Monthly Archives: May 2008

Toddler finds way to really green solar with green plants


Biosolar’s a toddler chronologically, just turned two years old in April. But they’re already publicly traded and they could stand tall in the expanding field of photovolataics, making electricity from the sun. The firm is based in Santa Clarita in Southern California, so they know about sunlight.

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Before You Move: Where Are The Next Transit Hubs?


Toronto Light Rail NetworkHere’s an easy question: where do you live?

Now here’s a much harder one: where should you live to ensure you’re near a GTA transit hub and how will the TTC’s plans for expansion impact the value of your home?

The answer to both queries can be worth thousands of dollars because the old real estate axiom about location, location, location has a well-known addendum: being near a subway or major transit route can instantly increase what your home is worth without you having to do anything at all.

But can you tell where they’re going to build or if the place you’re looking to buy will one day find itself on a subway or major transit line? The answer is yes, if you believe government plans about where officials hope to put the new routes.

Adding transit takes years of planning and a commitment of millions of dollars and all of it has to be done well in advance. That means the powers-that-be know where they’ll be putting the new tracks and trains as much as a decade or more before a shovel actually hits the ground.

One of those locations could be along waterfront-adjacent Cherry Street, which would make the folks on Condo Row lick their collective chops at the thought of bulging resale values.

“Streetcar access is phenomenal in terms of adding to value and presence … people want to be on a streetcar line,” said David Jackson, a Toronto urban planner.

Plans for the new tracks could start as early as spring 2009, while the underground expansion of the Don Mills subway line all the way to Morningside could have homeowners on the north side of town dreaming of dollars, though there’s no official date for that project to commence.

So just how much of a bottom line difference are we talking about here?

“Easily thirty to fifty thousand dollars,” confirmed Toronto realtor Janice Mackie. “Thirty thousand dollars is a parking spot … you don’t have to purchase that.”

What’s more, given the constant rise in gas prices and the GTA’s traffic volume, the Better Way may soon be looking even better still.

And while the two mentioned above are among the more central and immediate transit expansion schemes in the works, there are dozens of others being hatched around the GTA and Ontario as well.

Toronto Transit City

Here’s where you can check out the best laid plans that are being laid out right now.

Transit City: Can tell you about planned expansions in the city of Toronto.

Transit City map: Have a peek at what a future light rapid transit system might look like.

Move Ontario 2020: See the plans for the rest of the GTA here.

Move Ontario 2020: See a map for the GTA

Waterfront Toronto: The downtown core may soon look a lot different than it currently does.

Metrolinx: Transforming transit in the GTHA

See original CityTV News video and read more | digg story

The case for a Downtown Relief Line


In the last 100 years, there have been many subway proposals that have come and gone. One of the first serious proposals, in 1911, would have seen streetcar subways built under Yonge, Queen and Bloor streets to feed city and interurban cars downtown. Later proposals called for a Queen Street subway for streetcars or heavy rail, which remained on the books until about 1980. The Eglinton West subway even started construction, until filled in by order of the Harris Conservatives in 1995. Another serious subway proposal that never got anywhere was something called the Downtown Relief Line.

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Xenophobic: Racism, prejudice and utter ignorance in Herouxville Quebec


Rascism, prejudice and ignorance in Herouville QuebecIs Herouville simply a town stuck in another time? People in Canada like to say that American is more racist, however I beg to differ. America has a checkered past, but they have at least tried to “deal” with the issues to racism and prejudice. America has a constitution that promotes Liberty and Freedom. Someone would say that only in America can someone named Obama run for President. In Canada like to pride ourselves in being better than everyone else, but are we really? In another instance of either sheer ignorance, total fear or stupidity; lets remind you about Herouxville Quebec, in Canada. With the minority report out in Quebec, nothing has really changed in the small town of Herouxville. The town’s people, still seem to be stuck in another world and want to stay this way. Although it is not reflective of the entire population, I would dare to say that this is not an uncommon attitude amongst individuals in Canada. People who do not take time to understand and simply keep a one track mind on what they think a minority group is like is simply ignorant. There is the slight possibility that the people of Herouxville do not have the needed intelligence to understand what they have done, however I would be making a “generalization”? Right? By: Andy MJ / a.k.a The GTA Patriot / Toronto, Ontario

Quebecers no more racist than others
Commission says Quebec must do more for immigrants
Quebec’s minority report released
Quebecers urged to be more open toward immigrants

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The town of Herouxville is white, French-speaking and Catholic. But that didn’t stop local officials from adopting a rule of conduct for immigrants. Included in the code: women should be able to show their faces in public (aside from costumes worn on Halloween), and they should also be permitted to drive and write cheques. Women should also not be killed in public beatings or burned alive.

Critics call the code ridiculous and xenophobic, but Town Councilor Andre Drouin says he has received about 2,000 e-mails of support — 700 more than Herouxville’s population.

“We have just published a small document saying who we are and what’s our standard,” he told CTV News.
But some Muslim leaders have called the code a thinly-veiled example of xenophobia. “Racism is coming out of the woodwork now, and it’s not being obscure or subtle,” said Salaam Elmenyawi of the Muslim Council of Montreal.

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Sen. Edward Kennedy has a brain tumor


BOSTON – Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has a malignant brain tumor. Doctors for the Massachusetts Democrat say tests conducted after Kennedy suffered a seizure this weekend show a tumor in his left parietal lobe. Preliminary results from a biopsy of the brain identified the cause of the seizure as a malignant glioma, they said. Some experts gave the liberal lion less than a year to live.
Edward "Ted" Kennedy

Doctors discovered the tumor after the 76-year-old senator and sole surviving son of America’s most storied political family suffered a seizure over the weekend. The diagnosis cast a pall over Capitol Hill, where the Massachusetts Democrat has served since 1962, and came as a shock to a family all too accustomed to sudden, calamitous news.

“Ted Kennedy and the Kennedy family have faced adversity more times in more instances with more courage and more determination and more grace than most families have to,” said Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass. “Every one of us knows what a big heart this fellow has. He’s helped millions and millions of people — from the biggest of legislation on the floor to the most personal.”

Kerry added: “This guy is one unbelievable fighter.”

Kennedy’s doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital said he had a malignant glioma in the left parietal lobe, a region of the brain that helps govern sensation, movement and language.

Seizures can be caused by a wide variety of things, some of them relatively minor. The finding of a brain tumor — and specifically a glioma, an especially lethal type — was about the worst possible news.

Kennedy’s doctors said he will remain in the hospital for the next couple of days as they consider chemotherapy and radiation. They did not mention surgery, a possible indication the tumor is inoperable.

Outside experts gave him no more than three years — and perhaps far less.

“As a general rule, at 76, without the ability to do a surgical resection, as kind of a ballpark figure you’re probably looking at a survival of less than a year,” said Dr. Keith Black, chairman of neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

In a statement, Dr. Lee Schwamm, vice chairman of neurology at Massachusetts General, and Dr. Larry Ronan, Kennedy’s primary physician, said the senator “has had no further seizures, remains in good overall condition, and is up and walking around the hospital.”

“He remains in good spirits and full of energy,” the physicians said.

An Associated Press photographer who was given access to the senator on Tuesday captured Kennedy, dressed in a gray sweater and dark slacks, joking and laughing with family members as he sat at a table in a family room at the hospital.

Kennedy’s wife since 1992, Vicki, and his five children and stepchildren have been at his bedside.

“Obviously it’s tough news for any son to hear,” said Robin Costello, a spokeswoman for one of Kennedy’s sons, Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I. “He’s comforted by the fact that his dad is such a fighter, and if anyone can get through something as challenging as this, it would be his father.”

Kennedy, the Senate’s second-longest serving member, was re-elected in 2006 and is not up for election again until 2012. Were he to resign or die in office, state law requires a special election for the seat 145 to 160 days afterward.

Among the potential Democratic candidates: Martha Coakley, the state’s attorney general; Rep. Edward J. Markey; former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II, Kennedy’s nephew; and Kennedy’s wife. The Republican contenders could include former Gov. Mitt Romney or former Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey.

Kennedy has left his stamp on a raft of health care, pension and immigration legislation during four decades in the Senate.

Senators of both parties heard about Kennedy’s condition during their weekly, closed-door policy lunches, and some looked drawn or misty-eyed.

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Dalton McGuinty’s increasing centralization of power


Premier Dalton McGuinty insists he is not rattled by apparent dissension in his Liberal ranks. In a move that even loyalists now concede was ill-advised, McGuinty ordered all staff members to leave the Liberal caucus room on May 13 then criticized MPPs for speaking out of school.

The MPP said the ensuing one-hour discussion, sparked by a May 10 Star article headlined “Premier McGuinty’s tight ship,” exposed a growing resentment from elected officials over the increasing centralization of power.

“There’s a bit of arrogance coming out of the premier’s office,” said another senior Liberal.

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Barrie’s downtown hit again by fire


Firefighters continue to battle a blaze this morning that razed a section of the city’s downtown, the second major fire in less than six months. Dozens of residents in apartments over stores along Dunlop Street scrambled to safety after an apparent explosion rocked the complex shortly before 11 p.m.

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Toronto Porter Airlines’ Big Apple Plans Soured By FAA


The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has taken a big bite out of Porter Airlines’ Big Apple ambitions.

The regulator ruled the Toronto-based upstart airline must trim its daily schedule of 14 flights between Hogtown and Newark, N.J. by four in order to reduce congestion and delays at Newark Liberty International Airport.

Porter, which operates out of the Toronto City Centre Airport, argued the reduced schedule violates the U.S.-Canada open skies pact, adding that the market should determine the amount of competition that exists.

But the FAA was unconvinced, saying Porter’s new, slimmed-down schedule would take effect in the summer. That means Porter must cancel 29 per cent of its weekday flights and reduce its Sunday schedule. The carrier said that given the 11pm curfew in effect at the Toronto Island Airport the rules will effectively limit its Toronto-Newark flying hours to between 7am and 5pm.

Porter president Robert Deluce had hoped to land at Newark at 5:30pm and leave again at 6:30pm, to capitalize on business travellers heading to and from New York. It has so far sold 25,000 seats on the Toronto-Newark route, competing with Air Canada and Houston-based carrier Continental.

The upstart airline, which began operations in October 2006 flying between Toronto and Ottawa, has expanded to other destinations including Montreal, Halifax and Quebec City.

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Serving students in culturally clustered schools


I still think that this is a bad idea? There are other ways to solve social issues and problems. Excuses are unacceptable and only help to further alienate various groups in our city. However, if someone can provide me with a reason this a good idea, I am all ears. Andy MJ /a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”.

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Educators debate need for same-culture role models amid reality of ‘segregated’ schools. When Canada’s largest school board votes tomorrow on whether to start an Africentric alternative school, there will be those, including Ontario’s premier, who oppose a school that clusters children by race.

Segregation, critics charge, has no place in our public schools.

Yet schools have long been segregated, naturally, by virtue of the colour-coded neighbourhoods in which they sit, says veteran urban planner Mohammad Qadeer of Queen’s University.

In Canada, he argues, this could be a good thing?

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TTC to seriously consider relief line by 2018, Giambrone says…


“TTC chairman Adam Giambrone says a new subway line cutting through the bottom of the city is a “good idea,” one the TTC will start looking at seriously by 2018. The Downtown Rapid Transit project, or Downtown Relief Line (DRL), would relieve congestion at the Bloor-Yonge interchange and the line’s busiest stretch between Yonge and Union stations.”

http://transit.toronto.on.ca/subway/5113.shtml

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1) Can we really wait until 2018?

2) Can the Yonge line truly handle the addition and influx of passengers from Richmond Hill and beyond?

3) Why are there so few options to get downtown?

For the downtown Toronto core to remain vibrant these questions need to be answered. While politicians debate who is at fault, who should pay and when we should start “INVESTING” in transit they continue to approve new condo developments, higher density and more taxes. How are these people going to get around? This is not Vancouver and unfortunately we do not have a system like Montreal or New York. When will our politicians wake up and make the investments needed for our city? Or better yet, when will “you” wake up?

By Andy MJ
a.k.a “The GTA Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

Rumor: What’s next from Apple? Atom-powered mini-tablet? Tablet Mac? iTablet?


Atom-powered mini-tablet! This one was pretty hot! ZDNet reported that Intel Germany CEO Hannes Schwaderer confirmed that there is an iPhone that will be using Intel’s new Atom processor. According to lore, the elusive device is slightly larger than iPhone and speculation that it could be the long-rumored Apple mini-tablet with a 720 x 480 display.

Intel smashed this one pretty quickly, yesterday saying that Schwaderer’s comments were misinterpreted. Intel merely believes that the iPhone is representative of a new kind of platform (called the Mobile Internet Device or MID) and that Atom is expected to form the heart of many MIDs.

apple mini-tablet

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Microsoft makes it official – XP is coming to the XO OLPC


Microsoft’s participation in the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative has been fraught with mystery and disinformation from the get-go. But on May 15, Microsoft officials finally gave the OLPC project Redmond’s official blessing.

Up to this point, OLPC Chief Nicholas Negroponte preannounced Microsoft’s every move on the OLPC front (and sometimes not quite correctly). But on May 15, Microsoft and the OLPC announced in tandem that Microsoft is “joining” the OLPC project.

Yet again, exactly what this means is a bit murky. Microsoft has been testing for months now whether it could get XP to run on OLPC XO laptops. Seemingly, according to a new blog entry by James Utzschneider, Manager of Microsoft’s Developing Markets Unit, the tests were successful. But now it sounds like there are going to be more tests. From Utzschneider’s May 15 blog post:

“Today Microsoft and the OLPC are announcing support for Windows on the OLPC XO computer.The two organizations will work together on several pilot programs in emerging market countries starting next month, and the offering will RTM in August or September. Initially it will only be available in emerging market countries where governments or NGOs are subsidizing the purchase of a large number of PCs for students, but there is the possibility of making this available for other customers through a broader set of channels at a later point in time.”

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