Squigee Standards

June 25, 2007

Washing windows makes me happy. Actually washing my OWN windows makes me happy so please do not send me window washing party invites. The key is the squigee along with a rag for drying off the rubber side after each clearing stroke and multiple length handles. Broom handles work great for long or high windows and an extension handle for really high windows. I am sure there is a story behind it but the standard broom handle thread is a wonderful thing. Long live seemingly spontaneous standards.

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Canadian Disputes

June 25, 2007

There has been alot of angry talk recently in the canadian media about how the provinces are angry at the federal government. The issue seems to be about broken promises over equalization payments. The root of the problem is how revenue from shared resources is distributed and we see this issue over and over in all kinds of conflicts all over the world. When you find oil or natural gas or precious metals or diamonds or fish or any other valuable shared resource who is the owner? In canada it seems that the answer is government and the question is which level of government. In venezuela hugo chavez’ power comes from oil revenues. Same problem in russia. The conflict in Aceh, Indonesia started with the discovery of natural gas. One of the problems is that we allow governments to gather revenue from sources other than tax. If oil revenue in venezuela was first distributed as a dividend to the population and the only revenue the government received was from taxing those dividends how different would policy be?

Slum Revitalization

June 25, 2007

The Globe and Mail has an article about a plan to revitalize one of the slums in Mumbai, India (sorry, i am mobile linkless). The article has quotes from an architect who believes his plan can revitalize slums all over the world. The plan calls for tearing down the shanty towns and create new development with guaranteed housing for the existing slum residents mixed in with high end housing. In my mind there is one key issue, how do you distribute the land ownership rights among the slum residents? It is the key problem. Ok, maybe only i think of it in terms of a land ownership problem. The key problem is how to define who a rightful resident is. How many single level shacks will suddenly sprout multiple levels depending on the rules? How many non-residents will move into the slum just before the census? How many angry and potentially violent people will there be after they find out that they do not qualify. It is a hard problem to solve. Really hard.

Yarrow Emerging

June 25, 2007

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