In the harbour
Two people, Michelle Rhyno and her son, Michael Rhyno, have been charged in the stabbing death of Bradley Knoll.
According to comments left on his Facebook page, Knoll was “quiet and harmless,” was recovering from knee surgery and walked with a cane, was in love with a woman, and was running into “some trouble at Whiskeys” bar.
As detailed in this Chronicle Herald article, mother and son Rhyno are quite the pair:
In 2013, Michelle and Michael were handed 3½-year sentences for robbery and theft stemming from a June 2011 incident at a residence on Shirley Street in Halifax. The sentences were reduced to 17 months because the pair had spent more than two years on remand.
Michelle showed up at the home after a man who was a guest there called for an escort. The man said he didn’t want to have sex with her because she was much older than the advertised 33.
Michael, who was waiting in a taxi, then came to the door holding what appeared to be a knife, the man testified at trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
The Rhynos stole more than $5,000 worth of goods that belonged to the man or his host, including a $2,400 watch, 2 iPhones, an iPod Touch, a PlayStation system, games, DVD’s, a guitar, beer, scotch, a wallet, ID’s and keys.
Michelle Rhyno has at least 28 criminal convictions going back to 1996. Her record includes seven other convictions for theft, four for assault, one for uttering threats and one for a prostitution-related offence.
“I think I’ll form a theft ring with my mom, the escort,” probably isn’t the wisest career path.
Someone put up transphobic signs in the median of a street in Burnside.
3. The Deck Box
Here’s a police release from Sunday, about an incident on Saturday night:
At 9:38 p.m. on June 20, Halifax Regional Police responded to a report of a motor vehicle collision on Quinpool Road. A black BMW was travelling west on Quinpool Road at what was described as a high rate of speed when the vehicle tried to pass another car on the inside lane and it struck two parked cars. A van was pushed up onto the sidewalk and smashed into the front of a building at 6297 Quinpool Road. The suspect car came to rest on the sidewalk. Four male suspects fled on foot from the BMW. There was extensive damage to the three vehicles and the building was also damaged. There were no reported injuries to anyone at the scene.
The building in question houses The Deck Box, a “collectible card game store, which focuses on Magic, Pokemon, YuGiOh and has a gaming space,” explains Metro. The store is owned by Joshua Carter, who closed the store early that night, and who has the right attitude:
Clients are often lingering by the front windows looking at cards and talking with staff, Carter added.
“Someone would have been very badly hurt if we had in fact been open,” he said.
Carter said they’ve been finding glass shards all the way to the back of the store, and he has one photo showing a large piece of glass embedded in a table which he said illustrates the “quite a bit of force” the crash had.
“It’s unfortunate that it happened, but at the end of the day it’s just stuff. That’s what insurance is for,” he said.
1. Driverless cars
Seemingly, the entire world, including Stephen Kimber and the Conference Board of Canada, has bought into Google’s propaganda and believes we’ll have driverless cars “by 2025.” In Kimber’s case, this is why we shouldn’t “twin” Highway 103.
Look, my first memories are from the 1960s. There was then a bloody war raging in Southeast Asia, millions of people murdered, their farms poisoned, their cities bombed. Walter Cronkite showed us film of it on the six o’clock news, and American teenagers went through a perverse lottery, the winners getting the prize of being stripped from their families and communities and shipped around the world to become killing machines: kill someone — a Vietcong or a commanding officer, one — or be killed. Their younger siblings went through “duck and cover” drills, an exercise in the indoctrination of fear disguising itself with the absurd notion that one could survive a nuclear attack by hiding under a school desk. For some reason, my Catholic elementary school didn’t participate in the exercise, but there was a “fallout shelter” sign plastered on the entrance of the building. I was told that if the city ever went up in smoke we were to bicycle over to Christ the King, and somehow, even though there was no basement to the place, no food stockpiles, no cots to sleep on, Sister Mildred would keep us safe from marauding Ruskies.
And yet even though there was the stink and expectation of death every day, it was a hopeful society. The prevailing attitude was that things would get better. Black people would soon be recognized as full citizens. Women would attain equality. Politics will always be a cynical game, but in the 1960s and 70s’ version of cynicism, social gains were made — it was the conservative president Richard Nixon who signed the Environmental Protection Act into law and who mused about a guaranteed income to lift all out of poverty. Oh, and just around the bend, technology would awe and bring salvation. On Saturday afternoons there was a TV show called The Twenty-First Century, which mesmerized us with predictions of flying cars and jet packs, underwater cities, pills providing all nutritional needs. In popular culture, it was widely assumed that by, famously, 2001, we’d have gigantic space stations housing hundreds of people and bases on the moon.
On the surface, some of those predictions seem dead-on. The only episode of The Twenty-First Century I can find online is the one that showed us home offices, complete with computers.
But the reality of the 21st century misses the hope promised by The Twenty-First Century. Today, just as in the 1960s, black men regularly get gunned downed by police for the sin of being black. Women are allowed into the workplace but at a lower pay level, and still fear violent attack. Technology has advanced, but haphazardly. There are no moon bases; in fact, the Americans are incapable even of lifting a person into orbit, a technology that was mastered when I was two years old. Turns out, it’s much cheaper and more sensible to let robots run about space and take pictures for us than to send people there, even though the trade-off means we get to miss the thrill of experiencing it in person. And yes, we have computers, but they haven’t been used to free us from the drudgery of work; rather, we have become enslaved to them, and now our bosses expect us to be available 24 hours a day. Every increase in productivity brought by technology has been usurped from workers, stolen by the 1% — the life of leisure for the masses envisioned in the 1960s is a sad joke. And there were no pop-up ads on the computers envisioned in The Twenty-First Century.
And what about those flying cars? Inevitably, someone will send me an article about some multi-millionaire somewhere who has something that resembles a flying car, but this is not what we were talking about in the 1960s. Haven’t you seen The Jetsons?
Self-driving car? Please. Yes, it’s possible for Google to micro-photograph every square inch of Palo Alto at a cost of billions of dollars, and then run an automated vehicle around the place, provided the person on board can take the controls if needed. This is roughly akin to the rollercoaster at an amusement park — lots of fun, but of no practical use whatsoever.
To suppose that driverless cars will be a common feature on roads in Nova Scotia within 10 years is delusional. It supposes a lot of things, including:
• that there’s profit in photographing every square inch of Nova Scotia highways;
• that artificial intelligence will advance to the point that it will be able to handle the snow, ice, potholes, wildlife, drunk ATVers and human drivers that are typical features of Nova Scotian highways;
• that the Nova Scotian government can study, plan for, and enact a regulatory scheme for driverless vehicles in a mere 10 years;
• that the courts will waddle through and rule on insurance judgments related to deaths, injuries, and damages related to driverless vehicles; and, most importantly,
• that people will be able to afford the damn things.
To think that everyone currently driving on the 103 will in just 10 years be able to buy or lease a driverless car assumes that A) they’ll be employed, B) their minimum wage fish plant and seasonal tourism jobs pay a hell of a lot more than they do now, and/or C) there will exist a bottomless pit of financing that can grease the purchasing and lease of the vehicles.
I know I’m an outlier on this. An army of geeks are right now reading this, shaking their heads, calling me a Luddite and otherwise expressing dismay about how uninformed I am.
But while I don’t doubt the driverless car technology is ultimately achievable, there’s no way it will be widely affordable in just 10 years, if ever. And we should ask ourselves: what are the social costs of the things? To create a world where everyone has a driverless car, what will it require in terms of the relationship between the average person and their job, their bank, their government? I can’t see a way this works without making people much less free, much more tied to a financing anchor.
And what if people can’t afford to buy a driverless car or otherwise refuse to get one? Do we make it illegal to have human-driven car? Think about the social justice issues involved in that.
However, I agree with Kimber. We shouldn’t twin the 103, because we already have a driverless technology. Or, rather, a technology that allows hundreds of people to travel without driving — albeit one person, or a small crew of people, do have to be at the controls. It’s called a train. We used to have them, pretty much everywhere. We could have them again, pretty much everywhere. And people wouldn’t have to drive. They could be drunk, or tired, or just plain dumb, as people are from time to time, and still get to where they’ve got to go without the mayhem we have on the roads today.
And if there were enough trains, people wouldn’t have to sell their souls and their future incomes to Google.
The “Step Up Nova Scotia” campaign is run by Engage Nova Scotia, which is an offshoot of One Nova Scotia, which is supposedly implementing the ill-defined goals of the Ivany Report.
The whole thing’s something of a joke, says Rachel Brighton.
3. Cranky letter of the day
Another Friday, another jump in gas prices! Oil is at a low of $59 per barrel, but the price of gas keeps rising. The cost of gas is the same as when oil was well over $100 per barrel.
This is just another tax grab for the provincial and federal governments.
We’d like an account of how they arrive at this price. We’re certain others would like to find out as well.
John & Gloria Simpson
Executive Standing Committee (10am, City Hall)—the committee will discuss the creation of a Multicultural Advisory Committee.
District 7 & 8 Planning Advisory Committee (Central Library, Room 201)—the committee will be looking at a proposal for another crappy seven storey apartment building in the Isleville/Almon area.
Public information meeting (7pm, Woodlawn Public Library)—W.M. Fares Group wants the Dartmouth planning strategy amended so it can build a strip mall and a six-storey, 92-unit apartment building at the corner of Portland Street and Portland Hills Drive.
In the harbour
You’re invited! The Halifax Examiner turns one year old!
Who: anyone who wants to celebrate the Halifax Examiner
What: Music by the Hold’er Newts, food by Food Wolf, cash bar, Halifax Examiner T-shirts and coffee mugs, and lots of other stuff once we figure it out.
When: Wednesday, June 24, 5–10pm
Where: The Company House, 2202 Gottingen Street
Ten years ago I was at a Association of Computing Machinery meeting and learned that an average car had about a million lines of computer code. I’ve had that number stuck in my head ever since, but I thought I’d better check.
is a wonderful graphic showing that a Chevy Volt now has five times that.
Your rant about driverless cars brings to mind a(nother) famous Nova Scotian. Simon Newcomb of Wallace (1835-1909), who was a home-schooled Harvard graduate. He was the best astronomer of his day, director of the US Naval Observatory and Professor of Mathematics at Johns Hopkins. He has an asteroid named for him, spoke 5 languages, discovered Benford’s Law (worth investigating) and found time to venture into economics.
Wallace, as Nova Scotians are fond of saying, is about halfway between Tatamagouche and Shinimicas.
If you have read David McCullough’s new book The Wright Brothers you will find Newcomb quoted for his dismissal of heavier-than-air flight. “May not our mechanicians . . . be ultimately forced to admit that aerial flight is one of the great class of problems with which man can never cope, and give up all attempts to grapple with it?”
I don’t know what he thought of trains. The Wright Brothers flew in 1903. Newcomb changed his mind.
Newcomb is buried at Arlington National Cemetery. President Taft attended. Newcomb was a remarkable Nova Scotian who should be honoured more. The Wikipedia article is worth reading.
Finally, and just as a guess, I’ll bet Google will make HRM intersections safer for pedestrians than the police ever thought possible.
“… shaking their heads, calling me a Luddite …”
Rose-coloured techno-futurist glasses are apparently mass produced in books, trade shows and the news: http://atlanticbookstoday.ca/humans-3-point-0/
A whole year! I subscribed because I wanted to support someone with such an ambitious business model. In a world where it seems everyone with an opinion can be a “journalist”, it is nice to know that enough people in our community choose to support you with their dollars.
Its just about the easiest thing ever to be cynical about the plethora of ‘meaningless’ post-it notes and ideas that are coming from EngageNS and Ivany discussions. But really, who cares? If you don’t find it inspiring or productive, then just don’t waste your time going.
When people are being brought together by the hundreds in places like Truro and Shelburne to talk about things like why immigration is actually good for society, even if it isn’t going to save the economy, what’s the harm in some bullshit hype? Those conversations really do need to be happening. I thought the point was changing attitudes, and that’s what these feel-good ‘seize-change’ conferences are for in the first place.
Rachel wrote: There was very little political will to try to make the concept work. In retrospect, it seems like a cynical exercise to avoid the political heat for closing the school by saying the community was given the chance but failed to live up to the opportunity.
This is the STOCK response of government. Conjure up a scheme that LOOKS like what needs to happen and then MANIPULATE the logistics to ENSURE that it fails.
This is what was done to «PROVE» that a transit route along 333east was unsupportable. The «trial» route was manipulated so that it couldn’t possibly succeed despite a morning and evening car-count in the upper thousands.
There’s a famous little book called ««How to Lie with Statistics»» which should be read by everyone who’s wondering why we’re in such a mess.
Re Cars: In addition to the factors you mention, I suspect many people will not want driverless cars. Some won’t trust the technology; others won’t want to give up the chances to show off their real or imagined driving skills or vehicle abilities. In any event, cars have created many problems, and driverless cars, (or electric cars, or electric driverless cars) will not solve them. Better use of trains is one solution.
A quick, cheap, and simple solution to the huge number of vehicle related deaths is (enforced) lower speed limits, in town and on the highway. Opponents of lower speed limits, and enforcement of existing limits, use various irrelevant examples to claim that speed does not cause accidents. Even if you accept that argument, lower speeds increase safety. In town, lower speeds put cars on a more equal footing with pedestrians and bicycles. On any road, lower speeds mean more time to recover if something expected happens (moose, car over the line, unexpected stopped vehicle, ice) and less injuries if a crash happens. As a bonus, lower speeds also decrease fuel consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce exhaust pollution, reduce noise, reduce tire wear, reduce brake wear…
I would love a utopian world where technology feeds equality.
Did anyone notice silicon valley wants to replace employed people with their brand of proprietary technology, enriching them and theirs while leaving millions unemployed and disenfranchised? Oh those crazy cats at Uber!
Have to laugh at yet another high rise proposed for yet another hill in Dartmouth. Does no one ever think about the wind? I left a 14th storey apartment (great view when it wasn’t foggy, approx 15% of the time) because the endless howling and water leakage was making me homicidal. Now much lower in another high-rise and still the winds make the balcony unpleasant most of the time. It’s bloody windy hereabouts, people. When you put a bunch of high rises in the same area, the winds are strong enough to knock a person over. Trust me, I know.
I’m sensitive to transphobia, but don’t those signs also seem a little deranged? There’s got to be more of a story behind them.
They must’ve been aimed at one person, I think. A truck driver, obviously.
I would love to be at your birthday party this week. I just live a tad too far away. Happy First Birthday! Good for you for hanging in there and doing good work.