Friday, October 21, 2016

This Is Good News

I'll have more to say about this in the future, but for now, some good news for those who oppose free trade deals that sacrifice national sovereignty and jobs so corporations can be further enriched:
Canadian Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland has walked out of negotiations to salvage a major trade deal with the European Union, saying she is returning home because she feels the 28-member bloc is unable to reach an accord with Canada.

In fact, she said she considers it “impossible” for an agreement to be clinched.

The development throws the future of the Canada-EU trade deal into doubt and, coming only months after the United Kingdom voted to quit the European Union, is a blow to the EU’s efforts to demonstrate it is still moving forward as a viable entity.

The European Council has been unable to reach a consensus on approving the Canada-EU deal because Belgium is unable to give its assent. Politically-decentralized Belgium requires the approval of regional governments on major international agreements and the French-speaking Wallonia region has opposed signing the agreement with Canada.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

This Sounds Promising

Whether this will turn out to be another idea that holds great promise but then comes to nothing will only be known, I guess, in the future, but it does sound promising:
The danger of the ever-increasing levels of carbon dioxide (CO2) in Earth's atmosphere has become one of the most pressing issues of our age. As such, much research has been conducted to find ways not only to reduce it, but also in ways to remove it. This has led to many schemes that simply sequester CO2 underground, or store it in volcanic rocks. More ambitious schemes even aim to not only remove this gas, but to usefully employ it to create usable products, such as plastics and foam, or even to produce hydrocarbon fuels. Now scientists from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) claim to have produced one of the most usable of all chemicals – ethanol – in a process that is not only cheap, efficient, and scalable, but also conducted at room temperature.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Festivus Moment

Like me, some of you were probably great fans of Seinfeld, the "show about nothing." As such, you may recall the Festivus airing of grievances:

Well, in that spirit I would like to use this blog to air a grievance, and that grievance involves one of Canada's putative icons, Wayne Gretsky, aka., The Great One. For me, the emperor has no clothes.

Readers may recall that last year, during our federal election campaign, Gretsky, a resident of the U.S., took it upon himself to extol Stephen Harper, pronouncing the latter as "wonderful to the country" and "one of the greatest prime ministers ever." Ever since then I have avoided all products associated with his name, most notably his wine label. I am happy to add his new whisky to my boycott list.

Vindictive and petty? Perhaps. But it is also immensely satisfying to exercise my power as a consumer.

Wayne is dead to me.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

A Love Note To The U.S.

From my jaundiced perspective, Canadians sending a 'love note' to America will only add to its unbearable hubris, seen regularly in its conduct on the world stage and in its claims to be the greatest country on earth.

Yet that is exactly what a Toronto firm called the Garden Collective is suggesting we do in a campaign entitled #TellAmericaItsGreat:
According to the Garden’s blog, the digital pep talk is meant as a balm to the “pretty scary realities” and “tremendous amount of negativity” exposed by the campaign, which continues for another three weeks.
However, given my low threshold for nausea-inducing saccharine sentiments, I shall refrain from uploading an inspirational video to buck up our neighbours to the south and stick with my core philosophy, which I think you might infer if you are a regular reader of this blog: "Better a bitter truth than a sweet lie."

Monday, October 17, 2016

The World We Ignore

I suppose it is the curse of consciousness that leads humans to see themselves as distinct from, and superior to, nature. It is a hubris that the natural world is paying a heavy price for, as we insist on placing our wants and needs above those of other forms of life. New research is showing how misplaced and misguided our sense of ourselves really is.

Those who read this blog regularly may know that I have written fairly often on nature and nature documentaries, the latter surely the easiest way for us, if we take the time from our busy lives, to reconnect with the wonders of the world around us. Moreover, if viewed seriously, such films can make us ask some hard questions of the lives we lead and the impact our acquisitiveness and self-centeredness have on the other creatures we share this planet with.

Last night I was reminded of these things as I watched the latest Nature of Things, entitled Conversations With Dolphins. Highly intelligent and self-aware, these creatures seem to possess amazing capabilities that, until recently, were believed to be the exclusive domain of human beings. Tool use, a teaching culture, precise communications and deductive reasoning are but four of the wondrous things these mammals are capable of.

What follows is a brief clip from the documentary, but I hope you take the opportunity to view the entire program. It may change your perspective on many, many things.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Kelie Leitch - Savant Extraodinaire

I see that Kellie Leitch has officially launched her leadership campaign:

As the campaign heats up, she can expect more of this:

And if that doesn't sate your appetite for this strange lady who would lead the CPC through bigotry and xenophobia, try this from Frank Magazine.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Arc d'Trump?

Thanks to Jonathan once again for alerting me to some clips from the 1957 movie, A Face in the Crowd, starring Andy Griffith in a role so diametrically opposed to his later persona as Sheriff Andy Taylor that he seems positively demonic at times. That the director, Elia Kazan, was able to draw the link between television stardom and political power is a testament to his prescience.

I think you will agree that the film eerily echoes the future rise of Donald Trump. Hopefully, a similar downfall ensues.