What have you been reading?

Quotation for the week of May 3, 2021:

Arise for the work of humankind . Be humble. However grand you are today or may become tomorrow, you too will be forgotten”

Mark Carney,Former Governor Bank of Canada and Bank of England


David Leonhardt, New York Times – April 30, 2021 

Ebola seen in a petri dish

Humanities Greatest Achievement

Leonhardt goes back to the 2014 Ebola outbreak in Lagos and examines how Nigerian authorities got this terrifying illness under control. He suggests that it should have been a preview for the management of COVID 19. Over the last two or three weeks there, returning Canadian vacationers have complained about excessive restrictions in Canada compared to the US. Consider the following excerpt:

More recently, these same kinds of logistics have helped some countries fare better against Covid-19 than others. Canada has suffered only 37 percent as many deaths per capita as the U.S., thanks partly to tighter travel restrictions. Vietnam and some other Asian countries benefited from intense early contact tracing. Britain and Israel are now doing better than continental Europe not because of laboratory discoveries but because of more effective vaccine distribution.

With the benefits of hind sight, what decisions would you have made?


Fernando Augusto Pacheco, Monocle Weekend, May 1, 2021

Best of drawers

If I had to pick a favourite item of clothing it would be shorts (writes Fernando Augusto Pacheco). Weather permitting, I would wear them all year and on most occasions. It’s news that shouldn’t come as a surprise to my colleagues, where spring’s arrival in London is matched by my appearance at our HQ wearing the year’s first pair of shorts to the office.  

In some corporate circles, however, such a sartorial choice by men would be controversial. In offices in Brazil, even in the searing heat of Rio de Janeiro, wearing a pair to work is banned. And in the UK last year, pharmacy chain Boots reprimanded an employee for wearing a pair of cotton three-quarter-length trousers to work on a scorching summer day. But times are changing. A number of banks, who usually have notoriously stuffy styling requirements, have relaxed dress codes in recent years. It’s a way for these corporate big boys to show that they’re actually cool, flexible and creative, and to attract talent that fits that mould. With people returning to the office this spring after a long time at home wearing whatever they like, expect this trend to continue.

Thinking of giving them a whirl? Try some classic cargo shorts or sleek Bermudas by Los Angeles-based ERL. Personally, I’ll be in corduroy, pretending to be a semi-retired California surfer.

Question: Would you like a change to dress code to allow for shorts at the office? Could it become of the tactics to get people back into the office?


Up-zoning Illustrated

Propmodo newsletter

Stifling housing supply is a good way to lose a congressional seat.

1:34 AM · May 2, 2021

@urbnist May 2 – Replying to @keynesianr

But keep a city council seat, it seems

@heather_vaikona 20h Hell yeah, that’s the paradox 

It seems that up-zoning is a popular concept, except when it is in a NIMBY’s backyard. 


Napoleon to be a victim of cancel culture in France?

Roger Cohen, New York Times – May 5,2021 

With Napoleon Commemoration, Macron Steps into National Debate

PARIS — Jacques Chirac couldn’t stand him. Nicolas Sarkozy kept his distance. François Hollande shunned him. But on the 200th anniversary this week of Napoleon Bonaparte’s death, Emmanuel Macron has chosen to do what most recent presidents of France have avoided: honor the man who in 1799 destroyed the nascent French Republic in a putsch.

And we think we have cancel culture and symbolism problems in Canada? Or the United States? This imperfect man changed the course of history. Louis Georges-Tin   and Oliver Le Cour Grandmaison argue that his remains be removed from Les Invalides and returned to his family. Jean D’Orleans posits that it is fitting for the head of state to bow down at the tomb of the victor of Austerlitz. 

Lisbon – A City on the Rise?

March 7, 2023

Lisbon’s seven hills and waterfront make it visually spectacular. The second oldest capital in Europe, the city has energy. Busy streets and squares, full restaurants, and vibrant night life – the city pulsates. And, the population seems young. All signs of a city on the rise? Earthquake A 1755 earthquake destroyed 85% of the city […]

Cities and Towns, The Affordable Housing Problem

February 8, 2023

People living on the street have come to symbolize the global housing crisis but they are only the tip of the iceberg. While the examples of Finland and Houston demonstrate a focussed plan pursued diligently can resolve the housing situation for the chronically homeless, addressing the affordable housing problem is much more complex.  Defining Affordability […]

I Love to Dance

January 29, 2023

I love to dance. This is not something new for me. I can’t remember when I didn’t like to move to the music. My first memories of watching others dance come from my childhood in Cape Breton where I would watch the adults square dance. Then, there were the step dancers who would often accompany […]

Cities and Towns 8, A City is About People

January 19, 2023

Kings Cross, once a thriving industrial and transport centre in London, was effectively closed  off  to the public by the end of the 20th century.   Then in 1996, the decision was made to move the British terminus for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link from Waterloo to St-Pancras. The landowner saw a re-development opportunity for […]

NEOM - the Wall

Cities and Towns 7, Cities and Towns Evolve

January 8, 2023

I have postulated that cities and towns evolve. That towns and villages first grow in areas where the basics to support life were plentiful. Typically, that means good agricultural land and good access to water. Other valuable considerations include safety, and resilience. The bonus – access to trade routes.  Walt Disney and the Fully Formed […]

Christmas Poem 2022

December 22, 2022

A Visit from Saint Nicholas A Poem by Jonathan Potter – December 2022 ‘Twas the first mask-free Christmas, when all through the stores  The vaccinated children were spewing their spores;The shoppers were eagerly starting to riotAs the introverts longed for some quarantine quiet. The public healthcare workers were tracing the pathOf the flu and RSV, […]