1. Explosion photos


Never before publicized photos of the Halifax Explosion have emerged, reports the BBC. British sailor Victor Magnus, an “avid photographer,” was on watch when the Explosion occurred, and took a series of photos. His daughter has decided to make the photos public to commemorate the centennial of the start of World War 1. Included in the collection is a film of people digging through the rubble and carting bodies away.

2. Pedestrian hit by car

Police release, Tuesday afternoon:

At 1:50 p.m., police responded to a vehicle/pedestrian collision at the intersection of Cornwallis and Brunswick Streets. A 27-year-old woman crossing Brunswick Street in a marked crosswalk was hit by a pickup truck turning left from Cornwallis Street onto Brunswick Street. She suffered what are believed to be non-life threatening injuries and was transported to hospital by EHS.

The 45-year-old male driver was issued a summary offence ticket under section 125(1) of the Motor Vehicle Act for failing to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk. This ticket carries a fine of $693.95 and four points on a driver’s license upon conviction.

The Chronicle Herald is reporting that the woman suffered “head injuries” but doesn’t elaborate.

This happened just a few blocks from the Global TV studios, so one of the reporters was quickly at the scene and tweeted photos of the emergency response and such. This elicited some negative reaction on Twitter, people complaining that it was an invasion of the injured woman’s privacy. I’m of two minds on this.

I understand the completely empathetic response to protect an injured person from curious eyes. I recently came across a pedestrian who had been struck by a car and had what proved to be fatal injuries, and I didn’t take photos. I did, however, post a submitted photo the other night of emergency responders attending to an accident victim. The victim was not clearly identifiable, however.

Generally speaking, I’d fall on the completely subjective “safe” side of this equation, but what does it take to drive the danger of the situation home? When I was in high school drivers’ ed, they forced us to watch films of horrific accidents. That raises problems of a different sort, but I understand the flawed logic.

So, I don’t know.

3. City council

I’ll report later today about what happened at yesterday’s city council meeting.

4. Not guilty

Former Halifax cop Dennis Kelsey has been found not guilty of sexual assault.

5. Devour!


The Devour! Film Festival is “a success,” says the King County News:

WOLFVILLE – The official numbers won’t be in until next week, but Lia Rinaldo, managing director of the Devour Food Film Fest, said the interest and attendance at this year’s event are proof positive that people are “really into” Devour’s international celebration of cinema, food and wine culture.

During a Nov. 15 interview from festival central, the Al Whittle Theatre in Wolfville, Rinaldo reported box office receipts were more than double those of 2013.

“And those were way up from the year previous. It feels like we are riding the crest of a food wave,” she said.

Well, good luck. It seems like a good concept for a part of the province that is increasingly defining itself by wine and fine foods, and Devour! taps into that perfectly. I’ve never heard a bad word about the event.

But I wonder how this emerges as a self-sustaining enterprise, which I understand is the goal. In its first year, 2013, Devour! was underwritten with a $60,000 grant from ACOA. This year, that’s increased to $100,000.

Heck, maybe it’s worth it. I’d rather ACOA be funding stuff like this, in perpetuity, than funding the war criminals at the Halifax Security Forum. But somehow I don’t think that’s the prevailing logic of the Harper government.

6. Google Transit

Halifax Transit’s interface with Google Transit went kaput this week, which should surprise no one, as the transit agency hasn’t been able to get a working GoTime system in place for something like eight years now. My Transit 360 app is working just fine.


1. Dennis building

Photo: Aaron Segaert
Photo: Aaron Segaert

Matthew Halliday has a piece in Spacing about the Dennis building, the 1863 building the province wants to tear down. Halliday is a fan of façadism, saving the outside skin of the building and wrapping it around a new shiny glass tower.

2. Bridges

Bridge building

Peter Ziobrowski suggests the perfect Christmas gift for a budding bridge engineer: the Panel and Girder set.

3. NSDCC Christmas Market

Photos: Stephen Archibald
Photos: Stephen Archibald

Stephen Archibald remembers how the market started, and how it evolved.



No public meetings.

The city wants to buy 20 pairs of hockey skates and 40 pairs of figure skates.

Halifax Water is embarking on a complete refurbishment of the Mill Cove Pumping Station. “The station is over 40 years old and many of the components date back to the original installation,” reads a tender offer. “Electrical and mechanical systems at the station have reached the end of their useful life and require replacement.”


Public Accounts (9am, Province House)—Deputy Minister Paul LaFleche will testify about tenders for roads and bridges.

On campus



Thesis defence, Civil and Resource Engineering (Wednesday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building)—PhD candidate Rukhsana Liza will defend her thesis, “Statistical Sample Size for Quality Control Programs of Cement-Based Solidification/Stabilization.”

STI screening (Wednesday, 10am–3:30pm, Room 224, Student Union Building)—”A group of students from the health promotion class HPRO:3335 Introduction to Disease Prevention will be hosting a free chlamydia and gonorrhea screening clinic. Due to screening techniques this clinic is only open to women who are attending or who are employed by Dalhousie University – please bring your official health card or if you are an international student please bring your Dalcard.”

Mary Russell Chesley (Wednesday, 6:30pm, Dalhousie Multifaith Centre, 1321 Edward Street at University Avenue)—cultural and social historian Sharon MacDonald will speak on “Why, 100 years ago, N.S. ‘Quaker’ Mary Russell Chesley raised her voice for women’s rights, peace and the arbitration of conflicts.”

Film screening: Big Sur (Wednesday, 8pm, Dalhousie Art Gallery)—Michael Polish’s 2013 film “tracks Kerouac’s retreat to a cabin near the California Shore near the end of the Beat era, with music by members of The National.”


Thesis defence, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (Thursday, 9am, Room 3107, Mona Campbell Building)—PhD candidate Courtney Weir Stairs will defend her thesis, “Functions and Origins of Mitochondrion-Related Organelles in Anaerobic Protists.”

Land Exploration Seismology (Thursday, 11:30am, Milligan Room, Room 8007, 8th floor Biology Tower, Life Sciences Centre)—Peter Cary will talk on “Known knowns, Known Unknowns, and Unknown Unknowns in Land Exploration Seismology.”

Rumours (Thursday, 2:30pm, Room 319, Chase Building)—Abbas Mehrabian, a mathematician from the University of Waterloo, will talk on “Bounds for randomized rumour spreading protocols.” His abstract:

Consider a social network modelled as a graph, with people and friendships represented by vertices and edges, respectively. Suppose that a person knows a piece of information, and as time passes, talks to other people and spreads it. How long it takes until everyone knows the rumour? The answer, which we call the “spread time”, certainly depends on the 
graph’s structure and how the rumour spreads.

In this talk we introduce two randomized rumour spreading protocols (the synchronous push&pull protocol and the asynchronous push&pull protocol) and we prove lower and upper bounds for their spread times on general graphs, as well as for the ratio of their 
spread times on a fixed graph.

Adaptation (Thursday, 3:30, Fifth Floor Lounge in the Biology wing of the Life Sciences Centre)—Rowan Barrett, from McGill University, will talk on “The experimental genomics of adaptation.”

Eukaryotes (Thursday, 4pm, Theatre D, CRC Building)—T. Martin Embley, from the Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, will lecture on “Investigating the Origins of Eukaryotes: An Evolving Synthesis.” I may actually go to this.

Climate Change, Oil Sands and Marine Navigation (Thursday, 7pm, Ondaatje Auditorium, McCain Building)—Julie Gelfand, who is the Commissioner for the Environment and Sustainable Development, will be speaking:

Julie Gelfand
Julie Gelfand

Under the auspices of the Office of the Auditor General, the job of the Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development (CESD) is to provide “parliamentarians with objective, independent analysis and recommendations on the federal government’s efforts to protect the environment and foster sustainable development. 

Julie Gelfand, Canada’s new environment commissioner, has ties to both environmental advocacy and industry. In the 1990s and early 2000s, Gelfand was a staunch advocate for environmental legislation. As Executive Director of the Canadian Nature Association and founding member of Mining Watch Canada, she spoke out on issues of biodiversity, the future of national parks, and endangered species legislation. In 2008, Ms. Gelfand was appointed as VP of Sustainable Development for the Mining Association of Canada and later as the VP of Social Responsibility and Environment for Rio Tinto Alcan where her job was to find “that spot where those three areas, the social, the economic, and the environmental meet, that’s when you can say that we’re working toward sustainable development.” 

This sounds like an important event, worth attending. I wonder, tho, how it is we’ve all adopted the oil industry’s PR phrase “oil sands” to refer to the tar sands. As with naming arenas after banks, I’ll start calling the tar sands something else when someone starts giving cold cash to do so. Until then, tar sands it is.

Medieval Islam (Thursday, 7pm, Room 1009, Kenneth C. Rowe Building)—Maria Subtelny, from the University of Toronto, will lecture on “Rules for Rulers: Political Ethics in Medieval Islam.”

Planetarium show (Thursday, 7pm, Rm. 120, Dunn Building)—”Andromeda and the Autumn Sky.” Five bucks at the door.

Saint Mary’s


Sonya Novkovic (Thursday, 2pm, Room LI135, Patrick Power Library)—Novkovic, from the Economics Department, will discuss her book, “Co-operative Innovations in China and the West.”

Kings’ College


John Stackhouse
John Stackhouse

John Stackhouse (Thursday, 7pm, Alumni Hall)—the former Globe & Mail editor will talk on “Byte- sized democracy: Can the Internet save our democratic media and our political system?” I will be there to tell him, “Yes, the internet can save our democratic media and our political system, but not if we keep using the word ‘byte.’”

Brahmin Sannyasi (Thursday, 7pm, King’s Theatrical Society Lecture Hall in the New Academic Building)—Christopher Austin will talk on “The Brahmin Sannyasi and the Role of Renunciation in Orthodox Hindu Philosophy”:

Shankaracharya and Ramanuja, perhaps the two most famous philosophers of the Hindu tradition, were both sannyasis or renunciants. While the tradition of samnyasa or renunciation in South Asia is perhaps most famously exemplified by the so-called nastika or “heterodox” Buddhist and Jain traditions of monasticism, it is also fundamental to the “orthodox” scholastic traditions of Hindu philosophy. What exactly is samnyasa, and what does it mean to be an orthodox renunciant? This lecture will focus on the phenomenon of renunciation in South Asia, emphasizing particularly its importance for such brahminical philosophical movements as the Vedanta system.


Pink Noise

My friend and former colleague Lizzy Hill has created Pink Noise Magazine:

PINK NOISE is a quarterly magazine of fashion, lifestyle and culture, combining irreverent commentary and a healthy dose of guilty pleasures.  PINK NOISE focuses on the wide-ranging topics covered by traditional women’s magazines and home journals, including sexuality, fashion, arts & culture, health and lifestyle—often dismissively referred to as “pink topics”  by those in the hard news industry. We’re your smart, sex positive antidote to the traditional home journal, serving you highbrow with lowbrow (and discourse about eyebrows).

Let me tell you, starting a publication takes an incredible amount of time, money, energy and plain pigheadedness. Starting a print publication of this breadth is simply a gargantuan task. I wish her all the best.

In the harbour

(click on vessel names for pictures and more information about the ships)

The seas around Nova Scotia, 6am Wednesday. Shipping continues to be dominated by oil tankers (depicted in red) servicing the Irving refinery in Saint John. There is one tanker at the refinery itself, four at anchor in the Saint John Harbour, two in the Bay of Fundy heading to Saint John, one (the Acadian) passing Shelburne en route to Saint John, and another (the Cape Beale) on its way to Portsmouth from Saint John.
The seas around Nova Scotia, 6am Wednesday. Shipping continues to be dominated by oil tankers (depicted in red) servicing the Irving refinery in Saint John. There is one tanker at the refinery itself, four at anchor in the Saint John Harbour, two in the Bay of Fundy heading to Saint John, one (the Acadian) passing Shelburne en route to Saint John, and another (the Cape Beale) on its way to Portsmouth from Saint John.

NYK Daedalus, container ship, Rotterdam to Fairview Cove, then sails for New York
ZIM Qingdao, container ship, Valencia, Spain to Pier 42, then sails for New York


I’ll be on the Sheldon MacLeod show on News 95.7 at 4pm today.

Tim Bousquet is the editor and publisher of the Halifax Examiner. Twitter @Tim_Bousquet Mastodon

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  1. While Julie Gelfand did use the term ‘oil sands’ she also made reference to ‘tar sands’ and implied their interchangeability.
    It was a fantastic talk and she is a real defender of the environment, limited only by her mandate in the government. She should be commended on how bold she has been recently.

  2. Why doesn’t the city ask for people to donate used skates?
    I’m sure there would be some duds but kids outgrow skates so quickly.
    And people may actually donate new skates as well.

  3. Dennis building: Isn’t it a lot more expensive to go with facadism, as opposed to restoration of the existing building? I have read that it could be between 50 to 30% more costly, depending on the ultimate use of the structure.

    1. I don’t know the answer to that question. I do, however, find the ‘facadism’ debate interesting especially in the context of the Granville Street pedestrian-only area that is bounded by The Split Crow, NSCAD, and the row of shops that includes The Plaid Place and now Boston Pizza (ugh). This is arguably one of the more charming areas of downtown Halifax (minus Boston Pizza) and the entire western side of it consists of the facades of the old buildings stuck onto the back of the Delta hotel. Personally I would rather see the facades kept than utter demolition, but if the Dennis Building can be restored, even better. I just don’t think many people in Halifax recognize that we have those facades on Granville Street and such as they are they are okay. (I am too new to Halifax to know what was there before – presumably that is a Scotia Square-era project?)

  4. One of the first things I noticed about the building a bridge set was the prominent presence of a little girl. That wouldn’t happen today, would it? 🙁

    1. Only if the bridge was pink with flower-shaped gears to raise the drawbridge, like the silly toys made by that stupid company whose name I forget (I will claim to be willfully forgetting), who purported to bring equality of the sexes to engineering-inspired toys. The company who stole the Beastie Boys’ song and then sued the Beastie Boys …

  5. If I’m hit by a car, take all the pictures you want. Good pictures, and even better, exciting video, mean news coverage. Canada has about 3000 traffic deaths a year – more than deaths due to crime, plane crashes, medical mistakes, terrorism, and many diseases, yet there is very little media attention, because the deaths happen one or two at time, and are dismissed as accidents – as if it is normal and expected for some people to be run over in crosswalks, and nothing can be done. Putting tarps over the bodies is supposed to be respect for the dead, but if we had more respect for the living we wouldn’t be worried about the privacy of the dead and injured.