Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Costa Concordia: Divers find more bodies on capsized Mega Ship

Eight more bodies have been found by divers inside capsized Costa Concordia cruise ship.
The telegraph UK Rome reporter, Nick Squires writes the bodies were discovered in two separate locations on the submerged, forth deck of the Mega Ship. Four bodies were discovered in the morning, and another four in the afternoon, as divers make their way deeper and deeper into the ship a month and a half after the sinking.

Nick Squires write that the bodies were discovered on the forth deck which I assume is the forth deck above the bottom of the boat, known as the "Grecia" deck - forth from the bottom.

The discoveries - reported February 22, 2012 - brings to 25 the number of bodies found on the sunken luxury liner - 7 people are still missing.

Diver exploring a stairwell of the Costa Concordia. Picture from The -

Picture from The - "Five-year-old girl among eight bodies found on Costa Concordia"
By Nick Squires - Rome
22 Feb 2012


My Democratic Socialism comment under Brad Pitt's 'socialism is fine' Video trending in 2nd Place with 6,126 comments

Someone in my Youtube stream 'Favourited' this the other day:

"Brad Pitt Responds to Socialism in America"

Brad Pitt Responds to Socialism in America (1:43)
Added: 2 years ago
From: Steeper33
Views: 431,742

In comments under the video I wrote this little Canadian centric take:

He says he's been to a socialist country. Let me guess, he thinks Canada is a socialist country - just because we have socialist medicine (which is great) and a third party that calls itself socialist - sometimes. 
The problem is American corporate propaganda has demonized anything that isn't free enterprise, and socialist is akin to the devil in the popular mind. Get over the cold war already- those guys had a socialist economy but a authoritarian civil society - you can do one with out the other.

With 6,126 comments I've got 7 'Likes', holding down 2nd place behind the leader with 12 'Likes'.

Here's a screen shot of the monumental event.

(click to see larger)

Just kidding about the vanity references - I could care a less if I am personally popular - been there, done that - less fun than you'd think. With everything gathered comes a balancing factor.

But I am glad to see that there is a conversation taking place about Socialism.

For too long state owned enterprises as a solution to certain economic issues has been forbidden - a function, I like to think, of the Cold War between the two economic systems - hightened to hysterical proportions by the invention of the game changing Nuclear Bomb technology ---which the xenophobic right and Corporate Power have used to distort the conversation far to the right --- so now we live in a state where free enterprise is a Religion, and a Inquisition is in store for anyone who besmirches the great code:  'All things are fixed through Privatization'. And with this re-writing of reality - all the real history, forgotten.

The great history of Labour Unions and their key win (the eight hour work day), and many other democratic movements over the century have done great service to the forging of this (in very recent history) quite democratic society. It has all been tossed aside and forgotten by the mass media.

These are lessons the 99% needs to know now, more than in generations. We must re-learn, and apply those lessons - or all is lost, I fear - because Capital in the form of a Corporation has no Soul to moderate it's behaviour. Greed and Fear grip the officers 'in charge' of the thing - and if un-opposed by the only force in society large enough to regulate it - Government - eventually Capital it will drive us to the edge of the abyss - and sail on into it full speed ahead.

These are the lessons of WWI and WWII.

Occupy Everywhere, Everyone.  :)

Post Script

Interesting.  The video is 2 years old - uploaded August 15, 2009. It started to iincrease it's rate of views about 6 months ago - and is now officially 'going viral' - with nearly half a million views. Neat.

Here's the 'Video Statistics' drop-down from under the video, for 2:44am EST, 29 February 2012.

Update 5:10am 29 Feb 2012: On how this is going viral

Here's a little 'conspiracy theory' for you people who like that kind of thing. It's a conspiracy because I don't have enough facts to come to a conclusion, just questions.

As I said at the top, I'm sure I came across this video via my Youtube stream (events on Channels I'm subscribed to are listed each time they do something in Youtube). I wrote "someone" favourited the video so, out of courtesy I thought I'd go back into my stream and find their name, and mention them, which is the proper thing to do.

Well, here's a screen shot of my stream at 5:05am, 29 February 2012.

Usually under each post is a note telling me where the video came from; in this case Youtube has noted that I shared the video in Facebook.

That is true - I commented under the video in Youtube, and my Facebook account is set up to list all my Youtube activity in my Facebook Stream. So, from under the video, to my Facebook stream, to my Youtube stream.

But where this originally came from is beyond me. I was not subscribed to Steeper33 (I just did, as I'm writing this) and the Youtube stream provides no indication of who that I was already subscribed to favourited, or perhaps commented, on it.

Is someone inside Youtube experimenting with actively, 'viraling' videos? I could see the monetary value of that for Google; the political value of that ability would be game changing. Or is some radical genius programmer - perhaps a hacker from anonymous - placing video's into the streams of active users who are on the left of the political spectrum?

I may have found the video while surfing Youtube, but I don't generally use Youtube that way - and my memory was that it came from my stream, and my memory is usually spot on about events that recent.

I will ask Youtube about it. Perhaps the stream off loads the original poster's name if you also favourite something.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Hair Cut for Me

Gave myself the obligatory every-six-months hair cut today (should I stop doing that?) - and since I'm on about the camera lately - I thought I'd take a picture of me taking a picture of me in front of my Brand "FilterBlogs" --- where me posts such things if me is so inclined. :)

Lately with the camera (Samsung ES25):

An article with accompanying video @Blog_FreeWheel - "Leslieville, a Grand Gateway to the green and wild places on the Great Lake Ontario" -
Saturday 25 Feburary 2012 @ 4pm - My first mobile video - featuring an over exposed bicycle ride down Leslie Street with scary buses; stop lights that won't turn because the weight pads aren't sensitive enough for the mass of a bike; and gusting winds at about 60 kph - holding the camera in one hand and trying to bike in traffic - not advised, and likely illegal.

"Just your typical Bike Ride in Toronto on a Saturday afternoon in February"

An article with accompanying video @Blog_FreeWheel - "If everyday was a Sunday in February – we wouldn’t need Bike Lanes on Leslie Street"
Sunday 26 Feburary 2012 @ 2pm - Mobile video of the same ride, this time with the exposure set properly - and I find a way to mount the camera to my head --- I'm  calling it "The Toque-Cam" ! 

"If everyday was a Sunday in February - we wouldn't need Bike Lanes on Leslie Street"

Both articles were written at Youtube in the 'Description' box (as far as I know, a new use of the application) - and then cross-posted to @Blog_FreeWheel -  my Blog.


Saturday, February 25, 2012 monetizing public content is becoming a shopping mall, an itunes portal - a static encyclopedia of brand name URL place-holders.  The path ensconced:  Privatization, Digital Locks, and prison terms for 'Illegal Listening'

Of coarse we all know the conservatives have finally found some people at the top of the CBC that they can work with towards their dream of privatizing the CBC.

But to sell CBC it has to turn a profit, or at least break even. To push the institution towards this end, the majority Harper government (and before that, the Mulroney government) has been cutting CBC funding in every budget that they could. This directed an impetus by management to find other sources of revenue.

Now the push to monetize is in full swing.

Last year the CBC show "Wiretap" went from posting all their content online, to now, a brief window. Recent shows are up for 3 weeks - after which they disappear behind an itunes paywall.

I haven't been following the internet exsistance of "The Debaters" (another of my favourite shows) - so I don't know the history of their progress behind the paywall. All I can tell you is, as of now they offer 1 minute long snippets from each show. All content at "" is behind an itunes paywall. This is another way to copyright one's content on the web - these are audio URL place holders. -
"Menopause & Home Ownership"
Why does this suck?

Today's installment of The Debaters had a segment on Home Ownership, "Is it better to rent or to own?" (each show has 2 topics up for debate, each runs about 15 minutes).

I thought that posting this show online at "Occupy Toronto Market Exchange" would be a good fit. But with out a link to content I'm whistling in the wind.

Instead of aggregating interested people to CBC radio content, the note in facebook becomes a plaintiff to get rid of the paywall. A negative experience tallied for CBC; and a negative experience for viewers of my stream, and my brand: 'the tech guy who LINKS EVERYTHING' - takes a hit. CBC, my reputation, and my listeners, lose.

So we go from what the internet is all about - links - to what broadcast was/is all about, sequestering content and doling it out at a specific time and date. The broadcast model doesn't work on the intent - the real internet isn't just another place to put a television screen - it's a way for producers and consumers to exist in the same place - out of which may come brand new content we cannot imagine.

(click to see bigger)

The broadcast model is nothing like what the new model promises - cooperation, communication, creativity - while broadcast offers deception, hidden content and a frustration of creative urges caused by this black boxing or "black magic" approach.

Why even have a website for "The Debaters"? (I know, so someone else doesn't steal the the brand, a place holder in the web.)

As is, the website is 'Web point Zero'. It's not as good as it's Wikipedia entry (which someone else at the collaborative has written). The Wikipedia article is a much better way to get info on the show than the show's own CBC/Radio page: it has no synopsis; it's a list of itune shopping opportunities; and an annoying audio player that brands Steve Patterson's voice in 59 second audio teases. Bounce!

But what I want from is not a Wikipedia entry, I am expecting an interactive user Experience! For the most part, that means spreading the "magic" to my friends effectively, through the social tools - the social networking devices (FB, Google+, Twitter, Blogging.). From my experience that means a taste --- an entire episode embedded on my social network of choice best represents 'a taste' of a production --- and a link back to more of the same. (Then perhaps, a yearly archive that is behind an itunes paywall.)

The future of the internet is still unfolding - what it is going to be is still unclear - but we do know what it isn't.  From recent experience we know the future of the web is NOT what CBC radio's entire web presence is now --- a static encyclopedia of brand name URL place-holders.


Friday, February 24, 2012

Coldplay's 'The Scientist' by Willie Nelson

Against Industrial Farming, and in support of the Family Farm.

Coldplay's haunting classic 'The Scientist' is performed by country music legend Willie Nelson for the soundtrack of the short film entitled, "Back to the Start."

Via Grist 
a beacon in the smog 
"Ad nauseam: Did Chipotle’s Grammy ad scare Big Ag?" -


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

"Shelf Life" - web comedy shorts on Youtube

Update 28 February 2012: Shelf Life is still in production! I couldn't really tell when I was there researching this article, whether or not Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal were still producing new episodes of this brilliant comedy series. Today on my Youtube stream I see Shelf Life has uploaded a new video, Shelf Life Season 2 Episode 5.

See Season 2 Playlist:
(click on any episode in the list to start the playlist).

Four Action Figures exist in an adolescent boy's bedroom on a narrow shelf, high up on a wall...

SHELF LIFE - Season 1, Episode 2 - "Nuts"

Reminds of SMBC Theatre -

Watch Season 1 episode 1-10 in a Playlist at  "ShelfLifetheSeries"  -
(Link goes to Season 1 playlist - click on any of the 10 episodes to start the playlist)

Subscribe to "ShelfLifetheSeries" Channel at Youtube and watch 2 minute shorts periodically on your Youtube Stream -


Rick Mercer rants: You wanna peek Vic? Get a Warrant!

"The State has no business in the harddrives of the nation."

Conservative Federal Minister of Public Safety, Vic Toews wants to 'peek' at your Hard Drive. He says that Bill C-30 is just a "phone book" of the internet - but really it's more like a finger print - a finger print that tracks what you say to your friends, what you buy, where you go, what you think - and all of this as the default - with out a warrant!

Vic Toews says police will have to 'report' when they access this information.

To who? Minister Towes, To WHO will Police Report?!


That is the essence of this whole thing, you stupefying, condescending, duplicitous, hack.

And we know you know better! Even when you lump all Canadians in with the sick, a-social deviants police can already put in jail for looking at pictures - we still know - you must know better than you're letting on.

The freedoms we experience in this country exist not because of enlightened Governments, or enlightened Ministers doing enlightened things --- it's because Governments, and Ministries, and Police, and Bureaucracies are ACCOUNTABLE TO THE LAW!!!

Rick Mercer sayz: "You wanna peek Vic? Get a Warrant!"

Rick's Rant for February 21, 2012

"Why Bill C-30 Gives the Govt the Power To Install Its Own Surveillance Equipment on ISP Networks" Michael Geist Blog - Stop Online Spying

MercerReport's Youtube Channel -


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

"Vaginal Fantasy" Book Club 'might be some kind of trap'

This is 4 women on a Google Hangout talking about stuff - mainly books of the 'Vaginal Fantasy' genre. (?)

Lots of guys watching live (recorded Jan 30, 2012), based on the live Twitter mentions they referenced (one of which I reference in the title - "Still wondering if this might be some kind of trap."). Personally, I'm glad it's an hour and 17 minutes - because I can't decide which one of these women talking about sex I'm more attracted to.

Next episode I'm taking notes.

Does this spell the the end of Network Television production for the late morning and early afternoon market?

From my point of The View, hopefully.

From Felicia Day's Youtube Channel -

Participants (Twitter):
Felicia Day (@feliciaday)
Kiala Kazabee (@kiala)
Bonnie Burton (@bonniegrrl)
Veronica Belmont (@veronica)

Twitter tag "#VaginalFantasy" 'trended' #14 at 1:00AM and up to #12 at 1:40AM, world wide on Twitter during the broadcast (porn is quite popular) -
See Twitter-trends history site Tweedotco - )

Book reviewed: "Grave Witch" by Kaylana Price
GoodReads Vaginal Fantasy Hangout page -

February "Vaginal Fantasy" Book Club book is:
"Silent in the Grave (Lady Julia, #1)" by Deanna Raybourn (

Next episode of the "Vaginal Fantasy" Book Club Hangout:
Monday February 27th - 8pm EST
- to view, add Felica Day to a circle in Google+ ( and you'll see the notification in your Google+ sidebar when the Hangout starts.

NEW! from Felicia Day, and the producers of "TheGuild" - "Geek and Sundry" Youtube Channel -


Sunday, February 19, 2012

Rogers Cable likely sending "TCP resets" to govern DMCA content

Content like watching Star Trek Episodes being shared on Youtube-like video upload channels in countries not signed on to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

This is my experience.

I found a video sharing site that had Star Trek episodes on it. For about a month the content downloaded into the site's video player smoothly, and the entire episode played flawlessly. Two days ago the episode stopped loading after about a minute, and the indicator bar would then suddenly, instantly, run to the end of the loading indicator window. The numbers on the counter stayed the same (42:00) but the video just stopped, usually at around the 5 minute mark.

If I tried to move the video position marker past the point where it had stopped, the position indicator would place, but then when one clicked play the video reset and started loading from the beginning of the episode - and the same load and play experience would happen again, exactly as before.

I tried multiple different episodes - including episodes I had watched in their entirety just a few days ago; I tried clearing cookies; rebooting; reloading the same address several times; using a download app to load the entire episode outside of the player, in a folder other than the Temp Folder that these video applications store data in --- and nothing has worked.

I figure a version of what Cable Companies have been proved to have done to P2P users, sending false reset messages...

"Electronic Frontier Foundation"
October 19, 2007 "Tests agree with AP: Comcast is forging packets to interfere with user traffic"
by Seth Schoeneff now happening to people just viewing copyright content on video upload sites --- no copying, no downloading and then uploading to friends --- just watching, and then watching something else - the data sent to be written over the instant the application is closed or restarted.

In this case my service provider, Rogers Cable Inc. is upholding their responsibility under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and stopping me from watching content up-loaded by a user of a Youtube-like site in Asia - in this case, content owned by Viacom.

Wikipedia:  TCP reset attack -

TCP resets 
The stream of packets in a TCP connection each contains a TCP header. Each of these headers contains a bit known as the "reset" (RST) flag. In most packets this bit is set to 0 and has no effect, however if this bit is set to 1 it indicates to the receiving computer that the computer should immediately stop using the TCP connection - It should not send any more packets using the connections identifying numbers (called ports), and discard any further packets it receives with headers indicating they belong to that connection. A TCP reset basically kills a TCP connection instantly. 
When used as designed this can be a useful tool. One common application is the scenario where a computer (we'll call it computer A) crashes while a TCP connection is in progress. The computer on the other end (computer B) will continue to send TCP packets since it does not know computer A has crashed. When computer A reboots, it will then receive packets from the old pre-crash connection. Computer A has no context for these packets and no way of knowing what to do with them, so it might send a TCP reset to the sender of the packets - computer B. This reset lets computer B know that the connection is no longer working. The user on computer B can now try another connection or take other action.

DMCA is the oldest of the internet copyright laws, and is viewed by many as striking a balance (not me) - but the large media corporations - who have billions of dollars in potential profit in the form of content sitting in their vaults, full of 50 years and counting of production - are pushing the envelope on the interpretation and application of DMCA - and at the same time lobbying for more draconian SOPA and PIPA type laws; and at the same time building a trade pact of only the richest and most advanced economies - through ACTA - to spread this intransigence, and their own super profitability, globally.

It seems they will not have a world of 1's and 0's, a place where everything is copy-able in exact form with no fading - even though that's exactly where the world is going whether they like it or not.

A dark age approaches - and I fear - a revolution in response.


Friday, February 17, 2012

"Livable Cities" suburban residential densities can fund Subway Construction

In this amateur Urban Designer's opinion, higher density building standards along mass transit corridors in Toronto's suburbs - that mirror Toronto's Core densities, with a large number of 3 story walk-up apartment buildings on single or double lots, and zoning changes to permit 'alleyway Grand Parent Flats' over top of/instead of garages - can  produce the necessary tax revenue needed to fund a Subway network in Toronto like those of London, Moscow and Paris.

Once outside the Circle Line subway, most of these routes are above ground, separated train lines. The Circle Line is key to the Moscow Subway network - it allows most to avoid the core of the city - instead you use the Circle Line to get to the appropriate spoke in the wheel - and then transfer. Toronto needs a Circle Line to direct LRT volumes that are coming. Just $50Billion - an investment we should undertake now.

When Rob Ford was elected Mayor of Toronto in October 2010 he immediately proposed stopping construction of 3 of 4 Light Rapid Transit (LRT) lines in favour of redirecting the Provincial funding for them to subway construction. Subway construction costs a lot more than street level separated rail - so the bang for the buck fell well short of what residents perceived was needed. The number of kilometres of subway Toronto was going to get under Mayor Ford's plan - and his inability to get private funding to augment the Provincial 8.4 Billion dollars already in the funding package - paled in light of the public transit commute experience that many Torontonians face each day.

The need for new mass transit in key areas of the city where population numbers are mushrooming - North Etobicoke, North York and North Scarborough - is making public transit - and the highway type roads there - next to useless at rush hour (now 3 hours long, morning and night). Grid lock and the perception that the Mayor didn't really have a plan, caused a political backlash for the Mayor's Office on transit. The result was that the Mayor's public transit plan was effectively killed in favour of the existing LRT plan in a vote at Toronto City Council on February 8, 2012.

People are giving up on public transit and switching to back to cars -  which is leading to more expressway grid lock in a city that already has the longest automobile commute times in North America - or citizens are just leaving the labour force, because their commute time and compensation didn't jive with the erosion of their quality of life - 3 hour commutes combined with the 'new normal' 12 hour work day.

The solution so far, for cash strapped cities with-in the neo-liberal schema of extremely low corporate tax rates, has been to invest in low cost surface rail separated from automobile traffic by transit right of ways. This LRT solution is the last option standing, mainly because of the low population densities in a suburban development model that was built based on the car.

We now understand that the model is unsustainable and that higher density development, walking and cycling infrastructure improvement, and more public transit is the long term answer.

Zoning increases needed to make Sheppard subway a reality: Chong.
A rendering supplied by the Tridel development group to city planners. It shows what the intersection of Victoria Park Avenue and Sheppard Avenue East might look like after it were redeveloped using density rights allocated from the subway station.
(Image and Text courtesy of Inside Toronto - from the article sighted)
When Rob Ford asked private developers to come up with a workable subway funding strategy based on private borrowing that was financed over time by increases in tax revenues that would arrive through increased development along proposed subway routes - the developers came back with a plan for high towers at major intersections all across suburbia.

See, Inside Toronto:
"Zoning increases needed to make Sheppard subway a reality: Chong
- Highrises at major intersections required to get support of developers"

They like to build condo's apparently, and I guess they thought if their banks were going to foot the bill for public infrastructure - at a moment in time when the Mayor was over a barrel - they figured they could ask for the moon - and get it.

Silly, greedy capitalists - by doing so they pretty much killed the privatization of Public Transit in Toronto (likely Mayor Ford's neo-con, hidden agenda for all public inheritances).

In this amateur Urban Designer's opinion a less neighbourhood invasive option would make this kind of Subway financing do-able. Higher density building standards along mass transit corridors  in Toronto's suburbs (extending one bus stop width on either side of the corridor) - that mirror Toronto's Core densities, with a large number of 3 story walk-up apartment buildings on single or double lots, and zoning changes to permit 'alleyway Grand Parent Flats' over top of/instead of garages - can  produce the necessary tax revenue needed to fund a world class subway network in Toronto.

See more on Subway Financing - Ford Style - at
"Subway Financing Falling Apart? (Update 3)" - June 4, 2011 -


President Barak Obama's 'high efficiency economy' is here

- it's just not very evenly distributed yet.

Remember when Presidential candidate Barak Obama talked about rebootng the economy using investment in a high efficiency economy?

Here it is - the beginning of a new age manufacturing.

The visualization technology is as amazing as the micro-tehnology manufacturing process itself - the two go hand in hand, if we can visualize it, most times we can build it as well.

Via: Simon Hicks on Google+ -
Via: DIY Drones -
Via: John Robb's blog Global Guerrillas -
Via: MicroroboticsLab Channel on Youtube -

Monolithic Fabrication of Millimeter-scale Machines
P. S. Sreetharan, J. P. Whitney, M. D. Strauss, and R. J. Wood
Microrobotics Laboratory
Harvard University
60 Oxford Street #407
Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

Now to get it to fly right. Scientists are discovering the properties of the device that I assume will be put towards creating a brain for the micro robot.

This could be the hard part. :)


Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Nature of the Cosmos: Chaos becomes Pattern - Complexity creates Simplicity

You know those moments when you precieve the whole and the words pour out of your mouth in the right order, and you know whoever's listening is getting it all --- and then you wish you had remembered to recorded it?

This is what happens when you do remember...

by Jason Silva

Jason Silva uploads at Vimeo.

Also from Jason Silva:

A series of vignettes exploring various facets of the human condition as seen through the lens of Imagination, Ecstasy, Beauty, and Love.


Via Bob LoganMcLuhan Legacy Network, McLuhan Centenary Celebration Committee, Google Group mailing list.


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Occupy Toronto Then - October 15, 2011 at 3:42 AM - and Now - February 15, 2012

The morning before the big occupation of - we knew not where - Bryan posted this great video that I watched just after it went up. The night was full of tension - even for me about a mile away from all the organizing, in Leslieville working on Occupy Media at my desktop.

A good tension - a potential kind of tension...

Good day.

Today February 15, 2012 - four months later to the day - Occupy Toronto's Action Committee posted a video they recorded - a Flash Mob Action they organized with the Steelworkers Union at The Bank of Montreal's Main Branch under it's Skyscraper at King and Bay, downtown Toronto.

Occupy Toronto & Steelworker Flash Mob says: 'BMO - Help End the Infinity Rubber Strike!'

(with the help of Maroon 5's tune “Moves Like Jagger”)

What up with this infinitely long strike at Infinity Rubber? In December 2009 management provoked a strike by workers by asking for a 25% wage rollback, and a 50% cut in benefits. Infinity Rubber is now using replacement workers (scabs). (Similar like the CAW Electro-Motive Diesel/Caterpillar Inc. story out of London, Onatrio.)

See the United Steelworker's "Infinity" page -

See the post at -

See Occupy Toronto's Bambuser archives -


Public Works and Infrastructure Committee - Re: John Street Corridor Improvements

A letter to Toronto City Council members.

Staff is recommending what the Mayor’s Office has likely told them to recommend.

Toronto City Council should stick with the long term plan for transportation and reduce grid lock through encouraging sustainable alternative forms though applicable infrastructure improvements – like cycle lanes, and better walking environments.

Please support the "Alternative B" recommendation by City Staff as presented in "John Street Corridor Improvements Environmental Assessment Study" - in keeping with the City of Toronto's 'Complete Streets' Policy.


City of Toronto Public Works and Infrastructure Committee,

- and -

(Councillor Paula Fletcher is councillor in the ward where I live; find your councillor's address -
Re: "John Street Corridor Improvements Environmental Assessment Study" - City of Toronto reference number: P:\2012\Cluster B\TRA\TIM\pw12002tim (Web:

City of Toronto Public Works and Infrastructure Committee,

Please support the "Alternative B" recommendation by City Staff as presented in "John Street Corridor Improvements Environmental Assessment Study" - in keeping with the City of Toronto's 'Complete Streets' Policy.

The Alternatives in Redeveloping John Street

Alternative A: Narrow Lanes with a flexible boulevard
• 3.2 m wide travel lanes to maximize road narrowing and calm vehicular speeds;
• Cyclists move in tandem with vehicles;
• A continuous ‘flexible boulevard’ along the east side that maintains an expanded sidewalk while accommodating occasional deliveries & other programming;
• Narrow 3-lane section south of Wellington Street to accommodate turning movements; and
• Mountable curbs for flexible boulevards and to accommodate truck turns

Alternative B: Conventional Lane widths
• 4.2 m wide travel lanes to accommodate cyclists beside vehicles;
• Deliveries at curbside as currently permitted;
• Roadway width maintained and not widened north of Queen;
• Northbound right turn lane provided at Adelaide Street;
• Lay-by provided in front of Metro Hall; and
• Typical 3-lane section south of Wellington to accommodate turning movements.
(Via City of Toronto action document - reference number: P:\2012\Cluster B\TRA\TIM\pw12002tim - - page 10)

City of Toronto Sustainable Development Policy

City of Toronto's sustainable development policy - also known as the "Complete Streets Policy" - is described at the City of Toronto website under "City Planning" which is linked to a page titled, "Transportation Planning", which states, in part:

"Transportation Planning oversees policies and projects with the goal of improving transit, discouraging automobile dependence and encouraging alternative forms of transportation such as walking, cycling, subways and streetcars.

"Transportation Planning delivers a number of services including identifying strategic improvement opportunities, assessing transportation needs that focus on implementing the Official Plan, and developing leading-edge policies on major transportation initiatives in the City and the Greater Toronto Area. We research and analyze transportation and travel trends in the City and surrounding Regions and provide travel demand forecasting services city-wide. We work closely with the TTC, GO Transit and other transportation agencies in the many areas of mutual interest."

And as well, directly from the City of Toronto Official Plan - (December 2010) in chapter two of which under the title "Shaping the City", and in a section titled "Policies" (page 2-26, 2-27 and 2-28) states:

(Item 1 and item 7 of 14 items)

1.  Travel demand management (TDM) measures will be introduced to reduce car depndancy and rush hour congestion by:
a) increasing the proportion of trips made by transit, walking and cycling;
b) increasing the average car occupancy rate;
c) reducing the demand for vehicular travel; and
d) shifting travel times from peak to off-peak periods.


7.  Policies, programs and infrastructure will be introduced to create a safe comfortable and bicycle friendly environment that encourages people of all ages to cycle for everyday transportation and enjoyment including:
a) an expanded bikeways network;
b) provision of bicycle parking facilities in new developments;
c) provision of adequate and secure bicycle parking at rapid transit stations;
d) measures to improve the safety of cyclists through the design and operation of streets and through education and promotion programs
(via (

In support of the Toronto Cyclists Union  'Action Alert' of February 14, 2012

"In June 2011, the short-listed design concepts for John Street were released. Alternative A recommended 3.2m travel lanes where cyclists would ride in the centre of the lane in tandem with vehicles. Alternative B recommended 4.2m travel lanes which would provide an extra 1m of space to cyclists to ride beside vehicles. The extra space would also allow for sharrows or a different pavement pattern to delineate the space for cyclists. In June, the bike union expressed support for the project and Alternative B for these reasons. Now, city staff are recommending to the Public Works Committee that Alternative A be adopted instead."
(no web address)

Michael Holloway
Resident Ward 30,
Jones Av. and Dundas St


Find YOUR councillor's email address via a ward map of the city:
City of Toronto: Ward Profiles


Saturday, February 11, 2012

An Open Letter to Reg Hartt

I meet Reg Hartt once when I was living on Bathurst, just a couple of doors down. I had just come out of a severe depression that had me in bed for a month, in a year that was a series of severe depressions.

We sat on his front stoop on a bright sunny day in spring and talked. He was very helpful and I appreciate his honesty and wise words.

Thanks Reg.

Today I came across Reg Hartt's Cineforum website through a Facebook post by "Sunny D" at TOBMA (the Toronto Bike Messengers Union) about Dr. Jamie, who's seems to be replacing Igor Kenk as the neighbourhood's stolen-bike Bike Store entrepreneur (but not with Igor Kenk's talent, who was a master bike mechanic).
(see video -; and the article at Cineforum - doesn't seem to have a link with contact info; and all comments on articles he puts up there are closed. So just a little feed back at this place - so maybe Reg can make his website look a little better.

Reg Hartt,

First off the colour design is great; I really like the look of the website generally...

(image rebigulates on click)

.. it's just that all the posters are posted at original size, which is great if you open them up in a new tab ... but because they aren't re-sized to fit the main column of the blog, only a third, or a fifth or whaatever end up showing - it's a little confusing at first. 
There is a way to size large posters to fit a blogs main column - and still have them render at original size 'on click'.

inside the "a" tag add href="link to original image"
inside the "img" tag add height="(numbers)" and width="(numbers)"

As well, the great descriptions written for each days showings on the Calendar (under schedule -, disappear under the right sidebar.

This month for example (see image above) the link to Thursday the 9th of Feburary is just visible - and the next date you can click on is the 12th - the Sunday - the schedule runs off to the right hiding most of Thursday, all of Friday and all of Saturday.
I looked at the page source for the calendar, the schedule is a table - so I looked at the CSS for the table elements (page source, line 22 "events-manager-css" In the CSS column dimensions are specified under "div.em-calendar-wrapper" (line 329) and those are set to "100%" - which is good, usually - but the coding appears to allow the columns to get wider when text is added. For example, under January 30, a typo has created a series of letters without a break - "-05:00HORSEFEATHERS" - and this has widened the 2nd column for February. Fixing the typo would only make more of Thursday visible - the table would still be too wide for the blog. 
Setting a width for all the table's columns would fix this - or - you could widen the width of the blog.

Hope that helps. If you have any questions, email me:   michaelholloway111(at)gmail(dot)com

Michael Holloway


Friday, February 10, 2012

MP Olivia Chow's Town Hall on Cyclist Side Guards for trucks in Canada

Today I received the Toronto Cyclists Union's Ring & Post newsletter, in it a notice about a Town Hall to talk about cyclist safety particularly as it relates to trucks and bikes.


Safe Trucks Town Hall

"Join us for an event with MP Olivia Chow and many other advocates for cycling safety on February 22nd from 7pm to 9pm. Testimonials by friends of loved ones who have died at the wheel of their bikes by collision with a truck will also be a part of the event. Lets implement this simple and effective tool for bike safety now, come out and discover how to make it happen!"


I don't know if anyone noticed... in the image, the "guard" is inside the wheels!!! I'm no expert, but I thought the idea is to prevent the cyclist from ending up under those wheels. ;)

Sign up for the Toronto Cyclists Union's "Ring and Post" newsletter -


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Transit City Lives!!!

Toronto City Council voted 25 to 18 on TTC Chair Karen Stintz's motion affirming Council's intention to proceed with Metrolinx LRT plan - aka - Transit City.

(all images rebigulate on click)

In the first of what turned out to be three votes, Norm Kelly pushed the wrong button resulting in a 26-17 vote.

So Council agreed to re-open the vote so Kelly could finger the correct button. That's when councillor's Minnan-Wong and Thompson pushed the wrong button - resulting in a 27-16 vote.

Then they re-opened it again, and we got the correct tally, 25-18.

All images are screen shots of "Part 2 - February 8 2012 - Toronto City Council" via RogersTV-


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Occupy February!

"February is AMAZING!"
Posted at Occupy TO Outreach - by Laine -

I was looking at the calendar and realized that there are some amazing events coming up. But since so many emails come in people might not have an opportunity to see them all!

So, I thought I would send an email with a list of some of the things coming up this month (and if you are interested in them go to the calendar for more information). This is really just a small selection of what is going on this month- There are a lot of other great events going on as well:

February 9 - Community Activist Panel on Bill C-323 (7pm)
February 10 - CCUPY WAHC (7pm Hamilton)
February 11- World Peas Expo!!!!!
February 14- 7th Annual Rally for Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women
February 16- Stop Canada’s Environmental Injustice– Building for the Future – A Conversation among movement activists (7pm)
February 17- The Police: why they do what they do and how to be prepared for it (7pm)
February 18 - Meet ‘Earth’s Lawyer’- Polly Higgins- Potluck to follow (4pm)
February 18- Occupy Toronto - Street Medic Training (1pm)
February 23 - Public Forum Eroding Democracy & Sovereignty: Corporate Trade, Investment, Free Trade Agreements & Resource Extraction in the Americas (7pm)
February 25- From Occupy to the Brazilian Landless Workers Movement - A Discussion on Organizing (5:30)
February 25- Occupy, Protest, Resist: Law Union of Ontario Conference 2012
February 27 - Occupy Our Food Supply! (Global day of action!)
February 27- Indoor space for GA at Ryerson University (7pm)

For location and times go to the calendar... -

Please copy and paste this handy list into social spaces and share far and wide - and spread the word! :)


Saturday, February 4, 2012

Toronto Police need more Level of Force options

Another Toronto Police Services shooting death of a disturbed individual -- this time right outside Psychiatric Hospital -- shows again, Police Officers need more level of force options. 'Net Capture' or 'Retiarius' force escalation capability works on many levels

Update: 07 Feburary 2012:

Toronto Star - "Mystery surrounds man shot by police" -
"Michael Eligon Jr. remains mostly a man of mystery several days after he was fatally shot in a confrontation with police while wearing a hospital gown on an east-end street, blocks from the hospital.

Most important, it has not been revealed how he ended up at Toronto East General Hospital and how he came to flee Friday morning clad in hospital gown, socks and carrying two pairs of scissors.

Privacy laws prevent the hospital from commenting on Eligon’s status there. The province’s Special Investigations Unit, the police watchdog, is probing the Milverton Blvd. shooting.

Relatives flew in to help his family prepare for his funeral. “We’re still trying to figure out what happened,” said a family member who asked not to be identified.

“He was very quiet,” said a man named Mario, the building manager where Eligon lived in the Dufferin and King Sts. area. “He wouldn’t talk much. He would only talk to you if you talked to him first.”


 03 Feb 2012
Blood stain on Milverton Boulevard, Toronto after Police shooting of man in hospital gown armed with two pair of scissors - screenshot from CTV Toronto News, raw helicopter footage -

News Item:

"Man shot dead in confrontation with Toronto police"
Friday 03 February 2012
CBC News - staff
A man has been shot and killed after a confrontation with Toronto police in the city's east end.

The incident happened on Milverton Boulevard near Coxwell Avenue.

Police received a call at 10:04 a.m. after a man was seen in the neighbourhood who appeared to be disoriented and confused, waving two sets of scissors.

The 29-year-old man was wearing a hospital gown.

CBC's John Lancaster reported from the scene that the man had walked out of the East General Hospital, at Coxwell and Sammon avenues, attacked an employee at a nearby convenience store, then unsuccessfully tried to carjack someone else.

... the rest...

This morning I joined a Facebook event page that was hurriedly formed Friday to marshal a community response to this senseless shooting (see Angels of Justice

At the Angels of Justice page I posted the following:

I've said it before and people laugh at the idea - but police need to be trained to use nets --- exactly for situations like this.

They have only three options if a weapon is present: billy clubs, tasers and guns. The club is too close, the scissors may stab the officer as they wield it; the taser usually causes a heart attack (confused delusional subjects usually have extremely heightened adrenaline); and the gun almost always results in death or life long disablement.

Nets, and training how to use them. Like Roman Gladiators, an excellent response against a hand held weapon. Once the subject is down, entangled in the net, a long pole with a bean bag on the end can be used to hold down the arm of the captured individual, making it safe for another officer to disarm them.

Retiarius: "net-man" or "net-fighter" in Latin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia -
(my comment link -

A screenshot of a scene from the movie Spartacus - a Universal Pictures release, 1960. 
The trusting arm of each combatant has chain-mail armour. Actor Woody Strode (left) uses long weapons, a trident and a net - which he is throwing over his adversary - while actor Kirt Douglas (right) uses short weapons, a knife and small shield.

I don't blame the Officers.

I blame the Toronto Police Services Board, the Chief of Police and Toronto City Council for not having the vision to form a Toronto Police Services Retiarius Unit (Retiarius: "net-man" or "net-fighter" from the Latin).

Look at the hell we're putting Officers in, in these kinds of calls. Friday's shooting is a perfect example of why Toronto Police need more level of force options.

The incident starts with a report to police about a guy acting weird, dressed in a hospital gown waving about 2 pairs of scissors - the suspect has obviously walked out of a hospital (that the police know has a mental health department). He's wearing socks on his feet on a cold day - so he's not going far - and, he's easy to spot. Police quickly surround the suspect according to one witness 11 police cars blocked the street and 16 officers confronted the man. He can surely no longer endanger the public - but now the officers have the responsibility to resolve the situation - but they also have to worry about their own personal safety and that their comrades. But the only level of force options they have is pepper spray, a taser and their guns.

I don't know weather a taser was or was not used in this case, no witnesses mentioned one in all the news coverage - but in these types of cases, where the suspect is extremely animated, or delusional (out of touch with reality), and thus terrified, the shock to their neurons doesn't seem to make them comply - rather it can ADD energy to the suspect's raison d'être - their resistance to complying to an authority figure, a condition researchers have termed "excited delirium".
"The Canadian Police Research Centre describes excited delirium as a potentially fatal state of extreme mental and physiological excitement that is characterized by extreme agitation, hyperthermia, hostility, exceptional strength, and endurance without apparent fatigue." 
(from "Conducted Energy Weapons (Tasers)" published in June 2008) < Policy Positions < Canadian Mental Health Association -

In a situation where a suspect armed with a weapon like scissors, or a kitchen knife - tasering can make the situation MORE dangerous for police to resolve; and that goes for the pepper spray option as well - (now flailing blindly).

In this writer's opinion, in a situation where the suspect is having a delusional episode (a break with reality - which is often accompanied by extreme paranoia) - a tasering will very likely lead to MUCH more of the same.

So the next step in the Level of Force Continuum is the gun.

Despite the delusion that afflicts many, officers don't want to kill people - especially an obviously deranged person with a tiny little pair of scissors - but what choice do they have?

Police don't have enough level of force options. It goes from pepper spay - that blinds, to a taser - that is often lethal, to a gun - which is almost always lethal. In a group think situation the story plays out quickly, and ends predictably.

Officers involved are left with a life altering experience that had nothing to do with justice; and they - and the community - are left with a paradox that only further alienates everyone from one another.

I have noted in researching this article at least 14 similar deaths since 1988. This level of force vacuum in the force continuum - between temporary blinding, the ineffective and often deadly taser, and the deadly force of a gun - has to be filled with more non-lethal force escalation choices.

In a similar incident at Yonge and Wellesley in March 2005, a deranged man with a kitchen knife was surrounded by officers in the centre of the intersection. In this case the fellow specifically said to police that he wanted to die and that he couldn't kill himself, so he went out into a public space with a kitchen knife hoping police would shoot him.

The only reason I think he wasn't shot was that other officers were in the line of fire.

Eventually in a brilliant move by an officer in a patrol car - using it as a weapon of blunt force - brought the man down by slamming him into a bike lock-up hoop. The video below is horrendous - the impact looks like it broke several bones in his rib cage, and maybe his pelvis - but in the end it probably saved his life.

And pepper spray didn't work either!

This is ridiculous. A suicidal man with a kitchen knife and all the kings horses and all the kings men just barely resolved the situation without (fundamentally) murdering a citizen.

Another in a long list of similar incidents I have researched for this article - in 1997, Edmund Yu, a 35-year-old man with schizophrenia and wielding a knife, was shot by Toronto police after he tried to flee the boxing-in of a City Bus on Victoria Park Ave.. The aweful irony of this story is that his family phoned 911 and told the dispatcher that their son was mentally ill, that he had boarded the Victoria Park bus, and that they were worried ... could Police please bring him home?

They hadn't considered that 'alive' was a necessary qualifier.

Mental Health workers and family members of the troubled must by now be keenly aware of how inadvisable it is to seek Police help in order to find their lost loved-ones.

Another gouge in the super-structure of Civil Society.

From -
Mental Health Advocates Find Police Training Inadequate
October 11 2011
by Josh Tapper

While Toronto police response to mentally ill assailants has improved over the years, mental health advocates argue not enough is being done to prevent unnecessary deaths, even after numerous recommendations by inquests.

The fatal confrontation between 52-year-old Sylvia Klibingaitis, shot dead outside her North York home on Oct. 7 after allegedly wielding a knife in front of police, is the fourth fatal confrontation between Toronto police and the mentally ill since 2008 — and at least the 14th since 1988.

... the rest -

'Shock' Weapons vs 'Subdue' Weapons

The Policy Position paper on Tasers, from the Canadian Mental Health Association that I quoted from above also talks about how the taser works. It shocks the nervous system which is ordinary circumstances, stuns an individual.

The 'shock' type solution, weapons that overload the nervous system - don't work on drugged Up, or hyped Up individuals a far as I can see. An athlete, say a hockey player (the fastest game in the world) -  if stunned with a taser after a 2 minute shift during a hockey game - would probably not go into shock - rather, they'd be re-energized, ready for 2 more minutes on the ice.

Thus the logical route to go is a 'subduing' weapon  - a dart perhaps, like researchers use when they tag animals in the wild. I would guess there's all kinds of issues around that idea: different individuals may by allergic to certain inhibitors, some may have a immunity to the effects, some may suffer side effects like liver damage if a dose for a large suspect is used against a smaller suspect (and judging weight can be tough in winter coats) ...

So perhaps a less invasive solution - like a net. A net is effective on everyone, has no side effects and the long use of which in the history of warfare provides ample sourcing materials to begin such an officer training coarse. It is fairly easy to use; and you can try and try it again if you miss; and as weapons go, it is very inexpensive.

And then there's the modern way to throw a net - the net gun; for those who have issues with apprehending a suspect with a womb-like capturing net, nets now come with a phallus-like launcher! :)


Net Gun Starter Pack

This air powered net gun is a simple and powerful shooting equipment. This product has been using by law enforcement, animal control authority, security guards, army etc. It is not considered as weapon or firing products, as it doesn’t involve gunpowder. During the operation it does not generate any harmful gases or flames.

- Shooting Range: 3 to 20 meters
- Coverage Space: 16 square meters
- Product Size: 118 mm (head) x 48 mm (handle) x 338 mm (length)
- Product Weight: 1.03 kg
- Packaging Size: 46 cm x 32 cm x 20 cm
- Packaging Weight: 4.3 kg
- Traction Head Quantity: 4
- Power Delivery: Air Bottle / Compressed Air via CO2 Cartridge
- Air Bottle Pressure Value: 2.8 +/- 0.2 Mpa

Retail Price: $ 1,495.
Our Feb 2012 Promotion Price $695

And, it turns out - it's on sale right now - for under half price!!!