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March 31, 2006

Spelling Bee

National Post publishes pictures of Canadian spelling bee champs.
To know the spelling of 17-letter word is neither more difficult nor
more useful than the ability to multiply 17-digit numbers. Surely, preparation
to Spelling Bee is less harmful and more useful than alcohol, stupid TV
or demonstrations against seal hunting. But studying math on higher level
is much more useful. Any high-school student who mastered any 2-nd year
University Math. Class is way smarter than all Spelling Bees together.

Posted by Victor at 12:23 PM

March 13, 2006

How I erased Bahen Building from the face of the Earth

No I am not a demolition expert or a terrorist.

But when I decided to put our Department to Google Earth, I gave its real address. At this time there was Bahen building to this address. So, I submitted our Department and began to wait. 1 month later I got a postcard from Google with a pin and confirmed our listing. And waited 1 month more, and our Department appeared on Google Earth, peacefully coexisting with Bahen. However a bit later both listings disappered probably because some bot found that they occupy the same address.

However a couple of days ago Department of Mathematics reappeared (listed now as `Active' rather than `Waiting for the next update' on the Google page for submitters) while Bahen has not (because folks who submitted it never confirmed the listing using the pin received from Google). Too bad for them.

Posted by Victor at 01:59 PM

March 10, 2006


Definitely expansion of Toronto subway to York University is long overdue and I welcome the provincial decision to support it, may be even 1-2 stops beyound. However, let us note that Steels/Yonge is even more congested and very important junction and extension of subway here and beyond is at least as important.

I believe that Scarborough subway-lite should be replaced by the proper extension of Bloor subway. Bloor subway should be extended also westward,

Also note that the stupid and egoistic opposition of then small-Toronto clique to North-York mayor Mel Lastman plans to build a proper Sheppard line resulted in the line which is too short. This line should be extended eastward to Scarborough where it should meet the extended Bloor line and westward to Downsview station and may be beyound, to Pearson International.

I think that Eglington line should be built as well.

Money for this definitely could be found if some of pet-projects of M2 (the current mayour of Toronto and premier of Ontario are abandoned).

Posted by Victor at 06:54 AM

March 09, 2006

Sudan genocide

To prevent genocide of africans in Sudan (South and Darfur) one needs to recognize the independence of these areas, provide the inhabitants with light weapons and enforce no-go zones for maradeuring Arab gangs.

One should not send NATO ground troops but rather use few AC-130 Spectre aircrafts, destroying first air forces of the Khartum clique.

Posted by Victor at 02:53 PM

March 06, 2006

Ethics ethics commissioner

Mr Bernard Shapiro, the federal ethics commissioner decvided to review the defection of David Emerson to the Conservative party and the role each of he and Stephen Harper, while failing to do the same when Scott Brison and Belinda Stronach went another way. Also he cleared Mr. Ujjal Dosanjh who approached MP Gurmant Grewal to solicit defection of the latter and his wife Nina who was also MP.

Note that David Emerson recruitment had sense (in contrast to all the previous cases where corruption could be seen by a naked eye): to keep trade negotiations with USA on fast track. While Conservators could find one of their own qualified for this job, David Emerson had an advantage of already being involved.

So, the biggest question here is the ethics of the ethics commissioner.
Should the special commissioner (ethics ethics commissioner) be appointed to watch after this?

Posted by Victor at 07:25 AM

March 05, 2006


Recently former Liberal government reduced income tax rate in the lower tax bracket (< $35,595) from 16% to 15%. Now Conservative government thinks about restoring 16% and Liberals and their chherleaders suggest that taking back what gave to an average Canadian family ~$500 would be a bad blow against the most vulnerable. Really?

Actually it is even more : $540 per year but

only to the families where there are two earners with $35,595 and more. One earner got only $270 extra, and if there was an unworking spouse, it was less by $73 and each kid who was the full-time student at post-secondary institution reduced this by $50 because non-refundable tax credit rate was also reduced.

So, Mr Johns who had a non-working wife and a kid at University got a meager amount $150. And Ms Smith who is the loner with $15,000 income got only $70. These people are more vulnerable than those who were considered by Liberals as the most vulnerable. On the other hand, increase of the personal and sposal exemption by $1000 would give to Mr Johns $320 and to Ms Smith $160. And a larger increase of the personal/spousal exemptions would be a better deal even for the extreme case of two earners with no kids at the University.

I am not even mention the planned planned GST reduction, textbook tax credit and other things.

The other problem with the current 15% lower bracket tax rate is that it is very biased against families with one big earner. Due to the difference between the personal and spousal exemptions and between 15% in the lower bracket and 22% in the next (35,595-71,190) the family of two of $35,595 earners pays by $1,400 less than the family of two earning $71,190 + $0. The difference between 15% and 22% is two large. Even between 16% and 22% was too large in comparison between 22% and 26% in the next bracket.

So, my advice: go back to 16% and increase personal/spousal exemptions and the $5,000 limit of the educational amount which could be transferred from a child, each by $1,000. Or even better by $2,000 increasing lower tax brackets rate to 17% which would be more consistent with other rates.

And good people of Regina-Wascana: it was Mr. Ralph Goodale who aired $500 BS. So next time send him not to Parlament but rather to school (no, I do not mean the University, but Junior High where he will learn how to count properly).

Posted by Victor at 04:54 PM