Rants

Along with The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ, Phillip Pullman’s essay “Malevolent voices that despise our freedoms” must be one of his most radical pieces of writing. It corresponds to his general concern about lack of oversight over powerful institutions and speaks out powerfully against the authoritarianism that can arise in parallel with […]

{ 0 comments }

I’ve written elsewhere about how The Economist doesn’t understand climate change. In their science section and the occasional editorial they stress the need for massive and urgent action, but their thinking is not joined up. Their general editorial stance remains that economic growth is the greatest good, every new fossil fuel discovery is a boon, […]

{ 0 comments }

Astrology maddens me, especially when generally sensible people treat is as harmless fun. Back in 2006, I said: “astrology is utter nonsense, and … human life in general would be better if everyone could completely and finally reject it as bunk”. I just learned another way in which the practice goes beyond being a harmless […]

{ 1 comment }

A small but indicative example of how the University of Toronto doesn’t prioritize the welfare of its students is the way in which the gym access included in student fees during the fall and winter terms is cut off in the summer, requiring students to pay a per-facility fee to keep using it. This is […]

{ 1 comment }

Friday’s episode of “The Current” discussed the case of Michael Foster who — after warning the pipeline control centre to shut off the pumping stations — turned a valve to shut down the flow of bitumen through the Keystone pipeline in North Dakota. It’s a very self-conscious act of civil disobedience, with Foster sending video […]

{ 4 comments }

The Bagehot column on the U.K. in this week’s Economist contains some of the harshest language I have seen them use, about the Theresa May government trying to implement Brexit, saying: “Britain is ruled by an incestuous clique of frenemies who delight in turning even the most serious issues into melodramas”. It’s worrisome that so […]

{ 1 comment }

Sticky with humidity after 9pm, electricity demand in Toronto must be crazy right now. The Independent Electricity System Operator has data for the whole province: Back in April 2005, province-wide electricity use was 14,890 megawatts: 62% nuclear, 19.3% hydro, 13.5% wind, 4.6% gas. This connects to lots of climate change questions. Can we really afford […]

{ 2 comments }

Howard Dean recently made some interesting comments about young people and U.S. politics: “They’re very independent-minded. They don’t like politics. And they mistrust institutions,” Dean said in his characteristically matter-of-fact style. “I think our problem as Democrats is, we’re the head of the oldest party in the West, and this party is an institution that […]

{ 2 comments }

George Monbiot’s career advice for aspiring journalists may apply at least as much to civil servants and academics: You want to be free? Then first you must learn to be captive. The advisers say that a career path like this is essential if you don’t want to fall into the “trap” of specialisation: that is […]

{ 1 comment }

In many ways, the treatment of ethanol in societies like Canada is exceptional. It’s the only powerfully psychoactive drug top-end hotels and restaurants will provide you in unlimited quantities as long as you can pay. It’s the only drug that large groups of strangers routinely use to the point of inebriation together, in contexts ranging […]

{ 1 comment }