The New Science and Technology Museum opens in Ottawa

After a three year and 80 million dollar renovation, the Science and Technology Museum opens it’s doors to the public on Friday. A long awaited come back, the new museum is complitely renewed and updated, with a much .ore cohesive collection, still centering with the classic steam trains, but with lots is flow between sections. The new Zoom space for small kids will be an instant winner with parents, and the rest of the museum will be a good trip for the adults who can enjoy and remember technology and admire old artifacts.

The museum goes back to basics with an eye in the future, the new exhibition for sound going from mechanical reproduction to the latest digital audio-sensory experience and the cube of silence.

The trains are still there in their magnificence tying us up to the glory of the steam industrialization era.

Then the museum jumps to mining, chemistry and the elements that make possible our present and future technologies; tying also with farming and fertilizers.

Linotype printers, radios, telephones, computers and smartphones gives us the perspective of our communication and how we interact with each other.

The five senses section centers around the senses and health technologies, and I spent a good time playing with the mechanical hands and the video camera.

There is a section on wearable technologies, from clothing and advanced fibers to smart watches and phones.

Lastly, the museum takes into the very big and very small with an assortment of telescopes and microscopes.

Sad to see the Helen Sawyer Hogg Observatory. I had the pleasure of scoring a visit and seeing the 15″ refractor. I hope there are plans to include it somewhere in the new plans, to have an operational telescope or a space where amateurs can gather and set up their tubes.

I didn’t had time to visit, but another addition to the museum is a dedicated Maker space, which I hope to visit and maybe develop some builds.

In conclusion, the new museum is a much awaited to the Ottawa landscape and a new space for families and the public in general to discover the fascinating quest of science and technology that make our daily life possible.

Kudos to the team of curators and the whole team, thanks for bringing the museum back, into a brilliant new setting, for many years to come.

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Ottawa By-Law Officer Lack of Common Sense and Compassion.

I know Ottawa By-Law officers have a hard job, and that no one wants to pay a ticket, and that there will always be an excuse, but what I saw this morning was something else.

7:30 in the morning and I am walking in front of 55 Metcalfe towards my work.

White SUV, Very Pregnant (and beautiful) Woman waiting, while Husband takes a dolly from the trunk, loads it with three or four boxes with documents, sets the elastics around it, kiss the wife goodbye, and goes around the SUV, opens the door and when it’s climbing to the driver’s seat, By-Law Car comes from behind and cuts him, By-Law officer gets down, and gives him a ticket.

Seriously?

There was another car parked in front, for longer time, and (fools contempt) also gets a ticket.

The By-law officer could have perfectly give the ticket to the other car, and let the other one go away, but No, La loi c’est la loi.

But sometimes, following the letter of the law to the minute, is as dangerous as not applying the law at all.

A little common sense and compassion, please.

Justin Trudeau and the loss of innocence

Justin Trudeau’s home was broke into over the weekend.

While he was away campaigning in Winnipeg, his wife and children were asleep, as some one broke into their home, leaving a note, and kitchen knifes displayed in a rear entrance door. As creepy as it might seem, no one was harmed and nothing was taken. As far as media goes the note said “lock your doors”.

Although no one deserves this kind of stressful situation, much less a traveling dad while his young family is at home, the world now is a less rosy place at the Trudeau’s home.

I know, we live in Canada, Ottawa of all places, which is a safe place, and almost heavenly boring compared to many other places around the world, but unfortunately, the world is not padded in clouds, pink and with rainbows.

It is a very tricky scheme, the RCMP is responsible for the security of Parliamentarians outside of Parliament Hill, inside the buildings of Parliament Hill, it is the responsibility of either the House of Commons or the Senate security services.

The RCMP has dedicated security details for the Prime Minister and his family (18 million dollars a year) and the Governor General, that’s it. How far down the Canada Order of Precedence should RCMP protection be extended?

Should RCMP Protection be extended (along with their associated costs to tax payers) to the leaders of all the political parties represented in the House of Commons? Or all the MPs and Senators? The Speakers of the House and the Senate?

As far as it goes, Justin Trudeau, as prominent as he is, even as a potential Prime Minister, he is an ordinary citizen, that was elected as an MP.

But neither I would like a scenario like the one in my home country (Colombia) were any wealthy family will hire private security, and the more you have, the more important you are. But also the memories of the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister of Olof Palme, who was going to the movies with his wife in Stockholm without protection.

It’s a delicate balancing act. But while the government thinkers scratches their heads and the doers have some direction, it will take years.

For now Justin, please buy a monitored alarm and use it. You will get (or your landlord) a nice discount on your house insurance policy, it even has a nice function that will beep every time a door is opened, very useful when there are small kids around the house. Anything else would be irresponsible.

Answer to Brad Pye’s question: Why are more shootings in Ottawa South than in the Glebe?

After some twitter exchanges with Brad Pye, Candidate for Councillor for Ward #10 (Ottawa South), regarding recent shootings, and what can a Councillor do to curb the surge of violence, I initially answered that I see it as a city wide problem, that is outside of a coucillor / ward level, then he asked the question, why there are no shootings in the Glebe?

All is relative, but for Ottawa, to have three similar shootings in little more than an month, is not normal and it’s more than a coincidence, according to google there had been three similar shootings in June 22, July 2, and July 18,in all cases a man was shot twice in the legs, definitely a “signature move”. All victims are refusing to talk to police. List here from the Ottawa Sun.

If we call this shootings Gang related, it’s more probable related to small drug trafficking, and in drugs, there is supply and demand.  Unfortunately, Ottawa South is in the supply side, and the Glebe is in the Demand side.

Let’s face it, Canadians are not big league drug dealers, most are small operations, and even, some just cultivate some cannabis during the summer in a cottage as a suplementary income, even some time ago, I read the news that a “big time” Canadian drug dealer from BC, was killed in Mexico by real drug dealers.

What it seems like is that there could be a new supplier in town that wants to corner the market, under his supply and his prices, and it’s playing harder than ususual for the Ottawa league.

Now, what can we do about it, and I can extrapolate this answer with my observations from being a Colombian national, that had seen and lived the “war on drugs”.

There are two paths, both not easy.

One is to keep up the “war on drugs”, never ending, expensive on resources, and from my point of view the only ones that benefit are the weapons manufacturers and dealers who will keep their share and sell to both sides. and even if you capture or kill a drug dealer, the void will be quickly filled by another one. Most Colombians and the government thought that by killing Pablo Escobar, the drug trafficking would end and that the “war on drugs” will be won. Nothing farther from reality.

Other is to legalize “soft” drug (cannabis, hashish) following examples such at the Netherlands, a country with low crime rates. Soft drugs will be freely traded, allowing Police to concentrate on harder targets such as Opium, Cocaine and Meth. Unfortunately, this option, although inmensely popular, its a political sucide in this city.

Feel Good Story of the Day …

This is what happened to my wife today …

As always, the routine, wake up, get a shower, get the kids up for school, make breakfast, tell the kids to get dressed, to brush their hair, and finally, despite the snow, kids off to school.

Then by chance, later in the morning, my wife calls an elderly friend of hers, and after chatting, she says she needs to go to the pharmacy, but with the snow, and not having a car, she cannot go out. My wife offers her to pick the prescription in the pharmacy and deliver it. And off she goes, and while she is driving down Albion Road, when my wife tries to turn the corner to the neighborhood of her friend, she looses control of the van, and ends up stuck in a very large snow bank by the sidewalk.

She gets out, no one is hurt, except pride, and the van is ok, just stuck in this gigantic snow bank. She calls me at work, and I start texting her possible tow truck companies. In the mean time, she recovers, gets out the shovel, and tries to get the snow from underneath the van. One person with a truck, stops by, but cannot pull the van out, he doesn’t have any towing lines. My wife calls me, to let me know that she is ok, and I remind her that we have towing lines in the trunk.

Later people start to stop by, make sure she is ok, and then two women stop their car besides, with a pair of shovels, and start to help her to free the van, and then another person stops with his truck and tow lines, and pulls the van out.

After the small adventure, she goes to her friend, stops by to tell her morning adventure, delivers the medicine, and goes back to her routine.

So, Thank You very much, to all the kind people of Ottawa, looking for each other after the snow fall, Thank You for helping my wife free the van from the snow bank, Thank You for stopping by and making sure she was ok, Thank you to the strangers that helped shovel and pulled out the van.

You all made us proud of being Canadian, and to have chosen Canada, and Ottawa as our home.

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Presto Woes Continue …

As this article today from the Ottawa Citizen,

In my particular case, the "best selling feature" of the card doesn’t work. I got migrated from EcoPass to a Pre-Loaded Monthly Presto Card in mid october. After October 18, I set up the card to autoload every month out of my credit card the value of the pass. Later, the first auto load debited two times ($98 x 2). I called customer care on Oct. 30, who gave me a ticket number and promised "to send a fax to the back desk". To no communiction, I called back on Nov. 15, they checked the case, and stated that the backcdesk is backlogged, but someone will take care. Basically, they have kept my money for a month, without any solution, neither crediting back one of the transactions, or extending my pass to Dec. 31. It’s simply not functional. I also concede, that the web site is confuding between, Reload, Auto-Reload, Auto Renew Managment
Simply horrible.