By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, October 31, 2011 - 0 Comments
Interim Liberal leader piano dueled at Fat Tuesdays New Orleans Experience in Ottawa….
By Jaime Weinman - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 6:07 PM - 0 Comments
The second big story of the TV season, after the bigger number of successful comedies, is fantasy. Once Upon a Time appears to be one of the few genuine drama hits of the season on the broadcast networks. And the other fairy-tale show, Grimm, surprised everyone by getting better numbers on Friday, up against the seventh game of the World Series, than almost any NBC show gets on a good night. (If ratings for Grimm hold up, NBC will have to decide whether to pull a CSI and move it from Friday to a bigger night.) Add in the success of fantasy and horror on cable, and you’ve got yourself a trend.
Now, there’s an almost irresistible temptation to say that comedy and fantasy are catching on because people want escapism in hard times. I think it’s best to avoid that. For one thing, escapism is always popular, in all times. And it’s popular because, for another thing, there aren’t really a lot of easy times; certainly the ’00s were not a time of a happy and secure worldwide mood, even before the economic collapse. Some hits directly address the things that worry us; others allow us to ignore them. Both approaches can lead to hit shows as long as, on some level, they tell us something we want to hear right now.
That doesn’t mean that there’s no such thing as a trend. There is something going on; there is a heightened audience interest in TV fantasy. But I wonder if it might be partly a sign that hits help create other hits. As I and others have mentioned, once a network has hit shows, it becomes somewhat easier to launch new hits; when a network doesn’t have any hits, it has to just accept low ratings for most of its new shows and try to develop a “self-starting” hit (something that is an out-of-the-box success with no help from the rest of the lineup). There may be a sort of similar cluster effect for TV in general. A successful fantasy show creates interest in other fantasy shows: Grimm might have been helped by the fact that people liked Once Upon a Time and were willing to check out something similar. TV hits often come in cycles, like the fantasy-comedy cycle of the ’60s, the relevant sitcom and gritty cop show cycles of the ’70s, and the procedural cycle of the ’00s. This happens partly because producers rush out as many imitations as they can, but it could also be that when a viewer likes one show, he or she is inclined to search out another show of the same type. And because the producers are bringing out so many imitators of the big hit, there are plenty of shows to choose from, which means that some of those shows will become hits, which in turn means more imitators, which in turn means… you get the idea. A cycle is born, until there are too many shows of that type, and it burns itself out.
(The ’90s sitcom cycle is, for me, the clearest case of how this type of cycle works. Seinfeld becomes a big hit. Networks respond by bringing out more sitcoms about single city-dwellers. Viewers choose to watch some of those shows, making them into hits. The networks then bring out imitators of the imitators, but they go too far, overcrowding the market with sitcoms nobody likes. Viewers stick with the shows they have already chosen, and then move on to some other kind of show when they want something new to watch alongside their old favourites. That’s a simplistic explanation of the process, but it probably works better than saying that people’s tastes suddenly changed due to the dot-com bust or something like that.)
Whether this is the start of a fantasy cycle – and we’ll have to wait and see on that one – I think now is obviously the time for ABC to consider a reboot of the show that, famously, has the same plot as Once Upon a Time. Only this time, they can create a dramatic myth arc based on the question of why Snow White was played by two different actresses.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 5:44 PM - 12 Comments
The Scene. The NDP’s David Christopherson stood and, sounding serious, informed the House that the official opposition’s joined all Canadians in mourning the loss of Master Corporal Byron Greff, who died this weekend after a suicide bomber struck the convoy in which he was travelling near Kabul. The House was quiet.
The Prime Minister was absent this day, but Mr. Christopherson proceeded to direct his question to him nonetheless. “Will the Prime Minister,” he asked, “update this House on his current view of the security situation our troops are now facing in Afghanistan?”
Defence Minister Peter MacKay duly stood and added his condolences. “It is a reminder,” Mr. MacKay then said, “of the unlimited liability assumed by members of the Canadian Forces and our allies in that mission.”
Indeed, the Defence Minister seemed to sense where Mr. Christopherson was going with this. “No one would suggest,” he said with his next breath, “that the risks will ever be zero in that country, given the current security climate.”
By Andrew Coyne - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 5:27 PM - 82 Comments
Weeks after the whole sorry mess began, we’re still being treated to deep thinkers pronouncing upon the Occupy gatherings as if they meant something Deeply Significant. This piece in the Vancouver Sun is a classic of the genre: inequality soaring, incomes stagnating, etc etc. All of which would be terribly concerning if there were any factual basis for it.
I’ve tried to deal with this elsewhere in prose, but sometimes there’s just nothing like a graph. Here, then, courtesy of Statistics Canada, is that runaway trend towards a society divided into haves and have nots, the “growing gap” you’ve been hearing all about:
Appalling, isn’t it? Why, in less than 20 years, the share of pre-tax incomes going to the top 20% has soared from 50% to … 52%. If this trend keeps up, by 2031 it will still be in the low 50s.
For those who’d like to check, the graph is from StatsCan’s CANSIM database. The numbers in HTML form are here (look under “All Family Units”), or you can have a look at my spreadsheet here. Continue…
By John Parisella - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 4:26 PM - 6 Comments
He’s no one’s favourite candidate, but that won’t be enough to keep him from the GOP nomination
With Hermain Cain riding high in the polls and former Governor Mitt Romney racking up endorsements, some cracks have started to show in the campaigns of their opponents for the GOP nomination.
In recent days, a prominent Tea Party leader has called on Michelle Bachmann to quit, Rick Perry has floated the idea of skipping some upcoming debates, and Jon Huntsman has retreated to New Hampshire. The rest of the field has so far proven unable to distinguish themselves from the pack. Traditionally, developments like these favour the candidate with the most money, the best organization, and the strongest base of support—in this case, Mitt Romney.
There is a consistent pattern emerging in this race and that is the stability of the support for Romney. It’s not high, and it shows little growth beyond 25 per cent, but it’s steady. His debate performances in this campaign far surpass those of 2008, leading a growing number of people to view him as the one to beat. Despite the buzz about Cain, the pizza magnate’s support could prove volatile once the primary season begins. Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 4:22 PM - 6 Comments
As to the NDP’s concern, the government’s position seems to be that the official opposition is completely wrong. From Gary Goodyear’s answers during QP this afternoon.
Mr. Speaker, the NDP is flat wrong again. It is quite unfortunate that whoever is helping the member did not do his or her math before the NDP members decided to go on with these tactics. The fact is that in 2007, 2008 and 2009 funds were drawn from government resources, just like we said in the budget, and then from subsequent public accounts. I would recommend that the member consult the public accounts…
Mr. Speaker, I would highly recommend the member give up his day job. The Public Accounts of Canada are certified by the Comptroller General and the Auditor General. The facts are very clear. The funds for the Perimeter Institute are consistent with the government’s commitments. The question here remains. Why has the NDP chosen to attack this world-class institution to score cheap political points, and then be flat wrong? That member should apologize to the Comptroller General of Canada for an insulting attack.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 1:49 PM - 0 Comments
The NDP’s Alexandre Boulerice has dispatched a letter to Tony Clement for the purposes of clarifying the government’s accounting, specifically as it relates to a budget line for grants to the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. The full text of the letter below.
By Jesse Brown - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 1:31 PM - 5 Comments
Anonymous, the malevolent Internet culture sometimes described as a group of hackers, has set sights on Los Zetas, a major cartel active in Mexico’s bloody drug wars.
In a recent YouTube upload, Los Zetas is accused by a masked Anon of kidnapping one of Anonymous’ members in Veracruz, in southern Mexico, during “Operation Paperstorm,” a worldwide “raid” in which members were encouraged to cover their respective hometowns in flyers supporting Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 12:17 PM - 10 Comments
UN cultural body may lose U.S. funding
Palestinians gained full membership to UNESCO, the UN’s cultural organization, on Monday, winning the support of a majority of the body’s 173 members. “This vote will erase a tiny part of the injustice done to the Palestinian people,” Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Malki told the UNESCO congregation in Paris following the vote. However, the vote means that UNESCO may lose more than 20 per cent of its total funding, which it gets from the U.S., which has vocally opposed Palestinian membership in the UN. Israel has also spoken against the result, calling it a rejection of the bilateral peace process and saying that it will “bring no change on the ground.” Although the move is largely symbolic, it shows a significant level of international support for the recognition of a Palestinian state. The UN Security Council will vote on full Palestinian membership next month. In Monday’s vote, 107 countries, including rising powers like China, India and Brazil, supported the Palestinians’ full membership in UNESCO. Canada was among the 14 countries that voted against Palestinian membership. Fifty-two countries abstained.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 12:16 PM - 21 Comments
Conservative MP Daryl Kramp wants to make sure we all know which date we’re referring to.
Written in myriad sequences between slashes or dashes, dates cause what one mathematician calls “maximum confusion.” They cause us to miss meetings and unwittingly eat sour yogurt. They are so prone to mix-ups, in fact, that the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) made a declaration on the subject in 1988. And here in Canada, a Conservative MP has introduced a private member’s bill that would help settle the date debate, but only, for now, in terms of evidence disputes in court.
“In a perfect world, there’d be one way for all of Canada in the Constitution,” Daryl Kramp, an Ontario MP, half-joked. “This is just a small effort to try to rectify what I consider to be a wrong. It’s a start.” ‘ISO 8601: Data Elements and Interchange Formats’ espouses year/month/day, abiding by the so-called big endian format, which orders the date from the largest element to the smallest (YYYY/MM/DD). Mr. Kramp chose this format for his bill. The ISO directive, embraced by the UN in its international trade protocols and by the European Union (although not by the individual countries), runs 33 pages.
By macleans.ca - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 12:03 PM - 6 Comments
GDP figures ward off recession fears but signal slow rebound
Canadian GDP grew for a third straight month in August, expanding by 0.3 per cent from July, signaling that the economy is not at risk of falling into recession, but that the country will likely see slow growth and a sluggish job market in coming months.Still, the result was better than analysts expected. “Today’s data implies stronger third-quarter growth than the 2 percent that the Bank of Canada had assumed in its most recent Monetary Policy Report,” Paul Ferley, assistant chief economist at Royal Bank of Canada, told Reuters. Most of the monthly growth is believed to be linked to a strong performance in the energy sector, particularly oil and gas extraction.
By Erica Alini - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 12:02 PM - 62 Comments
With the Occupy protesters still camping out on city lawns across Canada, it’s worth investigating whether our tax and transfer system needs a tune-up if we’re going to tackle income inequality.
To be sure, we are a more unequal society than we were thirty years ago, even after one takes into account the redistributive effects of personal income taxes and things like the National Child Benefit and Employment Insurance programs. In 1989, the after-tax income of Canada’s richest 20 per cent was 7.2 times that of the poorest quintile of the population, according to the Conference Board of Canada. In 2009, the richest group made 9.1 times what the lowest income earners did. Continue…
By macleans.ca - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 11:42 AM - 1 Comment
PM Harper remains well ahead for trust, competence and vision
Interim Liberal leader Bob Rae has surpassed the NDP’s Nycole Turmel in voters’ perceptions of trustworthiness, competence and vision, according to a new Nanos poll. At the same time, the poll shows Prime Minister Stephen Harper remains well ahead of his opponents in all three categories. For most trustworthy, 30.4 per cent of respondents chose Harper, 16.3 per cent chose Rae and just over 11 per cent went with Turmel. Even more strikingly, 37 per cent selected Harper as the most competent party leader, while 18.3 per cent chose Rae and 6.8 per cent chose Turmel. “Nycole Turmel hasn’t really caught the imagination of voters,” said Nic Nanos, speaking about the numbers with The Globe and Mail. Still, overall support levels remain consistent at around 30 per cent for the NDP, compared with 37.7 per cent for the Conservatives and 23.4 for the Liberals.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 11:16 AM - 4 Comments
John Baird promises to keep tabs on the NTC.
They recognize the role Canada played in the liberation. They recognize that we can play an important role going forward – by supporting the creation of democratic institutions and civil society as the transition continues. And our government will do so. In Tripoli two weeks ago, I hosted a round table with Libyan women’s rights advocates to discuss the vital role women must play in the new Libya and its democratic institutions.
Canada has an obligation to hold the NTC and the new government to account, to ensure women’s rights are protected. We will do so.
About ten days ago, Mr. Baird dismissed a Liberal question about whether the death of Moammar Gadhafi raised human rights concerns.
By Aaron Brophy - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 9:59 AM - 37 Comments
With Bono musing about retirement, we asked music industry veterans if they’d miss the Irish foursome
Barbara Streisand, Cher, Jay-Z, Garth Brooks, Frank Sinatra—all of them “retired” at some point in their careers before miraculously returning to the music world, not coincidentally surfing a tsunami of cash all the way to their favourite banking establishments.
So one would have to look at U2 lead singer Bono’s recent comments to Rolling Stone that “We’d be very pleased to end on No Line On The Horizon” with a certain amount of cynicism. The band, not coincidentally, are set to release a 20th anniversary deluxe edition reissue of their Achtung Baby album on Oct. 31. On top of that, they’ve reportedly been recording new music.
Why even bother dangling a retirement then? After all, the only thing you’re doing is taking your fans on a ride that’s just going to alienate them. But that’s nothing new for the Irish foursome. Some people got that feeling long before No Line On The Horizon.
For me, it was March 24, 1992.
That’s the night that I broke up with my favourite band, the biggest rock band in the world, U2.
Bono and crew were playing Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens as part of the Zoo TV tour following the release of Achtung Baby. In a gesture equaled in rock music’s pantheon perhaps only by Dylan going electric, Metallica getting haircuts, and Radiohead turning their backs on “songs,” U2 had just abandoned earnestness in favour of glamour, spectacle, and worst of all, irony. The flying cars, the television screens, Bono’s turns as “The Fly,” “Mirror Ball Man” and “MacPhisto.” It was meant to be A SHOW!
But it wasn’t my show. I wanted protest songs, but got wraparound shades instead, so I dropped U2 and never looked back.
When U2 came to the Toronto International Film Festival in August for the premiere of the documentary From The Sky Down, which is being packaged as part of Achtung Baby‘s deluxe reissue the frontman said the following:
“U2′s been on the verge of irrelevance for 20 years. We’ve dodged and we’ve dived and made some great work along the way and occasional faux pas, but this moment where we’re at, to me, feels really close to the edge of irrelevance.”
Are U2 really on “the edge”? Should they quit? Certainly, their discography at the 30-year mark remains better than The Rolling Stones’ at 30 (No Line On The Horizon vs. Voodoo Lounge), but for every one of the 7.2 million people who took in the band’s recent 360° Tour, surely there are just as many who have fallen off along the way.
To find out if and when U2 lost their mojo, Macleans.ca polled 50 prominent Canadians with an ear for music Continue…
By macleans.ca - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 9:56 AM - 0 Comments
Harper acknowledges “significant risk” even in non-combat mission
The deadliest suicide attack against Western troops in 10 years of war rocked the Afghan capital of Kabul on Saturday. Reuters reports 13 foreigners died in the bombing, while the Globe and Mail writes of 17 casualties working in the local NATO training mission. Those included Master Corporal Byron Greff, from Morinville, Alta., the first Canadian soldier to die in Afghanistan since Ottawa ended the country’s combat role there. The attack forced Prime Minister Stephen Harper to acknowledge that the peacekeeping operation in Afghanistan involves “significant risk.” He had earlier described the mission as “relatively safe.” The Haqqani network, a group believed to be based in the mountainous region of North Waziristan, on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, is suspected to be behind the attack, which came days before a scheduled summit among Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai, senior officials from neighbouring countries and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to discuss regional security.
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 9:30 AM - 1 Comment
The first death since the Canadian Forces transitioned to a training mission in Afghanistan prompts consideration of risk.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says “significant risks” remain for Canadians serving as military trainers in Afghanistan. He made his comments Sunday after the death of a Canadian military trainer — the first since the training mission began earlier this year — who lost his life after his convoy was attacked by a suicide bomber. Nearly a year ago, when Harper committed Canadian troops to a three-year training mission in Kabul, he predicted it would pose “minimal risks for Canada.”
Last month, Canadian soldiers were involved in a firefight after an attack was launched against the US Embassy in Kabul.
Last year, the Prime Minister reversed course and ordered an extension to the military engagement in Afghanistan. Upon first addressing the matter in the House, he said the new mission would be “a training mission that will occur in classrooms behind the wire in bases.”
Consequently, he said a vote in Parliament wasn’t necessary. The Liberal opposition generally agreed. The NDP was not pleased. The House later debated and defeated a Bloc Quebecois motion that sought to “condemn the government’s decision to unilaterally extend the Canadian mission in Afghanistan until 2014.”
By Charlie Gillis - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 8:45 AM - 1 Comment
Winnipeg is just the latest in a series of communities in which vandals have rigged the portable, pixelated signs
When hackers in Winnipeg reprogrammed an electronic road sign last week—“Slow the f–k down,” it read—police chalked the incident up to standard sophomorism. It turns out the prank was part of a continent-wide trend that has turned valuable traffic safety tools into the equivalent of bathroom walls. And—surprise, surprise—you can blame the Internet. Winnipeg is just the latest in a series of communities in which vandals, working from instructions posted to the auto website Jalopnik.com, have rigged the portable, pixelated signs to beam unsanctioned messages. “Nazi Zombies! Run!!” read one in Austin, Texas. Last month in Canmore, Alta., a hacked sign announced open season on bunnies, a reference to the mountain town’s problem with feral rabbits. Another, in Lubbock, Texas, offered the blood-stirring warning: “OMG the British R Coming.” While the new missive on the Winnipeg sign seemed safety-oriented, the agency that placed the device was not amused. The original message warned of frequent deer crossings, notes Brian Smiley, spokesman for Manitoba Public Insurance—a serious hazard on the stretch of road in question. “And on top of that, there’s the profanity.” Then again, the signs might be a touch more foolproof. Hacking instructions first posted to Jalopnik two years ago observed that sign owners often forget to padlock the programming keypads or change the manufacturer’s password: “DOTS” (Department of Transportation). For anyone who has been frustrated by the traffic delays the signs are often deployed to announce, that makes them an appealing target. To wit the message on a sign that was hacked two years ago in Springfield, Mo.: “Prepare to be annoyed.”
By Martin Patriquin - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 8:40 AM - 1 Comment
Normally, the village of St. Martins, on New Brunswick’s Fundy coast, doesn’t lack for much
Normally, the village of St. Martins, on New Brunswick’s Fundy coast, doesn’t lack for much. The lovely little fishing burg 40 km from Saint John boasts an abundance of lobster, a front-row view of the world’s largest tides, and enough distance between it and Saint John to keep things quiet and sublime. If only it had a functioning government.
In April, the town lost councillor Mike Gillchrist, 54, to cancer; its equally popular mayor Jim Huttges, 68, died in August after a triple bypass, meaning the town council hasn’t been able to make quorum for the past three months. City hall is now in a bind: according to provincial law, it can’t hold by-elections between now and May 2012, when province-wide elections are held. As a result, St. Martins has fallen into trusteeship, with a provincial government-appointed clerk overseeing town functions in the interim.
“It’s been a terrible year, to say the least,” says village clerk and treasurer Mysti Patterson. “Because our community is so small, the whole town has been affected.”
By Martin Patriquin - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 8:40 AM - 8 Comments
Women had reached out for help in the weeks leading up to their murder
Mohammad Shafia, his wife, Tooba Yahya, and son, Hamed, allegedly committed unspeakable horrors. According to the police, the couple, along with their son, murdered their three daughters and Shafia’s first wife, Rona Mohammad, by forcing their car into the locks at Kingston Mills, drowning the four of them in three metres of water—an apparent bid to restore the family’s honour. The daughters dishonoured the family, it would appear, for having the gall to dress up, wear makeup and flirt with boys. “May the devil s–t on their graves,” Mohammad Shafia later told his wife in a conversation secretly taped by police.
All the more disturbing, perhaps, is the fact that the three daughters had themselves reached out for help from Quebec’s children’s services, yet suffered the terrible fate nonetheless. Prosecutor Laurie Lacelle told the Kingston, Ont., courtroom recently that child protection workers had visited 17-year-old Sahar in the month before she and her sisters, Zainab, 19, and Geeti, 13, drowned along with the woman they called “auntie.”
The social worker determined that Sahar’s case was genuine, yet was forced to close the file after Sahar clammed up, Lacelle said. The reason for the teenager’s sudden silence: child welfare authorities are required by law to report anything the child says to the parents. “We can’t keep that from them,” says Gerald Savoie, a staff consultant at Montreal’s Batshaw Youth and Family Services. “We have to validate, and confront them with the information.”
By Aaron Wherry - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
“In terms of the particulars of the death of the former leader, I obviously don’t take any great pleasure in that and obviously when you see things that happen outside of the rule of law, they concern you. But I also think we’re all realistic enough to know that given the way he had ruled the country, that the chances of him meeting an end like that were probably pretty high.”
By Mitchel Raphael - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 8:30 AM - 0 Comments
Who says the Senate is out of touch? It recently announced a
Who says the Senate is out of touch? It recently announced a Twitter account, so “Canadians can learn about what is happening at the Senate—when it happens,” according to a release. The Senate can be followed at @SenateCA. The hashtag is #SenCA. “Twitter is a step in the right direction,” says Alberta Liberal Sen. Grant Mitchell. Admittedly, the Senate has skipped a few technological trends. Mitchell has been trying to get TV cameras in the Senate, just like in the House of Commons. A few years ago Conservative senators Hugh Segal and Tommy Banks had a motion to set up cameras in the upper house, but that fizzled. Mitchell said the price tag would be around $2 million. However, he has proposed the Senate do webcasting, which would cost $120,000 to set up and another $33,000 a year to maintain. “We owe it to Canadians, in the spirit of transparency,” says Mitchell. “Plus, they would see the quality of the speeches, the dignity with which we debate. We are not as partisan as the House and there is not as much tension.” For now, however, it looks like dignified tweets will have to do.
Suits Jason Kenney just fine
There is no turning back for Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. He continues to lose weight through diet and exercise. He has gone down so many suit sizes that even some of his smaller suits are too big. He recently got rid of his larger ones, to ensure that he never goes back to his larger size, otherwise he will have to fork out a huge amount to re-supersize his wardrobe.
By Scott Feschuk - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 8:30 AM - 28 Comments
Steve Jobs’s advice to graduates is very practical…if you happen to be a rich genius
After Steve Jobs died, his famous 2005 speech to university graduates went viral all over again. Many find the address moving and inspiring. But in a magazine issue dedicated to students at the beginning of their adult lives, it’s worth asking: just how practical is the late Apple CEO’s advice?
Jobs began his speech by talking about his decision as a young man to quit college. Only after dropping out, he said, was he able to drop in on the classes he actually found interesting, such as instruction in calligraphy. (His knowledge of fancy lettering later paid off when Jobs was designing the typeface for the first Macintosh computer.) His point: you should always go with your gut, make bold decisions and “trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”
Surely we can all agree that giving up on formal education and, instead, learning how to draw pretty letters worked out well for Steve Jobs. Then again, Jobs was a genius and a once-in-a-generation creative talent, so I suspect that dropping out of school to study the banjo or grow the world’s largest pumpkin would also have done the trick.
By Alex Ballingall - Monday, October 31, 2011 at 8:20 AM - 0 Comments
Asustak’s Zenbook bears an uncanny resemblance to Apple’s MacBook Air
When Jonney Shih, chairman of Taiwan’s Asustek Computer company, took to the stage this month for the unveiling of the Asus Zenbook laptop in New York, he asked for a moment of silence to honour the passing of Steve Jobs. “We have always had a great respect for him,” Shih said. “His dream will live on.”
Don’t doubt Shih was being sincere. The Zenbook bears an uncanny resemblance to Apple’s MacBook Air. Both laptops have sleek, metallic bodies that taper down to three millimetres at their thinnest points, and they both weigh in the area of 2.5 lb. The Zenbook, however, as Shih flaunted, is US$200 cheaper.
At the glitzy unveiling, Shih paced around onstage, dramatically touting the strengths of his new computer in an undeniably Jobs-esque manner. The computer hits stores this month, so tech junkies will soon know whether the Zenbook can take some “Air” out of MacBook sales.