1. Back to work
Pressroom workers at the Chronicle Herald have voted “to accept an agreement that takes away early retirement benefits, which many had based their futures on,” the Halifax Typographical Union said in a statement:
Martin O’Hanlon, president of CWA Canada, the HTU’s parent union, said it’s a tough deal for the workers to take, but they saw no other option.
It was a choice between that, a company demand for a $7-an-hour wage cut, or staying on the picket line for weeks or months.
“It’s a lousy deal with a patronizing and intransigent employer, and it certainly could have been settled without a lockout if the company had just been reasonable,” O’Hanlon said.
Can you imagine going into work each day for a boss who sees you as the enemy and works tirelessly to cut your pay and benefits? The Chronicle Herald must be a miserable, low-morale workplace nowadays.
2. Walk Halifax
Halifax is badly in need of a pedestrian advocacy group, and now we’re getting one. Bill Campbell, an information technology consultant, is starting Walk Halifax, reports Metro:
The vision: “Any route a pedestrian takes is safe, comfortable and interesting,” he explained.
There’s much work for the group to tackle, but to start off, I have three interrelated suggestions for policy positions the group could take up immediately:
• The legislature should reverse 2007’s Bill 7, which changed the motor vehicle code so as to effectively take the right-of-way away from pedestrians and give it to motorists at signalled crosswalks.
• The city should admit push button-activated walk signals were a huge mistake and remove all of them, then put the push buttons in a giant pile in Grand Parade and have a big celebration with bands and fireworks and a nice speech from the mayor as a steam roller smashes the push buttons to smithereens. Walk signals should come on automatically at all intersections.
• Beyond doing away with the push button-activated signals, the city should institute a Leading Pedestrian Interval at intersections:
A Leading Pedestrian Interval (LPI) typically gives pedestrians a 3–7 second head start when entering an intersection with a corresponding green signal in the same direction of travel.
LPIs enhance the visibility of pedestrians in the intersection and reinforce their right-of-way over turning vehicles, especially in locations with a history of conflict.
LPIs have been shown to reduce pedestrian-vehicle collisions as much as 60% at treated intersections.
I’ve seen the LPIs in action in Chicago, and was much impressed at how they changed driver behaviour. It’s counter-intuitive to old school traffic engineering mentalities, but putting the pedestrians out in the roadway before the traffic light turns green actually makes the intersection much safer for pedestrians.
Walk Halifax will have its first meeting Wednesday, but unfortunately Metro doesn’t tell us where or when. If someone can drop me a line with that info, I’ll pass it on to readers.
There’s a steep learning curve on the podcasts. It wouldn’t be possible at all without producer Russell Gragg, and for that I’m eternally grateful. We’ve started the process to get the podcast listed with iTunes, and for an RSS feed. Probably later today I’ll have a better interface, and we won’t have that goofy photo on the podcast. And I should return the Thesaurus to its rightful owner.
4. Wild Kingdom
“A bobcat that has been prowling backyards in Barton in recent weeks was caught Friday in a live trap and transported to the organization, Hope For Wildlife, at Seaforth, outside of Halifax,” reports the Digby Courier. “A veterinarian has said the animal is not sick, just young and hungry, and Hope For Wildlife staff figured the bobcat was probably orphaned before it learned how to hunt. It will be rehabilitated and taught to hunt before it is released.”
1. Ryan Millet
Stephen Kimber seems to think no one noticed that Dalhousie University hasn’t dealt with Ryan Millet, and in his best “get off my lawn” voice says:
[P]erhaps we’ve simply been distracted by the trending/trended/over-it colours of that blue-black/gold-white dress, or that now-you-see-it-now-we’re-sorry TSN tweet about which Toronto Maple Leaf was sleeping with …
Kimber must be on a different internet than me.
Ralph Surette puts the Port Hawkesbury biomass generator in the context of mismanagement of the province’s forests by the Department of Natural Resources:
As predicted, the Port Hawkesbury biomass generator, making 60 MW of electricity by burning wood, is a disaster — so much so that two high-end flooring mills in eastern Nova Scotia are shutting down mainly because the good hardwood they need is going into the biomass hopper, the latest version of the long-running arrangement wherein small operators are starved in favour of big ones.
[W]here did the politicians get the airy-fairy notion that the plant would run on waste wood — whatever that is — whereas, as was obvious to anyone who can rub two sticks together, contractors who need to rumble in some 50 to 60 truckloads of wood a day for the boiler (nearly as much as for the pulp mill itself) have no time or incentive to mess around separating good logs from presumed and undefined “waste.”
The culprit is the Department of Natural Resources….Wearily, let me say this for the umpteenth time. In practice, DNR is not a department of government but of the pulp and lumber industry. It’s been that way since the 1960s.
Police commission (12:30pm, City Hall)—there’s nothing significant on the agenda, but the last time there was nothing significant on the agenda the commission took what to me looks like the illegal action of adding an item so it could appoint Linda Mosher chair without any notification to the public (or reporters) whatsoever. So I guess I should go and make sure they don’t do some other dastardly act.
No public meetings.
Thesis defence, Industrial Engineering (10:30am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building)—PhD candidate Navin Chari will defend his thesis, “Thematic Development of Recovery, Remanufacturing, and Support Models for Sustainable Supply Chains.”
Reocirus (12:30pm, Room 3-H, Tupper Building)—Maya Shmulevitz, from the Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology at the University of Alberta, will talk on “Fine-tuning reocirus towards the unnatural oncolytic niche.”
Senate (4pm, University Hall, Macdonald Building)—here’s the agenda.
The Influence of Ocean Emissions on Arctic Aerosol (Tuesday, 11:30am, Room 5263, LSC – Psychology Wing)—Rachel Chang will speak.
Service-oriented architecture (Tuesday, 2pm, Goldberg Computer Science Building, room 430)—Kelly Lyons, from the University of Toronto, will speak. Her abstract:
Service science is the study of human, organizational, and technological systems called service systems which are defined as configurations of resources (people, information, organizations, and technology) adapting dynamically and connecting internally and externally to other service systems to bring about benefit or value. Many organizations and institutions can be viewed as service systems including universities, cities, hospitals, corporations, and libraries. The notion of the service system has become a central object in service science research and has been put forward as the most fundamental abstractionhal bruce of service science. In this presentation, I will define service science and service systems, present a framework for analyzing an organization as a service system, and describe results obtained from applying the framework to a library, several social enterprise organizations, and in disaster management.
Open Data and Open Governance in Canada (Tuesday, 4pm, Rowe 3089)—Jeffrey Roy will speak. His abstract:
As governments develop open data strategies, their efforts reflect the advent of the Internet, the digitization of government, and the emergence of meta-data as a wider socio-economic and societal transformational. This lecture will seek to both situate and examine the evolution and effectiveness of open data strategies in the public sector with a particular focus on municipal governments in Canada that have led this movement domestically. It will also delve more deeply into whether and how open data can facilitate more open and innovative forms of governance enjoining an outward-oriented public sector (across all government levels) with an empowered and participative society.
Rupture (Tuesday, 6pm, Room 1116, McCain Building)—Urs Heftrich, from the Slavic Institute at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, will talk on “Images of Rupture in Civilization Between East and West: The Perception of Auschwita and Hiroshima in Eastern European Arts and Media.”
Roméo Dallaire (Tuesday, 7pm, Spatz Theatre, Citadel High School)—Dallaire will speak on the use of child soldiers in war:
The abuse of youth as weapons of war is a reality that can’t be resolved on the day soldiers face them in the field, nor is it acceptable to wait till after the abuse has happened to try to address the harm.
On March 10th, LGen Dallaire (ret’d) will discuss his ultimate mission, to end the use and recruitment of child soldiers. General Dallaire is achieving his mission through the organization he founded, The Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative at Dalhousie University. The Dallaire Initiative has created the world’s first prevention-oriented, security sector focused approach to ending the use of child soldiers in conflicts.
Entrance is $15, $8 for students. Proceeds go to the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative and the Halifax-based organization, Sending Orphans of AIDS Relief.
James Raffan (Tuesday, 7:30pm,Archives & Special Collections Reading Room, Fifth Floor, Killam Library)—Raffan will read from his book, Circling the Midnight Sun: Culture and Change in the Invisible Arctic.
“Officials with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the agency in charge of setting conservation policy and enforcing environmental laws in the state, issued directives in 2011 barring thousands of employees from using the phrases ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming,’ according to a bombshell report by the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting (FCIR),” reports the Guardian.
Similarly, the state of North Carolina has banned the use of predicted rises in sea level from being used to influence coastal policies or flood insurance rates.
Lest we think this is simply American willful ignorance run amok, let’s not forget that the Harper government has stopped the environmental monitoring of lakes near the tar sands and has otherwise gutted environmental research that might give us a better understanding of the effects of climate change.
In the harbour
We’re all going to be tired for the next six weeks. We should just have one international time zone and be done with it. People locally can sleep and go to work at whatever time they want, and clocks will move forward one second per second, forever, and none of this spring forward fall back nonsense. If you want more light at the end of the day, take off from work early.