My talk in Calgary as part of Walrus Talks

In case anyone is interested, Walrus magazine has posted the video of a talk I gave recently in Calgary as part of their “Walrus Talks” series, which involves seven people from different walks of life giving seven talks of seven minutes each. We had an interesting group, including country music star Paul Brandt, who I enjoyed talking with in the green room before the show (the other talks are here).

The theme for this series was disruption, so (of course) I talked about disruption in the media — but I didn’t talk about Facebook and Twitter and Russian trolls or Trump, at least not directly. That would have taken too long! Instead, I talked about the evolution of my thinking about the disruptive effects of the internet on media and journalism in the form of a story — a story about what happened after the Globe and Mail launched the ability for readers to add comments on news stories in about 2005 or so (we were one of the first major newspapers in North America to do this).

Basically, my point was that like many people, I started out being very optimistic about what the Internet would do for media and journalism, and quite quickly also saw the dark side of it (ask me about moderating reader comments on stories about gay marriage or the Middle East sometime). But despite all that has happened, with Trump and Russia and neo-Nazis on Twitter etc., I still believe that the Internet and the social web are a net positive — although sometimes it is hard to convince myself of that.

Note: I got the timing of the two comments I mention wrong in my talk, which I will have to fix the next time I do it. The one about Simon Wiesenthal came first and the one about the bridge collapse in Quebec came much later. Also, I described the first comment incorrectly — it wasn’t about adding salt to the concrete mix to keep it from freezing (it actually lowers the freezing point), it was about not taking enough steps to prevent de-icing road salt from getting into the bridge and rusting out the rebar supports. Anyway, apart from that it went pretty well.

This Taiwanese grandpa shows the best way to play Pokémon Go is with 11 phones – The Verge

A 70-year-old man in Taiwan has gone viral for playing Pokémon Go with 11 phones attached to his bicycle. Chen San-yuan has made headlines internationally for the strange setup. Chen also keeps external batteries and charging cables on him so he can enjoy up to 20 hours of battery life per phone. He has since upgraded to a waist belt with 11 phone mounts.

Source: This Taiwanese grandpa shows the best way to play Pokémon Go is with 11 phones – The Verge

What It’s Like Knowing You’ll Die of Cancer at 35

This is heart-breaking to read, knowing the subject has since passed away, but it is also fascinating how she thinks about death:

I don’t quite know how to broach this, but in the days between when I spoke with Katia Bozhikova for this installment of the column and when we were ready to publish it, Katia died. She was 35. She knew the end was near. It was something she had grappled with for a while. Katia was first diagnosed with cancer almost a decade ago, and this past spring, doctors told her the disease had spread to her liver, ribs, lymph nodes, lungs, and brain. But her death shocked me nonetheless, probably because that’s what

Source: What It’s Like Knowing You’ll Die of Cancer at 35 – VICE