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Wayside Observer

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  1. Every corporate IT department has got something like WebSense or similar stuff in place to prevent that so that's a problem that's solvable.
  2. I love how the bilingual English and French Yield/Cedez signs were left on the back. That's a dead giveaway that those buses did not originate new in Florida.
  3. This could probably be asked in several different places but I'll put it here since the new Presto machines are being discussed right now: Do the new ones continue to provide the outstanding balance on the card and time remaining on the fare like the existing 905 transit agency ones do, or are they similar to the TTC ones that only give a yay/nay go/no go indication when you tap a card?
  4. When I read the part that I quoted, I got the distinct impression they weren't expecting the results to be this bad which prompted me to wonder what on earth they were expecting to find, if not that. It makes me wonder how many people in charge are how out of touch with what people are going through? How divorced from reality are they? Interestingly, when I was reading a couple of papers the other day, there was a letter to the editor in the Hamilton Spectator to that effect complaining about all of the fall fairs being cancelled when those could've been managed the same way that outdoor dining etc. has been which speaks to your point about all the enjoyable things that could make life more bearable getting cancelled almost out of spite. Someone else told me about a meme showing someone picking up food being handed out through a drive through window next to a kid being handed candy out the front door of a house saying that if adults can do this (drive-thru), kids can do that referring to Halloween which also takes place outdoors in small groups which are usually immediate family anyways. All of this happening goes back to the original point about given this whole situation which has now dragged on for over half a year, what on earth were those researchers doing that study thought they were going to find when they didn't get the results they were expecting.
  5. The link is to a Toronto Star article but it's a Canadian Press piece which you can find on many other websites in case you've hit the free article limit: COVID-19 Causing Stress, Depression and Obsessive Behaviour In Alberta Survey The second paragraph I've quoted prompts a question: “We did not expect people to be experiencing this level of anxiety, depression or stress,” said Vincent Agyapong, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Alberta and co-author of a newly published paper." What were they expecting in the results? More anxiety, depression or stress than was found? Less? Something else completely? In any event, the results speak to mental health impact of COVID-19 that's been largely ignored despite being a severe consequence of the virus even if not directly biologically caused by it. I'm beginning to think the mental health consequences might actually by more widespread than the virus itself since one doesn't have to catch it to experience adverse mental health consequences from everything going on right now. That thought brings me to the cancellation of the CP Holiday Trains. It's a shame they did a complete cancellation instead of putting them out as a rolling Christmas lights display as a morale booster like the Snobirds tour before the accident in BC happened, but without stopping for people to gather in the usual manner.
  6. That's what I was thinking too. One person in the Washington Post article I saw a while ago said that it hadn't really affected them and one of my elderly relatives said almost the same thing word for word about how it "hasn't really affected them". I was catching up with one of my aunts today and that was one of the things we were talking about a lot of that and we're all on the same page. The whole subject of the provincial government refusing to disclose workplace outbreaks as a matter of policy came up. We hear a lot about parties from Doug Ford but no acknowledgement that a lot of the workplaces that have reopened are staffed by young people, especially retail, food/hospitality, and services and they're exposed constantly in the workplace. Case in point, I had coffee with a friend the other day and I pointed out it was all young people working in the Starbucks. Retirees aren't re-entering the workforce so they're only exposed to whatever's present in any given workplace whenever they are a customer. They aren't putting in eight hours a day every day. This sort of thing has led to a couple of strained relationships for me already. The other relative who said that "it hasn't really affected me" has been affected though. On one hand no, she's doing all the usual things she does and has been playing lots of golf. But on the other hand, it's clear she's terrified and some of the stuff that's been said has been over the top. I asked a couple of times if she wanted to get together over the summer after the government said it was ok and I got a long speech about how I might be infected. Then she brought up the idea of getting together some time this week depending on the weather forecast (so far, so good) was ok for being in her back yard but then when we talked on the phone briefly on Monday, completely off the table. Yesterday was the first day of fall so if she does change her mind on getting together but insists it has to be outside, it needs to happen soon because we're now working out of a smaller and smaller number of good days for being outside before the season closes on that. I'm not even going to repeat what was said about my American friends and none of them have had COVID-19 but there's been one cancer death, one pacemaker malfunction, and one massively invasive breast cancer surgery so far so it looks like "everything else" is still creating havoc, same as it always was. It's been something else seeing and hearing what a lot of seniors like this have been saying and writing and yet have zero problems demanding working age people go out every day and keep the restaurant takeout kitchens going, keep the store shelves stocked, keep all the essential utilities running, keep the world going, keep the golf course green neatly trimmed but then blast young people constantly for everything. Hearing about all this playing golf starting back in April or so and yet everyone I know who have children couldn't take them to the park playgrounds all spring and most of the summer on threat of a thousand dollar ticket? Easter got scratched, now that we're on the other side of the Labour Day weekend I think we can declare this was a total waste of a summer, school's a complete mess, and politicians are already making noise about Halloween being on the chopping block next. The only groups of trick or treaters I've ever had here were families that were already living together anyways and the candy's all been well wrapped up for decades now because concerns about tampering existed long before COVID-19 so it's totally doable safely but kids are probably going to get thrown under the wheels again. One of the guys I play football with was talking about that and I told him I remembered hearing about that sort of thing when I was a kid when they used to tell us what life was like in East Germany on the other side of the iron curtain where the neighbours would peek out from behind drawn curtains and then snitch on their friends, snitch on their neighbours, snitch on their families. "I'm reporting YOU!" So much for the west being better than that.
  7. That's interesting. I remember hearing that a lot of the damage in the lungs caused by smoking recovers in the first three months after quitting as well so the finding sounds plausible to me if you figure the average recovery rate is about the same, the recovery time from similar damage would be about the same. I don't have any links conveniently at hand but I have read a number of articles over the last few months in a bunch of different papers, the Guardian, the Washington Post, most recently one in the Toronto Star talking about how the mental health of younger people has been taking a beating due to the pandemic meanwhile older people have been much less affected. The Toronto Star article specifically mentioned the age of 60 in its headline as a dividing line but the general thrust has been the same that retirees and seniors have been affected relatively little while younger people have been taking it a lot harder with it getting worse as you go down in age. What I've been seeing and hearing first hand agrees with what's been reported in the media on both age ranges. I'm really hoping that tomorrow in the throne speech and in the address to the nation in the evening that some meaningful mental health supports and supports in general for younger people, middle age people, working people, especially essential services workers that have been forced to keep going through all this are announced and backed up with meaningful action shortly after. We'll see what happens but I'm keeping my fingers crossed because I've seen a lot of stress, a lot of burnout, a lot of anxiety, a lot of heartbreaking situations that are going to cause lingering problems of their own independently of direct COVID-19 infection. An edit: I was thinking about Trudeau's address to the nation tomorrow evening after the throne speech. My understanding of parliamentary procedure isn't the greatest but from what I understand, the throne speech is a confidence item that could bring the government down and trigger an election. That makes me suspect that Trudeau is drafting two different versions of the address to the nation with which version he goes in front of the cameras with being selected depending on what happens after the throne speech is read.
  8. A bus having pests would’ve led me to suggest foamers but I guess that settles it...
  9. It got cold enough in the house last night that I decided to bump the heat on to take the chill off so I got out of bed and went to the thermostat and pushed the button to turn it on to heat. Nothing. The screen didn’t light up. Turned on the lamp near it and the display was completely blank. Ok, the batteries must’ve died between when I shut off the air conditioning for the season a few weeks ago and now. It wasn’t that cold that I couldn’t live with it and decided to go back to bed rather than fight with it in the middle of the night. Fast forward to this evening and I’m thinking I should really get off my butt and do something about it in case the overnight low gets down there again and I put a new set of batteries in and nothing. Totally dead. DMM said they’re each sitting at about 1.6 volts vs. about 1.2 for the batteries that were in there. So I decided to be absolutely sure and take it downstairs and force feed it about 3 volts from a bench power supply. Nope. Dead. I took it apart to see what there was to see and this is what passes for a thermostat in the 21st century. A whole lot of surface mount stuff and three Omron 2.4 VDC coil relays to switch the 18 volts AC off the transformer in the furnace to bring in the fan, the heat, or the air con. Long live the bimetallic strip and mercury slosh tube. There are half a dozen test points in the upper left corner there so I decided to power it back up and put a meter on them to see if there was anything obvious and got 3.2 V on five of them and about a volt on the other which may or may not have been a clock pulse or something like that for the digital logic. I didn’t bother to scope it because: I got a display with a plausible temperature on it too. Isn’t that interesting? I took a closer look and realized that the clip leads had finally wiggled around enough and bit through to new metal and that the matte looking texture of the battery terminals wasn’t how the metal was finished, it was a layer of oxide. You can see the difference between the oxide and where I burnished it and scraped off metal oxide to reveal new metal with a small file. Back together with the pair of AA batteries that were in it when it bailed out and that looks a lot better. I guess that’s one way to do planned obsolescence. Use a metal known to slowly oxidize in a location that’s exposed to air and let the customers come back to buy a new one when it stops working after the battery terminals oxidize in air enough that not even a fresh set of AAs produces enough voltage to punch through the oxide layer on the contacts. Done and done and it’s back on the wall and working. You can see the outline of the original Honeywell hockey puck thermostat on the wall from when this one was put in when the house got central air. This one won’t last as long as the original one from 1942 did, but this evening’s round of you can’t do that complicated electronics means that it’ll go for a little longer and it was a lot less expensive than going to the store to buy a new one and if it gets cold again tonight I’ll be able to get the heat on if I want it so I’m happy.
  10. It is, however, north of Bloor St. so it's entirely possible that one of the downtown crowd finally fell asleep on the train or accidentally strayed too far and only just saw it now. Next headline: "Subway Extension To Vaughn Not In Toronto Passes Through Siberia".
  11. I don't know where progress on Yorkdale stands but as of a couple of years ago there were plans to redo the Arc En Ceil with LEDs.
  12. Did you page Dave Seville on the PA system to come and get the chipmunks?
  13. I was able to ask about this on Sunday since a friend's wife works for the town and: - It's all done in house - If the gardening isn't done satisfactorily, people complain severely which I guess goes back to your point of the squeaky wheel getting the grease. - I've seen and read the signs so a big shout out to "Sponsor Me" for kicking in some cash.
  14. It’s Sobeys new grocery delivery service.
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