Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Sniffer: Trends in Maglev and Powering Electronics

Greetings, Trendwatchers! In this podcast, Nora Young talks about a design for powering portable electronics such as your iPhone – with your breath!

The Aire is a concept design (the technology doesn’t yet exist) by João Lammoglia, which features a mask that you wear, designed to harness the wind power of your breath.

I tried so many brand of this product over 10yrs. This product is the best. ? You can find more information about generic medications here.

It’s kind of goofy, we admit, but beneath it lies a serious point: how are we going to power all these gadgets and devices we have? See images and more over at Fast Company.

Me, on the other hand, continue exploring my love of Maglevtechnology with the Evacuated Tube Transport system. Would you propel yourself through a tube under the ocean, at speeds up to 6500 MPH  to get fromToronto to Bejing in two hours?

Since that it is getting close to suborbital speeds, it would require fair leap of faith to get in the tube. However we won’t have oil forever and since the global economy demands being able to shift goods and people easily, the Evacuated Tube System might be coming soon to a city near you.

Holy nearly teleportation time Bat Man!





Nora Young’s New Book "Virtual Self" – As They Say – BOO YA!

My colleague and good pal, Nora Young, has a new book that’s just launched. It’s called Virtual Self. And if she writes as good as she talks, it’s bound to give you a lot of takeaway in terms of thought provoking material.


As Nora says,  “The Virtual Self is about the growing phenomenon of ‘self-tracking’ – how we are increasingly documenting the everyday statistical details of our lives. We track where we go, how we move, what we think, feel, see, and do. It’s the era of Facebook Timeline, after all. The Virtual Self looks at why we do this: the historical roots of self-tracking and also what it is about the digital life that makes self-tracking so compelling. I also look at what that information can be used for in the aggregate, and why we need a different approach to privacy if all that data is to be used for good.

The official book launch is on Tuesday, April 24th, at the Dora Keogh, 141 Danforth, Toronto, starting at 6:30. Please come. It should be fun and CBC’s  Mike Wise has agreed to do an on-stage (or is that in-pub?) interview.

The Sniffer: An Exciting New Trend in Solar Panels and Just-in-Time Service

On The Sniffer this time, I’m back with a solar power update, in particular carbon nanotubes as a way to add solar generation capabilities to windows. And guess what? I can actually explain the science in a clear and understandable way. For those of you who’ve been listening to us for a while, this alone is worth tuning in for.  Nora Young points to Lisa Rochon’s  article on the energy loss problems of today’s glass tower condos. Could this be a solution?


Meanwhile, Nora talks about a pilot project in Japan to allow motorists to pre-order their drive-through meals via two-way navigation systems. Convenient, sure, but what about distractible driving? And what about drivers turning into Jabba the Hutt?


The Return of the Diva

Carole Pope has long been the grand dame of the Canadian art rock scene. With Rough Trade, she and writing partner Kevan Staples ushered in a riotous mix of glam, glitter, unspeakably racy (for the time) onstage lesbian sexuality and a certain delicious sense of intellectual irony. Who else would have called their record albums Avoid Freud and For Those Who Jung/Young?

If we didn’t have Pope daring to sing about her red hot desire for women in High School Confidential, would the L Word have ever been made? Would Ellen DeGeneres be the queen of talk TV? There’s no denying that the gay revolution was well underway and Pope wasn’t the only trailblazer back then. But she was our all Canadian lesbian bushwhacker and the undeniable power of gay pride she transmitted through her songs was transformative.

Now Pope has returned with Landfall; a highly eclectic recording that shows a more mature artist still completely in command of her considerable voice, lyrically as nimble as ever, but a great deal more versatile in terms of style.

Rough Trade had a certain sound that permeated most of their records, with Pope’s snarling defiance belting out large dollops of sexual and psychological innuendo. Landfall is musically much more nuanced and varied than anything she did with Rough Trade.

One can hear the influence of Kurt Weill – and indeed there is a significant European avant garde leitmotif running throughout the disc. However Landfall also contains a couple of great guitar numbers (not derivative, but oddly reminiscent of Lucinda Williams) and Pope also brings in some gorgeous sting arrangements and a piano for the heartbreakingly beautiful title song Landfall.

While Landfall most definitely doesn’t dwell on the glory of the good old days, it is interesting to listen to Pope reflect on where she finds herself today.

Used to wear a coke spoon around your neck.

Used to take your rage out at a discotheque.

Life was so simple then.

But did I mention?

Did I forget to mention?

I will not go gently.

And Landfall doesn’t go gently into the familiar reunion tour territory, continuing to play the tried and true chestnuts. That approach would undoubtedly appeal to Pope’s fans, but it wouldn’t really attract any new ones either. This is a great record, and it most certainly deserves the opportunity. Give it a listen. And here’s a link to my article on