Microsoft and GitHub … looks like it’s heaven not hell

Keyboard backlit

Well, a couple of years have passed, Microsoft and GitHub are together, how do i see it now? Needless to say, I had many worries about this, and I wasn’t alone, so revisiting the subject two years down the path should be prudent and useful.

That is the question I will try to answer, for better or worse. GitHub is still around, rolled out a couple of new features, not unusual for an already mature system, to only roll out one of two new features every year, Microsoft has kept to it’s promise, from the looks of it, not to mess with it, and if any, Microsoft has greatly warmed to the ideas of open source and free software, released quite a few of it’s main products as open source, built the Linux subsystem for windows, for which it has been greatly praised by both the windows users and the open source community alike, became a member of the Linux foundation, and an actively contributing member at that, and really, I can keep on singing the praises of Microsoft even without feeling bad about it, Microsoft has truly turned the page on it’s stance on Linux and open source, that is great to see, not sure if buying GitHub was a cardinal part of that, or simply the consequence of it, and I may follow up on this question if I can get some input from people closely connected with both Microsoft and GitHub. We will see if I can get some input here.

So referencing my previous article, let me walk through some of the points I was writing about in it: The exodus did happen, many software groups left GitHub and in a way, a trickle of exodus is still happening, even two years from the main event, this is something that I consider now as an OK thing, If you don’t like GitHub, it’s ownership model, the fact that it is now Owned by a fortune 500 US company, the fact that as a result of that, it is affected by some of the trade restrictions resulting from the raging trade wars ongoing these days, and a slew of other objections, I am fine with those objections, I hold them as valid, and I consider the move to other git services, or self hosted solutions to be just fine.

The effects on Git-Lab where absolutely phenomenal, Git-Lab was set on fire, development of new features and capabilities took to a new level, I guess seeing the sudden and sustained demand drove this project in the right direction, they kept all the good things, and added some more awesome stuff. I am truly glad it turned out this way, Git-Lab, being a viable alternative even at the time, has expanded it’s offering, and bolstered it, proving that yes, not only they can grow with the demand, but even add more to that plate even during the times of plenty, needless to say, Git-Lab’s self hosted options did not lag behind, the team did not miss that one of the major selling/adoption points of their platform is in the self hosted sector, in which GitHub doesn’t have much of a footprint.

So what about the other platforms for git hosting , self or otherwise, well, I didn’t see much movement in the other projects, they are still around, I think all of them, maintained, but didn’t see new features, or any attempts to expand into the newly expanded? marketplace. That is unfortunate, I was hoping they would show more activity than they did in the past two years, but they didn’t.

So where are we today, well, GitHub is as good and viable as before, maybe the the goodness and viability have shifted a little bit, mainly due to the international trade wars situation, and the slew of discord around that, and the added features in the last two years, GitHub is still good stuff, if you want an alternative, Git-Lab is there, and it has gotten way better, in both the service arena and the self hosted arena, the others, didn’t play this round, they are still there, just skipped the round. My conclusion is, it was a match made in heaven, and now, two years down the road, things are better.

GitHub and Microsoft a match made in heaven … or hell

Last weekend, while I was surfing the tubes, I cam up about, what I considered as a plausible, but very bad rumor, that Microsoft is going to buy GitHub. At the time, I considered it very bad news, regardless weather it was true or not. Some people asked me why, I actually found it interesting that they asked, but hay, its the Internets, and that is how it works now. So here is my answer as I thought of it: considering that I didn’t know what exactly would Microsoft be buying, and there are a few things Microsoft could be buying short of the whole shebang. A: Microsoft is buying GitHub the software, as it is non-open-source, and would like to have the perpetual rights to it, and use it, modify it etc.. This would have no effect on GitHub ( the company or the service it is providing ), B: Microsoft is buying the whole shebang, GitHub the software, the company, the customer database, the storage arrays, the servers and everything else except the open-source stuff, git and Apache are not for sale so Microsoft can’t buy them.

So why is the B option bad? The B option is bad because, if you are a professional developer, or software company using GitHub for your source repository, and you happen to be working on “the next big thing”, whatever that may be, a standalone GitHub is neutral territory, a bit less good than self owned infrastructure, but at least it is neutral territory, GitHub does not care what you are developing, and does not feel the need to care. Microsoft on the other hand, could be your direct competitor, that you want to gain the software edge upon, and now, you would be shipping your code directly to them, and they would have physical access to it.

Needless to say, I wasn’t the only one having issue with it, and the full extent of the exodus from GitHub is yet to be determined. The primary recipient of the exodus ended up being Git-Lab, and with good reason, they are the other Online source safe system, not unlike GitHub, and functionally identical if not superior to GitHub itself. Now for one difference, Git-Lab the software is Open Source, and is self host-able, a bit heavy on the resources, but self host-able nevertheless. I am quite sure, many of those deciding to move that weekend, where simply reacting to a possible worst case scenario, and wanted to avoid the potential crunch when the news finally becomes official, creating a crunch as they did so, funny how that works.

So come the Monday, and the news was official, both Microsoft and GitHub announced that the news is true, Microsoft is Buying GitHub, the whole shebang, we are also told that Microsoft is not going to fiddle with GitHub much, apart from owning it of course. It is also announced that Microsoft is to pay 7.5Billion Dollars worth in stock, which is not as good as in US dollars, but hay, Microsoft stock is pretty good. A note here, I think 7.5B is a very good price, I think Microsoft really values what GitHub brings to the table, and this does not look like a pay as little as possible, and dump the thing into the ground kind of deal, so that looks promising. It does not change or reduce the potency of option B, and while this is clearly not a sky is falling type of event anymore, some may need to seek, and find a new solution for their software repository, either move it “in house” , expensive but more secure, or find some other provider to replace GitHub which, for many, Git-Lab was it, and I do think it would be a good choice, Git-Lab is quite functional, and has been reliable for a long time, so that is a good track record.

So, what are the options? The answer to that depends on who is asking the question, if you are developing an open source licensed project, more or less regardless of size, then just stay where you are, GitHub isn’t going anywhere, and new functionality may become available in the future.

If you are running a private repository, depending on how sensitive the code-base is to the eyes of a potential competitor, you may want to look for safer options, so here is a shortlist: Git-Lab , and they have some nifty migration tools too, give it a spin for sure. The other option is self-hosted, Git-Lab comes up on top here too, being all open source and free software, but do keep in mind, Git-Lab is a rather large installation with significant resource demands, It will run on a Raspberry pi3, but that’s about it, it is a very resource hungry system, but you will need something better than rpi3 to run it for even a small organization. So what are the other options if any? Gogs and Gitea , yep, they are forks, and they are written in GO. And they are both come as a single executable (more or less). They both run admirably on a Raspberry pi3, and are light on the resources compared to Git-Lab, putting them on a Digital ocean 5 dollar a month droplet will likely be sufficient for a small team. Tho I have to mention, they don’t have the same level of functionality as Git-Lab. There are several other solutions available, I did not examine them recently, but if your team is skilled enough, you can run a bare-bones git on a VPS or a VM, and get the job done just fine.

Pinebook 14 inch

After reading, hearing about the newly available development in Linux related hardware, namely, Linux compatible laptops that are, most importantly, cheap enough to afford without breaking the piggy bank, reasonably usable, and Linux compatible. Now, Linux compatibility has come a long way in recent years, many popular laptop manufacturers, and nearly all the desktop hardware is compatible with Linux these days, There are a few holdouts, but it is safe to say, if you can buy it in your local, or distant computer shop, it is very likely to work just fine with a recent version of Linux. The Pinebook, being advertised as a cheap laptop built using the Pine64 SBC is meant to run a Linux, or an Android if that is your preference. The bar being set low enough, as i mentioned, the Pinebook comes with 2 gigabytes of ram, WiFi, and a 15 gigabyte internal storage, i chose, as the title of the article would have already suggested, the 14 inch variant, the other one being the 11 inch one. I have seen 10-11 inch displays, not my thing when it comes to readability for me. The two sizes, apart from the size difference are the same in terms of technical specks, with the smaller one being even cheaper. I requested a 14 inch variant from the website, and was sent an e-mail confirming my request, and supplying me with a coupon code to complete my purchase a few weeks later, apparently there is a waiting list of sorts.

So i eagerly went to the website, punched in my credentials, and selected ny laptop, paid, and, because i chose DHL, i was able to track the movements of my purchase every minute, hour and day, until it got to my door. All in all, with shipping, taxes and customs, it ended up costing around $150CAD. Still way cheaper than anything else comparable in size or specks, even the cheapest chrome-books clock in at around $200+

After a short unboxing, it arrived in a large sized padded yellow envelop, the laptop itself was inside a plastic hard shell, a very good thing, since mine was shattered during shipping, saving the laptop from any subsequent damage. I am merely bringing it up, to help the with the shipping policy, yes, do keep the utterly ugly hard shell, it may save you a few returned, and badly smashed laptops.

The laptop arrived is good shape, not a scratch. And i was pleasantly surprised, a matte 14″ screen, very good quality, nice crisp breaking keys, not much travel, but nice, crisp definitive breaking keys. My laptop arrived fully charged, i have seen reviews who received a their laptop with a flat battery. So after finding the power button ( it is top right ), the Pinebook booted right away, prompted for login and was ready to use it. The Pinebook comes with Ubuntu MATE, arm64 ..
Using the gui updater unfortunately fails, and i haven’t figured out why, nor was I able fix this issue, however using the command-line apt-get update and apt-get upgrade sequence did the trick just fine. So a cosmetic problem, but would be nice if it was fixed and shipped with a working gui update for the novice user.

WiFi worked out of the box obviously, and still works fine after the updates, so that issue seems to have been fixed. The Pinebook does not have an rj45 Ethernet port, but i tested it using two USB-ethernet dongles and it picked them up and they both worked great. Bluetooth worked great, i have paired a Bluetooth mouse, and it consistently pairs after reboots, haven’t tried pairing a headset yet, but i will update the article when i do.

I played YouTube video, normal and hd, and it plays the normal size, full screen HD .. not so much, i am assuming the GPU is not fully utilized at this moment, my understanding is, the development team is working on GPU acceleration, which would greatly improve video and graphics performance and reduce system load when doing so.

The Pinebook does not get hot, in fact, after many hours of heavy load, it would only get slightly warmer than room temperature. Also, to note, the Pinebook is fan-less, so no noise when it is working, good for audio work, good for reading before sleeping, or operating on soft surfaces, since it has no ventilation slots that can be blocked.

I did experience some audio problems tho, the Pinebook has two down-firing speakers, they are reasonable quality and loudness for a quiet room, but when i plugged my headphones into the headphone jack, the speakers just kept going on, well that was odd, the function keys would mute the speakers, but the headphones would remain off, this is being worked on too, the current workaround is to use the available .. but command line, alsamixer to manage your audio transition from speaker to headphone and back, i guess there is some fixing to be done here.

Battery life is phenomenal tho, after a full 10 hours of use, i still had a 20% left in the battery, you can take this laptop with you all day, and never worry about the battery. Charging takes a bit longer, but this would be your run around laptop, that you will end up charging over-night. I am very comfortable with this battery. Apart from the adapter, you can buy a special USB charging cable to charge tour laptop from say a battery pack or a car usb outlet, just make sure your charging device is capable of more that 2A.

Trump’s first 100 days

No, I am not going to do a short ( very long ) list of what he destroyed, dismantled, repealed, defunded, abolished, cut, gutted and rendered inoperable in such a short time. Many other bloggers are keeping track of those. What I will try to do, is a projection of what the second 100 days of his presidency might end us all in. In effect, Trump has erased everything Obama managed to do in 8 years during these 100 days, and I think that was his target, he clearly could not stand Obama, and could not bear seeing anything he did left to stand, except maybe one thing, The bank bailout, yes, that one, if you still remember. Now for the next 100 days, I think he might do another Muslim ban, maybe after his first two attempts fail on appeals, maybe he would continue with these two all the way to the supreme court, now that he has his man placed, and make a stand there. But if these attempts and appeals fail, he is likely to institute a third Muslim ban. He is very likely to get into some tense situations with North Korea, maybe even some limited military exchange. Unlikely the Two men Kim and Donald, would resolve this in a diplomatic way, not within a hundred days. His relationship with Putin is obviously on the rocks at this moment, his inside men are exposed, mostly punted and the rest are running for cover, so I think the great Trump-Putin synergy dream is over for now. Trump may do some military action in the middle east, but I can’t see anything large scale or coordinated happening there for the next little while. What I do think tho, is a likelihood of some medium scale coordinated military action in Afghanistan, specially after dropping the MOAB ( what a name ) on ISIS stronghold there, he might decide to go in with some forces to mop up the field. Abortion rights and Gay marriage can come into his cross hairs, specially now that Gorsuch is in the supreme court, tho, to guarantee better results, he might need a second judge planted. If it ever looked murkier and darker than how it looks today, I certainly don’t remember the day. Venezuela may get embargoed, that is something that could happen in the next 100 days, but likely not to be implemented before the end of the 100 days. The full consequences of the French elections are yet to be determined, since the parliamentary elections are yet to take place, and the outcome of those can be even more significant than the presidential elections. German elections are on the horizon too, the outcome of those are very hard to predict at this point. Putin could  flip the tables, and decide to take a topless horse-ride across the fertile crescent, maybe drawing the attention of neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran … that could be a game changer that is not completely unexpected. My commiserations however, go out to my American friends, hold on, but I  can’t see how it could get better.

Ps.: Oh, and he just fires Comey, the FBI director, who was busy investigating his cabinet’s dealings with the Russians.. talk about unknown unknowns.


Pi to 10000 digits

Sorry for the late posting, but it took my computer a bit of time to calculate this. Happy Pi day 2017, if that is even possible.

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And in case you want to listen to it:


Hope you enjoyed it. Happy Pi day.

The eye of the trump

Well, I thought the elections in the US are over, and we are in for some quiet times. The Democratic party pretty much lost everything, The house, the Senate and the Presidency. I am quite sure, if anything else was up for grabs, they would have lost it too. I have found a plethora of opinions and studies about why this happened, and I did like some of them, didn’t like others. And the opinions may well vary about them, but i do think the simplest answers are the best once in this case. After eight years of near stalemate, dictated and enforced by the republicans just you know, people wanted change, and frankly Hillary was not about change. She was all about the status quo, steady as she goes, she even failed to recognize the ever looming threat of Islamic terrorism and the dangers posed by the budding Islamic State .. yes, ISIS, just like her predecessor, whom she served as a secretary of state. I don’t think it mattered that she was a woman, I heard no opinion or argument in this regard during the entire election cycle, and it was a long and painful one. But the fact that she refused to acknowledge the issue and present a viable, or any for that matter, strategy in that regard did lose her a lot of votes. The behaviour of the Democratic party, heavily favouring Hillary over Bernie was also a severe setback for her chances against Trump, in my opinion, it was a major blunder from the Democratic party. The Democratic party could have saved some the losses, and maybe even score a win against the Trump, if they had gone with a Hillary Bernie ticket, but, alas, even that eluded them. Then we had all the self inflicted e-mail server issues, the contents of said e-mail server and all the useless mongering around that. It was a serious blunder from Hillary to run a private e-mail server and use it as a secretary of state e-mail server, she should have known better. It did effect her image as a competent states person who takes national security seriously, and I am sure it lost her some votes too. In short, I didn’t like Hillary, and frankly I find very few of my friends and social circle who did, on the flip side, nearly all my friends and social circle say they liked Bernie, and I did like him too. And the blunder of not having Bernie in the Democratic party ticket rest fully upon the shoulders of the Democratic party and it’s leadership. And in the last seconds of the disaster, the polls mistakenly indicated that Hillary has this in the bag, practically every poll in the last few days leading up to the elections got it wrong, they all indicated a Hillary victory, and I would like to see your take on that in the comment section, I have some ideas, but I am not sure I am on the right track with this poll issue.

In short, this election result, tho resulting in a Trump presidency, was not a Trump win, sure he didn’t win the popular vote, which is an arguable claim that Hillary won that, since most of the popular vote came from one state that traditionally voted Democratic no matter what, This result was more of a Hillary and Democratic party loss. Hillary lost because people just didn’t show up to vote for her, except that one state which did. On the trump side, he got the vote out, uniformly from those who would vote Republican no matter what, and from those new voter categories that normally would not vote Republican, but did this time anyway, not because they liked trump, but because the didn’t like Hillary. 35% of white women voted for Trump, that would not have happened if Hillary had any appeal to women, evidently she didn’t, disgruntled workers of the auto industry, seeing their jobs evaporate with no hope of seeing them back clearly liked Trump’s message way better, tho Trump was vague and unspecific, he did say enough to get the vote out on these issues.

And then we approach the transitioning period, and the horror that is the Trump presidency started to take shape. Trump filled his cabinet with every bigot, Christian right winger, White supremacist,  Christian Dominionist and pro Russian business mogul he could lay his hands on. He even picked an openly fascist supreme court judge, still pending approval, but the Republicans will steamroll him just fine.  I am positive nearly no one expected the Trump cabinet to look like this.

I am writing this 15 days into the trump administration, and these where the worst 15 days of my life, seeing a country with a secular constitution and a refined system of checks and balances devolve into a raging theocracy, and i am sure, no one alive could have imagined the US devolving into a raging theocracy so fast, and so drastically. I don’t have any idea how this can chance, and I don’t see any light at the end of this tunnel.

I am afraid of the future, and you should be too.


Image reference:


Omar Mateen the dead terrorist.

The pen is mightier then the gun
The pen is mightier then the gun

Looks like I am expected to say something about Mr. Omar Mateen, and I really don’t have much to say about him.

He basically shot up 100 people, in a gay bar, killing 50 or so of them, then had to wait four hours for the police to do something about it. I am pretty sure, after texting and talking to his wife, and all his old and newly acquired friends from the police department, he figured he would go out, and wave his gun at them, maybe they invite him to the tailgate party they were having outside the Pulse nightclub, I am sure you are feeling my bitter sarcasm here.

If someone is injured, and they haven’t died immediately following the shooting, due to the severity of their injury, their survival rates is severely reduced after spending 45 minutes to one hour without medical attention. If you take that into account, the fact that the police chose to have the four hour-long stalemate with the shooter, must have contributed a great deal to the number of the dead in this case, since many of the injured would have died waiting for the medical help, that wasn’t going to come. I will not try to guess at how many lives could have been saved, if the medical attention had arrived, say half an hour after the shooting began. I will leave that number to be worked out from the injuries sustained by the dead, and how long would these injuries have led to death, given no medical attention was provided for four hours. I will leave this to the more inquisitive of you to find out.

Mr. Omar Mateen, since this article is about him and his motivation, the son of some high-ranking Afghan official, who just didn’t make the cut for some reason to become the next president of Afghanistan, chose instead to move to the US, and live there, no problem with any of that, Omar himself, well educated and raised in the US, still held to the religion of his father, and his father’s father, Islam, and that is where the problem really started. It is very likely that Omar was gay, and now that he is dead, there is no empirical way of verifying that statement, so if he was, it would have been very difficult for him to square the fact that he is gay, with the other fact, that he is Muslim. So would have been his entire family, and if you have difficulty with that statement, I present you with the multitude of cases, where so many anti-gay, homophobic and outspoken clergy and politician have been discovered to be gay themselves. The pressures and guilt cycle present in Christianity regarding homosexuality is very similar if not exactly the same we find in Islam, with obviously very similar effects and outcomes. Pastor Kevin Swanson as it turns out, came out very vocally and openly in support of Mr. Omar Mateen, and reading his bible, one should not be surprised, nor should anyone be surprised when Mr. Kevin is found out to be secretly gay at some point in the future. Also for the mention, Pastor Roger Jimenez of Verity Baptist Church has found it in his religion, Christianity, to endorse what Mr. Omar Mateen has done, and I am sure there are a few more, but I will stop with the mentions here, mainly for the sake of the point I will make next.

While I could fill a page with the references in support of the Orlando / Pulse massacre, I doubt I have enough disc capacity to merely list the names of those in the Islamic world who would find nothing wrong with what he did.

Islam, the religion, does not take kindly to LGBTQAI people, not just in the generic, “hate the others” sense, but specifically, the story of Lot in the Qur’an is not there to fill the pages, it is there to serve as an example to be followed by the believers of that book. The amount of self-loathing this can generate in the human mind, and the pressures this would induce to do what he did, especially given the potential reward of 72 virgins and an instant ascent to heaven, compared to the assurance of an eternal existence in hell, for being gay, would be enough to crack the will of Mr. Omar Mateen, as it seems to have been the case.

As compelling and strong a case as it might be, I will have to reiterate, we can’t know for sure, if Mr. Omar Mateen was gay or not, we may come to know that later, but currently we simply don’t. So we will have to be satisfied with the second sufficient motivation.

Mr Omar Mateen, given the degree of faith infestation in his mind, might just have had a faith flair-up during the holy month of Ramadan, and figured, his deed of riding the world from this awful sin called gayness would even get him a greater reward, if he did it in Ramadan, given that acts like these are especially rewarded if they are done during the month of Ramadan, even more so, if done in the last 10 days of Ramadan, something he seems to have missed out on, and a thousand times over if done on the night or destiny, which he also missed. Anyways, he skips on the 7200 and the 72000 virgins and settles for the humble 72 virgins, maybe he lacked all that much interest in women, but let’s not go there. For a true believer, a sufficient motive.

But there is bad news for Mr. Omar Mateen. He is dead, and he is not having his 72 virgins either, and as I write this article, his body is being eagerly consumed by a myriad of bacteria, worms and fungi, and let me tell you, they are enjoying their meal, along with the few trees that happen to be nearby. And if he has any functioning brain left, which he doesn’t, he would know by now, that all that hooey about the afterlife, heaven, hell and the virgins is exactly that, a bunch of hooey, and he wasted his own life, and the lives of many other, much nicer people than he ever was, for a fairy tale.

Links and references:

My monument to the Orlando Pulse shooting victims

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 Amanda Alvear, 25 Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 Antonio Davon Brown, 29
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 Luis Daniel Conde, 39 Cory James Connell, 21
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 Paul Terrell Henry, 41 Frank Hernandez, 27 Miguel Angel Honorato, 30
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 Kimberly Morris, 37 Akyra Monet Murray, 18
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 Martin Benitez Torres, 33 Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
Luis S. Vielma, 22 Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 The names of the innocent are from the city of Orlando website Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 Jerald Arthur Wright, 31

I made this monument, this electronic monument, to be able to achieve closure, to grasp the pain, and grapple with it. I hand coded the table structures, lovingly typing the name of each victim in their own <td>, made sure the cells where properly padded, all while quietly muttering their names, and imagining the beauty or their innocence and the horror of their death. I didn’t know any of them personally, but i am familiar with their struggle, the horrors they had to face up to and the difficulties they must have gone through just to be accepted as equal human beings. I gently muttered their names, for these are my comrades, my fellow humans, my company in this long, winding and painful journey we call life. So fare well my friends, we shall not forget you.

bs&s expo in Saskatoon 2016

Body and soul expo Saskatoon 2016
b&s expo Saskatoon 2016 montage

It was a brisk and sunny Saturday afternoon when we got to our meeting point at the bs&s expo this year, A few skeptics, armed with our sharpened critical thinking skills, our good old baloney detection kits, and a list of the show’s exhibitors, but let’s go back a little and give you a better background on what’s going here. The local chapter of CFI Canada, CFI Saskatoon ,organizes a field trip to this expo every year since I have been here, usually a handful of skeptics and atheists end up going, and having a tremendous amount of fun. This year was no different, Plenty of exhibitors brought all the colourful and scented thingamajigs, most about energy healing, spirit this and that, chacra alignment, colour therapy, yin and yang. We even got to observe a psychic perform on stage

The Psychic
The Psychic

the art of cold reading, and trying to keep a speaking order among the spirits, some where speaking over each other and interrupting them, rude spirits, must have been an election year in the spirit world too. Then we had the pleasure of visiting almost all the exhibits on the show, i say almost, I got tired, and bailed out to have a rest bit, only to joined a couple more of my friends. But let’s not jump the shark here, there where some interesting exhibitions if you could get over all the supernatural qualities of the sold items, Interesting collections of minerals and stone formations where on offer, I even picked up a couple of magnetite stones, fairly large, and very nice once i might add,SAM_0537_800x they even had magical powers, namely attracting and repelling other magnets and iron items. Tho I am pretty sure they also had some effect on my soul too, if I had one. By the way, do I have one soul or a quantity of soul, like five cubic litres of it? Can anyone elaborate on this nagging question? Could I be leaking or evaporating soul? Could I fall and brake it? Could I pinch it accidentally shutting the car door on it? Would it flap in the wind when I open my car’s window as I drive on Circle drive? All these questions where in my mind as I was looking at the exhaustive and meticulous collection of rocks and minerals displayed on the table. SAM_0538_800x Some of these, I am sure would have been quite difficult to get, judging from the quantities available, and the price-tags attached. Moving on to other exhibits, one couldn’t miss out on some of the brilliantly prepared fossils, with added spiritual powers of course, very well cut and shined samples where presented, at somewhat elevated price, given that none of them where particularly rare samples, but I can appreciate the good craftsmanship going into the cutting and the shining work, weather they actually possessed the healing and strengthening powers attributed to the, I have no idea. Just take a look at these here, SAM_0563_800xand you see what I am talking about. There where other fossils available, this image is just to give you a general idea about the quality and quantity without an attempt to cover the entire variety of the displayed items. Some of the displays where simple cute and nice, with no woo woo attachments apart from being cute and nice, which really doesn’t qualify them as woo woo, one of these exhibits was basically the handy work of a group of highly skilled glass artists, they would make a large number of colourful, very detailed but tiny glass figures, very adorable and

Colourful miniature glass art
Colourful miniature glass art

very decorative if you are into that sort of stuff, here take a look, and you get a pretty good picture. I was impressed with the detail and artfulness of the glass workers.  Every little item is made of glass, and the lady is holding the picture of her team in their workshop where they make these awesome peaces of art. Great stuff, but we are not done yet, the best is still to come, yes there is more, and it does get better, or worse, depending on how you want to use the language to express yourself. The next exhibit is nuts, literally, nut shaped humidifiers, SAM_0570_800x should win an industrial art competition if you ask me, unfortunately they are for essential oils, essential oils to prevent some serious diseases like rabies, yes, they had an essential oil to strengthen your pet’s immune system and prevent the onset of rabies, even claimed to negate the need for vaccinating your pet against it, not only a harmful preposition, but also a dangerous one, rabies is deadly, to your pet and surrounding humans alike, if not vaccinated against it, it’s one of the most painful and retched ways to die. Very bad idea not to vaccinate against it. The vaccine in the case of rabies turns out to be very effective, and can stop the infection even when administered soon after the byte. But don’t take my word for it, rabies, meningitis and tetanus are some of the worst ways to go, do ask your doctor or health care specialist about vaccinations, and do get vaccinated when possible. Strolling along the exhibits, we pass by a number of jewellery sellers, they don’t condone the woo woo part, but are just selling their stuff, not bad work, some of it was quite impressive and beautiful, but then I found this; SAM_0545_800x A homeopathic water filter. Yep, you heard it right, a water forgetter, it makes the water forget the trace elements, lead, poisons and chemicals that it encountered. At this point even if I gave then the benefit of the doubt, and assumed that this is a simple ion exchange filter, which i have no reason to believe that it is, i would still be remiss not having serious apprehensions about the homeopathic forgetting abilities claimed this product had. The guy literally said, it resets the water’s memory. So there you have it, a water forgetter, weapons grade 50c woo woo. To wind down the excitement, here are two more examples, I found them nice and interesting woo woo,

Hot and Cold stones

the first one is the hot and cold stones, the white once are the cold stones, the black once are the hot once, I asked her about how hot, her response was 170 degrees, could not get her to say Celsius of Fahrenheit,  so we remain at 170 degrees something, supposed to cure what ails you, there is also an assortment of essential oils you can snort while screaming from the first degree burns, and the frostbite. The next one, SAM_0547_800xis crystal energy healing, and chakra alignment, colour therapy stuff, it was complicated, but so powerful, you have to hold it away from yourself, to avoid the side effects. This is but an example of a dozen of so other, energy crystal, laser, chakra, aura healing exhibits, slightly different flavour, but essentially the same kind of woo woo. There where at least a hundred exhibits, and I only visited about 60 or so, before I was overwhelmed and needed to have a break. Maybe next year, I will train up for the event, so I can last longer, and be able to finish the marathon. Until then, your comments are welcome, in hope this would start a vibrant discussion in the comments section.