November - December 2011

Closing the curtain on 2011

 

   
 
(Ottawa, Canada, December 25, 2011.
Photo courtesy of the Phantom Photographer.)
 

 

(So much for) The War on Christmas

December 27, 2011, OTTAWA — As most of you know, there is in the air at this time of year, a recurring noise about a "war on Christmas". Out of the blue, otherwise intelligent and reasonable people are trade angry anecdotes about how they are tired of "giving in" to "political correctness" by being forced to say "happy holidays" or "seasons' greetings" instead of "merry Christmas".

Click here for more Christmas cheer!

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Catching up

December 6, 2011, OTTAWA — Seems like only yesterday I was making an ass of myself by forgetting how to Bcc people, but it was in fact actually about a month and a half ago.

Despite the appearances here, I have been keeping busy, beavering away on a long-form writing project, getting myself back into the paid work-force as a driver, doing a lot of cycling to the Ottawa International Airport, experimenting with a technology a bit more recent than a velocipede, and taking note of some lunatic developments in urban "design".

I've also been doing some reading and expect to have a couple of book reviews posted here shortly.

Meanwhile ...

Danger! Urban renewal ahead!

City life is full of familiar risks. Traffic, pollution, crime, unfortunate fashion decisions.

But there are other dangers, too, stationary hazards that lurk right out in the open, waiting for the unwary, the distracted.

In recent years, Ottawa (and many other cities in the ostensibly advanced first world) is in the midst of a lunatic experiment in Ergonomic Selection. I speak of course, of the boxy behemoths which have replaced the old-fashioned, coin-only parking meters.

The new meters take coins, bills and any number of varieties of plastic.

And if they haven't yet, they will also soon take lives.

Don't believe me? Find out why the new parking meters are an ambulance-chaser's best friend!

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Farewell to the Gutenberg era

I've taken the plunge and purchased not one, but two, e-readers. (In succession, one replacing another.)

And I fear I may never again purchase a book make of paper and ink.

¡Viva la Revolución!

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Slouching towards the Singularity?

Speaking of technology, it seems I'm a little slow on the uptake, because I have only just now realized that, well, I do think about the applications of science with which we surround ourselves and on which we depend.

So, a new section, ever-so-imaginatively entitled, "Technology". The name will likely change at some point in the nebulous future, but for now my experience as an e-reader reader has convinced me I'll be talking more about the machines in our lives.

The intro page is here, though it is little more than a holding page at the moment. But if you're interested, click away.

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That's it for now. Coming soon, a review of Steven Pinker's provocative new book, The Better Angels of Our Nature, which claims we live in the best of all historical (if not of all possible) worlds, of Benjamin Tate's unusual epic fantasy, Well of Sorrow and, sooner than later I hope, of Von Allan's sequel to Stargazer.

So check back soon or, better still, subscribe to my newsletter and let me keep you up-to-date!

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Spread the word!