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

#NewLeaderPost Launched

I was invited to the New Leader Post launch, a party for some LP staff and community leaders and advertisers they wanted to pitch the new design and layout to. They’ve a new mobile app, and focus on content specific to each sort of delivery method.

The food and drinks at The Lobby Public House were good, and I met some people. I only knew about two people at the rather loud and big gathering, which is somewhat intimidating, but found friendly people and had some good chitchats.

The last time I was on the front page, it was following having survived a sudden cardiac death. I may also be in the paper again soon regarding a different topic. My friends joked I should avoid the Obit section.

Killer Robots By Accident or On Purpose?

There are companies like Lockheed Martin making autonomous killing robots, and there are companies like Google making self-driving cars (which kill people by accident or poor design). At least cars don’t tend to kill on purpose, and the Google self-driving car hasn’t had a deadly accident (or one it caused, of any kind). So, what’s worse? Intentionally creating machines that can destroy humans, or accidentally doing it? Let’s aim at neither.

Many people have seen the Sci-Fi movie Terminator and Terminator 2. They were made before the WWW, and before Skynet seemed like a possibility. Now we have 3D printers, we have walking and flying robots who can shoot, and we have a global intelligence network those machines connect directly to. We need to be very cautious in Artificial Intelligence development over the coming years, or a small group of people could make a mistake that could cost millions (billions?) of lives.

CVAF Can Visualize Angry Flames

It was the Cathedral Village Arts Festival today, a crowded street fair down 13th Avenue in Regina. It was hot, and it didn’t rain (like it does many years). I saw tons of people I knew, and many stopped by to talk at the Regina Car Share Co-op booth where I was volunteering. One of the police officers who gave me CPR walked by, so I obviously introduced him to the person I was talking to, and they shook his hand and thanked him for his service.

Slightly related to the sunny day… my solar panels have had near perfect days the past week. That’s how little cloud and zero rain we’ve seen most recently in May. A lot of Saskatchewan is experiencing dangerously dry conditions, and risk of fires remains rather high.

There’s risk of a fiery Love in Saskatchewan’s north (actually central region, but north of most people, so us southerners call it “north”, like Americans do to all Canadians, some of whom are further south than many Americans).

With Millions To Spare, Here’s How to Save Thousands of Lives

This rich couple is doing good with their money.

Regina caught sight of a jacket in the water during the cruise, and when she asked about it, she was told it might belong to a dead migrant who was trying to find safety in Europe.

While some Europeans criticize the rescue operation, saying it draws more migrants to the sea, Xuereb says that’s just not true. People are desperate, undertaking the journey to find a better life. They deserve to live, he says.

Last year, about 218,000 people made this journey — a record. Some 3,500 people drowned. And the numbers are growing.