Monday, 1 August 2011

New York City Cougar

(Reuters) - A mountain lion was killed just 70 miles from New York City in June and officials were trying to determine if it was the same big cat spotted earlier roaming the posh New York City suburb of Greenwich, Connecticut.

The big cat was struck and killed by a vehicle on a Connecticut highway.

As a result of DNA testing, biologists have determined that the 140 lb male cougar originated in the Black Hills of South Dakota. DNA samples collected in Minnesota and Wisconsin in late 2009 and early 2010 proved an exact match, and document part of his 1,500 to 1,800 mile journey.

Ironically, the US government officially declared the "Eastern Cougar" extinct earlier this year.

Here's one of the many online articles on this story:

Many of the articles I've read about this cougar being killed noted that the cat was hit by a Hyundai Tucson, a 2006 model no less! What relevance such information has, is still lost on me. I can't figure out why they neglected to tell us the color of the vehicle.

This comes on the heels of a female cougar being captured in Tulsa, Oklahoma in April. DNA testing showed that she too was from the Black Hills.

These occurrences should get an objective person thinking about whether a distinct eastern subspecies could have ever existed. The amount of genetic exchange would have ensured that cougars west to east, were and are, essentially the same animal.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Supportin' Morton!

From Don Braid's column in the Calgary Herald, Saturday, July 23rd:

PC leadership candidate Ted Morton, who calls for much stronger stands in federal provincial relations, says he wouldn't do it that way:

"You strengthen the (Conservative) party by setting the record straight," he says. "You also help Ontario by setting the record straight - and you help the Hudak Tories there, too."

Read more:

Now, I was handed that column to read while helping my wife at the Millarville Farmer's Market where she sells her photographic art each Saturday during the summer months. A farmer's market is instructive for it's lessons in economics. Lessons liberal politicians, like Ontario's McGuinty would do well to learn.

When my wife sells one of her pieces at the market, two important things happen. First, we have currency which we can exchange for goods and services of equal value (And in a free market, we get to decide which goods and services meet that criteria, but that's a discussion for another day.). Second, we gain confidence that she can provide something of value, and as a result our confidence (consumer confidence) goes up. As a result of our confidence with the newly acquired currency in hand, visit our fellow vendors, buy our vegetables, eggs, etc.

When we sell less, the opposite happens, and they sell less.

Similarly, when Alberta does well, the rest of Canada benefits. The Alberta oilfield is full of pickup trucks, they weren't made here.

Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty doesn't comprehend very basic economics and is oblivious to the fact that Ontario is now one of the "have-not" provinces and now receives billions from Alberta via equalization.

Ironically, back when Ontario was a net contributor to "equalization" McGuinty was advocating for it's demise.

I'm confident that Ontario voters will demonstrate that they have a much better grip on reality than their Premier, by how they cast their votes come October.

His reward for making Ontario a "have-not" province will be to "have-not" the job of Premier.

Back here in Alberta, I'll be Supportin' Morton, because Ted Morton is the one leadership hopeful that understands that what's good for Alberta, is good for Canada.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Share This

After a frustrating weekend where I spent too much time trying to install the Facebook "Like" button on our AlbertaHunt website ( the IFrame version messed up my table based layout) and reading about other people's similar frustrations on various forums, I was starting to think it wasn't really worth the trouble.

I managed to get the Facebook "Like" button on to the 2010 Photo Album page, where the layout is different and test it satisfactorily.

Last night I came across ShareThis ( They provide you with an all-in-one widget that lets users share web content easily with all the social networks they use with just a couple of clicks.

Needless to say, I've installed the widget and am now testing it out.

Hopefully some of you will visit the site (The link is at the top of the sidebar on the right of this blog.) and give it a try.

Monday, 18 July 2011

Google AdWords Reseller Rant

My first blog post ever; and it's a rant. Today I had another phone call from a Google AdWords reseller. I'm annoyed by their misleading sales pitches, designed to imply that they work with/for Google.

I know many people get taken by this BS and I want to do my part to prevent it from happening to more folks, so making sure those folks are well informed is the starting point and hence this post.

I know the pitch all too well after having received dozens of such calls over the last couple of years; "we'll put you on the top of Google", "we market the top 3 spots on Google" etc. all this for a flat rate regardless of how many click-throughs. Trouble is when you want to pick the keyword (search phrase) that will get you qualified traffic, they start back peddling.

That's because from what I've seen, they "Get you to number one in Google", as they define it by using low demand, low traffic, low cost keywords and charge you a flat rate monthly fee (obviously at a mark-up). When I ask "Why wouldn't I just pay for the clicks I get, wouldn't that be cheaper?", that's when the real obfuscation starts.

Today's salesman couldn't answer any questions directly and skirted around the question of whether they were AdWords resellers, I made it clear that I wasn't interested if that was the case.

Eventually, he got mad, told me I "didn't know what I was talking about" and hung up. A victory for the truth I guess. I may never forgive Google for letting this crap take place. "Do No Evil" extends to your surrogates as well.