There was an opportunity recently to secure the newly released top level .blog address. Yes, this did cost money, but more than any other motive, I wanted to secure my name as I am only one of several bloggers with the same name. The older, longer URL still works, of course, but I will be printing a new set of business cards with the shorter, more easy to use one.
The process was pretty easy but there were some odd moments. As soon as I got the email from WordPress that told me I could reserve the name I did so. And then seemed to get reminders for exactly the same name several times over the next few weeks. And even when I was told that no-one else had bid on the name and it was now mine, I did not get the email telling me how – and when – to set it up. I started that process this week and found I also have to pay an annual fee to use it. Having done that I got a set of instructions telling me to reset DNS settings on the server. Which is, of course, WordPress. Oddly enough even though there was a list of instructions for all the other hosting services, there wasn’t any link to WordPress. So an email had to be sent to the “happiness engineers”. But I still have to refresh connections with Facebook and Google+.
What I have also noticed this week is the complications that seem to have set in with VanCity, which has installed new software – which required them to go off line for a few days – and still doesn’t seem to be working very well. I thought computers were supposed to make things easier!
Press Release from Fair Vote Canada, December 1, 2016
Today, Canadians saw first-hand how proportional representation can work for all Citizens. The Special Committee on Electoral Reform – a multi-partisan group of MPs who were selected in proportion to the votes their parties received – submitted an evidence-based, majority report that called for a strong system of Proportional Representation.
88% of expert witnesses who expressed a preference called for proportional representation
4% supported the Alternative Vote (majoritarian ranked ballot systems tend to evolve towards a two-party system, often favour centrist parties and could further entrench the distortions brought about by our existing majoritarian system. )
67% thought a referendum was undesirable or unnecessary.
I am not an engineer or a geologist. But I do know that soil liquefaction is a huge problem for structures in earthquake prone areas, like the one we live in. When the shaking starts what seemed to be solid ground is actually waterlogged sands and similar material – the result of millennia of silt being deposited by the Fraser River as it slows on its way to the sea – starts to move. The damage to buildings in San Francisco in its famous quake was due to similar soil conditions. They still cause issues there: a high rise called Millennium has piles that do not reach bedrock and it is both sinking and leaning.
When the Massey crossing was first contemplated it was these soil conditions that caused the engineers to reject the idea of a bridge and chose a tunnel instead. Those conditions have not changed since. The Geological Survey of Canada in 1995 reported that bedrock is around 1,970 to 2,300 feet below where the new bridge is proposed. More recently B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure had two holes bored to 1,099 feet “without tagging bedrock” – not really a surprise since there was another 1,000 feet to go.
We know that Greater Vancouver is going to experience a major earthquake since there has not been a major shift in the tectonic plates since European settlement started, but there was apparently a “big one” which was recorded as a tsunami that hit Japan. These events are hard to predict with any accuracy but many seismologists think it is “overdue”. No-one has ever built a cable stayed bridge of this size in these kind of conditions. Indeed it is very hard to think of why anyone would propose taking such a risk – anyone who has the imagination to envisage what happens to two massive towers unsecured to bedrock but linked by cables and a bridge deck when the soil beneath them liquefies and shakes.
“I think people tend to focus on the Big One. If you’re looking at the statistics there’s a one in 10 chance that it will happen within the next 50 years. I think of those as fairly high odds. If we had a lottery with that kind of probability you’d probably buy a ticket,” she said.
The “she” quoted is Earthquake Canada seismologist Alison Bird
Ask yourself, as Premier Christy Clark wants you to buy a bridge, do you feel lucky?
The increase in shipping traffic if the TransMountain pipeline expansion is actually implemented poses a quite extraordinary threat to the Salish Sea. I heard on the CBC yesterday that the ships used to load at pipeline terminal in Burnaby are smaller than optimal, so they will be running a shuttle service to supertankers moored off the coast somewhere for transhipment. And do not forget that we are talking about diluted bitumen: this is a heavy mixture of tar and sand mixed with natural gas condensate to get it to flow. In the event of a spill, the lighter fractions quickly evaporates, and the bitumen sinks. That means it is for all intents and purposes irrecoverable. Indeed, I think, as campaigners against the pipeline, we need to take a lesson from Jordan Bateman and repeat “dilbit sinks” whenever anyone talks about what a great idea tar sands exports are.
The following is a letter that Susan Jones has sent to our politicians. She copied it to Fraser Voices and has given me permission to reproduce it here.
The Right Honourable Justin P. Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
The Honourable Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans
The Honourable Jim Carr, Minister of Natural Resources
The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport
The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities
Members of Parliament Ottawa, Canada, K1A 0E4
Have you any idea of what you have just approved with the Kinder Morgan pipeline in British Columbia?
Your statistics and statements of fact are not correct and should be referenced.
According to the website below:
“ More than 10,000 vessels transit the lower Strait of Georgia, Boundary Pass and Haro Strait each year. But that includes tugs, fishing boats, private yachts and ferry boats. There are about 3,000 large tankers, container ships and bulk carriers that pass the same way each year. Adding another 400 tankers would increase the total traffic to about ten ships a day, a bit less than one every hour, coming or going.”
This is not 1% increase as stated by the federal Liberal Government. It is more than a 13% increase in large ships.
Also, you have not included other planned increases as outlined in the article referenced below. If all proceed, there will be a 40% increase in large vessels through the narrow shipping lane from Vancouver to the Pacific This is also the route traveled by the endangered Southern Resident Killer Whales (Orcas) which you are entrusted to protect.
The information you have broadcast is not “evidence based” and it is not “safe” for the amazing environment of the Strait of Georgia, Boundary Pass, Haro Strait and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Just take a look at the maps below and see how narrow the shipping passes are from Vancouver to the Pacific. In addition, the passage from the Juan de Fuca Strait to the Pacific is dangerous and subject to strong winds, and powerful currents. The area, also known as the Big Eddy is rich in nutrients supporting entire food chains – from plankton to whales.
Take a look at the route below and think about the impact of even a minor accident or spill. Even without an accident, the noise impact of increased numbers of large ships interferes with whale communication leading to mortality. The impacts of increased numbers of large vessels cannot be effectively mitigated.
This graphic appeared in my Twitter stream today posted by Professor Chris Oliver of Anstruther, Scotland. I started following him merely because he happens to come from Forest Gate, but if you are on Twitter he is definitely worth a follow @CyclingSurgeon. The graphic is also Creative Commons.