We need a Plan B to deal with climate change

Adapting to a changing climate is the only feasible option

We need a Plan B to deal with climate changeDrawing heavily from physicist Steven Koonin’s recent book – Unsettled: What Climate Science Tells Us, What It Doesn’t, and Why It Matters – my last column looked at some of the challenges involved in getting to global carbon-free by mid-century. Koonin actually calls it “a practical impossibility.” Now let’s talk about contingency planning. If carbon…

The road to a carbon-free future will be rougher than we thought

If aspirations and reality collide, always bet on reality

The road to a carbon-free future will be rougher than we thoughtIf you’ve been following international news lately, you’ll have noticed a new development. Europe and Asia are suddenly worried about energy. With winter coming, costs are soaring and there’s even concern about shortages that might trigger industrial shutdowns and endanger people’s ability to heat their homes. From an object of loathing and scorn, fossil fuels…

Women leading in a landscape shaped by men

Research shows men are given second chances much more than women

Women leading in a landscape shaped by menIndira Samarasekera and Martha Piper have been leaders in post-secondary education every step of the way, right up to the presidencies of two of Canada’s top research universities. They explore what they’ve learned in a new book, Nerve: Lessons on Leadership From Two Women Who Went First. Samarasekera made University of Alberta history in 2005 as…

Spending Thanksgiving with Rumpole of the Bailey

Leo McKern transforms into the barrister with personality, magnificent inflection and dry wit

Spending Thanksgiving with Rumpole of the BaileyThanksgiving in Canada is a wonderful, relaxing time. Turkey dinner with family. Football games and baseball playoffs. Listening to music. Catching up on reading. How could you ask for anything better? As it happens, I can add one cherry on top of the proverbial sundae. I was able to go through my DVD collection of…

When Reagan fired the air traffic controllers

It was assumed that Reagan would cave to the aggressive labour action. He didn't

When Reagan fired the air traffic controllersSomething unusual happened in August 1981. Ronald Reagan, then president of the United States, fired the country’s illegally-striking air traffic controllers. Most observers were astonished. This wasn’t part of the normal political playbook. Increasing union militancy had become a prevalent feature of the economic landscape since the 1960s. And when faced with aggressive labour action…

Canada hasn’t always celebrated its Olympic champions

George Orton won Canada’s first gold medal in the 2,500-metre steeplechase in the 1900 Summer Olympics in Paris

Canada hasn’t always celebrated its Olympic championsThe 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Japan, are over. They came pretty close to never materializing, however. The Tokyo Games were delayed a year due to the coronavirus pandemic. And a surge in COVID-19 cases in Japan this year led some health experts to suggest the Olympics should be cancelled. The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun…

In praise of talented storytellers Forsyth, Follett

If you’re partial to thrillers but aren’t familiar with either man, find a copy of The Day of the Jackal or Eye of the Needle and enjoy a riveting read

In praise of talented storytellers Forsyth, FollettThis summer marks the 50th anniversary of Frederick Forsyth’s The Day of the Jackal. It’d be hard to conceive of a more spectacular novelistic debut. Forsyth was a “flat broke,” unemployed English journalist in his early 30s. Hopefully, a novel would help clear his debts. While the book’s inspiration was the failed 1962 assassination attempt…

Harry will receive a princely sum for a book about nothing

A profile of someone who has been in the public eye most of his life but achieved little of note isn’t a worthwhile subject

Harry will receive a princely sum for a book about nothingPrince Harry is writing a book. Hmm. The crickets are pretty loud today.  All kidding aside, it’s true. “The Duke of Sussex is to publish an intimate memoir of his life,” the Daily Telegraph’s Victoria Ward wrote on July 19, “which he has vowed will be ‘accurate and wholly truthful.’” The book will be published by…

Uncovering the myths and celebrating the reality of André the Giant

Bertrand Hébert and Pat Laprade’s book, The Eighth Wonder of the World: The True Story of André the Giant, helped unlock this Giant mystery

Uncovering the myths and celebrating the reality of André the GiantProfessional wrestling has had many great performers with athletic prowess and an ability to engage – or, at times, enrage – audiences. Yet one pro wrestler was always in a class of his own: André René Roussimoff, better known as André the Giant. Inside the ring, André was a massive, near-invincible foe with seemingly unlimited…

What we get wrong about the Islamic empire and crusader armies

Author Steve Tibble’s message is that much of the crusader narrative is simplistic caricature. But it can’t erase facts

What we get wrong about the Islamic empire and crusader armiesAs imperial enterprises went, it was a stunning performance. Coming from apparently nowhere, an extensive Islamic empire was born in the century following the Prophet Muhammad’s 632 death. Arab armies swept out of the remote Arabian peninsula to conquer the Middle East and North Africa, subsequently crossing the straits of Gibraltar to Spain and establishing…
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