1. Exports

    June 27, 2007 by Craig

    There are some goods and services that, for various reasons, you just can’t get in Canada: warm weather in January, pictures of yourself hugging Mickey Mouse, a view of the Mona Lisa. If you want those, you have to travel to some other place.

    You can also add doctor-assisted suicide to that list. Unlike the others though, getting that service will get your loved ones questioned by police… and, if the lobbyists have their way, arrested, charged, tried, convicted, and imprisoned.

    This service is obviously in demand (Sue Rodriguez made big headlines for weeks back when I was in high school). There’s some very sound ethical arguments for allowing it. But the laws in Canada don’t allow for it, potentially to the point of prosecuting those who seek the service off of Canadian soil.

    Something else to note: by forcing assisted-suicide seekers to foreign countries, you in turn:

    • Limit its availability to those who can afford the travel expenses.
    • Limit its availability to those who can physically make the trip — thus forcing a life-or-death decision earlier than would otherwise be required.

    I don’t think that that serves much purpose.


  2. Happy Canniversary

    June 25, 2007 by Craig

    As of yesterday I’ve been back living in Canada for one year. Over all it’s really good to be back.

    The most notable improvements, in my experience, are:

    1. The friendliness and competency of the average stranger (the people you meet on the street, on the road, at the check-out, and at the customer service call center).
    2. The general positive attitude of the people.
    3. The lack of social/cultural/political division and conflict.
    4. Affinity for nature, expressed through outdoor activity and concern for the environment.
    5. The number of days with pleasant weather.
    6. Not having to jump through hoops to appease the immigration police.
    7. The unopressiveness of the health care system. We’re getting better care thusfar without the high premiums and threat of bankruptcy-inducing medical bills.

    The most notable declines:

    1. The lack of access to good online retailers.
    2. Worse restaurants overall.
    3. Fewer options for air travel.

    I’ll note that a lot of this is regional (Calgary vs. Ft. Lauderdale) rather than national (Canada vs. USA), but a lot of it does apply elsewhere in both cases.

    We’re both very happy to be here. 🙂


  3. A common occurrence

    June 24, 2007 by Craig

    Craig: [chortles]
    Laura: “Whatcha laughing at?”
    Craig: “A very technical joke
    Laura: [disappointed] “Awwwww.” (after a few of these, she now knows better than to ask)
    Craig: [chortles some more]
    Laura: [feeling left out] “Then stop laughing!”
    Laura: [reads the joke]
    Laura: “…forget it” [shakes head]


  4. Teenagers at Work

    June 5, 2007 by Craig

    One stereotype is that teenagers are lazy and carefree, but this study says otherwise:

    Canadian teens averaged 7.1 hours of unpaid and paid labour per day in 2005 – a 50-hour work week, virtually the same as that of adult Canadians aged 20 to 64 doing the same activities.

    Personally, I felt a pretty big burden lift once I’d graduated college; there was no longer any project or paper looming in the near future which required weekend or evening attention. I now had legitimate time off. It was a wonderful realization.

    Paid work is a big thing right now for teens too. Calgary has a tremendous labour shortage going on right now, and most of Western Canada (and perhaps further east) is in a similar situation. With demand for labour rising (taking wages along with it), people who wouldn’t work otherwise are drawn into the labour force… and a big part of that pool is teenagers in high school. I see them all over the place in retail jobs; some look around 14. That wasn’t the case when I was that age; finding a job was difficult (as there were plenty of out-of-work adults with experience who would work full-time for those low-end jobs) so most of my peers and I didn’t bother.

    For me, the most distasteful part of the article is this:

    Homework was the most time-consuming unpaid activity for teens, with 60 per cent averaging two hours, 20 minutes every day.

    When you consider that most homework (especially at the high school level) is unproductive busy-work, this amounts to a huge loss of productivity and an increased stress burden. That doesn’t benefit anybody.


  5. Every Medical TV Show You’ve Seen Is Wrong

    by Craig

    Or, at least, moreso:

    With this realization came another: that standard emergency-room procedure has it exactly backward. When someone collapses on the street of cardiac arrest, if he’s lucky he will receive immediate CPR, maintaining circulation until he can be revived in the hospital. But the rest will have gone 10 or 15 minutes or more without a heartbeat by the time they reach the emergency department. And then what happens? “We give them oxygen,” Becker says. “We jolt the heart with the paddles, we pump in epinephrine to force it to beat, so it’s taking up more oxygen.” Blood-starved heart muscle is suddenly flooded with oxygen, precisely the situation that leads to cell death. Instead, Becker says, we should aim to reduce oxygen uptake, slow metabolism and adjust the blood chemistry for gradual and safe reperfusion.

    From To Treat the Dead, via JWZ. Also:

    Becker also endorses hypothermia—lowering body temperature from 37 to 33 degrees Celsius—which appears to slow the chemical reactions touched off by reperfusion. He has developed an injectable slurry of salt and ice to cool the blood quickly that he hopes to make part of the standard emergency-response kit.

    “Give me 10CC of IV margarita mix, stat!”