I’m excited about this new fire hall we’re getting, and often stop by to see how construction is coming along. These three photos show how the hall looks now.
From the Boston Globe: The long, weird history of the Nigerian e-mail scam.
Earlier this year, thousands of people checked their e-mail and found a surprise: An American soldier needed help, and there was something in it for them. Their correspondent was a sergeant stationed in Iraq, he explained. He had accumulated millions in hundred-dollar bills—the older ones being phased out by the Treasury—from the cash brought into the country by the American occupation. The soldier needed to launder this money, fast, and needed a stateside bank account to do it. In return for a cut of the total, could he use yours?
Reading this, you’re probably already shaking your head: The message is obviously spam. This electronic missive from a 21st-century war seems like just a new, cynical twist on a scam that’s a hallmark of the Internet era: advance-fee fraud, also known as “419” (for the fraud designation in the Nigerian criminal code) or “Nigerian letter spam.” [continue]
And how long do you think this kind of scam has been around? Bet you’ll be surprised to hear how far back it goes.
You’d planned to head down to Sandwell or Drumbeg, but it’s pouring rain, so you look for a game to play with your buddies instead. Maybe you’ll opt for for Cards Against Humanity, which is billed as
A card game for horrible people. I like the sound of this one, and I like the way way the inventors are running their company.
Untethered to investors, the founders enjoy the freedom to run their business as they please. Each of the members functions as point person for a given concern. All major decisions are governed by consensus.There’s no one in charge of anything,Temkin says. [continue].
The Cards Against Humanity site explains that
The full game of Cards Against Humanity is available for free under a Creative Commons license. Making a set will take an hour and cost about $10. Download the PDF for rules and printing instructions.
The other day a friend mentioned that she (and her dog) met a cougar in the Gabriola woods. Now there’s something to keep in mind if you go off for a hike, hmmm?
Somebody asked me a while ago if cougars can swim. Of course they can, and here’s proof in a Youtube video:
(The cougar in the video isn’t the one on Gabriola, as far as we know.)
This plant is Good King Henry (Chenopodium bonus-henricus). Have you heard of it?
There’s quite a tradition behind Good King Henry in England and Europe, as you might guess from some of its common names. Wikipedia says it’s also known as
Poor-man’s Asparagus, Perennial Goosefoot, Lincolnshire Spinach or Markery.
Temperate Climate Permaculture says of Good King Henry:
This is a small perennial herbaceous vegetable that was once well known in England and central/southern Europe. (…) Good King Henry is in the same family as spinach, and its leaves are used in much the same way; however, its shoots are eaten like asparagus, flower buds like broccoli, and the seeds are an edible grain. Add its ability to grow in the shade, and this is a great plant to add to your Edible Forest Garden or other Permaculture plantings. [continue]
Good King Henry is one of the unusual things I’m growing in my Gabriola garden this year. What are you growing in yours?
I’ve been catching up on web stuff tonight, and am delighted to find that the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has published a book list – a list of works of fiction that relate to privacy.
That strikes me as so civilized. If we must have government agencies, they should be filled with thoughtful readers who publish book lists.
If you live on Gabriola and have a dog, or are concerned about issues regarding dog ownership, this RDN bylaw update might be of interest.
Animal Control Recent incidents in Electoral Area ‘B’ have raised community concerns that the current bylaw requirements to leash vicious dogs while in public do not go far enough to protect people or other animals against lunging or escaped dogs that have been declared vicious. At the regular meeting held May 22, 2012, the RDN Board directed staff to prepare a report for the Board’s consideration to amend the current Animal Control Regulatory Bylaw to add a requirement for muzzling of dogs that have been declared vicious.
In March 2013 the Board approved an amendment Bylaw for Electoral Areas ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’ that requires dog owners to muzzle any dangerous dog when such a dog is in public. Provincial legislation relating to the regulation of animals has been considerably amended since the RDN’s animal control bylaws were adopted in the mid-1990s, so the amendment Bylaw also updates the bylaw language to align with the Community Charter. These updates include replacing the old term “vicious dog” with “dangerous dog” and setting out the powers of the animal control officer with respect to dangerous dogs, including the power to apply to the provincial court for a destruction order. This authority has replaced the now repealed Livestock Protection Act.
The Board is also implementing similar changes for Electoral Areas ‘E’, F’, ‘G’ and ‘H’ this spring.
source: Electoral Area Update (pdf).
(I’m going to ask if Howard can provide the full text of the bylaw amendment for us.)
From Ars Technica: There is no WiFi allergy: newspapers misreport PR as science.
There’s a fundamental problem here: the condition, electrosensitivity, doesn’t appear to exist. A variety of studies that we have covered in the past show that people who claim to be electrosensitive are incapable of determining whether there is an active wireless signal in their vicinity. In multiple blinded studies, they did no better than random chance when asked to identify whether equipment that broadcasts on WiFi or cellular frequencies is active. [continue]
I’ve spent an awful lot of time in the Gabriola forest, and have seen many thousands of nettle plants over the years. But this is the first time I’ve noticed variegated nettle plants. Pretty, aren’t they?
Huh. The variegated nettle plants I found aren’t growing in a particularly wet area, and they are interspersed amongst more typically-coloured nettle plants. So, curious.
Gabriola photographer Laurie MacBride sent along this photo for us, along with the following text:
It seems my colleagues in the Gabriola Photography Club know about a lot more than just composition, lenses, exposure, post-processing and such weighty matters. They also know a thing or two about the subjects they shoot, such as plants, for example.
At a recent meeting we shared images we’d created on the theme,delicate. One of mine (the photo above), I explained, was of a tiny little Meconopsis (Himilayan Blue) poppy that emerges each year in my rockery. No way! Half a dozen folks jumped into the fray.It’s an anemone,was the verdict, quickly delivered.
Later at home, when I checked my flower ID book, I saw they were right. And all these years I’d thought it was a poppy!
And yes, these folks also know a thing or two about photography. Month after month, they’re producing gorgeous, creative and thought-provoking photos, shot here on Gabriola and all around the world. I never stop learning from the images, information, inspiration and ideas we share.
This Sunday (April 28), other Gabriolans will have a chance to enjoy some of the fruits of those labours.Flight of Fancy, our club’s spring show and sale, takes place at the Rollo Centre from noon to 4 pm.
You’ll find a diverse multitude of beautiful framed and mounted prints, greeting cards and even some door prizes – not to mention much lively conversation. And when your feet get tired, you can sit down and relax in front of the big screen TV, watching the new slideshow that we`ve created for the occasion, which features additional photos from about a dozen club members, including some of our newer folks.
Admission is free, and I can pretty much guarantee you won`t leave without feeling inspired and energized.
Hope to see you there!
Howard Houle wrote to tell us that:
The Regional District of Nanaimo is hosting a number of Bear Smart information sessions this spring. Every year conservation Officers respond to calls from concerned residents reporting conflict situations with bears. Many of those situations involve bears and household attractants like garbage cans, barbecues or bird feeders.
If you would like to learn about Vancouver Island Black Bears and specifically how to reduce wildlife conflict around your home, plan on attending the FREE information session. Thursday May 09,2013 from 6:30 pm – 8:00pm at the Agi Hall.
It good to see this program being implemented. Last year when we had a bear situation there was no funds for such a program, with your suggestions and my motion we made it happen.
(If you’re busy on May 9th and would like to attend a workshop elsewhere in the RDN, see Public Notice – Bear Smart Information page on the RDN site.)
Solar panels are better and cheaper than they used to be. What effect will this have on utility companies like BC Hydro?
Grist points out that solar panels could destroy utilities. They’re talking about the US, but still — pretty interesting.
I have long dreamed about using solar power instead of Hydro power, because I don’t like what BC Hydro does to rivers. Also, power lines are a blight upon the landscape, and a downed power line can start a fire.
Maybe one of these days I’ll check into solar power for our house.
The people working on the Gabriola Bus project have held a competition to figure out what to call the bus service. Today I notice they’ve gotten around to voting, counting votes, and whatnot. They have a winner, and the bus is to be called Gertie.
Their website explains:
Voting is now closed in the final round of the Name the Gabriola Community Bus Service poll. A total of 228 votes have been cast, and the results are as follows: GERTIE (Gabriola Environmentally Responsible Trans-Island Express): 61 votes, Gabriola Shuttle: 35, Gabriola Shuffle: 30, The Bus: 23, Magic Bus: 18, Gab Bus: 16, The Islander: 14, Gabriola Gertie: 13, Brickyard Flyer: 9 and Seagull: 9.
The name GERTIE is an acronym (Gabriola’s Environmentally Responsible Transport for Islanders Express) was originally suggested by Diane Green. This was subsequently changed, with Diane’s support, to Gabriola Environmentally Responsible Trans-Island Express, following a suggestion from Joan Eamer. In fact several other versions that included the nameGertiewere suggested by others, including, Ken Gurr, Vicki Vitesse and Deb Scott. A real Gabriola community effort!
Now, do you wonder who that is over on the right, illustrating this post? She is (the original, as far as I know) Gabriola Gertie – the Gabriola Gertie who stood at the Nanaimo Harbour ferry terminal, welcoming people to Gabriola Island.
This is from George Monbiot’s article in the Guardian: Let’s stop hiding behind recycling and be honest about consumption.
At a reception in London recently I met an extremely rich woman, who lives, as most people with similar levels of wealth do, in an almost comically unsustainable fashion: jetting between various homes and resorts in one long turbo-charged holiday. When I told her what I did, she responded:Oh I agree, the environment is so important. I’m crazy about recycling.But the real problem, she explained, waspeople breeding too much.
I agreed that population is an element of the problem, but argued that consumption is rising much faster and – unlike the growth in the number of people – is showing no signs of levelling off. She found this notion deeply offensive: I mean the notion that human population growth is slowing. When I told her that birth rates are dropping almost everywhere, and that the world is undergoing a slow demographic transition, she disagreed violently: she has seen, on her endless travels, how many childrenall those people have.
As so many in her position do, she was using population as a means of disavowing her own impacts. The issue allowed her to transfer responsibility to others: people at the opposite end of the economic spectrum. It allowed her to pretend that her shopping and flying and endless refurbishments of multiple homes are not a problem. Recycling and population: these are the amulets people clasp in order not to see the clash between protecting the environment and rising consumption. [continue]
Have you noticed the new signs on North Road that direct people to the medical clinic? The signs are near the intersection of North Road and Church Street. They’re nice enough, but I don’t think that posting them was a good idea.
Imagine that you’re new to Gabriola, or that you haven’t paid much attention to how the medical clinic works. You pass this sign a few times, and notice it. It looks much like the signs that direct you to hospitals in other communities, yes? So you file ‘medical clinic’ under the same mental category as ‘hospital and emergency room’ and go about your business. Then one day you realize you’re having a heart attack, or that you need stitches after a nasty encounter with a table saw. And so, remembering the sign, you get your buddy to drive you over to the medical clinic.
See the problem here? It’s not a walk-in clinic. There is no emergency room. What we call the medical clinic is a building where doctors have their offices, and they see their own patients when those patients have appointments. Sure there’s an urgent treatment room as well, but I don’t think you get into that if you just show up – I think you have to arrive by ambulance for that.
If you go to the clinic when you’ve been injured and you don’t have an appointment – well, then what? You (or they) call 911 and wait for first responders and paramedics to show up, I think. If you need emergency medical care, getting yourself to the clinic is a waste of time.
Maybe somebody who knows all about everything will arrive and correct me. I’m not a doctor or a paramedic, after all. But if I’ve got it right, then aren’t those signs on North Road just a bad idea? Maybe we should change them so that they’ll say Emergency? Call 911. Because that is good advice for anybody on Gabriola.
From the Nanaimo News Bulletin: Land transferred to Snuneymuxw.
Snuneymuxw First Nation received 877 hectares of land on Mount Benson as part of a reconciliation agreement announced Wednesday at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.
The agreement, announced by Ida Chong, aboriginal relations and reconciliation minister, between the province and the Snuneymuxw is designed to bring economic benefits to the First Nation and increase certainty for business in the Nanaimo area. Chong called the agreement a milestone in the B.C. government’s relationship with Snuneymuxw First Nation. (…)
A site where First Nations remains were found in Departure Bay was also transferred to Snuneymuxw. [continue]
Does that conclude the land claims settlement between the province of BC and the Snuneymuxw?
I’m wondering because of the Kensington Lands on Gabriola, of course – that’s the federal government property along North Road in the Tunnel, and from there down to Whalebone Beach. I understood that the Kensington Lands were being held for possible use in a land claims settlement with the Snuneymuxw. If that’s not going to happen, then what will become of the Kensington Lands?
(I’m also wondering if the Nanaimo Daily News got all the details right. I’ve not been terribly impressed with the quality of reporting we’ve seen from the Nanaimo papers.)
You’ll want to read Bob Harris’ article: After Giving Hundreds of Kiva Loans, I Learned the Five Most Important Words of My Life.
I like those words very much.
We have some fine photographers on Gabriola, and maybe you’re one of them. If you’ve ever tried to sell your photos, or thought of doing that, this FastCompany article about a stock photography site might be of interest.
Stories like these inspired Livingstone to take another stab at building a stock photo site. His new site, called Stocksy, focuses on paying photographers as much as possible.
iStockphoto pays photographers 15% of photo sales for their first contributions and up to 45% of sales (depending on how much they sell in a year) if they’re exclusive. Shutterstock pays 20% to 30% royalties. Stocksy, which launches Monday, pays all photographers 50% royalties for all photos. The site is also a co-op. At the end of the year, it divides 90% of its profits equally among contributors and other shareholders. [continue]
Stocksy bills itself as
an artist owned co-op with a curated royalty-free collection. Interesting.