No more Rob

Maybe she was right; I am obsessed with Rob — I was clicking refresh over and over for this one. But he’s gone, now: Rob Ford removed from office. As you might have noticed, now that the Globe and Mail has gone behind a paywall, I’m reading the Toronto Star for my local news.

Improving by leaps and bionic bounds

One of the most interesting pieces I’ve read all week is about how people that would have been considered “disabled” a century ago are receiving prosthetics of all sorts that are closing or have closed the gap with “normal” individuals. The thing that struck me most was Wilson’s comment that it was not the rich that will benefit at first from physical and mental enhancements but those perceived to be at a disadvantage. This provided some reassurance that the world of Harrison Bergeron will probably not come to be — at least not in terms of handicapping. In that future, all individuals are equal by bringing those that are (more) gifted in some way to the level of the least through a system of handicaps. In a world full of prosthetics such as those mentioned in Wilson’s article, maybe there can be equality for all not by diminishing our abilities but by amplifying them.

Status update: You read it here first

This time, at least it’s an opt-in process. Unlike with Beacon, automatic face-tagging, location tracking, profiles being exposed to search engines, giving Facebook’s partners access to personal details, and so forth, this time, Facebook gives users a chance to say “Sure, you can track/reveal these details about me” rather than assuming you want to share unless you say otherwise. Or, rather, at least Facebook’s business partners are giving you that choice, even if the thing you’re giving consent to is obscured. Continue reading “Status update: You read it here first”

TA business as usual

With CUPE 3902 Unit 1 on the brink of a strike last week, a new proposal was put forth that will be voted upon by the general membership tomorrow, next Monday, and next Tuesday. If you’re part of Unit 1, visit and read the full memorandum of settlement.

Ultrabook fad (follow up)

A few months ago, I disagreed with comments made by Acer’s founder, Stan Shih. I suggested that netbooks and ultra books would merge (or face extinction). It looks like at least some people at Acer now share the same view publicly. Their estimate is for 18-24 months from now; my original prediction would have been for about 30 months from now, but considering their new aggressive pricing strategy for ultrabooks, the disappearance of netbooks will likely sooner rather than later.

Grass ain't green

You may have heard about a Robert and Brenda Vale’s book Time to Eat the Dog?: The Real Guide to Sustainable Living in which they claim that dogs have a greater (negative) environmental impact than SUVs and/or read a criticism of it (which itself contains flaws) ((I haven’t read the book.)). I’d long wondered about things such as dog pedicures, hotels, vaccinations, etc. and someone had already crunched some numbers to give a ballpark figure. After watching a neighbour turn on his sprinkler system while it was raining last week, I thought I’d finally do a calculation I’d similarly meant to do for a long time: look at the environmental impact of a well-manicured lawn. As it turns out, someone has again already done the calculation. However, one thing from that page really stood out: “Lawn mowing contributes 5% of the total United States GHG’s, according to the EPA“.

So the next time you think that green lawns are better than concrete jungles, just remember that each sliver of manicured grass is like a vampire fang extending out of the earth, draining precious resources.