Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Manitoba Links Weekly: You Must Believe that You're the Champion (ManLinkWeek 5)

I keep meaning to do posts other than these, but in the meantime, let's have ourselves another ManLinkWeek:

[CBC.ca: Winnipeg breaks homicide record with 35th death]
Welp, there it is, then. That's the kind of year it's been, around here, that we'd break the city's previous annual record for homicides by the midpoint of November.

Winnipeg may or may not be officially recrowned as the Murder Capital of Canada next year, owing to the measurement methodology employed on the subject by Statistics Canada, but the balance and the difference between homicide rate and homicide count kind of muddle the whole point. Thunder Bay was considered the Murder Capital for 2010 with a omicide rate of 4.2 homicides per 100,000 people, comparative to Winnipeg's rate of 2.8 homicides per 100,000 people, but the total homicide count in Thunder Bay last year was five. The current Murder Capital of Canada had as many homicides last year as Winnipeg had in one fire this year. It's not been a good year, around here.

My point is this: we like to make a big deal of the comparative numbers each year and each time they're released, but we should probably worry less about how Winnipeg measures nationally and worry more that our city has now recorded more homicides this year than in any other year, in history, ever.

[The View from Seven: Fixing “Under-Educated Manitoba” could help ensure that Jets, Ikea are here to stay]
And we're stupid. So, I mean, things could be going better.

An insightful piece of research and analysis from Kevin McDougald on the benefits of working smarter rather than working harder, which is a continued challenge for a province that has "traditionally been better at producing high school dropouts than scientists".

The article places a particular emphasis on the value of the sciences, but really, I don't think it will come as any particular revelation to the reader that a Science degree makes you vastly more employable and wealthy than an Arts degree will. You can't just get any old degree! I myself have a Double Honours Bachelor's in History and Political Studies and a Master's of Library and Information Science, and this unique combination of education and experience -- credentials earned by over half a decade of hard work, with knowledge and skills forged by years of toil and sacrifice under tens of thousands of dollars of debt -- has brought me what I have today: part-time night work at the Pembina Hotel beer vendor. Just... just go into the sciences, kids, just trust me on this one.

As bad as things may be, of course, there's always a bright side:

"In the 2006 census, we ranked 10th among the 13 provinces and territories in terms of the percentage of 25 to 64 year olds with post-secondary credentials in any form, whether it be a college diploma, university degree or a trades designation.

"Only Saskatchewan, New Brunswick and Nunavut ranked worse."



[The Masks We All Wear: Hackers Anonymous (SkullSpace)]
My doom-and-glooming aside, not all is lost on the regional brainpower front; newly-established local hackerspace SkullSpace Winnipeg celebrated its grand opening earlier this month, and this on-site report from CreComm student Justin Luschinski adds the helpful reminder that picking a lock in real life is far more complicated than Skyrim would have you believe.

There are people around town building fully-functional hovercrafts in their basements, and if you don't think that's awesome, I don't know what to tell you. (To borrow one of my favourite Tom Lehrer quotes: "it's people like that that remind you how little you've accomplished.")

[Sean Carney's Website: How about them Jets, Mr. Speaker?]
This Hansard excerpt isn't the first time that the provincial NDP have invoked our National Hockey League representation in the Legislature, but it is thus far the funniest. I also enjoy that the reaction of Speaker of the House Daryl Reid is basically just "yeah yeah, awright, you made your point, g'wan get out of here."

[Winnipeg Free Press: Santa gets stuck in Winnipeg parade]
What Staff Writer declined to note in this story about the Santa Claus Parade failing to get Santa to The Forks properly is that... I don't think they've ever managed to get Santa to The Forks properly.

I know they couldn't pull it off in 2006, I'm told they couldn't pull it off in 2009, and I remember at least one other year having a mini-flurry of news stories after the fact about the lack of Santa in the Santa Claus parade by the time it got off Main. (Both of our major papers have since completely revamped their web architecture, so the hell if anyone knows where anything is any more.) But what can they do? The Santa at the end is the only Santa allowed in the parade, so he has to have a huge float to instill the necessary presence, but then they can never get it to fit under the bridge. Curse our antiquated civic infrastructure!

[Kijiji Winnipeg: Wanted: Winnipeg Sun - May 18, 1995]
Well, fortunately I carry two copies of that specific issue on my person at all times, so I'm sure I could--no, okay, seriously, what is this.

My favourite detail is the placement stressing that it has to be an "original", like all he can ever find on eBay are the reproductions and it just pisses him off every time. It's also fun to imagine the reasoning behind why it has to be that exact edition, including:

-- copy editor from 1995 still paranoid he left an 'r' off of 'embarrassment' on page six
-- cognitively unable to handle happiness for Jets' return; need depressing old headlines around to feel normal again
-- inherited complete collections of April and June 1995 Winnipeg Suns, and at that point you may as well just fill in the gaps
-- Black-o-rama Reggae Festival coverage especially well done that year
-- through elaborate series of wacky sitcom contrivances, accidentally spilled coffee on attractive neighbour's prized copy of May 18th, 1995 Winnipeg Sun while housesitting
-- contains fascinating article about this new information superhighway thing
-- wife was the Sun Girl for May 18th, 1995; intended divorce court strategy to "expose that bitch" about to backfire spectacularly
-- somebody wants that newspaper because that was the day they were born, and oh god i just realized how old i am jesus christ

[WITCHPOLICE: Time Travel: Various - Ska is Back in Town]
(cached version, if that link isn't working)
We'll close this out on a high note with this vintage little A1 Records compilation; it has a couple of fun tracks on it, but I am linking this almost solely for the free downloadable MP3 of Gregory Kraj's "Champion Reggae" because that song makes pretty well anything better.

"If you want to be a champion! You must believe that you're the champion!"

Next Tuesday, more ManLinkWeek!


Brian said...

1. My blog is offline for a bit, so this may be the best possible time to link to it. ;)

2. "We should probably worry less about how Winnipeg measures nationally and worry more that our city has now recorded more homicides this year than in any other year, in history, ever."

Agreed. The issue for me isn't the total, it's the trend. The trend in violent crime and homicide is headed down in most other North American cities, regardless of the baseline. Our trend, even taking a rolling average, isn't really budging much in the same way.

Winnipeg Girl said...

Man oh man, your commentary on the kijiji ad had me in stitches - I hope your Library degree came in handy for that one as I am secretly hoping that to amuse yourself you went downtown to look at that issue on microfilm.

The Pemby?? Or whatever ridiculous name they've changed it to.... I miss it there - I worked there for almost 10 years (which makes ME feel old).

The View from Seven said...

Oops. In hindsight, maybe I should have saved my bad-news post for the new year. (But thanks for the kind words!)

I can't help the person looking for the May 18, 1995 newspaper. That will be a tough find. But then again, I still have original pages from the April 18, 1973 Free Press that lined the drawers of a writing desk I bought on the cheap after an elderly neighbour died some years ago. Apparently you could buy cabbage rolls in a can back then, and sirloin steaks for $1.39/lb. And new Liberal MLA (and future billionaire) Izzy Asper was out to "destroy democratic government and democracy," according to a now-forgotten PC MLA named Jorgenson.

The Analyst said...

I don't think "total number" or "larger than in all of Winnipeg's history" is that relevant out of context either. I mean, if Winnipeg's population increased by a million (I know, a very unlikely example, but a good though experiment) it wouldn't be surprising that the city had more murders than at any other time in it's history.

And to Brian, from what I understand the reason crime is trending down in a lot of US cities is due to the hollowing out of their cores (no property, no crime).