20170209 reading, video, audio list (Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Privacy, copy editing Trump)

Thursday, 9 February, 2017

CBC Politics FB Live, “Finance Minister Bill Morneau speaks at Georgetown University WATCH LIVE: Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivers a speech on Canada-U.S. relations at Georgetown University.

U of Ottawa Law Professor Michael Geist, “Canadian Privacy in the Age of Trump

Last night I appeared on TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin to discuss privacy issues in light of the Trump Executive Order that eliminates Privacy Act protections for non-U.S. citizens or permanent residents. A video of the discussion is embedded below.

CBC News Politics, “ANALYSIS Ministers set scene in D.C. for Trudeau’s elusive meeting with Trump No sit-down scheduled for two leaders, but Liberal ministers have been busy sharing government’s message

The New Yorker FB Live, “Our copy editor Andrew Boynton revises some recent remarks by Donald Trump.

Via Yann LeCun (FB director of AI), The video of my talk at the Beneficial AI 2017 conference is available here:

Slides are here.

The conference tool place the first week of January in Asilomar, California. Speakers included Yoshua Bengio, Erik Brynjolfsson, Stuart Russell, Andrew McAfee, Jeffery Sachs, Demis Hassabis, Nick Bostrom and others, offering widely differing views on the future of AI, questions of ethics, and the possible impact of AI on society.

The audience had a high concentration of Silicon Valley royalty.
I also participated in a panel discussion on human-level AI, but the video has not been made available apparently.

[More info here ]

KOMU, “11-year-old Columbia inventor pitches prosthetic arm to Shark Tank panel

Guardian, “Emma Watson: the feminist and the fairytale

“Watson rejected the part of Cinderella, she has said, because the passive character didn’t “resonate” with her. But Belle is a more Hermione-ish heroine. In the original 1991 cartoon, she wasn’t content to do the housework with the help of some chirruping bluebirds: she strolled through town with her nose in a book. And Watson told Total Film magazinethat she had pushed the character even further from the traditional Disney doormat, so as to ensure that she is “the kind of woman I would want to embody as a role model”. She isn’t just Belle, but bell hooks. Never before has there been such continuity between an actress’s online persona and her two most iconic roles.

Of course, Watson is still playing a fairytale heroine in a film with “Beauty” in the title, so she isn’t exactly dismantling the patriarchy. “She’s a very useful figure for feminism, because she attracts people who might not be drawn to it in another form,” says Professor Diane Negra, the author of What a Girl Wants: Fantasising the Reclamation of Self in Postfeminism. “But she is a particularly palatable version of a feminist celebrity. She is a very glamorous and polished figure with all the markers of privilege. She is clearly not an activist of the old school.””

WaPo, “7 key take-aways from the court’s ruling on Trump’s immigration order

“”The Government indeed asserts that it violates separation of powers for the judiciary to entertain a constitutional challenge to executive actions such as this one. There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy.”

3. The court thinks that the states of Washington and Minnesota have actual harms they can sue over.

“Specifically, the States allege that the teaching and research missions of their universities are harmed by the Executive Order’s effect on their faculty and students who are nationals of the seven affected countries. These students and faculty cannot travel for research, academic collaboration, or for personal reasons, and their families abroad cannot visit. Some have been stranded outside the country, unable to return to the universities at all. The schools cannot consider attractive student candidates and cannot hire faculty from the seven affected countries, which they have done in the past.” […]

7. The court wouldn’t even give the government its fallback position — a modification of the earlier judge’s suspension of the ban.

“More generally, even if the [temporary restraining order] might be overbroad in some respects, it is not our role to try, in effect, to rewrite the Executive Order. The political branches are far better equipped to make appropriate distinctions. For now, it is enough for us to conclude that the Government has failed to establish that it will likely succeed on its due process argument in this appeal.”

20170208 reading, video, audio list (Super Bowl, CRTC, Trade War, Merriam Webster, Census)

Wednesday, 8 February, 2017

U of Ottawa Law Prof Michael Geist, “The Future of Simsub Post-Super Bowl: Why Canadian Viewership Data Vindicated the CRTC

Globe & Mail, “Canadians want Trudeau to stand up to Trump, even if it leads to trade war: poll

Fox LA, Tony McEwing (video) “NEW WORDS! Humble-brag, Facepalm, Throw shade, just a few of the new words and terms now officially part of the English language according to the Merriam Webster dictionary. Take a look.

CBC News, “Census 2016: Canada’s population surpasses 35 million – Growth picks up in Alberta, Manitoba, slows in Atlantic Canada

Apple Daily, “李君夏今出殯 – 李嘉誠、兩任一哥送別” (K’s note: I’m saddened for the passing of my friend’s father.)

Apple Daily, “李君夏出殯 警敬禮送別

20170207 reading, video, audio list (Battery, Tesla, Jeff Dahn, Melania Trump Court case, Donald Trump)

Tuesday, 7 February, 2017

Law Professor Michael Geist, “Did a Canadian Court Just Establish a New Right to be Forgotten?

CSM, “Apple’s new ‘spaceship’ campus a fitting tribute to Steve Jobs’s obsessions – The construction of Apple’s sprawling new headquarters is far behind schedule, thanks in part to Apple’s characteristic obsession with minimalism and attention to detail.

Ref: Apple Campus 2 February 2017 Construction Update 4K

CBC News, “Jeff Dahn, battery researcher wins $1M Herzberg Medal – Looking to a future of renewable technology, Halifax-based researcher aims to make a battery to last 30 years

Green tech While existing lithium-ion batteries are quite efficient, Dahn is looking at the bigger picture — the future of our planet.

As the world attempts to turn to green technology, there is an increasing need for better, more efficient storage. And that’s where Dahn comes in.
“No matter what electric chemical energy storage technology you pick… they have to last many decades to be viable for our planet,” Dahn told CBC News. “Germany has said that by 2050 they’re going be 100 per cent renewable. Well, how are they going to do it? How are they going to use solar and wind and storage to do it?”
Dahn’s research focuses on “unwanted parasitic reactions,” the process which reduces battery life.
“Our job is to make them zero,” he said. “And it’s very tough.”
The focus of the new research is threefold: increasing the lifetime of cells; helping to reduce cost of cells; and increasing the energy density of the battery. If energy density is increased, the battery could maintain its size and weight but store more energy or store the same amount of energy with less weight or in a smaller package.
Tesla partnership
In 2016, electric car giant Tesla Motors created a five-year partnership with NSERC and Dalhousie University, forming the NSERC/Tesla Canada Industrial Research Chair, headed by Dahn. This is Dahn’s second chair: he held the NSERC/3M Canada Industrial Research Chair in Materials for Advanced Batteries at the university from 1996 to 2016.

NSERC Prizes 2017: Jeff Dahn

CBC News, “Trump says the media ignore acts of terrorism, but is that true? White House released a list of 78 attacks it described as ‘executed or inspired by’ ISIS

ThinkProgress, “Melania Trump reveals plan to leverage presidency to ink ‘multi-million dollar’ endorsement deals

KING 5 News, “Flight attendant saves passenger from human trafficking

New York State Court, “Melania Trump vs. Mail Media” (PDF image file)

立場報道, “梁國雄明宣布力爭公民提名出選特首 陳志全、朱凱廸、羅冠聰撐場

HKFP. “‘Long Hair’ Leung Kwok-hung to enter Hong Kong leadership race if 38,000 [actually 37,790] members of the public nominate him

20170206 reading, video, audio list (Trump, Court, Muslim Ban, Tech, Pentagon, Jim Mattis, Harjit Sajjan, Super Bowl Ads, UK Commons Speaker John Bercow, Trudeau, Eugenie Bouchard, Beer sales)

Monday, 6 February, 2017

NYT, “Trump and Staff Rethink Tactics After Stumbles”

CNN, “Apple, Facebook and 95 others join legal fight against Trump travel ban

BBC, “Judging Trump: How the US president and courts interact

CBC News, “Pentagon meeting today: A first for members of Trump-Trudeau cabinets NATO, defence spending levels and peacekeeping operations could be on the table

STAT, “I’m a Syrian doctor who treated patients in Aleppo. I’m in the US to give back

CNN, “How Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ comments can hurt his travel ban case

But as his controversial executive order banning individuals from seven majority-Muslim countries is challenged in the courts, judges will be confronted with his and his surrogates’ record of statements — and could take them both literally and seriously.
Legal challenges to the order point to a series of statements about Trump’s intent to ban Muslims from entering the US as evidence that the move was in fact designed with such a goal in mind — and constitutional law experts agree there is a precedent for the courts taking that argument to heart.
In a case currently before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, lawyers for the states of Washington and Minnesota cite previous court holdings on religious discrimination that it is “‘the duty of the courts to distinguish a sham secular purpose from a sincere one.'”
“Here, the sham of a secular purpose is exposed by both the language of the order and defendants’ expressions of anti-Muslim intent,” the lawyers wrote.

Adage, “SUPER BOWL LI COMPLETE AD CHART Who’s Buying Commercials in the Big Game” The business of ads. #2017BigGame Read the rest of this entry »

Visiting Largest Mosque in Canada

Sunday, 5 February, 2017

In light of the Quebec City tragedy (“Six dead men. Six widows. Seventeen fatherless children. Five people in hospital.“),  I decided to take time to visit the Baitun Nur Mosque (the largest mosque in Canada which happens to be in Calgary) yesterday afternoon to stand shoulder and shoulder with my Muslim brothers and sisters in this sad time.

I ended up getting a personal tour of the mosque by a very nice Mr. Sultan Mahmood (who sits on the executive council of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at). Sultan took time to talk to me even as he had to leave a scheduled meeting early where President of the executive council and other members were meeting with a representative from the Alberta Premier’s Office.

The way I see it, we need no permission from anyone to do the decent thing. And you can do what is within your power (big or small) to try to help and show support. Visiting a local mosque in your area is a good start just to say hi and to tell our fellow Muslim Canadian brothers and sisters that you care and will stand up and speak for them.

Here are some photos (with captions) from yesterday. I asked a question about the carpet markings and Sultan explained that they are designed so that people stand shoulder to shoulder with others. And of course, the direction of the halls of worship are all facing Mecca. A quick research in Wikipedia taught me the word Qibla which is “the direction that should be faced when a Muslim prays during salah prayers. It is fixed as the direction of the Kaaba in Mecca.

Sultan and I agreed that it would be a tragedy if we Canadians did not learn from the painful pages of history of the Internment of Japanese Americans, Chinese head tax. And I will add our shameful history of the Rejection of the Komagata Maru, can still teach us lessons today in the Trump presidency.

P.S. By the way, I saw a Facebook post by Kent Hehr (Calgary MP and Minister of Veterans Affairs) tonight and I left the following comment:

I’m saddened to see the vile and heartless comments left in this post at a time when 6 of our fellow Canadians got murdered, leaving their wives and 17 orphan children behind. Why people feel they can dispose common courtesy when sit behind the keyword?

I had some free time yesterday so I did a quick Google to find the address of the Baitun Nur Mosque, the largest mosque in Canada which happens to be in Calgary. I got a wonderful personal tour of the mosque by a nice gentleman who took time to show me around leaving a meeting he was attending.

Whatever religion you believe in or not, one can choose to be a candle of light to fight the onslaught of darkness from the US and around us in some parts of Canada.

I decided to stand shoulder to shoulder with my Muslim brothers and sisters yesterday by paying a personal visit to the mosque. I need no permission from anyone to do the decent thing. And you can do whatever you can to help and show support too.

For those who don’t know how to behave decently in face of deaths and orphan children, I mourn for the lost of your basic humanity in face of partisan attacks of those you disagree with politically.

20170205 reading, video, audio list

Sunday, 5 February, 2017

Zest Online (German English publication), “Adolf Hitler : “Wait Calmly” – They argued he would grow more reasonable once in office and that his cabinet would tame him. A dictatorship? Out of the question! How journalists, politicians, writers and diplomats weighed in on Hitler’s appointment as chancellor.

Apple Daily, “世道人生:「同行」者們

CBC News, “Court denies Trump request to immediately restore travel ban – Trump administration said judge was ‘second-guessing’ president on matter of national security

CBC News, “Trump travel ban has Iranian scientists looking for new places to do research – ‘At some point we want to feel welcome at the place where we are living and working,’ says Harvard student

In a bio-technology lab at Harvard University’s medical school an international group of highly skilled scientists are dreaming up new ways to engineer artificial human tissue with 3-D printers. Some of their brainpower these days, though, isn’t focused on the science but instead on U.S. president Donald Trump’s immigration ban and what it means to them and to their work.

“Half of the discussions in the lab these days are about this topic and not about science,” said Saghi Saghazadeh, a 30-year-old Iranian who has been living and studying in Boston for two years, on a single-entry J1 visa.

She’s one of 20 Iranians, with varying legal status, working in this one lab of 100 people at Harvard. It draws doctoral students and instructors from all over the world.

But their expertise doesn’t exempt them from the travel ban enacted more than a week ago.

立場新聞, “政治眾籌

K’s note: 香港人應該留意多啲中國新聞, 睇多一點世界大事. 藝術家艾未未早於2011年, 已經用「借錢」同「債主」一個概念, 在認為「錢大晒」嘅中國大陸, 發揮左民主發聲音嘅嘅精神! #借款近3萬筆 [HT Tsoi]
2011年11月13日,艾未未從支持者那獲得「借款」近3萬筆,903萬元 //


20170204 reading, video, audio list

Saturday, 4 February, 2017

Calgary Herald, #LovelyStory “La La’s local connection: Calgary grandparents proud of Oscar-nominated Damien Chazelle

NPR, “Fact Checking This Week In The Trump Administration

WaPo, “Meet the Bush-nominated federal judge who halted Trump’s executive order

Guardian, “James Robart: judge derided by Trump known for fairness and helping children

WaPo, “Trump’s rallying cry: Fear itself

“If he frightens people, it puts him in the driver’s seat. He’s in control,” said historian Robert Dallek. “These are what I think can be described as demagogic tendencies.”

Timothy Naftali, a New York University professor who specializes in presidential and national security history, said, “We have a special word for seeing a threat everywhere. It’s called ‘paranoia.’ It’s good for mobilizing a base. It’s very bad for turning a base into a governing majority.”

Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: