What A Week

A week ago my Dad passed away from complications due to his cancer treatments. I last saw him in person 3 weeks ago on Labour Day Sunday, and he seemed to be doing about as well as anyone who has been through months of chemotherapy. Earlier in the week my Godmother, Betty Klein, also passed away from cancer. Prior to that, my friend Dawn lost her husband to cancer too.

Then I had to move some furniture around in my condo. All this after a thousand kilometers of driving in the past few days. A couple muted birthday celebrations in the middle of that too. I did enjoy seeing my extended family, although many noted we all wished it was under happier circumstances. We’re getting to the older side of life where more often we all meet during a funeral than a wedding or holiday.

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Moose Jaw Reunion

I was in Moose Jaw for a family reunion on Sunday. My Dad was in hospital fighting off another infection, while his immunity is compromised by chemo. The rest of the Kleins who could make it were in Wakamow Valley Park. Some other family had taken over the pavilion we’d booked, but we easily found a nearby suitable site by the iron bridge.

I’d brought my Sondors ebike along, and after some others in my family had a spin, I took it around the southern part of Moose Jaw.
Moose Jaw in August

Moose Jaw in August

Moose Jaw in August

Moose Jaw in August

Moose Jaw in August

Wonder Woman

Last Tuesday I went to see Wonder Woman [9/10], with Jeri. We tried the reclining seat theatre at the Southland Mall. The chairs were not so great. They had cool electronic buttons to kick up the foot rest, but they didn’t recline worth a darn. As a Klein, I know a good re-kleiner when I feel one, and these gave me a sore neck and/or spasmy back. It felt like being held in an awkward L shape by an Amazon woman.

The movie on the other hand was rather enjoyable, and I’d definitely recommend it. They didn’t make it obvious enough to some viewers that it’s World War I; I heard someone speaking after, thinking it was during WWII.

Paved Paradise Because Parking Was Already There

July 5th, 2016, after years of a mud pit following the rip-out of the previous playground:

University of Regina CW

Now it looks like this again:

College West reno playground removed

Reasoning given:

 A project of this scale requires a large site and staging area directly adjacent to the building. The site, the courtyard immediately west of the building and south of Wascana Daycare, is a centrally located site that allows for a full and safe construction staging area which will house cranes and heavy equipment.

This area creates efficiencies for the contractor, minimizes the impact on surrounding community and safeguards all who need to access the building and surrounding area. Using this site saves us money on the overall project, even if you include the cost of removing and reinstalling the playground.

When the playground was initially constructed, approval for the College West construction program was not yet granted.

A faculty member responds:

“As Dena mentioned, there was no approval for the $38M+ project prior to building the playground. But surely it must have been on the radar – $38M+ projects don’t materialize over the course of a few months, do they?  Or perhaps they do, because in fact, the BoG approved the renovations of College West on July 5th (the same day the fences [were] installed, it seems; …

Perhaps being prudent in building the playground would have been wise.”

A parent with an impacted child thinks so too:

“when I dropped my son off on Monday, he was DEVASTATED to see a bulldozer tearing up the his new playground. While it is posed to be rebuilt, it will not be until 2018.”

This is another frustrating example of construction on the University of Regina campus. Over the years I’ve proposed and supported many projects. Some are now realities, like the park and ride at Conexus Arts Centre (used by the Health Region instead), The RPIRG Green Patch garden, and the U-Pass universal bus pass for students which drastically cut the cost of a bus pass for students and increased bus service on campus. But also many more ideas have been rejected or have yet to be built. There’s no wind-row composting system on vacant University land. There’s still no energy dashboard, but there’s one apparently in the works and behind schedule. And there’s no separated bicycle infrastructure on streets. There’s no single-stream recycling system. No composting system. Not a single on-grid solar panel array. The thousands of dollars that went into constructing a playground and fence in use for less than 4 months, could have gone a long long way into implementing any of those other ideas and wouldn’t have been bulldozed in under a year.

I usually keep these sort of writings internal and send them directly to President Timmons, since she does respond and listen to what I have to say. This example though is already done, and was already done wrong. The money is gone, wasted. What do I hope for? Better foresight in project planning, and more willingness to try ideas proposed by staff and students. I can’t help but feel that a playground was destroyed literally in front of children who loved it, because a nearby parking lot is too precious to people who need to get over their love affair with their cars.

There are places in our city that fund raise for playgrounds, and our University is creating and destroying them in an unimaginable time scale. This is not sustainable growth. Unless you can build, destroy, build, destroy, then rebuild a playground within ten years in a sustainable way.

As Humans Do

Idle conversation among strangers around the office printer:
-“How are you today?”
“Fine… aside from the problem that the world might end due to climate change one day.”
-“Yes, I keep hearing about that every day. For instance the Great Barrier Reef has been declared dead.”
“Yeah, it’s been around for as long as I can remember.”
– “Millions of years. By the way, do you know if there’s a stapler I can use?”
“Yeah, over there.”
-“Thanks, have a good day.”
“You too.”

Being a Cyborg Can Leave a Lot to Think About

“Today there are well over 3 million pacemakers and over 1.7 million ICD’s in use.”

What should you do to close potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities in your wireless implantable design? For one, make device security an integral, integrated component of your overall development process. Also, put a higher premium on device security testing — most importantly, penetration testing to identify weaknesses in wireless defenses — and issue remediation. Ignore cybersecurity and it will invariably come back to haunt you, whether it’s in the form of a lawsuit, a letter from the FDA, or the embarrassment (and bad press) of a hacker exposing your device’s flaws on an international stage.

I am concerned that my device doesn’t even have a password. While the threat is low, it’s not as close to zero as it should be. I don’t like being similar to the unpatched ATM at the movie theater that always has the Windows XP error dialog box on its screen. Only the absolute best computer should be installed in my chest.

http://boingboing.net/2013/10/19/dick-cheney-feared-assassinati.html
http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/20/us/dick-cheney-gupta-interview/

Other links:
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2016/04/pacemakers-and-piracy-why-dmca-has-no-business-medical-implants
http://www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/Safety/AlertsandNotices/ucm356423.htm
http://www.meddeviceonline.com/doc/the-shocking-truth-about-rf-implantable-devices-0001