Monday, March 30, 2009

Volunteers continue work - slight reprieve for Red River Flood watch

Update: Monday March 30, 2009 - Red River Flood Watch, North Dakota and Winnipeg area, Manitoba

North Dakota and Manitoba:

The flood watch in the Red River valley area on both sides of the U.S. Canada border continues today, but with a slight reprieve due to much colder temperatures. The sub-zero weather is slowing the runoff and freezing drainage that runs into the Red River and tributary systems and the flood crest is expected ... more

Volunteer efforts continue full strength though, and the Disaster Relief program at Project417 remains on call with updates expected later this evening.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Floods, Ice jams - Red River rises record levels - North Dakota, Minnesota, Manitoba

Red River Flooding Update - Saturday Mar 28, 2009

North Dakota declared disaster zone amid flooding

We’re concerned about the possibilities of more evacuations for our neighbors in North Dakota and Minnesota and watching updates for the flood conditions in the Winnipeg, Manitoba areas of the Red River basin - hit by the worst flood levels in many years. Project417 is on alert to be notified of volunteer requirements by...more

Manitoba Flood Liaison office - 200 Saulteaux Cres. in Winnipeg: 204-945-2354
available to provide information to residents of the Red River Valley, including details on existing flood protection levels, current forecasted flood levels and the status of community ring-dike closures. The offices will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. until the current flood risk is over.
The Canadian military is onsite on the Manitoba side of the Red River valley preparing to battle the floods, and volunteers are being mobilized by the Salvation Army, Red Cross and others like Project417.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

50 Reasons to leave Facebook

In no particular order:

1. You have better things to do, no really.

2. Have you ever actually read the Facebook Terms & Conditions about how much of your personal information they say they OWN and can share? Why do they need to know your birthday and real name - thousands of websites let you sign up anonymously with just an email address that is not displayed on the site. You just shared the two main peices of information you need for a passport or social insurance card with 250 million strangers

3. If you left Facebook recently, they probably kept all your photos and personal information anyway, if you didn't follow their arcane instructions to delete the data.

4. It spawns spam - it is spam spawning. It spams spam spawning spam. Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam...

5. Facebook mines your personal data and relationship information to sell to advertisers. The Canadian government privacy watchdog has charged Facebook is in violation of privacy laws with respect to users personal data.

6. You're already a member of other social networking sites like

7. The reasons for all the recent Facebook changes are all related to making things easier for advertisers, businesses and organizations - not users like you.

8. Police recently charged a graffiti artist based on photos he posted on Facebook - which were entered as evidence in court.

9. There are more than 250 million people with a Facebook profile - how many do you know and trust?

10. You're already a member of other social networking sites like

11. The sidebar is full of "get rich quick" ads

12. A Facebook security breach allowing unauthorized access to your personal data was as recent as Friday, March 20, 2009

13. Lawyers recently subpoenaed a Facebook user's online activity in recent proceedings to use against him in quality of life issues related to his disability insurance claim.

14. It's easier to post and share your photos on Flickr - while Facebook's photo upload tool takes forever

15. Prospective and current employers will check to see if you have a Facebook profile

16. You're already a member of other social networking sites like MySpace

17. You have better things to do, no really.

18. Just who is Mark Zuckerberg anyway? (besides the CEO founder of Facebook) And did he really start Facebook just to get more dates while in college?

19. You spend more time on Facebook than you do actually with your friends in person.

20. Businesses and organizations are actually encouraging employees to establish a "professional" Facebook presence to improve business, sales and networking opportunities - isn't supposed to be about friends and family? and how much do they pay you for maintaining your Facebook profile?

21. A better professional social networking site is (where already about 25% of my Facebook contacts are connected to me, and I've found old contacts who are not on Facebook)

22. Twitter - like classic Facebook status updates only better at - Zuckerberg and Facebook tried to buy them, they must be doing something right

23. It's easier to share photos on Google at - or share documents on Google Docs

24. It's easier to share links on

25. It's easier and more flexible to post and share Facebook style Notes on your own blog with Wordpress free at or Blogger at - I have had more than 15,000 people read my blog at Wordpress in the last year and another few thousand here at Blogger

26. Want the latest news? "Digg" it at or say you "Reddit" at

27. blogs are 100% advertising banner free. Or if you like to make money, Blogger is Google's service and it's easy to add Google ads in the sidebar and have Google send you a cheque instead of Facebook.

28. You can store and share all kinds of stuff at or Windows Live Skydrive at

29. Facebook tries to incorporate all or some of these other social networking and sharing site features and doesn't do it as well as any of them, especially the apps that they have that are supposed to update this information in Facebook Boxes on your profile...oh yeah, nobody checks the Boxes tab

30. The best part about Facebook was your Facebook Status update and the Wall and they've changed how all that works with the latest upgrade and will change it again before the year is out

31. You're tired of getting invitations from Apps like NUDE ZOMBIES WHO DRINK LEMONADE etc

32. You have better things to do, no really!

33. You already have email addresses and phone numbers for all of your Facebook friends, but now you have to check Facebook email in addition to your personal and business email accounts, and check who wrote what on your wall, and get Facebook mobile updates, and and and... people are always saying to you "hey didn't you see that note/comment/message/update I sent to you?

34. It's easier to share videos with friends on YouTube at

35. Facebook cares about their customers, really. Unfortunately Facebook users like you and me are not "customers", customers pay - businesses promoting their pages and links and advertisers posting their ads are the real Facebook customers.

36. Facebook's search function is rudimentary - Google does it better, Bing does it better - even Yahoo! does it better

37. You have experienced Facebook friends who misunderstood or misconstrued something you wrote on another Facebook friend's wall.

38. Some comments just don't make any sense at all - don't shoot the messenger.

39. Does it really make any difference when you click the little "thumbs down" icon on the ads in the sidebar? or is that just a ruse to make you read the ad?

40. 5,000,000,000 - the number of minutes spent on Facebook every day.

41. People tag you in photos which are not of you, but just to give you a heads up that they want you to look at a photo, instead of just clicking the share photo button. Like I said, it's easier to share photos on Flickr or Picasa or Multiply...

42. You post a group or event only to have the Wall inundated with flames and spam messages.

43. You poke a friend, they poke you back, you poke a friend, they poke you back, you poke.... you get the picture.

44. You have sent a Facebook message, Wall post, or poke from one computer in your home to the person at the other computer in your home. Can't we just get up and walk down the hall?

45. Your phone number is posted on your Facebook profile and nobody ever phones it.

46. You have better things to do, NO REALLY!

47. Like go for a walk, or visit a friend, or encourage a family member who needs you, or phone a friend and ask to meet for lunch, or visit a friend in hospital, or volunteer some time helping others...

48. There must be a way to combine all the different web services you use to share information effectively with friends, family and associates, without being constricted by the rather limited Facebook interface, and without being disrupted by Facebook upgrades.

49. There is a better way actually, the Flock social web browser for one - which is free, like the rest, based on the open Mozilla software (as is Firefox), doesn't depend on ad banners - and is capable of aggregating all the information from services you already use like Google, Picasa, Flickr, Twitter, Delicious, Digg, MSN, MySpace, etc etc (even Facebook, but you're leaving Facebook, remember?). At and Google is launching SocialStream soon.

[canayjun's note - no, I don't work for Flock, or Google or any of these other sites...]

50. Stay tuned for an upcoming event, that will make it very easy to leave Facebook.

Updated 20 seconds ago · Comment · Like
don't click this, it doesn't do anything just like on facebook

Update -

Check out Ron Shulkin's great article "Has Facebook jumped the shark?", over at
- examining people who are leaving (and joining) Facebook.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Explosions in Two Toronto Apartment Buildings

Explosions in Two Toronto Apartment Buildings - Thurs. Mar.19th

Update: Hundreds of residents were forced to evacuate after explosions rocked two Toronto apartment complexes in separate incidents Thursday.

The first, a condominium building in the east end at Kingston Rd and Eglinton, suffered two blasts shortly after 2:30 am - one inside a utility room, followed by a Hydro transformer outside the building. More than 500 residents were evacuated to a community centre, where volunteer relief workers provided meals. More here from the missionlog post.

The second incident occurred early Thursday afternoon at 2369 Lake Shore Blvd., in the third-floor electrical room of a four-storey, 92-unit apartment building. [source] Residents were also evacuated to a nearby community centre - where about thirty stayed Thursday night. During investigation of the fire, what appeared to be marijuana grow-ops were discovered in three of the units. It’s not known whether the hydro consumed by the grow-ops contributed to the electrical room explosion.

Project417 volunteers
responded to the community centre with the Salvation Army Emergency Disaster Services team to assist residents and serve food and beverages adding to the relief assistance already being provided after the east end explosion.

Filed under: Advocacy, BREAKING News, Disaster Relief, Life, News, News Commentary, People, Photos, church, crime, homelessness | Tagged: project417, toronto, community, explosion, blast, evacuate, apartment, drugs, evacuation, residents, emergency, west, lakeshore, marijuana, grow-op

Explosion at Toronto apartment - 500 residents evacuated
Posted on March 20, 2009

Explosion in Toronto Apartment Complex
Location: Kingston Rd - Eglinton Avenue

Update from canoe: Hundreds of residents were evacuated after an explosion this morning at an east-end apartment. Many, some wearing only their pj’s and robes, were loaded onto transit buses and taken to a community center.The explosion, in the basement utility room, knocked out the building’s power.

More from - ” More than 500 were forced to evacuate the building . Following the blast in the condominium, a Hydro Transformer outside the building also exploded. Commander O’Hallarn of the Toronto Fire Departments said the evacuation has been lengthy because it took time to set up a location to temporarily house people. Some residents have been shuttled off to the Scarborough Village Community Centre at 3600 Kingston Rd….

And - “Most residents were able to enter their condos to take some of their belongings and pets with them. Some spent the day at a nearby community centre, while others said they were going to stay with friends or family.

Project417 Responds - Once again, Project417 responded to the disaster. Project417’s Director, Joe Elkerton, had been on call all week for the Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster response unit (EDS), backing up the vacationing Salvation Army manager in charge. He received the call from Toronto Fire early Thursday morning that hundreds of residents were sheltered in the east end community center. Joe quickly organized volunteers, picked up the EDS community response vehicle, which is a fully equipped and stocked 35′ mobile canteen, and headed for the center. Throughout the day, meals, snacks and beverages were served to residents and front-line personnel manning the evacuation centre. The EDS unit of the Salvation Army - with whom Project417 partners - is a critical component of Toronto’s overall emergency and disaster services plan.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

No Economic Stimulus for Canada - Thanks to the Senate

Did you read that right? No economic stimulus package? Didn't this bill pass parliament last month on February 4th with much fanfare and Conservative / new Liberal buddy posturing?

Well, yes - and NO!

The economic crisis
deepens, Canada sinks further into recession. The country is bleeding hundreds of thousands of jobs - and yet our dysfunctional parliament can't get an economic stimulus bill passed. First it takes them a MONTH to get through to the third and final reading in parliament, so all can have their partisan moment in the media sun, now it has been sent to the Senate for "approval".

Just so you remember - that same Senate that is an un-elected body of political appointee hacks. Partisan appointments at that - every government in power tries to stack the deck by appointing their favorite backroom buddies. Cushy Senate committee seats next to the public trough with job guarantees to age seventy-five. That Senate. That worthless appendage of the Canadian parliamentary process.

Now the Senate is doing their best to boondoggle and filibuster and waste our time while Rome (our economy) burns around them. They want to send back the budget and economic stimulus package to Finance Minister Flaherty because it is contained in an omnibus package that includes other national business unrelated to the stimulus of the economy, as if they can't wrap their tired, old, shrunken, addled brains around more than one issue at the same time - like walking and chewing gum. Led by dire pronouncements from Senator Art Eggleton (formerly the mayor of Hogtown, who actually left the city in an economic mess) they want to block what our elected officials have already agreed to - IN the omnibus package - that has passed THREE readings of representative parliamentary process. What boogeyman do they think they will find under all the rocks already overturned?

This is ludicrous and dangerous! Our economy urgently needs measures to stimulate conditions to shorten the recession and create jobs for ordinary Canadians - who, unlike appointed senators, don't have job guarantees into next month, nevermind their sunset years. Email the senators and tell them this is unacceptable. (you can contact Eggleton at his link above - swamp him!). Find other senators at the Senate website here. Also contact your MP and urge them to support measures to make the Senate a useful, representative, elected body, or abolish it.
Pass the economic stimulus package now - stop playing politics with our livelihood.