Search This Blog/Linked Pages

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Haroon Siddiqui: Stephen Harper’s real agenda on religious freedom (in The Toronto Star)

"The government protests that its sympathies are not selective. It throws in references to other beleaguered minorities — the Falun Gong, Tibetans and Uighurs in China, the Shiites being massacred in Pakistan, etc. But its word won’t be taken seriously unless it tells us what it thinks of the following:

"The Rohinga Muslim minority in Myanmar, suffering a systematic pogrom about which even Nobel Laureaute Aung San Suu Kyi has been shamefully silent; the Muslim minority of 175 million in India, whose plight is being addressed by the government of India itself; Kurdish and other minorities persecuted in Iran; the Shiite minority in Saudi Arabia, whose rights are routinely put down by force; and Hindu and Sikh minorities in Malaysia and Indonesia, who are barely tolerated;

"The Shiites of Lebanon, who constitute a plurality but are systematically denied proportionate electoral and other representation; the Shiite majority in Bahrain, persecuted for decades by a Sunni monarch who has brutally crushed their pro-democracy demands; and Syria’s Sunni Muslim majority discriminated against by the ruling minority Alawite sect of the dictator Bashar Assad.

"A third of the world’s population suffers government or social restrictions because of faith, says the Washington-based Pew Forum on Religion. Restrictions on religious freedom have been rising in the Middle East, China, Russia, Africa, Asia and even Europe.

"As Harper acknowledged on Tuesday, “around the world, violations of religious freedom are widespread and they are increasing.”

"Which of these would he champion and on what basis?"

Full article: Stephen Harper’s real agenda on religious freedom.

Alex Himefarb: The trouble with austerity: Cutting is more about ideology than economics (in The Toronto Star)

" If there are inexorable laws of economics that yield jobs and growth from cuts to taxes and government, it seems somebody forgot to tell business."

Full article: The trouble with austerity: Cutting is more about ideology than economics.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

David Olive: Fracking’s future an illusion at best (in The Toronto Star)

"The gas glut has contributed to the lack of urgency in developing alternative energy sources, a transition from environmentally harmful fossil-fuel use that experts say will take a generation to pull off. No surprise there, given the absurdity that the world’s renewable energy industry receives about $88 billion a year in state subsidies, according to the United Nations, while the lucrative fossil-fuel industry has a stupendous $523 billion in government assistance shoved at it.

"It’s not that we lack the ingenuity for a widespread rollout of wind, solar and other energy alternatives. What’s missing is the willpower to mount a revolution in alternative energy.

"The Manhattan Project and putting a man on the moon each took less than a decade to accomplish. Oddly, the threat of human extinction from climate change can’t seem to match the spur to action that 1940s-era fascism and the subsequent Cold War offered."

Full article: Fracking’s future an illusion at best.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Thomas Walkom:The false gods that are Alberta’s oilsands (in The Toronto Star)

"Vast quantities of money would be spent (usually by government) on infrastructure needed to extract whatever resource was in demand. And then, suddenly, things would change.

"Maybe the commodity would fall out of fashion — as did felt hats made from Canadian beaver pelts. Or maybe technology would make the staple irrelevant, as the steamship did to masts made from Canadian white pine.

"In all instances, Canadians would be left paying the costs."

Full article: The false gods that are Alberta’s oilsands.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Ethiopian kids teach themselves using only tablet computers (SmartPlanet)

"The results of the non-profit’s experiment were more than encouraging, OLPC [One Laptop Per Child]’s founder, Nicholas Negroponte told audience members at MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference last week.

"“I thought the kids would play with the boxes. Within four minutes, one kid not only opened the box, found the on-off switch…powered it up,” he said. “Within five days, they were using 47 apps per child, per day. Within two weeks, they were singing ABC songs in the village, and within five months, they had hacked Android.”"

Full article: Ethiopian kids teach themselves using only tablet computers

Will 3D printing revolutionize the way we live? (in The Toronto Star)

Will 3D printing revolutionize the way we live?