"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

Archive for May 2013

Laptop Safety Tips

leave a comment »

A spring maintenance and safety tip for laptop computer owners.

Laptop and netbook computers are extremely common, but are well enough made that few of us realize the high operating temperature of electronic components inside the computer.

Modern laptops have processors and video cards/processors that operate in the 50°C to 70°C range (122 to 158°F). If you’re technically inclined and want to figure out what temperature your laptop (or desktop) is running at, free programs like SpeedFan allow you to monitor internal temperatures.

Those normal operating temperatures are hot enough to burn, but the case, cooling and placement of hot components inside the case help to keep those temperatures away from skin. (temps above about 130°F will burn skin)

As laptops have become more powerful, the amount of heat that needs to be moved away from the electronics has increased. Laptops use a complex system of heat sinks, heat pipes (the copper tube below) and a fan or fans to dump that waste heat outside the case. Heat is the enemy of electronics.

laptop cooling systemAs laptops age, the fine cooling channels in the heat sink gets clogged up with lint and dirt, which reduces the effectiveness of the cooling system. As a laptop starts to run hotter, you’ll start to notice performance problems – things will slow down, the fan will run all the time quite loudly, and you may see black bars across the display (a sign the video circuit is overheating). The final warning sign is when your laptop starts to unexpectedly shut down, a safety measure designed to limit permanent damage to the circuitry (which happens around 100°C).

When a laptop heat sink gets that clogged up, it needs to be disassembled and cleaned from the inside out.

It is really important that the cooling vents (usually on the bottom, sides and back of the laptop) are left open whenever the laptop is being used, charged, or left in sleep mode. Laptops in sleep mode continue to generate heat (albeit at a lower rate) so cooling is still important. Laptops should never be placed in sleep mode (with the lid closed) and put back into a carrying case, as the heat will have no place to escape.

Most importantly, laptops should never be used or left on soft surfaces or fabric such as sofas or beds, as this will block the cooling vents. Laptops left unattended on soft surfaces while on or even only in sleep mode do have the potential to start fires.

I always recommend the purchase of a laptop cooling pad for use under the computer – it makes it more comfortable to use, protects your lap and increases the life of the laptop electronics by helping to quickly clear the waste heat.

The same caution does not directly apply to tablet computers such as the iPad or the Surface tablet, as these are designed to operate without airflow. However, I wouldn’t leave my iPad wrapped up inside a comforter.

(BTW, I’m aware of Snopes’ comments on laptop fires – be cautious, just because Snopes is in the business of debunking urban myths doesn’t mean they’re always right.  House fires have been started by otherwise fine laptops…and even if they do have safety shutdown circuitry do you want to trust your safety to a mass-produced safety feature?  I think that sometimes Snopes is so eager to debunk that they go a bit too far…another example is their comment on cell phones and gas station fires.  Just because there hasn’t been a fire started by a cell phone at a gas station, does not mean cell phones are safe to use while pumping gas.  Their comment about cell phone batteries providing less current as compared to a car battery is true, but it doesn’t mean a cell phone battery has insufficient charge to cause a spark that could ignite flammable vapours (it does).  Modern Li-ion batteries contain a lot of electrochemical energy…which is why you never want to short-circuit a cell phone or laptop battery.  It’s also true that a car battery provides less current than generator #2 at Niagara Falls, but that doesn’t mean you are safe to touch your tongue to your car battery to see if its charged.)


Written by sameo416

May 22, 2013 at 4:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Chris Hadfield and a Canadian Acoustic Guitar on the ISS

leave a comment »

I didn’t realize that the small body acoustic Chris Hadfield was playing during his recent ISS stay was a Larrivee Parlor guitar, made here in Canada (Vancouver to be precise). I wonder how on earth NASA ended up buying something other than a US-made axe.

You can watch Hadfield at the Larrivee factory in this YouTube video.

Written by sameo416

May 21, 2013 at 10:07 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Niagara Anglican Bishop sues blogger for defamation

leave a comment »

The bishop of Niagara, Michael Bird, is suing an Anglican blogger for defamation.

An outrageous action, but then I stopped being surprised by the actions of the corporate church in about 2006.  Just to be clear, a definition, from the Canadian Bar Association (BC Branch):

What is defamation?
Defamation is communication about a person that tends to hurt the person’s reputation. Defamation is a strict liability tort, which means that the intentions of the defamer are not relevant.  The communication must be made to other people, not just to the person it’s about. The statement must be false to be classified as defamation. If it is spoken, then defamation is termed “slander”.  If it is written, it is termed “libel”. It can also be a gesture, which is a type of slander.

The law protects your reputation against defamation. If someone defames you, you can sue them to pay money (called “damages”) for harming your reputation. You have to sue in Supreme Court, not Provincial Court, and you have to sue within 2 years of the defamation.  It is not relevant the timing of when you discovered the defamation.  Rather, the limitation period commences on the date the defamatory statement was made or published.

The law doesn’t protect you from a personal insult or a remark that injures only your pride; it protects reputation, not feelings. So if someone calls you a lazy slob, you might be hurt, but you probably don’t have a good reason to sue. If he goes on to say you cheat in your business dealings, you probably do have a good reason to sue, as long as he says it to someone else, not just to you. If he says it only to you, you can’t sue because he has not hurt your reputation.

The allegedly defamed bishop is seeking $400,000 in damages plus legal costs.  Wow, that’s a lot of bibles.

From the bishop’s statement of claim as printed in the Anglican Journal article:

The bishop’s statement of claim alleges that Jenkins’ words “in their natural and ordinary meaning meant and were understood to mean that he ‘is a weak and ineffectual leader and that his actions were motivated by avarice or financial gain…a thief…has a sexual fetish…[and] is an atheist and heretic bent on the destruction of Christianity.’ ”

Here’s a little problem with the secular courts approach (aside from the biblical prohibition, that is).  Defamation involves false statements that injure  a person’s reputation.  The court case will probably require both sides to present arguments for and against the assertion that the bishop is a ‘weak and ineffectual leader’ and ‘an atheist and heretic bent on the destruction of Christianity’.  I’m also wondering what attendance figures in the diocese look like, since that could form a valid factual basis for an argument for or against ‘the destruction of Christianity’ depending on what the numbers show.  Personally, I would rather be defamed than have to submit myself to that kind of public scrutiny.

Outrageous.  At least I have some understanding why our secular society doesn’t pay the mainline church much attention.

One reason, we don’t pay any attention to our real articles of incorporation, like 1 Corinthians 6 (ESV):

Lawsuits Against Believers

6 When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases? Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life! So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded? But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers!

Reason 2: You’ll know we are Christians by our love (not by how we sue each other).

Reason 3: As I’ve often preached, being reviled is a part of the job description for a Christian.  From our Magna Carta, the Gospel of Matthew 5 (ESV):

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

The frightening part of this case is the chilling effect it may have on free speech in the blogsphere.  I wonder how many WordPress account users carry liability insurance?

Written by sameo416

May 6, 2013 at 8:36 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Urbane Adventurer: Amiskwacî

thoughts of an urban Métis scholar (and sometimes a Mouthy Michif, PhD)

Joshua 1:9

Reflection on life as a person of faith.

Engineering Ethics Blog

Reflection on life as a person of faith.


Today, the Future and the Past all kinda rolled up in one.


For Those Courageous in Standing for Truth


Law. Language. Culture.

Malcolm Guite

Blog for poet and singer-songwriter Malcolm Guite

"As I mused, the fire burned"

Reflection on life as a person of faith.