Third Alien Shore

In a struggle to be happy and free

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Category: peeve Page 1 of 6

No more daylight saving time

I wrote my MPP a couple of days ago:

From: Rick Pali
To: Wayne Gates
Sent: Monday, March 12, 2018 6:01 PM
Subject: DST

Wayne, it’s time to ditch daylight saving time. How can we make this happen? The two time-changing events each year are simply not worth the benefits we get in exchange…

Rob Nicholson has made me accustomed to no response or having to fight to get one, so I was delighted to receive a reply today:

From: Wayne Gates
To: Rick Pali
Date: March 14, 2018 at 5:45:30 PM EDT
Subject: RE: DST

Hi Rick,

Thank you so much for reaching out to MPP Gates on this important issue, and for sharing your concerns with MPP Gates. He had an opportunity to review your email, and has added your concerns to his notes on this file.

As you may know., NDP MLA Thomas Dang in Alberta recently introduced a Private Members’ Bill to abolish Daylight Saving Time in Alberta. He is currently leading a public consultation on this bill across the province. He has received widespread support from families with young children and members of the agricultural sector. I can assure you we will continue to follow this issue.

Kindest regards,

Shannon Mitchell
Constituency Assistant – Casework Manager
Wayne Gates MPP (Niagara Falls, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Fort Erie)
Critic for Transportation

I’m glad I wrote because I knew nothing of Thomas Dang and his Private Members’ Bill. He ran a survey1 and 82% of the 26,000 recipients wanted daylight savings time to end. I absolutely believe that. I’m not sure I know anyone who would be sad to see it go. The most ridiculous issue2 people have raised is the start time of hockey games. Save us from the pox of sports.

The only possible issue is some areas considering dumping the change like the idea of staying on DST all year rather than maintaining standard time. In effect, they’re moving one time zone to the west. If most or all states, provinces, and territories stop changing from standard time to DST and back every year, those areas staying on saving time are going to mess things up. I suspect they’ll also revert to standard time eventually.

I hope the results of the public consultation are positive and Alberta makes the change. Then I hope we in Ontario quickly follow.


  1. Michelle Bellefontaine, “‘We need more time’: Alberta bill to end daylight saving time on hold,” CBC News. April 3, 2017
  2. Daniel Stilwell, “Alberta Daylight Saving Time bill to get further study,” Global News. April 5, 2017

Less or fewer?

Years ago, my friend Jessica told me how less and fewer are often, and incorrectly, used interchangeably. Whether I thank her or curse her for his enlightenment depends on the day. I value knowledge, but people make this mistake so often that once you know the rule governing their use, the incorrect usage will drive you to distraction. It seems to happen all over the web, where anyone with Internet access can style themselves a writer.

Just this morning, I was reading Michael Lavorgna’s article, “The Ayre QX-5 Twenty: The Digital Hub” on Stereophile. The article opens with this sentence:

Let’s say you want less boxes in your hi-fi but you don’t want to give up the stuff you need and the stuff you like.

Less boxes? No, it’s fewer boxes. I’m guessing they don’t have an editor over there.

The rule is straightforward. If you can count the objects in question, it’s fewer. If not, it’s less. You can certainly count the number of components in your hi-fi so it’s fewer boxes.

With that in mind, it’s fewer boxes, less sand, fewer people, less water, and fewer troubles, for example.

While it is less sand and less water, it would be fewer grains of sand and fewer litres of water. You can’t count sand or water, but you can count units of sand and water, therefore less becomes fewer when you attach units.

So remember, if you can count the objects in question, it’s fewer. If not, it’s less.

Disney and the dinosaur

Disney has a few motion picture out called The Good Dinosaur. The picture posits the question,

What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of.1

Spot (top) and Arlo (bottom)…and never the twain shall meet.2

The problem is that the extinction of the dinosaurs opened up a plethora of environmental niches that other creatures then filled. While the dinosaurs were around, mammals eked out an existence in the background because the dinosaurs had a lock on those niches. It took the removal of the dinosaurs for our ancestors to have a chance to expand their physical/environmental ranges. Put simply, had the dinosaurs not gone extinct, the odds of our being here now alongside dinosaurs are not even worth considering. It never would have happened.

I shouldn’t be surprised as Disney has a great love of re-writing both history and myth in the most unnecessarily ridiculous ways.


  1. From http://movies.disney.com/the-good-dinosaur, retrieved December 17, 2015
  2. Photo from: ibid

Mona Lisa and her pals

I saw an interesting news headline on Facebook this morning:

They linked a CNN story named, “‘Mona Lisa’: Hidden portraits ‘found underneath’” which I promptly read. Given that we’re talking about a painting, it’s not unreasonable to expect an image, right? I want to see! All CNN gives us is a description.

The hidden picture shows a woman looking into the distance, with no trace of the characteristic smile. Cotte believes he has discovered the genuine portrait of Lisa del Giocondo, also known as Lisa Gherardini, the wife of a Florentine merchant.

When reporting on a purely visual item, like a painting, I expect a photo. If that’s not possible, it’s not unreasonable to expect an explanation. Simply saying that the investigators haven’t yet released an image would be sufficient. Come on, CNN!

Despite the disappointing reporting, this is so interesting. There’s another painting under the Mona Lisa, or perhaps an earlier revision? It’s been there, and unknown, for five-hundred years. Of course I want to see it now!


Image capture from Facebook.com

Dawkins on astrology

Astrology […] is an aesthetic affront. Its pre-Copernican dabblings demean and cheapen astronomy, like using Beethoven for commercial jingles. It is also an insult to the science of psychology and the richness of human personality.

Richard Dawkins, Unweaving the Rainbow, 1998

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