Municipal Democracy in Action

City Idol is a campaign being run in Toronto that encourages civic participation. Contestants are competing for the chance to run for city council with the backing of the volunteers (and perhaps the other contestants) from City Idol. This idea is run by concerned citizens with no funding from the city.

Everyone is encouraged to come out and vote for the contestants.

City Idol is trying to make democracy fun and engaging!

Disclaimer: I’m running for City Idol, so please come vote for me on June 1 at the Kathedral

Robot Students

Unhealthy students that are confined to a hospital will soon be able to still attend class. Bad news for the kids in one way and good in another. They still have to do their homework and the students can stay in contact with their friends.

Using a robot in the hospital room and another robot in the classroom a student can participate in class. A great use for robots!

“Achim is using a pair of robots–one, called “Mr. Spike,” at his bedside, and its mate, “Mrs. Candy,” in the classroom–to keep up with his schoolwork and his friends for the months he will be bedridden at Blythedale Children’s Hospital in Valhalla, N.Y., just north of New York City.

The robot in the classroom, which displays a live picture of Achim, provides what its inventors call “telepresence”: It gives the boy an actual presence in the classroom, recognized by teachers and classmates. It can move from class to class on its four-wheeled base, and it could even stop at the lockers for a between-periods chat.”

Bloggers Can Keep Secrets

The organization, Reports Without Borders, has released a statement that hails a recent ruling in a California court case. In question was whether a blogger has the same rights as a journalist to protect the anonymity of their sources. This is important for freedom of speech and for protecting those who are whistle-blowers in their industries.

In this particular case Apple Computers tried to force a blogger to reveal his source for the leaking of private Apple information. The company was (and still is) concerned with the websites that publicize rumors on Apple’s coming product, including AppleInsider and ThinkSecret.

Reporters Without Borders added: “The Californian appeal court’s decision is historic because it gives a new legitimacy to bloggers. Even though they do not have press cards, they will henceforth have right of place in the world of news and information.”

Smoke Free Provinces

Some of the toughest anti-smoking legislation in North America is being implemented tonight in Ontario and Quebec. Essentially the two Canadian provinces will be “smoke-free.”

The legislations bans smoking in restaurants, bars, casinos, and all other indoor public places. Personally, I can’t wait until smoking is banned in all public places because I don’t like being forced into consuming other people’s vices.

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