Category Archives: Society

Urban Sprawl — Are Humans Less Efficient Than Slime Molds?

“History suggests humans, in contrast to ants and slime molds, rarely optimize growth, particularly when multiple objectives such as profit, equity, and ecological integrity come into conflict.” And since we aren’t quite as good at this as slime molds are, there is the distinct possibility that we should plan for the worst rather than assume we’ll fix the problem ahead of time. – Dave Levitan | August 5 2014

Thanks to Pamela Zevit for posting this quotation, and the article it came from, on FaceBook. Pam posts links to a steady stream of articles that make one sit up and think.

Fun Day at Powell Street Festival in Vancouver

We always enjoy the annual Powell Street Festival in what is left of Vancouver’s original Japantown. What was once a vibrant community was dismantled in 1942 with the Canadian government’s internment of Japanese Canadians — many of them Canadian citizens. The festival never dwells on that part of the past, it’s a super celebration of Japanese culture, art, music, food, martial arts, and more.

See my Flickr album here.

Powell Street Festival Vancouver 2014

New Battery Rejuvenates Cell Phone

I began noticing a few months ago that the battery in my Samsung SIII smartphone was not lasting nearly as long as it did when new. I was getting barely a few hours out of a charge.

I was in Toronto in early June for several conferences, and was using my phone more than I usually do to keep in touch with local relatives and friends, read my email, check Twitter and Facebook, etc. At home I do many of these things from my office computer, so hadn’t noticed as much how weak the phone battery was getting.

I had an hour to kill over lunch one day, and tried four or five cell phone retail outlets in downtown Toronto, and none of them had a battery for the SIII. It’s not that old, but old enough in the rapid model turnover of the cell phone world that none of them could be bothered to stock batteries for it.

I returned home, and put up with the shorter and shorter battery time, until the last day or two the battery wouldn’t take hardly any charge at all. I could leave the phone plugged in overnight, and have less than a quarter bar of battery power in the morning.

About a week ago I ordered a new battery from an online battery shop, but yesterday and today, I could not get more than a minute or two out of a charge. So I searched for battery specialty shops in Burnaby, and came up with Battery World on Boundary Road. I called them, and they had four SIII batteries on hand.

So I drove over this afternoon and bought one. Staff encouraged me to pop the non-Samsung branded battery into my phone and make sure it fitted properly and powered up. It’s nice to see a full bar of power on the screen again, and it’ll also be nice to have a backup battery when the one I ordered online arrives.

The new generic battery also has a tish more  capacity than a stock Samsung battery at 2,300 vs 2,100 MaH, but I haven’t had the opportunity yet to see if that realizes more uptime per charge. That’s only around a 10% increase, so I doubt if I’ll notice a difference.

It’s amazing how one becomes addicted to technology. If I leave the house without the cell phone, or if I’m out of juice, I feel naked. And I’m not a power user by any means. I might make and receive half a dozen to a dozen calls on my cell per week, and about the same number of texts. I am using it more for email and GPS location finding than I used to.

Oh, yes, I’d also like to thank Samsung for making batteries easy to change. Just pop the back cover off the phone by sticking a fingernail in the slot, and there you go — easy access to the battery, SIM, and microSD memory.

Edmonds City Fair & Car Show 2014 Great Fun Despite Rain

I was asked to be the event photographer for yesterday’s Edmonds City Fair & Car Show in SE Burnaby. It was a great event, with lots of activities for all ages. While it drizzled intermittently, with a real soaking for the last half hour or so, people had lots of fun, and stuck it out to the end with great spirit.

I focused on people and not so much the vehicles on display. You can view my Flickr album here.

Edmonds City Fair 2014

 

Mandela Quotations Make Up Google Doodle

I’ve typed in these quotations from Nelson Mandela that Google is running as a Google Doodle today. Powerful.

No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion.

People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its 
opposite.

What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.

Education is the most powerful weapon which we can use to change the world.

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time you fall.

Partying with Elders – What a Great Time!

I posted this on my Facebook account several days ago and its gotten a pile of “likes” so thought I’d share it here, too.

 

Had a wonderful evening last weekend. A BBQ hosted by friends of ours in Vancouver. Lovely old house in an older neighborhood. An evening in a gorgeous, modestly groomed, but more wild, back yard, with many burgeoning fruit trees and raspberry bushes.

We were the youngest couple there, and we’re in our mid-40s to mid-50s.

We’re a “mixed” couple, and so was everyone else. And some were in their 80s and 90s, and enjoying life to the full. Former neighbors, still friends, now living in old folks’ homes but graciously picked up and driven to this communal feast in their former ‘hood..

Awesome.

As the evening eased by, there were smatterings of Korean, Italian, and Japanese in the conversations. Not all understood by all present despite concerted efforts at interpretation.

But everyone was cool with that. We were all happy to be with other convivial folks.

And all were sure to ensure that all were happy.

The food was a wonderful melange of those cultures, and more.

I’m not sure where this post is going, but I have to say that if I make it to 80, I hope I still have caring friends like this bunch of party animals do!

Initial Contacts with Insurance & Restoration Companies are Reassuring

As I posted a few days ago, we had a water line break on our top floor, and water cascaded down through the living room ceiling, and through walls all the way to the basement.

It’s been a tiring week.

However, I’ve been pleased with my initial contacts with the insurance company, The Dominion, and the restoration firm they recommended, Barclay Restorations.

While no work has been done yet, aside from assessing damage and placing several large commercial fans here and there to dry things out, everyone that I’ve had contact with has been prompt, professional and courteous.

Both the adjuster from the insurance company,  and a couple of fellows who came at different times from Barclay, have been on time, and if they were running late, they phoned to let me know.

Tomorrow a few guys are coming by to check how the drying is coming along (it will be a relief to get all those fans shut down), and pull out some lino in the basement that has to go. They will also likely make a few exploratory cuts in walls if their meters detect any residual moisture.

It will be a lengthy process–I’ve been warned it could take several weeks from getting everything estimated and approved, and the work done.

But I feel we are in good hands.