Matthew's blog

Who's watching you?

By now, you've probably heard the news that the USA's National Security Administration is, with help from various telecom and Web service companies, spying on just about everyone. It's likely that Canada and many other countries are doing the same.

The mass media coverage of this story has, sadly, been rather short on detail regarding exactly what data these agencies collect and store, how they analyze it, and what they know about you and your friends as a result. This has led to the startling result that roughly half of Americans think that this surveillance, despite being explicitly forbidden by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, is both legal and OK.

For democracy to work, the voting public needs to know what is going on and why. So, in that spirit, here's a list of articles that are very much worth your while to read, ponder and discuss.

Alphabet soup: Making sense of Ontario's power bureaucracy

Ontario's electricity grid has been in the news again lately. It seems some folks are confused about what, exactly, goes into their power bill and why they are paying 12 cents per kilowatt hour when the "market rate" is supposedly 3 cents.

I can't say I blame them- we have an alphabet soup of agencies in on this, and the electricity "market" is anything but. Let's try to clarify.

Birding with a 35mm f/1.8

I can certainly understand the appeal of a big bag of expensive long lenses. Birds do, after all, tend to be small and far away.

I'm not about to spend $10,000 on a set of bird lenses, though. (I'm cheap, for one thing, but I'm also not quite fit enough to carry 15 kilos of glass and magnesium around all day.)

The solution? Get close. Really close. Just beyond wing-hitting range, in this case, with a 35mm f/1.8 on a DX body.


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