Wednesday Night # 1677

Written by  //  April 23, 2014  //  Wednesday Nights  //  No comments

Anita Nowak was recently voted Professor of the Year by the Desautels Managment School students, and among her many activities, she is particularly proud of her participation in RECODE – a call to social innovation – to redesign public institutions from the inside out; to disrupt business as usual; to found and grow new social enterprises; to create partnerships across institutional and sectoral boundaries – in short, to ‘recode’ our culture’s operating systems in order to achieve a more just, sustainable and beautiful world.

P R O L O G U E

Very happy to welcome back Anita Nowak, who will introduce her friend Giorgi Megrelishvili. The multilingual Georgi has a Master’s in Chemical Engineering, Majoring in Environmental Chemistry & Bioresources from
Georgian Technical University (GTU) Tbilisi, Georgia and is currently pursuing the Comprehensive Project Management Course at McGill.
During this period of religious intensity (Passover and Easter) as well as commemoration of ancient fertility rites, coinciding  with Earth Day, April 22, ,  the usual plethora of historical – and otherwise – essays on  religious topics is supplemented by a number of scientific pieces relating to global warming. The one which particularly   caught our eye is the Telegraph article originally published in March 2010 Biblical plagues really happened say scientists  — The Biblical plagues that devastated Ancient Egypt in the Old Testament were the result of global warming and a volcanic eruption, scientists have claimed.
At the other end of the ‘science’ scale is the astonishing [well, perhaps not, given the origin] assertion of the Fraser Institute that “air pollution declines as economic freedom rises”:
Fraser Institute marks Earth Day by publishing its dumbest report yet
The right wing think tank’s latest contribution to the corpus of human knowledge, released on Earth Day, purports to have discovered that “air pollution declines as economic freedom rises.” Except, if you actually bother to read the report, they admit this claim includes a big asterisk.
The situation in Ukraine goes from bad to worse with no evident happy solution in view. Of the continuing flow of analyses we draw your attention to Robert Cutler’s Why Putin Is Popular: An Aristotelian Explanation most recent in the HuffPost is particularly worthwhile. Also of interest is The End of the New World Order by former US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, Christopher R. Hill. Neither is optimistic.
As the new PLQ government takes over from Mme Marois, we must prepare ourselves for a spate of bad news of the-cupboard-is-bare variety. For those who cannot get enough of analyses of the election results, Mario Iacobacci sends along Analyse des résultats électoraux : les péquistes à la maison, les fédéralistes motivés with the comment “Best analysis of Qc election results”. Meanwhile, it is such a pleasure to see Guy Stanley in print – after a long hiatus, with his excellent op-ed Canada’s last big wild and crazy dream. His conclusion:
If a French empire from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes was the first of the great Canadian dreams, it’s also the last one standing.
Although this dream is realizing itself in many ways, its ultimate impossibility confers upon it an ineffable fragility, like Canada itself. Quebec and the Rest of Canada are the people of the dream — crazy, astonishing, and strangely beautiful.

And now for something different. Pierre Arbour, lover of history, writing for the New School of Athens (Henry VIII of England and his children), postulates that “Henry VIII’s sexual appetite forced him to get rid of Rome and allowed him to follow policies that made England the most powerful nation on earth until the U.S. came along after 1914.”
This color video of Montreal in 1957 offers a  bit of cheerful nostalgia – the favourable commentary may surprise you. Of course, it glosses over a number of uncomfortable truths.

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