“Opening Soon” – The Culinary Tales of Union on Ossington Ave.

September 2, 2008

Teo Paul
Teo Paul Of Union on Ossington Avenue

As Toronto’s Entertainment District is under siege from local government and condo developers who greedily eye the large buildings in the area, and as King West becomes boring, while West Queen West loses its cache, the Ossington strip has become the new hotspot for the bohemian, avant-garde, and the hipster.

One of those making Ossington their home base is chef Teo Paul who will soon be opening the restaurant Union on this strip. He currently has a blog entitled Opening Soon that appears in Toronto Life magazine. He details the struggles of opening his joint and the joys that come with it. It’s worth more than a glance :)

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Cyber-Nationalism: Fighting Wars Online

July 24, 2008


“No way man, the EU is waaaayyyy better than the USA!!!!”

Conflict amongst humans first arose on land. It quickly spread its way to sea. Several millenia later, it made it into the air above us thanks to the invention of the Wright Brothers. Less than a century after the successful takeoff at Kitty Hawk, conflict is being fought on the fourth frontier, the internet.

For those of us familiar with usenet back in the 1990s, warfare was being waged on all sorts of newsgroups as such soc.culture.israel and soc.culture.yugoslavia. Fast forward a few years and internet forums played host to conflicts not only current, but centuries old. The rise of web 2.0 has seen these battles move onto new battlefields, from YouTube to Facebook.

The Economist takes a look at this new battleground in: Cyber-nationalism – the brave new world of e-hatred.

A quick excerpt:

But e-arguments also led to hacking wars. Nobody is surprised to hear of Chinese assaults on American sites that promote the Tibetan cause; or of hacking contests between Serbs and Albanians, or Turks and Armenians. A darker development is the abuse of blogs, social networks, maps and video-sharing sites that make it easy to publish incendiary material and form hate groups. A study published in May by the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, a Jewish human-rights group, found a 30% increase last year in the number of sites that foment hatred and violence; the total was around 8,000.

Social networks are particularly useful for self-organised nationalist communities that are decentralised and lack a clear structure. On Facebook alone one can join groups like “Belgium Doesn’t Exist”, “Abkhazia is not Georgia”, “Kosovo is Serbia” or “I Hate Pakistan”. Not all the news is bad; there are also groups for friendship between Greeks and Turks, or Israelis and Palestinians. But at the other extreme are niche networks, less well-known than Facebook, that unite the sort of extremists whose activities are restricted by many governments but hard to regulate when they go global. Podblanc, a sort of alternative YouTube for “white interests, white culture and white politics” offers plenty of material to keep a racist amused.

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