The January 21st issue of The Economist provides another strong example of how poorly our emotions serve us where it comes to evaluating and responding to abstract threats. They say: NOx emissions cause the premature deaths of an estimated 72,000 Europeans a year. This is in the context of carmakers like Volkswagen using software to […]


Having ads on this site is pretty awful for several reasons. The site is plugged into Google via both analytics and advertising. For people not running an ad blocking plugin, this often leads to ads which are unappealing and often offensive. If you don’t want Google to know everything you (or everyone with access to […]


My second (worse) wave of grading for this term has begun: first year essays which we are vexatiously required to grade exclusively online. At the same time, my PhD proposal continues to drift into strenge new realms of lateness; opening my email inbox produces blasts of panic; and it’s hard not to obsess over the […]


I finally learned the reason why I haven’t been paid since my previous teaching assistant job ended in the spring. In an email from July where the body text said nothing about action on my part, one of the attachments contained instructions that have to be followed to get me into the UTM pay system. […]

Carrying around and being close to transmitting radios makes me nervous. They may be programmed to harm their owner from the outset, or reprogrammed by private hackers or government forces. They are the means through which ubiquitous surveillance is maintained, alongside agreements and clandestine action against fixed-line phone and internet providers. Perhaps the most important […]

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These seem equally dated to me: fossil fuel power and Canadian nationalism.


My current home in Toronto’s annex neighbourhood is a weird place and time in which to live. Many of the people up and down my street are simultaneously funding cosmetic renovations to their houses, like installing smooth new bricks and stairs. At the same time, there are people who I see daily and who seem […]


The capricious forces directing undergraduate teaching in political science have set me up for an extremely difficult term. First, I was assigned to teach an hour’s $6 shuttle drive away, at the Missisauga campus. Second, my “tutorials” are starting with 30 students each. With only five tutorials in the entire course, this raises the question […]


After the comparative aimlessness of the long summer, I am looking forward to September. I will be teaching tutorials for a first year Canadian politics course out at U of T Mississauga and persisting with my own PhD research. I’m looking forward to the resumption of life and lunches at Massey College, meeting new junior […]


Somehow, this article seems indicative of the low quality of a lot of our thinking about environmental issues: Mesmerizing ‘blue whirl’ from fire tornado could be cleaner solution for oil spills: Scientists discover clean-burning blue flame while simulating a fire tornado in the lab. It seems a particularly questionable application of the idea that technology […]