Stephen Rees's blog

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

Archive for May 7th, 2018

Film Review: “Blue”

with one comment

No, I am not reduced to promoting blue movies.

This was an offer I got in my email. I have been allowed a preview of a new movie that will be in theatres on June 8, World Oceans Day. It will be shown at 40 cinemas throughout Canada on that day at 7pm (except in Calgary, 8pm) and to see it you have to book on line in advance. The link is at the end of this post.

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We saw it on the screen of my MacBook Pro, which isn’t bad, but the first thing I thought was that this will look so much more impressive on a big cinema screen rather than a 15″ retina.

In recent years I have been able to travel and visit a number of ocean sites where we have swum with turtles and stingrays. We have seen the abundance of life on the reefs off the coast of Mexico both in the Caribbean and the Baha California. I have eaten freshly caught tuna in American Samoa. And when I lived in Victoria, my landlord would drop a huge oyster on my grill while I was cooking supper. I am a great fan of sushi and of fish and chips.

And all the while I have been conscious of decline. I have heard about coral bleaching and great plastic gyre. Of the collapse of fish stocks – first cod in the Atlantic off Newfoundland and the decline of the salmon here. Everywhere we have been there have been people warning of the dire situation. And it just seems to be getting worse.

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This still comes from a sequence about the scourge of shark’s fin soup. Not something I have ever tried, and now never will.

It is true that the whales seem to be recovering, but that only seems to encourage the Japanese to expand their utterly bogus “scientific” whaling.

I hope that this film is successful. We certainly need to change direction and there are – at the end of the film – some suggestions.

The following section is copied from the information about the movie I was sent.

Half of all marine life has been lost in the last 40 years.
By 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish.

The way the ocean operates is different to how we thought of it 100 years ago. We can no longer think of it as a place of limitless resources, a dumping ground, immune to change or decline.

BLUE takes us on a provocative journey into the ocean realm, witnessing a critical moment in time when the marine world is on a precipice. Featuring passionate advocates for ocean preservation, BLUE takes us into their world where the story of our changing ocean is unfolding. We meet those who are defending habitats, campaigning for smarter fishing, combating marine pollution and fighting for the protection of keystone species.

This feature documentary comes at a time when we are making critical decisions that will decide the legacy we leave for generations to come.

BLUE shows us there is a way forward and the time to act is now

CREDITS
KARINA HOLDEN – Director, Producer, Writer
SARAH BEARD – Producer
SUE CLOTHIER – Executive Producer
JODY MUSTON – Cinematographer/DoP
VANESSA MILTON – Editor

FILMING LOCATIONS – USA, Philippines, Indonesia, Australia

MAIN DIALOGUE LANGUAGE – English

AWARDS

Festival International Du Film Documentaire Océanien 2018| Winner – Le Prix Okeanos

New York Wild Film Festival 2018 | Winner – Best Impact Film

Vancouver International Film Festival 2017 | Winner – Best Impact Film

Byron Bay Film Festival 2017 | Winner – Best Environmental Film

Australian Screen Sound Guild 2017 | Winner – Best Sound in a Documentary 2017

AACTA Awards 2017 | Winner – Best Cinematography in a Documentary

“The Ozzies” Ozflix Independent Film Awards 2018 | Winner – Best Cinematography

So now how to get tickets

BLUE is a World Oceans Day event that takes place throughout Canada ONE SHOWING ONLY — on Thursday, June 7 at 7:00 pm (exception – Calgary at 8:00 pm).

This is a cinema-on-demand screening from Demand Film, and
ALL SEATS MUST BE RESERVED IN ADVANCE, ONLINE AT
Demand Film Ticketing.

You can see the trailer and find the map of events in Canada at that link.

Written by Stephen Rees

May 7, 2018 at 9:09 pm

The Bicycle Diaries: Episode 13

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UrbanX-wheel-full

I know that this wheel is no longer being sold under the name UrbanX – or even UrbaNext – but that does not mean transactions are not continuing. The company which sold two to me has evaporated. Leaving me one wheel which simply does not work. And another that continues to frustrate me. However there are still plenty of pages available on the internet from websites which seem to have simply accepted the claims made by its makers untested. So my purpose in writing this is simply to re-issue warnings that I have made to an earlier diary entry which I keep updating but is maybe not being noticed as much as a new post.

Yesterday I took the bike out on the Greenway. It has been sitting in the locker for the winter, but the weather was so nice, and my partner was quite happy to ride her bike now that its electric wheel has been removed. I was quite surprised to find that the battery had held its charge all this time. I first did a short test along Valley, just to make sure everything was working properly. As expected the control started working once I reached 5 km/hr (based on the reading on the app) but kept on working even if the speed dropped below that provided that I did not come to a complete stop. I was even able to get the speed control on the app to work in motion and there is a real difference between the three “gears”. But it isn’t easy to hold the control down and change the bike’s gears. On the level that doesn’t matter. On a hill – such as the one up from Valley to Arbutus along King Edward Ave – it matters a lot. Once again I found myself getting off the bike and pushing. Even when the wheel is turned off it acts like a brake. The bike is much heavier with the wheel and its battery and that is all on front axle. That isn’t a good place to add weight. Pushing that bike up the hill was not fun!

If an electric assist bike is going to be useful, getting moving from rest on a hill must be the most important task. This wheel won’t do that.

On the return downhill ride on King Ed the app speed read 12 km/hr – even though I was keeping up with traffic which must have been much faster. The wheel under power does not hold back as it does when turned off. But it also doesn’t regenerate either if you did want a decellerator. It does happily bring me home on the flat Valley Drive – no pedalling, and I did not even press the throttle. But the wheel does get hot. It is impossible to pull the battery out from its housing when it is hot. So I left it in overnight. I still cannot budge it this morning. You have to hold down two tabs on the top of the battery while pulling back evenly. The battery case is smooth and there is nothing to get a grip on. You also need to have the wheel secured against something so you are not pulling the wheel over too. It is a lousy design ergonomically.

My conclusion is that while an electric assist bike is a worthwhile idea, the reality needs more than can be provided by purchasing over the internet from a Chinese company. It is cheap for a reason, and its very cheapness ought to be warning. Most ebikes and conversions come out to be more than the ~$500 I spent on each wheel. Buying from an established retailer a bike made (or adapted from) a reputable manufacturer is a lot better bet than KickStarter or IndieGoGo.

UPDATE  September 12, 2018

I removed the wheel from the bike today. The battery is still in place in the wheel: it is immovable and therefore impossible to charge. So it is utterly useless. I have put on a regular wheel and will get someone to reinstall the suspension forks I had to get taken off to use the electric wheel.

I am going to do some more research about ebikes available locally but I am not going to be in a hurry.

 

Written by Stephen Rees

May 7, 2018 at 12:27 pm