Report: Canada's military unprepared to stop attacks on their assets in space

For a country the size of Canada, we've got a pretty small military budget. In order to secure our borders and work with our NATO pals overseas and in operations on our home turf, The Canadian Forces is often forced to do a lot with very little. Our Army, Navy and Air Force are tightly integrated, making it possible for us to make the most of our military infrastructure, supplies and training. Right now, Canada's military personnel are playing a game of hurry-up-and-wait while long-promised new equipment, upgrades to existing hardware, and better care for current members come into play. Unfortunately, as the Canadian government struggles to keep up with the basics of defining its borders, an internal Department of National Defence report obtained by the Canadian Press warns that the nation's armed forces could be ripe for getting dinged on a largely undefended frontier: space.

From The CBC:

Satellites vital to Canadian military operations are vulnerable to cyberattack or even a direct missile strike — just one example of why the country's defence policy must extend fully into the burgeoning space frontier, an internal Defence Department note warns.

The Canadian military already heavily depends on space-based assets for basic tasks such as navigation, positioning, intelligence-gathering, surveillance and communications. Canada is also working on the next generation of satellites to assist with search-and-rescue and round-the-clock surveillance of maritime approaches to the country, including the Arctic.

Unfortunately, as the hardware and software required to compromise satellite systems has become way less expensive over the past decade, the number of state and non-state actors with access to the gear needed to smoke our space hardware has grown. Read the rest

Quebec doctors can soon prescribe art museum visits

On November 1, select doctors will be able to prescribe a visit to the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts under a new initiative. Physicians who are part of Montreal-based medical group Médecins francophones du Canada will be allowed to send patients -- up to 50 prescriptions a year -- to the MMFA for free. Entry is good for two adults and two children age 17 or under.

Montreal Gazette:

“There’s more and more scientific proof that art therapy is good for your physical health,” said Dr. Hélène Boyer, vice-president of Médecins francophones du Canada and the head of the family medicine group at the CLSC St-Louis-du-Parc. “It increases our level of cortisol and our level of serotonin. We secrete hormones when we visit a museum and these hormones are responsible for our well-being. People tend to think this is only good for mental-health issues. That it’s for people who’re depressed or who have psychological problems. But that’s not the case. It’s good for patients with diabetes, for patients in palliative care, for people with chronic illness. Since the ’80s we’ve been prescribing exercise for our patients because we know exercise increases exactly the same hormones. But when I have patients who’re over 80, it’s not obvious that I can prescribe exercise for them.”

According to the museum, this one-year pilot project is the first of its kind in the world.

image by Thomas Ledl - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 Read the rest

Thunder Bay: podcast about Canada's hate crime and murder capital is a cross between Serial and Crimetown

The remote north Ontario city of Thunder Bay leads Canada in murders and hate crimes and features a local government mired in scandal, from a mayor who was charged with extortion to a police chief who went on trial for obstruction of justice. Read the rest

Canadian government growers can't keep up with Alberta's demand for weed

While cannabis may now be legal to smoke, sell and possess across Canada, the demand for bammy is harshing the buzz of many an Albertan. According to the CBC, certified cannabis suppliers are having a hell of a time trying to keep up with demand. The problem is cropping up at a time when the provincial government continues to dole out licenses to operate dispensaries in the province, putting an even greater strain on the amount of marijuana available in big sky country.

From the CBC:

Not all retail stores are necessarily open this weekend — a shortage of stock on the AGLC's retailer website means some new stores aren't able to order any cannabis at all to stock their shelves, and those that have run out can't order enough to restock.

The AGLC is the province's official supplier of cannabis, offering products from 15 licensed producers.

In Edmonton, Numo Cannabis has closed its doors after running out of weed, according to a sign on its door. Another Edmonton store, Alternative Greens, was also closed Saturday after running out of cannabis.

It's not just retail locations that are coming up with bupkis to sell. the AGLC's online portal doesn't have a shred of cannabis to sell, either.

The shortage likely hasn't come as a surprise to anyone keeping tabs on the Canadian cannabis rollout: licensed resellers have been complaining about their inability to order product since September. Given that shops in Alberta are only able to order a weed resupply once a week, it could take some time before the province's dope supplier finds a way to keep up with demand. Read the rest

My life on the road: A lost passport, no ID, and bullshit paperwork trying to get back to Canada

16 October, 2018 My wife drops me at the airport in Calgary. I'm traveling to Chicago. A fancy audio hardware company called Shure invited me to the city to check out some of the new tech that they'll be releasing in the coming months.

I pass through security with no issues. As I lace on my boots, I am certain that I have my passport. It is in my hand as I board my flight. I place my passport in a buttoned pocket in my jacket before sitting down on the plane. Standing up at the end of my flight, my passport is still there. Upon landing, I pay it no further mind. I'm on the hunt for a cab ride into Chicago's downtown core.

"They say they don't have any money but Jesus: lookit alla this construction," my cab driver says to me. "It's alla the time." I tell him that we have construction season in Calgary, too. But yeah, the traffic headed into the downtown is weaponized bullshit. My smartphone says that the trip should take 35 minutes. Curb to curb, it is a 90-minute ride.

I pay the driver his due and step out of his hack.

In the hotel's front door to the hotel's front desk. I have my luggage. I have a reservation. I have a credit card for incidentals.

I do not have a passport.

I don't have a driver's license, either. I haven't had one for years: my PTSD makes my being behind the wheel a bad idea. Read the rest

The New York Times has the dope on cannabis use in Canada

I'm writing this on a flight to Chicago. By the time I return to Canada on Thursday, the sale and use of cannabis, in many circumstances, will be cool, from coast to coast to coast. This does not excite me: I'm not a cannabis enthusiast. Your mileage, however, may vary.

If you're a Canadian who enjoys the use of weed in its many forms or love the idea of visiting my often-frozen nation so that you can partake in a legal left-handed cigarette, you should know that the laws surrounding where and when you can use marijuana varies from province to province. The same goes for who can sell it. Fortunately, The New York Times has taken it upon itself to give its readers the scuttlebutt on all of these issues and more:

From The New York Times:

On legalization day, only fresh or dried flower, seeds, plants and oil will be available. Legal marijuana will have lower levels of THC, the chemical that brings on the buzz, than most products now on the black market.

The law will not allow cannabis-infused edibles and concentrates until next year. So those craving pot-infused gummy bears, baked goods, barbecue sauce and drinks will have to wait to buy them legally.

It is unclear whether cannabis creams and cosmetics will ever be approved.

The Times goes on to talk about the fuzziness of what cannabis will cost from province to province, how much of it is legal to own, the limits placed upon growing your own, and the age required to make buying it OK. Read the rest

Skateboard shop has a skateable sandwich board

To make it clear that it's run by skateboarders for skateboarders, East Vancouver's Drive Skate Shop put a skateable sign in front of its store.

The two-sided wood veneer "sandwich board" is not only skateable but looks great too.

(Web Urbanist) Read the rest

Canada Pension Plan is long on US private prisons and immigrant detention centers

Robbo sez, "As a Canadian in my later years I benefit from my monthly Canada Pension Plan payments. As a Canadian and a human being I am disgusted that CPP holds stock in Geo Group and CoreCivic, companies who operate for-profit prisons and immigrant detention centres. As MP Charlie Angus (NDP) sez: 'Quite frankly, if they’re going to be investing in private prisons, weapons manufacturers and tobacco companies, why aren’t they investing in narco gangs?' They better clean this shit up - and fast." Read the rest

L.A. morning show host surprised that a K-pop star from Vancouver speaks English

After K-pop group NCT 127 from Vancouver, Canada performed on KTTV-Fox 11's Good Day L.A., host Araksya Karapetyan gave one of the singers an odd compliment: "Very cool, your English is awesome. I love it."

Here's the clip:

Read the rest

WestJet Airlines says no to drugs as Canada prepares to decriminalize cannabis

Last month, the Canadian Armed Forces announced its strict but reasonable policy surrounding the use of cannabis by service personnel. With Canada's decriminalization of cannabis nearly upon us, a lot of companies and organizations that deal with dangerous tasks or complicated hardware are following suit. Earlier this week, one of Canada's most popular air carriers, WestJet released its policy for when their employees will be allowed to use cannabis.

The short version of the rules: If you're a WestJet employee doing anything other than riding a phone for the company's customer service line or working at an airport check-in counter, chances are that you won't be allowed near the stuff.

From the CBC:

Spokesperson Morgan Bell said employees were notified of the changes on Tuesday morning.

She said cannabis is being treated differently than alcohol, which is banned for certain staff members within 12 hours of coming on duty.

Bell said WestJet's list of affected positions would be similar to Air Canada's, which includes flight and cabin crew members, flight dispatchers, aircraft maintenance engineers and station attendants.

The new WestJet policy also includes a prohibition on possession or distribution of cannabis on company property while on duty or attending a company social function.

Air Canada, Canada's flag carrier, has pretty much the same policy on dope, which makes me happy. In almost all instances, 12 hours is long enough for the blood alcohol level of most drinkers to dip back down to safe levels. Despite all the criminal bullshit that we've laden cannabis down with over the years, we still know comparatively little about what it does to a user's reflexes or how long it may continue to have an effect on judgement. Read the rest

Apple investigated by CBC News over Genius Bar repair policies and pricing

Through the use of hidden cameras, consulting with private computer repair joints, and chatting with right-to-repair advocates, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation has cast a very unflattering light on Apple's Genius Bar and its pricing and repair policies. Read the rest

Ontario businesses want trumpy Doug Ford to kill leave for domestic abuse survivors, allow mandatory high heeled shoes

Ontario's "A Plan for Fair Workplaces and Better Jobs" (AKA Bill 148) legislates leave for domestic abuse survivors, provides for 10 days of paid emergency leave, three weeks paid vacation after five years' employment, and a ban on employers requiring their employees to wear high heels. Read the rest

Justin Trudeau's NAFTA concessions include 20 year copyright extension

Donald Trump has wrung many concessions out of Justin Trudeau on the NAFTA renegotiation, but none is more nonsensical and potentially damaging than a 20 year copyright term extension that will bring copyright in line with the US's extreme copyright system, where copyright endures for the life of the author plus 70 years, meaning that nearly every work created in US history will disappear due to commercial irrelevance, rather than being made available for scholars and other users by libraries and other nonprofits. Read the rest

To fix Canadian copyright, let creators claim their rights back after 25 years

Copyright markets are -- and always have been -- broken. People make art because they have to, and there's always a middle-man ready to take advantage of the oversupply of willing creators to grab our rights and pay us peanuts. Read the rest

Canada's legal weed stock-bubble is a re-run of the dotcom bubble

Canada and Uruguay are the only two countries to have legalised the recreational use of marijuana (the Netherlands has laws on the books against it, but they're not enforced); the Canadian Securities Exchange has been transformed into "the cannabis stock exchange," a latter-day NASDAQ filled with hyperinflated stocks in legal weed companies. Read the rest

Report: someone is already selling user data from defunct Canadian retailer's auctioned-off servers

When Vancouver tech retailer NCIX went bankrupt, it stopped paying its bills, including the bills for the storage where its servers were being kept; that led to the servers being auctioned off without being wiped first, containing sensitive data -- addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, passwords, etc -- for thousands of customers. Also on the servers: tax and payroll information for the company's employees. Read the rest

Ticketmaster stung by undercover journalists, who reveal that the company deliberately enables scalpers and rips off artists

Even in this era, dominated by vertically and horizontally dominant monopolists, few companies are as chronically dirty and corrupt as Ticketmaster (previously), whose parent company, Livenation, is the world's largest concert promoter. Controlling promotion and ticketing is a one-two punch for a monopolist: Livenation's rival promoters still inevitably end up selling tickets through Ticketmaster, enriching their biggest competitor. Read the rest

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