Michaelwclark.com

Just my stuff


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Google Street View – What is Big Brother Watching?

My screen capture of Google Street View – Click on image for full size. Follow this link for “live” travel and image credit >> https://goo.gl/maps/ZVjnLLMNHPJ2

Web cams in public spaces are a fact of life. Also, individuals with video-equipped phones have changed our way of life. In a nutshell, abusive people can’t get away with what they used to get away with, because chances are they’ll be videoed and perhaps charged.

That’s the plus side.

The down side, detractors say, is that we lose some degree of our human rights and freedoms. Supporters will rejoinder that public cams enhance human rights, because nobody has the right to harm another or trangsress their right to live in peace.

This debate has been going on for decades. In its political form, probably for centuries.

I first read about it in Zygmunt Bauman’s book, Socialism The Active Utopia. But subconsciously I’ve been aware of it since my teens. Power, government, freedom. It’s a delicate balance.


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Here’s my solution… but, of course, it ‘aint mine…

Painting of a green devil from about the same period as the Gawain poem. Poetic contemporaries such as Chaucer also drew connections between the colour green and the devil, leading scholars to draw similar connections in readings of the Green Knight.

I recently posted a nice article basically encouraging Jews and Muslims to better get along. I’m all for that. I also realize that people tend to be happy with their religious traditions and don’t want to change.

At the same time, I sometimes wish that those who don’t really get what Christ is about could just see and experience like I do during the Mass.

Living in Canada (a place that embraces good people from all around the world) in conjunction with practicing Catholicism (which is decidedly international) one can’t help but appreciate just how worldwide the Catholic faith is.

I feel lucky to be where I am. It’s beautiful to see people, rich and poor, and from all around the globe, united in Christ. Sure, it only lasts during the Mass. It would be great if things rippled out more. But this is Earth, not heaven. We should all be working on it.

 Mesmerizing maps show how religion has spread throughout the world (businessinsider.com)

 Thousands protest to call against curbing incense burning in Taiwan (rappler.com)


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Beyond the neutral zone


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Blind conformity

Image via Tumblr

I’ve been busy latetly. Earthpages is a few days behind. But I have been doing some R&D with Linux software. I like Linux. Now trying out a very light OS for older computers called Lubuntu. For me, it’s a bit snappier than Xubuntu.

If you’d like to try Linux, be warned. At the beginning it can be frustrating. Simple things like unzipping and installing need to be learned all over again. And it can be buggy. You gotta have a bit of a tech sense, I think. Still, it’s nice to get away from that fracking Microsoft hegemony. Free software might be the wave of the future. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone could have access to computers, learning and creativity?

Here’s a little comic I did this morning. I’m posting it through Blogilo. On an older computer Blogilo seems nicer (faster) than the WordPress editor. Still testing it out though…


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21st Century Signs and Urban Changes

Image via Tumblr

Now that I’ve finally got a good mobile phone that takes nice pics, I’m beginning a new venture, one that has been percolating for some time now. Actually two ventures. One is a photo series called “21st Century Signs.” The other is a series called “Urban Changes.”

21C Signs will chronicle signs that catch my eye as I go about my daily business. I won’t crop or filter the images. It’s just a quick historical snapshot. The series might seem unexceptional today, but in the future I think folks will be interested.

Urban Changes is about how my city, Toronto Canada, is changing soooo fast. Old buildings are disappearing by the truckload. New buildings are coming up and altering our skyline like never before. So this series will outline abandoned, soon to be trashed, and glittering new structures.

You can keep up by simply coming here because it’ll all be on Twitter. And my personal Twitter feed is at top right of this page. I was lucky to grab the name “@MikeClark” at Twitter early in the game, when Twitter was just taking off. If you want to see the whole thing, here’s the link:


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June

So ends a pretty terrible month in the news. I started this at the beginning of the month. At some point I realized that it was mirroring the tragic headlines that dominated a good part of June.


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Only in Toronto…

assbackwards-01.jpg licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License. Click image for source.

Toronto sports fans are rejoicing that the Leafs finished dead last in the NHL season this year.

Why?

Because this dismal season made them eligible for a lottery to get the first draft pick for the upcoming season. And they won the lottery. So theoretically, Leafs get to choose the best new player. I say theoretically because there’s no guarantee their pick will actually turn out best.

Many fans actually wanted the Leafs to lose their final games so they could get this pick.

To me this is the same kind of ass backwards philosophy that runs through much of Canada: Keep the dollar low so we can attract foreign business and, especially, customers for exports like good ol’ Texas Tea (Alberta blend). Meanwhile, tax more so we can (supposedly) get better services.

It’s a loser’s game… in sports and life. Far better, I think, to always do your best rather than skulk around in the mud.