Toronto Science Shop EfstonScience Closed; Putting Up What’s Left for Auction

The EfstonScience science and astronomy store, located on Dufferin near the 401, has closed after more than 40 years in business. When I was in high school, I used to go there all the time to check out the telescopes, science experiment kits and other stuff that made the place a nerd’s toy store for me.

I’ve just found out that they’re auctioning the last of their stuff online. As of this writing (Wednesday, October 31st at 3:15 p.m.), there are about 20 hours left in the auction. See what they’ve got on sale, and if you want it, place a bid!


@ComfortablySmug: Doesn’t This Guy Have Better Things to Do? [Updated]

Update: Wow, this guy’s even worse that I thought. See the update below.

While Hurricane Sandy was hammering Manhattan, a Twitter user with the handle of @ComfortablySmug made a series of alarming tweets to his 6,500+ followers, including:

  • BREAKING: Confirmed flooding on NYSE. The trading floor is flooded under more than 3 feet of water.
  • BREAKING MT @jhlipton: Con Ed shut down lower Manhattan system due to high tides
  • BREAKING: Con Edison has begun shutting down ALL power in Manhattan

The problem with these posts? They’re all false. He made them up, for kicks.

Shashank Tripathi - Christ, what an assholeMany people think that the sort of people who indulge in this sort of act — it’s the old “Yelling ‘Fire’ in a crowded theatre” hypothetical come true — is the sort of thing that some bored layabout would do. After all, isn’t the saying “Idle hands are the Devil’s Nintendo”?

It turns out that @ComfortablySmug is one Shashank Tripathi, isn’t some bored student or some troublemaker from the Occupy camp. In fact, he’s the opposite: he’s a hedge fund analyst.

Correction: In an earlier version of this post, I wrote that he worked for Stone Street Advisors, but Jordan Terry from Stone Street says he never worked there and only wrote a couple of entries for their blog. @Tripathi really should take the “Stone Street Advisors” link off his Twitter profile, but then again, misrepresentation seems to be his modus operandi.

He was also — and really, should we be surprised? — the campaign manager for Christopher R. Wight, this year’s Republican candidate for the U.S. House from New York’s 12th Congressional District. According to BuzzFeed, FEC documents show Wight has paid Tripathi thousands of dollars this election cycle as a “consultant”, and this Meetup page names him as the go-to guy for a Republican “Super Monday” event. He resigned from the position as soon as word got out that he was falsely crying “power outage”, and I’m sure the Repubs will work hard to distance themselves from this feeder on misery.

A New York councilman is talking to the DA, to see if charges can be pressed against Tripathi. Over on the tech news site GigaOm, Jeff John Roberts ponders whether Tripathi’s acts were just immoral or if they were also illegal.

Tripathi has since issued an apology by Twitter. It’s got all the flavour of “I’m sorry I got caught”.

Didn’t Tripathi have better things to do?


It turns out that Tripathi’s already internet famous from this 2008 story: The Self-Obsessed, Emotionally Detached Hedge-Funder, in which he brags about “hate sex” with a woman with low-self esteem that left her bruised.

Thanks to @hypatiadotca for the tip for the update!


“Slayer” Logo Sighting of the Day

Little girl making a chalk drawing of the Slayer logo on the sidewalk

If that’s not enough Slayer for you, I’ve got more:


Recommended Listening: The Smart Ass Fitness Podcast with Miguel Carrasco

Miguel Carrasco was one of my go-to guys when I was organizing conferences at Microsoft Canada. Whenever I was looking for someone to present a topic or even act as the host speaker for a session track, his would be one of the names on my short list. He’s a great speaker, he really sinks his teeth into a topic and he’s always willing to help out whenever he can, often going above and beyond what’s required. I’m not surprised that when he got the fitness bug, he immersed himself into it whole-heartedly. His progress has been amazing, from a guy who couldn’t even run past five houses in April, to a guy who does 5K runs regularly.

As I wrote earlier, he started a blog called Smart Ass Fitness, and now he has a podcast. He posted his first Smart Ass Fitness podcast a couple of days ago, and it’s a worthwhile listen for both the message as well as his smooth presentation style. Follow it, then go eat well and get some exercise!

Click here to listen to the podcast.


An Early Birthday Present

A friend of the family (who also happens to be my doctor) found out that I love port and sent me these for my birthday. I’ll be sharing this at my party on Saturday. If you’re in town, didn’t see the Facebook invitation and would like to come, drop me a line and I’ll send you details.


Recommended Listening: Judge John Hodgman

Judge John Hodgman logoTake your People’s Court, Judge Judy, Judge Mathis, Judge Alex, Judge Joe Brown and all those other TV-based small-claims court judges, and drop them. There’s only one judge whose cases you should follow: Judge John Hodgman and his fair, well-considered rulings on minor pressing issues that people bring to him.

Yes, this is the same John Hodgman as in the author of such books as The Areas of My Expertise, More Information Than You Require and That is All, correspondent on The Daily Show and the “I’m a PC” guy from the old Apple ads. This is his podcast, in which people can bring their disputes to him via Skype, and hilarity ensues.

There are hearings aplenty for courtroom drama aficionados to enjoy. As of this writing, there are 81 podcasts, each one featuring a case that’s a little unusual, but not as “Honey Boo Boo” trashy as the sort you’ll see on similar courts on TV. Judge Hodgman invites the occasional special guest bailiff; Food Network’s Alton “Good Eats” Brown helped out with a mother-daughter dispute about canning preserves, and author Elizabeth “Eat Pray Love” Gilbert is the current guest bailiff, she’s quite witty on the mic.

The most recent case is titled Live Freon or Die, in which a daughter wants her dad to get the air conditioning in his car brought back to working order. They live in Arizona, and she’s worried that the heat poses a danger to him. Her father is part stubborn dad, part MacGyver, and he’d rather use his improvised cooling solutions. How will Judge Hodgman rule? You’ll have to listen to find out.


My Favourite Halloween Costume From This Year

This guy nails the character of “Seth” from the film Superbad, right down to the open-mouthed nonplussed expression.

For reference: