Internet voting this election

This election will see Collingwood’s first use of internet and phone voting (the latter includes both smartphone and your bog-standard touch-tone phone). Eligible voters will be mailed a PIN early in October, and voting will be open Oct. 12, with the final tally on Oct. 22. Before you vote, however, you need to make sure you’re on the voters’ list (you can do that … (more)

Book collecting: snobbery or reading passion?

The book has always been a sign of status and refinement; a declaration of self-worth – even for those who hate to read. That’s the lead into a recent piece on Aeon Magazine about book collecting and collectors. It’s also about reading and the snobbery of readers. Fascinating piece. For me, anyway. Pretty much everything about books and reading fascinates me, from the art … (more)

Antarctica’s icy hoaxes return

Under the thick ice of Antarctica lies buried the remains of an advanced civilization, dating back 55,000-65,000 years. So startling was this discovery that world leaders were flown in to the perennially frozen continent to witness for themselves the proof of alien presence on our planet. Or not. Well, really not. Not at all. You don’t really believe that claptrap about Antarctica, do you? … (more)

The Responsibility of Free Speech

In January, 2015, Marie Snyder, on her blog, A Puff of Absurdity, raised the question of how free should speech be. I share her concerns about the apparent limitlessness of our rights: our right to free speech is not matched to any inherent responsibilities, civic or moral, to behave in a mature manner, nor does it require anyone to speak the truth. And we … (more)

Marx, Darwin and Machiavelli

What do these three men – three of the world’s greatest thinkers – have in common? Science? Economics? Politics? Their impact on culture and society? Their foresight or insight? Their importance to the development of modern thought? Their continued relevance today? The depth and breadth of their wisdom? The quality of their writing? Yes, they are or have all those things, but the answer … (more)

Internet TV and Roku

I picked up a ROKU streaming stick this weekend at the local Staples store to get access to some internet TV. The box advertises 500+ channels, while the boxes for the upscale models 2 and 3 offer 450+ and 1,000+, respectively. However, the official webpage for Roku says you can get more than 1,800 channels in the US on these devices. The Canadian site suggests it’s closer … (more)

Facebook, Likes and Big Data

I suppose you could call it ironic. There was a story from a ‘friend’ on my Facebook news feed today called “Quitting the Like” all about escaping Facebook’s data collection processes by simply not “liking” items or comments you see. Right below this ostensibly anti-Facebook story were three related links produced by one of the Facebook data-collection bots all about the same thing: breaking … (more)

Rights Without Responsibility

“Why do online spaces often feel so fractious?” asks Helen Lewis in a thought-provoking opinion piece in The Guardian last week. It’s something I’ve been pondering for many years. It’s not just the internet, or even social media, nor is it our increasingly uncivil and impolite society: it’s the technology that seems to be dividing us. The medium. (Would this be considered McLuhanistic? *) Online … (more)

Social Media, Public Opinion, and Jian Ghomeshi

[youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b1XGPvbWn0A] I doubt anyone in North America is unaware of the furor surrounding CBC’s recent firing of radio show Q’s host, Jian Ghomeshi last week.* In case you were on the moon when it happened, you can read some of the many stories on the Star and other news sites (just Google it…). It’s a complex story; about the seesaw between workers’ and employers’ rights; about … (more)

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