Category Archives: Random Rant

Some Facts and Folklore about Christmas

  • Christmas in Old English is Crīstesmæsse and means “Christ’s MassChristmas Tree 2013
  • The actual birth day, month and year of Jesus not known.  It is estimated among modern historians to have been between 7 and 2 BC
  • Western Christian Church started to associate the date of December 25th with Christmas only in the 4th Century and was not adopted by the Eastern Christian Church until much later.
  • The date of December 25th was associated with Julian calendar, which corresponds to January in the modern-day Gregorian calendar.
  • The general impression is that date of Christmas may have been chosen to correspond with the day exactly nine months after early Christians believed Jesus to have been conceived.  This is highly unlikely as that date is not known.
  • The more likely scenario is that December 25th is associated with one or more ancient polytheistic festivals that occurred near southern solstice and Roman winter solstice.
  • This is highly ironic as the Roman Empire was responsible for the torture, crucifixion and execution of Jesus.
  • The celebratory customs associated with Christmas are a hodge-podge of Roman, Pagan, Christian and Secular themes and origins.
  • Some of the celebrations such as the family meals and carols were traditions of pagan farmers’ winter solstice celebrating the fact that they did not have to do as much work in the wither and praying for a good upcoming farming year as the winter was coming to an end and spring was about to arrive.
  • One of the major Roman festivals that inflamed Christmas was Saturnalia in honor of the deity Saturn, held on December 17th of the Julian calendar and later expanded with festivities through December 23rd
  • Yule or Yuletide (“Yule time”) was another historical festival that was celebrated around the same time by Nordic Pagans and Germanic peoples.  During this festival people burned a large Yule log that burned for days and possibly attributes to the more modern traditional twelve-days of Christmas.
  • Some of the Christmas icons including the trees, lights, garlands, wreaths, mistletoe date back to pre-Christian times.
  • Figures like Santa Claus and the nativity scene have since been introduced by Christians.
  • Activities such as Christmas cards and gift-giving are part of a significant event to promote a key sales period for retailers and businesses.
  • The impact of Christmas sales has now become a recognized economic theory that is studies and taught as a one of the major factors that drives modern Western Consumerism.

If A Man Asks What Women Have Been Asking For Centuries, Will Men Finally Listen?

This is a powerful message delivered by our own Vancourite poet Jeremy Loveday.  Please re-post, re-blog, re-tweet freely.

Pirate Bay Co-founder’s Appeal His Hacking Conviction

pirate-bay-logoIn June 2013 The Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm Warg was sentenced for two years in prison by a District Court in Sweden for hacking into the mainframe system that provided tax services to the Swedish government.

Gottfrid is now appealing this court decision by claiming that his computer was remotely controlled by other individuals.

The Swedish District Court may or may not entertain his appeal.  However, the appeal itself poses quite an interesting question of how responsible and accountable should individuals be to ensure the security of their computers.

Would the accountability of an individual who leaves their computer unsecured which is then hacked into and used to commit all sorts of cyber crimes not be the same as an individual leaving their gun out in the open for someone to steal and then use to commit all sorts of physical crimes?

In any event, the war is not over for Gottfrid.  If denied, he can always take his appeal up to the Swedish Supreme Court.

Wasteful Reading

IMG-20130826-00105I would like to think that we all do our part of making our city green.  We are Vancouverites after all; and we have all bought into Gregor Robertson’s agenda of making Vancouver the greenest city in North America – if not the planet… right?

So why is it then, that during morning commute, we casually litter our transit lines with rag newspapers without any remorse or accountability?

This morning while commuting to work on the Expo Line, I witnessed an older and somewhat respectable-looking person take a Vancouver 24 hrs from one of the human-newspaper-dispensers.  This person then flipped through the pages as he sat in the seat next to me; and while preparing to exit the train at his desired station, he cleanly folded the newspaper, jammed it into the space between the two seats in front and made his way out of the Skytrain.

Now, dare I ask… Is this respectful behaviour?  Did this person really have recycling, reuse and sustainment as his intent, with the thought that the next person who sat in his seat would pull out the jammed newspaper to read?  Most likely not…

In over ten years that I have been using the Skytrain system in Vancouver, I have often found rag newspapers littering the seats and the floors of trains and I have rarely seen someone pick them up to re-read them.  I suppose we all like our morning news fresh – unread and untainted by others’ eyes and hands.

So, if our city is to ever attain that coveted green entitlement, is there a need for this wasteful reading behaviour to change?  If so, how can this be achieved?

Until reading electronically gets to a point that we have completely done away with consuming our daily rag news on paper, should the publishers who employ hundreds of people to stand in front of the Skytrain stations to dispense these papers also be responsible for collecting them to be recycled at the end of the day?  Should the city not do its part by somehow discouraging this uninhibited dispensing and littering of paper?

800-year-old Cedar Tree Vs. Snakehead Fish

I recently read and was appalled by the news article about an 800-year-old red cedar tree in Carmanah Walbran Provincial Park on Vancouver Island, BC being hacked up and hauled away by poachers.

It appears that the same poachers had unsuccessfully tried to chainsaw the tree down and steal it one year ago. In doing so they had damaged the tree quite significantly and BC Parks eventually had to cut the tree down as it created a hazard to public and park safety.

What is surprising is that BC Parks “left on the ground to decompose and provide habitat for insects and wildlife”.

Knowing full well that this would provide poachers with the perfect opportunity, was that really the smartest thing for BC Parks to do?

The poachers, of course, returned, conveniently cut the tree up and hauled it away; and in the process destroyed other wilderness as they dragged pieces of the tree away.

This is a perfect example of short-sightedness, ignorance and stupidity on behalf of BC Parks who spent the tax payers money to not only facilitate the tree theft but also further destruction of the habitat around it.

While this story was taking shape an anonymous posting was made on YouTube of a snakehead fish being spotted in what appeared to be a lake in Burnaby, BC.

To me, the story of the the illegal logging and theft of the cedar tree was a little sad; the enabling actions of BC Parks in their ignorance was a bit ridiculous; but what was really appalling was the fact that CBC radio dedicated almost an entire day covering the ever-so-trusted YouTube post of some random snakehead fish in some random lake; while not a sentence of airtime was dedicated for the 800-year-old cedar tree.

CBC did cover the story on their web site and so did the National Post; but the story of the snakehead fish did not only get the attention from local journalism cornerstones like The Vancouver Sun and The Globe And Mail, it reared it head all the way out East in the Toronto Star!

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