Archive for August, 2007

Showering outdoors at night …

Friday, August 10th, 2007

… is the annual Perseid meteor shower, which happens once every year when Earth’s orbit takes us through the tail of the Comet Swift-Tuttle.  Apparently the Perseids will be happening this weekend.  This should be a good year for watching the Perseids, since it coincides with a new moon, unlike last summer when a full moon resulted in too much ambient light.

Tonight is cloudy/raining, but if we get a clear night this weekend, it might call for some star-watching, preferably away from the city light pollution.  This article by NASA states that the peak will be around 4:00 a.m Monday morning.  I think I’ll probably miss the peak.

Canadian logging practices contributing to atmospheric CO2 … or not

Thursday, August 9th, 2007

Article on the CTV website …

B.C. eco-warrior walks red carpet with DiCaprio

Updated Wed. Aug. 8 2007 8:49 AM ET

Canadian Press

TORONTO — B.C. eco-warrior Tzeporah Berman is taking her fight for the forests to Hollywood, where she’s set to walk the red carpet Wednesday at a gala premiere for Leonardo DiCaprio’s upcoming documentary “The 11th Hour.”

The longtime conservation activist appears briefly in the film to warn that Canadian logging practices are contributing to the death of the world’s forests.

… Full CTV news story ->click here<-

Apparently Berman claims in the film that logging activities in Canada contribute more CO2 to the atmosphere than all the vehicles on California’s roads. However, she neglects to mention that when trees are harvested, their carbon is not instantly vapourized into CO2, and that during a tree’s lifetime it pulls CO2 from the atmosphere.

Kudos to the Financial Post for providing a more balanced report, actually going on to state …

But there is a problem with her argument: its underlying facts are wrong — or at least, misleading — according to the Canadian federal government’s own reports to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the globe’s global warming intelligence centre. In fact, in 11 of the past 16 years, Canada’s managed forests have sucked up more greenhouse gases than they have emitted.

… and going on to quote research from the Canadian Forest Service and the Ontario Forest Research Institute. The full FP article is ->here<-

Also kudos to the Vancouver Sun for getting the opinion of Dr. Gary Bull, of the University of British Columbia’s Forestry faculty …

Berman, who has campaigned for preservation of old-growth forests for a decade, says the larger the tree, the more carbon it stores.

“That’s why tree-planting is not a solution, because the trees grow too slowly,” said Berman. “The solution in Canada is greater conservation of our existing old-growth forests.”

Again, Bull refutes that statement, because while old-growth trees store carbon, they are no longer sequestering carbon, which is the process of transforming carbon dioxide to carbon within the tree.

“Old forests don’t add any extra carbon storage because they get old and stop growing and can actually be a carbon emitter, whereas young forests that are growing are storing lots of CO2. Yes, the forest industry may cut down trees and release carbon that was stored, but the sequestration rate [eventually] goes up because the young trees are absorbing more carbon dioxide.”

Bull, who says he admires Berman and has had her speak to his students, said forest fires tend to burn stands of trees every 120 years or so, which releases all their carbon into the atmosphere.

“Even if we don’t emit it by cutting the trees down, nature will do it,” said Bull.

… full Vancouver Sun article ->here<-

I predict that “The 11th Hour” will do well at the box office, and will win a couple of Academy Awards.

(By the way, I will probably make a point of watching The 11th Hour, since I am concerned about the evidence of human-caused climate change … despite my annoyance over their misrepresentation of Canadian forestry)

Father-daughter fishing day.

Tuesday, August 7th, 2007

Yesterday was the last day of my holidays, and I hadn’t done any shooting or fishing in 2 1/2 weeks, so I headed up to Marv’s place at Shell Lake, accompanied by Fiona. After shooting off two boxes of shells with my new pump-action shotgun (while powdering too few clays, and getting a purple shoulder), Marv, Rachel, Fiona and I spent a few hours fishing on Little Shell Lake. A very nice afternoon. We didn’t get the violent thunderstorm that hit Prince Albert. The small northern pike (better known as jackfish) were biting well, and Fiona and I each caught a walleye (pickerel). Supper at Marv and Sarah’s, followed by filetting, and we made it back to P.A. safely after almost hitting a deer (sorry for hitting the brakes so hard Fiona).

Fiona with her walleye.

More photos in >>this gallery<<

Chesterton on original sin

Saturday, August 4th, 2007

Certain new theologians dispute original sin, which is the only part of Christian theology which can really be proved. Some … in their almost too fastidious spirituality, admit divine sinlessness, which they cannot see even in their dreams. But they essentially deny human sin, which they can see in the street. The strongest saints and the strongest sceptics alike took positive evil as the starting-point of their argument. If it be true (as it certainly is) that a man can feel exquisite happiness in skinning a cat, then the religious philosopher can only draw one of two deductions. He must either deny the existence of God, as all atheists do; or he must deny the present union between God and man, as all Christians do. The new theologians seem to think it a highly rationalistic solution to deny the cat.

G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy, 1908.

99 years after Chesterton wrote those words, they still ring true.

Lord have mercy.

Tonight’s activities include campfire songs and a squirrel roast

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

This was in the Weird News category on the Cnews website …

Sask Bible camp counsellor facing heat for roasting squirrel in front of kids CHRISTOPHER LAKE, Sask. (CP) – A counsellor at a northern Saskatchewan Bible camp is feeling the heat for killing and roasting a squirrel over a campfire. The bushy-tailed rodent was injured after the counsellor at Camp Kadesh threw a stick in its direction. Camp director Curtis Anderson says the man destroyed the injured animal and wanted to prove that nothing should go to waste by skinning and roasting it. …

… Full story >>click here<<

The story goes on to state that the counsellor did nothing illegal. However it’s my understanding that the red squirrel is classified as a furbearing animal in Saskatchewan, and can only be killed during open season by a holder of a trapping license. But maybe the critter wasn’t a red squirrel, but was a Richardson’s ground squirrel (better known as the gopher), in which case there is no law against killing them (the story says it was a “bushy-tailed” rodent, which would seem to indicate the red squirrel).

Once the critter was injured, I have no problem with the fact that it was put out of its misery, and not allowed to go to waste (although I prefer my squirrel sauteed rather than roasted). Whatever the circumstances, it’s understandable that some campers and their parents would be upset, so I hope the counsellor agrees that he showed poor judgement.

UPDATE: Apparently the camp is introducing a new animal treatment policy.

Are these Riders for real?

Friday, August 3rd, 2007

We fans of the Saskatchewan Roughriders learn at an early age to get used to disappointment. With the exception of that glorious Grey Cup year of 1989, we haven’t had much to cheer about since the glory days of Lancaster and Reed in the 1960s. Well at least some of us are old enough to remember those years. However with the Riders taking revenge on the 1st-place B.C. Lions tonight to improve their record to 4-2, it looks as though this year’s team might be the real thing. Hope springs eternal.

I watched the last half of the game on streaming broadband at TSN’s website. What was with the horrible choppy picture? I’ve watched a couple of CFL games on tsn.ca previously this summer, and the video quality was perfect, unlike tonight’s broadcast. My theory is that the TSN server was bogged down by legions of randallfriesen.com readers. Randall, you must use your power for good.

Good-bye Lake, Hello City

Thursday, August 2nd, 2007

Our week at the cabin at Pigeon Lake flashed by way too fast. It was a very refreshing few days, combining some hard physical yard work (they now have enough firewood cut and split for at least a year), some reading, jigsaw puzzles, Janet getting heat stroke, Charlotte being visited by Christopher (son of long-time family friends), some good eating and visiting. Good times.

The Village at Pigeon Lake

A highlight for me was not just one but two visits with Aubrey and Marion S, once at the Pigeon Lake cabin, the other at their new energy-efficient home. They are salt-of-the-earth Alberta farmers (bison and beef), with a lot of Christian wisdom related to everything from teenagers to sustainable agriculture and resource stewardship/earthkeeping.

We are now back in P.A. and the girls are jumping on the trampoline that we brought back with us (the people two cottages down from us wanted to get rid of it). I didn’t take a lot of pictures while at the lake, but I’ve put a few in a gallery …  >>click here<<.