Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Weekly Photo Challenge: Experimental

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Harbour Progress

I was on a cruise last month. I was using my camera quite a lot – over a thousand pictures in 19 days. And ashore I usually had my phone with me as well – searching for free wifi, cruise ship internet connections being both expensive and unreliable. The ship was docked in Corinto, Nicaragua and I had been ashore exploring the little town, but it was very hot and there was not a lot to see. So I had decided to go back on board, and see what I could find in the buffet. I did not have either phone or camera with me. But I had brought the new Samsung Galaxy Tab E tablet which I was using to read e-books I had downloaded before the cruise. I also made  my own journal entries on it.

When I looked out of the window I saw this oil tanker passing us, and thought I should check out the tablet’s camera. I had seen quite a lot of people using tablets to take pictures – and in my experience with other tablets, that had been a bit awkward, and I was never very happy with the results. In fact I had never used the camera in this tablet. So this was indeed an Experimental picture. I am quite pleased with it, but it is still the only one on the tablet’s SD card.

And that strange UFO looking bright object over the headland is actually a reflection of one of the lights in the buffet. I think the window was pretty grubby too. I did not use any photo editing software in this image but it could certainly be improved by levelling the horizon and removing some of the artifacts, but then that would invalidate the experiment.

Written by Stephen Rees

November 15, 2017 at 10:57 am

Weekly Photo Challenge: Temporary

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This continues the theme I started with yesterday’s post. This picture was taken in the same city – the Old Town of Cartagena de Indias in Colombia – and is the same technique of peeking in an open doorway onto the street. What we see this time is only Temporary.

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Written by Stephen Rees

November 8, 2017 at 11:51 am

Weekly Photo Challenge: Peek

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I am really late to the photo challenge this week. In fact this is the last day to respond since there will be another challenge tomorrow.

“This week, share a peek of something — a photo that reveals just enough of your subject to get us interested. A tantalizing detail. An unusual perspective. ”

Well this photo was taken on Thursday last week, the day after the challenge was issued. We were walking in the Old Town of Cartagena, Colombia – and a door was open. And I could not resist a peek through it to the private courtyard in the centre of the building. That day was really hot – but the courtyard looked cool and inviting. The Spanish conquistadors really understood how to build for hot countries in the centuries before the invention of air conditioning.

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Written by Stephen Rees

November 7, 2017 at 11:16 am

Posted in photography

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Resolute v GreenPeace: suit slapped down

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The following is simple cut and paste from a GreenPeace Press Release.

This blog is going quiet for about three weeks as cruise ship internet connections are both expensive and unreliable. Normal Service will be resumed early in November.

Greenpeace

Federal Court Dismisses Racketeering Case Against Greenpeace

SAN FRANCISCO, October 16, 2017 — Today, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California dismissed all claims in the controversial case that major logging company Resolute Forest Products [2] filed against Greenpeace Inc., Greenpeace Fund, and Greenpeace International, Stand.earth and individual defendants, including claims under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act.

The court’s decision sends a clear message to corporations that attacks on core democratic values like freedom of speech and legitimate advocacy on issues of public interest will not be tolerated. District Judge Jon S. Tigar wrote in his order dismissing the case that “the defendants’ speech constituted the expression of opinion, or different viewpoints that [are] a vital part of our democracy.” Noting that “Greenpeace’s publications at issue rely on scientific research or fact”, the judge added that “[t]he academy, and not the courthouse, is the appropriate place to resolve scientific disagreements of this kind.”

Resolute will be allowed to amend its filing as a formality, but Greenpeace is confident that any such attempt will meet a similar fate.

Greenpeace USA General Counsel Tom Wetterer said in response to the decision:

“We are pleased the court unequivocally threw out this attempt to abuse our legal system and silence legitimate criticism on matters of public concern. This is very positive news for all of us, for the values that we share, and for Canada’s boreal forest. Resolute’s claim that organizations and activists committed to the conservation of the forests were part of a criminal enterprise is absurd and a sad symptom of a wider assault on constitutional rights and democracy. The logging company’s allegations were a clear attempt to silence the voices that advocate for the environment. Recently, Energy Transfer Partners — the oil company behind the Dakota Access Pipeline — decided to follow a strikingly similar path [3] under the legal wing of none other than Trump’s go-to law firm. The similarities are apparent and this underhanded playbook targeting free speech should be a cause of real concern. We’re grateful that the court has shown today it is a losing playbook, but that doesn’t mean corporate bullies like ETP won’t stop trying to use it.

“Energy Transfer’s case repackages many of the spurious allegations and legal claims made against Greenpeace by the Kasowitz firm on behalf of Resolute. The decision on the Resolute suit should be a clear indication that Energy Transfer’s case has no future. Both are classic SLAPPs, or strategic lawsuits against public participation. These cases don’t seek justice. They intend to silence free speech through expensive, time-consuming litigation. This pattern of harassment by corporate bullies led by Trump’s go-to attorneys must be stopped in its tracks.”

Greenpeace USA Senior Forest Campaigner Daniel Brindis added:

“The judge’s decision to dismiss the case affirms that Resolute’s divisive and bullying tactics are a waste of time and resources. It is time for Resolute to finally work with environmental organizations including Greenpeace to address their destructive forestry operations and forge a collaborative and sustainable path forward. Instead of spending more valuable resources to amend this lawsuit, Greenpeace hopes Resolute will finally be ready to work together to find solutions. Thousands in Canada and around the world have called for the protection of the forest, it’s time for Resolute to listen to them too. The world needs a healthy boreal forest and together we can develop long term sustainable solutions that respect the rights of Indigenous Peoples, protect local communities and ensure the survival of species at risk like the Woodland Caribou. ”

ENDS

 

[1] Click here to download a copy of the order.

[2] On May 31, 2016 Resolute Forest Products filed a CAD$300 million lawsuit under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) in the United States District Court for Southern Georgia, against Greenpeace International, Greenpeace, Inc., Greenpeace Fund, Inc., STAND.earth (formerly ForestEthics), and five individual staff members of these independent organizations. The case was transferred to Northern California on May 16, 2017 when Resolute failed to demonstrate that the case should be heard in Georgia.

This is Resolute’s second lawsuit against Greenpeace. In 2013, the company filed a CAD$7 million defamation case against Greenpeace Canada and two staff members in Ontario, which is still pending. Click here for more information about the existing legal cases between Resolute Forest Products and defendants, or copy this to your browser: http://www.greenpeace.org/resolutelawsuits/

[3] On August 22, 2017 Energy Transfer Partners filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit under under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO). Click here for more information about the existing legal cases between Resolute Forest Products and defendants, or copy this to your browser: http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/global-warming/greenpeace-v-energy-transfer-partners-facts/

Written by Stephen Rees

October 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm

Posted in blogging, Environment, good news

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Canada Line Criticisms Endorsed

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I have been reading an article on the Daily Hive by Kenneth Chan this morning that pretty much repeats every one of the criticisms I have levelled over the years at the Canada Line.

POSTSCRIPT I should have noticed this publication date at the top of the article Aug 14, 2014 9:58 am

It was underbuilt, and the P3 cost more than conventional funding. Among the problems that has caused are trains and stations that are too small, too slow and too inconvenient. It has been far more successful than its initial critics claimed, and Chan does come up with some inventive ways of tackling these issues. I think he is very informative on the parochial nature of local politicians and their very limited vision, and how they managed to hobble the project from the start. Sadly too many of them are still warming seats on their respective councils and regional bodies alike.

There needs to be change. Hopefully we can make a start on some of these sooner rather than later as at least we have got a change in provincial government, and realistic probability of federal funding  – which was why the name of the line was chosen in the first place!

 

 

Written by Stephen Rees

October 12, 2017 at 10:45 am

Weekly Photo Challenge: Scale

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Downtown Vancouver aerial

“For this week’s challenge, make use of sizing, placement, and scale in your photos. Perhaps you live in a place with mountains, and want to highlight the size of the homes in relation to the dramatic landscape. ”

Downtown Vancouver has plenty of tall buildings – in fact quite a few taller ones now than when I took this picture in 2010 – but they are dwarfed by the Coast Mountains in the background. That’s Cypress Mountain in the middle of the skyline – this was in April but there was still snow on the ski runs.

Scale

Click on the image to be taken to the photo page on flickr. You can get a larger size if you like it – and you could, if you want to – click on the star to “fave” it.

POSTSCRIPT

Cypress Mountain is going to be open early this year

Written by Stephen Rees

October 11, 2017 at 9:37 am

The Watershed Guardians

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Delta-Richmond Council of Canadians is pleased to confirm the first screening of a new documentary, Watershed Guardians of the Fraser River, and hope you will extend invitations by forwarding this email to your distribution list. Producer/director, Jocelyn Demers, will be on hand for discussion along with local individuals and organizations featured in the 68-minute film. Q&A with audience will follow.

Date:  Thursday, October 19, 2017

Time:  Doors open at 6:30 pm.  Event starts at 7:00 pm.

Location:  Richmond Hospital Auditorium, 7000 Westminster Hwy

Free admission – donations welcome at the door

Easily accessible on public transit.  Free parking in gravel lot marked “staff only” on north side of hospital.  Enter parking lot from Westminster Hwy and take immediate left.

Link to trailer and reviews: https://www.mondefilms.com/

For more information: deltarichmondcoc@gmail.com

 

 

 Film review:

“The Watershed Guardians of the Fraser River” by filmmaker, Jocelyn Demers, presents an in-depth view of the rich interactive ecosystems of the Fraser River Watershed and the people who champion their protection.  Eye-catching photography and accompanying commentaries draw attention to the global significance of the watershed which supports the most productive salmon river in the world, endangered orcas, sturgeon, and Canada’s major stopover for millions of migrating birds of the Pacific Flyway.

Commentators share concerns that the river, which once brought natural prosperity, is now under threat from human activities and industrialization.  Streams providing fresh water are being filled in.  Gravel extraction, dredging, contamination, dumping and barriers along the river banks are polluting and altering water flows causing degradation of ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity.  Recognizing that the river provides humans with clean water, food, health, recreation, and connectivity with nature, advocates work to restore and protect the health of the watershed.

This thought-provoking documentary is a call for action as there is so much to lose.

Written by Stephen Rees

October 10, 2017 at 5:56 pm

Posted in Environment