Angry Robot

What the Fk Is Up in Toronto? – Esquire


 <blockquote>        <p>Rob Ford represents the id. He represents big men who eat too much, party too much, don’t listen to mother, show up drunk. He serves an essential cultural service in a way. He is our growing pain. Toronto is coming of age hard and fast. It’s getting big and mean and the stakes involved in it are starting to become actually significant. It’s not a small town by the lake anymore. It’s the ninth most expensive city in the world. But we’ve had enough fun with mayor Ford by now. We need somebody real . The monsters have to go away eventually. Usually it’s the day after Halloween.</p>    </blockquote>

Peak Advertising and the Future of the Web

Toronto Police Service :: News Release #27905

For those wondering who Lisi was extorting, “the accused made extortive efforts to retrieve a recording”.

Twelve highlights from police investigation into Rob Ford

Rob Ford video scandal: Police have the video that appears to show mayor smoking crack, Blair says


Alexander Lisi drug arrest document released by Toronto police

This is the full doc.

Bitstrips Comics Dominate Facebook: Where Did They Come From?

Remember Bitstrips, the make-your-own-comic site that I was all into back in aught-eight? Shit is blowing up! I know for years they were focused on the educational market but more recently they did a Facebook app and then an iOS/Android version. Suddenly they have 10 million users and are being called “the new Instagram”. I know these guys – congrats to Ba and Shahan. Maybe I’ll have to resume “My Two Terminator Dads” to celebrate. (thanks, y)

A Don Mills Subway for Toronto

Great post from Steve Munro arguing for a rebranding of the Downtown Relief Line, and for it to run all the way to Eglinton & Don Mills, to prevent the misconception that it is a line for downtown “elites”. More detail on his own site as well.

Rob Ford: Judge orders partial release of document that could link Toronto mayor with police investigation

There is probably going to be some (partially) juicy Rob Ford news tomorrow.

Daring Fireball: The iPad Air

It’s so much lighter that it’s a credible alternative to the Mini for a light, portable iPad. Well that makes for some challenging decisions.

How to Cut the Poverty Rate in Half (It's Easy)

Basic income, bitches.

The Magical iPad

questions why the iPad was somewhat undersold at the latest Apple keynote

Computers Are Going To Disappear

Not a surprise to the sci-fi reader, but telling that this is the stage we are now entering. Today I have read articles about a programmable robot for four-year-olds and how soon we will be wearing ten computers each. It is time for small-scale AIs, computer learning, swarms of little, cheap devices everywhere.

Is Google building a hulking floating data center in SF Bay?

Looks like they’re finally building a floating death ray and/or scientology-style sea fortress

Interactive: Toronto Transit – choose your better way

Here’s a fun transit construction doodad that allows you to participate in the great lines-on-maps-that-never-amount-to-anything fantasyland of Toronto transit planning, by choosing which Toronto transit lines to build, talling up the cost, and then getting discouraged and building nothing. Mine is below, and is fairly conservative, if a complete pipe dream – all currently underway Big Move projects, replacing the Scarborough subway extension with the originally planned LRT, and adding the eastern jag of the DRL. So really only $5-billion of extra construction, despite what the thing says. The big question mark is what in the hell we are doing building this Pearson-Union Express nonsense when it could probably function as a proper transit line and do a lot more good.

In a Major Departure, Google Shows Banner Ads in Search Results

Stories like this (and this) have led me to scale back my use of Google services. I think I’m only using Gmail and search now, down from many more.

Ford photo taken outside what police call “drug house”

Also, police were probably surveilling Siad when he showed the crack tape to Gawker’s John Cook. Do these articles mean that some of the Traveler documents are now unsealed?

On Your First Birthday

Riding a bus with you is like riding a bus with a rock star.

You never “made strange”. You’re almost the opposite – you go out of your way to attract strangers’ attention. You wave, you make that awesome throat-clearing sound. You laugh a lot. You might be anxious and a little screamy at the start of a meal – I feel you, kid – but later on you’re trying out some new sounds, trying to make us laugh. You’re working on your material.

You seem to like music, and dancing. We danced a lot early on, when you needed a lot more calming down. I would hold you face down, my hand around your tiny head, bundled up in your swaddle. Your feet would just reach my elbow. Now, you need very little soothing. You suck your thumb when you need it.

I remember the first time you really made eye contact with me. I was changing you – maybe we shouldn’t do this, but we change you on the dining room table. It’s huge, your grandfather made it. You have his eyes now. You looked at me, held the gaze, and smiled. You are quite alert, which people often comment on. In the hospital, just after you were born, I carried you around the room. You didn’t cry – you just looked around.

You look around like that still, but you can now move about, and you do it with assurance. You grab things, you know what you want to do with them, and you do it. Admittedly, that’s mostly put in mouth or throw, but I admire your confidence.

Sometimes I try to separate the things that all parents must feel from those that I feel. Being a father for only a year so far, I keep on feeling new things, then realizing how utterly common those feelings are.

But it’s foolish to think like that, ultimately. It’s some kind of cool-kid reflex, an aversion to common things. That every parent feels them makes them more valuable, not less. By feeling them I am sharing in something huge, with strangers from all avenues of life, with my own parents, and their parents. I know the pride, the fear, the love. The pride at your accomplishments. At showing you off to others, at seeing you make strangers smile. The fear when you slipped and bashed your gums and blood flowed from you for the first time. The love that squeezed me from your first ultrasound, somehow, and has yet to let go. I pray it never does.

Map: Six Decades of the Most Popular Names for Girls, State-by-State

Not a whole lot of Saoirses out there.

Sad Etsy Boyfriends


Medieval Land Fun-Time

GoT redub. (via)


Ghost is a Kickstarter-funded, Javascript-based new blogging platform that has just been opened up to the public.

TED talks are lying to you

Takedown of “the literature of creativity” including Richard Florida’s “The Rise of the Creative Class”:

 <blockquote>        <p>Every element of Florida’s argument infuriated our future correspondent. Was he suggesting planned bohemias? Built by governments? To attract businesses? It all seemed like a comic exercise in human gullibility.</p>  </blockquote>

From the comfort of Toronto, a prayer of Thanksgiving

Selling LRT

The biggest enemy of LRT in Toronto isn’t Rob Ford, or some suburban subway fetish, or a mistrust of surface rail. It’s the technology’s own vague identity.

In Toronto, we know what subways are, and we like them. That’s because we have two well-run lines that are the backbone of our aging transit network. The trains come frequently, and they run fast. Given traffic issues, the subway is often more reliable than driving.

We have less of a sense of what LRT actually is. Wikipedia has a decent definition: “typically an urban form of public transport using steel-tracked fixed guideways that operate primarily along exclusive rights of way and have vehicles capable of operating as a single train or as multiple units coupled together.” When the technology was proposed back in the 60s, it was differentiated from then-unpopular trolley/tram/streetcar systems by the following features

Dedicated rights of way, multiple cars and low-to-the ground operation tend to be important. Wider-spaced stops and all-door boarding are other common features of LRT lines. LRT speeds average 27km/h, closer to that of subways (32 km/h) than streetcars (17km/h). Many LRT systems operate off-street, in their own corridors and with their own stations, more like a subway than a Toronto streetcar line. Essentially, LRT is something you can build in areas with less density, areas which don’t yet need the expense of the subway, but need something better than buses or streetcars.

Opponents in Toronto have managed to tar LRT with the brush of two less-loved technologies: streetcars and the SRT in Scarborough. The SRT is a type of light rail, but a very poor implementation of it, based on an unproven (and now discredited) technology, ICTS. It is loud, unreliable, and slow.

Streetcars have been running in Toronto since 1861 and were the backbone of our transit system for almost a century. Their modern implementation, however, is marred by old, unreliable cars, poor route management, and – more than anything else – by their operation in mixed traffic on some of the most congested streets in the country.

The TTC itself has muddied the waters around LRT, often affixing the name to streetcar-based projects like the Spadina, Harbourfront and St. Clair streetcar lines. Combined with the poor state of the streetcar system and of the taxonomically-similar SRT, it’s no surprise that LRT has gotten a bad name.

Things may change once people are able to take a ride on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT (currently under construction), which will run underground for most of its length, and which has subway-like stations (although more closely spaced). Unfortunately, that won’t be until 2022 – and transit advocate Steve Munro is worried that if the current irrational trajectory of transit debate in Toronto continues, even the crosstown line could get torpedoed.

Before then, those who want a rational transit network in Toronto will have to paint a better picture of LRT – or we will be paying for expensive, underused suburban subway lines like Sheppard and the prospective Scarborough extension for decades to come.