Monday, April 23, 2018

Nicholas Butcher Kristin Johnston murder trial

There's a murder trial in Halifax getting some news coverage. see CTV link CBC link ATV link.

Nicholas Butcher is accused of murdering Kristin Johnston. The case is interesting in part because of the irony of it. Peace and love yoga instructor Kristin Johnston violently murdered. I must say upfront that Johnston died in a terrible and unjust way and she did not deserve what happened.

From the evidence there's kind of a frustration with Butcher and Johnston with each other, around money. Kristin needed a successful male provider (such as an established lawyer with a name law firm) to subsidize her money-losing yoga studio. Nicholas needed a successful businesswoman to help tide him over while his law career got untracked. Turns out neither was able to meet the financial needs of the other.
Kristin should have kept Butcher in the friend zone and made it clear he had to establish a successful career in law or somewhere else before she would commit to living together or a serious relationship. Nicholas I feel kind of a sadness about his life before the murder. He finished Dalhousie law school in 2015 but was apparently unable to take the next step and secure an articling position.
So if Butcher is just turned 36 now, he would have been about 34 in 2016 when the murder happened, and 33 in 2015 when he finished law school. yeah 33 and still in school. For a man at age 23 to be just finished law school - scrambling and hoping for an articling position - south end apartment - several part time jobs. That kind of salad days thing is kind of a cool scene at 23. But at age 33 it's kind of sad. By age 33 many male lawyers are partner or partner track, not struggling for an articling position from the outside.

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For Butcher taking the stand in his own defense. It's kind of crazy. I don't think he has helped himself much. Although he hurt himself by establishing credible motive for the murder. I wonder if he is trying to get off for the murder, or is up there trying to smear Johnston posthumously and make her look bad (or at least balance out the coverage which has been heavily pro-Johnston to this point). He has seemed to make a point to present some unflattering evidence about Johnston and her character.
Her yoga studio failed - more on that below
They started dating in June 2015 and were effectively living together by July 2015. yeah one month later.
On the same day she broke up with Butcher, March 25, she was in bed with Mike Belyea, whom she had been messaging with on Facebook behind Butcher's back. Later that night went back to her home and bed with Butcher. So yeah if you're keeping score in bed with two guys the same night, at age 32.
So he seems to be making a point of exposing Kristin to engage in questionable, tawdry activities. He looks no better but he perhaps doesn't care considering where he is now.
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About the yoga studio failing. That is not necessarily a black mark on Kristin. Businesses close all the time. New businesses tend to fail. It happens.

The yoga thing has followed a similar arc I've noticed over at least the last 30 years. There's some existing activity or hobby with a small number of established businesses servicing it. Then there's a sudden surge in public interest in this activity, a bit of a craze. A number of new businesses pop up around it. Public interest peaks, levels off, then eventually settles close to historic levels. Most of the new businesses close. So yoga studios are in with
baseball and hockey cards
pretzels
country music bars
pool halls
scrapbooking
martial arts / MMA gyms
yoga

Friday, April 20, 2018

Starbucks for what it's worth

I've noticed some strange headlines go by in my RSS around the recent Starbucks controversy in Philadelphia. Some of them defy even minimal reasoning.
It was a potentially life changing meeting
hmmm, well looking at the pictures, they didn't seem dressed for such an important meeting. If I had a potentially life changing interview or business meeting I or pretty much anyone would have put on a suit or at least nice business casual.
Also if this meeting was so important, they could have tried harder to make sure it happened. For about $2 they could have just bought a cookie, or for $5 a coffee and they could have made any controversy or negative attention go away. I know if I had a potential life changing meeting I would just spend the $2 to keep the peace so that this meeting can go off without any hitch or negative vibes.
They feared for their life when the cops were called
Well in that case why not just spent $2, buy a cookie, and the problem goes away. For that matter just leave and avoid this confrontation with police if you really believe your life would be in danger. If I felt that the police being called could cost me my life, then I would make at least some minimal effort to avoid the police being called. Again for a $5 coffee, or just walk out and leave, they avoid this supposed possibly deadly police encounter.


Oh by the way. Some other notes
It is totally standard to reserve washrooms for paying customers. In polite society you make a purchase at a business if you wish to use their washroom, without having to be told to.
Hold yourself to a higher standard. I've heard whining about white homeless bums being allowed to loiter in Starbucks. That's just sad using that as your comparison. That only lowers yourself to their standard. Don't do that. Be better.
If they were concerned it might make the person they were meeting uncomfortable if they got coffee first. Well after a certain amount of lateness, if the person they were meeting had any class or understands polite society, then that person would understand if they bought a coffee in order to secure a table there. No reasonable person they were meeting, who was late, would have a problem with them getting a drink first. They could have still made a purchase to get a washroom code and just poured out the coffee, if they wanted to order their drinks all together. Also they could have bought a cookie and put it in their pocket, or just thrown it out, if it was important they all order together.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

MNP Debt solutions ad

There was a comical ad running on ATV Live at 5 last week from MNP debt solutions. The close enough video is on YouTube



The commercial and YouTube claim that this is an Actual Client. I noticed comments are closed on the video, hmmm.

I found it amusing. I like how the heroine spoke of "unexpected bills" after a separation. Yes who knew that your husband had been paying the rent, power, cable, phone, cell phone, and internet all those years. I'd thought electricity was like sunshine, it was just something that we all get for free.

I couldn't help but notice heroine was well put together. Perhaps if she spent less on hair, makeup, and clothes she might not have ended up in such a financial bind.

Meh if she was so reliant upon her husbands paycheques then perhaps she might have acted differently to preserve the relationship and prevent it from failing. Oh well. She does come across as entitled an unlikeable in the video.

In the video she brags about being debt free now. Although she didn't actually say she paid off all her debts. I guess it's left as an exercise to the reader to determine how she became "debt free".

I suppose if you default on your debts via bankruptcy or proposal then you can say afterward that you are now "debt free", though it's nothing to be proud of. In a way it's, ahem, unfair to those who inherited a bad situation with debt due to the irresponsibility of another and made the sacrifice and effort to actually pay off their share of everything and become debt free through the honourable path.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Justin Trudeau and Pipelines

I don't think Trudeau wants any pipelines to be built in Canada. He outright canceled Northern Gateway and Energy East. He was content for Obama to do the dirty work on getting the Keystone project killed. But then when Trump was unexpectedly elected on the US side his hand was forced and he had to approve it.

So then Trans Mountain. I suspect this was a "fake" approval, with a nod to the activists to just go ahead and block the actual construction either with lawsuits, and direct illegal obstruction on the construction sites. He is using the B.C. premier, and US-funded activists as his proxies to carry out his wish to have Trans Mountain be abandoned.

Even with the press conference last Sunday there was announcement of a new act around jurisdiction. That doesn't make sense. The Federal government already has jurisdiction under the constitution. The purpose of this act is to just delay and draw things out in years of legislation and court cases. It also legitimizes the cases of those currently using lawfare to block Trans Mountain in the courts. But that is Trudeau's intent, that the project be blocked, Kinder Morgan gives up and goes away (like TransCanada did with effectively canceled Energy East).

Monday, April 02, 2018

Health care in Nova Scotia

Things are not looking so good lately in Nova Scotia health care.

Nurse fired at Cape Breton hospital after patient death. A patient who had dementia "was found dead in the early morning hours of Feb. 23 outside on the grounds of the Cape Breton Regional Hospital." yikes. Well apparently and a bit to my surprise, it is possible in government health care in Nova Scotia for an employee to get fired.

In Halifax a man called 911 when he was already at QE2 emergency. The guy had been down to ER 4 times and couldn't get any traction. Turns out he had stage 4 lymphoma. Although David Doucette himself got service after taking drastic measure, what he did establishes a bad precedent.

The ambulance/emergency system in its current form will collapse if this becomes the norm, people stepping out of the ER if they feel they are unsatisfied with the level of service in triage/ER, then pulling out their call phones and calling 911 to come back into ER this time from an ambulance, effectively in a sense bypassing triage and jumping the line. Obviously once someone is at ER, they don't need an ambulance to take them to ER. The media should have spoken out more strongly against what Doucette and his girlfriend did.

And now these same employees who deliver these health care outcomes, are themselves seriously considering an illegal wildcat strike. Which I find ironic in light of these recent stories of the service they have been delivering to the patients whose taxes pay their salaries, benefits and pensions already. sheesh.

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Together it seems that health care is seizing up in Nova Scotia. Which is remarkable as it has been under government central planning now for 50 years, two generations and counting. Medicare is not a new thing, there are now decades of experience planning and administering government health care. And amazingly it is still a train wreck. And getting worse, while spending grows every year.

The think with ER, to fix ER you need to fix the family doctor issue, the overcrowded inpatient wards issue, the nursing home issue. These things are all related, the visible symptoms of a failing system. ER on its own cannot be fixed, not with the $600 million "one time" Don Downe money bomb just a few years ago which we were assured would fix everything, not Jamie Baillie's $2 billion "one time" money bomb for health care from the election campaign just this year.

The thing is, from primary care through to nursing homes, how can you have all this administration, all this central planning, and yet appear to be completely unprepared for these developments, years behind in addressing anything, always caught off guard, seemingly lurching from crisis to crisis.

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So where is it going to go? There is strong evidence that, two generations in, the original medicare dream is failing. The objective evidence and data is it just can't be fixed or saved in its traditional form. So what will emerge? Which way will it break? Will it end up like Venezuela health care, or perhaps a US-style system, or perhaps a European or NHS outcome.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Microsoft Bing image AI solves the refugee age problem

There was a story from here in Canada a while back 29 year old Sudanese caught posing as a 17 year old and attending high school in Canada. I went to high school in Canada and in general varsity basketball, football and hockey players are quite popular among the high school girls, just saying.

It's a known issue. Refugees often have missing or unreliable identity documentation. Also by claiming to be the magic number of 17, they are considered children, or unaccompanied minor. As children they have special and additional services and protections in their host countries in North America and western Europe. As in the case of Jonathan Nicola, often these claims of being 17 are shall we say wildly inaccurate.

Fish have otoliths. Trees have rings. But it was thought there was no reliable way to determine someone's age. Until now, Microsoft Bing AI to the rescue to solve this "stated age" problem.

Check out the Bing site https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/cognitive-services/face/, scroll down to the Face detection section. Here is the image with some highlighted key areas


Amazingly, Bing is able to determine the age, 23.4 in this case, down to the tenth of the year. So this solves the refugee age problem. Load the AI machine learning with a decent data set of known age by ethnic group and country of origin. Run the refugee child claimant through Bing AI. If Bing comes in substantially different, over say, 19, that would be considered reasonable evidence that the claimant is not providing an accurate age. Host country officials vetting the application take appropriate action.