Archive for the ‘News’ Category

We knew that the A380 was big but…OMFG!


This is how it feels to see 600 tons of aluminum flying a few meters over your head. I used a 17mm wide angle lens and even then I almost didn’t get the shot.

I was initially planning to stay on the viaduct that goes over Highway 13 but the thought of spending an hour in the wind with trucks passing right behind me was not really appealing. In addition we couldn’t see the approach so I was afraid that I’d miss it. Ultimately, Christiane and I decided to get right in the middle of things and we walked to the end of Pittfield Ave.

A few landings provided me with the opportunity to do some test shots, including a great image of an Air Canada A330. Ultimately these didn’t really prepare me for the real thing. Following a leisurely stroll around the island, the A380 finally settled into a final approach that seemed to take forever. That was just a size-induced illusion as it got in much faster than I anticipated. I got my approach shot, turned around, got down on one knee and barely had enough time to capture it going over the silhouettes of the other plane spotters.

If you send your images to Flickr, tag them with Montreal and A380.

Open letter to the Bouchard-Taylor Commission

As a response to the anti-immigrant sentiments expressed at the “reasonable accommodation” hearings, Université de Montréal doctoral student Caroline Allard has written an open letter which she invites “Québécois de souche” to sign. An excerpt from the English translation:

We are preoccupied with the fact some testimony before the Bouchard-Taylor Commission, testimony that is intolerant and harsh toward cultural minorities, could be interpreted as reflecting the opinion of a majority of so-called old-stock francophones. We think, rather, that this testimony, which caricatures the practices of other cultures, reveals a profound ignorance of the reality of people from different cultural communities. What’s more, this ignorance feeds a close-mindedness about the connections that it is possible to make among Quebecers, old and new. We want to make clear our openness to cultural communities and to dissociate ourselves clearly from some of what has been said before the commission. Just because some things were said in public does not, we insist, mean they represent the state of mind of the majority of “old-stock” Quebecers.

The letter currently has 3076 signatures and will be formally presented to the Bouchard-Taylor Commission in several weeks time. The original French text is available at; an English translation was published in Friday’s Montreal Gazette and can be found here. To add your signature to the letter, click here.

Emergency Rule in Pakistan

Once again, the brown fecal matter is impacting the rotary cooling device in Pakistan. In case you haven’t heard the news yet, Gen. Pervez Musharraf has declared emergency rule and the government is clamping down on television and radio stations.

This highlights the importance of sites such as Metroblogging Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad as independent sources of information and discussion.

The “Suggest a Story” links can be used to send us information and steps are being taken to protect the identity of our contributors.

First Airbus A380 to land in Montreal on November 12th

The Airbus A380, the world’s largest passenger airliner, will be making its first landing at Trudeau Airport on November 12. Although this is considered a route verification flight, the plane won’t be empty as more than 500 guests will be aboard. The Air France behemoth will return to Charles de Gaulle on November 15th.

You know where I’ll be.

Montreal as a new home for the United Nations?

It was revealed in the French Canadian newspaper La Presse that the Canadian government has informally proposed to the United Nations that they move their headquarters to the Montreal Old Port. The new site would essentially occupy a cluster of artificial islands between the downtown core and Habitat 67.

Detailed architectural plans have already been developed as shown in these images. These new installations would cost almost the same as the proposed $1.9 billion renovation of the Manhattan complex. They would also expect to save $790 millions per year in maintenance and the 65 acres site would be much bigger than the 7 acres currently occupied in Manhattan and would thus provide space for many of the UN-associated NGOs that are scattered all over the New York City area.

Finally, there is the additional advantage of improved security since the access to this new UN-city would be much easier to control.

The political consequence of such a move have not been covered in the article. I think that it is safe to assume that they would be quite significant.

Make Poverty History

Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings.

–Nelson Mandela

Today is the United Nations Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which is being marked by a global day of action sponsored by a coalition of anti-poverty groups working under the name Make Poverty History. The coalition is calling on Canadians to “STAND UP and SPEAK OUT” at events being held across the country, the purpose of which is to demand trade justice, increased international aid, debt cancellation for poor countries, and an end to child poverty in Canada.

Click here for a list of events happening in and around Montreal, and here to endorse the campaign.

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Sage advice

From yesterday’s Montreal Gazette:

If the city says it is coming to your street to beautify it – you know what to do. Organize your neighbours in an all-night vigil, armed with shotguns. Hire security forces, then set up a street blockade to keep the city out. It is not coming to help you – it is coming to bury you.

Details of a security alert on the McGill campus last Friday

Last Friday morning, at 9:30 a man, wearing camouflage fatigues and carrying a case of some sort, was intercepted in the McGill University Strathcona building.

The individual was known to be a former McGill student, he subsequently left the campus and was apprehended by the police on Prince Arthur Street. The University has been advised that he was not armed and that he has subsequently been released by the police as they were unable to find any reason to hold him.

In the early afternoon, some members of the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology and security received some threatening emails. McGill Security and the Montreal Police will continue to monitor the situation.

Please keep your eyes and ears open and advise McGill Security of any threats, strange activities, suspicious circumstances, or peculiar patterns of behaviour.

When pigs fly; or, A by-election update

Approximately once per century, the federal Liberal bastion of Outremont falls to another political party. In the twentieth century it was the Progressive Conservative Party, which broke a 71-year Liberal winning streak when they scooped the seat in 1988. In the twenty-first century, the victors are the New Democratic Party, which won the riding by an impressively wide margin last night. Of course, the NDP candidate was himself a Quebec Liberal not too long ago, which actually makes him something akin to an old-school Conservative, but that would be splitting hairs, wouldn’t it? In any case, enjoy the intermission while you can.

My day at the office: Redux

This entry first started out as a comment on Andre’s reposting of my “Day at the Office” story from last year, but I apparently had more to say than I first thought.

So far today the college is very, very quiet. I haven’t been this bored at work since early Summer, just after classes and exams had finished. What this tells me is that teachers are taking it easy in their classes today (they had no or little printing and/or handouts to give out – I work in the print shop). Some teachers even canceled classes altogether or are cutting them short.

I’ve spoken to a few co-workers and teachers and they all seemed just fine, like it’s a normal day. I haven’t personally seen any press people yet, but they’re mostly being kept at bay by the police, who have most of the streets surrounding the building blocked off. I might try to nab a few pictures of them, just for kicks.

Here’s the itinerary for the day’s events. It was brought up that, if it “felt right”, I could take some pictures of these activities (I’m typically the college’s designated photographer for events), but it seems that it’s a sensitive issue so there will be no photographs taken by this shutterbug of anything happening from withing the college. There’s a strict ‘no camera’ policy in place for today.

I will hopefully be able to attend everything that’s been planned for the day (it’s tough to leave the office when we’re short staffed with one person on vacation and another that wasn’t comfortable with coming to work today), but I’ll attempt to write another post later on or tomorrow and give a report sorts of how the day went overall.

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