June 2008

The final Ottawa production of A Leave of Absinthe was certainly entertaining at times, but it somehow failed to rise to its potential. Perhaps fittingly – in relation to a play about drunk people entertaining one another – the actors seemed to find themselves a bit more entertaining than they actually were, at least most […]


When it comes to an incompetent master / manipulative servant comedy (Blackadder, Yes Minister, etc), one generally expects at least two actors to be involved. Wooster Sauce defies this expectation, with John D. Huston playing master, servant, and all other characters together. His versatility is impressive, though you cannot help but lose some of the […]

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Apparently, 17% of wild-caught fish ends up getting fed to livestock. That’s pretty astonishing, given the increasingly dire state of global fish stocks, and it underscores the way in which most modern agriculture is fundamentally unsustainable. As long as it is dependent on outside inputs where the supply is growing scarcer, it won’t be a […]


Some scientists aboad the Canadian research icebreaker Amundsen are predicting that the North Pole may be ice-free for the first time in recorded history this summer. While this is not the same as saying the whole icecap will be gone, it does seem like the sort of thing likely to have symbolic resonance. At the […]


What is to be done when people are plowing ahead with new coal power plants, despite the threat of climate change, and people are simultaneously forgetting about the expense, risk, and contamination associated with nuclear power? Impose a two-year moratorium on new solar projects, clearly. This at a time when we have eight years or […]


Keir Cutler’s Teaching the Fringe is an entertaining hour-long monologue, consisting of the elaborate rebuttal of a letter of complaint written by a woman who attended one of his previous shows. While her comments probably didn’t necessitate such an extensive response, amused audiences will be glad they did. Cutler manages to express his contempt for […]

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The headline of a recent Economist article is one that policy-makers around the world should pay heed to: Carbon storage will be expensive at best. At worst, it may not work. There are two over-riding reasons for which the danger of a CCS-flop needs to be borne in mind: First, many governments are assigning a […]

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Over at ScienceBlogs, Paul Revere has written a three part primer (one, two, three) about the physics of climate change. It begins with the nature of electromagnetism and moves on to discuss the energy relationship between the Earth, the sun, and outer space. It is the sort of thing that feels very basic, but which […]


For three Saturdays in August, New York City will be making six miles worth of city streets exclusively the domain of bikes and pedestrians. It’s an impressive undertaking, and a good method for making people think twice about their assumption that streets exist for the sake of drivers. For a long time, city dwellers have […]


The most common position among climate change analysts is that we need to stabilize the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide somewhere between 450 and 550 parts per million (ppm). That is, for instance, the target range endorsed by Nicholas Stern. It is also thought by many to be compatible with the EU goal of generating […]