Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 21/12/2010 (2435 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A place for books
Re: The book is dead, or soon will be (Dec. 16). I'm a bit surprised at Nicholas Hirst's confident prediction of the demise of the book as we know it.
After all, how many times has it been pronounced that some new technology will inevitably and completely replace another? TV was supposed to replace the movies and radio; the Internet was supposed to replace newspapers, TV, radio and music; and private cars were to consign rail travel to oblivion. In the late 19th century, typewriters were going to obliterate handwriting.
None of these dire predictions has come about. There is even still a small but ongoing industry in vacuum tubes. In every case, the new technology has replaced that part of the old at which it is superior. In turn, the old technology remains to do what it does best. So it will be with books and e-books.
Just a note for Nicholas Hirst about that wall of books in his condo. If he doesn't want them anymore, would he give us a call at the used bookshop where I work? We buy books. And we sell them, too, quite nicely, thank you very much, e-readers notwithstanding.
Actually, some of my customers have e-readers. They say e-readers are well-suited for certain material. Light fluffy stuff like thrillers and current affairs, but not something you want to see lying around the house the next morning.
As a species, we love to play with words. We write on rocks and walls and paper, and on our clothes. We even text with our phones, though surely a phone's most efficient use is for talking. We immortalize words in books and we are experimenting with e-readers.
I applaud all these word conveyances (I'm not too keen on graffiti, but even that has its purpose) because they all contribute something to our rich written tradition. The e-reader, like other electronic toys, will find its level soon enough. Long live the book!
Anyway, getting back to business. About your books, Mr. Hirst. May I expect a tweet?
For true lovers of the printed word, books can never be replaced by a cold, sterile digital reader. While these devices may have their place, they fall far short of the joy only a paper tome can provide.
Inhale with heady delight the dusty perfume of a used bookstore or library and caress the fine texture of parchment. I have yet to see someone with their nose pressed to an e-reader, eyes closed in rapture.
I would certainly hope that digitization is not going to be the only way of storing the world's knowledge. Anyone who has ever failed to make hard copies or back up their computer can attest to the fickle nature of technology.
Re: Province casts net for illegal fish sellers (Dec. 16). The province has to enforce laws because the federal government (the Freshwater Fish Marketing Board) doesn't pay enough for the commercial fishermen to survive.
The feds and the province turn their heads when these fishermen are made to "bush" millions of pounds of good fish (pickerel, northern pike and other species) every year, but God forbid they go out and sell it to their friends, neighbours or a restaurant. Now they are criminals!
If Premier Greg Selinger is counting on votes from these disenfranchised fishermen and their families next year, he might consider taking them out of this archaic monopoly. This has nothing to do with a right-wing or left-wing philosophy. It's about doing the right thing!
In his letter Shortchanging east side (Dec. 17), Ron Thiessen predicts doom and gloom for Manitoba's boreal forest if Bipole III is located on the east side of Lake Winnipeg.
Perhaps as a boreal forest enthusiast, he has hiked or canoed into Mantario Lake in the Whiteshell Wilderness Zone. If he approached from the south he will have travelled under Manitoba Hydro's dual power transmission line that connects with the Ontario Hydro grid at Kenora.
Although this line crosses from one side of Whiteshell Provincial Park to the other, including the wilderness zone, there is clearly no impact on the flora and fauna of the area. Of course, the right-of-way has been cleared of trees, but the ground cover remains with no trace of construction damage evident.
The line itself is admittedly somewhat of an eyesore, but Manitoba Hydro is aware of that and has chosen a route that is largely out of sight from developed and scenic areas of the park. With similar care and attention given to Bipole III, there is no reason to expect that it will be any more intrusive on the environment than the Whiteshell line is now.
Certainly our remaining boreal forest should be protected, but the east side of Lake Winnipeg is not a pristine wilderness and the environmental effect of building Bipole III through it will be minimal at worst. That is simply the only logical route.
Alan L. Crossin
Point of principle
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has done something few have ever done. He has walked straight up to the face of the United States and hung its dirty laundry out to dry.
Even though his actions are courageous, they are also irresponsible. Along with innocent cables, Assange has released a virtual hit list of American infrastructure points. He plans on releasing information that should continue to increase tensions.
Rather, what we should be celebrating is the principle he represents. As a university student, I see Assange's actions as an acute version of what was commonplace in the '60s and '70s. He is fighting for what he believes in, for the fundamental right of free speech, and he is receiving a reaction that is frightening and more useful than the information he releases himself.
What we should learn from him, regardless of his fate and his irresponsibility, is to hold onto our rights, and to not let them fall into others' hands.
It is ironic to observe the sharp contrast found in two articles, Northern chiefs want water and Ex-PM blunt on aboriginals, that appeared just a few pages apart on Dec. 16 and describe a relationship with Canada's First Nations that is sadly worlds and decades apart.
Based on comments made by Michelle Yao from Indian Affairs Minister John Duncan's office, First Nations need "to be smart when planning their communities, including the location of new homes."
Meanwhile, Paul Martin continues to be committed to the spirit of the 2005 Kelowna Accord, a historic agreement between the Government of Canada, First Nations, the provinces and territories. It is intended to forge a new relationship with our First Nations based on working together at all levels to move forward on key issues. Unfortunately, Yao firmly reminds us how far backwards we have travelled since then.
Essence of winter
It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and Ruth Bonneville's photograph on the front of the City and Business section on Dec. 17 does just that. It speaks volumes, by truly capturing every essence and emotion of a prairie winter.