Who needs Keystone when you could build a tar-sands pipeline through Alaska?


The folks invested in Canadian tar sands are growing tired of twiddling their thumbs. After years of pushing and waiting, they still don’t have enough capacity to move all the oil they want to extract. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline through the lower 48 has become a symbol for environmental activists and American conservative legislators, resulting in a protracted political drama. At this point, it’s unclear whether the project will ever be built.

Meanwhile, another proposed pipeline, the Northern Gateway through British Columbia, has also stalled despite preliminary federal government approval. Many in the province are worried about the environmental damage the project could do to coastal ecosystems and waterways where salmon breed, and are challenging the project in court. Another proposed pipeline project through B.C., the Trans Mountain expansion, and one to the east through New Brunswick, the Energy East project, are also going nowhere fast.

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Meet Lewis Latimer, the African American who enlightened Thomas Edison


We’re interrupting your regularly scheduled programming on gentrification to bring you this Black History Month profile on Lewis H. Latimer, the African-American renaissance man who in the late 19th century helped not only invent the lightbulb, but also create the electric industry as we know it today. Yes, it’s common knowledge that Thomas Edison was the lightbulb’s inventor. And with today being Edison’s birthday, the electric industry won’t let us forget that, either:

It’s a bit generous to credit all of this to “one man’s vision.” There were competing visions all throughout the 1800s on how to efficiently distribute light, beyond a candle, and on how to power growing urban centers. Populations in northern American cities began exploding in the closing decades of the 19th century not only because…

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The Copenhagen Shootings

University of York's English Pen Society

This weekend’s attacks in Copenhagen have been condemned by English PEN as an assault on freedom of expression.


On Saturday, 14th February, an attack took place at a café in Copenhagen during an event on free speech. One man was killed during this attack. That night, it is believed that the same suspect opened fire outside a synagogue, also in Copenhagen, killing another man. In the early hours of Sunday a further attack took place, killing a police officer on guard in the Norrebo District. The suspect was then shot dead.

“The shocking attack in Copenhagen seeks to shut down freedom of expression and intimidate anyone who wishes to discuss current challenges to free speech publicly.

English PEN deplores this violent assault on a peaceful gathering – an unacceptable attempt to silence debate. Our thoughts are with the families of the victims.”

Freedom of expression has received a lot of…

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Uber, Google could replace cab drivers with robots


Loving your local Uber driver? That scrappy entrepreneur who’s turned his car into a home office? Well you can kiss him goodbye: The robo-cabs are coming!

Uber prides itself on being disruptive to the taxi industry by providing personal transport service without all those pesky regulations. Now it’s disrupting itself: On Monday, the company announced a partnership with Carnegie Mellon University to build a robotics research lab in Pittsburgh. TechCrunch reports that the goal is to create a fleet of driverless, robot cabs. It’s further proof that Uber cares so much about its drivers.

As it turns out, the move may be a response to a warning from a Google exec who sits on Uber’s board: Google is creating its own ride-hailing app, and the cabs could be self-driving.

Until now, Google has been Uber’s tech-industry BFF, investing $258 million in the ride-hailing app, sharing Google Maps, and lending a C-suiter to Uber’s board of…

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Grammys 2015 Winners RoundUp


The Grammys is run by old people, for old people. (The red carpet on the other hand, is for the young. We’ll post that later today.) This year was thankfully devoid of embarrassments on the order of Macklemore, Iggy stayed firmly in her seat all night and went home empty-handed. Kanye pretended he was going to jump the stage, for old times sake. Paul McCartney performed, because he’s going to be asked to do so until the day he finally passes. But in general the show–which has become mostly a variety show concert in the last few years, brought on the oldest and the safest for the telecast portion of the show. I mean, we opened with AC/DC. Who haven’t been relevant this century. We’ll skip them, as they spent most of their performance reading the lyrics from teleprompters. Let’s get to the good stuff.

One of the best performances of the…

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