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Alberta Politics: Jason Kenney sails close to the wind on Anti-Terrorism Act at picnic visit

PHOTOS: Liberal candidate Adam Vaughan’s photo of the Kurdish Peace and Cultural Festival in Toronto Saturday, with an image of PKK founder Abdullah Ocalan visible in the background. (Grabbed from Twitter.) Below: Defence Minister Jason Kenney, who bragged about being at the event, and Mr. Vaughan. Jason Kenney, who notwithstanding the dissolution of the House […]

The post Jason Kenney sails close to the wind on Anti-Terrorism Act at picnic visit appeared first on Alberta Politics.

The Tory Pirate - Politics & Policy: Education Reform In New Brunswick: What Japan Can Teach Us (Part 1)

As a graduate of New Brunswick’s education system I sometimes reflect onthe quality of the schooling I received. I also have a longstanding  interest inJapanese culture. It is natural then that I would eventually get to looking at howJapan does education. What I found was a school system that better instills thevalues of leadership, sense of community, and respect than anything I’ve seen inNew Brunswick. I figured I may as well detail some of the highlights of theirsystem and make the argument that New Brunswick would do well to adopt atleast some of these policies. (Read more…) . . . → Read More: The Tory Pirate – Politics & Policy: Education Reform In New Brunswick: What Japan Can Teach Us (Part 1)

Things Are Good: In Japan, Abandoned Gold Courses Become Solar Farms

Golf courses have a well deserved reputation of being absolutely horrible for the environment. Golf courses are responsible for deforestation and damaging local ecological systems all while consuming an absurd amount of water.

In Japan, where many golf courses have gone out of business, they are converting the massive chunks of land into something useful: solar farms. The open fields are located near where electricity needs to go and thus are in a prime location.

Last week, Kyocera and its partners announced they had started construction on a 23-megawatt solar plant project located on an old golf course in the (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: A Hooker is Just a Hooker – Provided, Of Course, She’s Korean

This time they’re using Japanese academics to dispute the reality of “comfort women” – women, mainly Korean, coerced into prostitution by the Japanese army during WWII.  A less genteel term would be “sex slaves.”

A group of Japanese historians is urging McGraw-Hill, the American publisher, to “correct” a college textbook that they say contains “many erroneous expressions” about sex slaves used by Japanese soldiers during World War II.

Saying that the women were simply prostitutes, the group is taking up an official Japanese effort to win support for its perspective on the euphemistically known “comfort women,” a particularly sensitive (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: Oh my God! The Japanese make better whisky than the Scots!

A year of firsts for whiskey. For instance, it’s the first time in the 12-year history of the World Whisky Bible’s rankings that a Scottish malt has failed to make the top five. Depressing news for the Scots. And it gets worse. Much, much worse—it is also the first time the top whisky was distilled in Japan.

The grand accolade was taken by Yamazaki Single Malt Sherry Cask 2013, from the

Eclectic Lip: A mini blog re: Mega Fauna

Productivity gurus occasionally say that to make time for the most important things (e.g. promoting your next book) you need to cut back the time you spend on less-critical stuff (such as, writing it yourself) by making priority calls (translation: hire a ghostwriter).

Sadly, I haven’t met any ghostwriters comfortable starting blog posts with 50-word-long sentences such as the opening above – probably because every communications teacher / prof would advise against it – so my blogging has ground to a halt so solid, it would make the Western Front of the World War I seem fluid and dynamic. (Read more…)

Dead Wild Roses: Capitalism – “Breaking” Cultural Norms (Ochobo) by Reinforcing Them.

From Sociological Images Micheal Lozano -

 

[...] Japanese fast-food has found a way to bypass the cultural stigmas that impede their profits. One food chain noticed many women would not buy their biggest-sized burgers. The culprit was ochobo, a Japanese custom that prevents women from opening their mouth widely in public. Small mouths are considered beautiful and opening them widely is considered “ugly” and “rude.” The restaurant concluded that it would get into the business of “freeing women from the spell of ‘ochobo.’”

Face Veil, so liberating! much burger! noms tasty!

 

 

(Read more…)

Things Are Good: LED Farms Could be the Growing Fields of the Future

As humans flock to cities and the surround them with suburban sprawl we have covered some of the most arable lands in concrete. This has caused problems of food security, access, and sustainability. Urban farming is nothing new and will continue to spread, but what about industrial-scale farming in cities?

A farmer in Japan has taken an old warehouse and modified it into an enamours and efficient farming operation using specialized low-powered LEDs.

The farm is nearly half the size of a football field (25,000 square feet). It opened on July and it is already producing 10,000 heads of lettuce (Read more…)

Things Are Good: High Speed Rail Coming to……Texas?

Texas is an American state best known for its gun-loving, big truck driving, cowboy, remember the Alamo culture. It is the last place I’d expect high speed rail infrastructure to actually get support in the USA. The good news here is that not only are Texans in favour of high speed rail – the private sector is going to fund.

This is a great contrast to other states where governments are even apprehensive to do feasibility studies. The private company will use Japanese technology and pay for building the infrastructure. With luck, this Texas push for rail will spread further (Read more…)

Things Are Good: Japan Ordered to Stop Whaling and Complies

Japan has long been criticized for its “scientific” whaling and now the UN has asked them to stop. Japan defended itself by saying that their ships who were slaughtering whales were doing so in the name of science – a defence nobody believed.

In a lengthy ruling, the presiding judge in the Hague, Peter Tomka, said Japan had failed to prove that its pursuit of hundreds of mainly minke whales in Antarctic waters every winter – under a programme known as Jarpa II – was for scientific purposes.

“The evidence does not establish that the programme’s design and implementation are (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: No, This Can’t Be Possible. Could Japan Actually Rescind Its Apology to Wartime ‘Comfort Women’?

One of several dark stains on the honour of Japan was its practice, during WWII, of impressing foreign women, mainly Korean, into sex slavery to serve Japanese soldiers.  They were called ‘Comfort Women’ or, in Japanese, Kanji.  Somewhere between 20,000 to 400,000 Korean, Chinese and Philippino women were subjected to sexual slavery.

For the past two decades, Japan has officially recognised its role in coercing the women into sexual slavery. But last week, the conservative administration of Shinzo Abe said it would re-examine an apology issued to former sex slaves in 1993 by the then chief cabinet secretary, (Read more…)

LeDaro: Harsh weather strikes accross the Globe

Severe weather is making news from record snowfall in Japan to devastating floods in the U.K.

Following video says it all:

Eclectic Lip: Back from Happy Hawaii

Synchronized phoning, coming soon to a summer Olympics near you…

Trivia note: Swedish supergroup Abba’s “Why did it have to be me” was originally titled (and lyricized) as “Happy Hawaii”. But those of you who also secretly bought the 4-CD ABBA box set without admitting it to your friends, already knew that!

We recently returned from Hawaii where we met up with most of Aya’s family. And wow, if their plan was to leave Japan behind, was that ever a bad choice. There was so much Japanese signage in the tourist-area stores, that I felt like a (Read more…)

Bill Longstaff: U.S. feeds Japanese militarism

China, with its paltry aid to the Philippines and its announcement of a new air-defense zone over the East China sea, has not been making friends in its region these days. But the country to worry about in the Far East is not China. It is Japan.

Countries such as China and South Korea that have suffered the horrors of Japanese imperialism must feel chills up their spines as they take note of

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Fukushima still spreading deadly radiation across northern hemisphere: one food can help protect you

Seaweed is a true super-food, high in essential nutrients, low carb, low calorie, and also, naturally high in iodine – and it helps protects the body from radiation. It is a staple in Japan and many other maritime regions. Considering the rising levels of radiation across North America due to the Fukushima disaster, we had all best […]

Writings of J. Todd Ring: Say sayonara to seafood – the oceans are no longer safe to eat from in the wake of Fukushima

It looks like sushi time is over – seafood is no longer safe to eat after the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Fukushima continues to dump 300-400 tons of radioactive contaminated water into the Pacific every hour. Japanese experts estimate Fukushima’s fallout at 20-30 times as high as the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombings in 1945. Polar […]

Eclectic Lip: Passing Gas – EV’s now outnumber gas stations, in America

My latest piece is up on GreenCarReports, here. It’s where I sourced the photo from.

And yes, putting “Passing Gas” in the title was deliberate. Hey, it’s catchy!

From what I can tell, electric vehicles also outnumber gas stations in Japan as well. Alas, Canadians are somewhat behind our American and Japanese (and no doubt, Norwegian) friends in this regard – from the data I’ve been able to collect in my database, we only have about 2000 plug-in electric vehicles versus about 13,000 gas stations. You can’t win ‘em all.

…but as long as you can win Olympic (Read more…)

Saskboy's Abandoned Stuff: Fukushima Keeps Staying The Worst

It’s always been /worse/. And it just keeps staying tragically the same. It’s remained a global crisis with hemispheric deadly consequences. Japan could still wind up largely uninhabitable (if it isn’t already). Canada could suffer directly a great deal.

Steam and non-water vapour has been off-gassed since the beginning.

The supporters of nuclear power have always been wrong about the extent of the damage to our environment. We have hundreds of tons of highly dangerous waste water piling up by the day at Fukushima, with no way to stop it. Can research and a better plan come soon enough to (Read more…)

The Disaffected Lib: Learning to Live Within Your Own Skin – Japan’s Grand Experiment

The Japanese have become perhaps the greyest of the greying nations of the developed world.   This is discussed in The World Today, the public journal of Chatham House, perhaps the world’s most venerable and certainly most prestigious think tank.

Everybody knows that Japan is ground zero for global ageing. The youngest of the developed countries as recently as the mid-1970s, it is now the oldest – and its age wave will continue to roll in for decades to come.

By 2050, the proportion of Japanese who are 65 or older is on track to reach 39 per (Read more…) up from 23 per cent in 2010 and only 9 per cent in 1980, when Japan Inc seemed poised to conquer the global economy. Japan’s total population, which is already contracting, will enter a precipitous decline, shrinking by over a half by the end of the century.

To those of . . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Learning to Live Within Your Own Skin – Japan’s Grand Experiment

350 or bust: Saturday At The Movies

I sure hope they used recycled paper!

The Disaffected Lib: It’s Still Fossil Fuel

The Japanese have successfully tapped seabed methane clathrates, also known as “flammable ice.”   Deposits of compressed and frozen methane are fairly common in northern waters.  British Columbia has looked at exploiting them.

The gas field is about 50km away from Japan’s main island, in the Nankai Trough.

Researchers say it could provide an alternative energy source for Japan which imports all its energy needs.

Offshore deposits present a potentially enormous source of methane but also some environmental concern, because the underwater geology containing them is unstable in many places.

 A Japanese study estimated that at least 1.

The Disaffected Lib: Sea Shepherd Piratical? Hardly.

Japanese whale “researchers” have persuaded a U.S. judge to declare the Sea Shepherd organization piratical.

 The ruling was issued on Wednesday by chief judge Alex Kozinski of the 9th US circuit court of appeals.

In his 18-page opinion, he wrote: “You don’t need a peg leg or an eye patch. When you ram ships; hurl containers of acid; drag metal-reinforced ropes in the water to damage propellers and rudders; launch smoke bombs and flares with hooks; and point high-powered lasers at other ships, you are, without a doubt, a pirate, no matter how high-minded you believe your

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Sea Shepherd Piratical? Hardly.

The Disaffected Lib: Achieving a Steady State Economy for Canada

What if the way forward isn’t?   What if it’s time for us to turn around, to go back?

James Lovelock said the future of mankind, if there is to be one, will require that we accept, not sustainable growth, but sustainable retreat.   We need to grow smaller.  It’s not a matter of choice either.

There are too damned many of us, each demanding an ever-greater amount of resources, and we’re far exceeding our planet’s ability to regenerate the natural resources we need.   According to research by the Global Footprint Network, we’re already using up an

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Achieving a Steady State Economy for Canada

The Disaffected Lib: Arms Race Update – India Warns Kashmiris to Prepare for Nuclear War

Indian officials are warning residents in their part of Kashmir to dig bomb shelters and gather a two week supply of food and water in preparation for a possible nuclear exchange.

The notice, published Monday by the Kashmir police in the Greater Kashmir newspaper, advised people to build toilet-equipped basements large enough to house the entire family for two weeks. If there is no basement, residents should construct bunkers in their front yards, the notice advised.

The shelters should be stocked with candles, battery-operated lights and radios and nonperishable food and water that is regularly replaced to ensure it is

. . . → Read More: The Disaffected Lib: Arms Race Update – India Warns Kashmiris to Prepare for Nuclear War

Eclectic Lip: Whatever foresight is, it’s not 20/20…

(originally written Jan 3, 2012. Part of my Great Upload of 2013.)

Come December’s end, the nervy among us like to review what they got right in the past year. The nervier like to predict what’ll happen in the New Year. Ever the blithe contrarian, I figured I’d visit the Ghost of Predictions Past and see where I got things wrong.**

I do this taking comfort that Great Men, like me, make mistakes sometimes. (Oh, it was tempting to “forget” those commas…!)

Take the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius — he almost ruined his reputation as

. . . → Read More: Eclectic Lip: Whatever foresight is, it’s not 20/20…