Quit smoking, win a car

Call it waving a carrot instead of a cigarette stick: the Canadian Cancer Society is trying positive reinforcement with their Driven to Quit Challenge:

Go smoke-free for March 2007 and you could win a 2007 Acura CSX or 1 of 7 Sony 32″ Widescreen LCD HDTVs.

A $25,000 car is nothing to cough at. Oh, and if you win, they make you tinkle in a cup to verify you’ve actually kicked the habit.

Black gold, darker than night

Vanity Fair’s Sebastian Banger discusses the depraved conditions of the Niger delta, where plentiful oil is both a blessing and a curse. As US oil companies pump the light sweet crude, corrupt government officials embezzle over $300 billion of oil revenue, while delta Nigerians live in polluted squalor, without medicine or fresh water.

Many resort to bribes and bunkering (oil theft); even poorly-paid military are often on the take. Some of the disenfranchised have decided to resort to violence. Meanwhile worried oil experts around the world observe how the actions of twenty militants in speedboats can cause a gas-thirsty North America to slide into a recession:

“Every sector of society has been left to fend for itself. The airline industry, for example, is so slack in its maintenance that it has seen three catastrophic plane crashes in the past 16 months, which together have killed more than 300 people. The airport at Port Harcourt was shut down in 2005 after an incoming Air France flight plowed into a herd of cows that had wandered onto the runway; it still has not reopened. Tens of millions of people live in urban slums without water or sanitation, restaurants have to hire guards with AK-47s to protect the diners, and the levels of chaos and street violence rival that of many countries at war. A dead man lay on the street near my hotel for two days before someone finally came to take him away.”


I refuse to call them resolutions…I believe the word “resolution” should only come up when talking about computer screens.

# Relearn my native tongue.
# Learn how to shuffle cards properly (Bonus: Learn how to do the double lift).
# Get my P.Eng paperwork done.

iPhone launches, smartphone market flips out

With the gadget world enthralled with Apple’s new touchscreen musicphone announced yesterday afternoon at CES 2007, the rest of the smartphone market takes a dive.

RIM was the biggest casualty, with their stock dropping over $10 in half a day.


And the phone is using the slow EDGE wireless Internet standard, and has no removable storage, all the while costing $500 with contract. The stock price of AT&T, the owner of Cingular Wireless, the exclusive provider for the Apple iPhone, only scooched up 1% or so. If anything, the Microsoft Zune (which is double the size and half the features of the iPhone, and MS just announced will be able to play games…in 2008) is the only real casualty here in the long term.

But it doesn’t matter – iPhone is already picking up the ladies: Silverlotus and Space Cadet are already coveting it.

Starting 2007 on a high note

…by watching Million Dollar Baby :'(

Seriously, had another great potluck with the cousins and the Four Sisters (my mother and three aunts, as they’re known and feared). Great food was to be had, including bulgogee, BBQ’ed veal, yee mein, sushi, and some Japanese plum wine.

The Four Sisters gave us a variety of odds and ends, including various pens taken from miscellaneous conventions, fruit, sachets of gourmet coffee, several sample cartons of toothpaste, and cans of salsa, wasabi mustard and pumpkin butter. They also wrapped up some of the leftover noodles and vegetables.

On the subway home, Silverlotus remarked, “Your family is really into food.”
I replied in the only way I could: “Yes, yes they are.”