Archive for 2010

Scooter Adventure — Part II


I'm alive! My GPS is to thank, along with my perseverance and notably hardened buttocks. To keep you guys from an onset of ennui, I'll limit this post to little detail.

The entire trip, as per GPS, took 780km to complete. Here is a quick break down of expenses and mileage:
  • Gas: $25.14
  • Food and beverages: $68.57
  • Entertainment: $24.87
  • Lodging: $101.92
  • Mileage: 3.03L per 100km
Roughly, this is the route I took:

View Larger Map

The path I took deviated substantially from my initial plans, mostly due to the fact that was I making such incredible time. Arrival and two hours worth of hiking at Rondeau Provincial Park spurred me to continue on my journey and find a better place to set up camp for the day. I was fortunate enough to end up in Long Point Provincial, which has to be among the top three parks I have visited in Ontario. Here's my beachfront camping site. I was in heaven.


An immense amount of pride went through me when I finally arrived in Toronto. The fact that the scooter performed without so much as a hiccup was the main source of this, since I rebuilt and repaired it myself from a non-running state a few years ago.

On a scooter, no less, I've discovered what the open road feels like.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Posted by Konstantine

Filling The Gaps: Scooter Adventure


Boy do I have a lot of gaps to fill. My absence (hiatus?) had good reason, but now I would like to share some of my adventures once more. It's been a whirlwind for the past half a year and my escapades continue. I'll start with the most pertinent and pressing thing in my life: my move to Toronto and my accompanying three day scooter trip.

This seems like it will be a long and convoluted story, so I'll do my best to refrain from embellishment here. The main idea is that I have graduated from university, have decided that there are more opportunities for me back in my home city of Toronto and have already moved all of the belongings there. I am leaving my car behind in Windsor due to the fact that I will have a wonderful public transport system at my disposal, as well as my scooter. Hence, the scooter trip. And what a trip!

View Larger Map

My main stops will include Rondeau Provincial Park, Big Creek National Wildlife Area and Hamilton's scenic areas. I'm taking a few changes of clothes, DSLR camera, tripod, single-person tent and a few other supplies for the full trip. A little crazy, sure. But it'll make for a great story to tell my grandkids, no?
Friday, July 2, 2010
Posted by Konstantine

Life After Google and Wikipedia

A life before Google and Wikipedia. Seems unimaginable doesn't it? I cannot count the amount of debates I have settled, the amount of questions I have answered and the amount of frustration I have avoided simply by having access to what I see as the accumulation of all human knowledge. And all of it at available my fingertips. The difference is, I know what is an acceptable source, while many don't (see Yahoo! Answers).

Information used to be a difficult thing to access, almost prohibitively so—ask your parents. Not one generation ago, one would have to go comparatively great lengths to find out, well, anything. Small, limited, avenues of information were the source of knowledge. An educated person was thereby valued.

Nowadays, the task isn't so much about locating the information, as it is about sifting through it. There is so much of it out there, so much of it junk, that one can easily get lost in it. Be mislead. To understand what is an acceptable source falls on the shoulders of the reader, much as it has in the past with books, but to a much greater extent. Critical thinking skills become infinitely more important. The value shouldn't lie just with the education person, but also with one who is able to understand what information is valid. One who is capable of sifting through the bullshit. This is becoming increasingly difficult to come by.

Our problem is that not enough people are employing these skills when they access the vast amount of information now available to them. They accept as truth the first thing they come across. David Dineen-Porter, a fellow skeptic amongst other things, put it eloquently in a message to me, describing what he coins as "naive expertise."
It's the syndrome where people with access to cursory and superficial information, and without the expertise to analyze it properly, and then to place it in context of a much broader data set (which they have never accessed), believe themselves to be experts in that field. Reading a pamphlet doesn't make you an expert on vaccines.
Such is the problem that we now have to deal with: everyone fancies themselves an expert.
Monday, February 8, 2010
Posted by Konstantine

CBC Test The Nation: IQ — Part VII


So, for the preliminary roundup—the atheists came in third place! We were ahead of twins, believers and contact sports athletes, but behind nerds and politicians, sadly. However, one of our team members, Kevin Kindred, ended up being the highest scoring individual on the show. Kudos to the man!

The results were judged entirely by average IQ results, it seems. I am particularly interested to see if I can find the margin of error for each average in the raw data (if I can obtain it). The average results were close enough to each other that I am skeptical as to their statistical significance. If the margins of error between each group overlap, it is unlikely that there is any actual significant difference. Hopefully, I will get my hands on the raw data for the groups and run it through some tests. The strictly scientifically significant results may not by quite as sensational as those a television show would hope for and have thus been omitted. Averages look so much more exciting, for comparative reasons.


Other than that, the evening was quite amazing. Before the show, the teams were seated at separate tables in the same large hall. During the three-hour wait time before the show, a few people from the atheist team, including myself, took the opportunity to walk around and introduce ourselves to the rest of the teams. The eclectic group of individuals was fascinating to talk to. Of note was Elizabeth May, leader of the Green Party, who quickly asserted her stance as a believer, but just as quickly made note of her daughter, who is an atheist. On the other end of the spectrum, one chat with a conservative politician ended up in a fiasco of sorts, which I was not a part of, but will link to later when I obtain Justin Trottier's take on it.

There are many Canada-wide results that I want to sift through and detail in a later post. If you would like to look through these results yourself, they are available here.

Again, I would like to express my gratitude to the CBC and Shannon McKinnon, the associate producer of the show, for the opportunity of being part of the team representing the atheists in Canada.

Here is the link to the full show for those of you who missed it:

Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Posted by Konstantine

CBC Test The Nation: IQ — Part VI


What an exciting show! I will detail a lot more about the experience tomorrow, but seeing as I have been busy with transporting myself to Windsor today, I am spent. Here is the link to the full show for those of you who missed it:

Monday, January 25, 2010
Posted by Konstantine

CBC Test The Nation: IQ — Part V

For those of you who don't know, I will be on the team representing Canadian atheists tomorrow night at 8pm, on CBC Television. The show is called Test The Nation: IQ. I am arranging for the broadcast to be recorded so as to republish it somewhere online afterward.

I am still unsure of what to expect, but at least I know this is legitimate, as I have been recorded as one of the atheist team's official members on the website. There are some very exciting people to meet come tomorrow (Marc Garneau, George Strombolopolous, Elizabeth May). Hopefully I will get a few autographs if the opportunity presents itself.

I will do my best to tweet about the experience throughout tomorrow—follow along:
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Posted by Konstantine

CBC Test The Nation: IQ — Part IV


Exciting stuff!

I have received what appears to be the final email from CBC detailing exactly what I am expected to do come Sunday afternoon and evening. Looks like the only thing I really have to worry about is doing my own makeup. As I have never put on any makeup, I think I will attend the live shoot au naturel and hope for the best. The only restrictions on clothing are no stripes, checkered patterns, white tops or tops with large logos. It seems that most of the show will be minimally interactive, but there is promise of the hosts chatting with members of the teams throughout.

I cannot wait for the weekend already.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Posted by Konstantine

CBC Test The Nation: IQ — Part II

Although it seemed mostly official in an earlier post I made, it became entirely bona fide news yesterday: I will be part of a team representing Canadian atheists on CBC's Test the Nation IQ TV show, which is scheduled to air live on Sunday, January 24th, at 8pm.

Here is part of the final email that I received from the producer of the show.
Hello Atheists!
Thanks so much for your patience - we have narrowed down the teams, and if you are on this email you are a part of the LIVE national broadcast of Test the Nation: IQ!
The event takes place at the CBC studios on Sunday, January 24th. The show airs LIVE at 8pm, and we start bringing the teams earlier [than that].

I can't wait to meet you all!! You will be a tough team to beat, I think. Do not hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have.
Congrats on making it onto TTN:IQ!
All the best,
I am excited not only for the television show itself, but to meet George Stroumboulopoulos, who will be a co-host of the show. Having had grown up watching him on MuchMusic as a VJ and the following him as he became a successful talk show host on 'The Hour', I feel I will be lucky to meet him.

Apart from all the niceties, there's already some interesting rivalry and stereotyping showing itself. Meet Justin Trudeau and his response to one of the questions asked of him as a representative of the politicians:
6. Anything to say to the other teams?

I am a nerd, and an athlete, and a believer. So I can't trash talk my own kind, and I won't trash talk twins, because while I'm going after one, the other'll sneak up behind and smack me, and as for the atheists, well, they won't believe anything I have to say to them anyway, so what's the point?
Inanity and segregation apart, as the 'Opposition Critic for Youth and Multiculturalism', I would like to point out the following chart and news article:

Get your demographics straight, good sir—there's a good chance both of those twins are atheists, plotting to 'sneak up and smack you', even if they are not teenagers. Oh wait, I even found some atheist twins that will be on the show. Yikes.
Friday, January 8, 2010
Posted by Konstantine

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I was born in Poland, raised in Ukraine, identify myself as Russian and now reside in Canada. How's that for an identity crisis?

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