Wednesday Night #2161

Written by  //  August 16, 2023  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2161

Alireza Najafi-Yazdi, the CEO of Anyon Systems, a Dorval-based quantum computing company, shows off pieces of hardware. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Quebec enters the era of quantum computing
There are few people who understand quantum computers well enough to use them — let alone build them, according to Alireza Najafi-Yazdi, the CEO of Anyon Systems, the Montreal-based company that designed and built MonarQ.
The Quebec government has invested nearly $200 million in this technology over a seven-year period in the hope that the province will become a global destination for quantum computing. The two new quantum computers, MonarQ and IBM Quantum One, represent some of the first steps in that direction.
Quantum computing is a budding area of research that experts predict will one day change the way humans solve problems and use computers. Globally, tech giants like Google and IBM, along with some countries like China, are racing to develop quantum computers and train people to use them.
The National Research Council of Canada (NRC) predicts that in a few decades the sector will be worth nearly $140 billion in Canada.
But as the field blossoms, there are some concerns about how this technology will, eventually, be used.

Let us also celebrate Marjolaine Boutin-Sweet who has been honoured with a Distinguished Alumni Award from Trent University! From her citation: “Throughout her political career, Boutin-Sweet demonstrated an unwavering commitment to social justice. As a housing critic, she toured the country to help develop housing policy. When Marjolaine had an opportunity to address the Council of Europe, in Strasbourg, she chose to speak on the rising rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada. During meetings with her French and British parliamentary counterparts, she impressed upon them the gains made in securing better daycare facilities for working mothers in Canada’s Parliament and encouraged them to do the same so more women could participate in elected roles.” Need we add that Doug is bursting with justifiable pride?

Much ado about the Georgia indictment – or “Araigny Night in Georgia” (Donald Trump September 2022-) including Trump Georgia indictment: RICO charges could be a double-edged sword. Rudy Giuliani, Mark Meadows, John Eastman and Sidney Powell are all on the list of 18 other unsavoury characters indicted with him. It’s Not Just Trump -The former president’s dangerous minions in Georgia
Meanwhile, it was acknowledged that Donald Trump stole the show at the Iowa State Fair.

The devastation wrought on Lahaina, Maui, continues to dominate the news media, along with dire predictions of the years it will take to rebuild the town.
Meanwhile, for officials and well-intentioned tourists alike, the dilemma is how to balance residents’ immediate needs for housing and resources against the island’s long-term financial health, as 80% of the island’s income is derived from tourism.
Biden to visit Maui wildfire aftermath, pledges support ‘as long as it takes’
The president said he is planning to visit the state with first lady Jill Biden, but said he doesn’t want to impede the ongoing clean up and recovery efforts. – we applaud the president’s reluctance to impede any progress by descending on the stricken area with the inevitable entourage.
Politico commented: Far from being Biden’s Katrina, Maui may drive home the point that Americans ignore climate change at their peril. While Republicans like Florida Gov. and presidential candidate Ron de Santis busy themselves with removing the subject from school curricula, Democrats may simply point to images of a torched Lahaina as evidence that the country cannot wait to take the threat seriously – while claiming that they are the only party that does.
Young environmental activists prevail in first-of-its-kind climate change trial in Montana
(AP) — Young environmental activists scored what may be a groundbreaking legal victory Monday when a Montana judge said state agencies were violating their constitutional right to a clean and healthful environment by allowing fossil fuel development.

Again, we are not following the day-by-day, inch-by-inch progress of Putin’s War, however the economic news from Russia bears monitoring:
Putin to discuss capital controls to help prop up rouble, report says
Proposals said to include forcing large exporters to convert up to 80% of their foreign currency into roubles
Russia’s central bank hikes interest rates by 3.5 percentage points as rouble falls
Emergency decision is intended to halt slide after currency dropped to weakest point in almost 17 months

There is no good news from Niger (Africa: Conflict and governance Niger 2023-)

Mixed news from the Americas:
A shocker from Argentina where Far-right outsider takes shock lead in Argentina primary election Predictably, Argentine peso plunges after rightist who admires Trump comes first in primary vote
Violence continues in Ecuador where a third politician has been assassinated just days ahead of the snap election on 20 August.
‘There’s no police or state’: Haitians helpless as violence and brutality soars
Human Rights Watch investigators documented 67 recent killings by armed gangs in its just-released report, Living a Nightmare
While in Guatemala, Progressive Arevalo leads in poll ahead of Guatemala presidential election A survey from CID Gallup shows Bernardo Arevalo surging ahead of conservative rival Sandra Torres in the lead-up to Sunday’s vote.

Color Canada cranky
For some of us -perhaps a growing number- the inconvenience of coping with the Meta retaliation for Bill C-18 (Canada Media Matters and Bill C-18) is high on the list
Time to reconsider Michael Geist: Backdown or Bailout?- What Comes Next for the Government’s Epic Bill C-18 Miscalculation?
Recently shuffled federal cabinet to hold three-day retreat on P.E.I.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says retreat will focus on the economy and affordability issues
Will one of the items on their agenda be AI?
Government to ‘prioritize’ generative-AI regulation, outlines plans for voluntary code of conduct
We are not very reassured by the explanation that “Innovation Canada is consulting with experts, civil society, and industry this summer on a voluntary code of conduct for generative AI. It released a document outlining its plans for the code on Wednesday…
We can only hope they will emerge determined -and organized- to effectively address the most irritating problems. And for starters: Will the ministers have received their Mandate Letters? Will the parliamentary secretaries have been named?
Presumably, nothing gets done while Justin is on the en famille holiday.
The NWT has declared an emergency due to the wildfires which could reach Yellowknife’s outskirts by the weekend; and scientists in BC are asking Why doesn’t Canada have a national wildfire-fighting force? “But the federal government said that idea is not on the table, at least not yet, and that firefighting falls under provincial and territorial power”, despite the fact that Canada reports worst wildfire season on record — and there’s more to come this fall
Same argument that Trudeau was using re the housing crisis (Canada: government & governance – housing 2023), however, it seems that the new minister, Sean Fraser, is prepared to speak up. BUT he and Marc Miller, the newly anointed Immigration Minister, are going to have to work around the problems created by Ottawa considering expansion of Afghan immigration program.

Paul Wells is on a roll
Anand in the middle
It’s not a demotion, it just looks like one
My intent here is not to make Anita Anand any kind of martyr. She’s still in the government, and we had all better hope, against the available evidence, that there’s room in that shop for clear thinking about how the government organizes its business. But I’ve never seen a prime minister more fond of using his cabinet shuffles to mete out punishment and discipline. The thing that’s likeliest to make somebody a target is a willingness to think for herself. Fortunately that’s being taken care of. Soon everyone in this cabinet will take care to act like Bill Blair. Never doubt that better is always possible.
Ever even-handed, Wednesday’s -looong- column The fights a man picks – Pierre Poilievre’s selective outrage is a glorious panning of PP’s criticism of the WEF and all who attend Davos.

Bordeaux bloodbath! France pays winemakers to dig up vines
Red wine consumption in France has declined substantially in recent decades, in favor of beer and other beverages.
Winemakers in the prestigious Bordeaux region are set to uproot thousands of hectares of vineyards as altered consumer habits and global warming hit one of the crown jewels of the French agricultural industry.
Given Bordeaux’s flagship status in the public’s mind, this might seem surprising. Yet a mix of factors — including a decline in red wine consumption, falling demand from China and difficulties in producing wine in an increasingly warm environment — is strikingly transforming wine production in France.

Boston University, Center for Computing & Data Sciences – extraordinary architecture
“The Center for Computing & Data Sciences at Boston University provides a place for ultimate connectivity, delivers on sustainability goals, prioritizes the well-being of students, faculty, and visitors, and sets a high standard for design excellence.” – Paulo Rocha, KPMB partner and design lead.
Named as one of the 10 projects shaping architecture in 2023 by Azure Magazine, the KPMB-designed Center for Computing & Data Sciences at Boston University is an exemplary project and a defining landmark for the university. It transforms the Boston skyline, meets laudable sustainability goals, and encourages collaboration amongst students, faculty, and staff.

Presumably no problems with maintenance workers?
Beijing’s Cemeteries Are Going Vertical and Digital to Save Space
Facing a rapidly aging population and land scarcity, the Chinese capital is piloting burial spaces with electronic screens instead of headstones.

We always get a chuckle when mainstream media reveals a startling discovery that most ordinary people have accepted as fact throughout their lives. In the case of the WaPo’s Dogs can age healthier by socializing with humans and pets, study saysSocial companionship had an influence greater than family finances, social time with children and the owner’s age, it would seem the tables have been slightly turned. We have acknowledged for years the benefits of canine (feline and other species) companionship for humans. Now, it seems, we exercise the same influence on our dogs.

Sword in the Stone in Tuscany Proven Real and Likely Inspiration for Excalibur
The Sword in the Stone of Saint Galgano can be seen today, in the Montesiepi chapel southwest of Siena. It was long a curiosity: Only the hilt, wooden grip and a few inches of the three foot long blade are visible to be seen in the chapel of a Cistercian abbey. The story was that it was thrust into the stone by an Italian knight, Galgano Guidotti, after he renounced war to become a hermit in 1180.

Andrew Caddell has seen Barbie and reviews it in this week’s column:  Barbie movie is fun, but it’s not  The Feminine Mystique
“…the performances of Margot Robbie, Ryan Gosling and America Ferraro were excellent. The cinematography, especially in the creation of “Barbie Land” was perfect. The supporting cast is talented, the plot twists are amusing, the singing and dancing are excellent and the writing and film references were quirky, funny and pertinent. Writer and director Greta Gerwig has outdone herself.
If this were a standard review, it would pretty well end right there. However, the “Barbie” movie has taken on a life of its own, thanks to an awkward feminist plotline, and the reaction of conservative commentators in the United States.”

Long reads
The AI Power ParadoxCan States Learn to Govern Artificial Intelligence—Before It’s Too Late?
By Ian Bremmer and Mustafa Suleyman
…by shifting the structure and balance of global power, AI complicates the very political context in which it is governed. AI is not just software development as usual; it is an entirely new means of projecting power. In some cases, it will upend existing authorities; in others, it will entrench them. Moreover, its advancement is being propelled by irresistible incentives: every nation, corporation, and individual will want some version of it. … Within countries, AI will empower those who wield it to surveil, deceive, and even control populations—supercharging the collection and commercial use of personal data in democracies and sharpening the tools of repression authoritarian governments use to subdue their societies. Across countries, AI will be the focus of intense geopolitical competition
Maui fires not just due to climate change but a ‘compound disaster’
The fires were a textbook case of many different agents acting together
Israel’s Democracy Movement Has Something Important to Teach Us
Rejecting moralistic hectoring in favor of democratic patriotism, Israel’s protest movement appeals to a people’s sense of what their country can and should be.

Comments are closed.