"What do the F-35 debacle and Afghan prisoner scandal have in common?"
In the article F-35 Nose Dive (NOW, April 12-18), Ellie Kirzner dubs the Afghan mission "tragic and nonsensical."
Should World War II and Canada's involvement there be similarly described?
After all, Canada joined essentially at the behest, or under the leadership, of a foreign country, the UK. And the casualties were far greater.
The Taliban are a threat to democracy, secularism, pluralism and liberalism in the region, and mostly to their own people.
Of course, it's the countries in that whole region, from India to Central Asia, who really should be countering the Taliban.
And they were, before the U.S. and George Bush came in. But any assistance countries like Canada give is certainly welcome, and ultimately progressive.
Peter MacKay's F-35 bomb
What do the current F-35 debacle and the 2009 Afghan prisoner torture scandal - you know, the one that prompted the last prorogue of Parliament - have in common? Defence Minister Peter MacKay.
Reimagining the CBC
I am deeply concerned about the Conservative government's plan to cut more than $100 million dollars from the CBC (NOW, April 12-18).
The CBC keeps Canada connected. It provides a common thread for all Canadians living across our massive and diverse country. These severe cuts will be hardest on rural and remote regions where the CBC is the main media presence.
Good public media is important for our democracy, our culture and our digital economy. In a time of massive global change, we need strong Canadian institutions that can change and grow to meet the challenges of our times.
This is a time for a national conversation about how we can take advantage of those opportunities.
It's time to create, not cut. I urge all Canadians to send a message to the government at reimaginecbc.ca/connected.
Regarding Adria Vasil's cover story, Toxic Shock (NOW, April 12-18).
This well-intentioned but seriously misguided article is fraught with so much misinformation that I hardly know where to start. But let's just say the presence of a chemical in the human body does not indicate anything more than its presence.
Concerning the chemical styrene, which the article mentions specifically, if you want credible, accurate, unbiased information rather than information intended to alarm, I would suggest a visit to YouKnowStyrene.org.
Styrene Information and Research Center
Density for dummies
I agree with Wayne Roberts that new building heights and density are placing unknown pressure on infrastructure (NOW, April 12-18).
If Roberts is correct, this is a catastrophic failure on the part of Toronto's Planning Department. It concerns me that it is silent on the subject. I believe this is due to the constant political pressure to process building applications. It's like development controls the minds of the professionals in the planning department.
Columnist Joshua Errett points out that some apps turn out to be solutions in search of a problem (NOW, April 5-11).
However, I think that he has overlooked the diamond in the rough: QR (quick response) codes. These little icons, when scanned with a smartphone or tablet, can be made to do valuable tricks. They extend the internet to hitherto unconnected objects.
QR code usage can provide valuable market research data for little cost. It is possible to log the time, location (the cellphone tower handling the call) and source (book, magazine, newspaper, etc) of the icon scan.
One can also capture the make of smartphone, operating system and browser being used. This information can be used to build user profiles and even to direct targeted advertising to the cellphone user.
QR code technology is not proprietary (private) technology. These conditions favour innovation and adoption by a wide user base.
Code for stupid
Enjoyed Joshua Errett's dig at the clueless overuse and questionable social value of QR codes, these bitmap boondoggles. My best/worst example of their presence in the TTC is finding one at the bottom of a poster that was sized for hoardings.
This would require smartphone users to stand on the tracks to scan the wee code stamp.
Say what you will about tourism to the UK, I am of the opinion I will be better off not being struck or electrocuted for my curiosity.
Princes' Gate puzzle
Enjoyed NOW's articles on Disappearing Toronto (NOW, March 29-April 4). It's a great shame that more effort isn't put into restoring heritage sites to their former glory.
One such monument that was restored in Toronto has been absolutely destroyed. I am talking about the Princes' Gate at Exhibition Place. It now looks like a jigsaw puzzle.
Let's hope the Union Station revitalization does not turn out the same. It would be a great loss to the people of Toronto if it did.
I read with great interest Enzo DiMatteo's Toronto's Heritage Hit List and agree wholeheartedly with the reasons to preserve our past.
To those who are actively fighting to save such landmarks, may I humbly suggest they call in the Searcher Group (TSG) to help add a more human "spin" to their efforts?
Whether any of the locations listed boasts a ghost or not, utilizing the free services of TSG to thoroughly investigate them and discover the stories the walls of these historical gems contain might strengthen their conservation endeavours. What could it hurt to try?
Spare us TTC lectures
Regarding TTC's funding fix (NOW, April 5-11). Adam Giambrone was part of the administration that gambled on the downtown streetcar replacement funding contract being funded by the feds even though it was clear (and I'm no friggin' Tory) that other municipalities would go nuts if Toronto were allowed to sidestep the terms of the stimulus money - namely that no project could proceed without being likely to finish by the stimulus end date.
Let's have no lectures from Mr. Giambrone on funding. In fact, spare us all of his opinions.
Flaming Lips lock for NXNE
I can't possibly think of anything that would put a bigger smile on my face than news that the Flaming Lips (NOW Daily, April 17) will be playing NXNE. So awesome!