There has been less longing, in recent years, to be part of our own countryâ€™s version of a rust belt â€“ the one that comprises such Southwestern Ontario cities as Windsor, London and St. Catharines, and patches of Eastern Ontario. Young people have fled in droves as the regionâ€™s employment numbers have tanked, seeing the loss of more than a quarter of manufacturing jobs in the last decade.
The plight of the region has been a driving force behind a provincial deficit that remains at over $10-billion, as well as a net loss for Ontario in the migration of people within Canada, and an alarmingly aging population.
Even with Alberta driving the national economy, the country could ill afford Ontarioâ€™s struggles; itâ€™s hardly healthy for the largest provinceâ€™s per-capita GDP to be lower than the rest of Canadaâ€™s, and it helps explain why the federal government has remained in the red.
With oilâ€™s current slide, Canada really canâ€™t afford for it to remain a drag â€“ and in fact there is some expectation that Ontario will instead reclaim its old role as the leader of Canadaâ€™s economic growth. Its premier, Kathleen Wynne, recently expressed optimism that plummeting oil prices and a sinking dollar will prove a boon to manufacturing. â€œI donâ€™t wish for low oil prices and a low dollar for Alberta,â€ she said earlier this month. â€œBut at the same time, we want our manufacturing sector to rebound. So if that [low oil price] helps, then thatâ€™s a good thing.â€
While they could indeed help in the short term, itâ€™s difficult to imagine those volatile factors leading to the lasting revival of traditional sectors competing with consistently low-cost jurisdictions such as Mexico, China and even the American South.
For sustainable renewal, Ontarioâ€™s old industrial towns will have to work harder at reinvention â€“ and they should be looking to some of their counterparts in the U.S. A two-week road trip through Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan revealed in often surprising ways how our neighbours are much further along in reinventing their most hard-hit cities, and how much we have to learn.
â€œThe wind is at the back of these cities in a way that it wasnâ€™t before,â€ says Jennifer Vey, a fellow at the Brookings Institute who studies the revitalization of old industrial centres. And although many of them will remain smaller than in their industrial heyday, the numbers bear that sentiment out. When the Manhattan Institute ranked Americaâ€™s 100 biggest U.S. metropolitan areas for their economic performance in the wake of the Great Recession, mid-size Northeastern and Midwestern cities accounted for nine of the top 20.
As Mr. Piiparinen and others are quick to stress, jobs will always be the cornerstone of any regeneration. But employers themselves can be drawn to a city by affordability and infrastructure, and like to set up shop where highly skilled people want to put down roots. The renaissance of former industrial powerhouses is fuelled by attracting and keeping well-educated, entrepreneurial citizens committed to community-building and capable of creating wealth and quality of life around them.
Of course, direct comparisons between the U.S. and Canadian experience is never exact: The places I visited tended to be larger than their Canadian counterparts; and although they may have such superior amenities as major-league sports teams and world-class museums, they also suffer from some entrenched disadvantages â€“ notably an appalling history of race relations that has left a legacy of poverty, crime and troubled public schools.
So why is it that a younger generation is finding opportunity in these Rust Belt cities (or some of them, at least; nobody sees Flint, Mich., or Gary, Ind., as models) more than in places like London or Windsor, which have some decent bones themselves? As Ontario attempts to take back Canadaâ€™s economic reins, it would do well to learn from whatâ€™s worked, and know what itâ€™s up against.
What do you get for the teenaged boy on your Christmas list. The easy way out is cash and gift cards. We aren’t going to take the easy route out. We are doing this the hard way and come up with a list that any teenager would love.
$150 for a cutting edge tablet? I’m okay with that. The Asus MeMo tablet runs a 1.33 GHz Quad-Core Intel Atom processor, Android 4.4 KitKat, more than enough RAM to run the latest applications and 16 gb of storage for videos, music, and homework. It also has a .3 megapixel front facing camera and a 2 megapixel rear facing camera
We gave Mark my old Pentax K-x to him for his birthday and he loves it. The advantage of Pentax over other DSLR’s is build quality. The K-50 has over 80 water seals in it. This means that the teen you are shopping for can take it far more places and adventures than other DSLRs. The other advantage is the amazing price. At under $500 (with a 18-55mm lens) it is one of the least expensive DSLR’s out there right now.
The PENTAX K-50 is a mid-level DSLR with fast, advanced functionality, all wrapped up in bold colors. Featuring specifications of a top level DSLR, enjoy a 16 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor, fast continuous shooting at six frames per second, high sensitivity shooting up to ISO 51200, 100% field of view, innovative in-body shake reduction, and an advanced auto focus module with four optional focusing screens, not to mention the PENTAX-original weather-sealing. Also enjoy full 1018p HD video capture, and eye-fi card compatibility for fast and easy image sharing.
At the end of the day, you aren’t buying your teen a DSLR for them, you are buying it for the family time you will spend together shooting it. This summer Mark, Oliver, Wendy, and I went for countless walks, hikes, and adventures together for no other reason than to shoot from photos and see what we could see together.
If you are wondering about available lens for Pentax, check out my guide to Pentax DSLR lens that I wrote this summer.
- You can purchase a Pentax K-50 DSLR at Amazon for $486 which is an amazing price for a DSLR.
There is a good choice that your teen has an iPod or phone that plays music already. The music is great but one overlooked thing is what do you play it on. Sennheisser headphones are a great bet. The Sennheiser HD201 Stereo Headphones prove to be a low priced alternative to high-end studio headphones.With great clarity, the Sennheiser HD201 headphones are the ideal entry into the world of powerful stereo sound. These excellent headphones also boast great attenuation of ambient noise and outstanding comfort at an affordable price.
- $25 at Amazon. $50-75 everywhere else.
Tursion is making tablets affordable for use by anyone, not just artists. This high-quality Tursion drawing tablet is priced just right, so everyone can enjoy the benefits of a graphic tablet. It includes several software utilities, such as PenSigner and PenMail, which allows you to use handwritten signatures, adding a personal touch to what is usually thought of as an impersonal medium. Easy to install and to use,
We gave one to Mark last year for his birthday and he has loved it. It works with almost any kind of Windows XP/Vista/7/8 software has allowed him expand is skills and talents as an artist.
Royal & Langnickel Sketching and Drawing Easel Set is a comprehensive 104 piece collection of artist materials ideal for the beginner, student, or artist. This set features a wide assortment of pencils, pastels, and paints fitted into a convertible, two-drawer chest that opens to reveal a third tray of product. The storage chest converts into a sturdy table-top easel. An outstanding collection of tools for your studio or an ideal gift for an artist or serious art student.
You aren’t just giving a gift when you give a telescope as a gift. You are opening up the wonders of the universe. All of Celestron’s PowerSeekers include a full range of eyepieces plus a 3x Barlow lens that provides an increase in viewing power hundreds of times greater than that of the unaided eye!
- The Celestron PowerSeeker is Amazon’s best selling telescope an is only $99.99. With it you will be able to explore more of the Milky Way than you ever thought possible.
You can also find all of the rest of the 2014 Christmas Gift Guides online here. There is a lot of great ideas for all of the important people in your life. Good luck with your shopping and have a great holiday season! Oh yeah, if I missed anything or you have any thoughts, let me know in the comments.
When author Richard Flanagan finished his latest novel, relative poverty forced him to contemplate getting a job in the mines in northern Australia. His Booker Prize win has spared him a life underground for the time being, but he did not waste the opportunity to acknowledge in his speech that â€œwriting is a hard life for so many writers.â€
And itâ€™s only getting worse, as Elizabeth Renzetti wrote wrote recently in these pages. Twelve thousand dollars â€“ thatâ€™s the figure the Writersâ€™ Union of Canada estimates as the average annual income writers make from their writing in this country. I remember what itâ€™s like to live on $12,000. You live in a shabby apartment furnished with hand-me-downs from your parents and garbage-picked gems, you allot $25 a week for food and you wear a borrowed dress when youâ€™re invited to a gala fundraising dinner for writers at a fancy hotel. You take the subway there. If you are in your late 20s, as I was then, itâ€™s fine, you make do because you are doing what you love and most people donâ€™t have that extraordinary privilege.
You donâ€™t squander that privilege. You work your ass off. And hopefully youâ€™re rewarded for that effort. It worked for me, as it did for many writers of my generation, perhaps the last for whom it was possible to live off their writing. In Britain, writersâ€™ incomes have fallen by 30 per cent in the past eight years, collapsing to what one Guardian headline called â€œabjectâ€ levels.
So many writers I know are looking back at this point in mid-life and saying, â€œI had a good run.â€ A good run saw us earn increasingly bigger if still modest advances. (Yes, $75,000 sounds like a lot, but when it takes five years to complete a book and your agent is taking a cut of 15 per cent, youâ€™re still below the poverty line if this is your sole source of income.) Publishers were once able to invest in a career, with income from bestsellers offsetting the less sensational works in a catalogue. Now, every book has to be a winner. If you fail to earn out your advance through sales, your next advance will be lower, or perhaps, as has become increasingly the case among my mid-career contemporaries, you will lose your publishing home.
Writing seems to have become one of the few careers where the more experienced and proficient you become over the years, the less you are compensated. And the humiliations of this are great. It does become difficult to uphold belief in the worth of your work. And since this is work intrinsically tied to oneâ€™s sense of self, it becomes difficult to uphold a sense of self-worth. It takes ego and adrenalin to work in solitude, through years of confusion and uncertainty, in the writing of a book. If you donâ€™t believe in it, no one else will. Of course, there is reward in art for artâ€™s sake, but few can sustain morale, motivation or mortgage on an income of private aesthetic fulfilment.
The value of boredom
Boredom has been defined as wanting to be able to engage in a satisfying activity and not being able to. Its sibling is downtime, both of which the smartphone–and the Angry Birds it implies–eradicates. Another way to look at boredom, Hall says, is to think of it as a creative pause where your mind can drift, which allows you to integrate your recent experiences into your present state of mind.
Sitting with boredom
So let’s get a little bit more refined in our terminology: it’s not that we should be in useless awful meetings, the kind that prompt the feeling of I’m so bored!, but rather that we resist the urge to always act on that gestural itch and give our brains a mindful break or time to daydream. Like any designer will tell you, absence has presence. Not doing is a kind of doing.
The boredom diet
In the same way that what we eat when we’re hungry has short- and long-term consequences, the actions we take when we’re bored have ongoing outcomes. So says NYU’s Gary Marcus: if you’re bored and use that energy to play an instrument and cook, you’ll be growing; if you drool before your television, you might be happy for a second, but that stimulation junk food will depress you later.
Since most of what we do on our phones is the daily dillydallying of social networks, playing games, and texting, your iPhone acts like an endless supply of Cheetos.
So before you dissolve into your screen, check your fingers for orange dust.
I was on Pinterest for the first time today and I saw this fundraising idea by Hope Mission and it absolutely made my day. I want my own set.
They actually inspired me so much I went out and bought my own button maker.
Hire for passion and commitment first, experience second, and credentials third. There is no shortage of impressive CVs out there, but you should try to find people who are interested in the same things you are. You donâ€™t want to be simply a stepping stone on an employeeâ€™s journey toward his or her own (very different) passion. Asking the right questions is key: What do you love about your chosen career? What inspires you? What courses in school did you dread? You want to get a sense of what the potential employee believes.
Once you have the right people, you need to sit down regularly with them and discuss what is going well and what isnâ€™t. Itâ€™s critical to take note of your victories, but itâ€™s just as important to analyze your losses. A fertile culture is one that recognizes when things donâ€™t work and adjusts to rectify the problem. As well, people need to feel safe and trusted, to understand that they can speak freely without fear of repercussion.
The art of communication tends to put the stress on talking, but listening is equally important. Great cultures grow around people who listen, not just to each other or to their clients and stakeholders. Itâ€™s also important to listen to whatâ€™s happening outside your walls. What is the market saying? What is the zeitgeist? What developments, trends, and calamities are going on?
3. Tend to the weeds
A culture of passion capital can be compromised by the wrong people. One of the most destructive corporate weeds is the whiner. Whiners arenâ€™t necessarily public with their complaints. They donâ€™t stand up in meetings and articulate everything they think is wrong with the company. Instead, they move through the organization, speaking privately, sowing doubt, strangling passion. Sometimes this is simply the nature of the beast: they whined at their last job and will whine at the next. Sometimes these people simply arenâ€™t a good fit. Your passion isnâ€™t theirs. Constructive criticism is healthy, but relentless complaining is toxic. Identify these people and replace them.
The origin of the mark goes like this: Knight wanted to differentiate BRS‘s custom product from the ones they were importing from Onituska in Japan: "…so Knight turned to a graphic design student he met at Portland State University two years earlier." One day in 1969, the student, Carolyn Davidson, was approached by Knight and offered $2 per hour "to make charts and graphics" for his business. For the next two years Davidson managed the design work on BRS. "Then one day Phil asked me if I wanted to work on a shoe stripe," Davidson recalled. The only advice she received was to "Make the stripe supportive of the shoe." Davidson came up with half a dozen options. None of the options "captivated anyone" so it came down to "which was the least awful."
The Hedge Society has been re-launched as a group blog. Itâ€™s a little blog about a lot of things and I will be posting some of the fun stuff from Jordon Cooper Outfitters over there as well as some of the stuff that may or may not end up here. Iâ€™m kind of excited about it because itâ€™s other contributors are some of my favourite people online and I canâ€™t wait to see their contributions. You can also follow Hedge Society on Twitter @hedgesociety
How many times have we seen this format in the last couple of months. TED, Christianity 21, the Nines, a couple other copycat conferences that have numbers in them, now this. A copycat conference with the same speakers, peddling their wares in a fixed format. Tell me again where the fresh idea is? Câ€™mon. There are better options out there than following the latest trend. It gets embarrassing again. Especially when it comes from an organization called â€œLeadership Networkâ€.
I am waiting for a conference on helping evangelical clergy deal with their addiction to conferences. That is one I would go to.