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DA: The World Is Round

Daily AggregationHappy nooner, Saskatooner! It’s, uh, minus-21 with a minus-29 windchill. That’s the bad news. The good news: sunset is 7:01 tonight, breaking the 7 p.m. barrier! Wooo!

1. “KINDLY AND WELL-INTENTIONED MEN AND WOMEN AND THEIR DESCENDANTS” Conservative senator Lynn Beyak defends residential schools. SMH.

2. MARIJUANA ACTIVISTS ARRESTED Opinion: this is a waste of police time and resources. Theory: it’s happening now either to appease a U.S. government that hates weed, or because weed-haters are emboldened by the Trump regime. Regardless, it seems stupid. Legalize weed!

3. FIRE ON THE REZ The Makwa Sahgaiehcan First Nation lost its second residence to fire this week.

4. GOAT YOGA??? Goat yoga!

5. U.S. EPA BOSS SAYS CARBON DIOXIDE ISN’T THE MAIN CAUSE OF CLIMATE CHANGE This is factually incorrect. He’s incompetent. He should lose his job.

6. TRUMP’S ECO-VANDALISM The most anti-environment U.S. president ever plans to slash funding for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Sea Grant program, which studies and protect coastlines. The worst part about political/ideological attacks like this: good, smart people must waste time defending their important work instead of doing that work.

7. THE EARTH IS ROUND, LIKE A BASKETBALL This is from a while back but I just read about it: NBA dribble-king Kyrie Irving believes the earth is flat:

“For what I’ve known for as many years and what I’ve been taught is that the Earth is round, but I mean, if you really think about it from a landscape of the way we travel, the way we move and the fact that, can you really think of us rotating around the sun and all planets aligned, rotating in specific dates being perpendicular with what’s going on with these planets and stuff like this … It doesn’t come back. There is no concrete information except for the information that they’re giving us.”

It used to be fun to mock ignorance (okay it’s still fun) but since we live in an age of climate change denial, political repression of scientists and alternative facts we have to take batshit statements from public figures, even athletes, seriously. That’s why I like this rebuttal from psychology prof Craig A. Foster. Says Foster:

“United States residents might think the idea of a flat Earth is so absurd that it could never become a serious political concern. They shouldn’t. Science educators fight this type of battle daily. The scientific evidence that the Earth is billions of years old is nearly as convincing as the evidence that the Earth is round. The United States has a vice president and several other politicians who nevertheless believe in a “young Earth” or are unwilling to contradict the idea publicly.”

Check it out. And remember: the earth is round, like a basketball—or if you prefer a more literary metaphor, an orange.

 

DA: International Women’s Day

Daily AggregationHappy International Women’s Day, Saskatoon! At At quarter to one it’s an icy tundra of suck at minus-18 with a minus-27 windchill. The high is minus 17, bleccch, while the low is minus-25, double-bleccch. Today’s sunrise was at 7:36 while sunset is at 6:59, sayyy. On to news!

1. IT’S INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!!! Here’s Planet S‘s feature. More? Okay! Women world-wide are being asked to go on strike—here’s the story on CBC and in the The Washington Posta Guardian live-blog, and a quartet of Al Jazeera stories on women in Gaza, South African grandmothers, the world’s female leaders past and present and of course the requisite global overview. Vice has a piece on climate change and women here, and Vox has a story on U.S. President Womanhater’s resurrection of the women’s health funding ban. Here in Canada? The Liberal federal government just announced $650 million in international funding for women’s sexual and reproductive health—something, it should be remembered, we’d never get from a Conservative government because Conservatives in 2017 are the party that panders to extremists who want to restrict women’s reproductive rights (hi Brad Trost, how’s the leadership bid coming along?). So if you want to bash Liberals (and we all do sometimes!), maybe bash ’em for not giving us a national child care program (which BTW we’d also never, ever, ever, ever see from 21st-century Canadian Conservatives who, did I mention, pander to extremists?).

2. RALLY AT THE MARBLE PALACE Public workers are protesting expected cuts.

3. SASK NDP FIGHTS WANTS DEEPER CUTS TO POLITICAL SALARIES AND DEMANDS A PLAN THAT ISN’T JUST SLASH-AND-BURN “We don’t want to be a rubber stamp or seen to be helping this government force a wage cut on the people,” says MLA David Forbes.

4. YESTERDAY’S BLIZZARD Intense.

5. POACHERS KILL A WHITE RHINO IN A FRENCH ZOO Pure evil. Attacks on endangered world heritage wildlife are top-tier crimes and international incidents and, if I were the boss of things, grounds for full-scale war with South-East Asia. I might not be sane on this subject. I’m Chinese criminal court levels of “justice by firing squad” when it comes to rhino poachers.

6. “URGENTLY LOOKING INTO THE MATTER” The big tech companies respond to the big Wikileaks news about the CIA getting into people’s cellphones. Oh! And televisions.

INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY!!! Rawkaroll!

DA: 100 People Party Planet

Daily AggregationGood morning Toontown, what’s going down? Little windy out there, huh? It’s minus-13 with a snow situation and very pushy -24 windchills. You have until 6:57 p.m. today to get your affairs in order, at which point the sun will set and you have to go to bed (I don’t make the rules!). Hey! Here’s some news I found on the Internet for us to read together. Fun!!!

1. THIS WEATHER! Did I mention? Windy! Snowy! Eeek!

2. SASKATCHEWAN IS BACK IN SESSION The Legislature is sitting again and yesterday was the first day of spring session. And what a day it was! Brad Wall won’t sell SaskTel! Don Morgan has fresh ideas* to stop impaired driving! New MLA Ryan Meili is the NDP shadow critic for poverty! Out of province political donations are destroying democracy! Exciting times.

3. DEALS WITH DRAGONS Can Canada have closer economic ties to China when China is a human rights shitshow? First step: consultations!

4. DEPORTING CANADIANS You might be a fuck-up, but if you’ve lived in Canada all six decades of your life you’re OUR fuck-up. Meanies disagree.

5. TRUMPCARE The diabolical dummies release their dumb anti-Planned Parenthood Obamacare repeal-and-replace plan. Douchebags. I like Tom Tomorrow’s take.

6. WAIT, THE CIA HAS THE ABILITY TO GET INTO CELL PHONES? No way.

7. INCRIMINATING USE OF A FOUR-POUND HAMMER After two sleeping homeless people had their heads bashed in, Las Vegas police arrested a fellow who beat the shit out of a mannequin’s head. The mannequin was posing as a sleeping homeless person. “I knew it was a mannequin,” says hammer guy. Uh huh.

WORLD OF 100 What would it look like if the planet’s population was represented by only 100 people? Video swiped from the always excellent Kottke.

DA: Levitating Helicopters

Daily AggregationHappy afternoon, Saskatoon! My iPhone tells me it’s minus-12 heading towards a -10 high before things get cold this week, so get your winter clothes ready. Sunset is 6:55 (sunrise was 7:41); tomorrow’s sunrise  is 7:38. News!

1. TODAY IN THE SASK PARTY Convicted impaired driver Don McMorris is back in the Sask Party caucus, which he shouldn’t be because he should’ve resigned, and Brad Wall has stopped taking top-up pay which is good because he’s Saskatchewan’s premier, not just the Sask Party leader.

2. CANADIAN WOMEN STILL DON’T EARN AS MUCH AS MEN Story in The Globe And Mail. TL; DR: “Canada’s gender pay disparity is larger than the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development average. Canada has also tumbled down the World Economic Forum’s global gender gap rankings, to 35 th place, from 19th place two years earlier.”

3. “YOU’VE BEEN TRUMPED”: U.S. BORDER AGENT DENIES ENTRY TO BROWN-SKINNED CANADIAN, TELLS HER SHE NEEDS AN IMMIGRANT VISA Classy.

4. THE MAJORITY OF CONSERVATIVES DO NOT BELIEVE IN CLIMATE CHANGE Good read here. Saskatchewanians and Albertans are much more likely to reject facts than other Canadians.

5. “BLAH BLAH BLAH SHARIA LAW BLAH” There were rallies nation-wide Saturday against a parliamentary motion to condemn Islamophobia. The protests were met by counter-protests across Canada. In Saskatoon, Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens protesters were opposed by anti-racism protesters. In Regina, a Planet S reporter said small group of anti-Islamics had their Fox News-style talking points utterly squashed by a cheerful crowd of 50-plus people promoting a message of tolerance, diversity and peace. Here’s stories on rallies in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Canadian Coalition of Concerned Citizens ground zero, Montreal. Anti-racism demonstrators heavily outnumbered CCCC protesters at all the demonstrations I looked up. Here’s a column on what it all means.

6. SIKH MAN SHOT IN SEATTLE Some poor guy working on his car in his driveway was wounded by a masked gunman who told him to “go back to your own country.” This happens a week after a man of Indian descent was killed by a 50-something white man who allegedly told him to “get out of my country.”

7. TRUMP SIGNS NEW THINLY-VEILED BAN ON MUSLIMS The last one was blocked. Will the new ban stand?

8. U.S. SUPREME COURT PUNTS TRANSGENDER BATHROOM BAN BACK TO LOWER COURT Story here. Meanwhile in Canada: progress.

MAGIC HELICOPTER OR CAMERA TRICK? Occam’s Razor demands the simplest explanation, so magic it must be.

Sunday Matinee: The Valley Of Gwangi

So I seem to still be on a Lost World kick and I realize I’ve never written about the entertaining 1969 movie The Valley of Gwangi. Let’s fix that. 

Set in the early 1900s, The Valley of Gwangi follows a travelling cowboy show run by T.J. Breckenridge (Gila Golan) that performs in Mexico. T.J.’s ex-boyfriend, Tuck Kirby (James Franciscus), has come back to buy her out. T.J. refuses—she’s got a new attraction that will be bring in the money: a miniature horse. But when Tuck shows Professor Bromley (Laurence Naismith) the tiny thing, Bromley claims it’s an extinct Eohippus. Whoa. Could there be other prehistoric wonders out there?
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: The Valley Of Gwangi”

DA: The Final Snikt

Daily AggregationHappy afternoon, Saskatoon! It’s plus-3 with a forecast high of five. Sun sets tonight at 6:50. Here’s some news links.

1. THE NDP WINS ONE Ryan Meili is the new MLA for Saskatoon Meewasin. If he still wants to become leader of the provincial NDP, this was an essential victory. More here.

2. OPEN SEASON ON WOMEN She was unconscious and mostly naked in a cab and somehow it wasn’t rape? This is a terrible, terrible verdict. Yes, there can be nuances around consent and a drink or two, but there should be no debate on consent and unconsciousness. The entire Canadian justice system just does not get it.

3. SMARTPHONE SNOOPS CBC has a good story on Canada’s border goons checking out visitors’ phones. Talk about pointlessly obnoxious overreach—not to mention making visitors feel unwelcome. I know I wouldn’t take my phone over a border, and the most incriminating thing on it are the eight billion photos of my pets.

4. CHINA FORCES BBC TEAM TO SIGN A CONFESSION Wow. A good reminder that China is not a free country.

5. SOVIET STATES OF AMERICA Some analysis of the Jeff “lied under oath” Sessions incident.

6. VIETNAM NO-SHOW PLAYS NAVY DRESS-UP Donald “Five Deferments” Trump takes a page from the George W. Bush “I skipped the war but I’m still cool” playbook and wears military threads for a tour of a new aircraft carrier. Also, what nincompoops name an aircraft carrier the USS Gerald R. Ford? It’s like they want it to trip over a wave and sink.

7. SECOND THOUGHTS ON OBAMACARE Trump supporters might not want one of the things they specifically voted for—the repeal of Obamacare. Shocking.

8. BATS: A BITTER FAREWELL Every once in a while it’s good to read a venomously bitter column about humanity’s contempt for threatened wildlife. Here’s a great one.

LOGAN The final Hugh Jackman Wolverine movie is now playing. Jorge says it’s great. Here’s the trailer. Looks good to me. Snikt!

REVIEW: We Go On… For a Manageable 90 Minutes

For a low-budget genre flick, there are several things We Go On does right. It’s a self-contained film that doesn’t chew more than it can eat, features a true to life dialogue, and -above all- invests on a good cast, namely John Glover in a supporting role and the perennially underrated Annette O’Toole as one of the leads.

The plot: Crippled by phobias and fear of dying, Miles (Clark Freeman) comes to the conclusion the only way he can move on with his life is by having certainty there is something beyond the grave. He literally throws money to the problem by offering 30,000 dollars to the first person able to prove we go on (see what I did there?)

Predictably, Miles receives hundreds of answers, but only four capture his attention: An academic, a medium, an adventurer and a mysterious caller. Alongside his concerned mother (O’Toole), Miles goes on a supernatural tryout that may render undesired results.

The heart of the film is the relationship between Miles and his mom. In spite of the context, the two maintain a healthy rapport, which ups the ante. The top half slow-burning leads to a more traditional -if competent- conclusion. The denouement works with recognizable genre troupes, but still manages to provide a surprise or two.

Because We Go On is aware of its limitations, it doesn’t try for the ‘wow’ factor. It could have taken some risks and deliver some jolts, but overall, it’s a tidy endeavor. Two and a half planets.

We Go On is available on Shudder.

Sunday Matinee: The Land That Time Forgot

Edgar Rice Burroughs had dabbled in the lost world genre before he wrote his classic The Land That Time Forgot in 1918. The first film adaptation didn’t occur until 1975 with legendary fantasy writer Michael Moorcock writing the screenplay.

Set during WWI a British boat has been torpedoed by a German u-boat. The survivors manage to get aboard the u-boat and take it over. The Germans manage to sabotage the navigation and the u-boat ends up in the south Atlantic where they come across a lost continent called Caprona.
Continue reading “Sunday Matinee: The Land That Time Forgot”

Only Tyrants Ban Journalists From Press Conferences

U.S. politics continues spinning out of control. From The New York Times:

Reporters from The Times, BuzzFeed News, CNN, The Los Angeles Times and Politico were not allowed to enter the West Wing office of the press secretary, Sean M. Spicer, for the scheduled briefing. Aides to Mr. Spicer only allowed in reporters from a handpicked group of news organizations that, the White House said, had been previously confirmed.

Those organizations included Breitbart News, the One America News Network and The Washington Times, all with conservative leanings. Journalists from ABC, CBS, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and Fox News also attended.

Reporters from Time magazine and The Associated Press, who were set to be allowed in, chose not to attend the briefing in protest of the White House’s actions.

“Nothing like this has ever happened at the White House in our long history of covering multiple administrations of different parties,” Dean Baquet, the executive editor of The Times, said in a statement. “We strongly protest the exclusion of The New York Times and the other news organizations. Free media access to a transparent government is obviously of crucial national interest.”

It’s pretty simple: Trump’s administration bars media outlets because media outlets expose their lies and self-interest. Unfortunately, a lot of Americans have been radicalized by right-wing propaganda posing as news (Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Tucker Carlson) and nonsense-spouting opportunists (Alex Jones, Ann Coulter, and, back in the day, Glenn Beck).

Politicians and leaders who attack science, journalism, women’s rights, the poor and minorities are the bad guys. Don’t be on the same team as the bad guys.