By Jessica Allen - Monday, February 18, 2013 - 0 Comments
The cookbook star on food, travel and the virtues of vermouth
By Jessica Allen - Monday, February 18, 2013 at 7:10 AM - 0 Comments
… and why the Oscars might be funny this year
By macleans.ca - Friday, February 15, 2013 at 4:38 PM - 0 Comments
Aaron Wherry, John Geddes, Michael Petrou and Nick Taylor-Vaisey consider the issues at play around Parliament Hill.
This week’s questions:
Have we reached a tipping point on the Senate?
What could break the Senate debate open?
Is it time to intervene in Syria?
Is there any reason not to call an inquiry into missing and murdered First Nations women?
By Hannah Hoag - Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:55 AM - 0 Comments
55 days, 100 million visitors, and a high risk of disease spreading among the masses
When a cholera outbreak gripped a London neighbourhood in 1854, physician John Snow carefully mapped its deaths. The thin bars he traced under each address clustered around a water pump on Broad Street, which turned out to be the source of the bacteria. Snow’s studies of disease patterns won him recognition as the father of modern epidemiology—and crushed the prevailing theory that cholera was spread by bad air.
Faced with the same challenge today, Snow might use a tablet computer. In mid-January, as the Indian city of Allahabad began ushering in millions of Hindu pilgrims for the religious festival Kumbh Mela, emergency physician and epidemiologist Gregg Greenough settled into a temporary field hospital with his tablet computer. He and his team from the Harvard School of Public Health were on the lookout for signs of influenza, tuberculosis, cholera and other diarrheal diseases. The plan is to record the temporary residence of each pilgrim admitted to hospital and plot it on a digital map that geolocates the festival’s toilets and drinking water. “We’re helping them digitize the data and analyze it in real time,” says Greenough. “It should help keep the pulse of the community and see if anything is emerging so they can act on it quickly.” Continue…
By Julia Belluz - Sunday, February 10, 2013 at 8:24 AM - 0 Comments
This week, Windsor Ont. became the latest community in Canada to stop adding fluoride to its water supply. This means there are now more than 30 communities across the country that have abolished fluoridation, joining some 200 anti-fluoride municipalities in the US.
Though Windsor has been accused of perpetuating junk science, there are many countries around the world that have never added fluoride to the water supply or have moved away from fluoridation for reasons other than Cold War-era paranoia about mass medication. Science-ish sat down with Macleans.ca assistant editor, Jessica Allen, to talk about the evidence for fluoridation, what’s being lost in the fluoride debates, and what the anti-fluoride movement tells us about popular perceptions of science.
Read the related Maclean’s story here.
Science-ish is a joint project of Maclean’s, the Medical Post and the McMaster Health Forum. Julia Belluz is the senior editor at the Medical Post. Got a tip? Seen something that’s Science-ish? Message her at email@example.com or on Twitter @juliaoftoronto
By Mike Doherty - Wednesday, January 30, 2013 at 11:12 AM - 0 Comments
The photojournalist’s gripping images of conflict come to the National Gallery of Canada
From the mid-’60s to the early ’80s, Don McCullin made a career out of putting himself in danger. He photographed wars in Biafra, the Congo, Northern Ireland, Vietnam, Cambodia, Lebanon and more, and escaped with a broken arm, cracked ribs, mortar shrapnel in his leg, and an AK-47 bullet embedded in his Nikon camera.
He’d stopped, more or less, since then (writing, “I am going to surround myself with simple mundane things to photograph”), but last month, at 77, two years after quadruple bypass surgery, he carried 25 lb. of body armour through Aleppo’s rubble-strewn streets, snapping Syrian rebels and their families, their wounded and their dead. Changing his mind, he says on the phone from his Somerset home, is his “prerogative for being a creative, thinking person.” The National Gallery of Canada’s retrospective, McCullin’s first here, shows his engagement with the world in all its beauty and brutality, and his famously sombre sensibility. “I’ve spent years in the darkroom, perfecting powerful prints I’m trying to persuade you not to turn away from.”
McCullin grew up during the Blitz: “I used to sleep in an air-raid shelter, so I knew war. I was weaned on it.” He bought his first camera with money from RAF service, and got his break in 1958 when The Observer published a portrait of the East End London toughs he’d grown up with. He photographed his first war in Cyprus in 1964, and found it difficult to stop. “I hate to say this, but [war] has its moments of terrific excitement. You have to take it with a pinch of salt and be very suspicious of people’s actions.”
McCullin risked his life to photograph the human toll of conflict. “There’s nothing that he glosses over,” says exhibition curator Ann Thomas. “He doesn’t succumb to the beauty of the composition.” But where Thomas sees McCullin’s work as art, he disagrees. At one exhibition in Italy, he says, “People were calling me a maestro. That was incredibly funny! I said I’m not. I take a dim view of straying away from my real commitment.”
By macleans.ca - Monday, January 28, 2013 at 9:00 AM - 0 Comments
Maclean’s View from the Hill: A preview of the week ahead
Three questions for the Ottawa bureau as the House returns:
- What challenges does the NDP’s Tom Mulcair face as the House returns?
- Why should the Conservatives move soon to name a new Parliamentary Budget Officer?
- What did Chief Theresa Spence accomplish with her fast?
By Mika Rekai - Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 2:40 PM - 0 Comments
Climbers defy gravity to capture heavenly perspectives and stomach-turning drops
Tom Ryaboi has always been a fan of heights. One night, when he was a young child, his father came home from work and found him sitting on top of the refrigerator, taking in the kitchen from a new angle. Ryaboi’s appetite for height has only grown. At 23, he began sneaking into construction sites and taking photographs from the rooftops and ledges of Toronto’s highest skyscrapers. Climbing up cranes, evading security guards and risking the occasional trespassing ticket, Ryaboi has captured heavenly perspectives and stomach-turning drops rarely seen by anyone. And in his five years of gravity-defying work, he has helped to turn “rooftopping” into a global photography trend. “I like that everyone is making it their own,” he says. “The kids in Russia, in Melbourne, they all do something a little bit different.”
These days, building owners are happy to have the photographer immortalize the view from their rooftops. “Ironically, some of the buildings that I entered on my own have now invited me back to shoot again,” he says.
Although Ryaboi has taken his talents to a number of cities, including Chicago, Detroit and Montreal, he says Toronto is still his favourite muse. “Toronto has more buildings under construction than all of the States combined,” he explains. “Going up an unfinished building, looking for that shot . . . it’s a rush.”of Photos
By macleans.ca - Monday, January 21, 2013 at 10:38 AM - 0 Comments
A photo gallery of the First Lady’s fashions
First lady Michelle Obama, flanked by Sasha, left, and Malia, at the Convention Center in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 19, 2013 for the Kids Inaugural Concert. (Brian Cassella/Getty)
By John Geddes - Monday, January 21, 2013 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
Brian Mulroney is out of political purgatory and only too happy to tell Canadians (and Stephen Harper) what real leadership is about
His large, impressive head swims into view, as he makes his unhurried way through the luncheon crowd assembling outside the hall of a Fredericton conference centre. That jaw line, which once seemed cut from granite, now looks more moulded from clay. Even with its edges softened by age, though, you would know the profile anywhere. His silver-grey hair is immaculate. The rich hue and perfect drape of his blue suit set him apart—no offence to the menswear purveyors of the New Brunswick capital—from the local businessmen and provincial politicians pressing in to shake his hand, share an old campaign anecdote, and maybe pose for a photo. But what really triggers the memories, good and bad, is his voice. Its bass notes don’t so much cut through as rumble beneath the conversational din. The plummy laugh penetrates to every corner.
And Brian Mulroney has been laughing a lot lately. His one-day, mid-November visit to Fredericton—where he delivered a speech at the lunch, met privately with the provincial government’s cabinet, and spoke to students at St. Thomas University before a reception at its Brian Mulroney Hall—was typical of his extraordinary 2012. At 73, Mulroney spent the year being feted on the 25th anniversary of his Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, consulted on Quebec by the Prime Minister, who once shunned him, and even being called “a classy individual” by Justin Trudeau. Can it really be less than three years since Justice Jeffrey J. Oliphant’s commission of inquiry found that Mulroney behaved “inappropriately” in taking envelopes containing hundreds of thousands in secret cash payments from a certain German-Canadian arms lobbyist? Continue…
By Rosemary Westwood - Sunday, January 20, 2013 at 5:00 AM - 0 Comments
The U.S. auto industry once again turns to a sports car for salvation. But with sales on the rise and new technologies, this time there’s reason for optimism
If the American auto industry were to write its own Hollywood-style comeback story—from the depths of its 2008 crash to its improbable return to the top of the world—the ending might look a lot like the 2013 Detroit auto show. And cast in the starring role would be General Motors’ 2014 Corvette Stingray.
The company unveiled its cherry-red sports car to eager journalists on the eve of the world’s most important auto show this week, almost 60 years to the day after it first introduced the revered American nameplate. By the next morning the brightly lit and packed Cobo Center was buzzing about one car above all others, as cameramen and their tripods crowded around the ’Vette to get a closer look at its race-car-influenced aluminum body and luxe interior. GM’s marketers gushed that it is faster than a Ferrari, more nimble than a Porsche and $30,000 cheaper than either. America had, for the first time in memory, unveiled the kind of car that kids might hang a poster of on their wall. High-tech, even fuel-efficient, it left no question: America is back. A “technological tour de force,” said GM’s North American president Mark Reuss.
- Jessica Darmanin’s Instagram diary
- The best, worst and weirdest at the Detroit auto show
- Return of the trucks
- Will the Furia help the Toyota Carolla become cool?
- Cancel the obituaries
By Jessica Allen - Saturday, January 19, 2013 at 3:13 PM - 0 Comments
Astronomers how think our galaxy is filled with billions of planets. Kate Lunau on the Biggest Discovery Ever
Astronomers recently discovered that our galaxy is filled with billions of planets. Now the race is on to see how fast we can get there.
In this podcast, Maclean’s writer Kate Lunau talks with Jessica Allen about Maclean’s cover story this week: The Biggest Discovery Ever.
Hear them discuss the possibility of interstellar space travel. Find out about the search for life-sustaining planets and what scientists are doing right now to get us to another star. Listen to Lunau explain what the discovery of a Tatooine-like planet that revolves around more than one sun could mean for Stars Wars fans across the galaxy.
Lunau’s feature story is in the current issue of Maclean’s, now on newsstands. Watch for it on the site next week.
While you listen to the podcast, use your cursor to scroll over the planets below.
By macleans.ca - Friday, January 18, 2013 at 7:56 AM - 0 Comments
Brian D. Johnson on what to see — and what to rent
By macleans.ca - Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 8:46 PM - 0 Comments
Jonathon Gatehouse on Gary Bettman and the NHL
So despite the howls from fans and media for Gary Bettman’s head, Jonathon Gatehouse says the commissioner of the NHL remains as secure as he’s ever been. His current contract—worth $7.98 million this past year—runs through 2015. From there it’s just a short two-year skip to the league’s centennial. How long will Bettman, already the most powerful figure the game has ever known, stick around?
For more, read Gary Bettman is here to stay.
By Jessica Allen - Friday, January 11, 2013 at 8:00 PM - 0 Comments
What’s not to like about a man who bakes his own bread?
Near the back of the Cookbook Store in Toronto on a November evening, two men lingered in the bread-making section. Shane Carruthers, a cook who’s started to experiment with baking bread, carried How to Make Bread by Emmanuel Hadjiandreou in an Indigo bag. And Matt Harris, who doesn’t bake, left with a copy of Nick Malgieri’s Bread—for his wife.
That gave store manager Alison Fryer pause, considering that in the past 30 years, she and her staff have observed that roughly 90 per cent of their bread-making books have been bought by men. “When you point it out to people, they’re not really aware of it,” she explains. “But then the penny drops and they go, ‘Oh, that’s right. It is all males.’ ”
What exactly fascinates men about mixing flour, water and yeast is debatable. It could have something to do with the fact that the most prominent European bakers of the past 200 years have been male, explains food historian Heather Evans of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont. And although she notes that “cookery-book purchasing patterns don’t necessarily bespeak patterns of cooking,” the only bread-making cookbook Evans and her partner own in their vast collection was bought by him. “Perhaps,” she suggests, “all these bread-making books are being purchased with a view to integrating bread-making into the courtship process. What’s not to like about a man who bakes his own bread?”
By macleans.ca - Friday, January 11, 2013 at 3:14 PM - 0 Comments
Our critic weighs in on omissions, surprises and shoe-ins
Read Brian D. Johnson’s thoughts on this year’s nominees here.
More related links:
By David Newland - Thursday, January 10, 2013 at 6:00 PM - 0 Comments
Add doughnuts, stir heartstrings, and let simmer in social media til piping hot
What makes a great viral video? Wouldn’t a million social marketers love to know. But if Old men singing at Tim Horton’s (sic) isn’t an example of a sure-fire hit, I don’t know what is.
Now, you may be wondering why a dozen or so men of retirement age, singing Can You Feel The Love Tonight in a coffee shop in Oakville, Ont., filmed by an amateur on a cellphone, has the makings of a Canadian web sensation. (I’m sure you’re wondering, if you are one of the guys in the video.)
Consider it an object lesson in how the web works in the age of social media. Here’s what makes this video a sensation in the making:
1. Location. As in the fast food business, so in the viral video business: the secret to success is location, location, location. If you’re looking to tug the heartstrings of Canadians, start someplace that has emotional resonance—real, or marketed, it doesn’t matter much, as long as it’s Tim Hortons. (Can you picture this at KFC?)
2. Story. Content is king, goes an old online marketing expression (is that a contradiction in terms?). In this case, the “content” is a heartwarming little tale about a talented bunch of ungrumpy old men. Instead of shaking their fists at kids playing road hockey, or running for the Conservative party, these guys sing. What a novel idea. We can sell that.
3. Familiarity. You know these fellows. You’ve seen them at your local Tim Hortons, endlessly taking up tables in the corner and talking baseball/convertbiles/politics, or whatever. Sober, avuncular, maybe a bit corny, churchy, and straight-seeming. It all works, because…
4. Surprise! As above, this is a scene we’ve all seen before—except the part where a bunch of bucket-listers break into a torch song by the world’s most famous gay guy, from a beloved Disney family musical, and absolutely nail it.
5. Optimism. The notion that a bunch of older gentlemen somewhere, sometimes just break out into song together hearkens to a (probably imaginary) simpler time, like the Fifties. As such, the video offers an antidote to the often dull, depressing suburban world many of us live in. Some call this stuff “glurge,” and depending on your taste it may or may not work for you. But trust me, they eat it up in internetland.
6. Authenticity. The first thing I did on investigating this video was to contact the guy who made it, to make sure he wasn’t in the marketing department at Tim Hortons. He’s not, at least not unless he’s a compulsive liar. He’s an ordinary dude named Danfi Parker, a biblical studies student and soccer player. He just wandered into a Tim’s one night, saw something cool go down, shot it, and shared it. You can’t imitate that. (Though Tim Hortons would be wise to capitalize on it.)
7. Shareability. Danfi Parker tried to post the video to Facebook right after he shot it on Monday night, just to show his friends. The file was too big, so he put it on YouTube. I saw it on Facebook a few days later, at which point it had more than a thousand views. I watched it, gave it a thumbs-up, and sent a link to my dad. (A hundred guys are sending it to their dads right now.) I also sent it to my friends, by email, my “friends” by Facebook, and my “followers” by Twitter. So did a lot of people. Cha-ching.
8. Quality. Spontaneous as it may be, quality is still at the heart of this video. Any old group of geezers wheezing any old song couldn’t pull this off. These guys are good. They’re a real group, The Entertainers. They do gigs. And they’re doing a great rendition of a nice arrangement of a superbly written, popular, familiar song from a much-loved production.
9. Validation. Ironically enough, the secret ingredient that makes a feel-good organic grassroots video truly viral, is major media support. And that’s where this article becomes a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy: your friendly neighbourhood freelancer trolling the web for stories feels the tug at his heartstrings, makes a quick phone call to the video’s author, cobbles together a pitch to his editor, taps away at the keyboard for a few hours, and whammo… we’re on the home page, baby, watching the clicks roll in.
Danfi Parker may not be able to cash in on his efforts, and I bet The Entertainers still paid for their coffees, but this stuff is gold for online media outlets. Not to mention a certain doughtnut chain. And, um, me.
And there you have it: nine quick steps to Internet success. Somebody book that band, will you? Or at least buy them a box of Timbits. My conscience is killing me.