So…don’t you hate the functionality of Googles offline maps?

Don’t get me wrong, I like the IDEA of offline maps in Google! There are loads of times that you will want to use maps functionality when you aren’t connected to the internet. What bothers me is that Google gives you the ability to create offline maps, and then makes it impossible to use them […]

Broadview Public School – The Galaxy – 1967

If any of you went to Broadview Public School in Ottawa during centennial year (1967) you will know that it was a hive of activity. One of the things that happened at Broadview was the publication of “The Galaxy”. If you were in grades 7 or 8 in 1967 you just might find yourself represented […]

Ever tried to get support from Intuit (maker of Quicken and Turbotax)?

I have used Quicken (by Intuit) since the mid ’90s.  I have purchased a new version each year as a new one became available (usually when I bought my tax software from them) so that I would always be up-to-date. Generally, I have been pleased with the software but over the years the service has varied from OK to […]

What type of coolant should you use for your solar system?

I just came across an interesting item describing the three most common types of coolant for solar hot water systems and some of their properties. The article seems to be written by the manufacturer so there may be a bit of bias, but it does highlight the issues inherent in coolant selection. It is short […]

Women in the RCMP

Originally posted on Everyone Is Equal:
Perhaps you have seen it in the news, perhaps you dismissed this issue without a thought. The RCMP is discriminating against women and nothing is happening to change it. Here are the facts; there have been hundreds of reported harassments and sexual assaults from former and current female RCMP officers,…

The Right of Free Speech

Originally posted on Everyone Is Equal:
In Canada, Freedom of Speech is nearly total, excluding only hateful and obscene matter, such making bullying etc. not included in your rights. That  said I can say, write, blog anything I want, as long as it is based on facts or is solely my opinion. Unfortunately this is not the case in many places across the world, such…

Public Service Sick Leave

Unfortunately, this government and many previous governments have spent years successfully vilifying the public service so I am afraid that a large minority of public opinion will side with Clement on this.  He has successfully driven a wedge between public servants that I know to be motivated by public interest and some members of the […]

The same old energy mix — The Japan Times editorial

The same old energy mix — The Japan Times editorial. I follow the folks that write Japan Safety: Nuclear Energy Updates and they just posted an article from the Japan Times where they look at the current government’s plans for energy sustainability over the next few decades. The picture is disturbing in light of the […]

Climate Crisis: this changes everything.

Originally posted on jpratt27:
Yes, the threat of war seemed immediate and concrete but so too is the threat posed by the climate crisis that has already likely been a substantial contributor to massive disasters in some of the world’s major cities. Still, we’ve gone soft since those days of wartime sacrifice, haven’t we? Contemporary…

Solar Impulse Live. #RTW 

Originally posted on jpratt27:
Solar Impulse will takeoff for its first flight from Abu Dhabi (Al Bateen Executive Airport, AZI/OMAD) in the United Arab Emirates, to Muscat (Muscat International Airport, MCT/OOMS) in the Sultanate of Oman. André Borschberg?will fly the zero-fuel airplane on about 400km (215NM) for an estimated time of 12 hours. Masdar, Host…

Sweden have successfully used taxes to reduce environmental damage.

Sweden has shown a longstanding commitment to the environment, significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and nitrogen leaching. Renewables supply more than a third of its energy needs. Sweden has set itself tough targets for the future, however, and must continue to innovate if it is to meet them, according to a new OECD…

New green energy course inspires high school seniors from across the country

I always look at MIT’s stuff whenever the world gets me down and I feel like giving up.  There is so much innovation and enthusiasm there that my hope gets restored.  Thanks MIT! New green energy course inspires high school seniors from across the country.

A molecular approach to solar power (MIT News)

Originally posted on Open Matters:
The working cycle of a solar thermal fuel, using azobenzene as an example. (Courtesy of Jeff Grossman.) A molecular approach to solar power Switchable material could harness the power of the sun — even when it’s not shining. David L. Chandler | MIT News Office April 13, 2014 It’s an…

Construction is set to begin on a $150 million-plus solar powered greenhouse in South Australia’s Port Augusta

John [jpratt27] has published an excellent summary of a new plan to develop a new solar-powered greenhouse in South Australia.  This plant will not only produce fresh vegetables but will also be used to desalinate water in a very arid region.  A few more details are needed about how the resulting salts will be dealt […]

February 17 Energy [Science and Tech] News via GeoHarvy

Originally posted on geoharvey:
Science and Technology: ¶ A number of studies investigating the effect of wind turbines on birds have found that the actual impact wind turbines have on avians is relatively low. However, according to this new research, published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research, wind turbines’ effects on bats cannot be…

A ‘bionic leaf’ turns solar energy into chemicals and fuels

The site at the link below (“A ‘bionic leaf’ …”) presents a really interesting idea on how to store energy from the sun and at the same time act as a temporary carbon sink by absorbing CO2 for creation of the chemicals.  I will be looking forward to seeing how this plays out when they […]

The Australian Academy of Science says man-made climate change is real.

Originally posted on jpratt27:
The Australian Academy of Science says man-made climate change is real and the consequences will be dire if no action is taken to address it. The academy, in an update to its science of climate change booklet produced in 2010, says its authoritative account of the science behind global warming will…

Solar Panels Too Ugly? Check out Solar Shingles

Originally posted on RE Projects:
Despite their undeniable environmental and economic merits, rooftop solar panels are sometimes dismissed simply because the homeowner is afraid of ruining the appearance of their home. While I do not share the same view (I think solar panels are downright beautiful), companies like Dow Solar have recognized this and developed more aesthetically pleasing…

News Release: Annual Report: Privacy Commissioner emphasizes importance of online transparency – August 21, 2014

https://www.priv.gc.ca/media/nr-c/2014/nr-c_140821_e.asp In an update to a previous post, as of last summer, the Privacy Commissioner of Canada was still working on the 168 complaints received about Bell Canada for its data collection and use policy. Stay tuned, it will be interesting to see what they finally come up with.

Max Finkelstein Wows them at Rideau Roundtable event

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About 60 paddlers and environmentalists got together yesterday to see renowned paddler, raconteur, and author Max Finkelstein speak about his latest adventure paddling the Big Muddy (Mississippi) with the American adventurers that rowed across the Atlantic.

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Max was at his casual best, evoking

Continue reading “Max Finkelstein Wows them at Rideau Roundtable event”

Local Leader: Max Finkelstein, canoeist, author, river conservationist | ottawariverkeeper.ca >

Are you an avid or wanna be paddler? Join Max, a world renowned paddler, at a Rideau Roundtable event on Sunday, January 25th at Ben Franklin Place in Nepean’s Centrepoint where he presents his experiences on the Big Muddy (the Mississippi) following paths taken by traders centuries ago. Local Leader: Max Finkelstein, canoeist, author, river […]

JD Power – Builder Satisfaction Survey – Methodology concerns

Here is an e-mail I sent to the “ask-us” link from the JD Power web site about their survey methodology for “New-Home Builder’s Customer Satisfaction Survey”. I haven’t heard anything back from JDPA, but I will update this post if I do. Be careful how you interpret the results of this survey as it is […]

Bell is at it again…

If there is one thing Bell is good at, it is creating an unfair playing field, always tilted in its own corporate favour.  Whether it is about unilaterally changing user agreements after you sign up for them or collecting your usage information without your consent, Bell behaves as if it was immune from the social […]

Foldscope paper microscope can diagnose malaria, costs 50 cents – Technology & Science – CBC News

I am always amazed at how imaginative people can be.  The TED.com blog is full of stories and videos of interesting people with amazing things to say; and so are universities.  You will find a number of entries on my blog site that are based on something amazing that has been developed for the third […]

Making investment practices more sustainable – Another great TED talk

I have thought a lot about the vocabulary we use when we speak about issues.  Much of the language we use comes to us courtesy of Economists.  We speak of consumers or clients rather than citizens.  We speak of economic debt and deficit to the exclusion of the discussion of social, cultural, environmental or infrastructure […]

TED talk on affects of wealth on personality

TED talk on effects of wealth on personality This excellent TED talk describes how wealth can change the way we look at the world.  The first few minutes are devoted to the type of tests that the researchers used to tease out the differences in perception between rich and poor but the real meat was […]

What the heck is an Earthship? … maybe an idea whose time has come!

earthship brighton
figure 1: Earthship Brighton (Photo credit: ivanpope)

Have you ever heard of the concept of an “Earthship“?  I was introduced to the concept by my brother-in-law about 14 years ago and was blown away.  What is an Earthship then?  In a nutshell, an Earthship is an Eco-friendly home, made predominantly from recycled materials, designed to be as close to “off-grid” as possible.

The concept of Earthships arose in the halcyon flower-power days of the 1970s in various states in the southern USA.  The concept seems to have developed by Michael Reynolds, an architect from New Mexico.  As you can see in the linked Wikipedia article, his idea was not without problems, but it was, none-the-less revolutionary.  Michael has a website where he educates about, demonstrates and promotes the Earthship technology.  The site has designs for a number of systems that an Earthship needs if it is to meet code (see figure 2, below). Continue reading “What the heck is an Earthship? … maybe an idea whose time has come!”

Are you annoyed enough at Bell Canada to want to switch?

If you are annoyed enough by the planned #BellDataGrab to want to switch, you may find it harder than you imagine.  If, for example, you have a contract with Bell for one or more of their services, it may not be easy to get out of the contract.  Don’t lose hope. CRTC required the telecommunications […]

How to submit a privacy complaint with the Privacy Commissioner

English: Bell Canada logo (1977-1994)
If you feel that your privacy has been, or is being, violated by someone or some organization, you can file a complaint with the Privacy Commissioner for Canada.  If your complaint is with a federal government department or agency, you can file the complaint under the Privacy Act.  If it with the private sector, you have to file the complaint under PIPEDA (the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act).

If, for example, you are concerned that Bell Canada (and now Virgin Mobile) are going to be collecting massive amounts of information about your surfing habits, your television habits, your calling habits or your texting habits, you may wish to make a complaint to the Privacy Commissioner of Canada. Continue reading “How to submit a privacy complaint with the Privacy Commissioner”

Bell being investigated by Privacy Commissioner

Did you know that Bell Canada (and their daughter company Virgin Mobile Canada) plans to collect massive amounts of information about you and about your surfing habits?  Well they are, and it isn’t clear that they should be able to.  Here is an interesting article by CBC in Montreal that you should definitely read and […]