1. Ship of Theseus
“CBC News has learned a government consultant defending the troubled steering system on Bluenose II was once a big critic of using hydraulics to navigate the boat,” writes Bob Murphy:
In a June 2011 e-mail obtained by CBC News, Fitt wrote to one of the ship’s designers, saying the rudder as proposed would be “colossally overbuilt,” “expensive,” and “not…either necessary or a good idea.
“We do not think it is either necessary or a good idea,” he wrote, adding the builders preferred a lighter, wooden rudder similar to the one on the original Bluenose II.
Fitt also pointed out the risks of installing a hydraulic system.
“An electric/hydraulic system is guaranteed to break down at some point in the lifetime of the vessel and put the crew and passengers at risk.”
A year later, Fitt sent a letter to the project manager MHPM. Despite numerous design changes to the rudder, he wrote “fundamental problems remain.”
Fitt told Murphy that he’s now OK with the steering system because there’s a backup steering system on the boat.
2. Chase the Ace
People have spent nearly a million dollars buying tickets for the “Chase the Ace” game in Inverness, reports the Cape Breton Post:
On Saturday, an indeterminable number of people once again flocked to the small western Cape Breton community where they collectively spent more than $940,000 on tickets.
“It’s off the map – whoever thought that Inverness would ever be this busy,” said local resident Breton Doyle.
“They started arriving early in the morning and there were people and line-ups all over town – it’s amazing, I can just sit on my step and watch the madness.”
[E]ach Saturday has seen the former mining town besieged with thousands of people, so many that the RCMP instituted parking restrictions and had officers positioned all over the community directing a flow of traffic that would have been unimaginable just a couple of months ago.
While there was no accurate method in place to count all the people who had descended on the seaside community, rough estimations put the number well into the thousands.
The CBC has an explainer, er, explaining what Chase the Ace is all about. The short of it: a glorified fifty-fifty draw. Even shorter: gambling.
After prize money is paid, the money raised through Chase the Ace goes to the Inverness Cottage Workshop, which “provides vocational, personal, and social skills training for adults with intellectual disabilities.”
Fundraisers for charities provide an important opportunity for communities to come together and socialize around something that isn’t corporately branded, celebrate people doing good work, and raise a bit of cash for worthy projects. All good.
But would it be rude to point out that the Cabot Links golf course across town was able to land $14 million by simply asking the government for it?
It’s telling which enterprises have to raise funds through bake sales, church dinners, and lotteries, and which don’t have to worry about money.
3. Wild Kingdom
“The federal Fisheries Department is investigating reports that people in eastern Newfoundland have been trying to lasso and ride a beluga whale that has been frequenting the area around Grates Cove,” reports the Canadian Press:
Federal research scientist Garry Stenson says signs are being posted in the area warning people to stay clear of the whale for its own safety.
He says once belugas become accustomed to human interaction there’s a high risk of serious injury or death for the whale.
1. Andrew Younger
As he did as when was Energy Minister, newly appointed Environment Minister Andrew Younger has used his position to abort environmental protection policies, writes Stephen Kimber.
At issue are so-called “polluter-pay” regulations, taxes on the sale of polluting products. “We’re talking engine oil, tires, batteries, electronic equipment, hazardous waste, pharmaceuticals, paper packaging, etc.,” explains Kimber. Polluter-pay taxes fund the environmentally safe disposal of the products after consumers are done with them.
Nova Scotia’s proposed polluter-pay regulations were six years in the making. But after Nova Scotia joined the other provinces in agreeing to a polluter-pay framework, the the proposal went nowhere. It took Younger’s predecessor at Environment, Randy Delorey, to jump start the process:
Because we hadn’t followed up, Delorey explained in a March report, “Nova Scotia is missing out on opportunities to offset waste management costs and increase diversion.” He said his department was preparing [polluter-pay] regulations. Department officials confirmed this summer they were on track to publish them this fall.
Now, however, Younger has aborted the regulations. Polluter pay will not be implemented in Nova Scotia. Continues Kimber:
Younger didn’t even make the announcement himself. He left that to his gloating allies at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
Forget public consultations. Forget the environment.
Nice to know who really runs our environment department.
2. Donham v Frum v Donham
Stephen Marche wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times headlined “The Closure of the Canadian Mind,” which explained to Americans why Stephen Harper is a horrible prime minister. In response, David Frum wrote a piece for The Atlantic, headlined “The Delusions of the Canadian Mind,” criticizing Marche. This caused Parker Donham to write a rebuttal of Frum’s rebuttal, headlined “The Case Against Stephen Harper,” also published in the Atlantic. Because magazine paper is so cheap, The Atlantic then published a rebuttal-cubed piece by Frum against Donham headlined “What the Case Against Stephen Harper is Really About.” And now, Donham publishes on his own site a final (we hope) rebuttal — I think we’re up to #4.
Frum’s latest piece is “thin gruel, unworthy of a response except that it typifies the smugness and intellectual dishonesty that often characterize Frum’s style of argument,” writes Donham.
Police Commission (12:30pm, City Hall) — Commissioner Stephen Adams doesn’t think people should be able to appeal police-issued administrative fines to the courts, like this is East Germany or North Korea or some other police state hellhole where the cops can’t be reviewed by the courts.
Grant Committee (1pm, City Hall) — the committee will divvy up $107,000 dedicated to the eight business improvement districts.
No public meetings.
Tree goats (h/t Robyn McNeil):
James Early (7pm, Halifax Central Library — James Early, the Past Director of Culttural Heritage policy at the Smithsonian Centre for Folklife and Cultural Heritage, will speak. Early is the first speaker in a series organized by the provincial Department of African Nova Scotian Affairs, the Black Loyalist Society, and the Africville Heritage Trust as part of the UN-declared Decade for People of African Descent.
PhD defence, English (Tuesday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building) — PhD candidate Geordie Miller will defend his thesis, “An Allegory of Value: American Literature Within Neoliberalism.”
Patient-Oriented Cardiometabolic Disease Research in Nutrition and Genetics (Tuesday, 12:30pm, Centre for Clinical Research, CH&E Classroom #409, 5790 University Avenue) — Leah Cahill, a visiting prof from Harvard, will speak.
Bruce Martin (Tuesday, 11:30am, Room 3655, Life Sciences Centre) — Bruce Martin, who is the Applied Sciences Manager at JASCO Applied Sciences, will speak to the weekly Oceanography Seminar, but either he hasn’t yet figured out what he’s going to talk about or the seminar organizers haven’t updated their webpage with the title of the talk. Either way, we’re positive it will be fun.
In the harbour
I took the weekend off. Which means I’m behind on everything.