Category Archives: politics

Awesome London June Edition

While a few of the Trustees are away on summer breaks, trips, and other awesome work, it didn’t stop them from bringing forward $1,000 for the winner of June’s Awesome London pitch night. The field of 3 gathered and expressed their ideas to a crowd at Joe Kools. The first Awesome project was to use derelict Parking lot attendant booths as canvases for local artists to expose their work. The second, a web series exposing the passions of celebrity and youth who are making a difference. The third and eventual winner of a cool G, were presenting their curriculum to engage high school youth in municipal politics, beyond their civics class, aptly named municipolotics. Check them out at http://municipolitics.weebly.com/.

As usual, check out http://www.awesomelondon.ca/.

McCormick Beta Brands Abandoned Factory

TIL: This is a heritage site. Well not exactly, apparently it’s only the facade of the building that is protected. After taking a detour off Dundas St due to construction yesterday, and having a few minutes to kill between meetings, I pulled out the telephoto and walked around the back of the building to check things out.  I deliberately stayed away from the front of the building as it’s one I’ve driven by often enough, missing the splendor of Heritage.

VIDEO – The Roots: False Media

Game Theory

And how could you expect a kid to keep his composure, when all sorts of thoughts fought for exposure.

[Chorus]
America’s lost somewhere inside of Littleton
Eleven million children are on Ritalin
That’s whay I don’t rhyme for the sake of riddlin
False media, we don’t need it, do we?
Pilgrims, Slaves, Indian, Mexican
It looks real fucked up for your next of kin
That’s why I don’t rhyme for the sake of riddlin
False media

[Black Thought]
If I can’t work to make it, I’ll rob and take it
Either that or me and my children are starving and naked
Rather be a criminal pro than to follow the Matrix
Hey it’s me a monster y’all done created
I’ve been inaugurated
Keep the bright lights out of our faces
You can’t shake it, it ain’t no way to swallow the hatred
Aim, fire, holla ’bout a dollar, nothin is sacred
We gone pimp, the shit out of nature
Send our troops to get my paper
Tell ‘em stay away from them skyscrapers
Ain’t long for you get y’all acres
I’ma show ‘em who’s the global gangster
Sentence me to four more years, thank you
I’ma make you feel a little bit safer
Because it ain’t over
See that’s how we get your fear to control you
But ain’t nobody under more control than the soldier
And how could you expect a kid to keep his composure
When all sorts of thoughts fought for exposure again

[Chorus] 3X
America’s lost somewhere inside of Littleton
Eleven million children are on Ritalin
That’s whay I don’t rhyme for the sake of riddlin
False media, we don’t need it, do we?
Pilgrims, Slaves, Indian, Mexican
It looks real fucked up for your next of kin
That’s why I don’t rhyme for the sake of riddlin
False media, we don’t need it, do we (repeat 4X)

 

Get your tickets for the LDNONT Iglesia Productions Presents George F Walker’s Problem Child

Sarnia Road Bridge Ribbon Cutting Ceremony – Video

City Councillors Matt Brown and Paul Hubert cut the ribbon at the recently constructed Sarnia Road bridge in London, Ontario. The construction took nearly 8 months to finish to replace the century old single lane wooden bridge that spanned the railway in North West London between ward 7 and 8. The multi million dollar project allows traffic in both directions and feels much less like a bridge and more like the natural extension of Sarnia road between Wonderland and Hyde Park Road in London.

City Symposium 2: Be Curious. Do Good. Eat Nachos.

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So it’s round 2 and we’re back at the Wolf Performance Hall for the second City Symposium put on by James Shelley. Coverage of the first event can be found here.

Meredith Fraser was up first! She is a Program Coordinator, Anti hate & Anti bias program with the LUSO Community Services and was presenting her talk entitled: A Story of community empowerment and compassion. She found that there were 35-45 hate motivated incidents reported to police in London and that though these were legally different from Hate Crime, she still felt something must be done. In her initial consultations with the community she felt resistance to change and disempowerment. People told her “What can I do, really?” The answer is kindness. We are all resourced to be nice and it provides a tangible and immediate impact. No matter who is being oppressed, it is still Oppression. Meredith made a decision to act! and  to Encourage kindness on a large scale. Out of this idea, the 1000 acts of kindness program was born. RTraction to the rescue with a new website for the project and after all said and done, over 54,000 acts of kindness were reported in 2010. Kindness is a positive investment. For more information visit: http://www.1000acts.ca/

Do we all have the capacity to be kind? What limits you from being kind? Mood, mental health, attention span?

I had the opportunity to see Adrian Owen’s talk about The Search for Consciousness at TEDxUWO but this was a great opportunity to be reminded of his work and for those who didn’t have the chance to see it. How can you tell if someone is conscious? Wakefulness is something we can assess with sight but someone who can not respond to, or follow,a command may not be said to be conscious unless they are truly unable to respond.  This command following is central for signaling awareness which was formally expressed only physically.  Think of a medical drama on television where the Doctor asks the patient to squeeze his hand if they can respond. What if you understood the command, but couldn’t respond? Well this problem was solved with Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging, FMRI. When a patient is scanned their brain patterns can be compared to healthy samples. If you imagine something, the same area of the brain lights up with activity as if you actually do the thing you’re imagining. When Dr. Owen asked his patients to think about Playing Tennis, that imagery evoked a response measured with FMRI in the Premotor cortex. Spatial imagery, such as what you’d think about as you imagined moving through your home, elicits a different response in another part of the brain. Piecing these two together, Dr Owen created a blind trial to use Tennis Imagery for Yes, and House Imagery for No, as he asked the patient different questions about their life. This proved that the patients who were originally thought to be comatose were in fact aware of their surroundings but unable to move. Kate Bainbridge, the first patient Dr Owen scanned when he made the discovery of mental alertness that could not be expressed physically, shared her feelings about his work in a note that touched the heart of the audience. Dr. Owen estimated that 20% of Ten of Thousands of patients in vegetative states might have this level of consciousness.

Dynamic Dozen took to the stage to close the show. Created as a  response to the Flash mob craze on YouTube and in collaboration with Youth Opportunities Unlimited provided opportunities for students to have summer jobs in a dance troupe who performed over 100 shows of choreographed dance. 12 15-18 years olds stormed the stage and performed a 10 minute dance routine to classic and popular hits. It was hard not to be moved to the rhythm seeing the energy being expressed on stage.  Lindsay, the choreographer, expressed how she researched the selection of the songs and Joey told us about the Dance Day Camp Workshops they ran and how rewarding it was seeing the faces of smiling kids as they performed the blend of hip hop and contemporary dance styles. For more information visit: http://www.london.ca/d.aspx?s=/YouthWeb/DynamicDozen.htm.

 

The next event will feature @GlenPearson Glen Pearson and Jeffrey Preston @jeffpreston.

When: Thursday, Nov 10, 2011,

Where: Wolf Performance Hall

More details: http://citysymposium.com/

City Symposium I: Be Curious. Do Good.

City Symposium

I had the pleasure of attending the first City Symposium at the London Public Library Central branch last night. While I was late showing up, and missed the first talk about Grit Uplifted, I had a great time last night! Kudos to James Shelley for putting the event on, to the speakers for sharing their passion, and the attendees and volunteers who made the event possible.

 

Kelly Bradley delivered the opening talk about her Grit Uplifted project. I first heard about Grit Uplifted from Dr. Abe Oudshoorn, noted Londoner and advocate for the homeless, who posted an edition on his facebook a few months ago. The publication features a number of pieces, writing and photos,  from those who have experienced homelessness, are homeless, or at risk.  http://grituplifted.com/.

 Daniel Castillo Glass Artist City Symposium London

The second speaker was glass artist Daniel Castillo. Daniel emmigrated from Columbia and on top of the language barrier, he also had to develop his reputation over again as a full time “150% artist”. At first, I wasn’t clear about how extensive his experience was working with stained glass and fused glass. Then Daniel started his slide show. I would never have known London, Ontario was home to one of the world’s best glass artists and I highly recommend you check out the link below to see his beautiful work. More about Daniel Castillo: http://www.danielcastilloglass.com/

Dr Jason Gilliland City Symposium London UWO

Finally, Dr Jason Gilliland took the stage to share with us his research into how Urban Planning can contribute to healthy development of children. His presentation starts with the dramatic map showing obesity levels in children have risen to greater than 20% since 1984 and that an easy way to combat this costly trend is to plan cities around walkability. His combined experience in geography, urban planning, and architecture give him a unique perspective on the real life challenges faced by the City of London and he and his team forcus their research on real world solutions. More about Jason Gilliland: http://geography.uwo.ca/faculty/gilliland/index.htm

 

James Shelley at City Symposium I

Organizer James Shelley said that because the word Symposium comes from the Greek root of “Drinking together”, the evening wouldn’t be complete without conversation over a beverage. The party at the Fox and Fiddle concluded around 10:30pm. More about James Shelley: http://www.jamesshelley.net/home/

 

The next event will feature @comadork Adrian Owen speaking about conciousness and the mind.

When: Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Where: Wolf Performance Hall

More details: http://citysymposium.com/

Marc Maron WTF Podcast App Review

More to come!

WTF App What the Fuck iOS App Iphone

 

Marc Maron has been catapulted from relative obscurity in the alternative comedy scene to the second most prolific podcaster after Podfather Ricky Gervais. Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast, What the Fuck for the uninitiated, is a look at comedy from an  insider’s perspective but with Marc’s outsider feelings. Marc would admit his stand up comedy is good, but he has struggled to find an audience over the years in large part to his emotional struggles in relationship and with addiction. Now, 12 years sober and 200 episodes strong, Marc’s touching conversations with comedians, writers, and stand up legends is the darling of the podcast world and Marc recently delivered the keynote at the Montreal Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. Though still working out of his garage at the Cat Ranch in California, the media empire Marc is creating is only just getting started. Did I mention the show is really funny? Well it is.

Episode list for WTF App What The Fuck Podcast Marc Maron

Here are step by step instructions with the app after you’ve downloaded it from the App Store. The app is designed by Wizzard Media, who specialize in Podcast Applications and Producer tools. This was the reason I first sought out the app. While I often find it easier to access all of my podcasts through iTunes, the WTF Pod iPad/iPod app is a great way to listen and keep up with the episodes. You don’t have to remember to sync the latest episodes and it starts from where you left off. Some of the best episodes are only available on a premium episode. Within the app, you can upgrade for a nominal fee and enjoy the bonus content.

Upgrade to premium WTF App What the Fuck Podcast Marc Maron

 

A one year pass in only $8.99, 6 months for $4.99, and one month is $1.99. I haven’t upgraded yet. Marc, I hope you don’t take it personally. I had to catch up on the last 100 episodes. The app is fast, easy to use, and unlike some other 3rd party applications, I haven’t run into many bugs at all. If WTF is your favorite podcast there is no reason you shouldn’t download the app, kick in a few shekles, and upgrade to premium today!

Upgrade Packages Marc Maron WTF Podcast App What The Fuck

Flyer Distribution in London, Ontario

Flyers delivered in London Ontario
A stack of unwanted flyers at my doorstep

Update! 06292012

Since originally writing, this post, the carrier must have changed for the flyers, because I am not getting additional print material that is unwanted. They’re getting better about local content, but the offers are still the same old crappy experience. Velocity Drivers has some interesting data about the will of Londoner’s to reduce the amount of printed commercial solicitation, just like  CAN SPAM regulations have impacted email delivery! The FREE PRESS hasn’t been Free for a while!

 

Original Post – Update

I’ve had a big problem getting flyers at my house and until recently I hadn’t taken the time to figure out how to get them to stop. Here is a step by step instruction for those in London Ontario.

Red Dot Campaign

http://www.reddotcampaign.ca/

 

Flyers are a waste of paper and only serve to promote consumerism. While they may purport to deliver “savings” by offering specials, clearances and discounts, the flyers may only foster greed and materialism.

 

Here is who you need to talk to:

 

StarMail

If you want to suspend or restart flyer delivery…

Going on vacation or have other reasons to suspend delivery? Want to restart delivery?

Call 519-451-1500. Press 3 then 2.

Leave a message and we’ll take care of it.

 

London Free Press

http://www.lfpress.com/

Penny Saver

http://www.londonpennysaver.com/

Canada Post

http://www.canadapost.ca/cpo/mc/personal/support/helpcentre/receiving/choice_opt_in.jsf

This crown corp is venturing even further into the marketing fields. Here is the haul from Tuesday. Not a single piece of addressed mail.

flyers delivered by canada post
One day of Unaddressed Mail in London Ontario

 

 

 

Want access to all of your flyers digitally? Red Flag Deals has a great site for Canadians where you can browse most national retailers flyer when you’re actually in the mood to shop.  http://flyers.redflagdeals.com/?p=rfd

 

Audi commissions four US universities to research urban mobility issues

Audi commissions four US universities to research urban mobility issues: ”

We’ve seen what other companies have in store for our automotive future, and now Audi’s given us a glimpse of what we can expect from its car of tomorrow. The company’s Silicon Valley research lab have teamed up with four universities here in the US to develop technologies that will give city drivers the full KITT treatment — vehicles that recognize the driver (and his or her preferences) and can detect and avoid dangers and traffic delays. Called the Audi Urban Intelligence Assist initiative, each participating university has a specific area of urban mobility research ranging from urban crash analysis to aggregating historical and real-time traffic, parking, and pedestrian data in cities. The schools will also study how best to deliver relevant information to drivers and get them from point A to point B as easily and efficiently as possible. Looks like the groundwork is being laid for a German counterpart to GM’s EN-V we test drove in Vegas, and we look forward to the fruits of their labor. Ich bin ein Ingolstädter!

Audi commissions four US universities to research urban mobility issues originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 20 Jan 2011 18:24:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Green Car Congress | sourceAudi USA | Email this | Comments

Actually, Highway Builders, Roads Don’t Pay For Themselves

Actually, Highway Builders, Roads Don’t Pay For Themselves: ”

Cumulative Net Difference Between Spending on Highways and Highway “User Revenues”Since 1947, American highways have run up a deficit bigger than $600 billion, in 2005 dollars. Source: U.S. PIRG

You’ve heard it a thousand times from the highway lobby: Roads pay for themselves through “user fees” — a.k.a. gas taxes and tolls — whereas transit is a drain on the taxpayer. They use this argument to push for new roads, instead of transit, as fiscally prudent investments.

The myth of the self-financed road meets its match today in the form of a new report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group: “Do Roads Pay For Themselves?” The answer is a resounding “no.” All told, the authors calculate that road construction has sucked $600 billion out of America’s public purse since the dawn of the interstate system.

The Myth of the User Fee

First, let’s dispense with the idea that the gas tax – the primary source of financing for federal transportation projects – is a user fee.

“If you go to a state park and pay the fee to get in there, that’s a user fee,” report author Dan Smith, U.S. PIRG’s transportation associate, told Streetsblog. “If you’re driving down the road and you have to pay the toll for driving on that specific road, that’s a user fee.”

But people also pay gas taxes to fill up their lawnmowers. And those lawnmowers don’t usually end up on the highway. Just because you fill your tank doesn’t mean you ever drive on the roads funded by the gas tax you pay.

The Catch-22

Then there’s the huge contradiction underpinning the core arguments for highway expansion. Do new roads cut congestion, or do they “pay for themselves”? Highway lobbyists try to have it both ways, but the truth is that neither of these propositions hold water.

 

Highway expansions are often justified as projects that relieve traffic and, believe it or not, reduce pollution. So if a highway widening achieved its stated aims, it would cut congestion and fuel consumption, which would mean fewer gas tax dollars and roads that don’t pay for even a fraction of their construction costs. However, we know that new highway capacity doesn’t actually reduce driving – it induces more driving.

The additional traffic created by expanding highways does generate more gas tax revenue, but still not enough to come close to covering the costs of new roads.

U.S. PIRG cites the Pew Charitable Trusts’ SubsidyScope project, which found that “user fees paid for only 51 percent of highway costs, down 10 percent over the course of a single decade.”

Even if gas taxes were the direct user payment they’re made out to be, no one seems to have much appetite for making sure they actually pay for the infrastructure needs in this country. Gas taxes haven’t risen to accommodate more fuel efficient cars or even for plain old inflation. Nor have they compensated for the fact that driving is declining, meaning less gas consumption (but, puzzlingly, not less road-building).

The federal gas tax hasn’t gone up since 1993.

The Highway Funding System as a Subsidy for Driving

The argument that drivers pay for roads might be somewhat more credible if they weren’t taking money away from other public funding streams. Gasoline is exempt from sales taxes in 37 states and the District of Columbia. So rather than paying into the general revenues for the state, motorists are paying into an already narrowly prescribed pot of funding, which highway advocates want to see prescribed even more narrowly to exclude transit and bike/pedestrian projects.

In New Jersey, the savings on the sales tax exceeds the gas tax drivers have to pay. In that way, the government actually provides a financial incentive to purchase gas and drive. And since gas taxes are fixed and sales taxes are percentages of the purchase price, more and more states could end up with this perverse subsidy as gas prices rise.

What About Tolls?

Tolls are, indeed, an honest-to-goodness user fee, charging drivers directly for the road they’re driving on. But the overwhelming majority of roads are not funded by tolls. Local streets don’t have tolls. Rural highways don’t often have them. And tolls don’t come close to covering the costs of roads. According to U.S. PIRG, “In the 1950s, experts estimated that no more than 9,000 miles of highway (compared with the more than 3 million miles of highway in existence at that time) could support themselves with tolls.”

Founding Fathers

The report goes into ancient history (the Hoover administration), investigating the original intent of the gas tax at both the state and federal levels, and debunking the myth that they were always intended to pay only for highways. Indeed, federal gas taxes originated in the 1930s and were dedicated exclusively for highways only for a 17-year period, starting in 1956, covering the construction of the interstate highway system. Since 1973, the gas tax has been used for a variety of transportation programs and has even been used, on occasion, to pay down the deficit.

External Costs

And now the obvious: You can’t measure all the costs of driving with the price of asphalt. The U.S. PIRG report gives a laundry list of external costs associated with driving, including:

    • Changes in the risk of accidents, including injuries to non-drivers and damages to property.

 

  • Environmental and public health impacts, including smog, greenhouse gases, water pollution from highway runoff, and the impacts on wildlife and outdoor enthusiasts.

 

 

  • National security and economic implications of protecting access to foreign oil.

 

 

  • Increased pressure on those without cars.

 

 

  • Quality of life and the impact of roads on active transportation, such as walking and biking.

 

 

  • Car-centric development patterns, sprawl, and the resulting infrastructure costs for the expansion of water, sewer, and other services.

 

 

The report cites one study that finds that, just to pay for roads, user fees need to be 20 to 70 cents higher, and another study that finds that, to pay for external costs like these, we’d have to add another $2.10 a gallon.

The Cost of the Myths

“Road advocates use these myths about the gas tax being this user fee and that highways pay for themselves to get preferential treatment, and to get a larger chunk of the dedicated fund,” says Smith of U.S. PIRG. “Advocates of any type of policy would like a dedicated fund, because it is a stable source of funding.”

The myths associated with road financing put all other forms of transportation at a disadvantage, said Smith. “Conservatives say all other transit is social policy and should come from the general fund.”

With a Republican majority in the House, the myth that roads pay for themselves will be again be enlisted to prioritize highways over transit, as the GOP begins shaping a transportation agenda around “getting back to basics” and cutting spending, especially for transit.

“We want to make sure that those falsehoods are not a part of this debate,” said Smith. “People will think twice before saying roads pay for themselves when the numbers say they don’t.”