November 2010

The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) have a new advertising campaign for the oil sands that is all about personal credibility: the ads feature the faces, names, and signatures of oil company employees who argue that the environmental impact of the oil sands is manageable and shrinking. Since CAPP made the ads personal in […]

{ 1 comment }

In my photojournalism class, we watched the 2001 documentary War Photographer, about the work of James Nachtwey. The film showed him working in both conflict zones and zones of acute poverty, including Indonesia, the former Yugoslavia, and Rwanda. It was interesting and well done, and may well have been a balanced portrayal, but the absence […]

{ 1 comment }



in Daily updates, Geek stuff

This is the last time I will be an age that is an integer raised to its own power – 4^4 is just too much to hope for.


Against a sophisticated attacker, nothing connected to the internet is secure. Not your GMail account, not your Facebook account, not your website, not your home computer (especially if you are using WiFi), not industrial facilities, not governments. While this may not absolutely always hold, I am increasingly convinced that the right way to treat the […]


A little while ago, my friend Evey was in town and was good enough to pose for some portraits around The Glebe. She writes a fashion blog called Hey, Good Lookin’. Remarkably, despite being a native of Ottawa, Evey had never been to the Wild Oat restaurant. It’s a nice place, with excellent loaves of […]


This article from The Guardian makes an astonishing claim: Health risks of shipping pollution have been ‘underestimated’. The article says that a single one of the giant container ships that transport much of the world’s freight emits as much air pollution at 50 million cars: Cars driving 15,000km a year emit approximately 101 grammes of […]

{ 1 comment }

Unsurprisingly, my review of Richard Rhodes’ The Making of the Atomic Bomb generated a discussion on the ethics of the United States using such bombs on Japan in 1945. In the same book, a moral question with some similar characteristics comes up. Describing the American attack on Iwo Jima, Rhodes explains: Washington secretly considered sanitizing […]


In addition to describing many situations of allies spying on allies, Richard Aldrich’s GCHQ: The Uncensored Story Of Britain’s Most Secret Intelligence Agency also describes a number of alleged incidents of the United States and United Kingdom spying on the United Nations, particularly during the led-up to the Iraq War. Aldrich describes how the NSA […]

{ 1 comment }

According to data published in Nature Geoscience, global carbon dioxide emissions fell because of the recession in 2009, though by less than initially expected. Now, they are increasing once again. The atmospheric concentration of CO2 is now at 387.18 parts per million, about 34% above where it was before the Industrial Revolution. For the concentration […]


Richard Aldrich’s excellent GCHQ: The Uncensored Story of Britain’s Most Secret Intelligence Agency contributes significantly to the public understanding of the role secret intelligence agencies have played in world affairs and the domestic politics of Britain and elsewhere. From the codebreaking of the second world war to the frightening mass surveillance and data mining of […]