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.
“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
Working as a technology journalist is a privilege that allows me to play with hardware that I could never afford to own. Last week, while I was in Montreal for the opening of Sennheiser's new Canadian office, for example, I was able to spend some quality time with the company's crazy $50,000 made-to-order HE 1 headphones. For a guy that reviews audio hardware for a living, it was a ridiculous treat.
There are times that the privilege of doing what I do extends beyond all of the gear that I get to play with. Among the Sennheiser employees, audio nerds like me, and other folks attending the company's opening day bash was Dr. Andreas Sennheiser. Andreas, an electrical engineer by trade, has been co-CEO along with his brother Daniel of their family's 70-year-old audio company for the past five years.
Here in North America, Sennheiser is mostly known for their professional audio products -- microphones and reference headphones for the rich and musically famous, and conference-call hardware for high falootin' boardrooms. In Europe, Asia and Africa, the German company's footprint in consumer audio is massive. They’re one of the oldest names in audiophile-grade headphones and an early, much-respected maker of audio hardware designed to augment virtual and augmented reality experiences.
They make cool shit.
Once the celebration was over and the caterers had absconded with the all of leftovers, Andreas was good enough to spend a few minutes with me, talking about his company, his family and the notion of legacy. Read the rest
Claudia Cavaliere had only been working as a massage therapist in Montreal, Canada for a few months when, as she began to work the knots out of a middle-aged client's leg, he started grinding against her massage table, juuuuuust before flipping over to bring himself off. The whole time that he masturbated, he didn't say a damn word, other than asking Cavaliere for a tissue to clean himself up with. Horrified, she backed out of the room that she had been alone with her client in and asked a co-worker for assistance. Her co-worker got Cavaliere to safety and demanded that her piece of shit client leave. The incident shook Cavaliere, deeply. After she collected herself, she was brave enough to report the incident to the police.
When she told the duty officer at the Kirkland detachment of the Montreal Police Service her story, he didn't respond in the way that you'd like to hope that those we charge with protecting us, would. Instead of offering a modicum of sympathy, he attempted to dissuade her from filing a complaint, saying, according to Cavaliere "Well, you know, you have to get ready to appear in court. Do you really want to do that?"
At this point, Cavaliere decided it might be a good idea to record the rest of their chat.
As the conversation between Cavaliere and the cop progressed, it was discovered that her client had provided her with a fake name and phone number. The duty officer that she spoke to told her that it was unlikely that a case could be pursued, given these circumstances, and even if it did, it would not be classified as a sexual assault. Read the rest
A bunch of years ago, I was sitting at a LA Kings Hockey game, noticing the music the game made. The skates on the ice. The slap of the sticks. The puck being handled and passed around. The grunts. The whistles. The roar of the crowd. The bursts of music clips. The Zamboni. And in that moment, I knew that I had come up with the idea that for my new opera it would have something to do with Hockey.
Within science fiction, Jo Walton (previously) is legendary for hosting small, intimate gatherings of outstanding conversation and comradeship.
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This summer in Montreal I stopped by the Drawn & Quarterly book store on 211 Bernard St. Visiting the store was one of the highlights of my trip to Montreal, and it is definitely worth checking out.
Drawn & Quarterly has published comics by some of my favorite authors, such as Dan Clowes. They also carry many awesome books and comics at the store from other publishers. I had a lot of fun looking through some books of R. Crumb's art. The store has a lively atmosphere and often hosts events.
On the store's site, you can find out about upcoming events at the bookstore.
I interviewed Alyssa who works at the bookstore. She told me the store has been open since 2007. Each of the staff members has a section of books that they have chosen for the store. The events that take place at the bookstore are often author readings, and book, poetry, and comic book launches. There's a stage and chairs in the back of the store for these events. These events happen often and the store is one of the most popular places in Montreal to attend a book launch.
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The Neurological Institute at Montreal's McGill University is host to the "Tanenbaum Open Science Institute," endowed by a $20M contribution; since last spring, the unit has pursued an ambitious open science agenda that includes open access publication of all research data and findings, and an end to the practice of patenting the university's findings. Instead, they will all be patent-free and usable by anyone. Read the rest
Jennifer Pawluck, a 20 year old woman from Montreal, was taken into police custody yesterday and questioned after she posted a photo of a graffiti mural on her Instagram. The mural showed a caricature of a Montreal police spokesman called Cmdr. Ian Lafrenière, with a bullet hole in his head.
After she posted the image to Instagram, police came to her house and took her in for questioning, releasing her several hours later. The police say that there are secret reasons they detained her, beyond taking a picture of graffiti and posting it, but they won't say what they are.
Pawluck participated in the mass student demonstrations in Montreal and was part of the ensuing mass arrests. She will have to appear in court on April 17, and is barred from going with a kilometer of police HQ and from communicating with Cmdr Lafrenière. She has not been charged.
Lafrenière is the head of the service's communications division and frequently appeared in the media during the student protests.
Pawluck said that when the picture was taken, she didn’t know who Lafrenière was, but she found the image interesting.
Montreal police confirmed that a young woman was arrested at her home Wednesday and brought to the police station to be questioned by investigators. They did not name Pawluck.
Instagram anti-police pic sharing tied to Montrealer's arrest [CBC] Read the rest
Ahmed Al-Khabaz was a 20-year-old computer science student at Dawson College in Montreal, until he discovered a big, glaring bug in Omnivox, software widely used by Quebec's junior college system. The bug exposed the personal information (social insurance number, home address, class schedule) of its users. When Al-Khabaz reported the bug to François Paradis, his college's Director of Information Services and Technology, he was congratulated. But when he checked a few days later to see if the bug had been fixed, he was threatened with arrest and made to sign a secret gag-order whose existence he wasn't allowed to disclose. Then, he was expelled:
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“I was called into a meeting with the co–ordinator of my program, Ken Fogel, and the dean, Dianne Gauvin,” says Mr. Al-Khabaz. “They asked a lot of questions, mostly about who knew about the problems and who I had told. I got the sense that their primary concern was covering up the problem.”
Following this meeting, the fifteen professors in the computer science department were asked to vote on whether to expel Mr. Al-Khabaz, and fourteen voted in favour. Mr. Al-Khabaz argues that the process was flawed because he was never given a chance to explain his side of the story to the faculty. He appealed his expulsion to the academic dean and even director-general Richard Filion. Both denied the appeal, leaving him in academic limbo.
“I was acing all of my classes, but now I have zeros across the board. I can’t get into any other college because of these grades, and my permanent record shows that I was expelled for unprofessional conduct.
[Video Link] Joe Sabia directed the 3rd annual Queer of the Year in Montreal. Basically a two week competition in Montreal to promote Montreal as the most tolerant, accepting place on earth. (which it just might be). "Queer of the Year" in Montreal. "Basically a two week competition to promote Montreal as the most tolerant, accepting place on earth," says Joe, "Which it just might be." Read the rest
Here are Montrealers engaged in charivari, a form of protest involving beating pots and pans in the streets. They're out protesting the new law 78, which prohibits public gatherings without police approval, and gives the police the power to arbitrarily declare approved protests to be illegal ones midstream. The law was passed amid a long, bitter student strike over tuition hikes, but it hasn't damped down the protest -- rather, it has so outraged many Quebeckers, who have joined in the nightly casserole protests. This form of protest was widely used in Chile after Pinochet banned public protest. The Guardian's Adam Gabbatt writes from Montreal:
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"I'm very surprised at what's happened," said Kevin Audet-Vallee, a 24-year-old history student who had attended tuition fees protests before bill 78 was introduced.
"Now that the ordinary citizens are in the streets I think the government is really in trouble, because the middle class is in the streets. At first [critics of student protesters] were saying we were radicals. These are not radicals."
Indeed, at the pot banging near the Jarry subway on Friday night the age range of the crowd was strikingly diverse. Sensibly dressed fortysomethings wearing hiking boots and kagools intermingled with long-haired students wearing only shorts. Men and women pushing young children in prams were flanked by hipsters on fixed-gear bikes.
The range of protesters was matched by the diversity of utensils they chose to create noise. Some had reached past the saucepan and wooden spoon, with the Guardian spying such unlikely pairings as a colander and a drumstick, a pan lid and a pair of chopsticks, and a barbecue lid and a pair of tongs all being put to alternative use.
(Photo by Philip Miresco)
Quebec is in the throes of mass protests. A prolonged student strike over tuition hikes triggered a law placing broad restrictions on the freedom to protest, and giving the police the power to arbitrarily declare even "approved" protests to be illegal. Over 500 were arrested in a single Montreal protest, after a prolonged and totally unjustifiable kettling incident. Kate McDonnell of the Montreal City Weblog was on that march, and she's graciously written us a piece on the experience:
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Downtown Montreal midday Tuesday, thousands upon thousands of people
poured into Place des Festivals and the surrounding areas to begin a
march. Montrealers march more readily than most Canadians, but this
was a special day – the 100th day of the student strike against the
tuition increase ordained by the Quebec government under Jean Charest.
Charest has been premier of Quebec since 2003. A Conservative at the
federal level, he jumped for the chance when the Quebec Liberal Party
needed a new leader. He has nudged the party steadily rightward ever
since. In recent years his government has been rocked by multiple
charges of corruption and collusion, but it was the party's planned
increase in university tuition fees that sparked the real furor in
Early 2011, Charest announced his intention to end a tuition freeze
with an increase of $325 per year until a university year (two terms)
ends up costing $3,793 in 2017. Sporadic protests were held, but the
demo of February 17, 2012 was the beginning of daily protests, mostly
in the evenings, most peaceful but with occasional outbreaks by
"casseurs" breaking windows, throwing rocks and bottles at police,
painting things red.
Canadian sculptor Maskull Lasserre produces stellar works that incorporate rough-carved anatomical themes into everyday objects -- an ax-handle is carved into a sinuous spinal column, clavicles emerge from coat hangers, a rib-cage is carved into a stack of books, foetal skeletons lurk in bedposts, and so on (there's also plenty of non-anatomical work that's charming as all get-out, like the typewriter-piano, sniper's violin and insane farm implements). Lasserre is exhibiting in a group show at Montreal's PFOAC gallery until Aug 6.
(via This is Colossal) Read the rest