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  • The Map of New Canada

       April 29, 2005

    Austin Bay speculates that Canada may be the world's next failed state:

    What happens to Canada if Quebec secedes? Canadians are once again pondering this question -- live on the CBC -- and given Canada's status as America's number one trading partner and continental neighbor, U.S. citizens should consider the ramifications.

    Canadians in the western and maritime provinces already dread the political power of populous Ontario. (Quebec serves as a political balance to Ontario.) If Quebec bids adieu, "remnant" Canada's political rules will be subject to revision. Subsequent regional bickering could lead to further fragmentation.

    Bay thinks that Canadian fragmentation could result in some newly orphaned provinces seeking American statehood. I think he's probably right. So, what would a new Canada (and really, a new North America) look like? Here's my guess:

    I see Canada splitting into four countries: British Columbia (green, above) and Quebec (purple) stand alone, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nunavut (yeah, I never heard of it either) form "New Canada" (in peach) and the rest of the provinces become American states 51 through 57.

    The new United States kind of looks like it's raising its arms in triumph. "Take THAT, Canada!". While I think this would be a great deal for the former Canadian provinces (they'll probably just be happy to be off the metric system more than anything else), what exactly would America get out of this deal? Well, here are a few things:

    1. Spectacular Banff National Park
    2. Prince Edward Island, the home of Anne of Green Gables
    3. One of the world's biggest malls in Edmonton
    4. Alberta's oil
    5. Yee Haw! The Calgary Stampede
    6. All 1,000 miles of the Yukon Quest dog sled race on American soil
    7. The ancestoral home of Yukon Cornelius
    8. The Halifax Citadel National Historical Site, which was ironically built to defend Halifax from Americans
    9. The Titanic Grave Site
    10. The Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia, which would serve as a nice bookend with California's US Hwy 1
    11. The highest tides in the world in the Bay of Fundy

    So, while I'd still rather we acquire some warm spots like Cancun and Acapulco, I guess Canada wouldn't be that bad. And, hey, even Wisconsinites are going to look sophisticated in comparison, eh?

    Posted by at April 29, 2005 08:46 AM

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    #  April 29th, 2005 9:20 AM      Daddy
    Also, the Oilers and Flames will be able to compete, marketwise, with the rest of the NHL, since they don't have to pay in LOONIES anymore.

    (that is, if the nhl ever plays another game).

    BTW, we should take British Columbia, too. Manifest Destiny. As in, it's our Manifest Destiny to own Pamela Anderson's birthplace.  
    #  April 29th, 2005 9:27 AM      kris
    Oh, I agree, British Columbia is by far the most desirable province, it would fit in with the rest of the Pacific Northwest and we'd get the 2010 Winter Olympics, but, honestly, I think they could make it on their own.  
    #  April 29th, 2005 9:33 AM      BVBigBro
    Actually, the Canadians I worked with from the maritime provinces thought they would join the US if Quebec ever seceded.  
    #  April 29th, 2005 9:44 AM      kris
    I'd be kind of excited about getting the Maritime provinces. They'd probably vote for Democrats like the rest of New England, but they're still beautiful.  
    #  April 29th, 2005 10:42 AM      james
    Nunavut: The territory created in the Canadian North on April 1, 1999 when the former Northwest Territories was divided in two. Nunavut means “our land” in Inuktitut. Inuit, whose ancestors inhabited these lands for thousands of years, make up 85 percent of the population of Nunavut. The territory has its own public government.

    #  April 29th, 2005 10:43 AM      james
    perhaps we could coin a north american version of term "balkanization" -


    #  April 29th, 2005 11:38 AM      david
    off the metric system? what? the english system is much worse... (im an engineering student)

    we divide a foot into 12 inches- not ten. and a mile is an odd amount of feet. ...10 mm to a cm, 100 cm to a m, 1000 meters to a km is much better. dont get me started on pounds as mass vs pounds as units of force. This only gets worse as these units are put together for things like horsepower...

    The metric system is where its at. We would convert if we weren't already so far along in our ways.

    Well, the BTU is sort of useful, anyway...

    Just thought i'd throw that out there.

    and yeah, the usa would clearly be more liberal then  
    #  April 29th, 2005 11:41 AM      BVBigBro
    I'm an engineer. The metric system sucks completely. It's inherent suckiness can be summed up in one word: pascal. The metric system starts with two bad units of measure, the gram and the meter, and gets worse from there.  
    #  April 29th, 2005 12:09 PM      BrianH
    I never understood the fuss over the 2 different systems. They're both just methods of measuring. It doesn't really change the length of a string if you say it's 1 foot or 30.48 cm. It's still the same length.

    Where we get into trouble is when mixing the 2 standards of measurement and not making it clear which unit is in use.

    There are advantages of both systems. It's much easier to do math on metric units. Converting from CM to meters is just a matter of sliding the decimal. But on the other hand, I can "step off" 20 feet much easier than I can estimate 6.096 meters.
    #  April 29th, 2005 12:40 PM      david
    One issue is in computations, which is what I was ranting about. (in english units, you often use fractional measurments as well... god do I hate writing English convertions in programs i write)

    another is scale. Accuracy is an issue, for example, a 5 degree F change is not as big of a deal as a 5 degree C change. I think thats what bigbro is talking about. Pascals can get to be giant numbers in many situations, compared to psi (god do i hate converting sqare feet to sqaure inches). Grams are too small, kg a bit too big.

    I forget all the origins of english units, but most of them are based on arbitrary amounts... like some guys thumb size or whatever so estimation was easy. English units do have a decent scale to them. I think the foot came from a yard(which is 3 feet, for crying out loud)... but it might be the other way around. A meter used to be defined as an estimation of one millionth the circumfrence of the earth (i think). The Centigrade scale of course uses freezing h20 and boiling h20.

    Ok. wow, did i just waste 10 minutes.  
    #  April 29th, 2005 12:56 PM      BrianH
    Many of the English units are based on body parts. A foot is well, a foot. A yard is the length of a stride (or the distance from the tip of the finger to the shoulder when measuring cloth). An inch is the length of the the thumb from the tip to the first nuckle.

    These measures were of course non-standard until some king (forget which one) ordered that they be standardized based on his own body parts.

    #  April 29th, 2005 12:57 PM      BVBigBro
    The original, and still nautical, mile was 6000 feet. Metric units have a poor scale as you mentioned and are simply not as good for everyday practical measurements. In addition you wind up with lots of decimal points, implying a precision that usually doesn't exist.  
    #  April 29th, 2005 1:25 PM      james
    Metric units have a poor scale as you mentioned and are simply not as good for everyday practical measurements.

    yes, because it's much easier to measure 3 3/8, or, if you go up a notch, have to go up to 3 7/16, or, to bump up another notch, to go to 3 1/2, then up again to 3 9/16. how much easier that is than just bumping up a decimal. [/sarcasm]

    (i actually had to edit that b/c i completely screwed the fractions up the first time. twice. this is hardly a good system.)

    i have never in my life heard anyone claim that the english system was "better" than the metric system. more familiar to US residents, perhaps, but better?

    now i've heard everything.  
    #  April 29th, 2005 1:35 PM      BVBigBro
    The metric sytems choice of the gram and meter results in a bunch of really bad units of measurement, like the cubic meter instead of the cubic foot, or the aforementioned pascal, where the measurement of pressure is usually made in hundreds of thousands, or millions of pascals. Or you can go around pretending kilograms is a measurement of weight as the people do with the metric system. The inch, foot and pound are remarkably good for measuring everyday things.  
    #  May 20th, 2005 11:40 AM      OpenUSmind
    To the non-americans... excuse my American neighbors for there extreme ignorance... (Bush got re-elected, what do you expect?) Other than the fact that Americans are "used" to the system and use it now there is no good reason for it. The metric system is "CONSISTENT" with realistic scale! While the American standard twists measurement to make believe whole numbers and god forbid fractions... yuk. lol, let's see what is a mile in feet? 5,280. Now how many American know this off the top of their head? Very few... How about meters in a Kilometer? Almost any American that is not mentally retarded can tell you that one. I'd like to see a computer run on fractions... wait that's right it runs on decimal system... WHY, BECAUSE IT IS LOGICAL.

    Times are changing, things are getting more complex and the need for more precise measurement on "every day" things is upon us. Oh yeah, BVBigBro lol, every form and any type of measurement is make believe... Even time...
    #  May 20th, 2005 2:39 PM      BrianH

    Computers don't run in decimal they run in binary. (Well there is BCD, but that's slow, inefficient, not done any more, and is really just making decimals work in a binary system). Doing meteric math or English math on a computer is about the same. The only issue is hoping the programmer gets the conversions correct. (I admit it's easier for a programmer to get metric right.) Ever wonder why you can multiply and divide by the same number and not get your starting number? It's usually due to rounding errors in converting between binary and decimal.

    "How about meters in a Kilometer? Almost any American that is not mentally retarded can tell you that one."

    I think you'd be surprised there. Most Americans don't use the meteric system regularly and would probably give you a blank stare if you asked. If you ask how big's a Kilo, you'd be as likely to get 1024 as 1000 due to more general usage of the term in computers than measurements (or "about 2 pounds" if the person runs in drug circles).

    "Times are changing, things are getting more complex and the need for more precise measurement on "every day" things is upon us."

    You can measure precisely in yards or meters. The difference is only in which arbitrary standard length you are using.

    "The metric system is "CONSISTENT" "

    I'll give you this one. Metric measures are more consistent than English measures. It's also easier to convert between different scales in Metric than in English. This is really the only compelling reason I can think of to switch to Metric measures.

    "with realistic scale!"

    Now that depends on what you're measuring and the tools you have available, doesn't it? I can "step off" about 100 feet, but I'm not sure I could step off about 3000 CM.




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