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Category Archive: Links

How We Remembered

Weekend links no. 44

Weekend links no. 44: recommended browsing hand-picked from The Walrus Blogroll

Afghanistan Sky© US ArmyAfghanistan Sky

The Walrus Blogroll was alight this week with reflections on war, commemoration, and the practice of Remembrance Day:


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Red (State) Dawn

Weekend links no. 43

Weekend links no. 43: Recommended browsing hand-picked from The Walrus Blogroll

Painting by Attila Richard Lukacs
Mr. Bojangles by Attila Richard Lukacs (via BOOOOOOOM!)

On Tuesday in America, the Republican party made considerable gains in midterm elections. The Atlantic Wire has a host of roundup posts analyzing the results. Some highlights: Welcome to the New Political Landscape;” “Now in Power, Some Conservatives Say ‘Take It Slow’ on Spending Cuts;” “How Much Did the Tea Party Really Help the GOP?;” “How Republican Victories Might Start a Science War;” “So, How Did the ‘Mama Grizzlies’ Do?;” and “Why Are More Gay People Voting Republican?

“In the wake of what is being called the deadliest midterm election in the nation’s history, Washington’s sole surviving politician, Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon’s 4th Congressional District, emerged from the rubble of the Capitol building Wednesday to announce his intention to rebuild the fallen US government.” After an election season characterized by wild punditry and aggressive attack ads, it feels like The Onion is only exaggerating a little.Last Remaining Politician Must Rebuild Entire Government Following Bloodiest Midterm Election In American History” (The Onion)

Glen Pearson argues that there is little for Canadians to envy in the theatrics of US politics: “To be sure, the collective anger south of the border is real, but I’m not sure the answer to it is ribald characters capitalizing on that anger and dividing Americans even further in the process. It’s a zero-sum game that’s likely to lead our neighbours down a dark road. And while some might delight in the sheer theatrical belligerence of it all, behind all those stage performances lie people in desperate situations, trapped between reformers on the one hand and demagogues on the other.”On Politics As Entertainment” by Glen Pearson (via Maclean’s)

In the midst of controversy over Stephen Harper’s appointment of business executive Nigel Wright as chief of staff in the prime minister’s office, Duff Conacher examines the Canadian government’s atrocious record on dealing with conflicts of interest as far back as Brian Mulroney.Loopholes, Lapdogs, and the PMO” by Duff Conacher (The Mark) (more…)

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Election Madness!

Weekend links no. 42: recommended browsing from the blogroll

Weekend links no. 42: recommended browsing selected from The Walrus Blogroll

Alertlovegifs via FFFFOUND!

“The election story line that is rapidly crystallizing into received wisdom is that our new garbageman-in-chief Rob Ford won a landslide protest vote fueled by taxpayer anger over senseless waste at City Hall. The winds of change are upon us. There’s a new sheriff in town. The revolution will not be televised. Pick your cliché…. [But] the apparent tidal wave of populist outrage may be a good deal less frothy than the result depicted in the mainstream media.” Ford’s waste collector cometh” by John Lorinc (Spacing Toronto)

“[Calgary] elected Naheed Nenshi, a visible-minority Muslim academic, as its new mayor. Elsewhere in the country, Nenshi’s victory has been greeted with a combination of puzzlement and surprise. Not so in town. Calgary has always seen itself as a young, cosmopolitan, confident city attractive to migrants and eager entrepreneurs. And by this standard, Nenshi is just a typical Calgarian who proved smart enough to get himself elected mayor.” The real face of Calgary — young, cosmopolitan, confident” (

Meanwhile, down south: “We thought it would be impossible to top the 2006 midterm election, with its selection of sex scandals from Mark Foley’s dirty IMs to Larry Craig’s wide stance to the D.C. Madam. We were wrong. Even insiders are saying the 2010 midterms will go down as one of the nuttiest campaign seasons of all time.” 16 Signs the Crazies Have Taken Over” by Elspeth Reeve (The Atlantic Wire)

“When will the Liberals and the NDP get it? Without some kind of accord between these two parties, the country is locked into a kind of political version of the movie Groundhog Day — doomed to repeat the same depressing, cynical, and destructive politics day-in, day-out until our democracy is so damaged that no one will bother voting.” A Coalition: Still the Only Way Out” by Murray Dobbin (Murray Dobbin’s Blog) (more…)

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Mass Action

Weekend links no. 41: recommended browsing from the blogroll

Weekend links no. 41: recommended browsing from the blogroll

Filmed this past August: time-lapse footage of multiple days of demolition on Toronto’s Lakeshore Boulevard.Bridge Eaters” by Sam Javanrouh (Daily Dose of Imagery)

“Except for the true believers in each camp, lots of Torontonians are only reluctantly supporting a candidate or wistfully wishing for a ‘none-of-the-above’ magic municipal reset button. With such an uninspiring electoral landscape, the risk for low voter turnout is great…. Strangely, municipal politics is the level of government that affects our day-to-day lives the most, yet it has the lowest level of participation.”Toronto’s Great Schlep — this election is up to you, get your people voting and vote for number two” by Shawn Micallef (Spacing Toronto)

“The number of high-skill, high-income jobs (think lawyers or research scientists or managers) is growing. So is the number of low-skill, low-income jobs (think food preparation or security guards). Those jobs in the middle? They’re disappearing.”Automation Insurance: Robots Are Replacing Middle Class Jobs” by Andrew Price (Good)

Robert Mackey points out the startling divide between English and French reactions to cuts to pension programs being put forth by their governments: “Britons in 2010 perhaps have more in common with Americans — whose faith in the free-market is so complete that proposals for government-run health insurance were compared to the ideas of Marx and Hitler — than with the French, who still routinely take to the streets to defend their welfare state.” In another post on The Lede, he rounds up Youtube video of the violent French protests.

“Toronto novelist [and Walrus contributor] Stephen Marche found himself in hot water over the weekend for a column appearing in Saturday’s Globe and Mail. Titled ‘Rob Ford is not popular despite being fat. He’s popular because of it,’ the piece looks at the cultural implications of Toronto’s mayoral frontrunner being, well, fat.”Stephen Marche and the politics of ‘fat’” by Stuart Woods (Quillblog) (more…)

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Good PR, Bad PR

Weekend links no. 40: recommended browsing from the blogroll

Weekend links no. 40: recommended browsing selected from the blogroll

After reportedly having their instruments stolen, New York band Atomic Tom performs on their local subway using only iPhones. An impressive feat, regardless of whether it might be viral marketing for Apple…. ‘Take Me Out’ by Atomic Tom, performed live with iPhones on NYC subway” by Xeni Jardin (Boing Boing)

…and certainly a better publicity stunt than that of Imperial Stars, who blocked two lanes of a Los Angeles freeway with a truck on Tuesday morning, performed their song “Traffic Jam 101″ — and got arrested. “Interestingly, the band seems to think of a traffic jam as a place where wild and fun things happen. The chorus includes the line ‘No one better get in my way,’ about which the [Atlantic] Wire reserves comment.” Rap-Metal Group Blocks L.A. Freeway” by Alex Eichler (The Atlantic Wire)

The trailer for Sarah Palin’s new reality TV show on TLC has been released. If you’re worried that this might signal her exit from politics, fear not: Alaska’s ex-governor is still hinting not-so-subtly about a 2012 presidential run and warning (again) of “death panels.” Spotted at The XX Factor and

“It was a painfully hip dystopia, some Orwellian ministry of malign intent whose sheer stylishness made it a pleasure to be a chic and soulless drone, one’s personal freedoms happily abrograted for a Hugo Boss jumpsuit.”David Rakoff Reads From Half Empty,” posted by David Doody (Utne Reader)

UHPThe Onion

A blast from satire’s past (i.e., 1999): “Responding swiftly to a 60 Minutes piece exposing its longtime use of child labor in Malaysian sweatshops, Fortune 500 consumer-goods manufacturer United Home Products unveiled a brand-new logo Tuesday.” Corporation’s New Logo Changes Everything” (The Onion) (more…)

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Second Thoughts

Weekend links no. 39: recommended browsing from the blogroll

Weekend links no. 39: recommended browsing selected from the blogroll

Photo by Sam Javanrouh

Ning Ning from Nuit Blanche 2010” by Sam Javanrouh (Daily Dose of Imagery)

The Mark shares an article questioning the deeply Canadian value of multiculturalism: “The irony is that multiculturalism actually suppresses diversity, because in the name of tolerance we urge people to stay in [ethnic] boxes, and not do anything that might offend others.”Why multiculturalism is bad for society” by The Mark Newsroom (The Mark)

Women are earning a higher percentage of American household incomes than ever before. Hurrah! But the steep gains of the last few years are largely due to men losing their jobs. Oh.Accidental Breadwinners” by Liza Mundy (The XX Factor)

A skeptical response to sex columnist Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project, which aims to assure gay teenagers that there’s hope on the other side of the bullying and hurt they often endure: “It sounds really nice and hopeful and all, but personally? Growing up has not magically made my queer teenage anxiety and depression issues go away… But (thank goodness) I’m not alone. A lot of my adult queer friends, of various genders, races, abilities, and classes have a lot of the same issues. Finding a community (in the flesh and online), going to gay events, and starting to write all helped in different ways. But even all of these great things combined do not negate the fact that homophobia, which triggered these young people to take their own lives, will not disappear without a fight.”Response to Teen Youth Suicides: Does it really get better?” by Garçonnière (Shameless)

A law student at the University of San Diego has made an important contribution to the literature on the ethics of sex with robots. His paper’s title? “Blurring the love lines: The legal implications of intimacy with machines.”Law journal paper on human/robot sex” by David Pescovitz (Boing Boing) (more…)

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Surfing The Atlantic Wire

Weekend links no. 38: recommended browsing from the blogroll

Weekend links no. 38: recommended browsing from The Walrus Blogroll

“Google has given a $1 million [US] investment to a New Zealand company called Shweeb to develop its idea for a human-powered monorail… The Business Insider’s Jay Yarow sighs, ‘Shweeb is supposed to “drive innovation in public transport.” The money will go towards funding research to see if these pods can work in urban areas. We could have saved Google $1 million. This will not work.’”Google Backs Human-Powered Monorail” by Max Fisher (The Atlantic Wire)

“We all know that prisons are too often warehouses for those amongst us suffering addictions or mental health problems. The actual numbers, however, are harrowing.”4 ways Canadian prisons are getting worse than ever” by Simon Wallace (This)

“In a survey of religious knowledge, Americans did fairly poorly, displaying little knowledge of world religions. More provocatively, Americans did not even know much about their own religions… To make matters worse, it seems that those who scored highest on this survey were, in fact, atheists and agnostics.”Why Do Atheists Know More About Religion?” by Heather Horn (The Atlantic Wire)

This week, a justice of the Ontario Superior Court struck down as unconstitutional Canada’s anti-prostitution laws. The Mark rounds up a few reactions, while Slaw’s Yosie Saint-Cyr takes a deeper look at the questions this decision raises

“It takes a hell of a lot to dent Canadian confidence in Canadian hockey.” A Walrus Blog contributor examines the momentous Canada-Russia hockey war of the 1972 Summit Series, reconsidering it as a turning point in the dogma of Canadian hockey superiority.What Everyone Remembers” by Ellen Etchingham (A Theory of Ice) (more…)

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Politicians and Libertines

Weekend links no. 37: recommended browsing from the blogroll

Weekend links number 37: recommended browsing selected from The Walrus Blogroll

Photograph by Alden CudaninAlden Cudanin

“Toronto’s Bank [1919–2010]”-Then and Now” composite by Alden Cudanin (Spacing Toronto)

AlexisGate, the literary squabble that started in the pages of the July/August 2010 Walrus, quietly rages on, in the form of a civil conversation between André Alexis and Jeet Heer.-Arguing With André Alexis, Again” by Jeet Heer (Sans Everything)

With Toronto’s mayoral election just over a month away, municipal maverick Rob Ford has all but locked up a landslide victory. The gaffe-prone, anti-immigration, anti-arts funding, budget-slashing candidate’s impending victory will upend the city’s seven-year-old liberal establishment, personified by current mayor David Miller, but the pundits want you to know this election isn’t just about Toronto.-The Rob Ford Era of Canadian Politics” by The Mark Newsroom (The Mark)

John Lorinc disagrees. Far from this election representing an upheaval, he writes, “there are intriguing parallels between David Miller’s 2003 election and the one we’re stuck with for 2010, notwithstanding the very stark personal contrasts between the outgoing mayor and Rob Ford.-Toronto election history repeating” by John Lorinc (Spacing Toronto)

Naïve? Maybe. But to be a progressive voter is to live in hope.-The staff of This Magazine compiles a list of “The 7 private members’ bills that shouldn’t die in [P]arliament, but probably will (more…)

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Dance, Hosni, Dance

Weekend links no. 36: recommended browsing from the blogroll

Weekend links number 36: recommended browsing selected from The Walrus Blogroll

Dance, Mubarak, DancePool photo: Alex Wong

An Egyptian blogger has shown that an influential state-run newspaper published an apparently altered photograph of Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, this week, showing him at the front, rather than the back, of a group of leaders who met last week at the White House to talk about peace in the Middle East.-Doctored Photo Flatters Egyptian President” by Robert Mackey (The Lede)

On Wednesday, Stephen Harper’s former spokesman ended his brief, attention-grabbing career as a promoter for the nascent SUN TV. Kory Teneycke’s departure came amidst controversy involving the purported sabotaging of an Avaaz petition against the station. (Why wouldn’t we want a Fox News North, anyway?)-Former Tory spokesman exits Sun TV” by Steven Chase and Jane Taber (Ottawa Notebook)

Row Three provides a host of reviews from the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival.

This week the Business Software Alliance published a new study which purports to estimate the economic gain from a ten percent reduction in piracy of business software. For Canada, the BSA claims that the reduction would create over 6,000 new jobs and generate billions in GDP and tax revenue…. It turns out that [the estimate] is actually based on the economic gains from a ten percent increase in proprietary software spending.” Well, that makes perfect sense.-BSA’s Latest Study on Piracy and Economic Benefits ‘Shockingly Misleading’” by Michael Geist (

A question for the blogging world: where was this unified fury when Kentucky Fried Chicken became KFC?-High Fructose Corn Syrup Becomes ‘Corn Sugar’: Blogging World Grimaces” by John Hudson (The Atlantic Wire) (more…)

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Weekend Links No. 35

Recommended browsing from The Walrus Blogroll

Selected from The Walrus Blogroll: recommended browsing for Labour Day weekend

Saint John, New Brunswick

Atlantic Snapshots: Princess Street” by Bill Lapp (Spacing Atlantic) - Saint John, New Brunswick.

The Green Gunman” by Jesse Walker (Hit & Run) - This Wednesday, James Lee broke into Discovery Communications’ Maryland headquarters and held three hostages for several hours before being shot dead by police. Why did Lee, who had a history of protesting against the company and its television stations, take such drastic action? Walker offers three possible explanations.

“Middle East peace talks are like dating your ex-girlfriend. Just when you think everything’s back on track, it all ends in heartbreak.” - Mideast peace talks: round infinity” by The Mark Newsroom (The Mark)

The Late Show Heats Up with Bill McKibben” by Ben Jervey (GOOD Blog) - Environmentalist, educator, author, and cofounder of Bill McKibben appears on The Late Show with David Letterman. (Check out my April interview with McKibben here.)

Have Twenty-Something Single Women Closed the Pay Gap?” by Heather Horn (The Atlantic Wire) - According to consumer research firm Reach Advisors, in 2008, single, childless women between the ages of twenty-two and thirty earned more than men in the same demographic group. Horn questions the meaning of the numbers: “Are they evidence that the pay gap is being closed, that men are falling behind, or that childlessness is more required than ever for a woman to succeed?” (more…)

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Weekend Links No. 34

Recommended browsing from The Walrus Blogroll

Recommended browsing selected from the blogroll for the weekend of August 28-29

The Swimmer by Sam Javanrouh

The swimmer” by Sam Javanrouh (Daily Dose of Imagery)

The missing and murdered women of Vancouver deserve an inquiry” by Libby Davies ( - Davies, the MP for Vancouver East, makes an impassioned case for a public inquiry into the actions of law enforcement regarding her city’s multitude of missing — and presumably murdered — women, many of whom are sex workers.

Writers are naturally drawn, chimpanzee-like, to the color and the music of this English idiom we are blessed to have inherited. When given the choice we will usually try to use the more vivid and tuneful among its words.- Thomas Pynchon on plagiarism” (Letters of Note)

Video Messages From Trapped Chilean Miners” by Alexei Barrionuevo and Robert Mackey (The Lede) - The three-week-old rescue effort to reach miners who have been trapped in a collapsed shaft beneath Chile’s Atacama Desert is moving at the pace of a British Petroleum recovery effort: industry experts estimate it will take another three to four months of continuous drilling to reach the men. Rescuers, however, have managed to lower a miniature video camera through a four-inch feeding tube. On Thursday night, Chilean national television broadcast a video message recorded by the thirty-three miners to their loved ones. (more…)

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Weekend Links No. 33: The Reformatted Edition

Recommended browsing from The Walrus Blogroll

Recommended browsing from The Walrus Blogroll for the weekend of August 22-23

Video from Shuttle booster falling back to Earth” by Rob Beschizza (Boing Boing) - Skip ahead to 1:50, then sit back and enjoy the ride from the edge of space to splashdown.

For all its problems, the first 10 years of the 21st century were in fact humanity’s finest, a time when more people lived better, longer, more peaceful, and more prosperous lives than ever before.” - From a new Foreign Affairs article by economic development analyst Charles Kenny, spotted by Ronald Bailey at Hit & Run (“Best Decade Ever? Hell, Yeah!”).

Antidepressant has ‘magic’ properties” by Bill Hathaway (Futurity) - A team of researchers from Yale has discovered that ketamine — a.k.a. the party drug Special K — has “magic” properties. Am I the only one who thinks these geniuses could have saved themselves a lot of time and money if they had skipped the science and just asked high school kids for the score?

Sarah Palin tweet

Palin Entreats Dr. Laura to ‘Reload’” by Erik Hayden (The Atlantic Wire)” - Reload what? The racism gun?

Many people do fear change, and it’s often easier to hold onto what you have — even if you know it isn’t working — than to embrace new ideas. But beyond the scientific predictions, it’s getting more difficult every day to deny the very real and immediate impacts of climate change. Environmental damage from climate change is already killing 300,000 people a year, with an economic impact of $125 billion a year.” - David Suzuki and Faisal Moola, “The Environmentalist as Caveman” (The Mark News) (more…)

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