Kara Babcock

I read, write, code, and knit.

4 Articles from March 2009

  1. Mmm, sizzling electrons

    That refreshing fragrance wafting toward your nostrils is the sweet smell of electrons zipping through wires into my house, my friend. For you see, I have not turned off my electrical appliances; my lights remain shining in several rooms of the house; and even if I powered down my computer, my brother and his friends continue to consume enough electricity to light a small third-world country, I'm sure.

    Allow me to be critical for a moment. While I applaud the ideals that Earth Hour attempts to promote, the method of promotion is lacking. I did not participate in Earth Hour.

    There are some who mistakenly believe this is an attempt to save power. Were it so, I would criticize it as an example of the typical Western "binge" attitude designed to intensely compensate for overconsumption the rest of the year round. It's obvious, however, that turning off one's lights for an hour a year isn't going to save any significant power. Indeed, sometimes other factors may cause power consumption to increase. Earth Hour isn't about saving juice; it's a symbolic gesture.

    As far as symbols go, however, it's all cymbals. Earth Hour is global chest-beating. While I'm sure there are…

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  2. Goodbye, Battlestar Galactica

    Well here we are, the end of an era. Battlestar Galactica is over, which has made a lot of people very angry for various reasons.

    Spoilers ahead.

    I'm too young to have seen the original Battlestar Galactica when it was on television, and I never watched the reruns. I'm not into it. The "reimagined" series ignited my interest, however, and I've watched the show since its miniseries became the backdoor pilot for a new television series.

    To this day, my favourite episode remains "Kobol's Last Gleaming", the first season finale. It represents the best aspects of Battlestar Galactica's storytelling techniques: the high stakes conflict, the spiritual and ethical themes interwoven into the story, and of course, the effortless use of the episode's score to enhance the most emotional moments of the episode. Tonight's finale was cast in a very similar vein to the first season finale, which is probably why I enjoyed it so much.

    The show has received massive amounts of criticism in the last half of this season. To be fair, the Writer's Strike caused the last season to be split in half, placing much more tension on the mid-season premiere than the writers had originally intended.…

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  3. The Underappreciated What-Ifs of Life

    I do not like hard candy. I've been aware of this fact for a long time now, but it's at the forefront of my mind after consuming Ricola cough drops for the past few days to assauge my sore throat.

    Hard candy's just not worth the effort. You have to tease the flavour out of it, sucking at it as the surface slowly melts away onto your tongue. And if you suck too vigorously, as I'm wont to do, you can sometimes swallow the candy. While the danger of choking is hopefully minimal, the experience is seldom pleasant. I was reminded of this fact today when my mouth unilaterally decided to swallow a cough drop.

    This got me wondering, what if I did like hard candy? Which aspects of my personality would need to change in order to result in me liking hard candy instead of disliking it? I suspect that my preference is some sort of hard-coded anti-choking prejudice buried deep within my genome, or perhaps the irrational result of a quirky neuron flickering on and off within the recesses of my brain. In any event, the fact remains that my dislike of hard candy is a subconscious response…

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  4. It's all so Zen

    I'm not the first person to say this, certainly, but I'm far too lazy to Google for corroborating posts--strangely enough, if my ethical code ever collapses inward on itself,((Would this result in the formation of an ethical black hole?)) my laziness will always prevent me from plagiarizing. Writing my own stuff always seems easier than trying to find it, even with the miracle of the Internet.

    But I digress.

    Today's Internet phenomenon on the chopping block is Zen. The overuse of "zen" in product and website names throughout the Internet irks me--and I don't even practise Zen, so I can only imagine how those people who do feel about this.

    Firstly, don't blame Zen. That's tantamount to blaming Santa Claus for Coca-Cola. Much like Santa, Zen can't fight back.((Although in Santa's case, it's contractual, whereas Zen is an abstract, intangible concept and not a real person--which Santa IS.)) Secondly, yes, it is our fault. And by "we", I mean, us, those darn "Westerners" who have once again decided to co-opt an "Eastern" idea and market it as our own.((Like spaghetti. And communism.)) For shame.

    We stole Zen because we thought it was cool (and we are not). I…

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