Robert L. Peters

1 December 2017

Ignorance, when voluntary, is criminal…

Samuel Johnson

(Thanks to my new friend Rob Riddell for the “quotable.)”


29 November 2017

If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.

—Buddha


25 November 2017

The Rebel… end of the cyberpunk triolgy.

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Gerald_Brandt

Winnipeg, Manitoba

My good friend Gerald Brandt’s third novel in the San Angeles trilogy, a thrilling “near-future cyberpunk sci-fi series,” has just been released by Penguin/DAW. Gerald’s “darkly gripping vision of the future” offers a tense, fast-paced, “impossible-to-put-down” tale that keeps readers on the edge of their seat, with a very relatable young heroine as the embattled protagonist. The Rebel is launching locally at McNally Robinson on Monday evening, and we look forward being there for it!

I first got to know Gerald in the 1990s when I took up rock climbing — he and his lithe twin brother were good instructors and a decade younger than I was — we bonded almost immediately (in that way that only those who put their lives into each other’s hands can do) and we became good climbing mates, with countless weekends on nearby cliffs along with unforgettable climbing expeditions in the Rockies. (Yes, Gerald’s climbing prowess makes an appearance in his San Angeles narratives).

Ev and I were pleased and honoured last night to be able to host Gerald and his partner Marnie for dinner — a real shock (and a sudden wave of tears) came when he presented me with a signed copy of The Rebel and I opened the book… Talk about chuffed! I’ve never had a book dedicated to me before…

Thanks Gerald!

The_Rebel_Dedication_Brandt


23 November 2017

Decolonizing Community Engagement

Decolonizing_Derek_Kornelsen

Guest Blog by Dr. Derek Kornelsen

Recently, terms like decolonization and community engagement have become buzzwords in popular discourses about Indigenous health research. But what does decolonization actually mean? How can we really try to decolonize community engagement? If this is to make any sense, and provide any kind of realistic guide for action, we need to start by gaining some sense of how colonization has impacted — and continues to impact — Indigenous communities and Western academic/research institutions. Only then can we consider why community engagement matters and what a decolonized form of community engagement might look like.

Settler Colonialism in Canada

A good starting point for understanding colonialism in Canada is to recognize that there is a distinct form of colonialism at work here — both past and present. This form is called settler colonialism. Typical understandings of colonialism usually refer to a situation where a colonial entity oppresses and manipulates foreign peoples in order to extract wealth and resources — India and South Africa are key examples. In these cases, there is a point at which we see the colonial power officially leaving, and the colonized peoples achieving some level of independence. On the other hand, in cases of settler colonialism, the colonial entity doesn’t leave, but continues to bring in more and more settlers in order to reproduce itself in the colonized space — Canada, USA, Australia, and New Zealand are the usual suspects here. The particularly horrifying aspect of this practice — as scholars like Patrick Wolfe have discussed in depth — is that, in order to reproduce itself in a given place, the settler colonial entity must ‘destroy to replace’. In Canada, we’ve seen this through overt genocidal acts that morphed into the kinds of cultural genocide that have occured throughout the residential school era.

Read more here…

Dr. Derek Kornelsen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba. His research focuses on examining/contrasting Western and Indigenous philosophies and institutional frameworks, with a particular emphasis on developing a theoretical framework grounded in an understanding of the dynamics and impacts of Settler Colonialism. This theoretical framework enables a sensitivity to 2 key under-researched areas in Indigenous health and wellness research: the impacts of the disruption of Indigenous peoples’ relationships with land and environment; and strategies for decolonizing key institutions that Indigenous peoples must access (health as well as political, legal, educational, economic institutions). Broadly speaking, this theoretical frame contributes to the development of robust Indigenous determinants of health and wellness. He is currently involved in developing a number of local, national, and international research projects and partnerships in areas of environmental health and Indigenous health and wellness.


21 November 2017

Just launched… Portfolio2 Gallery

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Seattle, Washington

My good friend, renowned designer Pat Hansen, has just launched a truly unique online gallery featuring works of fine art by accomplished professional graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, architects and interior designers — work created “on the side.” Many designers create outstanding art outside of their day-to-day practice, but few have had a way of exhibiting such works. Most offerings in Portfolio2 Gallery are one-of-a-kind or offered in limited editions, and have not been available until now.

An initial collection of fine art pieces is currently available here, in a range of media including painting, drawings, sculpture, photography, mixed-media, ceramics and various craft techniques. Accomplished professionals in the design industry (initially only in the USA) are invited to participate by exhibiting pieces they have created “outside of their professional career.” Portfolio2 Gallery’s commisson is 25%, and works of art are shipped (shipping price included!) directly from the artist to the buyer (again, only in the USA for now).

Initial response from the design community has been overwhelming. As noted by Chicago designer Greg Samata, “The idea of an online gallery to aggregate designers’ independent work is a brilliant one. It is an opportunity to make an extraordinary body of work available to the general public.”

A few samples are shown below… view the gallery’s current offerings here.

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Chwast_GirlsonDisplay

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Iskra_SpecimenStudyBlossom

oneill_BlackTurquoiseBottleFlask

Olson_PearandShell


20 November 2017

Seeking volunteers for brain MRI scans…

Neuer 3-Tesla-Scanner

Winnipeg, Manitoba

My partner Evelin‘s daughter Jennifer is literally a “brainiac” scientist, the head of Kornelsenlab.com (a laboratory involved with brain neuroimaging research re: the study of psychological well-being and chronic pain). Jen is looking for approximately 40 healthy adult volunteers (women or men, 21-75 in age) in the Winnipeg area.

Their brain scans would help figure out the neurophysiology underlying chronic pain, such as in trigeminal neuralgia and facial pain, in terms of the effect those conditions have on brain structure and function. She is nearly done collecting data from the patients with those conditions — now she needs to match each of those patients with gender-and age-matched healthy people to observe the differences. You’d be contributing to science — (and there’s an honorarium of $25).

What is involved?
1) Use the ‘contact us’ link on the website (and include your phone number in the message);
2) you will receive a telephone call that explains the study and what you as a volunteer would do, and, if you’re still interested, then a quick “phone screen” for eligibility would take place;
3) you would get a date/time for your MRI appointment at HSC (Health Sciences Center);
4) at the appointment you would fill out informed consent, MRI screening, and a few questionnaires and then hop in the MRI for an approximately 30-minute set of scans.

Visit here to sign up (use the Contact form) — you can also check out the lab’s ongoing research, publication record, etc. there.

Thanks in advance… (and please share)!


19 November 2017

Nothing thicker than a knife’s blade separates happiness from melancholy.

Woolf

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)


17 November 2017

Over two million biodiversity illustrations… online.

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The Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL), an “open access digital library for biodiversity literature and archives,” has for many years been making it easy for people to connect to nature through nature writing and illustration. Its “first stream,” currently at 122,281 images, has been carefully curated, and includes searchable galleries and albums divided by book title or subject, such as “Exotic botany illustrated,” “The Birds of Australia v.1,” and “Bats!” Its “second stream,” consisting of over 2 million images, is a massive grab-bag of photos, illlustrations from nature, advertisements, and imaginative renderings.

This digital library offers potential for chance discovery through “the aimless wandering that often leads to serendipitously sublime experiences.” The image archives “offer expansive views of humanity’s encounter with the natural world, not only through statistics and academic jargon, but through the artistic recording of wonder, scientific curiosity, and deep appreciation.” Many of the images allow “zooming in” to carefully observe details of the artists’ illustrative processes.

Enjoy! (source)

 


16 November 2017

If it doesn’t open, it’s not your door.

/-:


15 November 2017

If it’s broke, fix it.

Jan Parker (quoting “Taoist carpenter” Ken Parker)


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