Wednesday Night #2201

Written by  //  May 22, 2024  //  Wednesday Nights  //  Comments Off on Wednesday Night #2201

Lost power and then Internet access on Wednesday Night
Power came back quite quickly; Internet not until 11 am Thursday – see image for how I am feeling about it.
I understand that WN continued in full throttle thanks to Alex and others.
So sorry I missed it!
I have no idea whether the topics I had in mind were addressed, but we can always revert to the critical ones on WN 2202, by which time there will inevitably be new developments.
Meantime here is some good pondering material. And perhaps Gerald can consult with brother Peter and share some thoughts on the British election call.

Breaking news: British PM Rishi Sunak has called a snap election for 4 July and nobody seems to think it is a good idea.
The Economist reaction:The prime minister’s decision makes little sense, but it is good news all the same
5 great things Britain’s July election ruins [including Wimbledon tennis grand slam]
The three weeks that could reshape the special relationship
…it sets up a whirlwind few weeks in the middle of the summer that could go a long way toward determining the political future of the Anglo-American political world.
The stretch begins on June 27, the date of the first U.S. presidential debate between President Joe Biden and Donald Trump. Then, precisely one week later on America’s Independence Day — a date of some consequence in the “special relationship” that exists between the two allies — the UK will decide whether to oust Sunak, a result that currently looks likely with his rival Labour leading by double-digits in the polls.
Within days of the outcome, the NATO Summit — a yearly event in which the heads of state of the 32 NATO member countries gather — will take place between July 9-11 in Washington, D.C. It’s set to be a particularly charged discussion, with continued worries about war in Ukraine and Russia’s designs on the eastern part of the continent competing for airtime against the backdrop of European fears about U.S. involvement in NATO should Trump win back the White House.

Shocking news of the Singapore Airlines flight hit by turbulence – one death resulted and a number of critical injuries. …the plane had reached the Bay of Bengal, between the Indian subcontinent and the Malay Peninsula. Some pilots consider the region “notorious” this time of the year because its monsoon rains can cause turbulence. But one scenario that is impossible to prepare for is when the skies are clear and the plane’s radar does not detect anything amiss. This phenomenon is known as clear air turbulence.
The mechanics of turbulence – What happened to Singapore Airlines flight SQ321 and why?

Iran Supreme Leader leads prayers at Raisi funeral as election looms
Iran’s Supreme Leader led prayers in Tehran on Wednesday at the funeral of President Ebrahim Raisi as the clerical establishment hurried to organise the election of a successor, which could further erode its legitimacy amid growing public discontent.
The June 28 vote to replace Raisi…will need to galvanise a population that showed little interest in the 2021 ballot that gave the hardline cleric the presidency, a role that oversees day-to-day government.
What killed President Ebrahim Raisi? Iranians have theories.
Official silence on Raisi’s death in a helicopter crash has fueled wide speculation, none of it good for the regime.
Who Would Benefit From Ebrahim Raisi’s Death?
Many have anticipated a ferocious power struggle in Iran, but most expected it to follow Khamenei’s death. Now we are likely to see at least a dress rehearsal in which various factions will brandish their strength.

Happier news from our favorite Iranian
Alireza Najafi-Yazdi has announced that MonarQ is on the move, saying
“We have started the “teardown” of MonarQ quantum computer at our headquarters. During the next couple of weeks, MonarQ will be delivered and reassembled at Calcul Québec’s facility at École de technologie supérieure. We will then start the final phase of commissioning the machine. Stay tuned!”

Monday’s news that Karim Khan, the ICC prosecutor had requested arrest warrants for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, his defence chief and three Hamas leaders over alleged war crimes (ICC prosecutor seeks arrest warrants for Israel’s Netanyahu and Hamas leaders) has set the cat amongst the pigeons -as it were.
Ian Bremmer: The ICC and its unintended consequences for Israel and beyond
One side bar you may not have seen Amal Clooney advised ICC prosecutor who seeks arrest of Israel and Hamas leaders
Competing for the headlines -and recriminations- was the announcement that Ireland, Spain and Norway will formally recognise a Palestinian state on 28 May. The recognitions point to the erosion of US ‘ownership’ of the Israel-Palestine peace process and open route towards statehood.
Recognitions of Palestinian statehood are a rebuke to Israel, if a largely symbolic one reflecting dwindling international patience with its military offensive in Gaza and its decades of occupation of Palestinian territories.
Meanwhile, as the body count continues to rise, Bibi and his right-wing allies pursue their ruthless war against Hamas; humanitarian operations ‘near collapse’ in Gaza, says World Food Programme. UN says 1m people face catastrophic levels of hunger as food aid piles up on Egyptian side of border.

Baltic tempest in a teapot?
Russia caused a brief flurry of alarm among NATO allies. In a draft proposal reported by some Russian media, the Defense Ministry suggests updating the coordinates used to measure the strip of territorial waters off its mainland coast and that of its islands in the Baltic Sea. … Lithuania called the Russian proposal an ‘escalation against NATO’
However, on Wednesday evening, Russia Pulled the Defense Ministry paper from the regulatory website
Putin’s Russia-Ukraine War has reached its 817th day -some progress here, some setbacks there. One notable development: The European Union formally adopted a plan to use windfall profits from Russian central bank assets frozen in the EU for Ukraine’s defence, the Belgian government said. Under the agreement, 90 percent of the proceeds will go into an EU-run fund for military aid for Ukraine against Russia’s invasion, with the remainder providing Kyiv with other forms of support.
But how long until the money can be put to use for military aid?

Trump trials
The Trump Trial’s Great Anticlimax
Michelle Goldberg writes in the NYT “If I’d pictured Donald Trump’s first criminal trial a few years ago, I’d have imagined the biggest, splashiest story in the world. Instead, as we lurch toward a verdict that could brand the presumptive Republican nominee a felon and possibly even send him to prison, a strange sense of anticlimax hangs over the whole affair.”
In a recent Yahoo News/YouGov poll, only 16 percent of respondents said they were following the trial very closely, with an additional 32 percent following it “somewhat” closely. Michael Cohen’s appearance attracted most attention, given that Donald Trump refused to testify.
MeanwhileTrump’s son-in-law Kushner secures controversial Belgrade real estate deal
Trump’s anti-establishment stances and his embrace of autocrats align well with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić….

Water + sewer And the big check
All politics is local … Jeff Jackson, Andrew Caddell‘s cousin and freshman member of the US Congress from North Carolina, writes about a successful campaign to obtain federal financing of a new water pipeline for a small town and why announcements must be accompanied by a large, novelty check.

Marc Nicholson to open the Hong Kong chapter of his Singapore-based social club 1880
The founder of 1880 reveals what guests can expect from the club when it comes to our city in August and how his parents’ social gatherings have inspired it all

Thursday 23 May 12:30pm
Atwater Library and Computer Centre
The life and art of A.Y. JACKSON – one of Canada’s greatest painters.
Art historian and author of A.Y. Jackson: The Life of a Landscape Painter, Wednesday Nighter, Journalist and Concordia professor … WAYNE LARSEN is the guest speaker
Relevant read- How an ambitious group of terribly romantic artists became Canada’s most famous painters The masterpieces of the Group of Seven painters still endure

Enthusiastically recommended by Luc Sirois, innovateur en chef du Québec, directeur général du Conseil de l’innovation du Québec et président fondateur du conseil d’administration d’Axelys, la société de valorisation de la recherche publique au Québec.
Sadly, much of the promotion is in French only.
24-26 May
Eurêka! Festival
Popular festival for schools and families is produced each year by the non-profit organization L’île du savoir and is implemented in partnership with Espace pour la vie and many collaborators. In 2024, the Festival is presented by Hydro-Québec. With our generous partners and through hard work, L’île du savoir is able to keep this festival FREE to attend!
Friday, May 24 : 9.30 am to 3:30 pm
Saturday, May 25 : 10:30 am to 7 pm
Sunday, May 26 : 10:30 am to 5 pm
At the foot of the Biosphère, Parc Jean-Drapeau.
QUEBEC’S BIGGEST CELEBRATION OF SCIENCE and it’s for the whole family!

Thursday, June 6, 2024
11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Location: Old Montreal – details will follow
Host Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies (MIGS)
Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Oleksandra Matviichuk, director of Ukraine’s Centre for Civil Liberties, will address the human rights situation in Ukraine. She will also discuss Russia’s invasion, and how we can support Ukraine’s resistance, with the Honourable Chris Alexander and the Honourable Irwin Cotler. Moderated by Laura-Julie Perreault, international affairs journalist with La Presse.
Mark McKinnon, international affairs journalist with the Globe & Mail, will also join
A reception will follow.
To register, please email MIGS at

Canadian economy
Tony Deutsch directed us to ‘The age of fossil fuels is far from over’: Economist Jack Mintz on the enduring importance of Canada’s natural resource sector
The debate over the increase in capital gains taxes continues.
Increasing the capital-gains taxes will hurt health care in Canada
By Cheryl V. Reicin, internationally recognized adviser to life-science companies that develop novel therapeutic, medical device and health technologies, and to investors.
Canada’s expertise in scientific and medical research is second to none; its universities conduct world-leading research and innovation; and its hospitals are among the best in the world. Canada is just starting to have real economic success in commercializing its life-science innovations and has the opportunity to be a top hub for medical innovation. However, rather than creating a friendly environment to expand the life-science sector, the new capital-gains tax will limit and perhaps reverse growth.

Electric Vehicles (EVs)
In our on-going debate about the benefits/disadvantages of the campaign to adopt EVs, we note The Guardian series EV mythbusters that explores the myths, the realities and the grey areas surrounding electric vehicles.
Byron Haskins called to our attention yet another problem – the International Energy Forum webinar focused on Copper Mining and Vehicle Electrification Many studies have raised concerns that copper supply cannot meet the copper demands of both the green energy transition and equitable global development, but the seemingly universal presumption persists that the copper needed for the green transition will somehow be available.

Between the celebrations of the Journée des Patriotes and La Fête nationale, Andrew Caddell devotes his column to the ultimate silliness of Quebec in a tizzy over the Canadian Flag on Journée des Patriotes. He takes advantage of the fact that “…social media was on fire in Quebec this holiday with the “scandalous” appearance of the Canadian Flag in a notice in a handful of windows at branches of the Caisse Populaire Desjardins” to offer a solid lesson in history to Mme Marie-Anne Alepin, the President of the Nationalist St Jean Baptiste Society.

Congratulations to Terry Mosher/Aislin and Chantal Hébert! Gazette cartoonist Aislin wins prestigious journalism award
Terry Mosher and freelance political columnist Chantal Hébert are only the 12th and 13th recipients of the Michener-Baxter Award since its inception in 1983. The prestigious prize honours exceptional contributions to the cause of public-interest journalism in Canada.

Julien Feldman posted Congratulations to my wife Joanne Bayly – on her retirement from the CBC. From the day we met covering a bank robbery, my favourite reporter and journalist!
She shared some of the highlights from her career as she said good-bye to listeners on Let’s Go and Breakaway and concluded with the reminder: people are WHO, not THAT.

The phone keeps ringing for Mr. Fix-It, all the way in Gaspé
After leaving Montreal — and his Décarie location — in 2021, repairman Ira Gladstone has continued to serve customers in la métropole from his new home 800 kilometres away.

French post office releases scratch-and-sniff baguette stamp
‘Bakery scent’ added via microcapsules to postage stamp celebrating ‘jewel of French culture’
Perhaps Montreal should have a smoked meat stamp?

29 slang words every Montrealer should knowand pass on to guests from out-of-town
Every city has a language within a language that can be tricky to navigate for newcomers, and that goes double for Montreal slang. Our mixing and mingling of both French and English has given rise to a bunch of terms used on both sides of the language divide that can sometimes make things confusing (hot dogs included).

Long reads
Heather Cox Richardson gives context to the inspirational speech delivered by President Biden
May 19, 2024
Delivering the commencement address to the graduating seniors at Morehouse College today, President Joe Biden addressed the nation.
Complete text: Remarks by President Biden at the Morehouse College Class of 2024 Commencement Address | Atlanta, GA

New 9/11 Evidence Points to Deep Saudi Complicity
Two decades of U.S. policy appear to be rooted in a mistaken understanding of what happened that day
A new filing in a lawsuit brought by the families of 9/11 victims against the government of Saudi Arabia alleges that al-Qaeda had significant, indeed decisive, state support for its attacks. Officials of the Saudi government, the plaintiffs’ attorneys contend, formed and operated a network inside the United States that provided crucial assistance to the first cohort of 9/11 hijackers to enter the country.

The Big AI Risk Not Enough People Are SeeingBeware technology that makes us less human.
As AI is built into an ever-expanding roster of products and services, covering dating, essay writing, and music and recipe recommendations, we need to be able to make granular, rational decisions about which uses of artificial intelligence expand our basic human capabilities, and which cultivate incompetence and incapacity under the guise of empowerment.
See also: OpenAI Just Gave Away the Entire Game
The Scarlett Johansson debacle is a microcosm of AI’s raw deal: It’s happening, and you can’t stop it.
On its own, this seems to be yet another example of a tech company blowing past ethical concerns and operating with impunity. But the situation is also a tidy microcosm of the raw deal at the center of generative AI, a technology that is built off data scraped from the internet, generally without the consent of creators or copyright owners.

Far more than you ever wanted to know about whether a worm really [did] eat part of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s brain

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