog has already turned almost as many heads as the new Corvette. If they can keep up with the postings, answer comments from their fans and “keep it real”, this will be a great advertising coup for them.

Car Cost Canada For when you’re finally sitting down and buying a car, you can find out what is the lowest price possible.

Dieselstation – Fuel For Your Desktop And when you realize you can’t afford that car, just cut your losses and download wallpaper of your favourite gas-guzzler and look at it. And pretend you’re in it.

A break

In tribute of, a conversation Silverlotus overheard in TO on the TTC:

Woman: Did you know Jen and Brad are breaking up?


Woman: I think’s sad.

Man: I should break up.

Woman: With who?

Man: Myself. Then I will only be “Me” and “I”.

Woman: Everyone is breaking up these days.


Critical Thinking: More money than sense

With the help of, Slate lists several common pratfalls by even seasoned investors. A prospectus:

The Gambler’s Fallacy: We tend to believe, incorrectly, that if a flipped coin has come up heads three times in a row it is more likely come up tails next time. Similarly, just because a stock or market has gone up or down for a while doesn’t mean it is more likely to go the other way soon.

This is the reason why analysts always write in really fine print on their glossy brochures, “Past performance is not indicative of future results.”

Why are there so many books on playing the financial market? Why are there more types of mutual funds than lottery games? Because frankly no one really knows.

Why does Gordon Pape go on TV urging gullible seniors to remortgage their homes for an extra vacation week in Florida? Because people think he is an expert. Don’t get me wrong, he’s written some well-received books and made a bit of money in the markets, but past performance is not indicative of future results.

Screwball apps of Palm

CanalPDA’s top 10 weirdest Palm OS programs. Personally, I don’t find them that odd – when you give out a straightforward SDK to the public, you can expect a lot of creativity to come forth. People ended up writing simple little programs for fun, or to scratch a particular itch. I remember a little app that let a surfer track the high tide at his/her favourite beach.

Besides, I know Silverlotus use the Palm Mirror on her IIIxe (rest in peace), and Bomberman use PalmaSutra to, uh, demonstrate the capabilities of his new colour Palm IIIc.