One of my favorite charities is Playground Builders. They build playgrounds for children in war-torn areas of the Middle East, providing safe places for children to play. They always use local people in the building process, providing much-needed jobs and injecting money into the local economy. And their own administrative costs are bare minimum. (I know the founder and members of the board of this organization.)

If you feel inclined to donate, a benefactor is matching all funds up to $50,000, but only until midnight December 31st. So your $10 would become $20. You can learn more here:

Great way to start a new year!


In the last year and a half the British Columbia legislature has sat for … 36 days.

By the end of 2013, it will be 36 days out of the last 579 (going back to May 31, 2012.) There was no fall sitting in 2012 or 2013 – both cancelled by Premier Christy Clark.

BC democracy  gagged

How’s that for a functioning democracy! (Certainly convenient if you want to announce policies like 28% Hydro increases and massive BC Ferry cuts without a pesky opposition party being able to ask you questions.)

More here

CANADA OILSANDS EXPANSION to Cause Irreversible Damage; Ottawa Says "Oh, well…"

The expansion of Shell Canada’s Jackpine oilsands project will destroy 8,500 hectares of wetland and have an irreversible impact, says Canada’s environment minister.

But she’s not too concerned. In fact, Ottawa thinks the project is in the public’s interest.

And how will the public be compensated for this loss of 8,500 hectares of irreplaceable wetlands?

Shell Canada is buying us 730 hectares of … former cattle pasture. And you know what we’re gonna find there.
Cow pie

If you can stomach it, more here.

Japan’s New Secrecy Bill: Kafka, Hitler, and Lethal Radiation

Japan just passed a new Special Secrets Bill.


The rules?

  1. What will be a secret is secret.
  2. Anyone who leaks a secret and a reporter who writes it up can face up to ten years in jail.
  3. There are no rules at to what government agency can declare a state secret.
  4. Anything pertaining to nuclear energy is a state secret.

More here:

Coincidentally (??), this – “Highest Radiation Level Ever, Lethal In 20 Minutes, Recorded Outside Fukushima Reactor”
More here:

*Thanks to Tyler Durden of ZeroHedge for the heads-up:

How Smart Are The World's 15-Year Olds? Take The Quiz

The PISA evaluation of global education systems was just released.

PISA results 2012

The testing assessed the competencies of 15-year-olds in reading,
mathematics and science (with a focus on mathematics).

The results?

Asian countries took the top 7 places. (Canada was 13th out of 65, down 3 spots since 2009. The US ranked 26th.)

See the rankings here

Try some of the questions here:

Read more here:


Mark Grist shares his great attraction to a girl who reads. (I just happened to notice that one of the ‘related videos’ on the very same Youtube page was “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2013”. And which video do you think has the most views? Might be closer than you’d think.)


Kids giving themselves a time-out … using exercise and breathing techniques to calm their minds when they sense they’ve become hyper … putting themselves to bed early in order to be well-rested at school the next day … what an inspirational approach. Kudos to all involved. This is the kind of thing that can change the world.

Listen to Karin Wells documentary on CBC radio’s The Sunday Edition here: