Robert Vinet


The Stress of Separation and Detention Changes the Lives of Children

These actions have focused outrage and attention on the current U.S. Administration’s callous, racial, and white supremacist agenda.

What shocks me the most is not that these actions are supported by many Americans. The U.S.A. has a long history of problems over race. What shocks me the most is just how deep and wide the support really is.

This is the United States of America today. This is what is happening now. And there is a good chance this will continue for a while as there’s a good chance he will get reelected.

The horrific conditions under which immigrants and especially immigrant children are being held in US detention centers, rightly reminds us of the Nazi concentration camps. Lessons of the past have been forgotten.

What I’ve Learned: If their words don’t match their actions, trust their actions. More important than talk is how one lives their life and how they treat others.

Isaac Chotiner, writing for The New Yorker (paywall):

What most concerns you about what we have read about and seen from these border facilities holding children?

Oh, God, where do I begin? I think—to cut through all of the noise, the politics, the back-and-forth on the details—there are just two core issues that are screaming out. One is the fact that the forced and abrupt separation of children from their parents is a huge psychological trauma and assault. The magnitude of the nature of the crisis for a child’s health and well-being cannot be overstated. Abrupt separation from primary caregivers or parents is a major psychological emergency.

The second issue is the prolonged placement of children in institutional settings. Obviously, the two are linked in this particular situation. From the perspective of what we know about children’s health and well-being, what we know about trauma, abrupt separation is one area where we have a lot of research and a lot of evidence about its consequences. But prolonged institutionalization is a separate area in which we have an equally deep research base and knowledge about how damaging that kind of setting is for kids. We are dealing with two very well-studied, serious assaults on the health and well-being of children.

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Happy Canada Day

This July 1st marks Canada’s 152nd birthday.

Here are some other facts and numbers you might want to know:

  • 37,578,285 — Canada’s population as of 12:15 p.m. ET on Friday.
    • 3,463,000 — the country’s estimated population in 1867.
  • 46,995,360 — the number of maple taps in Canadian trees in 2016.
  • 36,581— the number of people who attended Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill last year.
  • 34.7 C — the daily high temperature in Ottawa last July 1.
  • 11— the number of statutory holidays in most Canadian provinces and territories.
  • 1st — Canada’s rank among the 25 countries that accepted UN refugees in 2018.
    • 28,100 — the number of refugees who resettled here last year.
    • 1.4 million — the number of people worldwide in need of permanent resettlement.
  • 9th — Canada’s worldwide ranking among nations in the latest World Happiness Report, just behind New Zealand and ahead of Austria.
  • 82.782 years— the life expectancy in Canada for 2019.
    • 13th— this country’s ranking for life expectancy, behind Sweden and ahead of South Korea.
  • 5.4 per cent — Canada’s jobless rate in May, the lowest figure in at least 43 years.
  • 1.23 — percentage of Canada’s GDP devoted to military spending in 2018.
    • 14th — Canada’s place on the list of world’s biggest defence spenders last year.
    • $21.6 billion US — the amount Canada spent on its military in 2018.
    • 1.2 — the percentage of last year’s record $1.822 trillion in global military spending that Canada was responsible for.
  • $4.27 billion US — the amount Canada devoted to foreign aid in 2017.
  • Almost 70 — the percentage of Canadians who participate in outdoor or wilderness activities.
    • Canada has more lakes than any other country.
    • Canada has the longest coastline in the world.
    • 44 — the percentage who say they hike or backpack.
    • 32 — the percentage who view or photograph wildlife.
    • 16 — the percentage who forage for food.
    • 24 — the percentage of the world’s boreal forest in Canada.
  • 704 megatonnes — Canada’s total greenhouse gas emissions in 2016.
    • 1st — Canada’s ranking in per capita carbon emissions among G20 nations.
    • 7th — Canada’s overall world ranking.
    • 206,624,103 – the number of potted plants produced in Canada in 2017.
  • $5.9 billion – the amount spent by Canadian households on tools and equipment for home and garden in the last quarter of 2018.
  • 5,032 – the number of bars, restaurants and other establishments licensed to sell alcohol in Canada in 2018.
  • 360 — the actual and planned cannabis retail locations across Canada as of May 2019.
  • 5.884 million litres — the volume of eggnog sold commercially in Canada in December 2018.
  • 7 — the reported number of fireworks accidents/incidents in Canada in 2017-2018.

Source: CBC and others

O Canada!

Historica Canada, the folks that put together the Heritage Minutes we see on TV, have put together this salute to our national anthem.

How many of those Heritage Minutes can you pick put?

Plastic Bags to Be Banned in New York

Jesse McKinley, writing for NY Times:

New York State lawmakers have agreed to impose a statewide ban on most types of single-use plastic bags from retail sales, changing a way of life for millions of New Yorkers as legislators seek to curb an unsightly and omnipresent source of litter.

The plan, proposed a year ago by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, would be the second statewide ban, after California, which banned bags in 2016. Hawaii also effectively has a ban in place, since all the state’s counties bar such single-use bags.

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Tomas Terfloth Buys a $777 Canoe with Canadian Tire Money

Morgan Modjeski, writing for CBC News:

Asked why he was buying a canoe, he said the reason was simple: he needed a new canoe.

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Bill Gates Sits Down With David M. Rubenstein

On Monday June 24, 2019, Bill Gates was interviewed by the Economic Club president David M. Rubenstein. They discuss climate change, Microsoft, artificial intelligence, and his work on global health and K-12 education in the USA through the Gates Foundation.

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Introduction to Machine Learning

If you are interested in learning about artificial intelligence, Google has made a YouTube series with examples (recipes) you can use to program yourself using the Python programming language.

Six lines of code is all you need to start your journey towards machine learning. Pretty cool eh?

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Couple donates shopping spree groceries to Calgary Food Bank

Sarah Rieger writing for the CBC:

A couple who won a grocery shopping spree were motivated to go as quickly as they could on Saturday, because they weren’t filling their own pantry.

Chantal Leroux and her partner Ryan Warren won a contest to grab as many items, up to $500, as they could in 50 seconds from Bragg Creek Foods.

“We were really excited to receive the call,” said Leroux. “I immediately envisioned grabbing all sorts of things for my own cupboard and then after I reflected a couple seconds later, I thought what a great opportunity to be able to give back.”

Watch Ryan Warren grab nearly $600 worth of groceries in less than a minute »

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Happy Father’s Day » Thank God for Weird, Wild, Outdoorsy Dads

To celebrate Father’s Day 2019, Outside Magazine asked its editors to tell them their favourite stories of their dads in the outdoors. Here’s what they had to say.

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Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World

I’m definitely a generalist. I have a lot of interests and always wanting to learn. The downside is that having so many varied interests can be frustrating trying to keep current.

David Epstein, writing in the New York Times:

Are you a generalist or a specialist? Do you strive for breadth or depth in your career, in your life? After all, you can’t have both. Your time on earth is finite, as are your energy and attention. If you concentrate on doing one thing, you might have a chance of doing it really well. If you seek to do many things, you’ll taste a wider variety of human goods, but you may end up a well-rounded mediocrity — a dilettante.

Folk wisdom holds the trade-off between breadth and depth to be a cruel one: “jack-of-all-trades, master of none,” and so forth. And a lot of thinking in current pop-psychology agrees. To attain genuine excellence in any area — sports, music, science, whatever — you have to specialize, and specialize early: That’s the message. If you don’t, others will have a head start on you in the 10,000 hours of “deliberate practice” supposedly necessary for breakout achievement.

But this message is perversely wrong — so David Epstein seeks to persuade us in “Range.” Becoming a champion, a virtuoso or a Nobel laureate does not require early and narrow specialization. Quite the contrary in many cases. Breadth is the ally of depth, not its enemy. In the most rewarding domains of life, generalists are better positioned than specialists to excel.

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