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Quebec City Bridges / Attribution: Blanchardb at en.wikipedia
New Portneuf Bridge - The Fourth Link
The New Portneuf Bridge - The Fourth linkIn March, 2024, the Francis Scott Key Bridge across the Patapsco River near Baltimore collapsed after the container ship Dali struck one of its piers. The disaster affected more than 8,000 jobs in Maryland and...
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Besieged: Which was worse, Gaza or Mosul?
A lot of us have wondered about the casualty rate of civilians in the Gaza Strip after the Hamas slaughter of innocent Jewish people on October 7. The numbers of dead increased so rapidly and a large proportion of them were innocent women and childre...
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The Barbara Allen Song
If you’ve read my novel Remembrance Man about the cholera epidemic in 1832, you will remember young Emily singing the Barbara Allen song to her boyfriend Paolo. The song was mentioned in a diary of Samuel Pepys in 1666. It is a traditional Scottish b...
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Nato flag
It's time to leave NATO
There comes a time when membership in a club just becomes too onerous. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization is just that. It was a cold-war vehicle in the fight against communism when the US was the world’s policeman. Back then before the fall of t...
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CBC Centre Toronto
Let's reinvent the CBC
In recent weeks the Polish national broadcaster TVP has been liquidated due to a dispute over the future of publicly-owned media in Poland after the pro-European coalition party under Donald Tusk took power. For a decade TVP was controlled by th...
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A Second Front for Ukraine
During WWII, Stalin pressured Churchill and his Secretary of State Anthony Eden to establish a second front in the West against the Nazis. He wanted to relieve the pressure on the Soviet Army in and around Moscow under attack by the German war machin...
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Incompetence at the Top
It's quite amazing that hundreds of postal workers at the privately owned UK Post Office were wrongly prosecuted or convicted between 1999 and 2015 for alleged false accounting, theft and fraud, because of a glitchy software system that incorrectly s...
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Aretha's Will
Remember the Alberta farmer, Bill Bryson, who died after being pinned under his tractor. Before dying, he wrote his will by scratching it on the fender of his tractor. The scratching said, “In case I die in this accident, I leave all to my son, Bill ...
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Wonderous ancient structures and ‘Self-healing’ concrete
The Parthenon and the Colosseum are two of the most amazing ancient structures still standing today: a temple in Athens dedicated to the goddess Athena built in the 5th century BCE and the largest standing amphitheatre in the world built in 80 CE in ...
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Dresden, Aleppo and Gaza.
War is a dirty business. Remember the firebombing of Dresden and other German cities during WW2. In four raids in February 1945, heavy bombers of the RAF and the USAAF bombed the city with high explosive bombs and incendiary devices. Some 25,000 Germ...
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The Bastinado: Clean flagellation?
“I will deal in poison with thee, or in bastinado, or in steel…” says Touchstone threatening William in As You Like it, Act V, Shakespeare.“He was forthwith laid down on the deck, and had his arms turned and held behind him, one man sitting on h...
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PRAISE YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY
I stepped into my local library recently after two years of absence. I went in to renew my library card and to have a look around at the selection. I have been reading mostly the poor selection of books on Overdrive and buying other books that I want...
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HOW DO WE DEFINE NON-FICTION IN TODAY'S MEDIA?
I recently read David Grann's hugely successful crime thriller (Killers of the Flower Moon) and enjoyed the read. Don't get me wrong, I like his books. I'm an author and I love history, but I'm also a nitpicker like a lot of authors. Grann's crime th...
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LET'S TALK ABOUT SECRET CODES
Back in the 16th century ciphers were used by kings to communicate with their governors and ambassadors in distant countries. You may have seen in the news that it took the Loria Research Lab in France six months to crack a five-century-old secret co...
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AKHMUT: A PYRRHIC VICTORY OR A DEFEAT FOR THE RUSSIANS?
After the Battle of Asculum in 279 BC, Plutarch wrote in his Lives of Noble Greeks and Romans: "If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined." A Pyrrhic victory is defined as a victory that inflicts such a ...
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