The death of the newspaper

Denver’s Rocky Mountain News closed its doors this month after 150 years. They blame the ascent of the Internet.

Ironically, they composed their farewell in the form of an Internet video:

Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.

Seriously though, the newspaper industry is being hit hard, having newer audiences moving on to Craigslist, blogs and online content. 3The last time I bought a newspaper was the copy of the Globe and Mail on the day my son was born. I’m starting to think the sheer novelty of reading news on thin tarp-like spreads of greyish paper will be enough for him.

Garbage in, garbage out

It doesn’t matter if your diet is low-carb or low-fat or “eat only white things”, according to a study by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute published in the New England Journal of Medicine, all diets work if they cut calories.

The study may seem daft, yet unfailingly we humans will latch on any scheme or fads that comes along rather than acknowledge the fundamental facts.  Most diets work at least temporarily because they involve sustenance denial – that is, the forbidding of the consumption of a particular food or nutrient. Unfortunately, apathy and metabolism compensation means these diets eventually fail in the long run.  In the end, it’s all about portion control.

In politics, image is everything

Note to the Liberal Party: This is 2008. Video is serious business. Obama has his own YouTube Channel and pledges to release a video every week for crying out loud. Image is everything in politics, especially in controversial politics:

The Liberals have apologized for Liberal Leader Stephane Dion’s taped televised address, after it was delivered to Canadian networks almost an hour past deadline and in near-cellphone quality.

Second note: It’s not a good idea to stand up media – they will crucify you.

Callie Shell on the campaign trail

Copyright Callie Shell for Time Magazine

I must say, I don’t care for most of the ruckus around politics – I think it’s the last refuge for cults of personality – but in light of Tuesday’s historical event, I’d like to link to Callie Shell’s adlibbed photographs that were taken of President-Elect Barack Obama when he was campaigning.  They’re very genuine and very human.

There is one of Obama along with his volunteers cleaning up after a photo-op at an ice cream parlour, long after the media has gone back to their studios and bureaus to file their stories. It struck me as more telling of the man than any sing song TV special.

Those photos also beg the question: why don’t we see more of this kind of guerilla photowork of famous people? Are they too afraid of appearing too raw? In a world of processed media, ghostwritten words and retouched photos, I think it would be a nice change of pace.

As an after-election mint, you can also read how Obama won via campaign strategy, and online strategy.

Hopes and Fears

misc 011_filtered Sometimes I stand in the darkness of your room late at night facing your crib and listen to you slumber. I am still in wonderment of it all. You’ve grown so fast in the past few months, and you learn something new every day. One day you discovered your feet. The next day you learned how to smile. It seems the very next day you were enjoying your first spoonful of mashed sweet potatoes.

But as I watch you rub your cute sleepy head with your cute sleepy hand – yes, you already have funny habits – I also worry, playing out my hopes and fears.  You look at the world with wonder and awe, and as we watch you innocently play we fancy aloud what man you will grow up to be. Maybe you’ll be an astronaut, a Olympic athlete, a doctor, a deejay or heck, maybe all of the above. The world seems completely accessible to you.

However, someday, that wonder and awe will be gone and be replaced with knowledge and resolve. We, your parents, will be your principle life tutors. We cannot fail you.

But for now, you’re just our little man, even if it always seems to be for only a heartbeat longer. You use me as your personal jungle gym. Watching the cat dozing is considered top tier entertainment. You must be basically dragged to sleep every night where you fight to remain conscious until the bitter end. And then you wake up every morning, all smiles, ready for a new day.

Jay Walker’s own miniature museum of technology

Yes, that's a real Sputnik satellite, one of the few backups.

Wired reports on founder Jay Walker’s sumptuous 3,600 square foot personal library. Like a mini-Smithsonian, it’s decked from top to bottom with rare books, artifacts and gadgets, from a WWII Enigma machine to fossilized dinosaur eggs. And yes, that’s a real Sputnik satellite prototype hanging there.

Perhaps the only tragic thing about this wonderful space is that only one man can contemplate and enjoy its surroundings. Others have visited his library, albeit by invitation only. His world, his rules, I guess. But what a world.

Aside: Here’s some photos of beautiful libraries around the world that you and I can visit.

Words I think my baby has spoken even though it is physiologically impossible


Baht – The currency of Thailand

Ghee – Clarified butter, a popular food additive in Southwestern Asia

DEVGRU – Acronym for the United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group, an elite Navy SEAL team

Eggle – Eggo, a brand of frozen waffles, in a slight Taiwanese accent

Goo – The sound babies make.


Baby Man turned 8 months last week.

What a gas

Imagine you are a corporation that has been convicted by the Supreme Court of Canada of charging its customers illegal penalty fees. You’ve been penalized $22 million. How on earth are you going to pay for that?

Apparently if you’re Enbridge, Ontario’s primary natural gas provider, you charge your customers another fee:

Enbridge is set to charge its Ontario customers a new fee to help pay the costs of an out-of-court settlement. In 2004, the Supreme Court ruled against the gas company — for charging unfair fees.