Four Things I’ve Learned in the Past 24 Hours
And four quick opinions about them.
Every day is a new one and every day brings something new, often many somethings. My news consumption is very eclectic, coming from an ever-shifting collection of sources. The internet is wonderful that way and can point you in directions you never thought of on your own. But it’s not often my hummingbird-style news gathering gives me a day where more than one or two things stand out.
The Speed of Light may not be absolute.
A group of scientists at CERN may have discovered neutrinos moving faster than the speed of light. It’s far too soon to get excited about it because there’s a lot of checking and experiment duplication that needs to go on, but haven’t you always hoped c might not be an absolute barrier, that maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to visit other solar systems someday without taking centuries or millennia to get there? If it bears out, this is truly world- and physics-changing news. If it doesn’t, we’re no worse off than we were before, right?
REM is breaking up.
After 31 years and 15 albums, the members of REM have decided that it’s time to retire as a band. This made me a bit melancholy as I listened to a lot of their music when I was in my 20s. I’m forty now, and there are still a couple of REM songs on my I-pod, granted they’re from the 80s. But it’s an unusual thing for anyone to be happy doing the same thing for three decades, even if that’s being a rock star. Maybe some of them will do solo work and maybe not, but they’ve all got their own lives to live. I put Eponymous in the CD player for a while the day I heard.
Clifford Olson has died of cancer.
It’s incredibly rare that I’m glad to hear of someone’s death, but Clifford Olson is absolutely the exception. Possibly the most reviled man in modern Canadian history, the world is a better place without him and I absolutely mean that. I don’t easily hate anyone, but doing anything to deliberately harm a child puts you on my hate list, and Olson, who raped and murdered 11 kids (that he confessed to) was right at the top of that list. I can only imagine the stress every parent in the country must have been going through at the time. My parents hid that from us pretty well, even though Olson was caught less than an hour’s drive from where we were living at the time. Maybe the families of his victims can rest easier and finally grieve properly.
In Canada, it will soon be better to be a child molester than a pothead.
In related news, if the Conservative Omnibus crime bill passes (and we’ve got a majority government, so way wouldn’t it?), enterprising young potheads will get longer minimum sentences than child molesters. It’s true. Growing 201-500 pot plants (what’s considered a medium-sized grow up) in a rental unit will be worth a mandatory minimum jail time of 18 months. The same legislation sets minimum sentencing to one year for sexually assaulting a child, luring a child via the Internet or involving a child in bestiality. The maximum sentence for growing weed goes up to 14 years, coincidentally equal to the maximum set for using a weapon during the rape of a child, and actually four years higher than for sexually assaulting a child with no weapons involved. And these are the douchebags we’re letting run the country?
Every day the world changes
And every day I learn a little more about that world. Some good, and some not so good. The balance for this 24-hour period unsettles me.