Wooden toy boat washes ashore on Lake Superior after 27 years adrift


On Oct. 7, a small wooden boat drifted ashore on Lake Superior, leaving locals with a puzzling mystery. The Apostle Islands National Seashore in Wisconsin, a U.S. National Parks service, said the red, white, and blue boat was found with a message inscribed on its hull.

“I am traveling to the ocean. Please put me back in the water. Will you send information on your whereabouts to, Lakewood School, Room 116 & 118 5207 N. Tischer Duluth, MN 53304,” read the tiny vessel.

Yeah, it’s a fluff piece, but it’s a nice one 🙂

French museum pulls Genghis Khan exhibition after China objects to name 'Genghis Khan'


A museum in France has delayed its Genghis Khan exhibition after an attempt by the Chinese Government to censor certain words and materials surrounding the showcase. […]

But the history museum, Château des ducs de Bretagne in Nantes, pushed back when Chinese authorities called for certain words, including “Genghis Khan,” “empire” and “Mongol,” to be removed from the exhibition, Agence France-Presse reports. Chinese authorities later asked for control over exhibition brochures, legends and maps, the museum said.

This is a bridge too far for many. China will need to step up their conquest of western institutions if they plan on rewriting history to this degree.

Bruce Pardy: In universities, the revolution is now complete


I teach at Queen’s University’s law school, housed in Sir John A. Macdonald Hall, named after Canada’s first prime minister. On Sept. 18, our faculty board, consisting of professors, students, administrators and staff, voted 29 to three to remove Macdonald’s name from the building. The vote, which also included five abstentions, is not binding upon the university’s board of trustees, which has the jurisdiction to make the call. Queen’s principal, Patrick Deane, is expected to make a recommendation to the board this week, and it will vote on the question soon after. Macdonald is likely to become another casualty of the cultural revolution currently underway in Canada.

At universities, that revolution is all but complete. Who controls the present controls the past, Orwell tells us, and who controls the past controls the future. Although Queen’s will cancel Macdonald, purportedly on the grounds that he was a racist white man, his demise has little to do with the man himself and everything to do with what he has come to represent. One of the tasks of any revolution is to tear down the narratives upon which the previous order was built. Macdonald himself is less important than how we regard him. When any historical figure is cancelled, the real targets are the attitudes of the living.

This opinion piece pretty much outlines why Canada isn’t the same country I grew up in. I cannot live in a populated part of that country ever again … 🙄

Around the world in 11 days: Bar-tailed godwit breaks own record, flying from Alaska to New Zealand


Scientists say the bird has set a new world record for avian non-stop flight, after tracking its route over 11 days from southwest Alaska to a bay near Auckland, flying at speeds of up to 55 km/h. […]

The satellite recorded a point-to-point flight of 12,854 kilometres, but scientists have estimated that the distance travelled will have been around 12,200 kilometres once rounding errors are accounted for. The previous longest non-stop flight on record was by a bird that flew 11,680 kilometres. That effort was recorded in 2007, and it was also by a bar-tailed godwit.

These things weigh about 400g when they start their flight, and they don’t stop to sleep or eat until reaching their destination … 😮

Facing the music: Can Japan's vibrant record culture survive the COVID-19 pandemic?


Masaru Ono doesn’t know how he will feel when he closes the doors of RECOfan Shibuya BEAM, the iconic Tokyo record store he has managed for the past 20 years, for the final time at 9 p.m. on Sunday.

This record shop is known worldwide. When musicians come to Japan, they make it a point to visit this store and pick up some vinyl. This store closure will likely result in the creation of some tribute tracks in the club scene …

Playing chess for charity, RZA and GZA of Wu-Tang reflect on the science of the game and life


For as long as the two leaders of the Wu-Tang Clan have known each other, it still shocks GZA that he never played chess with RZA as a kid. […] The pair are busy practicing this week for their Twitch debut on Saturday, where they will play and compete in a chess tournament hosted by Chess.com and Hennessy. It’s to benefit Black, Latinx and Asian small businesses struggling with the pandemic.

WuTang have always been awesome. This is just more to appreciate 👍🏻

Suicide spike in Japan shows mental health toll of COVID-19


The number of suicides rose in Japan in August due to more women and school-aged children taking their own lives — offering a first glimpse into the consequences of the mental health strain brought about by COVID-19 around the globe. […] Sociologists have long warned that the economic and social disruption wrought by measures to contain the coronavirus could cause more deaths than the pathogen itself. In Japan, the suicide rate has been falling but it remains a top cause of premature deaths — this year, suicide has taken over 13,000 lives, while total COVID-19 fatalities number less than 2,000.1

This is something that I’ve been pointing out to government offices and whatnot for darn near six months. More people take their own life per month than have passed away as a result of COVID. This isn’t just a matter of finances or “the economy”, but a consequence of the breakdown in community — exacerbating the isolation people feel — and a complete loss of purpose as a result of being idle or feeling imprisoned in their homes for so long.

The country will see more of this as winter approaches …

  1. Emphasis is mine.

Japan airline ANA eyes 30% average cut in annual pay for employees amid pandemic


All Nippon Airways has notified its labor union of a plan to slash annual pay for its about 15,000 ordinary employees by 30 percent on average, sources have said. […] In the April-June quarter, ANA Holdings suffered a group net loss of ¥108.8 billion, due to a plunge in income from passenger flights as many international flights were canceled.

Part of that giant loss is the complete closures of most of the company’s travel agencies in the country. This isn’t surprising in the least. Rarely do I see more than three planes in the distant sky at once anymore. In January one couldn’t go more than a minute or two without hearing a jet fly overhead …

Video of Black teenager being arrested by police sparks outrage and allegations of excessive force


A video circulating on social media of a young Black man being arrested by Waterloo Regional Police officers in the parking lot of a Kitchener plaza is sparking outrage and allegations of excessive force. […] The post says family and friends are outraged with the use of force and the lack of masks.

What would be considered “an appropriate use of force” in this situation?

Let’s see …

  1. The kid and his friends were doing something at a mall to warrant security to ask them to leave. They didn’t.
  2. The cops are called and three of the four kids run off. One doesn’t.
  3. The straggler proceeds to taunt the cops to act, walking into traffic on a busy road, hurling insults, and issuing threats.
  4. The cop calls for support, then the kid spits at him before running off.
  5. A short chase later, he’s surrounded and arrested, most likely resisting the whole time.

Let’s see what options the cops have here:

  1. Tase the kid (Canadian cops rarely shoot their guns. Too much paperwork after the fact.) and take him into custody for being a dipshit.
  2. Use brute force and numbers to take him into custody for being a dipshit.
  3. Let him walk, because nobody had a weapon waved in their face, emboldening the dipshit to step up his antics until a reaction is recorded.

The cops would have all had body cameras on and active for the duration of the event. This arrest has nothing to do with the colour of someone’s skin and everything to do with the youth needing a good smack upside the head, ideally from his parents and alternatively by someone else who cares about him. If the kid were white or Asian or from Alpha Centauri, he would still have been taken down and cuffed for being a dipshit.

If people want to be outraged, that’s their business. It does nobody any good to misdirect it, though.

WHO says 10% of world's people may have been infected


8:21 a.m. The head of emergencies at the World Health Organization says its “best estimates” indicate that roughly 1 in 10 people worldwide may have been infected by the coronavirus.

Dr. Michael Ryan, speaking Monday to a meeting of the WHO’s 34-member executive board focusing on COVID-19, said the figures vary from urban to rural, and between different groups, but that ultimately it means “the vast majority of the world remains at risk.”

The estimate — which would amount to more than 760 million people based on current world population of about 7.6 billion — far outstrips the number of confirmed cases as tallied by both WHO and Johns Hopkins University, now more than 35 million worldwide.

We’re almost at our first full year of COVID and I find these statements to be unnecessarily provocative. Fuck off with the “may” and “might” and “could”. There’s so much half-spoken “information” on this shit that people are burnt out. The numbers do not reflect what has been reported. Not even close. Could 759-million people be non-symptomatic carriers? Sure. But even then, let’s put this into context: 7 in 152 show serious flu-like symptoms and, of those, 1 in 35 have succumbed to the virus.

Somebody is embellishing. Either “the media”, the WHO, or the dissenting doctors. Yes, COVID is something to be cautious of. No, we are not all going to die. Yes, we should improve our unconscious hygiene practices. The scaremongering, however, has got to stop. Say what is or what will happen, as impossible as that may be. Cushion words are fucking cop-outs.