Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part CIX: KJ Rose

Kelly John Rose is a multidisciplinary consultant and academic. His main interests lie in combinatorial mathematics, computer science, bioinformatics, encryption, security, and advanced web development. He graduated from the University of Waterloo in 2005 with an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics and and just recently completed his Masters of Science in mathematical biology at the University of Calgary. While at Calgary, he has was privileged to work under the supervision of Stuart Kauffman, a pioneer in the field of complexity theory whose books include At Home in the Universe, Investigations, and the recently-published Reinventing the Sacred in which Kelly received acknowledgment.

Kelly has worked in a variety of occupations, from performing business analysis for Canadian National Railways to developing payload software for the Canadian Space Agency. His research experience includes developing a quantum pulse assembler for a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance machine to allow for quantum computation research and studying mathematical structures representing dynamics of genetic regulatory networks.

Kelly is currently based in Toronto and is a senior partner of an educational web software firm. In his free time he plays the guitar and trombone, maintains several websites, and reads voraciously. His non-academic interests include economics, politics, architecture, and science fiction. He is a Cancer, was born in the Year of the Dog, and enjoys walking down to the beach whenever it is warm and sunny outside.

He is currently at work on a book about social behaviour tentatively called "Rotten Apples: This is why we can't have nice things." He is one of the webmasters at Progressive Bloggers

What made you decide to start blogging?

That was a long time ago. Basically, I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to learn and develop my php, HTML and CSS skills. After time though, it just turned into a tool for me to vent and discuss the various things that interest me from day to day. This is also how things like the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy aggregator was programmed and such. I find an excuse to hack something together, and then I follow through on it.

In the last little while most of my blogging has been in the hope of encouraging what I consider to be positive change in my community and country. Every little bit helps, you know?

What is your best blogging experience?

Anytime one of my posts gets a good solid comment thread going between readers. It's nice to see people actually inspired to act, even if it's just through commenting, by anything I've written.

And your worst?

The hate mail I receive from time-to-time from diehard Conservatives and blue Liberals. It's positive that I'm agitating them a bit, but it's disheartening that they resort to such tactics. At the same time, it's kinda exciting that I can energize someone enough to do that.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

Of late, I really like my Iggy: Authoritarian Prig entry: http://www.1337hax0r.com/2009/02/03/iggy-authoritarian-prig/ If only for it's pure snarkiness.

However there is a variety of earlier entries I've done on drug policy and minimum age restrictions on drinking that I also am quite fond of.

Favourite blogs?

DailyKos, Galloping Beaver, James Curran's blog (What do I know grit), no right turn (A New Zealand Blog), POGGE, Devin Johnston's blog.

Given the recent elections and the success in the US of Barack Obama. How do you rate the long term survival chances of Stephen Harper's government

I don't think the elections of Obama has had any significant effect on Harper. However, with the economic downturn, his chances have faded a bit. The blue Liberals will attest that this is all Iggy's doing, but it's fairly clear from the polls that Harper shrunk in March just after the announcements on jobs and such.

We don't have a Canadian equivalent to Obama yet, and so even if there is a real desire for a change-bringing politician, there is not a Canadian leader who actually represents that change.

How would you define the Canadian blogosphere?

Largely sparse and apolitical. There doesn't seem to be that critical mass among the political groups needed to generate real netroots movements yet. There is, however, lots of astroturfing going on by the various parties.

Whether this is good or bad is still up for debate.

What has Canada's response been as a whole to the G20 Summit

I don't know, what do the polls say?

Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?

Paris, preferably on a sunny day, sitting on a terrace with some good wine and nice company.

Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?

San Francisco, even in the winter that was a warm and inviting city. The Tunnel Top bar was a particularly awesome place to hang out.

Do you have a favourite political figure in history?

John F. Kennedy, the first Catholic president of the United States. The first of two Catholics who have ever served in the White House (Joe Biden is the second.)

Which figure has been your greatest inspiration?

Real: Currently it's Markos Moulitas. His pragmatic nature, but relentless progressivism has really changed the dialogue down in the US. His book "Taking on the System" is a really nice update of Alinsky's "Rules for Radicals" for pragmatic progressives.

Favourite Bond movie?

Haven't watched them in years, Goldeneye was pretty fun.

Favourite Doctor Who?

Never seen any of it enough to have an answer.

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

Vanilla ice cream with chocolate mint shavings.

Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?

VNV Nation.

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Vancouver, Ottowa, or Montreal?

Montreal, totally, followed closely by Ottawa.

Favourite national newspaper?

I don't like any of the current ones, too much bias against progressivism and change. However, if push comes to shove, the Toronto Star is okay, but even it has some very clear bias.

What would you say your hobbies were?

Hacking stuff together, reading, researching mathematics and ecology, my various sites that I have.

And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?

Not in any particular order.

1. God Said No by: Dan Bern
2. Beloved by: VNV Nation
3. We shall be free by: Garth Brooks

1. Status Anxiety by: Alain de Botton
2. The Illuminatus Trilogy by: Robert Anton Wilson
3. The Return of the Political by: Chantal Mouffe
4. Taking on the System by: Markos Moulitsas

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