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What Google won’t show you

Actually, I won’t show you much either … just a few feet beyond where Google’s mapping cars will go. I respect the private road sign, too, but the temptation to outreach Google … even by just a bit … was irresistible.

Residents of this private, park-like estate pay a special community fee for the privilege of living under tall trees near the lake. Very pleasant, indeed. Lorne Park Estates in Mississauga.

WMG fails to alienate me

A video about Carl Sagan’s Golden Record, launched in 1977 on Voyager spacecraft, is titled “The 116 images NASA wants aliens to see”. Blocked in Canada? Hey, we ARE aliens, you know!

Of course I wanted to see, so I quickly circumvented the stupid copyright block by switching my VPN connection* to Virginia, U.S.A.

One of the 116 images turned out to be the Toronto Airport. What a hoot. Only forty years have passed and that airport is already unrecognizable. Good luck to space visitors looking for it by the time they get the message.👽

Here’s the story, with video, at OpenCulture.com.

*VPN stands for Virtual Personal Network and everybody should have one. It protects your connection from hackers when you use public wifi hotspots (coffee shops, restaurants, libraries, subway stations) and, usefully, it allows you to choose your “country of origin”. Apps are available to make VPN easy.

Exploring tropical Toronto

Monsoon-like downpours, thunderstorms and rainy days have been the story for the last few weeks. Our Toronto skies are fluttering from dark-and-menacing to bright-and-sunny in a matter of minutes. Planning a walk is, well, forget it. You can’t plan. Just get out there and try your luck.

We took the “Tin Umbrella” (the No Frills shuttle bus) to Carlaw today.

After a bit of No Frills shopping, we went in search of one of Danica’s Google Maps finds … an obscure public space called Hideaway Park.

Slide show

 You’d never know that these spaces exist unless you live in the immediate area or search them out, as Danica does, from the satellite view. This time, we strolled residential Leslieville, rather than the Queen East “main street”. Very pleasant, quiet streets with well-tended gardens and well-maintained homes.

Here’s another hidden park Danica found … closer to home.

Zuckerbergian nightmare

Wouldn’t this flick scare Facebook’s CEO? Scary typography, too. Made by hand. 1958.

This is just my way of reminding Toronto Public Library members that they can stream 375 classic and cult videos, free, just using their library cards. Watch 20th century movies from the Charlie Chaplin days up until the 1980s. Lots of award winners. Directors like Ingmar Bergman, Fellini, Antonioni, Fassbinder, Campion, Renoir, Truffaut, Kurosawa, Jean Renoir. The Criterion Collection is highly regarded and above-average expensive, if you want to buy one of their videos. Quality is very good.

I haven’t even watched Fiend Without A Face yet and I can’t leave it alone. Look at the unnerving Canadian content in Photo 1. Photo 2 is a poster from the period. Remember when movie theatres posted colour scenes from coming attractions that were filmed in black and white?

 Oh, good! The Horse’s Mouth is in the Criterion Collection. Another 1958 movie. That one is going on my playlist. I love it.

Hard drive blues relief

Rummaging through old hard drives, during a period of tech maintenance chores…

I get the same feelings, looking at old computer files that I have always gotten looking through old photo albums … blues. Friends who are gone, faces that were younger, work I recalled as better than it looks now.

A few things still please, like this pair of cartoons from 20 or more years ago. May as well laugh.

No wonder we all come from Africa

What other continent would be the cradle of humanity? It’s HUGE!

Emailed map from Peter Sever

Peter Sever is resting up after knee surgery, but not wasting his time. The world traveller (by motorcycle) and serial entrepreneur continues to educate himself and those around him. Peter has spent almost four years in Africa and has driven most of it. He follows its fortunes with continuing interest.

POPULATION? 1.2 billion in Africa (including the Arabic north coast). Roughly the same as China or India.
But look how much land the average African has.

Compare it to say China with about the same number of people.
– Lots of land, about 300% of China’s land area.
– Lots of coastline, harbours,. Both have vast deserts too.
– Lots of minerals
– Lots of lumber
– Lots of agricultural land
– Long growing season(s)
– Huge, largely unemployed labour pool.
– Everyone would like to help it develop economically.

Here’s a title panel from my slide shows of Peter’s Round the World Ride 2008 – 2010. Here’s what he’s doing these days.

Guest blogger day

Danica and Kathleen headed to Highland Creek for the festival, some shopping, some sightseeing (with Kathleen as tour guide) and some lunch.

While both report having a wonderful day, blog photos were not high on the priority list. Highlights above, other observations below.

Bike Share not what I thought

Seeing the $7 Day Pass offer, I thought we’d found a way for our friend Kathleen to join us on a bike ride around Toronto Islands when the flood waters eventually subside.

Do the rental bikes have gears? Yes, see photo.

The bikes are heavy, but I suppose they have to be. The price is also heavier than that $7 Day Pass suggests. You actually get 30 minutes for $7. If you go over, the next 30 minutes adds $1.50, then $4 more for 30 minutes after that. Half-hours beyond the first hour and a half are $7 each.

So a typical 5 hour excursion to the Islands for lunch, riding around sightseeing, taking the ferry and getting back to a docking station would cost $89.50 … about a hundred bucks with taxes.

I was looking for a solution to the closure of the Toronto Islands bike rental business, but a new company has apparently taken over. We will be able to rent a bike on Centre Island for Kathleen, whenever the Islands reopen to the public. July? August?

Update/Correction This is a confusing year, if you want to rent a bike on Toronto Islands! It’s not an NEW company doing the rentals. The family business is back in business … except, of course, it isn’t … because of the flooding.