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

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

Man walks over sidewalk grate just before underground explosion

Mike Armstrong had just walked over a grate in downtown Toronto when this happened:

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The vicious war of succession for the baboons of the Toronto Zoo is finally over

When zookeepers at the Toronto Zoo euthanized Betty, the zoo's 16-year-old baboon-troop matriarch, it touched off a vicious war of succession among the troops female members that saw them mutilating one another in savage combat -- the war was finally settled when zookeepers implanted the warring baboons with estrogen-releasing implants that reduced the viciousness of the fighting. Read the rest

Inspiring ad for a Toronto children's hospital

"Sick isn't weak." Toronto's Hospital for Sick Kids has a perceptual challenge with "sick" in their name, so they created a great new ad called VS. that presents their patients and employees as heroes. Read the rest

World's longest Instagram tour: Toronto's Graffiti Alley

Heritage Toronto has curated a cool Instagram account (graffitialley.to) that documents Toronto's Graffiti Alley. It works best on a phone, but it's OK on other screens if you don't mind turning your head 90 degrees. Read the rest

Unnamed Canadian telco sabotages' library's low-income internet service

Toronto's public libraries have followed New York and Chicago's lead in offering wifi hotspot lending to low-income families, allowing them to "check out the internet" and take it home with them. Read the rest

On the death of Rob Ford

My condolences to his family, who deserved a better person in their lives. Read the rest

Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford dead at 46

Rob Ford, the former Toronto mayor famous for political scandals and drug abuse, is dead at 46. He was suffering from pleomorphic liposarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

In 2013, the Star revealed that Ford had attended a military ball intoxicated and then that a cellphone video apparently showed him smoking crack. That bombshell triggered months of controversy and worldwide headlines as Ford angrily denied, and then finally admitted, abusing drugs and alcohol. Council stripped him of most of his powers. …

In October 2014, following his re-election as councillor and in between chemotherapy treatments, Ford talked to reporters about his legacy. “People know that I saved a lot of money, and people are going to know that I had a few personal struggles,” he said. “So you can remember it for what you want, but they’re definitely going to remember it.”

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Toronto City Council defies mayor, demands open, neutral municipal broadband

After years of fumbling, deference and mismanagement, Canada's telcoms regulator, the CRTC, laid down a landmark net neutrality rule and demanded that Bell, the nationally founded telcoms giant, would have to share its infrastructure with new entrants to the market. Read the rest

To do in Toronto: Create a Rey doll hackathon

Many people have noticed that the female lead character Rey is notably underrepresented in the tsunami of Star Wars: The Force Awakens toys. Read the rest

Menu at Toronto's "Azure" was a work of fictitious fine-dining fraud

Azure is the posh restaurant Intercontinental Hotel Toronto Centre, where the menu boasts "BC salmon" (which turns out to mean "boned and cleaned" not "British Columbia"), "freshly squeezed" orange juice (comes out of a bottle that boasts that the oranges were freshly squeezed before bottling), and some out-and-out lies, like calling boxed Quaker Harvest Crunch granola "organic granola" and store-bought salad dressing "home made." Read the rest

Toronto's mayor demands an end to competition for fast, affordable broadband

In Canada, as in the UK and many other countries (including the USA, until the mid-2000s), the big telcos are required to wholesale their lines to small, upstart competitors as payback for access to rights-of-way and municipal infrastructure. This results in more competition, faster connections, and cheaper service for residents. Read the rest

Help wanted: malware researcher for U of T's Citizenlab

Ronald Deibert from the University of Toronto's Citizenlab (previously) sez, "The Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto has a job posting for a security researcher/malware analyst. Read the rest

IXmaps: a tool to figure out when the NSA can see Canadians' data

Canadians' data requests overwhelming flow through US cables, even when the communications are within Canada. Since the NSA takes the view that it is legally entitled to collect, inspect and retain foreign communications, this means that almost all Canadian communications are being spied on by a foreign power. Read the rest

An ARG to celebrate open access week, courtesy of the University of Toronto library

Bobby Glushko writes, "Something's going on at the University of Toronto's Robarts Library. A concerned group of citizens is investigating a conspiracy hiding facts about the mysterious and controversial past of this masterpiece of brutalist architecture. At the same time a noble, if shadowy, society is working to keep its secrets hidden." Read the rest

Time-capsule: hi-rez scans of 1946 Toronto Star funny-pages pull-out

Zack writes, "Cartoonist John Martz was contacted by a woman who found a nearly 20-page comics section from 1946 under her floorboards while doing a home renovation. He scanned every one of the classic Sunday [ed: pretty sure the Star ran its comics on Saturdays] comics featured therein, including TERRY AND THE PIRATES, FLASH GORDON, MANDRAKE THE MAGICIAN and SUPERMAN." Read the rest

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