Wednesday, August 14, 2013

2003年美加大停電 / The 2003 Big Blackout in Northeast America

On August 14, 2003, a cascade failure of the power grid along the northeastern seaboard of America plunged many US and Canadian cities into darkness and complete chaos. Our household was among the 55 million people affected by the power outage.

I remember driving my family to Gatineau across the Ottawa River looking for food because Hydro Quebec was not affected by the power outage. After supper, while crossing the Champlain Bridge, I was suddenly struck by the darkness that was once the City of Ottawa. There were no street lights. Whole neighbourhood was submerged in darkness. I had difficulties finding my own street as all the familiar landmarks disappeared. Except the occasional flickering of flashlight through some windows, every house looked almost the same and I had no idea where home was.

Eventually we managed to find our way back to where we live and spent the night under the faint glow of some candles I had found in the basement. Within the next few days, electricity in the national capital region was mostly restored and we were back to an electricity-dependent civilization.

Photo Credit: Wikipedia ".... Ottawa-Gatineau is a special case in that it is divided by a provincial boundary and the Ontario and Quebec grids are not synchronously connected. Gatineau had power. One may have seen the drastic cutoff of areas still having power when they were crossing the Portage Bridge between Gatineau and Ottawa – the cutoff was at the provincial line. Street lights on the bridge were still lit on the Quebec side of the structure ...."

Related Link: The 2013 Big Blackout in Northeast America







Sunday, August 11, 2013

International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Duathlon Championships in Ottawa 2013

20130810:  I took this photo at the transition zone of the ITU World Duathlon Championships event that was hosted by Canada this year.

All athletes were quick in changing their shoes in the 10K run/40K bike/5K run race except this one gentleman who couldn't find his bike!!! He must have spent abt a minute cursing, swearing and sweating as the clock ticked away !!!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

非洲岩蟒蛇殺死兩個男孩的悲劇事件 / The tragic deaths of two boys killed by an escaped African rock python

Photo Credit: Wikipedia / African Rock Python

The killing of two boys in Campbellton, New Brunswick by an escaped African Rock Python has ignited a debate on the regulations, or lack thereof, governing the keeping of banned exotic animals in Canada. Recently, media have also raised some questions on the roles of Environment (EC) in this tragic case. Here are some of my thoughts from a non-legal perspective.

It is my understanding that EC's Canadian Wildlife Services (CWS) have been involved because the animal in question is listed in federal acts/regulations established under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) sets controls on movement of animal and plant species that are, or may be, threatened due to excessive commercial exploitation.  Environment Canada (EC) is the lead agency responsible for implementing CITES on behalf of the federal government.  Within EC, the Canadian Wildlife Service (CWS) administers CITES and interacts with provincial, territorial and other federal agencies.
So if individuals or organizations are caught smuggling into Canada items listed under CITES, they will most likely face investigations and/or legal proceedings. (

However, what remains unclear in this tragic case are the roles played by CWS, the New Brunswick Natural Resources Department, the municipalities, the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), and the zoo owner 11 years ago. In a bureaucratic world, a government official would not have just brought a banned animal from one place to another without a chain-of-custody paper trail or some sort of documentations. It is therefore important to find out what exactly took place more than a decade ago, and what the contributing factors were during that period and on the night of the killings that, when they all added up, led to the deadly end results.

It is a real tragedy that the two boys were killed. Let's hope that people in this country will think twice before acquiring wild animals that in most cases should not be allowed in an urban environment. And definitely, I do not support the trading of exotic animals at all !!

UPDATES: Ottawa Citizen
* 20130810:   CAMPBELLTON, N.B. - A funeral service will be held today in Campbellton, N.B., for two young boys who were killed by a python while they slept in an apartment above an exotic pet store.
* 20130809:    Questions arise over how banned python ended up at New Brunswick pet store
Related information from National Post:

Harper vows to review Ottawa’s regulation of exotic animals after African rock python kills N.B. boys

Prime Minister Stephen Harper vowed Friday to review Ottawa’s role in the regulation of exotic animals as questions mounted over why Environment Canada delivered the python that killed two boys to a pet store in New Brunswick.
FACEBOOK /MANDY TRECARTINThe Barthe brothers cleaning a snake tank in an undated photo posted on their mother's Facebook page.
Environment Canada said one of its wildlife officers brought the African rock python to Reptile Ocean in Campbellton 11 years ago, even though the species was banned in the province without a special permit.
Mark Johnson, a spokesman for the federal department, said in an email that Environment Canada was asked to help take the snake to Reptile Ocean after it was abandoned at the SPCA in Moncton, N.B. His email did not address why the department would transport a banned animal, but he said department records indicate Reptile Ocean was operating as a zoo when the snake arrived at the facility in August 2002.
New Brunswick’s Department of Natural Resources said only accredited zoos can apply for a permit to own a banned species, including the African rock python in question.
But Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums said it is the only recognized national body to accredit zoos in the country and it has no record of Reptile Ocean ever applying for accreditation.
The Natural Resources Department declined to say whether Reptile Ocean was issued a permit for the python. But it has said it was unaware of the snake’s existence until the deaths of four-year-old Noah Barthe and his six-year-old brother Connor this week.
No one from the department was made available for an interview. Spokeswoman Anne Bull declined to say in an email whether Reptile Ocean was ever considered a zoo, citing the ongoing police investigation and privacy concerns. She was unable to say whether unaccredited zoos can legally operate in the province.
Animal welfare advocates said the case in New Brunswick highlights major gaps in laws governing exotic animals.
“In this instance, there were laws prohibiting it, but clearly enforcement was either non-existent or inadequate,” said Nick Wright, a lawyer and executive director of Animal Justice Canada.
“There’s no uncertainty that the African rock python is a species that should not be permitted to be kept in captivity in the way that it was.”
Melissa Matlow, a Toronto-based animal advocate, said she was appalled that the python would be taken to Reptile Ocean without the appropriate measures in place.
“If (that) is confirmed to be true, then it’s shocking that Environment Canada would just drop a snake off at a place that sounds like it didn’t have proper permits,” said Matlow, a spokeswoman for the World Society for the Protection of Animals.
“I think our regulations are grossly inadequate across the country.”
Harper said the federal government will determine whether it should play a role in the regulation of exotic pet shops.
“We’re going to look at all that has happened here to get all of the facts,” Harper said in Miramichi, N.B., after an unrelated funding announcement.
“My understanding is that these types of establishments are regulated mainly by provincial governments, but at our level as well, we will try to ascertain exactly what has occurred and if there is a federal role, what needs to be done about that.”
Matlow said most provinces fail to properly inspect pet stores, zoos and other similar facilities, adding that in many cases, inspections are done only when a complaint has been made.
New Brunswick’s Department of Natural Resources should have known there was an African rock python at the store in Campbellton, she said.
“There should have been an inspection and there should be an inventory of all the animals that he has there to ensure all the animals are legal and permitted.”
The store is owned by Jean-Claude Savoie, a family friend of the boys who took them shopping and to a farm before hosting a sleepover Sunday along with his son. Savoie has not returned repeated messages for comment.
Zoo staff seized 23 reptiles and euthanized four alligators Friday that belonged to Reptile Ocean.
(Source of news info: )


Related info: Wikipeida 非洲岩蟒

"..... 雖然非洲岩蟒暫時未被列為瀕危物種,但仍被列於瀕臨絕種野生動植物國際貿易公約的附錄二名單中,表明限制各國對非洲岩蟒進行各種非法出入口販賣及運輸用途。非洲岩蟒之所以會被視為有潛在危機,最直接的原因是其蛇皮經常遭到皮革工業商的覬覦,從而有機會被人類大量獵殺。

..... 成年的非洲岩蟒體長可達6,是全球最巨型的蛇類之一(其它巨蛇亦是同屬蟒屬下的蛇類)目前為止,有紀錄最長的非洲岩蟒是於1932年科特迪瓦所發現的,其體長達9.72米。

..... 非洲岩蟒甚少攻擊人類,雖然牠們擁有足夠殺死成年人的能力,但迄今為止由非洲岩蟒所造成的致命事件僅有很少,而且受害者大多是小孩。在1951年,一份烏干達報章報導了一名13歲男童被非洲岩蟒所吞噬,不過該蟒蛇亦被外力迫其將男童吐出;1973年另一份報章指一名葡萄牙籍軍人亦被發現遭蟒蛇所吞。1979年一條長4.5米的蟒蛇試圖將一名13歲男童(身高1.3米,體重45公斤)吞食,但因遭到男童友伴以石頭擲擊而將男童吐出;最後一宗較為人所知的事件發生於2002年南非,當時的受害人是一名10歲小孩。...."

Thursday, August 08, 2013

2013 International Triathlon Union (ITU) Duathlon World Championships in Ottawa August 8-10: Team Canada

I took this video on Sparks Street, Ottawa during the Opening Ceremonies of the 2013 International Triathlon Union (ITU) Duathlon World Championships that is being hosted by Canada August 8-10. The video showed Team Canada members marching in the Parade of Nations on August 8, 2013.

I will be running the "Sens Shuffle" part of the event !!!

YouTube link:

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

狼人:武士激戰 / The Wolverine 2013

20130806: I watched the movie "The Wolverine 狼人:武士激戰" in 3D and here is a quick review:

* The 2013 film has a really interesting east-meets-west storyline, with our American mutant hero Wolverine 狼人 battling Japanese Yakuza 黑道, ninjas 忍者, Viper 毒蛇. and Silver Samurai 銀武士.

* While the Wolverine dreamed of Jean Grey-Summers (aka Marvel Girl, Phoenix, and Dark Phoenix) throughout the whole movie, the latter actually never had the same strong feeling in return.

* To this end, Hugh Jackman did a good job of depicting a ronin 浪人 roaming his own emotional wasteland void of love and relationships.

All in all, I quite enjoyed the movie !!!

Photo Credit: Wikipedia Wolverine 2013 film
(Top to bottom) Wolverine, Japanses Yakuza, Dark Phoenix

劇情: 講述金鋼狼在X戰警:最後戰役之後,去到日本所發生的故事,金鋼狼羅根這位身懷絕技的不朽戰士,在自我放逐、四處為家的生活中,輾轉來到了日本,原本只是想過著隱居的生活,卻在這裏遇上了來自過去、武力強勁的神秘人物,引起了東洋武士刀與金鋼狼的堅銳鋼爪的正面對決,歷經這場詭譎多變的正邪對戰後,金鋼狼的生命史從此改寫,他已不是過去的金鋼狼,迎接他的,是更不可預知,以及充滿更多挑戰的驚險未來!

Sunday, August 04, 2013

地球末日戰 / WORLD WAR Z

I watched WORLD WAR Z this evening and here is a quick review.

Brad Pitt's character as a loving father and husband might not come across as deeply as the one in The Tree of Life, but who could afford to soulfully ponder over the origin of the universe and the meaning of life when zombies were running amok and the very existence of uninfected humanity was at stake !!!

The film never says explicitly where the zombie virus originated from. One version of the story pointed the finger to the PRC, but according to Wikipedia (see below) Chinese censors disliked that notion and as a result release of the film in PRC remains uncertain.

I could have told the Paramount executives that they would hit the Great Wall by using sensitive words such as virus, infected, contaminated, etc, let alone pointing a finger to the east.

Talking abt walls. The failure of the wall protecting Jerusalem from zombies in this movie, along with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989/1990, and the breaching of the Great Wall of China several thousand years ago all seem to prove once again that an immovable object and an insurmountable force cannot simultaneously co-exist.

All in all, I find World War Z quite entertaining and is definitely worth the $6 I paid for the ticket. I might even be hooked for a sequel !!

And the quotable quote from this movie: "Mother Nature is a serial killer."

She will be back !!!!


According to Wikipedia / World War Z (film):

"..... In March 2013, it was reported that Paramount changed a scene in the film in which the characters speculate that the zombie outbreak originated in mainland China in hopes of landing a distribution deal in the country. However, an executive familiar with upcoming releases in China later told The Wrap in June 2013 that a cut of the film was rejected by Chinese censors. A Paramount executive contended that he was "unaware of any rejection", explaining, "We have submitted one version and have yet to receive a response." ....

《地球末日戰》(英語:World War Z)是一部2013年上映的後世界末日的恐怖片,由馬克·福士導演,馬修·邁克爾·卡納漢編劇。它是基於馬克斯·布魯克斯的同名小說。畢·彼特飾演一名前聯合國工作人員,他負責在全球尋找相關資訊,阻止殭屍毀滅全球所有國家。.....

《地球末日戰》據報為了能夠爭取到在中國上映,所以亦計劃剪輯兩個不同版本上映,尤其片中一幕討論喪屍災難的成因,矛頭直指中國,要通過電檢,更必須刪除。 有傳《地》於中國上映計劃碰壁,初剪未獲大陸電檢處批准,不過電影公司高層否認收到確切消息。...."
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