Calgary airport regrets converting disabled parking spaces into "Lexus only" parking spaces

The Calgary airport authority has apologised for a botched marketing campaign in which it sold Lexus on the idea of designating some of its parking places as "Lexus only" and then, unbeknownst to the car company, used disabled parking spots for the purpose (presumably, they were luxuriously spacious). Read the rest

Homeopathic infant teething products contain dangerous levels of deadly nightshade

Homeolab USA is a Canadian company that makes "homeopathic" remedies for kids; in a warning letter sent to the company earlier this month, the US FTC warned the company that it had discovered dangerous levels of belladonna (AKA deadly nightshade) in its infant teething products, and advised the company that its manufacturing process was putting its customers' safety at risk. Read the rest

Toronto's amazing science fiction library, the Merril Collection, has a new head librarian

It's been decades since I first discovered my love of science fiction on a school trip to the "Spaced Out Library," the public science fiction reference collection founded by Judith Merril -- that day, I met both Merril (who went on to be a mentor to me) and Lorna Toolis, who has just stepped down as head of the library, which grew in stature and changed names, becoming the Merril Collection of Science Fiction. Read the rest

Toronto's insane real-estate bubble is finally bursting

Toronto's crazy-insane property prices stayed high even through the 2008 crash and its aftermath, but sales volumes of houses of all types plummeted by 40.4% for July 2017-vs-July 2016, new listings are up by 5% over the same period -- and the average selling price has fallen by 19% since April. Read the rest

Uptight Ottawa Catholics outraged that Archbishop allowed giant robot spider on cathedral roof

Ottawa Archbishop Terrence Prendergast has apologised to local parishioners who took offense at the brief presence of a giant robotic spider on the cathedral roof, placed there by the La Machine theatre troupe, who stage massive street productions involving robots and puppets (like the Sultan's Elephant and this amazing Jules Verne-inspired show). Read the rest

City claims building park stairs too pricey, later tears out free stairs built by a resident

Retiree Adi Astl just wanted some stairs down a well-trod embankment in his local park. The city told him it would cost between $65,000 and $150,000, so he and a homeless guy built a nice set of stairs for about $550. Astl was then informed he violated municipal code section 608, and the stairs were ordered removed.

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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.

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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

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