Op-ed: Ontarians, Call your MLA and Premier Doug Ford’s office to stop him from using notwithstanding clause to cut size of Toronto city council

Monday, 10 September, 2018

Just read this news and saw part of the LIVE press conference re Premier “Ford plans to invoke notwithstanding clause for first time in province’s history, will call back Legislature on Bill 5“.

This news made me absolutely sick! I urge all my friends in Ontario or those who have friends in Ontario to call their MLAs to stop this mad action by Premier Doug Ford! Don’t let your Charter Rights eroded like this!

In 2005, the Alberta government mused about invoking notwithstanding clause over same-sex marriage but they smartened up and nothing ever happened at the end because of public outrage!

In 1998, Alberta’s justice minister vowed to invoke the notwithstanding clause to limit the compensation paid to nearly 500 people who were sterilized without their permission. //The government withdrew the legislation less than 24 hours later in the face of public outrage.//

I was so angry that I called my MLA (the late Hon Ron Stevens) who was a QC (and later the Justice Minister and Deputy Premier) and gave him my 2 cents of why it would be so wrong morally to use the notwithstanding clause (incidentally, an Alberta idea (see the Late Alberta Premier Hon Peter Lougheed explained in “Why a Notwithstanding Clause?“). My point is we citizens can and have to speak up!

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When did you become a snob?! – New Quote I Love

Monday, 20 August, 2018

I’m adding a new quote to my long list of Quotes I Love. For this one, I need a lot of context, so I’m including an excerpt of an insightful talk delivered by Crazy Rich Asians (#1 box office of $35M+ in a 5-day opening) director Jon M. Chu in this 2015 Film Independent Forum Keynote .

I found out this video after Chu shared it a tweet “Ironically, I was on THE EXACT same stage that only 2.5 years ago I was giving a painful speech about what it was like for my movie to BOMB its opening weekend. But I think back &that is also the exact moment my #CrazyRichAsians journey began. #persevere

Jon M. Chu‘s mom: When did you become a snob?!

For the first time in my life, I wasn’t making anything either. I didn’t have a video camera and I wasn’t editing on my own. For those five years, this idea, this carrot of you’re going to make a movie, you’re going to make a movie eluded me. And I didn’t fulfill that part of my body. The longest time in my life that I wasn’t making stuff physically.

Then this script comes across my desk. This is literally five years later. And I’m in the condo that the pair play price (???) bought for me. I’m out of money basically. And I get a script for Step Up 2. I’m like what’s Step Up 2? Oh, it’s a direct-to-dvd sequel to this dance movie. I was like, oh yeah, I think I saw that. And I was like I don’t do direct-to-dvd. And I was like, you know, Steven Spielberg saw my short, he loved it. I’m gonna make features. I’ve been working on it for over five years. It’s only six months away. And I talked to my mom. And she was like, when did you become a snob?!
What are you talking about? She’s like “you trained to be s storyteller and a storyteller can use anything even if it’s campfire. So what makes you think you’re so good and you’re like on the bench of a great team but you’ve never played. Like get your two minutes prove what you can do.”
And I was like, yeah, you’re right. I’m gonna make the best damn direct-to-dvd dance movie sequel ever.”” – Jon M. Chu

Film Independent Forum, Jon Chu Keynote (16:31)


Speeches by Robert Mueller

Monday, 30 July, 2018

Found these fascinating speeches by Robert Mueller. Mueller “is an American attorney who served as the sixth Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 2001 to 2013. A conservative Republican, he was appointed by President George W. Bush; President Barack Obama gave his original ten-year term a two-year extension, making him the longest-serving FBI Director since J. Edgar Hoover. He is currently head of the Special Counsel investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and related matters.” (via Wikipedia)

Remarks from Robert Mueller III at Georgetown University 2014

Robert Mueller Tabor Academy Commencement Address Few words specifically on integrity (starting at time code 8m35s).

xxx


Higher Loyalty – James Comey

Friday, 20 April, 2018

Bought James Comey‘s “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership” the day it came out as a Kindle ebook and I’ve enjoyed reading it so far. And I got a chance to start reading the “James Comey’s memos” (PDF file) (via CNN).

Watched a whole bunch of Comey TV interviews and enjoyed all of them. Here are some samples.

And this BBC 22 minutes interview “James Comey on Donald Trump and the FBI

26 Apr, 2018 update: James Comey gets real in CNN town hall

xxx


Emma’s Silence #MarchForOurLives

Wednesday, 28 March, 2018

Emma’s silence” was Jaclyn Corin‘s, MSD student and one of #MarchForOurLives organizers, answer to the Twitter question “What was the most emotional moment during March?” I felt the same.

Emma Gonzalez’s powerful March for Our Lives speech in full

I watched the 3-hour event live and I was initially puzzled of the silence from the beginning to the end of the silence like many people. But in hindsight, it was the most powerful and emotional moment for me as it uses time, an abstract idea in itself, to share the horror the MSD students experienced that tragic day. In merely 6 minutes and 20 seconds, the time since Emma came out on stage till she spoke again after the alarm rang and she broke her silence,“The shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape, and walk free for an hour before arrest.” Emma concluded: “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.”

If the #MarchForOurLives is to succeed, thousands and thousands of American students, youths, and adults have to keep on fighting for changes. While I’m less hopeful for adults’ abilities and determinations. Fortunately, today’s students and youths will become adults tomorrow and they will change the world!

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead remains the top quote in my collection of Quotes I LOVE!

Again, here is Emma’s full speech transcript which I shared previously.

“In a little over six minutes, seventeen of our friends were taken from us, fifteen were injured, and everyone, absolutely everyone in the Douglas community, was forever altered,” she said. “Six minutes and twenty seconds with an AR-15, and my friend Carmen would never complain to me about piano practice; Aaron Feis would never call Kyra ‘Miss Sunshine’; Alex Schachter would never walk into school with his brother Ryan; Scott Beigel would never joke around with Cameron at camp; Helena Ramsey would never hang out after school with Max; Gina Montalto would never wait for her friend Liam at lunch; Joaquin Oliver would never play basketball with Sam or Dylan; Alaina Petty would never; Cara Loughran would never; Chris Hixon would never; Luke Hoyer would never; Martin Duque Anguiano would never; Peter Wang would never; Alyssa Alhadeff would never; Jaime Guttenberg would never; Meadow Pollack would never.”
Then she stood in silence. Tears streamed down her cheeks. She said nothing. The crowd watched, also silent. A chant of “never again” started, and then faded out. Emma still stood. Finally, the beeping of an electric timer rang out. “Since the time that I came out here it has been six minutes and twenty seconds,” she said. “The shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape, and walk free for an hour before arrest.” She concluded: “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.”
[credit: speech transcript mostly from New Yorker with some corrections made near the end of the speech.]

The speech video with subtitles.

March 29, 2018 Update: Vice News, “Hoaxers Say Survivors of Mass Shootings Are “Crisis Actors”” //”This isn’t a fucking conspiracy. This is real life, and people are fucking dying.”
Immediately after the tragedy in Parkland, conspiracy theorists claimed that the school shooting was staged, and that survivors were actors.//


#MarchForOurLives in DC and around the world

Sunday, 25 March, 2018

I’m so inspired by the students who spoke today at  #MarchForOurLives in DC yesterday and so many sibling marches around US and even the world (including Calgary, Canada and UK)!

Check out a live blog reporting by UK Guardian, “March for Our Lives: hundreds of thousands demand end to gun violence – live” and CNN live blog with video clips report, “March For Our Lives: A Rally To End Gun Violence | NBC News

Watch live: March for Our Lives

Video and transcript of Emma González’s short speech.

“In a little over six minutes, seventeen of our friends were taken from us, fifteen were injured, and everyone, absolutely everyone in the Douglas community, was forever altered,” she said. “Six minutes and twenty seconds with an AR-15, and my friend Carmen would never complain to me about piano practice; Aaron Feis would never call Kyra ‘Miss Sunshine’; Alex Schachter would never walk into school with his brother Ryan; Scott Beigel would never joke around with Cameron at camp; Helena Ramsey would never hang out after school with Max; Gina Montalto would never wait for her friend Liam at lunch; Joaquin Oliver would never play basketball with Sam or Dylan; Alaina Petty would never; Cara Loughran would never; Chris Hixon would never; Luke Hoyer would never; Martin Duque Anguiano would never; Peter Wang would never; Alyssa Alhadeff would never; Jaime Guttenberg would never; Meadow Pollack would never.”
Then she stood in silence. Tears streamed down her cheeks. She said nothing. The crowd watched, also silent. A chant of “never again” started, and then faded out. Emma still stood. Finally, the beeping of an electric timer rang out. “Since the time that I came out here it has been six minutes and twenty seconds,” she said. “The shooter has ceased shooting and will soon abandon his rifle, blend in with the students as they escape, and walk free for an hour before arrest.” She concluded: “Fight for your lives before it’s someone else’s job.”
[credit: speech transcript mostly from New Yorker with some corrections made near the end of the speech.]

2018 March 25 Sunday update:

* “.@delaneytarr: I believe the strongest thing we have going for us is that this is a youth’s movement, this is led by the youth and this is led for the youth.

* “@delaneytarr The BEST gov teacher a kid could ever ask for” : jeffrey foster ‏ @mrjefffostermsd Almost start time @Emma4Change @delaneytarr @Ryan_Deitsch Let’s change the world #NeverAgain #MSDStrong

*WaPo Perspective, “Emma González and the wordless act that moved a nation

The scene was brought to mind Saturday, on that impressive outdoor Washington stage before the countless faces at the March for Our Lives demonstration, as Emma González, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who has become one of the most prominent voices in the #NeverAgain movement, went on with her speech — and then, for a few minutes, didn’t.

It was one of the day’s most galvanizing moments, and a reminder of how little we appreciate in this Tower of Babel culture that the most powerful message can be the one we don’t try to put into words. After naming the dead in the Parkland, Fla., massacre, and identifying, like Hamlet, experiences they never would get to see, González simply stopped talking. The rest really was silence.

The absence of language, the extended pause for contemplation, remains a rare thing in public discourse, and even rarer onstage. A moment of silence is the ritualized form of respect we employ on many occasions to mark tragedy, but it’s usually only a moment. González’s silence was an act that felt, in its way, radical. It was as if she dropped the mic — yet a mic was still in front of her. The silence went on for about five minutes, and, as cable news cameras swept the crowd, you could tell some people did not know quite what to do with themselves. Gonzalez fixed her gaze into the distance, as if she were concentrating on something out of our normal range of perception; at times, she trembled and wiped away a tear. In the crowd, some people started to chant, or applaud, perhaps because the rule in this society seems to be that if there is a vacuum of noise, someone has to make some.

The interruptions were respectful, though, and eventually, as González steadfastly held her tongue, the hubbub died down. We were left with the image of a young, grieving woman, drawing our attention not to herself but to something more abstract: to time — the amount it took for a killer to mow down her classmates and teachers.

[…] González touchingly reminded us that a profound dialogue doesn’t always require them.

WaPo, “They came, they marched, they inspired

WaPo Perspective, “The March for Our Lives will last a few hours. Its impact will last a generation.

WaPo, “The 6 most memorable speeches at the March for Our Lives in D.C.

WaPo, “Picturing the March for Our Lives

CNN, “Slacktivism is over. The #NeverAgain movement is about what’s next

March 26, 2018 update:

March for Our Lives organizers send message to Congress – Fox News Sunday” (Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Delaney Tarr and Cameron Kasky appeared on the show to talk)

xxx


Uber self-driving SUV fatal accident – a Computer Scientist’s views

Thursday, 22 March, 2018

20180324 update: For now, I’ve found these two posts by Brad Templeton to be very insightful and cover some of the issues that I want to write about but Brad wrote in much more detail! Have a read, 03/20 “New facts and questions on Uber robocar fatality” & 03/21 “It certainly looks bad for Uber“. I may still add more if I see more facts of the case especially when Uber starts to voluntarily (or be compelled to) provide more of its internal technical data. I hope Uber won’t try to brush this fatality under the carpet. Will see.

***

I just read some news reports and watched the video of the Uber self-driving SUV fatal accident. (WARNING: Video contains disturbing images. Viewer discretion is advised.) I know I do not have full information yet so I hope to share my views (for now, semi-technical/semi-informed) on this Uber self-driving fatal accident as best as I can. And in the coming days when I have time, I hope to keep updating this post when more technical and police investigative information are available.

A bit of background first. In 2013 February (more than 5 years ago now), I was already interested in driverless technologies and already interviewed U of T Professor Emeritus C.C. Kelly Gotlieb, “Father of Computing in Canada”, to talk about many topics including Google driverless car and issues like whose to blame when an accident happened? Sadly, we now have a fatal accident on hand to talk about.

From the AP report “Experts: Uber self-driving system should have spotted woman”, this Uber self-driving SUV is using LIDAR laser sensors technology to “see”. (note: LIDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging and it “measures distance to a target by illuminating the target with pulsed laser light” which can see perfectly well even in total darkness as it uses laser.) I made this observation re LIDAR in direct response to this sentence of the news report, “The lights on the SUV didn’t illuminate 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg on Sunday night until a second or two before impact, raising questions about whether the vehicle could have stopped in time.” And the fact the Uber safety driver was NOT paying attention to the road when he killed the 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg!

Let me quote from the AP report “Experts: Uber self-driving system should have spotted woman”,

““The victim did not come out of nowhere. She’s moving on a dark road, but it’s an open road, so Lidar (laser) and radar should have detected and classified her” as a human, said Bryant Walker Smith, a University of South Carolina law professor who studies autonomous vehicles.

Smith said the video may not show the complete picture, but “this is strongly suggestive of multiple failures of Uber and its system, its automated system, and its safety driver.”

Sam Abuelsmaid, an analyst for Navigant Research who also follows autonomous vehicles, said laser and radar systems can see in the dark much better than humans or cameras and that Herzberg was well within the range.

“It absolutely should have been able to pick her up,” he said. “From what I see in the video it sure looks like the car is at fault, not the pedestrian.”

Smith said that from what he observed on the video, the Uber driver appears to be relying too much on the self-driving system by not looking up at the road.

“The safety driver is clearly relying on the fact that the car is driving itself. It’s the old adage that if everyone is responsible no one is responsible,” Smith said. “This is everything gone wrong that these systems, if responsibly implemented, are supposed to prevent.”

The experts were unsure if the test vehicle was equipped with a video monitor that the backup driver may have been viewing.

Uber immediately suspended all road-testing of such autos in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto. The National Transportation Safety Board, which makes recommendations for preventing crashes, is investigating the crash.”

I will try to come back to this article and add more details and updates in the coming days when I have more time. Will see.

For now, here is the particular segment of my 5 years old 2013 interview with Prof. Gotlieb talking about “Google [and by extension, any other company’s] Driverless Car gets into an accident, whose to blame? And who can you sue? The person who wrote the program? Google who authorize the car? Car manufacture? The person who is in the car? Or all of the above? […] Lots of questions to be asked when failure happen.”

xxx


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