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Friday, September 30, 2011

The Disaffected Lib: Tar Sands on Trial

This is interesting! Thanks, Mound of Sound, for highlighting this ground-breaking initiative from the UK!

The Disaffected Lib: Tar Sands on Trial.

Rick Salutin: Where have all the PCs gone? (in the Toronto Star)

Salutin: Where have all the PCs gone?.

Isn't it strange that the old PCs (Progressive Conservatives) are beginning to look like good guys?! Surely it was an act of supreme cynicism to drop the "progressive" from their name - not much commented on! And they are not even "conservative", as this comes from the word "conserve", and they don't seem to want to conserve anything - except power.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Climate change could cost billions a year by 2020 - Canada - CBC News

Article: Climate change could cost billions a year by 2020 - CBC News.

Haroon Siddiqui: The dire prospect of living in Hudakdom (in the Toronto Star)

"McGuinty won’t win charisma contests. But his bland Bill Davis persona has served Ontario well. Like Davis [premier of Ontario from 1971 to 1985], he understands that our common good lies in bringing our disparate pluralistic society together, rather than dividing us along ideological or nativist lines."

Full article: Siddiqui: The dire prospect of living in Hudakdom.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Q&A: An expert on experts tells how to spot the bad ones (in the Toronto Star)

Filmmaker Josh Freed on experts: Q&A: An expert on experts tells how to spot the bad ones.

Great quote: "We’ve always had people telling us the future, be it fortunetellers or oracles reading chicken entrails. Today we’re too educated to read chicken entrails, so we go to experts. We use Power Point instead of poultry."

The art of rewiring a brain (in the Toronto Star)

Article: The art of rewiring a brain.

Fascinating description of how a mature brain can rewire itself. If the pictures shown in the article are representative, I prefer the post-stroke ones to the pre-stroke ones!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rick Salutin: Canada says ‘ready aye ready’ at the UN (in the Toronto Star)

Full article: Salutin: Canada says ‘ready aye ready’ at the UN.

Great quote: "Exactly what is the point of being a country, if you don’t have your own voice?"

Jatin Nathwani: Pipeline foes miss the point (in the Toronto Star)

Professor Jatin Nathwani is Ontario Research Chair in sustainable energy and executive director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy at the University of Waterloo.

"The essential argument put forward by the environmental movement conflates the issue by emphasizing emissions at the production stage in Alberta. At the heart of the matter is consumption: the burden that we place on the environment as consumers as we drive and fly to our destinations and go about our lives with studied indifference."

Full article: Pipeline foes miss the point.

IMO he makes some good points, but there still seems to be merit in trying to block the Keystone XL pipeline.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rick Salutin on the prevalent "profiteering, privatizing mentality" (in the Toronto Star)

Salutin: The sector that dares not speak its name.

Well-written article on how this mindset has come to dominate our public discourse.

It was Oscar Wilde (1854 – 1900) who said that "nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing." Now truer than ever!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Gillian Steward: Creating drought tolerant barley (in the Toronto Star)

Now, finally, a good news story!

Creating drought tolerant barley.

Martin Regg Cohn: Hudak’s taking Ontarians for a ride (in the Toronto Star)

"... [Hudak's] Changebook goes beyond oversimplification to outright manipulation, which had escaped my notice until labour economist Jim Stanford shared his research with me the other day. Stanford is hardly a disinterested observer — he works for the Canadian Auto Workers — but he is a widely respected analyst.

"His exposé, to be released Tuesday by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (a lefty think tank), shows how the data and charts in Changebook cross the line of truthfulness and accuracy, misstating Ontario’s economic situation, hydro rate hikes and the rising debt. It documents the deception on a scale that would embarrass any first-year economics student, let alone someone like Hudak with a masters in economics."

Full article: Canada News: Cohn: Hudak’s taking Ontarians for a ride.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Stephen Bede Scharper: Civil disobedience goes green (in the Toronto Star)

Stephen Bede Scharper teaches environmental studies at the University of Toronto.

"These protesters are pointing us to a new “moral economy” concerning the Earth itself. Their actions suggest our present economy, based on ecologically rapacious oil and gas extraction, is ultimately ecologically unsustainable and ethically unacceptable. In future years, when “geocide” is deemed a crime, these protestors may well be remembered not as criminals, but as champions of a life-filled world."

Full article: Civil disobedience goes green.

See also Ottawa Action for information about a protest scheduled for Parliament Hill on Sept. 26.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Haroon Siddiqui: PM’s rhetoric stokes fires of division (in the Toronto Star)

" is unconscionable for a Prime Minister to be fanning old-country divisions in Canada for political gain.

"Harper is the Prime Minister of all Canadians, as he himself said on election night. But he has rarely acted that way.

"He is not Canada’s Christian spear carrier against Muslim nations and against “Islamicism,” or any other religious ism. Rather he’s the leader of a strong multicultural nation that champions universal human rights. His job is to keep Canadians safe from all potential terrorists, regardless of their religious motivation."

Full article: Siddiqui: PM’s rhetoric stokes fires of division.

Harper has a majority for at least the next 4 years - what does he think he will gain by being divisive at this stage in his mandate?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Tyler Hamilton: Ignorance and the art of electric car bashing (in the Toronto Star)

"This is not a passing fad, nor can it be compared to past attempts at introducing electric vehicles or hydrogen fuel cell cars.

"There has never been a time in history where most of the world’s major automakers have introduced, or have committed to introducing, a commercial model of a plug-in electric vehicle.

"Never have there been more companies in the world working to develop and drive down the cost of supporting technologies, such as battery storage, charging infrastructure and electric drive trains. ...

"But to declare electric vehicles stillborn on the first year of their commercial introduction, as some observers have recently said, amounts to a stunning display of ignorance."

Full article: Hamilton: Ignorance and the art of electric car bashing.

David Olive: Should we raise taxes on the rich? (in the Toronto Star)

"Business CEOs now pay themselves 325 times the compensation of shop-floor and cubicle workers. That ratio was closer to 25-to-1 in the 1960s. One cannot sustain an argument that business CEOs are now 300 times smarter than they were a half century ago, before they began “offshoring” manufacturing jobs or being stupendously rewarded for incompetence. "

Full article: Olive: Should we raise taxes on the rich?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Dow Marmur: Global revolt of the have-nots (in the Toronto Star)

"Mercifully, Canada has so far been spared much of the unrest that has bedevilled other countries. It may even escape much of the economic upheaval that continues to threaten the United States and Europe. But we’re by no means immune to their problems. The gap between rich and poor is not diminishing here and the continuous onslaught by all levels of government on the funding of welfare agencies is bound to punish those most in need."

Dow Marmur is rabbi emeritus at Toronto’s Holy Blossom Temple.

Full article: Marmur: Global revolt of the have-nots.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Eric J. Miller: We’re talking mobility, not gravy (the Toronto Star)

Eric J. Miller is director of the Cities Centre at the University of Toronto.

Full article: We’re talking mobility, not gravy.

Perhaps you need to know that Toronto's Mayor, Rob Ford, was elected on a platform of "ending the gravy train", and making our roads "safe for cars"!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sleepwalking toward our 2020 climate targets (in the Toronto Star)

David W. Schindler is Killam Memorial Chair and a professor of ecology at the University of Alberta. John P. Smol is Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change and professor of biology at Queen’s University. Andrew J. Weaver is Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis and professor of earth and ocean sciences at the University of Victoria.

Full article: Sleepwalking toward our 2020 climate targets.