Berlin SWAT raids yield arrests in theft of manhole-sized gold coin

On Wednesday, heavily armed and armored Berlin police carried out a series of raids, arresting four suspects in the theft of a $3.9m, 220lb manhole-cover-sized gold coin from Berlin's Bode Museum in March. Read the rest

Canadian entertainment industry begs Chinese courts to censor its movies

The Supreme Court of Canada just handed down a controversial ruling in which it ordered Google to block links to a page that was deemed illegal in Canada for every Google user, everywhere in the world -- asserting that the Supreme Court of Canada's jurisdiction extends to the end of the earth. Read the rest

A catchy song made from random Canadian things

To celebrate Canada’s 150th anniversary, music producer Andrew Huang put together a surprisingly catchy track using the sounds of Canada (a.k.a. hockey sticks, maple syrup bottles, and bags of milk). Read the rest

How to build an igloo

Shot on the first day of summer, this video shows northern Canadian Inuit Adami Sakiagak and Tiisi Qisiiq building an igloo. According to the video's accompanying article in the New York Times, Sakiagak grew up on the tundra and builds igloos to "teach younger generations the disappearing craft":

Mr. Sakiagak got to work, drawing a circle in the snow to mark the igloo’s perimeter. A friend, Tiisi Qisiiq, began cutting blocks of snow with a carpenter’s crosscut saw. Saws have replaced the walrus tusk knives that the Inuit favored for building igloos a generation ago.

Mr. Sakiagak laid a ring of blocks and trimmed the first few to form a ramp so that he would be building in a continuous spiral. This way, he had only one end block to worry about as the igloo rose around him. The blocks were as sturdy as Styrofoam, but heavier.

He beveled the top edge of the blocks inward so that by the third or fourth row he was laying them at a 45-degree angle to the ground. Now, with the capstone in place, Mr. Sakiagak was effectively entombed.

Be sure to move the video around while you're watching it. It's one of those 360 degree ones. Read the rest

Glow-in-the-dark 'toonie' celebrates Canada's 150th

My 12-year old collects coins. She's not a hardcore numismatist by any means but she has spent quite a bit of time collecting state quarters in one of those special coin albums. The most difficult one to get was Alaska. Luckily for her, our friend Jim recently traveled to Alaska and found two of them in his roll of laundry quarters.

Anyway, to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary, the Royal Canadian Mint has issued a new two-dollar coin (which is commonly known as a "toonie") that glows in the dark. The coin uses a special luminescent ink to light up in the dark and depicts two people canoeing under the northern lights. This special "toonie" is the world’s first colored bimetallic coin in circulation and the first circulation coin to glow in the dark.

According to CBCNews, the toonie was designed by two British Columbia-based brothers, Stephen and Timothy Hsia, who won the coin's design contest late last year.

Timothy says of the design:

"We thought to ourselves, 'What would be a Canadian wonder that all Canadians from coast to coast to coast could appreciate?'"

"We came up with the idea of the northern lights because this is a light display that shines most gloriously in our skies and we wanted to create something simple [that would fit]."

Ten million of these coins will be put into circulation in total. They are also available to purchase as part of a pricey special commemorative set.

I haven't shown my kid this special coin yet but I'm guessing she'll want one just for the novelty factor. Read the rest

Remembering Prisoners of Gravity, the greatest science fiction TV show of all time

From 1989 to 1994, the public broadcaster TV Ontario ran Prisoners of Gravity, a brilliant science fiction TV show that used a goofy framing device (a host trapped in a satellite who interviewed science fiction writers stuck down on Earth) for deep, gnarly, fascinating dives into science fiction's greatest and most fascinating themes, from sex and overpopulation to cyberpunk and religion. Read the rest

Lovely short film about Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis

Maud Lewis is the subject of Maudie, a biopic being released later this year as an awards contender. Canada's National Film Board made this charming 1976 short subject portrait of her life and work. Read the rest

Lady at walk-in clinic demands to see a white doctor

Hitesh Bhardwaj videoed a lady whose son required medical treatment, at a Mississuaga, Ontario clinic — but only from a white doctor.

Extreemly rude and racist woman openly asking to see a white doctor who doesn't have brown teeth, who is born in Canada and who can speak English. Incident happened at around 12:30 PM on June 18, 2017 at Rapid Access to Medical Specialists (Clinic) in Mississauga, Canada

This genre of footage, the indelible record of naked public racism, is the Internet's only gift to the discourse.

Cheryl Teelucksingh, a sociology professor at Ryerson University, sees the incident as an example of the kind of "everyday racism" that is "beginning to resurface" in Canada.

She said some people are pointing to the election of U.S. President Donald Trump making people feel more comfortable saying things they normally wouldn't. But Teelucksingh thinks there's a more important factor: perceived multiculturalism, or the assumption by some Canadians that racial minorities are already treated equally across the country.

Read the rest

Journalism After Snowden: essays about a free press in a surveillance state

Journalism After Snowden: The Future of the Free Press in the Surveillance State is a new essay collection from Columbia Journalism Review Books with contributions from Ed Snowden, Alan Rusbridger (former editor-in-chief of The Guardian); Jill Abramson (former New York Times executive editor; Glenn Greenwald, Steve Coll (Dean of Columbia Graduate School of Journalism), Clay Shirky, Cass Sunstein, and Julia Angwin. Read the rest

Watch how maple syrup harvesting has gone high-tech

Buckets hanging on maple trees may have worked great 200 years ago, but modern producers use a system like the internet: a series of tubes! Read the rest

A university librarian explains why her zine collection's catalog is open access

Marta Chudolinska is Learning Zone Librarian at the Ontario College of Art and Design University, which hosts a huge zine collection founded in 2007 Alicia Nauta, then a student. Read the rest

The Canadaland Guide to Canada (Published in America)

Jesse Brown is a pioneering podcaster whose Search Engine produced some of the best commentary on the intersection of the internet, pop culture and politics; when he struck out on his own to create a new podcasting empire, Canadaland (previously), he hit on a winning formula: analysing and critiquing Canadian politics by analysing and critiquing the Canadian press, with wit, irreverence and a sharp nose for bullshit -- all of which combine to excellent effect in the brand new Canadaland Guide to Canada (Published in America), co-written with Vicky Mochama and Nick Zarzycki.

Beaver herds cattle

Rancher Adrienne Ivey noticed her 150 heifers were all bunched together, and headed over to find them being herded by a "furry little beaver."

“It wasn’t until we got to the very front of the herd, that we could see what all the commotion was about.”

Ivey said it was “really quite cute,” and “the most Canadian moment of all moments.” Ivey shot video of the curious cattle drive and posted it online, where viewers have been watching the cows trailing closely behind the buck-toothed creature, with their heads lowered. When the beaver stops, the cattle stop, too, only to proceed when the furry animal continues on.

The beaver was probably just trying to get from one bit of swamp to another, apparently, when the cows put it in charge. Read the rest

Canada upholds net neutrality, bans zero-rating

In Canada's hyper-concentrated and vertically integrated telcoms sector, data caps are a normal part of life; and where there are data-caps, there is cable company fuckery in the form of ""zero rating" -- when your telcom sells you to online service providers, taking bribes not to count their service against your cap. Read the rest

"Golden Geese": the American 1%ers who arrange a second citizenship to escape taxation

David Lesperance is a Canadian-born lawyer who specializes in helping the super-rich secretly buy foreign citizenship so they can escape taxation at home. Read the rest

Australia leads the world in selling housing to money-launderers

A new Transparency International report ranks the world's most superheated urban property markets to find the most corrupt and finds that Australia is a playground for offshore criminals looking to launder their money, because "real estate agents are not subject to the provisions of the Anti-Money Laundering and CounterTerrorism Financing Act 2006," thus, "70 per cent of Chinese buyers pay in cash and they represent the largest proportion of foreign purchases in the country." Read the rest

Farmers in Canada are also reduced to secretly fixing their tractors, thanks to DRM

In 2011, the Canadian Conservative government rammed through Bill C-11, Canada's answer to the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act, in which the property rights of Canadians were gutted in order to ensure that corporations could use DRM to control how they used their property -- like its US cousin, the Canadian law banned breaking DRM, even for legitimate purposes, like effecting repairs or using third party parts. Read the rest

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