Rogers calls for Netflix-funded broadcast media bailout
Rogers Communications has called on Ottawa to introduce new tax credits for Canadian broadcasters, similar to the $600-million in tax credits the federal Liberals have announced for newspapers. In a submission to a panel reviewing Canada’s telecom laws, Rogers called on the feds to raise money for the credits by charging a fee to ″those non-Canadian digital media services that do not wish to make direct investments in Canadian news programming.” In other words, primarily Netflix. University of Ottawa digital law professor Michael Geist, who obtained Rogers’ submission through an access-to-information request, notes that Rogers’ comments to the telecom policy review panel came before the newspaper bailout became an election controversy in recent months.
Fantasizing about murdering your boss is perfectly normal
Not only is it fairly normal for employees to imagine murdering their bosses, it might actually be healthy, says University College London criminal psychologist Julia Shaw, as quoted at The Independent. She estimates about half the population has engaged in fantasies about murdering people they know, including ex-spouses and bosses. But playing out the fantasy in your head might make you more sympathetic to the person you’re imagining killing, Shaw says. People think it through and (most of the time) will say, “I don’t want to do that, because those are not the consequences I would like,” Shaw said.
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Federal Liberals prepare to ban single-use plastics
The federal Liberals are on course to ban single-use plastics by 2021, according to sources familiar with the matter cited by The Canadian Press. But rather than a blanket ban, Justin Trudeau’s government plans to do its own research to identify those products that are most responsible for filling our oceans with waste. The move comes on the heels of the British government’s announcement earlier this year that it will ban single-use plastics, and it comes shortly after a new study revealed that the typical person consumes between 39,000 and 52,000 particles of microplastics per year.
The Great Firewall of China gets greater
China has clamped down on access to Western news sources, according to multiple news reports. The crackdown evidently began on Friday, when people in China began to report that they couldn’t access the websites of the New York Times, HuffPost, The Guardian and numerous others. The Toronto Star has also been targeted for censorship, the newspaper reports. The move seems to have come days after the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, an event China has studiously kept out of its media coverage.
Charlie Smith, co-founder of of GreatFire.org, which monitors Chinese censorship, told The Intercept (which was also banned) that this seems to be part of an effort to better control outside media influence in China. “This frenzied activity could indicate that the authorities are accelerating their push to sever the link between Chinese citizens and any news source that falls outside of the influence of the (Communist) Party,” he said.
Artificial intelligence sex robots are, uh, coming
“Sex robots are not just dolls with a microchip,” writes artificial intelligence experts Francis X. Shen in the Asia Times. “They will use self-learning algorithms to engage their partner’s emotions.” But how are we going to regulate these new sex partners-slash-shrinks? Who will make sure there aren’t excessive amounts of toxins in a sex bot that some people might kiss? And then there is the question of child sex dolls, which came into focus with a recent trial in which a Newfoundland man was charged with child pornography for ordering a child sex doll. Though an appeal court acquitted the accused in that particular case, it also upheld the principle that a child sex doll constitutes child pornography ― something that Shen says will likely be overturned by courts in the future.