Assorted Udderances take a pull offa Ben's pipe


Customers vs. sales transactions

Today the CBC reports that Tim Horton's will close its storied shop in Kandahar:

After having served 2.5 million customers over the last five years, the Tim Hortons [sic] location in Kandahar, Afghanistan will close at the end of the month. […] Since opening on Canada Day in 2006, the Kandahar Tim Hortons [sic] served four million cups of coffee, three million donuts and half a million iced cappuccinos and bagels, the company said in a release Thursday.

I presume that the writer means 2.5 million sales transactions, not 2.5 million customers. Given the unique geopolitical nature of the location, I would wager that most of those transactions were made by a small number of regularly returning customers (each of whom no doubt bought a net many more than the mean of 1.6 cups suggested by the figures).

If I have a small business selling coffee, and a solitary dedicated fellow comes into my shop three times a day for a year, have I served a thousand customers, or just one?


Canada votes in favour of asbestos

CBC reports that "Opposition MPs slammed the Harper government Thursday over Canada's opposition to putting chrysotile asbestos on an international list of hazardous chemicals."

It goes on to say that a spokesman for the UN's environment program stated that "David Sproule, the head of Canada's delegation, told participants that «Canada is not in a position to agree to the listing of chrysotile asbestos … at this conference of the parties»".

If accurate, then Sproule's remark is obviously a lie. By having the capacity to vote, Canada is in a position to agree. It has simply chosen not to.

The decision is repugnant, and typically illustrative of the Steven Harper government's lack of moral compass.


Embracing a single point of failure

As Marco Arment says in this piece about Twitter (specifically, the impact of its recent whimsical change to authentication requirements, though the observation applies generally):

These are the risks that you take when you base your personal happiness or your business on a single, irreplaceable, young, evolving third-party service.

The same can be said for Facebook, or those silly "URL shorteners", or Gmail, or any number of other no-cost fad services that seem to become so popular.

Commonfolk can always be counted upon for short-sighted feelings of entitlement.


The Sad, Beautiful Fact That We’re All Going To Miss Almost Everything

A good essay on culture and the philosophy of being well-read. (NPR, via


The user experience of lost luggage

Nadyne Richmond testifies to the typically poor handling of lost luggage by airlines (and the process for unlost-luggage delivery in general).


New airport fondling; no gay military

Two pieces of evidence this week alone that the U.S.A. is still a third-world country ideologically:

Unreal. It's interesting to observe that many of the country's irrational hang-ups involve sexual themes.


Mike Rugnetta’s Little Rights Management Story

Here's a cautionary tale about ASCAP, the musicians' performing rights union in the States (up here, we have a counterpart called SOCAN).

Apparently, they have been actively campaigning against Creative Commons and other similar movements.

Mike Rugnetta, a New York musician, disagrees with their politics — but ASCAP refuses to let him quit his membership!

Filed under: Law, Linkage, Music No Comments

Goat kills man in Washington state

From the CBC News:

A mountain goat […] fatally gored a hiker, then stood over the man and stared menacingly at people trying to help. […]

Robert Boardman, 63, of Port Angeles died Saturday after he was attacked by the goat while hiking on the subalpine Switchback Trail. The trail is popular with residents of nearby Port Angeles, about 140 kilometres west of Seattle.

[…] "This is a highly unusual. There's no record of anything similar in this park," [said park official Barb Maynes.]

[…] Park officials have posted signs at trailheads warning hikers to be watchful of all goats and to stay at least 30 metres from the animals. Hikers are also warned not to urinate on or near the trail, because goats are attracted to the salt.

A necropsy, or animal autopsy, was conducted on the goat Sunday night by private veterinary pathologists. Park officials are awaiting test results of blood and tissue samples, which may take a couple of weeks, Maynes said.


Pancreas vs. Corn on the Cob

The ornament of her might presents a curiously satisfying comparison.

Filed under: Linkage No Comments

Retail pants size lies

It is apparently commonplace amongst popular retail clothiers to misrepresent the size of pants.

This revelation both disgusts me, briefly surprises me, and then after a moment of reflection doesn't surprise me at all.