Friday, 13 April 2018
I was not impressed with Zuck's performance (Zuck to those in the fold) during his House Hearing in Washington, 11. 04. 2018.
His performance was repetitious: while consistently referring to issues raised by House Members as "important", he frequently was uninformed of them. Or pretended to be. We're talking key-issues. To the point of several times dryly asked whether he, indeed, is Facebook's CEO.
Only having 4 min to get their concerns across/ask questions didn't give Members enough time to one-by-one decisively further their cause - although cumulatively they did - while making it easier for Zuckerberg: frequently trying to "filibuster" with flatish chatter - from which one Member sternly asked him to refrain.
Of course - one prominent topic in the Hearing was how Facebook does/did/didn't identify dodgy accounts to then shut them down in a definitive and timely manner or-not. The Russia thing, fake this-and-that, privacy.
Zuckerberg assured the Committee that he will have 20.000 experts looking at possible "bad actors" by the end of this year, with their work supplemented by tailor-made algorithms. One more good year for 'infiltrators'.
While home-grown problems - not so sexy - have been major, largely unattended - although known - issues since at least 2011.
Example: One Member producing an image for all to see, taken of a Facebook page on the same morning, with a list of outlets - itemized info, addresses! - selling Opioids illegally over the Internet.
Facilitated by target-specific advertising on Facebook.
Zuckerberg claimed no knowledge of this, and when asked why these lists could (still!) run on Facebook, after the not so recent any longer hoopla(s) which ultimately got everybody together here, he said a possible problem has to be "flagged". When the Member replied he was flagging it now, and could Zuckerberg commit himself to these lists being identified and deleted forthwith: he wouldn't.
Another Member then added that people may not flag a problem, assuming someone among millions surely to have done so already. Or that Zuck was already on it.
Which frequently has proven to not be the case!
The general tenor here and throughout the Hearing:
You want to be a leader - so lead already!
What with algorithms on everything Facebook: whipping-up a quickie for their Opioid crisis - just as drastic as ours - should be simple enough.
Of great immediate benefit to many!
But Zuckerberg - nothing!
While he loftily goes on about highest ideals of privacy, equality, community, sharing-sharing-sharing, and how "important" all that is to "us" - he seems to float above the fray.
Detached - also remarked on by Members.
Canadians need to take part of the blame for this seemingly easy access to large amounts of Opioids. While there is great concern here about the availability of and escalating addiction and deaths to/through them: where are those researching all this - if not on Facebook!?
Nelson City Hall
Subscribers clicking on City Hall's Facebook presence clearly are a feast for hovering overlords.
City Hall Disclosure Policy
"The City of Nelson does not share any of the individually identifiable information you may provide with the sites to which City of Nelson links. We may, however, share aggregate data with such websites (such as how many people use our site)."
"Such websites" meaning Facebook, since Facebook is doing the tracking, and for an accurate count (a pretext!) individual clickers have to be "individually identifiable". Obviously - by their Profile Data! And those of their Friends!
Sold to advertisers of anything.
Becoming more transparent in this Hearing's exploration -
What with the Black Press/Nelson Star's unholy alliance with Zuck: when his subscribers click on any item on the Star's website - any! - post a comment, participate in a poll/survey, or even just click on Like - they are immediately identified as particular 'types' and funneled into (a) particular box(es). This automatically including anything on their Profiles not nailed-down. And Friends.
Seemingly even after they have logged-off! Excused as "sometimes for security".
Anyway - this info-trove is constantly added to through click-recognition, molded/remolded into whole personae - even added to creatively, these then made available to Facebook's advertisers pushing just about anything. Unchecked.
For most effective syphoning: only Facebook users can comment on the Star's website.
In effect - Zuck now is largely running the local public's opinion through the Star. And that of about 70 other Black Press publications.
Facebook feeding hand-picked Nelson subscribers/Star readers - commenters-or-not, with their unsecured site-data - to its own advertisers.
Deleting does not mean gone-for-good! A closed account is not closed to Zuck. Everything Facebook is repurposed!
While The Nelson Daily initially held out against the Facebook take-over of commenting: they are now into it with a vengeance. Catching-up! Their Facebook commenting directives do go on, much more explicitly and incomprehensibly than the Star's ever.
For a look just click on Facebook Comments plugin under any item.
"Mark Zuckerberg's second grilling from US lawmakers - watch live"
I sat through 5 hours of this Hearing plus some of that in the Senate - admittedly in chunks, I could only take so much weaseling Zuck - more firmly convinced than ever: I'm better off without Facebook. And booklets.
But then again - who knows: there may be an algorithm for heretics as well. After all - although I don't own a pad or smartish phone - I am on the Internet.
"I don't have full knowledge of our systems."
Mark Zuckerberg - Senate Hearing, 10. 04. 2018
South China Morning Post
Deb Kozak, Mayor
Kevin Cormack, City Manager
Frances Long, Director - Corporate Services
Saturday, 7 April 2018
The Georgia Straight's
Who are BC's most right-wing journalists and broadcasters
Charlie Smith, Dec 23, 2010
places Tom Fletcher 3rd on their list of 10.
For 13 years - since 2005 - he's been with Black Press BC in various reporting-roles and pretty much their raison d'etre.
A right-wing propaganda machine: now carried in about 70 Black Press publications. Generally free - the only game in town - community papers.
"Previous employment included 3 years as a refinery and pollution facilities operator for Petro-Canada in Taylor BC, experience that has assisted me in energy policy reporting."
Tom Fletcher, LinkedIn
Somewhere in there his wife is Public Affairs Officer for the BC Liberal Government.
Black Press also owns the Nelson Star.
Currently - on the Star's (LOCAL) OPINION (web)page #1 -
8 out of 20 pieces are by Tom Fletcher.
Routinely fed to the Star by Black Press central at the coast with most everything else, except the very little very local whatever - and advertising.
David Black, Owner
Tom Fletcher, Reporter
Eric Lawson, Local Publisher
Sunday, 1 April 2018
As Donna Macdonald - self-appointed City Hall Doyenne - makes guiding points for prospective Council candidates in her
COLUMN: Seven months and counting!
Nelson Star, Mar 21, 2018,
the subheading -
It's time for candidates to Google search -
bypasses warts-and-all self-assessment, necessary for presenting an up-front on all fronts persona within a City Hall context - before the election. Later building on that persona - if elected.
A strong vision of themselves as effective Councillors from the beginning.
I don't remember seeing possible candidates for the current and previous Council in meetings months prior.
Even once candidates ...
What their desire/need/whatever to 'serve' was actually based on is the proverbial anybody's guess. Certainly not connected to close observation of Council at work - collectively/individually.
Therefore one may question how much they actually knew first-hand about what they were aiming to get themselves into.
After being elected wasting much time getting the hang of the job. This - including expected to work within City Hall's 2nd Floor feudal system - had them dither for ages. Has.
Anyway - what Macdonald and several how-to-papers/videos - this time around - suggest is having "aspiring councillors" (Councillor Purcell incorrectly identifying would-be candidates when commenting on Macdonald's column) nudged along with self-evident running-for-local-office P.R. to learn how to be generic Councillors together - respectfully. Agreeing to be agreeable, not (wanting) to rock anyone's boat.
Motivation here not the driving force.
Ideally - would-be candidates and candidates (Councillors as a matter of course) simply fall back on - integrity. This single necessary point of reference to be held close in any situation during election and at City Hall.
Where decision-making largely plays-out in 2nd-Floor domination-games. A double-whammy consistently to be dealt with: for newbies usually a major shock to the naive concept of their contribution to saving the world. Locally.
Also - Smallishtown politics are personal, as is Smallishtown business, and what with both snuggling with each other: everybody has an agenda to protect and further.
Surviving at and after City Hall.
None of this found on Google or touched-on by Macdonald.
A simple and effective way to help determine whether-or-not you are suited for a Councillor's work is this:
Make a deal with yourself to go to every Council Meeting from now on - 2 per month - plus any other City-originated event.
Every meeting - the whole meeting. Regardless of your level of interest: showing some nonetheless!
See and be seen.
Watching a Council Meeting on your computer from the comfort of your couch - now possible - is hardly the same as actually being in the (usually overheated, poorly ventilated) Council Chamber. Observing Councillors inter/reacting-or-not. For 2 hours plus.
Part of your commitment here - integrity!? - would need to be getting out of the house - weather and all. Adding another hour going/coming.
Councillors have no choice - no matter how much they also would rather not go.
If you - after a few meetings - start having excuses for not wanting to/being able to go or just admit you are bored, you must consider this:
Councillors need to attend every open Council Meeting plus the many closed to the public, as well as strings of committee-meetings - for 4 looong years. Not just sitting there like you - doing stuff, too! Piles of mind-numbing stuff!
So - if attending just a couple of meetings bores you - be honest now! - don't waste the public's goodwill by having yourself elected! Getting the job can be relatively easy. Doing it could turn into one tedious, dragged-out bitch you can't get out of!
With significant reverberations for the Whole.
Those who ran last time, didn't make it and want to run again: shouldn't assume they know the routine. Clearly they don't! As in - where are they now? Why aren't they out there?
If you can realistically align your personal strengths (and weaknesses) with White Fortress doings (keenly observed/evaluated over months!), and you still want to run: show us what you've got!
Giving us time to get to know you well before the election - without not-again! enough-already! election-speechifying.
Votes for you will follow!
Deb Kozak, Mayor
Thursday, 22 March 2018
This post directly follows
Nelson Community Solar Garden
5 Mar, 2018
Reading it first or again will provide an intro and depth.
Photos here - all taken 18 Mar, 2018 - largely are a layperson's impression of the project's construction aspects. A basically urban, Lakeside Park kinda guy - while inexperienced in carpentry, concrete-whatever and solar-power "production" - I am comfortably observant and used to thinking reasonably/logically.
With design/construction-flaws and their ramifications glaringly apparent (even) to me - Are you ready for that? Are they serious? - I must wonder at the intentions and lack of qualifications of those who conceived this thing and slapped it together: unelected decision-makers, for the community.
And Kevin Cormack, CAO, calling it all "a low-value project".
What's with that, investors? They tell you?
Following are only observations/impressions of the installation's structural integrity.
Observations (pictures) are divided into 3 groups - from the ground up. Close scrutiny of pictures will reveal diverse problems within single images: block-misalignment, gravel-flow, moisture-absorption thus/and cracks in frames.
Concrete Mount-Blocks/Gravel Beds
Wooden Support Frames
1a. Concrete Mount-Blocks
These lumbering blocks - unsecured, except by gravitational pull - are markedly out of alignment with each other. Unless they were positioned this way - unlikely - they have been moving individually, to ultimately influence the frames carrying the solar panels - the whole. Individual then collective movement - falling dominoes - is irreversible: having to lead to the project's sooner demise.
1b. Gravel Beds
Unsecured - as in blocks floating on indifferent beds of gravel so loose that smaller stones/coarser sand have been washed away downhill: these gravel beds are uncontained.
The gravel has no specific depth but is a quickie attempt to level the ground, where rock in/protrudes irregularly. A Botox job.
2. Wooden Support Frames
Untreated timber(s) consistently exposed to moisture - much rain, mist and fog from the dam - without enough time to dry-out thoroughly: will warp, crack and rot. Cracks are particularly apt to retain moisture - therefore lengthening, widening and deepening, as is the case here.
3. Solar Panels
While very sensitive, they need a gentle but firm, steadying hand. Without it they will act-up and out. They already have for some time.
Council's approval of this project followed their usual m.o. - approve the principle/ignore the detail. Leaving that to whomever.
Go have a look!
Alex Love, Nelson Hydro
Carmen Proctor, Consultant
Kevi Cormack, CAO
Deb Kozak, Mayor
Monday, 5 March 2018
Quite conceivably the project as is now/there - since mid-June 2017 - won't survive another 10 years.
Not to get into deep-tech here - the average local can only find bewildering - this post keeps it short, simple and reasonable, based on the images presented - not necessarily in order of chronological pro/regression.
The general lack of awareness has been nurtured at/around City Hall with an unwillingness to open all relevant data, held close to the chest by Alex Love, Nelson Hydro; Carmen Proctor, Consultant and Kevin Cormack, CAO.
The following does not go into projected or realized financial results.
Good grief ... no!
The Garden's Improbability
Council approving without understanding it - or trying to;
The usual Nelsonites eager to see themselves/be seen at the forefront of daring new-whatever: Where do I sign, take my money! Please!
An unsuitable environment;
Cost-cutting measures prompting flawed installation by an inexpert contractor: disregarding crucial engineering requirements.
Because of the dam fog is a given in the area during spring and summer. Lessening the yield of sunlight harvested in the Garden's solar panels - fog burned-off by about 11:00am.
While not the original/only choice - this is too small. Where engineering plans stipulate a space of 6 meters between 2 rows of panels - the space here is cut by/to 3 meters. Meaning: one row casts a shadow on the next. The lower the sun - the more shadow.
Then - there's the dancing power-pole, preventing absorption wherever it dances!
The first/very-top image is from Dec 17, 2018/10:00am: with still no sun at the site, while already strong in the background.
So - all-in-all - it's not that the sun isn't trying: the choice of location and installation is just not inviting it in.
Power-yield from the Garden-as-is-where-when - here transposed into sun-hours to make it visual:
Dec '17 - 10 sun-hours
Jan '18 - 12 sun-hours
Feb '18 - 27 sun-hours
The total, while this power can only be available in received fits and starts. Yet with prior due diligence - choosing an appropriate location/installation - there could be substantially more. Even during winter months.
In a private solar-panel set-up - not far from the Garden - installed on appropriate galvanized metal-mounting and concrete sono-tubes below the frost-line - the necessary alignment faces no frost-heaving or movement such as that occurring in the Nelson Garden. It also is completely open to the sun all around, all day long.
While the Garden's solar panels should be installed by experts on metal-mounting similar to that above - below it is done by a timber-working company on wooden frames, resting on concrete mount-blocks.
These blocks are set on unsecured gravel-beds flattened with a basic hand-push plate-tamper, instead of the engineer-specified somewhat costly 1800 lb vibratory compactor.
Any misalignment of panels thus far - visually exemplified here in uneven spacing between them and at their bottoms - is due to mount-blocks settling individually, with warping of frames through that as well as moisture-saturation.
Causing pressure-and-pull on panels, their fastenings - each other - to probably have them fall off and/or explode.
There usually is no manufacturer's warranty on inexpertly installed panels.
Because of the interconnect of all construction components: there is no way to stop the move down the gravel-pit.
Only starting all over again expertly in a suitable location would do.
An overall lack of visionary depth of the project, unreasonable financial projections and the poor - mostly cost-quashed - planning and installation are certain to prevent the Nelson Community Solar Garden from producing a bountiful harvest for investors - ever.
Without me "belonging" to any social media: number of visitors to this post -
Alex Love, Nelson Hydro
Kevin Cormack, CAO
Deb Kozak, Mayor
Saturday, 17 February 2018
West Kootenay teacher reprimanded for threatening, shaming students
Tyler Harper - Nelson Star, Feb 1, 2018
Following is a letter to the Star, in response to online comments/commenting on this article being closed to readers after only a few days.
The letter ends up published almost unrecognizable. Observations critical of the Star's reporting are omitted; much of what is left has been reworked off-point.
Gary Poignant's uberediting lacks journalistic integrity.
Letter to the Editor
As reported - the reprimand of Dec. 2017 is for "several confrontations in classes that left his students feeling threatened and embarrassed."
It is not clear if all "his" students felt threatened and embarrassed or just the 5 who seemingly complained, 2015-16.
This is crucial - yet clearly no students were interviewed for this article.
Neither was the teacher.
While he may have been somewhat over the top in the listed incidents, mechanics and hockey-players feeling threatened, embarrassed, humiliated, shamed in them seems somewhat over the top as well.
Whining teenagers and frustrated teachers are all-too-familiar characters in today's high-school drama - but the article completely fails to develop these.
It is so poorly researched - and not at all reasoned - that readers were possibly lining up with comments.
But within days, (according to Harper) - "Comments were closed because several were defaming both the teacher as well as affected students."
If "several" were defamatory - others obviously were not, and those should be posted as long as it takes.
(To the public) The Star just chucked in the whole thing because it was too-rocking-the-boat for them, while Facebook - paid for dealing with Black Press commenting ... actually is behind this bit of censorship in Smallishtown.
End of letter
Sharing Your Locker!
The Facebook connection works like this:
Non-believers can't post Star comments unless they become Facebook converts. Once in the fold, logging in below the item to be commented on will allow this and having the comment appear on Facebook as well.
Facebook is in charge, and a commenter posting something determined crossing-the(ir)-line is identified and filed away in Zuck's mind-palace: there forever!
"Several" crossing-the(ir)-line comments led to the programmed decision to discontinue commenting altogether on this article at very out-of-town Facebook Central, according to very out-of-town criteria. With the Star not really there there.
Facebook manipulating the Nelson public's opinion!
Facebook censoring what we read and write!
Also see posts
13 Mar, 2017
4 Oct, 2016
My Teacher Doesn't Like Me!
Heavily leaning towards EW!!! BAD TEACHER!!! - while not taking into account the reality of high-school life today (Anti-Bullying Day in Nelson!?) - the article itself - dealing with stuff from 2 years ago - is actually "defaming" and "shaming" the teacher widely in our area through Black Press: it presents neither independently sourced evidence nor his own story.
It seems highly irresponsible of SD8 Superintendent Christine Perkins to have superficially discussed - thus the post/letter - with Reporter Tyler Harper the teacher's official "... signed consent resolution agreement with the BC Commissioner for Teacher Regulation in which he acknowledged 5 instances of improper conduct ..." and both having no qualms in sensationalizing this obviously no-way-out confession of sins - in public.
All around - what about privacy concerns, what about empathy?
What can students learn from this?
Also - leading the article with a large photo of L.V. Rogers automatically points at the school as a place where this stuff happened (happens?), while not identifying it as such-or-not specifically.
Where is the editing in this write-up?
I Hate School!
While the above article is presented as a singular aberration - a context for it may be found in the article below, 2 weeks later. Although the same reporter fails to see/produce a connection publicly.
Number of students graduating from Grade 12 on the decline
Tyler Harper - Nelson Star, Feb 14, 2018
Reading this one might imagine rampant frustration among teachers. Plural!
Because what we do learn is that the SD8-Kootenay Lake graduation rate has dropped 3% to 69% - while during the same period the provincial rate has risen from 83% to 84%. More perplexing yet is the contrast between SD8 and SD20 (Trail, Castlegar), with a graduation-rate there of 93%.
Graduating aboriginal students here decreased 10% to 58%, and special-needs students were down 9% to 49%.
Granted - Perkins only recently inherited this mess from Jeff Jones, yet there are records, reports; admin staff supposedly has not changed. Mind you - the latter could also be part of the problem. She now being "shocked" shows a lack of preparedness for the job here, and "we want to go from average to amazing" is unrealistic P.R. - we need to move up towards average first!
Perkins saying "there's no one reason for the declining numbers" - and promptly providing none at all - seems to mean she doesn't have a clue. And Harper doesn't pick up on this.
"Right now the plan, according to Perkins, is to take a close look at each student individually to make sure they are on track to graduate."
Towards an excellent supermarket job? And who will take this individual close look but - of course! - the teachers: now to become specialists in raging hormones with no matter how much MORE skill, time and patience that takes. In not enough classes for ever-plugged-in, predictably feckless teens.
While teachers are just trying to make it through one more day: who is going to take a close look at their individual needs?
A close look should be a given at any time, and presenting it as an epiphany places local education back in the dark ages. With Perkins seemingly not grasping: any permanent positive changes need to be based in a complete system-overhaul. Cleaning house: without that the graduation-rate can't move anywhere but further down.
Readers'/parents'/teachers' comments/responses on both seriously wanting Star write-ups are crucial. Generally for the sake of area-education - and specifically for one of them as a mindless hatchet-job, liable to destroy an unsupported while stressed-out teacher's life.
This Star don't twinkle!
Tyler Harper, Reporter
Gary Poignant, Editor
Eric Lawson, Publisher
Board of Education
Wednesday, 31 January 2018
Jaques Cartier Bridge
For some time the idea for this has been facing me every morning I walk in Lakeside Park. Those who drive may ignore the bridge as such - those who walk certainly don't.
Also - a recent report in the Star lists the 20 most promising Canadian places to visit in 2018. No - not Nelson. All represented by a single picture - the one of Montreal is the lit Jaques Cartier Bridge above.
Han River Bridge
Despite the often over-the-top claims to being special: Nelson's urban attractions are few.
And we lack a visually distinctive core-structure - marker - to identify the City to outsiders - tourists. Before they come.
Nelson's Eiffel Tower sort of thing. Unique!
Our "heritage" buildings are visually generic, varying little from those of other BC towns. We have also known for some time that Nelson never actually wins the title of "most arty small town in Canada" - this claim "phoned-in" from here to the author of the infamous book claiming so. At the time he has never been to Nelson.
Astrid Heyerdahl, Touchstones - stating this most-artiest as a fact in her recent budget-proposal - shows the paucity of outstanding urban attractions.
This central space to possibly become the visual/cultural heart of Nelson turns into a condo/supermarket development. Its image now the single-item background of one of the City's web-pages. This also is telling.
While the CPR Station redo is commendable - the building as such is not special, and similar renos have been done elsewhere. Fernie does it with volunteers as a socio-cultural multi-discipline development to give itself a beating heart - 27 years ago.
Fernie: The Arts Station and How It's Done
8 Feb, 2016
A multi-purpose cultural center for Nelson's Railtown - THE HEART - is first (and several times since) proposed in
To-At-From THE HEART
14 Dec, 2015
but has yet to be actively considered within the Railtown development.
So - be honest - what's truly unique in this town?
While the basis of any major undertaking here should - at all times - be creative focus on the economy - we have been comfortably dawdling over coffee. With good enough being good enough inviting stagnation.
Stuck in self-satisfied/limiting local possibilities, any sustainable development for Nelson needs to come from tourism. In the current climate - there has been little movement past whitish heritage ad nauseam, minimal discretionary shopping - and many, many cups!
(I'm not talking snow-bunnies: a different time and place.)
So we must push ourselves and each other into spaces where nothing short of excellence will do - as a way of life!
Breaking out of our comfy comfort-zone!
Daring to think big!
International Peace Bridge
A visually daring statement-structure is a start - not only visible within Nelson but also when approaching it from either end. Remember the saw-mill's inevitable plume of smoke? Like that - but positive!
It's already there and frequently used in advertising as symbol of Nelson: the (incorrectly referred to as) Orange Bridge.
Shabby-looking in faded two-tone pink, it's currently just a habit needing to be crossed coming/going at the City's north-end.
But imagine it painted: one strong, clean color emphasizing its structure during the day!
Imagine it lit in a brilliant multi-color design at night! And the buzz of crossing it day-or-night, being inside it!
Imagine walking/sitting in Lakeside Park in the evening, listening to intimate live-music performances on the beach - the bridge providing a splendid background!
Imagine its magic even in the rain, a snow-storm!
"At the bridge" becoming a destination. For locals and tourists.
Its image (and imaginative use) recognized far-reaching. And taken home - advertising Nelson - on t-shirts, postcards, trinkets.
An economic blast(-off)!
Picture yourself looking at a single image each representing 5 BC tourism-towns. Heritage-whatever and hanging flower-baskets.The usual. Except one showing a colorfully lit bridge. Which draws your attention?
Enough already with mud-puddle-colored repression: a bright high-energy spark brings the local psyche alive. To eventually even lighting heritage-buildings downtown. Forget Xmas lighting - it's all in the year-around streetscape!
While the Rotarians have earlier considered lighting the bridge - this should be taken on collaboratively with the City, it having access to resources the Rotarians haven't. With the bridge run by the Ministry of Transportation, and its highway thundering through town: there is the possibility of a beautiful friendship with benefits between floors in the White Building.
Big Four Bridge
Louisville KY, USA
Of course - the predictable initial response for not wanting to act (on this) is: there's no money! This reason is the excuse for countless wonderful ideas out there never seeing the light of day.
Mental sluggishness coupled with fear of succeeding!
Which by the way and conceivably could become the reason for Nelson never growing further than it has: a town with pretensions, aiming for solid mediocrity.
Some time ago the figure of 100K+ is mentioned as a possible price-tag for lighting the bridge. Even if it should be more: what is Nelson's sustained future worth to Nelson?
For some perspective: consider the way over 100K already sunk into (remember the?) Cottonwood Market we have yet to see and probably still not finished paying for.
The door to a focused future: willingness to be exceptional!
Bin He Bridge
Deb Kozak, Mayor
Pam Mierau, Manager - Development Services
Alex Thumm, Development Analyst
Sydney Black, Executive Director - Nelson and District Arts Council