Village of Makkinga has no traffic signs


It’s normal that you don’t need traffic signs… When you’ve changed the little village into a human place with social interaction between the citizens, of course you don’t need traffic signs.


Here’s to my two friends who start their masters in urban planning at McGill University this fall: let’s have more Makkingas!

Annoyance from Ticketmaster

So, I was all looking forward to redeeming my “iTunes songs, compliments of Ticketmaster” that I got from a ticket purchase…

But when I go to actually redeem them, I get this:

I purchased the tickets on March 25th and the offer expires on April 30th? What kind reward is that? Perhaps, oh, say, the kind they don’t actually want you to take advantage of? Why do we just accept that this is okay behaviour? Is there any good reason for making the expiry date one month later, other than that it will probably mean some people like myself don’t actually get the goods and thereby cost Ticketmaster $$?

Delicious brunch on Bloor

Went to the newly opened (1month.5 ago according to our server) Disgraceland, located at 965 Bloor W for some delicious brunch. I had their presumably-Elvis-inspired french toast that was stuffed with peanut butter and banana ($12), while my accomplice had the veggie eggs bennie ($10). Both were effing fantastic. The pancakes didn’t even need syrup and the the eggs bennie, which came on fried tomato, was also one of the best I’ve ever had. Service was great and, perhaps most importantly, the coffee didn’t suck. I so rarely have a coffee with breakfast that doesn’t suck and this was damn good coffee.

I thoroughly recommend the place, and disagree in the strongest terms possible with this NOW review.

Toronto cops bust sketchy bike shop

Various Toronto media outlets and blogs (I Bike TO and Living for the City) are reporting that infamous Queen Street West bike “shop” “owner” Igor Kenk was busted and is in custody after some plainclothes officers observed him allegedly directing another man (also in custody) to cut the lock on a bike and then go for another. Kenk has a reputation for dealing largely in illegally acquired bicycles, and it’s nice to see these well-founded rumours (apparently) confirmed.

While normally quite empathic and some might even say soft on crime, I can’t help but rejoice at this man’s misfortune. I’ve had various things stolen (including a car), but nothing boils my blood like bike theft. Bike thieves are scum. If the bicycle had been invented in the middle ages, Dante would have included a special circle of hell just for them.

Apparently you can go to Central Garage, 9 Hanna Avenue, on Saturday, July 19, 2008, and Sunday, July 20, 2008, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (see Craigslist posting) to see if your bike is among the recovered bounty. See instructions from the Sun article mentioned above:

WHERE: 9 Hanna Ave. at Toronto Police Central Traffic garage near King and Dufferin Sts. WHEN: Today and tomorrow, 10-6. HOW: Bring receipts, ID, pictures of you and your bike. You can also call the 14 Division community response unit at Exhibition Place, 416-808-1500, to describe your bike and have police look for you. Crime Stoppers will also have a booth set up at the garage where you can register your bike.

Simians are people too

First we have spear-fishing orangutans, then Spain passes legislation affirming that great apes are entitled to human rights, and now scientists have showed that monkeys can count.

I think it’s about time we retired the idea that humans possess some sort of special intellectual powers that are radically different from those of other animals. Hopefully events and discoveries such as these will continue to push us in that direction.

Canadian carbon tax plans

The federal Green Party (of which I am a member) has just announced their plan for a national carbon tax, along with a gas tax, while Dion has provided more details on the Liberals’ plan.

Meanwhile, the Conservatives are still firmly entrenched in the “sit on our asses and do nothing” camp, calling the Liberal’s plan a “revenue grab”. Thank God we have the Conservatives to

Yay Canada

Canadian students’ environmental knowledge and attitudes

Those interested in the environment may have missed some relevant findings from the 2006 OECD‘s PISA Science assessment results. The education findings are well-known (Canadian youth score highly both on raw achievement and on equity measures), but less well-known is the fact that the Science assessment also gauged youths’ awareness of and attitudes towards environmental issues.

Canadian students:

  • ranked 7th on awareness of environmental issues
  • were slightly below the OECD average when it came to concern for these issues,
  • were below average on their optimism that these environmental problems will be improved in the next 20 years
  • were at the OECD average on measures surrounding responsibility for sustainable development

It’s worth noting that students from the “most culpable countries” (in which we could include, according roughly to consumption and pollution per capita: Canada, the USA, the UK, Australia, New Zealand) were all below the OECD average for concern about environmental issues.

What would be interesting would be a measure that related, say, per capita carbon output to awareness/concern for environmental issues. If these PISA results are representative of a broader trend, I imagine Canada would fall seriously short on such an indicator.