Another way to count the vote


Canada isn’t the only nation having an election in May. Folks in the United Kingdom go to the polls on May 5th — and when they do, they’ll not only be selecting their leaders, they’ll be voting on a referendum to change they way votes are counted. And this has the chance to really make your trip to the polling station, and the act of casting a vote, much more valuable.

You see, I find this interesting as I’d never really considered weighting my vote before. Yes, it makes perfect sense to rank your candidates in order of preference, but for some reason, it’s just not done here. If it were, I’d have much more interest in finding out more about the candidates in my riding and voting for the person, instead of the party or the leader.

If you’re wondering what I’m talking about, check out this video explaining the United Kingdom referendum on the voting process.

Note, this is a paid post (I get pennies per view; but only if you’re viewing the video from the UK) but frankly, I think it’s an interesting enough concept that we in Canada should look at and consider this type of system. I think it would make me feel that my vote is more meaningful.

Your thoughts?

Calling All Scientists – Google Science Fair Entry Deadline Looms

Well there’s only 5 days left (as I write this) for students world-wide complete their experiments, write-up their summaries, and create their supporting video (or slide presentation) for entry into the Google Science Fair (

I’m really looking forward to seeing the creativity shown in these entries — especially any that relate to living in a northern climate (yes, winter is going on way too long up here this year).

I’m also kind-of envious, one of the prizes is really awesome:

The Grand Prize winner(s) plus one parent or guardian per winner will win an amazing 10 day trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions. Traveling aboard the National Geographic Endeavour the winner(s) will visit Darwin’s living laboratory and experience up-close encounters with unique species such as flightless cormorants, marine iguanas, and domed giant tortoises.

And yes, back in the day, we didn’t have Science Fairs quite this cool, or technology quite this sophisticated to work with.

But just entering this contest exposes contestants to many of the base concepts of modern science; experimenting, learning, failing, trying again, and reporting on your results, all things that modern scientists do today.

Some days, I think i was born too soon. Oh, and check out this video for a bit more inspiration and information about Google’s Science Fair.

This is a sponsored post.

Sponsored post – Lunchster helps you organize your lunch dates

The following is a sponsored post, commissioned by Lunchster, via Izea. Though this is a paid post, the words and ideas below are mine.

Hooking up with friends for lunch has always been a bit of a challenge for me, and I’ve always been looking for a way to make it easier. I don’t often write sponsored posts on my blog, but this opportunity came up and it looks like an application I’ll use, so of course I wanted to share 😉

Lunchster launched (sorry) in beta today at DEMO fall ’09, a conference / tradeshow where, in the words of the conference organizers:

Each company is given just six minutes on the DEMO stage to truly demonstrate how their product will change the world. No PowerPoint or flashy corporate presentations allowed. Just the founders and the technologies many are staking their careers on… it doesn’t get any more straightforward and fast paced than that.

Time for Lunchster
Basically, Lunchster acts as virtual assistant that coordinates lunch dates between me and my friends using email, online calendaring programs (Google Calendar, etc) and even Facebook.

The process works like this:

  1. Sign up and log into Lunchster
  2. Either let Lunchster import your contact list, or manually enter email addresses of your lunch-mates
  3. Select a time, date and place for your lunch
  4. Confirm and send out the invitations

Lunchster does the rest. All your contacts will receive email invitations to your lunch, and can reply accordingly. If a date doesn’t work out, all contacts can tweak the lunch date or decline. Lunchster does all the work and you don’t have to coordinate email, IM, tweets, etc. It’s all in Lunchster.

My Take-away
Lunchster is cool. The interface is a little rough around the edges, but I really liked the way I could set up a lunch appointment — the application uses Yelp! to aid with restaurant choice, and works with my existing calendaring tools (Google Calendar and Outlook).

I’m not a big fan of allowing applications free access to my contact list (though Lunchster does say in multiple places that they don’t save my password, etc). Big points to Lunchster for allowing me to manually enter my lunch-buddies email addresses.

I guess the hard part for me is to get into the habit of using another application. As long as I remember to use it, I’ll use Lunchster the next time I need to coordinate a lunch.

You can join the Lunchster beta (it seems open) or follow @lunchster on Twitter, to keep up to date.

The preceding was a sponsored post for Lunchster.
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