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Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Ann Cavoukian: Metadata: Separating fact from fiction (in The Toronto Star)

Full article: Metadata: Separating fact from fiction.

Ann Cavoukian is Ontario’s information and privacy commissioner. Her new paper, “A Primer on Metadata: Separating Fact from Fiction,” is now available at

Friday, July 12, 2013

Malala Yousafzai, schoolgirl shot by Taliban, to speak at UN (in The Toronto Star)

"To the world, Malala is the girl who stood up to the Taliban.

"At home in Pakistan, she has also shown that a child from the Pashtun ethnic group, hailing from a rural town, can breach the boundaries of class, age and ethnicity to change her world.

"“Malala can become a leader and tell us that is not just the case that elders should have the right to speak,” [Syed Irfan Ashraf, a columnist for Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper and an anti-Taliban activist] said. “It is not the case that a lady should stay home, or a girl should be married at 14, no. Even if she changes two people, for me she has justified her struggle.”"

Full article: Malala Yousafzai, schoolgirl shot by Taliban, to speak at UN | Toronto Star

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Heather Mallick: Lac-Mégantic train crash proves engineers shouldn’t work alone (in The Toronto Star)

"Every stage of profit is shaved to the bone now in our effort to compete with a Chinese level of efficiency. But Canada doesn’t have a peasant army moving to cities to work for dimes and live in dormitories. If we did, worshipping the god of cheap — shopping at Walmart, working alone, expecting subways without paying the taxes to fund them, living a Mayor [of Toronto] [Rob] Ford way of life — would be plausible.

"Instead we clean up the muck. It’s composed of oil, human bodies and black rubble. The god of cheap accepts our offerings and rejoices."

Full article: Lac-Mégantic train crash proves engineers shouldn’t work alone.

The headline for this article in my morning (dead tree) Toronto Star was punchier: "Cheap-obsessed world is being run by a staff of one".

Friday, July 5, 2013

Rick Salutin: If Egypt had a coup, is that bad? (in The Toronto Star)

"[we shouldn't] assume the definition of democracy or human progress has reached any fixed end points. Most cultural activity only really began 8,000 to 12,000 years ago, as a teenager recently told me; it would be odd to assume anything is complete.

"In that light, it’s we who should uncouple from fixed definitions and learn something from [Egypt's] openness. Even western critics of the coup, for instance, say that Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi got only 51 per cent of the votes but acted as if he could ignore the rest. Yet Stephen Harper got under 40 per cent last election and has proceeded with much of his agenda anyway."

Full article: If Egypt had a coup, is that bad?

It's interesting that we in the West tend to talk as though we alone know what democracy is and how to make it work...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

UN report shows Earth warming faster in past decade (in The Toronto Star)

"A comprehensive new report released by the United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization says the Earth has warmed faster since the turn of the century than any other time on record, almost doubling the pace of sea-level increase and causing a staggering jump in heat-related deaths around the world."

Full article: UN report shows Earth warming faster in past decade.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Linda McQuaig: Is environmental action impossible in corporate-dominated age? (in The Toronto Star)

"Perhaps the only thing more stunning than Alberta’s ruinous flooding has been the realization that not even a disaster of this magnitude, right in the heart of oil country, seems sufficient to break the torpor surrounding climate change....

"Fortunately, Albertans, while steeped in the mantra of “survival of the fittest” and “greed is good,” seem to have set aside that training and pitched in selflessly to help each other through the crisis.

"As we move deeper into the age of climate disaster, these traits of empathy and social solidarity — so belittled in our ultracompetitive, winner-take-all culture — may come to be appreciated again, even regarded as signs of sanity.

"British writer George Monbiot nicely captured the warped nature of this culture, noting that it tends to result in psychopaths from poor backgrounds going to prison, while psychopaths from rich backgrounds go to business school."

Full article: Is environmental action impossible in corporate-dominated age?