Category: General

Have you been to your library recently? In the days before the Internet, libraries were an absolutely indispensable source of information for both students and the general public alike. Nowadays, most of us walk around with a small computer in our pockets that can answer almost any question we have.

However, if you use the Internet even just once in a while, you know that not everything you read on there is true. In fact, the results of the last federal election in the United States may well have been swayed by the prevalence of so-called fake news. Accuracy is important, especially if you are doing a paper for school.

So, internet or not, the library remains the best place to get the most accurate information. Here are some other reasons why you should be a regular patron there:

Being a Part of the Community

The library is not just a place to sit and read books: it is a place to spend time with members of your community and also a way to make new friends who have common interests. A community with a vibrant library is one that offers its members a place that is a home away from home.

Free Sources of Learning and Entertainment

It is no secret that you can use a library for free, but did you know that many also offer free classes, movies, and other activities without any kind of charge?

Librarians are Problem Solvers

Cannot find something you are looking for? There is a very good chance that your friendly neighbourhood librarian will be able to get it for you. However, librarians are also great at identifying alternative forms of research that you may not already know about. This additional information could end up making a very positive difference in your work.

General

One of the archetypal images of American cinema occurs during the title moment of SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN. It was a wonderful sequence in a great movie, but nothing about it makes me want to go singing and dancing in a downpour.

I have always found rain to be various degrees of depressing and annoying. Rain means no sun (unless it’s one of those deeply strange sunshowers), which equals grey and depressing in my eyes. Also, what is the allure to walking around in wet clothes? It’s uncomfortable and also just seems like a sure way to get sick.

Here are a few more reasons I can think of to hate rain:

Power Outages

Yes, these can happen without rain and storms, but they are much more likely to occur when the weather is bad. It’s not enough that you can’t do anything outside because of the rain, but now there is no power, so that means pretty much nothing to do inside either.

Wet City = Ugly

Admittedly, the countryside can look pretty after a shower, but that does not apply when it comes to the concrete jungle. Wet pavement and dripping concrete skyscrapers are not my idea of appealing, and humidity in the city seems extra harsh during the summer season.

Floods and Leaks

For those of us who prefer homes that are of the “fixer upper” vintage, rain can reveal leaks, which lead to water damage. And let’s not forget floods that flow in and wipe out the contents of your basement. Rain, rain, go away…and stay the hell out of my house!

Killer Storms

Hurricanes, monsoons, extreme thunder and lightning…where are the rain lovers when these occur? Many people have lost their lives in such events, while countless others have lost their homes.

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One of the stumbling blocks to fighting climate change has been the threat to a country’s economy. Even when governments admit that changes need to be made in order to address environmental concerns, they often say they cannot be undertaken because of job loss. This is frustrating, though still preferable to the cement-headed response offered by the current administration in the White House, which refuses to even admit that there is a problem and clings to outdated answers like coal.

However, the Norwegian government is trying a new approach to get Brazil to improve their efforts in the fight against deforestation. Norway is one of the contributors to the Amazon Fund, which helps provide a financial incentive to slow down the cutting of trees in this key area of the world.

However, according the Norwegian government, things have not only not improved in Brazil, but the number of trees being harvested is actually on the rise. In fact, it is reportedly at its highest rate since 2008. This not only robs the planet of much-needed trees to cleanse the air, it continues to impinge on the rights of Brazil’s natives, whose tribal lands are being taken from them and deforested.

To try and right this wrong, Norway has warned Brazil that its financial contributions to the fund are based on results and will be altered as needed. In this case, they plan to give less than the usual $1 billion per year and threaten to continue lowering the payments unless things change for the better.

This seems like a solid strategy. The money is there to help governments offset the costs of reduced deforestation; if this is not occurring at a desirable rate, why should they be rewarded for their efforts?

Let’s hope other countries take notice of this approach and step up.

General Money

Streaming video has been a real boon for many consumers. While some of us miss video stores, none of use really miss the pain of having to drive out to one, pick up a movie, and then drive back. That takes time and gas and, really, all we want to be doing is relaxing and watching our favourite stars.

With that in mind, it’s not surprising that streaming (and the cable/satellite equivalent, video on demand) are so popular. When everyone is so busy these days and has so little spare time, anything that gives us a few more free minutes in the day is welcome. If you like new movies, they are usually on streaming only about three months after opening in theatres. Smaller releases sometimes even debut simultaneously on platforms like Netflix.

However, I’m hoping that the disc market holds out for a few more years as that is really where the quality is. Even the best HD streams are heavily compressed. This is necessary to ensure that they can be properly transmitted to homes that do not have upper end internet packages. Trouble is, that compression compromises quality. The bigger your set, the more you will notice.

Newer disc formats like Blu-ray and Ultra HD Blu-ray have very high bit rates and that helps to provide a richer, more stable, and more compelling image than you will get from Netflix. If a program is especially visual, like PLANET EARTH II, you really want to see it in the best quality possible.

If you are not a purist and are just happy with a bright and sharp image, then streaming will likely fit the bill for you. It’s hard to argue the convenience and unless you collect movies, there is no need for you to keep a physical copy on-hand. Weigh your priorities and let that guide your decision.

By Nick Travis – https://www.reddit.com/r/funny/comments/3qzi24/the_mother_ship_got_hit_last_night/, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46154756

General

It has been no secret that Sears is struggling. South of the border, the company’s American arm has had well-publicized issues for some time now. Sears Canada has also had its problems, though up until recently, the company has put on a brave front. In fact, the Sears here in Guelph just renovated its location and got a new sign. The company also launched its WTS (What the Sears?) campaign a few months back with banners and specials galore.

However, it all appears to have been for naught. CTV News reported today that Sears Canada is preparing to seek court protection from its creditors. The stock market reacted quickly and the company’s shares plummeted by 25% to 60 cents each. In April, Sears announced an operating loss of $321 million from 2016-2017.

For those of who grew up with department stores, it will be hard to imagine life without Sears. Eaton’s was another dominant force in Canadian retail that did not keep up with changing times and closed its doors a few years back. However, it seemed like that closure would benefit Sears as it now seemed to have that particular segment of the market to itself.

Of course, such thinking fails to take the internet into consideration. Shopping on your computer saves so much time and allows for such easy browsing and price comparison, fewer and fewer people have been making the trek out to their local malls in the past few years.

Where do you stand on the issue of department stores? Are you the type of person who likes to browse and try things on before you buy? Or are you happy with the convenience that online shopping provides? Click the comment button and let us all know!

The Sears in Markham, Ontario. By Raysonho @ Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons

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