March 2011

Canada’s laws criminalising aspects of prostitution are going to be challenged before the Supreme Court. Personally, I cannot see how treating prostitutes as criminals helps anybody. If government wants to reduce exploitation in the industry, they would do better by regulating it and fostering good relationships between sex workers and the police.

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One nice thing about Ottawa is that – as long as you avoid homes in distant suburbs or jobs in distant industrial parks – commutes are manageable. As long as you live and work in the general area of Centretown, walking to work will probably take less than half an hour. That isn’t true of […]

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Another cognitive flaw worth knowing about: The Sunk Cost Fallacy.

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Earlier, I wrote a mini review of an inexpensive Pelikan fountain pen. It also seems worth commenting on the pen type generally. The two principal virtues of fountain pens seem to be that it takes very little pressure to write with them – which eases the task of writing for hours on end – and […]

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I must admit to being perplexed when I see sentences in news stories like: “TEPCO vice-president Sakae Muto said, however, the plutonium 238, 239 and 240 collected were not in concentrations harmful to human health.” While I am far from being an expert, it seems to me like at least some of the discussion of […]

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Ordinarily, the multi-generational family story is my least favourite kind of novel. I usually find them tedious and uncompelling. It speaks especially well of Junot Diaz’s book, then, that I found it engagingly written and worthwhile, though a rather darker read than I was expecting. Diaz succeeds in giving distinct voices to his multiple narrators, […]

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Everyone in Vancouver knows that one day, the ‘big one’ will come – a massive earthquake starting at the Cascadia subduction zone that runs between California and Vancouver Island. Back on January 26th, 1700, the zone experienced a ‘megaquake’ of magnitude 9.0 or more that swamped villages in Japan with the tsunami it created. It […]

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Being able to speak anonymously on the internet is an important right, in this age of increasingly constant surveillance. Because of organizations like the NSA, GCHQ, and Canada’s CSE, we can never know when our private conversations are actually being intercepted. One tiny way to push back is to continue to be bold in asserting […]

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A friend took me to a concert yesterday, with Wilderness of Manitoba opening for Bastia Bulat. I am always nervous about asserting what musical genre something is, but both had distinctly folky elements. I would recommend giving both a listen, if you get the opportunity.

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The longer one stays in a place, the more material goods one tends to acquire: everything from clothing to furniture to photo albums. One problem with this is that it inhibits a person from taking advantage of distant opportunities, particularly those that are temporary and ill-paying. One may to reduce the extent to which possessions […]

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