Rants

If finance minister Bill Morneau believes that Canada’s budget deficit “the challenge of our lifetime” he’s either tragically ill-informed, delusional, or disabled by finance-industry-insider blinders. Russia and Argentina, among others, show how states can default on their external debts and suffer relatively little consequence, as investors race back in within years. Even the worst economic […]

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China’s strategy with the Hong Kong ‘security’ law seems intended to send a global message: critics of China will be increasingly punished as the state’s global influence grows. This is disturbing in many ways, for the welfare of people in China, the region, and around the world. The degree of authoritarian control that technology has […]

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One computer security concern is that various insiders — including hardware and software manufacturers, and governments which may compel them to comply — will build back doors into their products to allow the security to be compromised. Doing this is a terrible idea. A back door put in for government surveillance or police use is […]

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After attending half of a classmate’s job talk for a law and political science position at Guelph I photographed today’s Climate Strike in Toronto. It was a big organic crowd, with some contingents from labour or specific causes who were clearly together but where most people carried home-made signs which didn’t come out of a […]

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I have long been skeptical about the prospects for off-world human colonies. Given that the International Space Station is the most expensive thing we have ever built and it is entirely reliant on supplies from Earth, it would be a gigantic leap just to make a self-sustaining closed life support system. Beyond that are many […]

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The CBC is reporting on polling results pertinent to this fall’s federal election: CBC News poll takes snapshot of Canadians ahead of fall election. They say the cost of living was the top concern identified, followed by climate change. This suggests a familiar Canadian dynamic: being notionally concerned about climate change, but rejecting action on […]

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With the Trudeau cabinet’s approval of the Trans Mountain extension everyone is talking abut hypocrisy: “The day before they passed a climate change emergency resolution and now they are approving a pipeline for the dirty tar sands: the hypocrisy!” The trouble is, arguments based on accusations of hypocrisy often don’t hold up logically. “Al Gore […]

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Figure from my 2009 blog post, showing why delaying the global peak year for greenhouse gas pollution emissions means having to cut emissions much faster in the 2020s and 2030s to achieve the same temperature target: Tweeted by Greta Thunberg today: All this delay mutually reinforces the risks of catastrophes. People keep investing in fossil […]

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A nightmare of my childhood taking place in a world too indifferent about poor people to appropriately resource an international response: Ebola Was Confirmed in a Major City in the Congo, Stoking Concerns That the Outbreak Will Keep Spreading Related: Resistance to World Health Organization Ebola efforts Update on Ebola

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I have written before about the cognitive and emotional (and insomniac) downsides of checking the news too often. It seems worth re-emphasizing how twitter is a worst-case scenario in this regard, at least for people more interested in developments in matters of public interest than developments in the lives of friends and acquaintances, where facebook […]

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