October 26, 2004

O-O Canada

Guess Who? We've asked about 30 people the question: "Who is the Prime Minister of Canada?" For fairness, we've been excluding Canadian nationals from our sample. So far, one Dutchman, a New Zealander, and two Yanks have come up the the correct answer. (I'll withhold it for now, I may ask you later), but if you are reading this, you no doubt have the technical means to quickly find the answer yourself. Does Google spell death for trivia questions?

For the very first time, the majority of OOPSLA's attendees have come from outside the United States (51% to 49%). I would be tempting, but glib, to hypothesize that this is a consequence of what we Yanks call outsourcing. Hell, we’re even holding the conference itself “abroad”.

Don Roberts came up with the following quips on his way through Canadian Customs:
Customs Official: Are you bringing in the products of any endangered species?
DBR: I've got 3 gigabytes of Smalltalk code.

Customs Official: What is the purpose of your vistit to Canada?
DBR: To get a flu shot.
DBR: To seek political asylum.
DBR: To obtain inexpensive pharmaceutical drugs.

As to the last point, I’ve noticed that several of the younger guys around here were packing tissue paper, cut-rate editions of some of the same trade books we pay full price for in The States. I found myself reminded of the global economics of the pharmaceutical industry, where full retail drug prices in The States underwrite research, as well as cut rate prices elsewhere.

I was reminded of this haunting little ditty by one of my very favorite Canadians, Neil Young, as I contemplated this all:

Global manufacturing,
hands across the sea
The hotel filled with dealers,
everything was free
Before the competition,
ahead of all the rest
The product was presented,
it clearly was the best
The power link was ruptured,
the hotel shook and rolled
The old Trans Am
just bounced around
and took another road
--Neil Percival Young, Trans Am

Posted by foote at October 26, 2004 03:56 PM