Bits and Bites, Wednesday October 7th, 2009

Good morning, and a lovely one at that. The stars were all twinkling brightly during my early run today, and the air was crispy cool. This has been the perfect fall so far, at least to me. What more could you ask for than crispy leaves, warm cider and roasted chestnuts and the smell of wood smoke lingering on the breeze….

First up today, I want to direct you to a wonderful little video I found recently, and the man who produced it, Doug Pyper. Doug Pyper is a gifted commercial photographer, writer and all around creative genius. I discovered first his blog, which led me to his commercial website, his companion gallery,  and in turn, a video posted on Youtube  that had been removed. As someone who is against the majority of run of the river projects being built in BC by IPP’s, I was immediately intrigued, and contacted Doug to find out more. Doug immediately sent me a copy to view myself, and I spent some time with the kids watching this unconventionally artistic production.

 ‘Vanishing Rainbows’ is a haunting, visual feast for anyone who loves the raw beauty left in this province,and the value of our natural, clean rivers and streams – and it is far from your standard documentary type shoot. By combining still shots, video and music, Doug has created what I suspect will become part of the legacy of Mick and Gabriella “Storm” Grabowsky.

 Mick and Storm and horse ranchers, and the sole inhabitants of Glacier Creek Valley.

 They have lived in the valley for years, and to them it is more than just a home, it is a way of life lost to most of us in the modern world. The stunning Glacier Creek runs right through their property, and is as crucial to their ability to live as the air we all breathe. Unfortunately, Mick and Storm live right downstream from a planned independant power project being built by Axor– a project that plans to dam, divert and run the creek through several large pipes and tunnels, effectively cutting them off and putting an end to their way of life forever.

  While this project may be news to some of you, it has been foremost in the minds and hearts of those who are fighting to protect British Columbia’s most precious creeks and rivers, and Glacier creek is listed on the list of BC’s most endangered rivers. Most recently, the project was stalled by their inability to provide a detailed plan for how they intend to protect the fish that inhabit and spawn in this creek, but the company expects to forge ahead within a short time. The BC government still has this project listed as ‘ under review’.

I spent the first 18 years of my life living just north of Prince George. I still recall fond memories of fishing and playing in various streams and rivers in the area, many of which have since been altered, polluted or otherwise tainted. In some ways, we are all responsible for those travesties, but this is different. Glacier Creek is not just a beautiful recreational creek, it is a life source for Mick and Storm Grabowsky and one of the few water sources in BC that remains pristine and untouched. I don’t make often make recommendations, but I strongly urge you to check out Dougs sites, and contact him to see a copy of that video. It might just open your eyes, your heart and your mind, and inspire you to help Save our Rivers too…

( Many of you may not be aware of the extent that these Run of the River IPP’s are planned for the entire province. Check out this blog post I did earlier this year that contains a map of proposed and current projects, as well as links to other information regarding IPP’s:

As a writer who often must do a lot of research, I am the first to admit that I rely heavily on my computer. With a click and some taps, a world of knowledge is right before me. However, when I grew up, computers where just becoming mainstream. I recall our schools computer lab, filled with Apple computers, and computer class consisted of learning to program the game Hangman successfully. How times have changed… now schools are often built with wireless connections, laptops often take the place of writing notes, and kids are forgetting what it means to practice good handwriting. That why I found this viewpoint written by Robert Smol,titled ” Time to get computers out of the classrooms“, so compelling, and I agree wholeheartedly. Long gone are the days when kids filled libraries, busy searching books and doing research, and Robert argues that the growing reliance on computers has inadvertently created a generation with a lack of writing and research skills, among others.

Ask a high school student today to find information in their own textbook or in a newspaper that is not online and you are likely to encounter blank stares and painful groans.For today’s students, the web has bred a sense of information entitlement where they expect the correct information to somehow come to them rather than the other way around.

In other words, a “Wikipedification” of research is going on that is blurring both the value and the accuracy of what these students are turning up.In practical terms, this means that the “hits” that come up first — which are all too often variations on the same theme — are taken as authoritative sources, without any real consideration as to where the original material comes from and what it is based on.

As a result, I will often find students basing their academic research on blogs or rants in discussion forums instead of on more reliable academic sources largely because personal blogs and discussion forums are simple to understand and easier to read.

As a blogger, I would be appalled to find a highschool student citing me in a mid-term paper!Not because I am inaccurate – I try to confirm everything and cite credible sources- but because a highschool student shouldn’t be taking my word for it, they should be determining what is true and correct firsthand. Robert makes a good point, that can be easily translated into a host of other arenas. One of my biggest beefs are cashiers and bank tellers who have no ability to count back change, or do simple math on the spot. Woe is the customer who gives a cashier a large bill, but then comes up with the extra few coins to make the total after the cashier has rung it through, because unfortunately, most become so confused at how much they should give you for change, that it creates a delay at the checkout. We have become so used to technology doing the “dirty work” that doing anything manually is becoming a lost art. For myself, I remain blackberry free, and the only thing I take with me on a job is my cellphone, camera, notepad and pen. Yes, I still actually take notes….and I can add on the spot. What do you think ?

( oddly enough, this CKNW headline showed up in my mail as I was writing this- case in point…)

CKNW Breaking News…
BC Ferries says computer problems have resulted in manual processing of tickets at both the Tsawwassen and Horseshoe Bay terminals, resulting in sailing delays.
Sent at 7:08am:

Finally, Thanksgiving is coming this weekend, and while this can be a warm and loving family occasion for some… for others? Not so much. For those of you who find you need to fill a prescription for Valium before attending a family holiday,check out this link for one mans Thanksgiving Survival Guide…. ( warning: he uses the “F” word several times, so don’t look if that is going to bunch your underwear) Feel free to share your Thanksgiving memories – good or bad!

That’s it  for today- hope you enjoyed!