Saturday, December 06, 2008

Can you be a secret Santa?

http://secretsantaworld.net/

The message is too powerful to further comment on.
Pass it on!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Can we save the World Economy?

The guiding light of capitalism that is not having any form of state intervention in society has proven to be flawed. The first signs of this flaw ironically became obvious around the time that societies with heavily state regulated economy were going through a revolution, (Revolutions of 1989 and end of the Cold War). We bid socialism, communism and fascism farewell and claimed that they are dysfunctional systems. Almost two decades later we find ourselves dealing with another dysfunctional system.

We have come to a full circle.

Despite all the human intelligence at our disposal and coupled with all the state of the art technology we have failed to build a sustainable, peaceful, healthy and prosper society for ourselves and for our future generation.

The calamities of the past year, reminds me of Ayn Rand's masterpiece, Atlas Shrugged. Society fails due to ever increasing influence of state in market. One may notice, that the calamity that we are experiencing are due to the complete opposite reason --lack of governance.

In a panel discussion organized by Columbia University Earth Science Institute, (http://www.earth.columbia.edu/worldeconomy/), George Soros, Financier and Philanthropist, described systems imperfect he then added that human beings are imperfect as well.

In the past few months, all of us, more or less, have followed politics (more than ever, I would say) despite the fact that over the years our hope in them has diminished. (Case in point: less than 59% of Canadians voted in the past election.) We have seen governments that are inefficient, self-serving, bureaucratic --simply put-- good for nothing.

Therefore, it is in the hand of you and I; simple, ordinary, hard working citizens, to build a sustainable present and prosper future in our communities. Although, we may be imperfect, but we have witnessed enough mistakes to know right from wrong, I believe.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Key Promises 2008 Federal Election Campaign



A list of key promises in the 2008 federal election campaign

Mon Oct 13, 5:48 PM

By The Canadian Press

OTTAWA - Key promises in the federal election campaign, with projected costs where applicable and available:

CONSERVATIVES

  • -Two-cent-a-litre cut in taxes on diesel and aviation fuel over four years. $600 million a year once fully implemented.
  • -Reinstate veterans' benefits for Second World War veterans who have lived in Canada for more than 10 years; $9 million a year.
  • -A near-complete withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan in 2011.
  • -Allow 49 per cent foreign ownership of airlines and foreign ownership of uranium mines.
  • -Maternity, parental leave benefits for entrepreneurs who pay into EI. $150 million annually, financed by EI premiums.
  • -Tax credit for first-time homebuyers to claim up to $5,000 in closing costs for a rebate of up to $750. $200 million a year, fully implemented.
  • -Ban kid-friendly flavours and additives from tobacco products and require cigarillos to be sold in packages of at least 20. No cost provided.
  • -Increase the Senior Age Credit by $1,000, saving those in the lowest tax-paying income bracket about $150 a year. $400 million a year.
  • -$85 million in tax breaks for families where one spouse forgoes full-time work to care for a disabled family member.
  • -Introduce maximum life sentences for offenders as young as 14 convicted of first-or second-degree murder; maximum 14-year sentences for youths who commit violent crimes.
  • -Teens over 14 who commit serious crimes would no longer have their identities protected.
  • -End conditional sentencing, also known as house arrest, for 30 serious crimes, including robbery, theft, and arson.
  • -$113 million over five years to crack down on environmental crime, including maximum penalties of $6 million for companies and $1 million for individuals.
  • -A consumer protection package including an Internet anti-spam law, a ban on charging for unsolicited text messages and a crackdown on gas-pump tampering. No cost provided.
  • -Prohibit the export of bitumen to countries without carbon-emission targets equivalent to Canada's.
  • -$24 million to foster development of international cruise destinations along the St. Lawrence Seaway.
  • -New tax credit for parents of children under 16 enrolled in eligible arts programs; $150 million a year.
  • -Let charities and not-for-profit groups set up RESPs for kids from low-income families.
  • -$2,000 incentives for apprentices who complete eligible training programs to ease shortage of workers in skilled trades. $60 million a year.
  • -$400 million more over four years for the repayable Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative and Automotive Innovation funds.
  • -Abolish industrial tariffs on imported machinery and equipment. $345 million.
  • - $10 million over four years for 50 new teaching-hospital residencies.
  • -$5-million incentive fund to attract Canadian doctors working abroad.
  • -$5 million over three years for pilot projects to recruit and retain nurses.
  • -$15 million over four years for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's research, plus $10 million over two years for the National Lung Health Network.
  • -$50 million for the University of Waterloo's Institute of Quantum Computing, for research and teaching in quantum information.
  • -$500 million over five years to expand broadband Internet access across Canada.

GREENS

  • -A Guaranteed Livable Income supplement for the poor. No cost provided.
  • -A new carbon tax of $50 per tonne and new taxes on toxic chemicals.
  • -Forgive 50 per cent of student loans for successful graduates. No cost provided.
  • -More money and research grants for post-secondary institutions that focus on renewable energy and conservation. No cost provided.
  • - Shift consumption taxes to environmentally harmful products and services and away from income and products, activities that do no harm. No cost provided.
  • -Cut corporate tax by $50 for each tonne of carbon-emission reductions. No cost provided.
  • -Increase GST to six per cent to finance infrastructure improvements, with expanded exemptions on food, children's clothing and books. No cost provided.

LIBERALS

  • -"Green Shift" carbon tax on fossil fuels, offset by income and business tax cuts. Income tax cuts of up to 10 per cent. Cut the small business tax rate to 10 per cent from 11 per cent. Lower the corporate tax rate to 14 per cent by 2013. Overall, $90 million in lost revenue for the treasury over four years.
  • -$70 billion over 10 years for municipal infrastructure.
  • -$1.2 billion over four years to help farmers adjust to green technologies.
  • -Restore the $3-billion contingency fund abandoned by the Conservatives.
  • -Create $1-billion Advanced Manufacturing Prosperity Fund to help manufacturers retain and create jobs.
  • -Add $350 to existing $1,200-a-year child-care allowance. Create a new supplement for the poorest families with children, worth $1,225 a year per family.
  • -National daycare program with 165,000 spaces. $1.25 billion a year, fully implemented.
  • -End military mission in Afghanistan in 2011.
  • -Restore the Court Challenges Program and double budget to $6 million a year.
  • -$50 million to upgrade Canada's food safety system.
  • -$10,000 per household in refundable tax benefits for energy-saving home retrofits. $600 million.
  • -More robust energy efficiency standards for building codes and home appliances.
  • -$250 million over four years to curb the spread of the mountain pine beetle.
  • -$250 million to modernize and "green" fishing vessels and protect fish stocks in Canadian and international waters.
  • -$100 million to improve Canada's small-craft harbours.
  • -$420 million over four years to help increase the number of doctors, nurses and medical technicians across Canada.
  • -$900 million over four years to create a new plan for catastrophic drug coverage.
  • -$500 million more a year for university-based research and a $100-million research fund for scientists, researchers and grad students.
  • -A poverty plan to reduce the number of people living below the poverty line by at least 30 per cent and the number of children by at least 50 per cent.
  • -Reverse the immigration measures brought in by the Conservatives and spend $800 million to help new Canadians and reduce the immigration backlog.
  • -Bring back the Kelowna Accord and work with aboriginal peoples, provinces and territories to improve native health, education and housing. $2 billion.
  • -Increase the Guaranteed Income Supplement for seniors by $600 a year for low-income seniors.
  • -200,000 student bursaries of up to $3,500 per year over four years, and guaranteed eligibility for $5,000 student loans, regardless of parental income.
  • -Simplify the tax system for post-secondary students, providing most students about $1,000 a year.
  • -Restore cuts made by the Conservatives to arts and culture funding and double the budget of the Canada Council for the Arts.
  • -$75 million to bolster security at ethno-cultural centres and places of worship across Canada.
  • -Restore $6 million in funding for Quebec's National Optics Institute.
  • -A summit meeting on the economy with economists, regulators and premiers within 30 days of forming a government.
  • -Finish mapping the Arctic seabed by 2013 and re-instate an ambassador for the North, to strengthen northern sovereignty. No cost estimate available.

NDP
  • -A moratorium on expansion of Alberta's tarsands; require oil companies to reclaim land strip-mined for petroleum production. No cost provided.
  • -$8.2 billion over four years to create, protect and foster growth of "green-collar" jobs and manufacturing.
  • -A "cap-and-trade" system to create incentives for big business to reduce their emissions. No cost provided.
  • -Slash greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050. No cost provided.
  • -A price-monitoring agency to investigate price spikes and consult with provinces about regulations. No cost provided.
  • -Cap credit-card interest rates at five per cent over prime.
  • -Outlaw automated banking machine fees, saving consumers at least $104 per year.
  • -$120 million a year in additional funding for women's groups.
  • -$1,000-a-year grant to all undergraduate or equivalent students who qualify for student loans.
  • -$1 billion over five years to expand medical and nursing schools, increasing the number of student spaces by 50 per cent.
  • -$125 million a year to forgive student loans for medical-school grads who spend 10 years as family physicians.
  • -$100 million for skills training and job creation.
  • -Comprehensive review of Canadian banking regulations. No cost provided.
  • -Income averaging for artists and a $20,000 annual tax break on income generated by copyright and residual revenue. No cost provided.
  • -Scrap Canada-U.S. softwood lumber agreement within six months of forming government.
  • -A new Ministry of Consumer Protection to investigate and prosecute gas-pump gouging and collusion. No cost provided.
  • -$1 billion a year on a new catastrophic drug plan.
  • -Reverse corporate tax cuts, raising rate to 22.12 per cent from 19.5.
  • -Monthly cheques of up to $400 to replace existing child benefits, including the Conservative payment of $100 a month per eligible child. No cost provided.
  • -$5 billion over five years to improve health care, housing and infrastructure for First Nations communities.
  • -$1-billion national home-care program for seniors.
  • -A national child-care program calling for 220,000 spaces annually in the fourth year. $1.4 billion in the first year.
  • -Raise $2.5 billion a year in carbon auctions and reinvest the money in public transit and other green initiatives.
  • -Re-introduce a national minimum wage and immediately set it to $10 an hour.
  • -Direct one cent per litre of federal excise tax on gasoline into public transit; $400 million a year.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

That's Canadian, aye?


Work boots are piled up yesterday in front of Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s campaign office in his riding of Whitby-Oshawa.

Hundreds of Canadian Auto Worker union members gathered to present Flaherty with work boots collected from laid-off workers from across the province.

Source: http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Re: How to give our elections more pop?

Andrew Chung, Toronto Star columnist, writes in his recent post:
The razzle-dazzle U.S. campaign offers some tempting lessons on how to jazz up our own. The question is, do we really want to learn them?
God no! We don't need to jazz up our elections American or any other Style!

Events like the US election campaign is a production of media to build rating and sell advertising. Hardly any useful fact about leadership style and strategy is transferred to the audience during an event like this. Those millions of dollars that (you suggest) Canadians should consider spending, I doubt result in electing a leader that can face the problems head on. Bottom line the razzle-dazzle, pop, all the jazz, etc. is not what we lack or need to attract public attention and talent. For that we need to come up with better solutions.

What do you think?

Monday, September 01, 2008

Travel Stories from St. John's!

My life has been in the fast lane for the past couple of years. So, when I came across the full page ad of air travel to St. John's, NL; that promised tranquility to visitors; I was curious! The ad featured nothing but sprawling green. That same day I looked the official tourism web site of Newfoundland and ordered a free guide. Flipping through pages of the guide, when it arrived, reading about the natural peace and beauty this province offers, I knew I had to go there some day. What I didn't know that my rendezvous will be so early --this summer.


St. John's, Newfoundland --August 29 - September 2, 2008

St. John's welcomed our arrival with abundance of rain. Our inn keeper, we stayed at The Bluestone Inn, a B&B located in downtown St. John's, welcomed our arrival with urgency and promptly left us to go look after a sick friend. We were left in our room, on the second floor of a 1900 building. We counted there were 38 stairs to our room. Suddenly, I had much more appreciation for elevators. The room was furnished with stuff that could have also dated to the time when the building was built. No kidding! Everything about the place screamed antiques.

I was feeling completely out of place, calculating the number of hours left of the trip, thinking maybe I should change the departure date and grinding my teeth with frustration at the thought. Last thing I wanted to do (on my vacation) was to spend hours on the phone talking to the airline's customer service and feeling helpless.

They say, "Never judge a book by its cover." In my moment of snap judgment, I had decided that my visit to St. John's was ruined, however a couple of hours and a few dozen camera snaps later, I had a totally different view about this.

Welcome to the Far East. Where people have been living since the 1620s. Where Newfoundland and North America begins. Here you can indulge in (hi)story and natural beauty.

Don't be surprised if people on the streets say hi to you and ask how you are doing today. Don't be shy to reply and ask the same questions from them. We found the newfie accent endearing. It's a mix of Irish and Scottish English with a little bit of drawl.

The art and culture may seem unfamiliar. If you are a traveler and have visited many art galleries, museums, etc., brace yourself for a refreshingly unique art. This I think is because people in this area have lived here for generations and established their own way of expression and art. You can see nature has a lot of influence on the art works.

Renting a car, even for one day, to see the seaside settlements and wildlife (beaver and caribou) is a must. We didn't get around to do it this time round (yes, we are planning to go back). We spent our time exploring almost all the St. John's sites, culture and people.

We did most of our touring using either public transit, metro bus, or on foot. Taking the Route 10 bus is a must. The bus travels through some of the major streets, Freshwater Rd, Elizabeth Avenue (the one and only flat street in the city), it passes by the most significant landmarks, City Hall, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Health and Sciences library and Pippy park, a 3400 acre land reserve right in St. John's. The bus rides are $2.25 and can be paid, exact fare, on the bus. Make sure to ask the driver for a transfer if you have to switch buses. Stopovers are not allowed, though.

You must hit the trails, you must! Walking to the top of the Signal Hill and then hiking along the Atlantic coast was an exhilarating experience for me. Besides amazing view of the Atlantic ocean, I relived Marconi's moment when he received the first transatlantic wireless signal.

Places you are likely to visit:

  • Signal Hill Road
  • The Battery
  • The Rooms
  • Basilica of St. John's the Baptist
  • George Street (Enjoy the nightlife of St. John's here --for best experience go on the weekend)
  • Cape Spear (easternmost point in Canada --beyond this point is Atlantic Ocean)
  • Geo Johnson Center (Built deep into the earth with only the large, glass-encased entryway protruding above ground, this geological is literally embedded in Signal Hill, which is made up of 550-million-year-old rocks!)
    It offers three very unique exhibits:

    • The Titanic Story (did you know that Titanic sank 350 miles away from Newfoundland?)
    • The ExxonMobil Oil and Gas gallery (go there if you want to learn why oil is nicknamed black gold.)
    • Earth's geological showcase (story of earth --going back to over 4.5 billion years ago)

Visitor Information Centre is located on 384 Water Street


I bet you are hungry to know about St. John's restaurants and bistros. I have one word for you: Coffee Matters, Go there! I crave their creme brulee!

St. John's was an unforgettable destination for us. There is something simple and sincere about this place. Go there if you are looking for a quiet spot --it gives you a whole new perspective!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Those countries that don't have it and their governments don't have a greed for it and have been able to curb their dependency on it, enjoy peace.

For the rest of us the saga of fretting over the peaks and valleys of its price, the fight between the suppliers and the cartels will continue.

I am talking about oil!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Pro Choice or Life : What do you think?

"You f@#$ sick!", she said loudly. I turned in the direction of the voice. "You f@#$ sick!" She said it again with such vengeance in her voice.

Who is she talking to? As I am trying to figure this out, a man holding a big poster of gross, bloody looking figure which resembled a head of a human being connected to an umbilical cord is walking towards me. He is wearing a patient smile. His hand is stretched out and he is holding a flyer. Does he expect me to take the flyer from him? He says, "Pro Life". He says it in such a tone that leaves no doubt; he believes that I am Pro Life.

I have to make up my mind quickly. Am I "Pro Life" or "Pro Choice"? Take the d#@$ flyer and walk away from all this, I say to myself. But, I can't just take the flyer for the sake of it.

I don't hear the young, angry voice of the girl any more. Has she left the scene?

He is now closer. He smiles. I smile back. But, my hand stays firmly at my side. He walks passed me and I continue my way to catch the street car.

Am I Pro Choice, then? The answer, as I think about this on the street car, is more complicated than a simple, "Yes".

Coincidentally, the young girl is riding the street car with me. She seems very angry. She must be Pro Choice.

But, isn't that an irresponsible way out of a situation that could have been avoided to begin with?

I believe advocating choice or life is not the right solution to the problem. Those who coined the term and formed the movement, created a rift between us. Taking the life of an unwanted child is not any better than giving life to it and abandoning it in this world.

If reason dominated, neither us nor our dependents would need to be in the situation to decide whether they are "Pro Choice" or "Pro Life".

On this, I choose to abstain.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Press for change! Signing up for epost...

Adieu to receiving bills in the mail. I am open to change and trying something new. I am motivated to help the environment. One less printed bill means one less reason to cut down a tree. I am going to sign up for epost!

I don't want to think about why epost is available in 2008 and not in 1950 when early signs of forest depletion and global warming became visible. I know better; it's better to arrive late than never. I don't want to speculate Post Corporation's intentions that they are thinking "green" now because if they don't they may become extinct (companies have started sending their customers the Estatements, we email more than we mail.) I am just glad they thought of it; it's better to arrive late than never.


For Post, going green is a fundamental change. It uproots a 4 century old tradition of delivering to the door of millions.
If the future of the mail is electronic. There are things I shall miss. I shall miss the stamps and the taste of the sticky glue after I licked to stick it to the envelope. I shall miss the friendly smile of the mail carrier. I shall miss a hand written note.

There will be books and pictures to remind us of the history. I know better; to gain something I need give up something else. I am all for change!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

What is the oil price driven by?

The motivation behind this blog comes from the eye catching full page car advertisement that appeared in the daily Toronto Newspaper every single day during this past week.

What are the big shots behind these ad schemes thinking of, if at all? Presumably, they believe with incentives such as gas cards or cheap gas they can encourage consumers to buy more of their fuel inefficient, gas-guzzler cars.

These offers reek with greed. These short sighted auto industry movers cannot think of better ways to keep their pockets full of money.

I am sure they can for example spend portion of their money on improving the fuel consumption of their existing models but I suppose that is going to delay time to market and impact their share of market value!

While we all are anticipating worse news from the oil market, we are being encouraged to waste more of it and be content that someone else is going to pay for it.

Well, the good thing is for every yin there is a yang. If we have full page ads to lure us into buying cars, we have other tools to research about them at the same time.

Take this site for example. If you are looking to buy a new car this is a place to get you started. Here you can find gas mileage (MPG), greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution ratings, and safety information for new and used cars and trucks.

After visiting this page nothing, not even cheap gas for 3 years, can change my mind in what make/model I want to buy. (This is just a rhetoric. I have been using public transit and my bike for the past 3+ years now!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

From Forbes network:

The world's proven oil reserves were essentially flat in 2007 while production fell by 0.2 percent, the first decline since 2002, BP reported on Wednesday, when it launched its 2008 Statistical Review of World Energy.

On Tuesday, the International Energy (otcbb: IENI.OB - news - people ) Agency, the energy adviser for the world's industrialised countries, sharply lowered its projection for supply outside the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries.

Concern over long-term oil supplies has driven the recent spike in oil prices and prompted Wall Street banks to raise their price forecast to about $150 and $200.

"For sure, banks tend to focus on supply. It is easy for them to make assumptions of $200," Olivier Jakob with Petromatrix said. "On the other side, we have to look at price impact on demand. That's why the market is so volatile."


Maybe is not as important to know how we got here as it is vital to know we can separately or collectively free ourselves from dependence on fossil fuels.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Getting there by bicycle

I am thinking, if each business adds the direction to its location by bike to its web site more people will be motivated to leave the cars behind. I am thinking malls, shopping centers, banks, pharmacies and etc.
With the price of oil on the rise, with no slowdown in sight, it is becoming imperative to conserve.
Although we knew this was going to happen, after all we hit the $99 a barrel mark 2 years ago, we still feel we have been caught off guard.
Farmers driven by market are selling their crops of corn to producers of bio-fuels. This, along with high cost of energy, has shot the price of food up by 10-20%. There is no hard evidence to prove that bio-fuel is green alternative to fossil fuels.
I digress.
The point is, facilitating commuting by bike by providing information on the bike routes is an easy way of showing commitment to being green.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

The nice part about being a pessimist...

I am not a pessimist. But I like the irony in this quote:

The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.
- George F. Will

Thursday, May 29, 2008

People believe I am what they see Me as!

I have a perception-phobia --that is I am most concerned of how I am perceived in the eyes of the others. This trait shows itself time and again and creates bizarre moments. Recently, I joined a new team where I have to start from scratch building relationships. This is much harder (and by far much more important) than the actual job. Even, if I do an excellent job on the project, if my team dislikes me, my accomplishments will fall on deaf ears and blind eyes --that is no one will care to notice and recognize them. I definitely need to do some serious thinking about this topic and come up with practical strategies to achieve this. Any thoughts?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Redeem (your cell phone for $$$)

Along came a company (apparently they've been around since 1999) that buys your out dated old cell phone that you have been itching to dump for a better model (maybe even an iphone). Check them out if you have one!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Earth Hour 2008!

The hour I spent with a group of Columbia Alumni to clean up the small habitat for spawning fish and birds by Lake Ontario and turning out all the lights at my house between 8-9 PM sounds insignificant compared to my (un-intentional) daily contribution to climate change. So, how can I distribute the impact of Earth Hour over a year? Why not declare an Earth Year?!

In privileged places such as North America success of each cause relies heavily on how well people behind it can make the cause look, seem, sound cool and fun. Image is everything. Look around you, Green as a color, Green as an adjective, or being Green as a verb has become trendy. So, it should be easy to instill a Green culture.

Not so easy.

We are used to the "Good Life". Partly due to this, conserving, unless for short period of time, such as 1 hour per year, may not be something that comes naturally. Unless the media does its part and brain washes us. With the unlimited band width in our daily lives, media can turn us into Green junkies. I doubt they do that, for reasons that make an interesting topic for another time and blog.

All in all we will continue splurging.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Life goes on

There are people in one's life that drive one insane and there are people that keep one sane. Paradoxically they could be the same.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

From quirky to avant-garde

When Rolf Paloheimo first built his Healthy House back in 1996, he was regarded as a scientist with a strange experiment. Today he is considered, thanks to Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth", an avant-garde environmentalist. His house is disconnected from city water and electricity grid. There is a zero-tolerance for waste; everything from water to human waste is recycled.

It's a fact that we are producing more waste than generations before us. Little attention is given to where does the waste go.

In 2000, Toronto households created 920,000 tonnes of waste or about one tonne per household. Only 24% of this waste was composted, recycled or reused. The rest went to landfills.

An exaggerated case of using landfills is shown in The Simpson's Movie; dumping the silo that Homer has been keeping his pig crap in, in the Springfield landfill is the last straw sort of speak to make the landfill overflow and cause hideous side effects. The aftermath of that event made us all laugh. But in reality this is no laughing matter.

How can we divert more of our waste from the landfills?
The immediate answer is to recycle and reuse. Why not reuse that old shower curtain as cover for items in the pantry or the outdoor furniture or reuse the old toothbrush to scrub stain from the household items or reuse it to wax the shoes.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

After the dance class

Dance is this exciting thing that sharpens your perception of yourself within the space around you!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sunday morning coffee shop and OLIVE

I went down to get coffee. As I was waiting in line I over heard two people exchanging job leads. I got my coffee (and doughnuts of course ;)) on my way out I noticed a mature looking guy wrapping up a job interview, which seemed to have gone very well!

The face of how we conduct business is changing, it is a change for better --I think. We are making an effort to look outside of the box --jobs advertised in the newspaper (a very dry and impersonal approach) vs career discussions over coffee on a Sunday morning.

As I was sipping my coffee, I leafed through pages of January edition of IEEE Spectrum magazine. The first few sentences of an article caught my eye:

"CODE THREE! Code Three!" shouts a police officer over a radio. "There's been an explosion at Global Financial Trust!"

I looked for the author's name. David Kushner. I know him, not personally, but through the articles he occasionally writes for Spectrum magazine. Just last month, he wrote a piece on making (serious) amount of money through on-line video games.

This article, is about SimHospital, a simulation used for medical training through the application: On-Line Interactive Virtual Environment, or OLIVE.

"The answer is simple", Kushner writes, "in a simulation you can learn to drive a car with out crashing, trade securities without breaking your company's bank, manage complaining customers without alienating them, treat patients without killing them."

Or perform a job interview without bombing it!

Next stop is report on COG, "Canadian Organic Growers", and Toronto's 3Rs Working Group.