Racism In The Peoples Party Of Canada? You Don’t Say . . .

As we enter the last day of advance voting in the 2021 surprise Canadian Federal Election, I present you with a reblog of an entry that I wrote back in May, but completely forgot about.

While this writing makes clear where my vote is NOT going, I will not pick a side this time around by telling you where my vote is going (despite going liberal last time around).
Though there are 2 primary contenders in the Canadian system, remember that votes for smaller national contenders are not technically wasted votes. Even if a party like the Greens, Bloc or NDP don’t have a hope in hell of ever winning a majority, their influence rises with the amount of support they get from us voters.

While it amuses me to see conservatives concerned about the PPC potentially eating into the Conservative parties voter base (presumably to the benefit of the Trudeau Liberals), I am aware that Trudeau isn’t looking the best even on the left these days. If people are viewing this vote in the typical American mindset, they may be tempted to sit this one out.

Don’t do it. Even if the party that you don’t like regains (or takes) control, more votes for smaller national contenders means less overall influence of even the dominant players. The difference that is a majority or a minority government.

You can stay home and allow a majority for the liberals (seems unlikely) or the conservatives. Or you can explore another contender and potentially have either L or C win federally, but under a minority status. Unlike the virtually unchecked parliamentary boundaries of a majority, a minority is constrained by needing the approval of the next most powerful party. After all, nothing gets done without those votes.

As idiotic as calling this election seemingly was, don’t sit it out. Instead, be glad for the opportunity that options has afforded us in our democratic choices.

A Raindrop In The Ocean

Today’s post is, by my standards, low-hanging fruit. If I told you that writing this didn’t bring about a healthy dose of joy to my day, I would be lying. It would be like seeing live footage of Jason Kenny or Donald Trump slipping on a banana peel and falling on their ass.

If you ain’t laughing, you’re either delusional or full of shit (probably both). But anyway, on with the show.

Just as Justin Trudeau seems to have finally gotten the national vaccination program onto a similar trajectory as Joe Biden’s (as evidenced by my recent retrieval of my first Pfizer shot a week ago), the 2 factions of the Canadian Conservative political sphere appear to be embroiled in a spat of sorts.
Andrew told the teacher that Max was being a naughty boy. Or as it were, the Progressive Conservatives told the media that the Peoples Party were…

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Memes And Misinformation – When Did Sharing Become More Important Then Integrity?

3 years before the 2016 circus and the insanity that followed, I asked this question:

/// Why is sharing the information more important then actually checking if its correct? ///

How things stay the same.

A Raindrop In The Ocean

Social media  is a great tool for spreading all kinds of information far and wide, free of charge. Everything you could possibly imagine or want to find and share with others, can be done so with the click of a mouse, the tap of a screen, or the press of a button.

However, these social networking platforms have increasingly become a tool for spreading MISinformation of all kinds. From small, locally targeted stuff that affects a single organization, community, region. To national and internationally targeted ones, which quickly get attention all over the world in a very short period of time.

One example of this, came out of the recent flooding in Calgary.

It was being spread on social media, that price gouging by business’s was occurring during the flooding. Some examples, were some small convenience store and  Home Depot  “overcharging” for a case of 24 water…

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“Did Racist Images in Dr. Seuss Books Contribute to War Crimes?” – (COUNTERPUNCH)

Though I am coming out with this post a bit late in the game, this article is nonetheless worth a quick read. And a share if your timeline is filled with Dr. Seuss apologists. If only we cared as much about climate change and inequality within our human societies as much as we care about a set of fucking children’s books . . .

But I digress.

Though it may be impossible to change the mind of those willing to scapegoat the infamous and often ambiguous they (“They want to censor *placeholder*!”, “They want to ban *placeholder*!”. And my personal favourite, “They are snowflakes!!”), sharing the origin article can’t hurt.

A short excerpt:

“I didn’t realize Dr. Seuss made us all racists,” he quipped.

As usual, a flippant retort to a flippant remark moves the conversation nowhere. One has to dig a bit deeper.

The six newly delisted books (And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, If I Ran the Zoo, McElligot’s Pool, On Beyond Zebra!, The Cat’s Quizzer, and The Cat’s Quizzer) were all created between 1935 and 1976, a time when racist imagery in cartoons was as common as giant noses. And while these six books have been (in today’s vernacular) “cancelled,” no one is suggesting that they are in the same league as the infamous Censored Eleven—a group of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons that were considered so offensive toward African Americans that they were pulled from syndication way back in 1968.

Nor is anyone—outside of a Klan meeting—suggesting that the blatantly offensive characterizations found in the Censored Eleven have a place on Saturday morning television.

But when it comes to more subtle racist imagery—such as the Siamese cats in Disney’s Lady and the Tramp or the black-face crows in Dumbo—well, here many conservatives draw the line. Why, this is not racism, they insist. Those cartoon characters aren’t even people; they’re cats and crows! On the contrary, this is “woke censorship” run amok by out-of-touch “Hollywood elites,” themes they’ve no doubt picked up from right-wing politicians and FOX News pundits who are busily fanning the flames of the Culture War.

I wanted to take a look for myself at the image that had made the suits at Dr. Suess Inc. ban one book in particular after nearly 85 years in print. I opened And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street—the only book on the list that I was even vaguely familiar with—and found the controversial image in question, a cartoon of a Chinese man. It is a fairly stereotypical image from the 1930s. The man is bright yellow, has slits for eyes, a long pigtail, a lampshade looking hat. He holds chopsticks and a bowl of rice. He is called a “Chinaman.” And, for some unknown reason, he wears traditional Japanese-style shoes.

According to Dr. Seuss Enterprises that image, and some of the images in the other five books, “portray people in ways that are hurtful and wrong.”

Did Racist Images in Dr. Seuss Books Contribute to War Crimes?


And, for some unknown reason, he wears traditional Japanese-style shoes.

This one is apparent. When it comes to ignorant minds and Asian culture, they often times end up being one and the same. Japanese, Chinese, Philipino . . . close enough!

Either way, like the rest of us that are fed up with hearing about Dr. Seuss (or worse, having that material compared to Cardi B’s smash hit without context), hopefully, this is over before it began. And it likely will be.

When you are determined to be annoyed at everything without context, the world is filled with possibilities.





As I browsed some of the oldest entries in my back catalogue, I came to this relic. Though the tone of it makes it feel 25 or more years old, it was actually born in April of 2013. A product of the early 2010s, composed 4ish years out from the end of Bush Jr’s final term.

The title is expectations, and it is more or less about how people voted in a demigod in Obama with expectations of miracles, but instead only got a great many flawed half measures of a human being. This is not to say that he does not have a positive legacy, because that isn’t true.

His legacy can be found in 1 word. Obamacare. It’s not single-payer, but it’s a big step in the right direction.

Since we are talking about high expectations on the eve of a newly minted Biden/Harris term (well, assuming POTUS Cheeto & friends don’t succeed in what they accuse Biden of doing. Stealing the election!) I need to clarify a bit. Even though Joe Biden and Kamala Harris look the part of patron saints compared to the dung stain that currently inhabits the oval office, my expectations of them are hardly high. He’s a deligating, knowledge-seeking breath of fresh air to the Tweeting snowflake that is POTUS 45. But he’s still a career Democratic politician.

Something which I find both disheartening (as a fan of Bernie), and somewhat sobering. Like the rest of the privileged politicians and leaders of the party (not to mention the many external firms that take DNC/DCCC/ect cash), I don’t know if he truly is capable of seeing the era we have entered as different than the ones we have exited.

In the very late 2000s and the early 2010s, I began to hear from my American counterparts about their fears about their system. Though it’s all been culminating for at least 3 decades with many factors acting as fuses, they laid out fears of essentially Christian Coup D’etat. I had come across this in a few places (including a few Christopher Hedges articles). Though they deeply unsettled me (Hedges has that effect on the naive reader), I had trouble picturing what that looked like.

Then 2015 rolls around, with everyone’s favourite vanity candidate. Oh, look, Donald is running for president again . . . whats this photo op for?
Wait . . . it’s NOT a photo op? Yeah right!

I recall watching a TYT clip at the time which had Cenk Uygur commenting “you know, he COULD WIN” (I don’t recall the context). Sometime in the summer months, I recall Micheal Moore calling it. Far more connected to the inner part of the US than the rest of us, he saw what everyone else (including the DNC) didn’t.
So begun the decade from hell. Well, the 4 years from hell. It certainly doesn’t feel like 4 years.

Either way, as much as Trump has been a dangerous and deadly president in every way imaginable, one of his saving graces is in his stupidity. Though I’ve learned not to take ANYTHING for granted anymore, I would be VERY surprised if Trump & friends could Coup D’etat their way into remaining in control of a Wendys.

Which is what makes him even more dangerous. He is seemingly too stupid NOT to pull the rug out from under himself at practically any opportunity. But he has laid the groundwork for something far worse.

The candidacy I worry about coming from the Republicans will likely not occur in 2024, though I could be wrong. I’m starting to worry about 2028, 2032, maybe beyond.
This candidate will embody all of the authoritarianism and fascism that Trump does, but with a brain. An intellect to know how to weasel into the back rooms of power without catching the attention of the sleeping populace. A candidate that will utilize the phenomenon of Trumpism far better than the man in the name could.
It’s part of the reason why I hate that description. It makes Trumpism seem like a problem that can be solved by booting Cheeto to the curb. Even though he is merely a figurehead for something much bigger. For a similar example on the positive side of the spectrum, look no further than Bernie Sanders.

There is hope. If the Democrats want to have a hope in hell of turning this course, they NEED to prove themselves a viable alternative in the coming years. Though COVID 19 and student loan relief will make for a great start, there must be more in it for the average person. Whether it is kick-starting a set of referendums for single-payer healthcare or beginning a general UBI program for all citizens (preferably all with Biden’s signature, since that would be hilarious), the action needs to be bold. For ideas, look no further than Bernie and the squad.

To end this addon, it is not the Coup D’etat attempt of today that worries me. The one that worries me is the one that will occur down the road. When people least expect it, after a few more years of seeming normalcy.

A Raindrop In The Ocean


Yesterday before work, I found myself watching “Church of the Rock”, a televised church service out of Winnipeg. Which is odd, because as an atheist, I do not watch such things (the DVR was on that channel due to a recording the night before). And so I was about to change the channel when I looked into the topic the pastor was discussing, which was, expectations.

The main idea being, those with the biggest expectations, are often going to be those with the biggest disappointments. As well, those who do not learn to move past the disappointments, let them put you on a different course, will end up eventually hitting a wall, unable to move forward.

The pastor used the Titanic as an analogy for the demonstration. Think of your self (and your life) as a ship, and think of the iceberg (or icebergs) in the water around…

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We Remember – Or So We Say 

The Year has changed, but my sentiments have not.

A Raindrop In The Ocean

It is that time of year again.

It seems like the year has flown by, really. But I suppose that is a good thing, in a way. By all accounts, 2016 was not a good year, personally (in many ways) or on a more grand and  societal scale.

One thing that occurred to me in the last weeks of October, was the American election. We’re fast approaching Veterans day Remembrance day (depending on your side of the border). But this election would seem to cast a shadow over that day (and it’s May counterpart, memorial day).

It’s safe to say that when it comes to veterans affairs, few in American politics have proven capable of doing much more than creating wind on the subject. But this campaigns Republican nominee takes it to a WHOLE new level. It’s not just actions not matching words (not even considering the whole Kahn fiasco!)…

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Musings Of A Wandering Mind

Today Is Easter Sunday, 2020.

For most of us alive today, it is an Easter like no other. Instead of dreading the long commute to mingle with family we may or may not want to see, we’re all stuck at home. Stuck at home for at LEAST one or 2 more months. And even if that order gets lifted, were at least a year away from what most of us would call normalcy.

You know . . . returning to a school we may hate. Going back to a job we might despise. Attending familial events that we may or may not like attending.

The ordinary will return in short order, worry not. Not soon enough for the many stir crazy extroverts of which I try to avoid at all costs, but none the less, you WILL mingle with the mates soon. Hockey will return. All will be well in your world.

As the world burns, this will be a bad memory by mid 2021 and ancient history by 2022.

For me, however, this pandemic has provided a unique opportunity of sorts. Though it has not changed my real life all that much (I work in the essential retail sector), it’s proving to be a once in a lifetime opportunity. An opportunity to observe what happens when a society conditioned to consume culture is forced off the juice cold turkey.

Many people before me have observed and shared far more detailed commentaries about the death of creativity in modern society. However, I doubt the ramifications of this trajectory has been any more pronounced than they are at the current moment.

Before now, every size of locality from the city right up to country has suffered through disasters. However, no such disaster has ever amplified quite as globally as the COVID 19 pandemic. Nothing has ever as effectively shut down all of society’s distractions as COVID has.

And the result has been interesting to observe. Seemingly millions of people that don’t know how to pass a month, a week, A DAY without the rituals of normality. And not the day to day routines either. I’m talking about the shiny distractions that make it all seem worthwhile for the many. Everything from major league sports, movies and popular culture, and everything in between.

It all serves a purpose.

For decades, education systems around the world have valued conformity over creativity. It’s an obvious formula really, since you don’t need creativity to work in a factory, stand behind a cash register, etc. In fact you do not want too many creative people in such positions since creativity tends to also indicate the ability to think freely and analyze. Which is the last thing that an employer with an emphasis on focusing on the bottom line needs in an employee.

To keep the machines running and the economy humming, you need cogs. Punctual, reliable, conformist human robots that can be relied upon to keep the earnings flowing. At least until they can be automated away by far more financially effective robots.

There is a reason why we have all filled in these type of worksheets throughout our progress in our various educational systems.

Though the last time I saw a variation of the 5 minute quiz was in grade 8, I still remember it to this day. All but 2 students actually followed the directions as specified, which naturally ended in a scolding for the rest of us.

As the zoomers say nowadays . . . “Okay Boomer”. I don’t miss that teacher. Unlike many I encountered before or since, he fell out of love with his job years ago.

Either way, it is interesting how a pandemic exposes many things about society. Inequality is certainly highlighted in various ways. But in a sense, so too are the priorities of the society. Though arts and entertainment are far from what any emergency manager would list as a societal essential or priority, I would disagree.

Consider a recent workplace evaluation I got (which is likely not all that different from those received by many others). A big (and undisclosed) part of the position is living up to the standards and values that INSERT GENERIC CORPO HERE represents. And of course, the inevitable Though SO-AND-SO displays good performance in the area of STUPID SHIT HERE, he could achieve more by pushing himself a little harder in his daily routine.

I could. But I don’t really give a shit. These goals always mean nothing to me and everything to those managing me.

Many of us live this existence. It is the reason movies like Office Space and Fight Club are cult classics. Not to mention the modern-day televised adaptations of show characters choosing to thumb their nose at the status quo (Breaking Bad, Mr. Robot).
As much as I love these adaptations, however, they are still a part of the overall problem. With the exception of Mr. Robot (which is filled with educational cyber awareness tips), most of these are just tales spun up by the wealthy and privileged which appeal to the masses on account of the reality of many of the situations.

In a world wherein half of ones life consists of regimented conformity, the availability of passive distractions is just as important. Where life is lacking in direction in terms of meaning, the mindless helps keep the void filled. If we are perfectly honest with ourselves, alcohol and drugs also play a role here as well. It’s all about keeping the mind occupied.

What this pandemic really is, is a dry run of what is around the corner for a good chunk of humanity. A state of permanent obsolescence for much of the workforce that consists of machines of meat.
COVID 19 may be temporary, but we are still collectively starring down the barrel of a gun. Though COVID 19 serves as a shotgun in itself, how our various nations react also serves as a chance to experiment with methods of dealing with this new reality.
It’s a reality that has already begun to touch areas of the fossil fuel industry, particularly in Canada. Though the increased obsolescence of heavy fuels also presents an opportunity in itself, little hope is to be found on that front as the collective status quo continues to bury its head in delusion.

As illustrated by this meme.

I have touched on this topic before, in this very context in fact. I remember that project well since news kept coming out both during its creation AND after it was published that illustrated my point. The future for fossil fuels generally (let alone heavy fuels) is on the decline. Even Jim Cramer can’t help but acknowledge the changing winds of the energy industry.

The only place wherein this information has not penetrated is in bitumen rich Canada. Where even politicians that should know better are pandering for the sake of the votes. Kicking the hard changes down the road for someone else to deal with in the name of temporary gains.
The population wants false hope, so they get it in spades.

The day will eventually come when the reality becomes unavoidable, however. Just as Covid 19 eventually became too much of a problem for even Donald Trump to ignore, so to will the eventual recession of the oil patch. And just as my American friends fear what lies around the corner for their country in the coming weeks of Covid 19 induced economic collapse (thanks to a failure of leadership to adequately prepare!), I fear that the same future is at stake for deluded oil patch proponents.

Considering that the Canadian oilpatch constitutes a tiny fraction of the overall worldwide workforce, the picture only grows grimmer when one zooms all the way out to encompass the whole of the automation threat.

Believe it or not, this does intersect with how this piece started. Even I didn’t expect it to take this turn, but such is what happens when the words start flowing.

In a world of conformity, the lack of personal meaningfulness (?) is fairly simplistic to appease. For many, employment in itself serves this well. As do children. As does the rest of the flashy, ritualistic cocktail of culture, religion, and otherwise distraction that permeates daily existence.

There is something for everyone. No critical thinking or creativity required.

Where this goes wrong is when we eventually find ourselves in a state of permanent unemployment. Permanent unemployment currently means a drastic cut in one’s earnings. That cut in earnings often times also means less (if any) access to things that previously made life bearable.

It’s a big problem in a population that has been conditioned for little more than conformity and easy shepherding, as both right-wing radio and the spread of all manner of internet misinformation and propaganda illustrate. Though the solution so far has been mainly just to ignore the problem and keep on eroding the safety nets of the downtrodden even further, there will come a time when the problem can’t be ignored any longer. Where the lines representing both unemployment and civil unrest intersect, I don’t know.

It’s a problem that even some of the wealthy are starting to take into consideration. Such is why many are open to the concept of a Universal Basic Income.
Though the concept seems simple enough, there is debate about how it will be implemented. For example, as a replacement for all other supplemental income sources, it would be far cheaper than many current nation-state safety nets. Hence why the wealthy like the option.

Though it would likely rely heavily on a wealthy tax burden, much of the money is likely to flow right back into their coffers. A particularly beneficial system for multi-nationals.

I am not really a fan of this implementation as a standalone fix to the coming crises of purpose either.

As part of the overall paradigm shift, okay. But not as a standalone.

Because you can not just throw money at the problem and expect it to go away. The obsolescence of the human workforce marks a fundamental change in the structure of human life as we know it. Failure to tackle that issue is only going to lead to both inward and outwardly directed destruction on a massive scale. Otherwise known as what we are already starting to see in different places.

Either way, it’s time to bring this to a close. Since I touched on 2 very different yet also intersecting concepts within this post, I’ll tie off both loose ends.

First, when it comes to the rapid march of society towards mass implementation of automation, the time for us to adapt is running out. Though the delusional seem to think that refusal to use such devices as self checkouts will stave off this change, I ask them . . . did it work for ATM’s?

To the politicians especially, I look at with scorn. Stable and comfortable delusion may be what the voters long for, but let’s get serious. They are not children. If they elected you to act in their best interest, DO IT!

Rip the band aid off by kicking preparations for the unthinkable into high gear. They may be incapable of seeing the logic, but the rest of us will be glad that someone was thinking ahead.

As for the second part of this, our collective destruction of creative instinct within the human cog, I have a message to all of the creators out there. Keep doing what you are doing. And most of all, don’t waste the talents in which you were gifted.

Keep your skills sharp. The collective may not yet know it, but they need your out of the box thinking more now than any of us know it.

“Electric Buses Charge Quickly With This New Wireless System” – (Ecowatch)


Around a month or so ago, I wrote a piece exploring my hypothesis that my country (in particular, one province within it) was betting on entirely the wrong horse when it comes to the future of energy. For that piece, I tried to keep a fairly level head in my explorations, despite holding strong opinions on the subject matter. As much as I value viewing the future in a pragmatic way, I also understand the human dynamic. When a new status quo technology transitions into being the new dominant infrastructure, you invariably have hundreds, thousands, maybe even hundreds of thousands of people displaced from employment.

The oilsands case for me is an interesting one for a few reasons.

As an environmentally minded citizen, I am in obvious opposition for that reason (leave it in the ground). Though those in favour are all about the good-paying jobs, it’s an inherently flawed argument. Good paying or not, corporations will ALWAYS run with but the absolute minimum amount of labour as is necessary to generate the desired revenue. And if those few jobs can be automated away, then there goes that argument. Even if they get their pipelines and whatever other infrastructure they demand from provincial and federal governments, all but the most technologically skilled engineers will STILL end up on the chopping block. The proverbial square one.

After the recent Canadian federal election, I more or less reiterated the same message. Though this time, I was far less contained in displaying my true feelings. A product of hearing the same old arrogant whining and complaining from the same short-sighted bunch of (generally) boomers, I lost my cool and had to release some steam. It wasn’t the unifying message that this country arguably is in need of. But at the same time, we’re all adults here. Whether or not adults choose to accept the consequences of future change that will almost certainly be out of their control, they will be affected by this change.

You can fight it. You can stay in the delusion until the progress of reality runs you down like a freight train and leaves your life, region and economy in a state of disarray. Or you can acknowledge the dangerously rough waters that lie ahead and start attempting to plan accordingly.
These plans may not help ALL affected by the change, nor may they even turn out to be the right guess (who knows what we can’t foresee in the coming decades). None the less, having a plan is far better than watching the economic, social and (and potentially, civil) fabric erode before your very eyes. Whilst my main focus herein on the Alberta economy, the aforementioned automation transition will affect far more regions than that.

Alberta may be in dire straights now. But they ain’t seen NOTHING yet.

Which brings me to the article I have linked above.

In Long Beach, California, some electric buses can charge along their route without cords or wires.

When a bus reaches the Pine Avenue station, it parks over a special charging pad. While passengers get on and off, the charger transfers energy to a receiver on the bottom of the bus.

Michael Masquelier is CEO of Wave, the company that makes the wireless system in Long Beach.

“We automatically detect that the vehicle’s there, automatically start the charge,” he says. “So it’s completely hands-free and automated.”

Wireless charging systems use what’s known as inductive charging to produce electricity across a magnetic field. Wireless phone chargers and even some electric toothbrushes work in the same way.

As you can see, it’s not a new technology. At very low power, it’s how proximity-based badge and credit card readers work. As noted above, it’s how wireless charging works. I have one of those pads, and as mobile device makers continue to work towards waterproof devices (as opposed to water-resistant), they will become even more commonplace.
Apple is already rumoured to be creating such a device in the iPhone 12. This means that other manufacturers (particularly Android flagships like future Pixels) won’t be far behind. Lack of ports means more opportunities for home branded headphones, wireless dongles and who knows what else.

Either way, the reason why I wrote this is to showcase a demonstration of this technology in action TODAY. If this can be made to work for buses, then it seems plausible that parking spots outfitted with similar tech could well be the future of charging personal EV’s. Maybe not at home, but consider the comfort and security of initiating payments and the other steps of the process without even leaving the vehicle. No current driver, gas OR electric, can boast that convenience.

This leaves semi-trucks and long haul trucking.

This has been typically viewed as a problem in the area of conversion since it’s hard to match the per kilometre (or mile) range of the average transport truck. One way of dealing with this would be swapping out batteries between trips. Another could be charging the battery (possibly with the assistance of plugging in to ensure maximum juice flow into the batteries) while the truck is at a warehouse or depot loading and unloading. The undercarriage of a trailer certainly has enough space to house the required conductors. Whether the time between loading and unloading a given shipment of freight is enough time to gain a proper charge, is questionable. But as these things go, maybe the solution isn’t just to rely on charging at layovers. Maybe a battery swap plus a charge is the answer.

Either way, the point of this is to try and further outline the seemingly obvious. The future is here, in all its fascinations and uncertainties. When it comes to the question of whether you can sustain an economy with heavy fuels only, it is less a question than a countdown.

It is not a matter of if. It is a matter of when.

Rememberance In The Era Of Uncertainty

Writing something on this so-called day of remembrance has come to be somewhat of a tradition of mine since creating this blog. However, this time around, I really don’t have all that much new to say. I said all I had to say last year.

Will I have more to talk about aside from cautionary advice next year? Maybe.

It’s election time. Canada had it’s round, and Canada only barely emerged unscathed. Let’s see how our American counterparts drive the ship.

A Raindrop In The Ocean


That time of year has come around, once more. When we honor the souls who made the ultimate sacrifice, affording us the lives we currently take wholly for granted. And so it goes. Like the poppies growing row upon row, we follow the script year after year. Go through the same ceremonies and pageantries, followed by a whole lot of nothing. Well, at least until next year.

Speaking of traditions, even I have developed a remembrance day tradition of my own. Since debuting this blog onto the net back in early 2013 (just after my second foray into twitter the month previous), I have had a remembrance day related post for every single year.







These posts vary in substance, from my gripes and complaints about this day in the context of my life and work to fairly long-form explanations of my views on wearing…

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“Emergency Tornado Alert Wasn’t Issued To Everyone, Ottawans Complain” – (CBC News)

When I heard that Canada was going to spend some cash instituting an emergency alert system that would span all communication systems (including cable television and cellular networks) 2 years ago, I was impressed. Actually, I found myself a bit surprised that such a system was not already in place (an asinine proposition in the American section of Tornado Ally). But in an age of changing and increasingly erratic climate behaviour, better late than never.

In the following years, the system has gradually come online. The first terrifying warning I ever received was over the cable tv system, notifying people of a tornado in a fairly closeby town. In the years after, the LTE emergency alert system has gradually come online. Problems were apparent in early tests (including an entire cell carrier not relaying the alert. Mine, coincidently). But as new technology goes, most of the parties involved seemed to correct these issues.

To the point that a new problem with the Emergency alerting system soon became apparent.


First off, I will address the tone of the last piece. While I am not apologetic about it, this was written from the perspective of persecution. It seemed that you could not go anywhere in the realm of media without seeing criticism of this usage of the system being deemed as selfish (at best). Don’t get me wrong, thousands of idiots virtue signalling in the name of children is not annoying to me.
If anything, it’s hilarious. Every time an Amber Alerts goes out anytime between 11pm and 5am, they are there. To educate us knuckle-dragging mouth-breathing freaks that children are more important than our beauty sleep. And they all do it just because it’s the right thing to do, and not for any other reasons relating to positive social standing.

Yeah . . . I can’t say it with a straight face either. What would social media be without its bandwagon jumpers . . .

Either way, the annoying (well, infuriating) thing about these bandwagon virtue signalers is their short-sightedness. I expect nothing less from the social media posting public, but I would have hoped that people of authority would have a better head on their shoulders.

But first of all, we have to explore the Canadian emergency alerting system and how it differs from the system in place in the US (and possibly other nations).

This is a screen capture taken on my tablet, which was manufactured to the American EAS system specifications. As you can see, you have control over every type of alert (excluding presidential). Thus if you want to exclude amber alerts but still be warned of other threats, you can.

In Canada, however, all of these settings are redundant. Because for whatever reason (cost savings? compatibility?) the entire system was designed to send everything at the presidential level.
I like the implementation of the American EAS because it takes into account a serious flaw which seems to have been overlooked by Canadian authorities. That flaw is alert fatigue.

Though this issue seems to be most pronounced in the health care sector, it can come up in any context in which a person constantly deals with many alerts, particularly if many tend to be false alarms. From big industrial accidents to plane crashes, alert fatigue is a problem that many industries are still looking for ways to deal with.

While one would not think that this would be applicable to a public alerting system, the problem lies in the implementation of the 2 systems.
In the US, this is not a problem because the end user has full control of what they see. Not the case in Canada.

Which is why the authorities NEED to exercise care in how they make use of this system. And if the authorities at the lower level can’t get past this short shortsightedness, then maybe there should be someone higher up the Alert Ready chain that DOES.
Have some sense about broadcasting these things between 11pm and 5am. Because if they become persistent enough to annoy people, they will disable them in 1 of 3 ways:

1.) shut off LTE connection at night (or permanently)

2.) Run airplane mode at night

3.) turn off the device at night

Keep in mind, people are already doing this. As one can see if you check out Reddit and other discussions of this topic. NOT a great thing to hear as we go into tornado season (and overall, a more chaotic atmospheric condition overall).
Poor implementation and short-sighted use of this extremely valuable system have the very real potential of eroding what value it brings to the table. In the past, alerting people at night while they sleep was a HUGE challenge (just hope they hear the siren, and hope it goes off, to begin with).
Now, we have the siren on the bedside table. But only so long as it doesn’t frivolously go off too many times.

And so I have gone through it all again. The implementation of Alert Ready was idiotic, to begin with. Given this, the only solution to a very real problem is either narrowly targeted distribution (distribute to cells near highways likely pertinent to the case, not entire provinces), or not using the cell side altogether. Given the number of people that no longer listen to terrestrial radio in vehicles (and that most vehicles contain at least 1 LTE enabled smartphone) I highly prefer the former.

Though it looks like we STILL have some work to do in this area as well.


To close this, I don’t know why Canada didn’t just implement the Alert Ready mobile system in the same way that EAS is deployed stateside. Because if current trends (in terms of how the Alert Ready network is being utilized) continue, the systems overall value as a life-saving resource may well erode. Unfortunately, this will only become apparent after it’s too late.