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Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Comerce

Jony Studios is on a Mission to Help Musicians, Businesses, and Authors

Recently Named #1 Recording Studio, by Readers’ Choice Awards, Jony Studios is on a mission to help musicians, businesses, and authors elevate their brand!

♦If you want your business represented well, having high quality audio and video recordings has become tremendously important in 2020.  It displays your commitment to consistent communication to your customers and classifies you as a top contender in your marketplace.

Right now, a new era of audio and visual productions are available to our community through Jony Studios. Their offerings go beyond the typical recorded Zoom call or Live Streamed content. They enable businesses to provide clear communicative information to their current audience and potential customers. As your number of listeners grow, you have the ability to reach a wider client base. Additions such as Podcasts, Audiobooks, and Videos will ensure your message is greeted with open eyes and ears.♦

Want to ensure your messaging is received loud and clear?

Seek a professional studio to engineer your recordings.

Jony Studios, a recording studio based in Waterloo, is proud to announce that it has been recognized as the Diamond Winner for Best Recording Studio 2020, presented by the Record Readers’ Choice Awards.

The Readers’ Choice Awards is an award administered annually. This special designation recognizes businesses from all industries that demonstrate excellent client satisfaction and quality of service. The criteria for this recognition focus on an ability to add real value to clients above and beyond the other companies in the market.

“We would like to thank all of our amazing team members and clients for their support in making this moment possible for Jony Studios.”– Jony Mansilla (Creative Director/Founder)♦

They have made it their mission to help musicians, businesses, and authors elevate their brand and grow through audio/video production and marketing services!

Jony Studios provides a mix of Audio Production (recording/mixing/mastering), Video Production (music videos/corporate videos, etc.), Podcast Editing and Production Services, Audiobook Production Services, and Digital Marketing (web/graphic design, SEO, brand development) to take Waterloo Region’s Creators to the next level.

Jony Studios is a professional recording and video production studio located in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, providing a wide range of high-quality music production, marketing, and audio services.

Learn more about Jony Studios here: www.jonystudios.com

The post Jony Studios is on a Mission to Help Musicians, Businesses, and Authors appeared first on Chamber of Commerce KW.

Andrew Coppolino

Chef on Call seasonal “Bless Ups”

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Check out Chef on Call for their holiday spirit specials that include discounts on your delivery or pickup purchases — and, most importantly, donations to The Food Bank of Waterloo Region.

“It’s called 12 Days of Blessups,” according to Gabe Malbogat of Chef on Call. “Each day our customers can be blessed up with a different gift.”

♦December 5, 12: food bank donations (Image/Chef on Call).

Take special note, however, of two particular days: on Saturday, December 5, Chef on Call is donating 100 percent of hot dog sales to the Food Bank of Waterloo Region. “And to cap off this event, we are ending with a bang with 10 percent of all sales on Saturday, December 12, donated to the food bank,” says Malbogat.

All you have to do is use the promo codes when ordering on the Chef on Call website so they can track the purchases and make the donation.

“To get Blessed Up or to Bless Up the community, just use the code!” says Malbogat.

Check out my latest post Chef on Call seasonal “Bless Ups” from Andrew Coppolino - World of Flavour.

Cult KW

Faith Spaces, the Common Good, the Civic Realm and the Biosphere

Last month, I attended something called the “Community Spaces, Faith Places Virtual Rural Conference” from the safety of my downtown Kitchener coop. This was an offering from Faith and the Common Good, a Canada-wide network ”dedicated to assisting and inspiring religious congregations and spiritual groups of all backgrounds to take collective action in creating more […]

Bridgit Solutions

How to write a bid proposal for construction (template inside)

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Knowing how to write a bid for construction is an essential part of being a subcontractor. Keep reading to learn about the best bid-writing practices that will improve your bid-hit ratio.

How to write a bid for a construction job

Let’s dive right into the steps for writing effective construction bids.

Know the bid process

Before you even begin writing bid proposals, you need to familiarize yourself with the process. Check out this article on construction bidding for a detailed walkthrough. In it, we cover important terminology along with the various stages of the bidding process.

Once you learn these details, you’ll be able to focus on crafting a great bid rather than stumbling through the process itself.

Review the project documents

Estimators and other professionals involved in the bidding process aren’t cheap. As such, it’s in your best interest to avoid putting them to work on bids that aren’t actually a good fit for your company.

Start by thoroughly reviewing the project documents. This should be easy if you’re using a construction bidding platform since clients typically make various detailed documents accessible on those sites. Check out this article for a great list of bidding sites to use.

If the client provides a bid sheet template, use it

Clients will often include construction bid sheet templates as part of a project’s documentation. You’d be wise to use these templates since it will make things easier on the client’s personnel responsible for reviewing several proposals.

It also communicates your willingness to adapt your way of doing things based on the client’s needs, which is an important trait to have throughout any construction project.

Of course, when clients don’t include construction bid proposal templates, you’ll need to create your own. We’ll look at that next.

  ♦  Craft a professional construction bid proposal template if none is provided

When creating your own construction bid proposal template, there are several guidelines to follow. Let’s go line by line. Alternatively, you can download our construction bid proposal template for free here. 


Every construction bid sheet template should include a heading that reads “Bid Proposal” so clients know exactly what they’re looking at even as your document gets passed around and separated from any initial correspondence.

Recipient information

Next, you need to include information about the recipient, including:

  • Name: See if the project listing specifies anyone in particular; otherwise, list the company.

  • Address

  • Phone number

  • Fax number

  • Job name: Include any unique identifiers you’re aware of, including the project’s number and exact address; don’t just say “Walmart” since the client may be building several of them.

  • Architect/general contractor

Services you intend to provide

Underneath the client information, you need to include a list of the services you intend to provide. This is among the most important parts of your bid since it will help the client understand exactly what is included in the price.

It’s crucial that you be specific with this list. We’ll get into that shortly.

Base bid

This is where you’ll include the dollar amount you’d like to be paid for the services listed above. You should arrive at this figure following a thorough estimating process aimed at ensuring your offer is fair for everyone involved.

This is also where you should specify a payment schedule if the client has not indicated one. Generally, your payment schedule will include details about any initial amounts owed along with the intervals at which you expect to be paid.

This is, of course, another very important consideration since it will have a direct impact on your company’s cash flow for the duration of the project.

Optional information

For many projects, the construction bid sheet template we’ve described up until this point will be more than enough. However, there are situations in which you might want to include additional information, such as the following.

Alternative Prices

Here’s where you can demonstrate how your price will change if certain services are added or removed. It’s generally recommended that you only include alternative prices if the project requirements are poorly defined or you get the sense that the client is open to suggestions.

If you include this section, it should be formatted to include:

  • Description: This will provide some context for the alternative price, including when you would recommend using it.

  • Add: If the alternative price is higher than your base bid, here’s where you’ll specify how much of an increase is involved.

  • Deduct: If the alternative price is lower than your base bid, here’s where you’ll specify how much of a decrease is involved.

  • Revised price: Don’t force the client to break out a calculator! Run the numbers yourself and include a revised price based on the addition or deduction you identified in the previous two points.

Include as many alternative prices as you think are necessary but keep in mind that too many will likely be confusing.

Unit prices

Occasionally, clients may request that you include unit prices. This amounts to a line-by-line description of each item, the quantity required, the unit of measure, and the price per unit.

It typically only makes sense to include unit prices when the project is small. For example, if you’re a subcontractor building a new deck for a client, they might want to know how many planks of wood you’re purchasing and at what cost. When building a skyscraper, though, unit prices may be less relevant.


An allowance in construction terms is a specific dollar amount generally reserved for work that you’ll need to subcontract out. 

It’s expected that these amounts won’t be 100% accurate but it will give the client an idea of what to expect. Subcontractors will fine-tune the figures once they conduct an on-site inspection.

Warranty information

Do you plan on providing any service after the structure has been built? This can be a major selling point and should be mentioned as part of your proposal.

Be specific about the scope of work

Communication is key in construction. As such, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that it’s a key part of learning how to write proposals for construction as well.

By communicating the exact intended scope of work within your bids, you’ll reduce the likelihood of clients setting unreasonable expectations. Additionally, you’ll open the door for clients to communicate their needs in advance if they happen to differ from the scope of work you’re proposing.

Of course, you may be less willing to set a restrictive scope of work if you really need or want the job. However, keep in mind that specificity can also be reassuring for clients. You’re not just telling them what they won’t get but also what they will.

Communicate what happens in the event of unforeseen circumstances

While this may not neatly fit into any of the fields we outlined in the construction bid template section, you do need to think about and communicate how you plan on approaching unforeseen circumstances that might impact project financials.

These will most likely be notarized in the formal contract but it’s not a bad idea to specify any non-starters beforehand. For example, many contractors will specify upfront that clients are responsible for handling site issues like the removal of previously-undisclosed asbestos.

Write clear messages when communicating online

There’s little sense in crafting a beautiful construction bid proposal only to flub the delivery. Whatever medium you’re using to communicate with clients (email is popular these days), make sure you proofread messages carefully. 

Typos aren’t the only thing to watch out for! You should also be aware of any potential issues regarding clarity.

Remember that format isn’t everything

Knowing how to write a bid for a construction job goes beyond formatting. You also need to make a credible, thoroughly-researched offer!

This begins at the estimating stage, which you can learn more about here. Don’t forget to rely on your construction resource management data from similar past projects as well since this will be a valuable predictor of future expenses.

Prepare a professional bid every single time

Take care to produce professional bids for every project that requires one. Even if you have a long history with a particular client, there’s no guarantee that the same person who reviewed past proposals will be involved with this one. Treat every new endeavor as if you’re dealing with that client for the first time.

We hope this guide has been useful in showing you how to write a proposal for construction. While writing a proposal can seem daunting at first glance, it isn’t rocket science. By following best practices and producing a credible offer, you can greatly increase your chances of success.

For more construction management tips, visit the Bridgit Blog.


Lauren Lake is the COO and co-founder at Bridgit. She holds a degree in Civil Structural Engineering and is well-versed in construction workforce management and resource planning processes. Lauren has been named to the Forbes Manufacturing & Industry 30 Under 30 and Best Of Canada Forbes Under 30 Innovators lists. Lauren has presented at industry events and conferences, including BuiltWorlds, Canadian Construction Association, Procore Groundbreak, and more. Follow Lauren on LinkedIn and Instagram.



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Andrew Coppolino

Kara’s avocado BLT

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Kara’s Market Café
1217 Lobsinger Line
Waterloo, ON N2J 4G8
(519) 206-0184

[Previously published] The relatively small area in and around St. Jacobs Market, near the merging of King and Weber streets north and Lobsinger Line, can be a very busy one on a Saturday mid-morning. It’s quite a little food hub that has grown up in the vicinity.

Into that calculation, toss the eclectic mix of roughly two dozen wide-ranging food vendors that pop up a few times a week at the Market, the popular diner Jack’s Family Restaurant, the inimitable Crazy Canuck, as well as producers and smaller food stores that are Martin’s Family Fruit Farm and The Poultry Place – and they are all within a minute’s drive of each other.

To which we must add Kara’s Market Café, operated by Gerald Kara, formerly of Kara’s Smart Foods when it was on Bruce Street at the Expressway in Kitchener. The store was a haven for people looking for the amazing blend that fruit and vegetable expert Kara’s sourced locally and the far-flung corners of the globe.

♦An earlier blackboard menu (Photo/andrewcoppolino.com).

Kara’s the café version on Lobsinger Line is the charming and casual re-imagining of the business and a venerable, barn-like building by Gerald Kara the man: it has his energy too.

Sit in the dining room (pre-Covid-19, it seats about 25 but is not a full-service venue) and you’ll likely hear Kara greet a customer with his signature “hail-fellow well-met” gregarious nature. Soon after, I saw the customer he was chatting with so volubly leave with three locally sourced butternut squashes in hand: that’s Kara and that’s the type of conviviality that characterizes the casual café.

The food is just as refreshing. There are fresh juices that were on the roster at his former location, along with home-made soups and a central display stocked with fresh local produce, when in season. Kara says the grab-and-go foods and lunches are gaining popularity.

♦Kara’s Market Cafe omelette (Photo/andrewcoppolino.com).

Other dishes include sandwiches, quesadillas, BLTs and wraps, and salads. They also bake bread, muffins and cookies and have a smoothie bar.

To order, head to blackboard – Kara loves blackboards – at the back of the store and order breakfast; sit and staff delivers.

Try the pressed avocado BLT ($6.99). It’s a buttery croissant that envelops some local organic bacon out of Wallenstein, a slathering of mayo, Romaine and local tomatoes.

The ingredient that sets it all off is what is referred to as their home-made “Karamole,” another generous slathering of which brings to the sandwich the richness and that good fattiness that can only be offered by the avocado, that most luscious of fruits that takes the guise of a vegetable.

♦A welcoming cooler (Photo/andrewcoppolino.com).

A large thin, crepe-like omelette ($7.99) is cooked on the flat-top and holds cheese, grilled onions, and a nicely grilled organic sausage. Ask for some mushrooms if you want. “It’s a different omelette that’s holding all the ingredients,” Kara says.

And, actually, it is truer to the omelette technique than the simple fold-over that seems to be the quick-and-easy method that short order cooks turn out.

Accompanying both dishes are unique fried potatoes: local spuds are parboiled, thickly shredded, grilled and seasoned with kosher salt. “They’re almost like a roesti,” says Kara. Indeed, they have satisfying combined soft and crisp textures.

There is, of course, one other signature at Kara’s: you will still find the fresh orange juice that was a hallmark at Kara’s Smart Foods. “We hope to introduce other juices in January,” says Kara adding that there’s fun to be had in good, simple dishes served to customers looking for local foods – and some personality.

“We have a good kitchen and good coffees, and we’re trying to incorporate good ingredients, especially whenever local is possible,” Kara says. “We like to entertain people.”

Kara’s Market Café is open Monday to Saturday for breakfast and lunch beginning at 7 a.m.

Check out my latest post Kara’s avocado BLT from Andrew Coppolino - World of Flavour.

Elmira Advocate


Apparently in Elmira it is. The last couple of days I've been posting here indicating that shallow aquifer flow directions have been misrepresented by Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura and lanxess consultants for more than thirty years now. So too have been surface water flows on and off their site. I have also indicated that groundwater concentrations of contaminants have been low directly beside GP-1 (gravel pit 1) where we have been told in numerous company and consultant reports that the bulk of overflowing waste waters ended up. It's all a charade. .................................................................................................... I have also been reexamining groundwater results from the 1980s and early 90s on the east side of the now Lanxess Canada site. Firstly I will explain what Uniroyal and Conestoga Rovers seemed reluctant to explain to both the public and to UPAC members nearly thirty years ago. East side groundwater results, especially in wells further away from the east side toxic waste pits (RPE 1-5), have ben significantly affected by manmade changes and diversions on the east side. Some of these diversions have been confirmed by Uniroyal/Lanxess whereas others have not. One of the pressing motives for diverting contaminated surface and groundwaters away from flowing westwards into the Canagagigue Creek on site was to reduce the demand for hydraulic containment of the shallow (i.e. upper) aquifer on the east side of the creek. This was in fact sucessful although the company and consultants did not then mention their sucessful diversions. .................................................................................................................... The company has admitted to ploughing furrows on the east side for the express purpose of diverting overflowing wastewaters southwards rather than let them flow westwards into the creek. The company utterly failed to mention either the Stroh Drain, Ditch & Berm (SDDB) or the groundwater collection system directly beside their eastern boundary with the Stroh farm. This groundwater collection system could be a somewhat conventional agricultural tile drain system although I am doubtful. Lastly and even more controversial is the possibilty of an Interceptor Trench or other subsurface collection system which is possibly diverting and gravity flowing contaminated groundwater eastwards onto the Stroh property where it eventually winds its' way back into the Canagagigue Creek further downstream. .......................................................................................................... The apparent purpose of these manmade constructions would appear to be in order to minimize the extent of Uniroyal Chemical contamination and hence minimize the number of dollars required to properly remediate their pollution. Of course the company, by whatever name, has always failed to honestly and in good faith talk with all the community stakeholders. They have handpicked the ones that are more amenable to their ideas and initiatives. Woolwich Township have cheerfully gone along with that corruption.


Climate Action Kits Relaunch with Focus on Remote Learning and Canadian Manufacturing

As a Waterloo Region-based education company and founding parent company of The Canadian Shield, we at InkSmith are proud to announce that we are relaunching our popular coding and robotics product, the Climate Action Kit. The relaunch includes updated curriculum to support asynchronous learning and delivery methods that are COVID-ready and suitable for all educational environments, including remote, in-classroom and hybrid models. As part of our redevelopment, we've also relocated the Climate Action Kits' manufacturing to our facility in Waterloo to develop a truly Made in Canada product.  

As the parent company to the pandemic pivot success story that is The Canadian Shield, we are well versed in modifying processes and products in response to COVID-19.

“Just as we’ve adapted to Canada’s medical PPE supply chain needs, we’re adapting to best serve K-12 educators and students. With our new resources we’ve invested in completely rebuilding our curriculum to support in-class and at-home asynchronous learning. We’ve also started manufacturing our robotics kits right here in Waterloo so that we can develop and deploy new education products quickly,” said Jeremy Hedges, InkSmith CEO and Founder.

Powered by the popular BBC micro:bit, the Climate Action Kit is a robotic inventor's kit designed to introduce students to climate change issues through the lens of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through use of the kit and accompanying curriculum, students will build, design and code solutions to creatively address the SDGs.

“We are faced with a current situation where our education system is constantly evolving, and we must rely on tech now more than ever before. Educators need to be able to pivot at any point in time, and InkSmith is providing our teachers with the opportunity to do so while still ensuring that content is engaging in a classroom and can be implemented in a remote learning setting,” said Michael Leonard, Experiential Learning & Innovation Lead at the Waterloo Catholic District School Board. “We are constantly looking for hands-on and exploratory activities for students and InkSmith’s EdTech products fit that mold for us.”

The Climate Action Kit has been updated with three in-depth, interactive curriculum modules that include COVID-ready content and resources. Suitable for grades 2-12, features of the new curriculum include: asynchronous learning capabilities, classroom-ready support materials, and curriculum alignment to STEAM subjects. 

“Fast forward several months after school closures and I’m revisiting the Climate Action Kits, along with the newly created supporting resources. Not only do the Climate Action Kits provide teachers with opportunities to engage learners, they provide opportunities to empower learners to take on the challenges of tomorrow,” said David Carruthers, a Grade 6/7 teacher with the Thames Valley District School Board in London, Ontario. 

The Climate Action Kit retails for $44.99 and is now available for purchase. We will also be relaunching the k8 Robot, another micro:bit powered robotics kit, in the coming months with new curriculum modules and coding activities designed for remote learning.


For more information about the Climate Action Kit, to purchase, or preview the curriculum for bulk purchases, please visit our website at inksmith.ca or contact us at sales@inksmith.ca. 


Children and Youth Planning Table of Waterloo Region

Porch Chats

As part of the #KeepFamiliesSafe campaign, there are some upcoming porch chats that might be of interest to you.  Facilitated in different languages and exploring the impact of migration on family relationships, registration is required.

The Impact of Migration on Family Relationships:

In this porch chat, we will focus on how family relationships, mental health, and stress levels change after arrival to a new home and how that is connected to the Covid-19 situation. We will have a dialogue about cross-generational and cross-cultural conflict that can lead to family violence. We will present signs of abusive relationships and discuss what we can do as community members in helping families stay safely together. We will explore some tips to help adults and children to use their conflict resolution skills. We will elaborate on some services that are available to help families improve their relationships and maintain family peace. Our main goal is to keep families together and safe.


Farsi: Monday, November 30, 2020: Register Here

Arabic: Wednesday, December 2, 2020: Register Here

Turkish:  Tuesday, December 8, 2020: Register Here

Kurdish (Sorani and Badini):  Wednesday, December 15, 2020:  Register Here


More Porch Chats may be announced for the new year on this topic.


The post Porch Chats appeared first on Children and Youth Planning Table.

Children and Youth Planning Table of Waterloo Region

Youth Sense Making Sessions

We asked, youth answered! The results of the Youth Impact Survey are in, and we’re calling in the experts (youth) to help understand what it all means. We’re inviting youth to join us in reviewing the data and to share their thoughts about what we’re seeing. Youth will get a volunteer hour for participating, as well as a chance to win a $25 gift card after the session.


When: Tuesday Dec. 1, 4:30-5:30pm   OR   Monday Dec. 7, 4:30-5:30pm

Where: Zoom (link to follow registration)

Register: yissensemaking.eventbrite.ca


If you work with a group of youth who would be interested in discussing the results, we are also very happy to come in and facilitate a sense making session with your group. If interested, contact Joana (jlincho@carizon.ca).


The post Youth Sense Making Sessions appeared first on Children and Youth Planning Table.

Cherry Park Neighbourhood Association

Year end newsletter

click to access our special year end newsletter

Intelli Joint Surgical

Intellijoint Surgical appoints David Simpson as VP of Commercial Operations


[Kitchener, Ontario - December 1, 2020]

Intellijoint Surgical is pleased to announce the appointment of David Simpson as our new Vice President of Commercial Operations.  David will be focused on accelerating the commercialization of the Intellijoint Navigation System globally and helping to build upon our mission of improving patients’ lives by providing surgeons with effective, easy-to-use technology.

David’s experience in launching new technologies, establishing, and managing commercial teams, will be invaluable as Intellijoint continues its growth as a trusted medical technology company in the orthopaedic space. “I’ve been fortunate to have had opportunities to work with and learn from some of the brightest minds in the medical device industry. Working with experienced mentors, and strong, value-driven leaders, I have learned that dedication, focus, and perseverance can lead to great accomplishments,” said Simpson.

Intellijoint Surgical co-founder and CEO, Armen Bakirtzian notes, “David has a significant track record of success in scaling innovative medical technologies worldwide.  We are thrilled to have him join our award-winning team and lead us to new heights”.

Intellijoint Surgical was just announced as Canada’s Fastest Growing Technology Company on Deloitte’s annual Fast 50 List.  This was the second year in a row that Intellijoint has been part of this list, ranking number 2 in 2019 and taking the number 1 spot this year.  “I am excited to be joining Intellijoint Surgical at this time of growth.  I look forward to applying my experiences to continue expanding our commercial efforts and aid in the rapid scaling of our dynamic organization” said Simpson.

About Intellijoint Surgical

Intellijoint Surgical® develops and commercializes surgical navigation solutions for total joint replacements. It is committed to improving patients’ lives by providing every surgeon with effective, easy-to-use technology. Intellijoint HIP and Intellijoint KNEE smart navigation applications are both delivered through the Intellijoint Navigation System.  Intellijoint’s technology is used by top orthopaedic institutions and surgeons globally.  For more information on Intellijoint Surgical visit www.intellijointsurgical.com.


Nick Leonard
Marketing Manager

The post Intellijoint Surgical appoints David Simpson as VP of Commercial Operations appeared first on Intellijoint.

Elmira Advocate


These two wells are OW 69 and OW 24. More specifically they are OW 69-3 and OW 69-8 screened in the Upper Aquifer (i.e. shallow ) as well as OW 69-13 screened in the Municipal Upper Aquifer. These wells are located immediately on the left (west) side of GP-1 near the north end of that allegedly former gravel pit (i.e. GP-1). OW 24 oddly has three Upper Aquifer wells namely OW 24 S1, S2 and S3 screened at three, five and six metre depths. This well also has OW 24i for intermediate screened in the Municipal Upper Aquifer at approximately the twelve metre depth as well as OW24d (deep) screened in the Municipal Lower Aquifer at the thirty metre depth. Monitoring well OW 24 is also on the immediate left (west) side of GP-1 although further south than OW 69. ............................................................................................................... So how underwhelming are these various groundwater concentrations? Oh and I'm talking about groundwater results in the early 1990s shortly after the guilty parties began seriously building more monitoring wells and regularly sampling them. Therefore these results are prior to the two "consolidation" pits on the east side being excavated (Dec. 1993) as well as before GP-1 was partially excavated in 2013-2014. The groundwater concentrations for NDMA, chlorobenzene, toluene, chlorophenols and a host of other contaminants were often below the laboratory detection limit and when detectable they were very low. Quite frankly this is nonsensical after the claims by Uniroyal, CRA, MOE etc. that the bulk of the overflowing waste waters from east side pits RPE 1-5 ended up in GP-1 and GP-2. If that was true then the chemical contaminants would have been very high in the early 1990s. Yes dioxin/furans and DDT results were "high" however that is subjective in that the health criteria are thousands of times lower for these contaminants, most especially for dioxins/furans. Therefore the concentrations of dioxins/furans were only "high" relative to thier extreme toxicity and hence low criteria. ..................................................................................................... On the other hand the concentrations of numerous of the same contaminants in wells both west and east of pits RPE-4 and RPE-5 in the same time frame were huge. We are talking wells such as OW41, OW42, OW43, OW70, OW5 on the west side of the "consolidation" pits and OW28, OW37-5A and OW8 onthe east side. These concentrations often exceeded 10,000 parts per billion (ppb) and sometimes even exceeded 100,000 ppb. It is becoming clearer all the time that whatever chemical skills Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura/Lanxess have; they are equaled or exceeded by their story telling skills.

Darcy Casselman

Quarantine Diary, Day 265: Christmas Mixtape 2020

Cover image: Xmas Parade by Sherwood411

It’s that time of the year again!

Oh wait. I guess I never actually blogged about doing this. I’ve been putting together a Christmas mixtape every year since 2017.

All my mixtapes are up on Mixcloud. But for the first time, you can listen to this one on Youtube Music! Mixcloud says they pay royalties, but I have a feeling Youtube Music is probably the better one to use if you want to support the artists (even a little bit). They don’t have a nice WordPress widget tho.

I was inspired to do this partly by DJ Riko, but also by the fact that we can access very nearly every song ever recorded now and it seems a waste not to take advantage of that to trawl for ridiculous (and occasionally sublime) Christmas music.

Liner notes under the cut!

Fairytale of New York – Katzenjammer (feat. Ben Caplan)

I’ve been looking for a proper gin-soaked Tom Waitsian addition to a mixtape for a while. I don’t like Tom Waits’ Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis very much. It’s not very Christmasy. I stumbled on this version of Fairytale on a Canadian Christmas playlist and… I really like it. And this version is more properly gin-soaked than The Pogues’ original.

Note this contains a homophobic slur. And I thought about removing it or censoring it after the BBC’s announcement that they wouldn’t be airing an unedited version a couple weeks ago met with predictable reaction from shittier corners of the Internet. I went looking for versions that omitted the slur, but didn’t find any and, uh, I just really like this. These aren’t admirable characters. But I’m not going to try to justify it. If someone out there is bothered by this, let me know and I’ll likely reconsider. But I did want to make it clear that this song isn’t here as some sort of stupid protest, and that I absolutely agree that a national broadcaster is absolutely right to use its discretion about what it puts on the air.

What Child Is This – Johnny Costa

Johnny Costa is the pianist behind all the background and theme music on Mr Roger’s Neighborhood.

After watching the video I decided to go check out his other stuff, and lo, he had a Christmas album.

Joy to the World (Mocean Worker Remix) – The Cathedral Brass

Every mixtape needs some chill Christmas remixes. No story here. I just like it.

Christmas in April – Andrew Bird

I stumbled on Andrew Bird like 20 years ago via Squirrel Nut Zippers. I had his Bowl of Fire Thrills album on repeat for a good while. This isn’t that, and I haven’t connected with his newer stuff as much, but I figured I’d give his new Christmas album a try.

When he says “April this year,” he means this year.

Dj Schwede – Music Box Dancer

I’ve got a soft spot for Music Box Dancer, which was more liable to claim the “most famous classic in all the world of music” maybe in the late 70s but has drifted more into obscurity since. I learned how to play it on piano (in an easy piano arrangement, anyway) as a kid.

This remix, tho, is the backing track to literally dozens of those animated Christmas lights videos.

Every Moment Is Christmas with You – Daði Freyr

Wow, it’s so Christmasy.

Daði was robbed of what was certain to be a win for Iceland when Eurovision was cancelled in the spring. I hope his inclusion in my mixtape is some consolation.

Shiroi Koibitotachi – Keisuke Kuwata

I found this song on an album by a band that does jazz covers of Ghibli songs. But the singers on that track were painfully out of tune. Still, I felt like I wanted a swoony Japanese Christmas ballad on the mixtape, so I tracked down the original. And other covers too, but this is the one I liked best, even tho it doesn’t have nearly as much sleighbells as the one I originally found. And I’ve made a note to maybe add the Boyz II Men cover to a future mixtape.

Carol of the Bells – Shawn Lee’s Ping Pong Orchestra

Not much to say here. I love a good Carol of the Bells.

Blue Christmas – Seymore Swine & the Squeelers

Is this good? No. Is it hilarious? The guy in the background certainly thinks so.

Make You Mine This Season – Tegan and Sara

Yay! A lesbian Chrismas song from a Hallmark-style lesbian Christmas movie soundtrack. I like Tegan and Sara and this is, as they say, a bop. And I love the booj.

That whole soundtrack is pretty great. It also features Sia’s Candy Cane Lane, which was one of the songs that motivated me to do the original 2017 mixtape.

All I Want for Christmas Is You – Chase Holfelder

Chase Holfelder does this whole Major to Minor thing on Youtube. This one came up in my feed somewhere and I decided it was perfect for 2020.

It’s Christmas Time – Macklemore (feat. Dan Caplen)

I’m probably a horrible person, but I laugh every time he shouts out his dog. I’m sorry, Toby.

Christmas on Tatooine – Royish Good Looks

I don’t like the sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating.

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day – Elijah MOTi

This comes from a free Christmas DLC from Cities: Skylines. I’ll admit I’ve played Stellaris and Surviving Mars more than I’ve played Cities, but I love the soundtrack, like the Sim City soundtracks before it. I’ll throw it on in the background when I’m working sometimes.

I should play more Cities.

Christmas Is a Way of Life, My Dear – Chantal Kreviazuk

Not much to say. I thought it was catchy.

The Stowaway – Yamit Mamo

I loved when the RTD Doctor Who Christmas specials had original songs in them. They’re all good. Murray Gold knew what he was doing.

I kind of assumed this was sung by Kylie Minogue (who was the guest star in the episode this came from), mostly because it’s been ages since I’ve actually watched it. Yamit Mamo appears on screen to sing it.

Winter Festival – ConcernedApe

I love Stardew Valley. I’ve been using the soundtrack as background music when I’m working or going to sleep. It’s so well done. It’s particularly amazing that the soundtrack and the coding and the graphics and everything in Stardew Valley was done by one guy. ONE GUY!

Thanks for listening! Merry Christmas! And a Happy New Year!

James Davis Nicoll

Of Our Elaborate Plans / Victory Conditions (Vatta’s War, book 5) By Elizabeth Moon

2008’s Victory Conditions is the fifth and final volume in Elizabeth Moon’s Vatta’s War quintology. 

Gammis Turek’s Deepspace Benevolent Association is very much at war with the local systems: if sabotage and acts of piracy did not prove this, their campaign of intimidating atrocities do. Simple self-interest would dictate that the independent governments coordinate their defensive efforts against a common foe. Regrettably, not only is there no local tradition of transnational cooperation, but some factions are convinced the DBA is not the greatest threat they face. 

Andrew Coppolino

Konjac noodles: interesting possibilities

Reading Time: 2 minutes

They’re probably not going to set the world – or your palate – on fire, but these humble noodles made from a root vegetable is pretty interesting. It offers possibilities for vegetarians and vegans and those averse to gluten in their diets.

Konjac (also known as konnyaku, konjac potato, voodoo lily or elephant yam, among other names) is an Asian plant that has been around for thousands of years. It started out as a medicinal plant, but eventually became so popular that at one time it rivalled rice as a foundational foodstuff.

A friend of mine made mention of it recently and then, coincidentally, I saw a Tweet about it by a Toronto chef. The notifications forced me to investigate.

The bulb, or corm, of the konjac (pronounced “cone-yack”), which can actually weigh up to three or four kilograms, has been used to make a flour for noodles as well as in other food applications, especially as a thickener and emulsifier.

As well as being gluten-free, it’s virtually carbohydrate-neutral. But then again, konjac has neither protein nor fat: that means it’s up to you to add the flavour, therefore.

Konjac is used to make what are known as shirataki noodles, both wet and dry, for instance, that you will find at Asian markets and in specialty food stores. I have found these at conventional supermarket chains.

I prepared the noodles with some Asian seasonings and spices such as five-spice, a garlicky chili paste, some soy sauce (which gave the white noodles a richer colour), a light dosing of sesame oil and some chopped green onions.

They turned out not too badly, though there is a just slightly elastic texture that might take getting used to. Then again, that’s exactly the same texture you get with something like a dish of what are known as glass noodles at any local Thai restaurant.

At the end of the day, konjac noodles are an interesting tabula rasa, a blank slate, due to their neutral taste: they absorb the flavours they are cooked with, so that gives you a wide open and delicious field to play in.

Check out my latest post Konjac noodles: interesting possibilities from Andrew Coppolino - World of Flavour.

Kitchener Rangers

Pinelli Announced as FACS Community Champion

Francesco Pinelli has been announced as a Community Champion for Family & Children Services of Waterloo Region Foundation (FACS Foundation). Pinelli, in his second year with the Kitchener Rangers Hockey Club, believes that his involvement with FACS Foundation will "make a difference in the local community," and he "would like to use this platform to help people see the importance of supporting families and children who are in need." Family & Children's Services Waterloo Region and its Foundation are committed to preventing child abuse and neglect. Support from the community has provided prevention-focused programs and services that keep kids safe and keep them where they belong…with their families. While prevention programs remain underfunded by the government, they are in high demand because they work. Pinelli continues by saying that FACS Foundation "is essential because it raises awareness in the community to demonstrate the need to help children, youth, and families, to keep them together. FACS Foundation also strives to support children and their parents build resilience, including by building relationships with families and their community, which is so important." Family and Children's Services Foundation help make magic happen every day. This year, the CHYM Tree of Hope Radiothon goes virtual, Thursday, December 3rd, supporting Family and Children's Services of Waterloo Region. Click here to read more about FACS Foundation and upcoming events.

Don Bowman

Street Poetry: Stairwell edition

♦street opera becomes street poetry. Stairwell edition.Read more ›

Agilicus Blog

My team works outside, why can’t their Kronos Timesheet?

The application with the highest adoption in many companies is timesheet management. And, Kronos is one of the best ways of managing labour tracking, time, attendance. But what if your workforce is outside? Do you make them update their timesheet on return to the service centre at the end of shift? For efficiency would it not be better to enable people to update their timesheet where they are, with the device they have?

I know, you are saying, the VPN. Its my panacea. People can just VPN in. But, is that the best solution? Its certainly not the easiest solution, managing the client on various devices. Its certainly not the most popular solution. But at least its the most secure, right? Wrong. Your VPN is doing little to secure, and much to annoy, your team and your tools. When you connect via VPN your device suddenly behaves as if it were on the internal network. With access to more than it needs.

Zero Trust Networking is the principle of moving the protection from perimeter (moat and castle) to user + resource. It allows you to take that Kronos application, installed years ago, and make it behave as if it were a standalone Internet destination. With the same login. With higher security. With perfect audit. And, most importantly, with higher efficiency for that workforce you are trying to optimise.

Without re-architecting your network, without upgrading your Kronos, you could be having your team members access it directly. From any device. From any network. With less training, less complaining.

Want to learn more? Or change my mind? Email me, info at agilicus.com

Communitech News

IMS launches telematics app development framework

Boston, Massachusetts and Waterloo, Ontario, Canada – IMS (Insurance & Mobility Solutions), one of the world’s top three providers of connected car data solutions to insurers, mobility operators and governments, is pleased to announce the immediate launch of One App, a development framework that enables the rapid creation of scalable, configurable telematics apps that promote […]

The post IMS launches telematics app development framework appeared first on Communitech News.

Communitech News

TitanFile chosen as 2020 Red Herring Top 100 North America winner

TitanFile, an award-winning secure file sharing and collaboration solution provider for organizations in highly-regulated industries, has been chosen as a winner of the Red Herring Top 100 North America award. The winners have been chosen from thousands of entrants, whittled down to hundreds presenting their companies at the virtual conference on Nov. 17 and 18. The […]

The post TitanFile chosen as 2020 Red Herring Top 100 North America winner appeared first on Communitech News.

Bridgit Solutions

How to handle a request for proposal in construction

  ♦ People vector created by pch.vector - www.freepik.com 

In construction, a request for proposal (RFP) signals a new business opportunity. Keep reading to learn about the various types of requests and how construction companies respond to them.

What is a request for proposal in construction projects?

A request for proposal in construction invites contractors to review project documents and submit bids. These requests are typically sent out by either the owner or general contractor. As mentioned in our earlier article about construction bidding, this occurs during the solicitation phase.

Once interested parties have submitted their bids, the requester will review them and select a winner based on criteria that should be explained in the initial correspondence. 

Often, the winner simply boils down to whoever submitted the lowest bid. While this has its risks, solicitors typically pre-screen contractors early on, only sending requests for proposals to ones that qualify.

Construction RFP components

Here’s a breakdown of the components typically included in a construction RFP.

General project information

As you might expect, an RFP includes general project information such as the client, rough budget, and tentative scope of work (if available).

Contract type

Solicitors will also typically include details concerning the type of contract that will govern the project. For example, they might refer to the specific AIA Contract Document being used.

Submission requirements

Some solicitors have specific templates for proposals. Others simply provide a list of requirements (i.e. what information should be on the first page, etc). Whether or not you follow these requirements can mean the difference between a successful bid and an unsuccessful one.

Other types of construction requests

Before we move on, it’s worth noting a few other types of construction requests. While they might sound similar, they have very different use cases.

Request for information

A request for information (RFI) is used to gather additional context or address uncertainties regarding a project. For example, if a general contractor is unclear about specifications, they might submit a request for information to the client.

This can occur at a variety of stages in the construction project, including procurement (i.e. a contractor wanting clarification on a project document prior to submitting a bid).

Requests for information are integral to construction project management. They serve a different purpose than construction RFPs, though, as you can see.

Request for qualifications

Remember how we mentioned that solicitors pre-screen candidates prior to sending them construction RFPs? The request for qualifications (RFQ) is one tool for doing this. 

The solicitor will request proof that the candidate is capable of completing the task. Only those whose responses satisfy the requirements will progress to further stages of the procurement process.

Request for quote

A request for a quote (also referred to as an RFQ, although not to be confused with a request for qualifications) is typically used when pricing materials, equipment, or some other commodity. In other words, the product itself doesn’t differ drastically from vendor to vendor and it’s simply a matter of arranging favorable terms.

Invitation to tender

An invitation to tender (ITT) is perhaps the type of request most easily-confused with a construction RFP. 

While both constitute an invitation to participate in the bidding process, an invitation to tender is used in scenarios where the scope of work is largely pre-determined. In other words, the client knows what they want and is simply looking for candidates to bid on delivering that.

A request for proposal on a construction project, meanwhile, generally shifts some of the responsibility for coming up with a scope of work onto the respondents.

  ♦  Tips for responding to a construction request for proposal

Next, let’s look at some tips for responding to a construction request for proposal in a professional manner most likely to result in success.

Read the request carefully

A construction RFP will contain valuable details regarding the client’s needs. Review these details carefully and tailor your response to them. If you’re unclear on anything, remember that RFIs exist precisely for that reason. Use them!

Clients, as you can imagine, want to see that you understand their request. You can demonstrate that you do by restating the problems or challenges they’ve identified before discussing how you intend to address them.

Conduct a thorough estimation process

A competent estimation process is the pillar of any successful construction bid. As we discussed in this article, improper estimating is a key cause of cost overruns that can put your company out of business.

In other words, don’t file a successful bid at the expense of bankruptcy! Make sure your bid positions you to be compensated in a way that doesn’t jeopardize your company’s financial stability.

This doesn’t always mean turning a profit; construction companies occasionally take on projects at a loss to achieve some other objective, such as building a key partnership. However, you need to be aware of the numbers – and that starts with estimating.

Determine whether you have the resources to handle the project

Construction resource management is another important aspect of determining a project’s financial viability. If you don’t have the resources to handle a particular project, you’ll need to either obtain them or walk away from the project, which leads nicely to our next point.

Know how to turn down a request gracefully

At some point, you may receive an RFP for a job you – for whatever reason – can’t take on. This is called making a no-bid decision. Rather than simply saying “no thanks,” however, it’s customary that you submit a formal letter explaining why you will not be bidding.

According to the Civil Engineering Blog, you need to submit this letter prior to the bid opening date so the solicitor knows not to expect anything from you.

A tactful, well-written no-bid letter can maintain the prospect of future RFPs, which is important given how large a source of business these requests can be.

Set expectations

If your bid/no-bid analysis results in an affirmative decision, however, make sure you set clear expectations regarding the scope of work. In addition to showing clients exactly what they’ll be getting (so they can compare to other offers) you’ll be protecting yourself from the possibility of an ever-expanding project scope.

Take the response process seriously, every time

No matter how good your relationship with a prospective client is, take the time to craft a serious response. Regulations and standard business practices ensure a degree of fairness in the bidding process – especially on large public projects. As such, you can’t rely solely on who you know.

We hope this guide has been helpful in showing you the ideal approach to handling construction requests for proposals. For more articles related to construction management processes, visit our blog.


Lauren Lake is the COO and co-founder at Bridgit. She holds a degree in Civil Structural Engineering and is well-versed in construction workforce management and resource planning processes. Lauren has been named to the Forbes Manufacturing & Industry 30 Under 30 and Best Of Canada Forbes Under 30 Innovators lists. Lauren has presented at industry events and conferences, including BuiltWorlds, Canadian Construction Association, Procore Groundbreak, and more. Follow Lauren on LinkedIn and Instagram.


Elmira Advocate


Upper Aquifer (UA) groundwater flow directions on the east side of the Lanxess property appear to be total nonsense and fabrications from both consulting companies. These companies on behalf of Uniroyal/Crompton/Chemtura and now Lanxess Canada have always claimed that the Upper Aquifer flows south-west and discharges into the Canagagigue Creek where it is located either in the middle of their property or where it runs somewhat parallel to their most southern border with the Martin farm. Never have they indicated that any part of their property discharges UA groundwater eastwards onto the Stroh property nor into the Canagagigue Creek further downstream where it is actually east of their (Lanxess) property. ....................................................................................................................... What evidence do we have? Documentation (maps) exist which clearly show that a large part of Lanxess's south-east corner was wetlands. These were wetlands often with standing water as both the maps (CRA April 2013 "GP1 and GP2 Remediation and Capping", Dwg. C-02 "Existing Conditions") and verbal public testimony from Jeff Merriman of Chemtura has stated. Mr. Merriman further stated that the wetlands have now been drained which of course TAG members and a few lucky members of the public found out during the April 2019 site tour. What Jeff and every other lying....oops...factually confused folks have "forgotten" to add is that it was the Stroh Drain (SDDB) installed in 1983 which drained the swamp as it was partially intended to do. The SDDB is approximately five to six feet deep which not only drains standing surface water south and east but also is the low point locally in the Upper Aquifer hence drawing UA groundwater both from the Stroh and Lanxess property towards itself. This "drain" conveniently also includes a significant Berm on its' east side. Hence I refer to it as the Stroh Drain, Ditch & Berm or SDDB. ............................................................................................................ So we have maps, verbal testimony and first hand eye witness accounts including my own. There is yet another interesting documented fact. I have estimated in the past that the SDDB on the Stroh property runs parallel to the Lanxess property in their south-east corner for approximately 125 to 150 metres. It then runs a few hundred more metres mostly southwards until it discharges into the Canagagigue Creek. In fact while the SDDB is both a surface and subsurface feature, in fact north of it, it is entirely subsurface. There is a subsurface pipe which discharges into the extreme north end of the SDDB approximately one metre below ground surface. Not only are there multiple eye witnesses to this pipe including TAG, CPAC members and members of the public but there are also multiple photographs of it. This pipe discharges groundwater year round into the SDDB. Whether or not it was installed ostensibly to lower the water table, similar to agricultural drainage tile, beneath Mr. Stroh's corn and soybean field to the north may be problematic as 98% of that field is located at elevations greater than 349 metres above sea level (masl). The Stroh Drain, Ditch & Berm for example begins further south at the ground surface elevation of 346 masl where it undoubtedly has and continues to drain both surface and ground water. ................................................................................................................... What the pipe discharging into the SDDB is undoubtedly doing however is draining shallow groundwater from the northern two thirds of the Stroh farm property. It is thus lowering the water table on that part of the Stroh property. With the corn/soybean field on the high ground (349-360 masl) one seriously has to wonder if the major purpose of this tile or shallow drain system is to actually assist crop production. It is my opinion that it is not. Of course as Chemtura/Lanxess strictly control public comments and questions through Woolwich Township stewardship ( i.e. co-opted or worse) all the questions surrounding the Stroh property are not up for routine if even minimal discussion. Woolwich Township and Lanxess also control the Technical Advisory Group (TAG) through the Chair whom they pay for her efforts. Hence asking for public answers from either Lanxess or the MOE/MECP does not work well. ......................................................................................................................... So you amateur hydrogeologists, what does artifically lowering the shallow water table, whether called the Surficial Aquifer or the Upper Aquifer, along the Lanxess/Stroh property line actually accomplish? Well what it does is divert shallow contaminated groundwater from the Uniroyal/Lanxess site onto the Stroh property where it is piped southwards. Groundwater just like surface water flows downhill. If you lower the shallow groundwater elevation on the Stroh side of the property line you will draw both surface water discharge AND shallow groundwater flow from Uniroyal/Lanxess onto your property (i.e. Stroh). And that folks has never been said or shown on groundwater elevation contour maps distributed for public consumption in the last thirty years plus.

Code Like a Girl

Distributed computing — Quorum consistency in replication

Distributed computing — Quorum consistency in replication

This article aims to cover what is quorum consistency, why do we need it and it’s limitations in case of multiple replica system.

♦Preventing our data from believing this

“The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair.”
Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless (1992)

Quorum consistency is used in systems where consistency is more important than availability (CAP theorem) for write and read but we still want a fairly available system.

In systems with multiple replicas there is a possibility that the user reads inconsistent data. This happens say when there are 2 replicas, N1 and N2 in a cluster and a user writes value v1 to node N1 and then another user reads from node N2 which is still behind N1 and thus will not have the value v1, so the second user will not get the consistent state of data.

In order to achieve a state where at least one node has consistent data we use quorum consistency.

Quorum is achieved when nodes follow the below protocol

w + r > n

n = nodes in the quorum group

w = minimum write nodes

r = minimum read nodes

w is our write quorum and r is our read quorum

Let’s understand this with an example

Say we have 3 nodes, N1, N2 and N3 in the cluster so n = 3 in this case.

n = 3, w = 2, r =2 our quorum equation is met

2 + 2 > 3.

Say there is a key “book” against which the users sends write requests:

Request 1 sets the value to “Philosopher’s Stone”

Request 2 sets the value to “Chamber of Secrets”

Write is successful in N1 and N2 but fails for N3 due to some reason.

But since it meets are quorum write which we have set to 2, our requirement is met.

Now the user wishes to read the value back for the key “book”.

Read request is successful on N1 and N3 but fails for N2.

Thus user receives, “Chamber of secrets” from N1 and “Philosopher’s Stone.” from N3.

Since these are conflicting values, the most recent one is considered as the correct one (Resolving conflicts is another topic but for the simplicity of understanding we made the assumption of following Last Write Wins approach)

Our read quorum is met as we got response for 2 nodes and also we got the latest value thus meeting our consistency.

Thus with quorum we get at least one node with consistent values in case of replication.

Most databases follow w = r= (n+1)/2 approach where n is generally odd number.

Another equation that is also followed is

2f+1 = n

f = Total number of failure nodes permitted

n = total number of nodes

Thus for our example above where n = 3:

2f +1 = 3

f = (3–1)/2 = 1

Say if n = 5, we will get 2 failure nodes permitted.

This gives a fair availability and a consistent system.

Limitations to quorum consistency

This system looks perfect theoretically but let’s highlight some practical limitations to quorum consistency:

  1. Availability is at risk — In case of n = 3, w = r =2, say if 2 nodes are unavailable for write, we will choose not to write data even though one node is available, thus risking the availability of the system.
  2. Sloppy Quorums — One thing to remember is that we fix and choose are nodes that are considered as part of n. There can be more than one quorum setup in a large cluster.
    Now say 2 write nodes are down in our setup Q1 so 1 write node is available in Q1 and say in Q2 setup we have 1 write node available, some systems borrow the write node from Q2 to achieve ‘Sloppy quorum’ which is eventually settled.
  3. Write conflicts issues still exist in case of concurrent requests
  4. Say if a node which has a new value fails in future and its data is replaced by a node with old data — in our write example if N1 fails in future and it’s data is replaced with N3, so now N1 and N3 have values ‘Philosopher’s Stone’ thus breaking our previous quorum condition.

Photo by Andrej Lišakov on Unsplash

Distributed computing — Quorum consistency in replication was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Carrie Snyder: Obscure Canlit Mama

November reflections

November Reflections

  1. What felt good this month? This month has been a bit of a blur, and I’ve spent half of it thinking it’s already December, but there have been some genuine highlights. Unexpectedly warm weather early in the month made possible some spontaneous outdoor gatherings. I’m especially grateful that my siblings and I were able to gather with both my dad, and my mom. The last time we gathered together with either parent, all of us, was last Christmas, and we know this Christmas will be challenging. So that was a real gift. Another highlight was watching Kamala Harris speak after the election was declared — especially awesome because we watched outside in our backyard shack with friends. I’ve been looking after my physical body, with physio, chiro and massage, and daily stretching and exercise. While I wait to hear back from my editor, I’ve been writing new stories using cues learned from Lynda Barry. And I continue to connect with friends in person, outdoors, which keeps me going.
  2. What did you struggle with? This month was better than last, in terms of my mental state. I seem to be more settled into established routines, and accepting of this liminal state we’re all in. In some strange way, I’m thankful to be in a rather unambitious mindset at present, and therefore don’t have specific goals that are being thwarted by the circumstances. Nevertheless, I’m trying to use my time fruitfully even if I don’t know what will come of it. I’ve noticed that it cheers me to share what I’m doing with others; if I have any goal, it’s figuring out ways (perhaps new and creative) to share my writing, meditations, stories, photos, cartoons, musings with others. I’ve also loved getting opportunities to read and comment on and engage with other writers’ work. Reciprocity and community feels critical to a sustainable path as a writer/artist. I need to foster more of that, somehow.
  3. Where are you now compared to the beginning of the month? Better. At the beginning of the month, the American election was weighing on me, plus I was feeling pretty bummed about trying to invent a Christmas experience in a pandemic. But my awesome little family has been brainstorming and getting creative, planning for different kinds of celebratory and brightening activities, throwing out expectations and starting fresh, which is a wonderful gift in and of itself. More on this in a future post. Basically, I’m feeling sturdier than I was at the beginning of November. Calmer. (Although my daughters have both informed me, separately, that I’m the most impatient person in the house.) As I reflect on this, I realize that I’m looking forward to things without wishing everything were different; let’s call this stage “acceptance.”
  4. How did you take care of yourself? Plugging into my Lynda Barry Spotify playlist, drawing, writing. Tara Brach meditations. Being kind to my body. Getting outside. Remembering to text friends. Checking into literary events on Zoom. Sibs nights. Popcorn and shows with Kevin (this month we watched Ted Lasso, The Morning Show, and we just started Steve McQueen’s Small Axe). Redecorating the living-room with Kevin (a work-in-progress).
  5. What would you most like to remember? That I am alive in my body and in my mind. That connecting with others is the necessary spark to feeling and being alive (especially thinking of this in the context of my writing life). That I love reading, responding, editing, digging into ideas and images. That food for the mind is as necessary as food for the body. That the jolt and challenge of the unexpected encounter is something I’m often missing right now, and craving.
  6. What do you need to let go of? Good intentions. That just popped up, and I’m going to let it stand. Maybe what I mean is, I need to let go of superficial attempts to be helpful, and respond and act from somewhere deeper, more grounded, more raw, more real instead. I’ve been saying yes every time it feels like it’s coming from a place of genuine yes-ness! (And saying no when I know the answer is no, no matter how painful or uncomfortable.)

xo, Carrie

Bardish Chagger

Behind the Curtain - Episode 2 (Vaisakhi)


Honeypot Marketing

Planning Your 2021 Digital Marketing Strategy: Trends to Watch.

2020 is almost over, and it’s time to start planning your 2021 digital marketing strategy.

What’s the best way to develop a solid digital marketing strategy? Use the 70:20:10 rule.

The 70:20:10 rule is a great way to add diversity and a consistent structure to your content flow.

Check out the video or podcast above. Subscribe to our weekly live stream on Facebook, or take it on the go with a podcast on your platforms’ choice. Keep up-to-date on news, trends, and tips in digital marketing and join in on the conversation.

What’s New?

An exciting story has been stirring regarding a Sherwin-Williams employee who was fired after going viral on TikTok by creating paint mixing videos. The story is a harsh “reminder of the many great ideas from front line employees that die in middle management.”

You can read more about it here:

Sherwin-Williams, Influencer Marketing and UGC Trends: Why Consumers Were Left Shaken But Not Stirred

Facebook also has some new features rolling out, to no one’s surprise. Check it out:

Reaching Customers Where They Are With Facebook’s Click-to-Messenger Ads: A Guide

And Old Spice is looking to break records!

Old Spice Looks to Create World’s Longest-Lasting White Elephant Game on Social

What’s Working?

With so much uncertainty globally, people crave transparency and genuine connections more than ever.

Conversational marketing and building long-term relationships replace deceptive and aggressive marketing, as consumers demand more from the businesses they give their hard-earned money to.

It’s all about customer experience in 2020, and that digital marketing strategy should continue to be strong going into 2021.

Why Do You Need a Solid Strategy?

On-the-fly marketing does not work. Full stop.

If you look at the most successful businesses on the planet, you’ll find a common thread. They didn’t get their success by accident.

It is vital to have a long-term, forward-looking approach to planning with the fundamental goal of achieving sustainable competitive advantage.


  • It sets clear tasks and objectives and coordinates employees towards a unified goal your business wants to achieve.
  • Ability to divide the work into small manageable tasks and assign specific duties to each employee.
  • Your competitors have a strategy, so if you don’t have a clear road map of where you want to be and how you’ll get there, you’ll get left in the dust.
  • It helps you determine your target markets and better understand your customers.
  • Without a clear plan, you will not be able to use your resources efficiently.
  • Having a solid strategy that always reminds your customers about you being there is crucial. And helps your business appear more professional.
The 70:20:10 Rule

The team at Honeypot Marketing is dedicated to producing high-quality content and providing our clients with results that generate growth.

When handling an account, we ensure we are using tactics that work across all platforms. We also ensure that we are testing and experimenting with new tactics.

Internally, we follow a framework that guides out organic and paid content creation – the 70:20:10 rule.

What is The 70:20:10 Rule?

  • 70% of our content strategy is assured. We know it works and will use this strategy when constructing most of our content.
  • 20% of our content is a light experiment or a test; this provides great insight and can enhance our social media strategies in the future.
  • 10% of our content is a new idea, something creative, and might seem removed from the strategy we have in place. If it doesn’t perform, we move onto something new.

You want to create content at different levels because spending all of your resources at one end of the spectrum or another means sacrificing either quality or consistency.

The 70% Rule

The majority of the content you produce will fall into this category – it’s the proven content—your bread and butter.

This means that 70% of your marketing should be the planned ‘marketing as usual’ content.

This content is generally low risk, not overly time-consuming, and should speak to your business’ core expertise and the customer’s needs or pain points.

  • Here are some real-world examples from Honeypot:

Hive Hacks is a regular series of ours, where we give step-by-step tips on how to use special features on social media platforms.


An informative post that leads to an onsite blog where audiences can learn more – a great way to drive traffic to your site without pushy sales tactics.

These posts relate directly to the brands but are not pushy sales tactics.

Instead, they offer the audience high-level information that showcases the brand’s specialties and knowledge.

It also helps consumers make more informed decisions, leading to higher satisfaction rates, and establishing long-term relationships.

The 20% Rule

This content can be moderately risky and is directly related to the 70%, aiming to pull your prospects further down the sales funnel.

With this segment, you want to target a potential new audience.

Developing this new, innovative content helps enforce a deeper engagement with your audience.

Your investment in this category may not see an immediate return, but it lays the groundwork for the future and helps outpace the competition.

You’ll perform the necessary analysis and analytical work to measure past content.

Setting content goals with specific benchmarks and iterating based on the results is the fastest way to set yourself apart from the competition and make your content more relevant to your target audiences.

Here are some real-world examples from Honeypot:

Infographics are a great way to capture attention and share information that’s easily digestable.

Using memes helps keep your content fresh and entertaining, by injecting some humour and playing up pop culture references that most people can recognize.

A post with video generates 1200% more shares than text and image content combined. Repurpose old content by turning it into a video!

The 10% Rule

The final piece of the pie is where true innovation happens.

This 10% should go to high-risk, high-reward content.

This practice encourages the content team to explore opportunities for growth in unexpected areas.

It’s the groundbreaking ideas that haven’t been tested – new ways of connecting with audiences that could become tomorrow’s 20% or 70% in your digital marketing strategy.

It’s the innovative part of your content that’s meant to see into the future. When done right, it can pay off by setting you up as a trendsetter in your niche.

Innovation is best grown when strategies are developed. You can create models, analyze data, and scale ideas that win.

Sometimes, the best ideas come when we think outside the box.

Tik Tok is an excellent example of marketing that falls into the 10% bucket. Many businesses think it’s not right for them and ignore it because they don’t truly understand it or how to use it effectively – and it can be handy.

Here are some real-world examples from Honeypot:

A Spotify playlist isn’t something you’d typically see from a marketing agency, but posting at the right time, on the right channels to the right audience helped make it a success.



We went in an unexpected direction with a charity run for climate change for this client, and it resonated with their audience.

As you can see, the central theme here is unexpected.

In these examples, we tried something new in our digital marketing strategy that didn’t directly relate to these brands but still resonated with their target audiences.

Remember that your audience is people, and people have many interests that go beyond your brand.

That’s why developing personas is so critical to understanding your target audience.

It helps you understand what kind of people they are and what they’re interested in, which opens up endless content possibilities.

Trends to Watch in 2021

Voice Search is quickly becoming more and more common every day.

The technology has improved dramatically in the past few years and has been integrated into pretty much every device connected to the internet.

I used to think it was a gimmick until I got a smart TV that I could talk to. Now I never type in a search on YouTube – I tell the TV to do it.

This is also changing the keywords marketers need to use because when we use voice search, we don’t speak as we type.

We tend to use more precise phrases that are more conversational than search queries typed into the search bar.

Voice search devices are becoming commonplace in homes, along with our phones and other smart devices.

Shoppable Social Media is all the rage right now, and for a good reason.

Watching a video or seeing an image of a product and immediately purchasing it with the click of a button or a swipe has taken convenience to a whole new level.

You can now literally buy the clothes off someone’s back. Like what you see? Now there are handy purchase tags attached to images that allow for quick and easy shopping!

Gamification integrates game components like point systems, leaderboards, or badges into non-game activities to increase engagement and motivation.

Who doesn’t like games? They’re fun, flashy, interactive, and they can transport us to worlds beyond imagination.

Using gamification posts can boost audience engagement, help build brand awareness, and generally creates a positive association since games reward players unless you’re a Dark Souls masochist. I will admit that I am…

Everyone likes the feeling of winning something. It doesn’t have to be an outrageous prize. It’s just fun and satisfying to be rewarded for playing.

Chatbots [DM marketing]

Chatbots are those cute little buddies that hang out in the bottom right-hand corner of most modern sites these days.

They can be convenient for instantly answering the bulk of general questions people have, improving engagement, customer retention, and even increasing sales by assisting customers in navigating your site and finding more products they may be interested in.

We’ve talked about chatbots in some of our previous blogs, and you can find those here:

Why Real-Time Messaging & Chatbots are the Key to Unlocking Customer Engagement

Social Media Customer Service Strategy: 12 Reasons You Need One in 2020

That’s a Wrap

Here are some more resources for those who want to explore further!

Using the 70:20:10 rule in your digital marketing – How to use the power of the 70:20:10 rule as a marketing model to prioritize your digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketing trends in 2021: A different post-COVID look – This article discusses some interesting potential trends of 2021, such as shoppable posts and de-personalization.

Using The 70-20-10 Rule to Build Effective Content Strategy – The key to effective content strategy is finding the perfect balance between promotional and brand-building content. This article breaks down the 3 sections of the 70:20:10 rule.

2021 Global Marketing Trends: Find your focus – Constant technological change and increasing reliance on digital can leave people wanting for human connection. These seven trends can help build connections to drive engagement and growth for brands in an unprecedented 2021.

The post Planning Your 2021 Digital Marketing Strategy: Trends to Watch. appeared first on Canada's Leading SEO, Social and SEM Digital Shop.

Centre in the Square

ONES – The Beatles #1 Hits


James Davis Nicoll

Wouldn’t It Be Nice To Walk Together? / Hellspark By Janet Kagan

Janet Kagan’s 1988 Hellsparkis a standalone SF mystery.

It’s by mere chance that Hellspark trader Tocohl Susumo interrupts an apparent mugging. Consequences! What was supposed to be an enjoyable holiday finds her sent to the newly found world of Lassti. Thanks to a misapprehension, she will be trusted to make a number of important legal determinations. Whether the late researcher Oloitokitok died by misadventure or was murdered might be the least of her decisions.

The survey team may be in the midst of a first contact. Or it might not. Nobody is quite sure.


Don Bowman

The celebration of baby cheeses

♦the season where we celebrate the baby cheeses. advent calendar edition.Read more ›

Don Bowman

Tis the season for snow tires

♦Tis the season for snow tires and new chains and brakes on the beast.Read more ›

Don Bowman

Hey Radon (anti) fans…

♦Radon. #2 cause of lung cancer, #1 in non-smokers. Kills 100x the people of CO. Get your detector today.Read more ›

Elmira Advocate

♦ I have hand delivered copies of this map to TAG members last spring. The front of the map is in colour and is approximately 8 1/2 inches by 17 inches in size. The front of the document (map) has all the ground surface elevation lines (i.e. topographical contour lines) clearly marked in metres above sea level (masl). The back of the document (map) has on the left side a Conestoga Rovers & Assoc. map from their "DNAPL Investigation Work Plan" report dated Nov. 2006. This map is but one of many recognized sources such as MOE, GRCA, CRA, Reg. of Waterloo showing topographical contour lines. The right side is an Index explaining what the red and yellow arrows represent as well as explaining a few other items on the map. The yellow/orange arrows represent surface flow direction of water, wastewater, solvents and toxic liquid wastes from the east side pits (RPE 1-5). The red arrows (especially the larger red arrows) show low lying ground (like a large bowl) where hydrophobic compounds such as Dioxins/Furans, DDT likely settled out and bonded with soil particles.

James Davis Nicoll

Just Like Magic / The Island of the Mighty (Mabinogion, book 4) By Evangeline Walton

1970’s The Island of the Mighty is either the first (by publication order) or the fourth (by internal chronology) of Evangeline Walton’s Mabinogion Tetralogy. 

Gilfaethwy is obsessed with Goewin, who to Gilfaethwy’s astonishment has no interest in surrendering her position as Math’s (King of Gwynedd in north Wales) virginal foot holder1 for a dalliance with a man who has had and who expects to have as many lovers as a field has blades of grass. Tiring of Gilfaethwy’s gloom, Gilfaethwy’s brother Gwydion comes up with a plan both extremely cunning and extremely foolish.

Key to his plan: Pryderi’s pigs.

Elmira Advocate


There are a few other Agenda Items from Thursday's TAG meeting however prior to them I am going to add one more, in my opinion, bizarre criticism that Dustin Martin made regarding Sebastian's presentation dealing with East Side Concerns (i.e. Stroh property). I found it so bizarre and weird that it almost rated up there with Ramin Ansari's comments about bringing a pail of water onto the site and emptying it in order to watch the direction that the water flowed. Obviously on asphalt or cement a single pail would pond on the surface and tend to flow downslope. However on bare soil or ground a single pail of water would simply soak immediately into the ground unless it was frozen solid. ..................................................................................................... Dustin appeared to be all out of sorts regarding Sebastian's estimate of 40,000 to 50,000 gallons of wastewaters per day being pumped to the east side pits from 1944 until 1970. He seemed to feel that somehow this volume was being overemphasized. Actually I've seen and quoted higher volumes per day than those quoted by Sebastian. Regardless Dustin somehow felt it important to trivialize or minimize the volumes of wastewaters by suggesting that they could fit in a fairly small pipe perhaps 6 inches square or perhaps 6 inches in diameter. Like so what? Lanxess and their consultants don't deny large daily volumes of toxic waste waters being pumped into east side open ponds which overflowed and then gravity flowed southwards whether solely into GP-1 then into GP-2 or also more likely also following decreasing ground surface elevations and crossing onto the Stroh property right at the now existing Stroh Drain, Ditch & Berm (SDDB). Hence once again this "criticism" is out of place. Sebastian stepped up to right a glaring wrong by his fellow TAG members and Dustin relied upon Sebastian's not being a hydrogeologist in order to attempt to discredit his whole presentation. ...................................................................................................................... Jaimie Petznik (Lanxess) made a presentation about MISA (Municipal Industrial Strategy for Abatement)and it's intended objective of reducing discharge to surface waters from industrial operations. Thirty minutes of talk could have and should have been done in ten. Essentially the MISA program has been replaced by monitoring of these surface water discharges by a different program. Likely that "program" is simply the Environmental Compliance Agreement (ECA) although I may have nodded off during the extended and dragged out discussion. .......................................................................................................... Linda Dickson discussed the Lanxess October Progress Report and how pumping wells W9 and PW5 continue not to be up and running properly. The excuses are innumerable and ongoing. ....................................................................................................... There was also further discussion of the 2020 Canagagigue Creek Sediment and Soil Investigation as well as the Review Comments of this report by the Ministry of Environment as well as Review Comments by the MECP regarding the Supplemental East Side Off-Site Groundwater Investigation. Some appropriate criticisms and suggested actions by the MECP are most likely to eventually get dropped or forgotten, especially by citizens, whether on or off the TAG committee. Bringing one report at a time and dealing with it once and for all in a decisive fashion simply is never going to happen as the guilty parties all prefer using extensive time delays to beat volunteers into eventual submission or perhaps even into a daze. ....................................................................................................................... The TAG Chair got what she wanted, namely more delay. Six plus years and counting since I "discovered" the Stroh Drain. Since then not one single groundwater reading on the south-west side of the Stroh property (beside Lanxess) and certainly not so much as a single soil sample. The Horse Manure and Bullshit by Lanxess and fellow travellors however is in great form and volume.

KPL Kids Blog

Tween Scene: The Floor is Lava

♦image credit: Unsplash

Hi friends! How are you all? It’s late November now, and kind of a weird time of year; the days are short, it gets dark so early, your Halloween candy is probably all gone, and the winter holiday school break seems so far away! How can you pass the time inside, (without driving your grown-ups crazy), and still have fun? Well friends, I have just the thing; The Floor is Lava!

You’ve likely heard of this game already; it’s not a new invention by any means. It’s all over YouTube; Unspeakable did a 24-hour extreme Floor is Lava challenge, and even the Biebs himself (Justin Bieber of course) posted a video of his own at-home Floor is Lava course challenge during quarantine. This past June, Netflix debuted their live version of the game; an over the top, over exaggerated obstacle course where contestants attempt to avoid a floor of lava (spoiler, not real lava!) by crawling, jumping, clinging and leaping onto and over strategically placed furniture.

How to Play

The great thing about playing the Floor is Lava at home is that it’s so easy to do: it’s super simple, doesn’t require any special equipment, and can be played by anyone, anywhere. The basic rules of the game are as follows:

  • Someone walks into a room and casually shouts, “Floor is lava!”
  • Everyone has 5 seconds to get both feet off the ground in any way possible.
  • At the end of 5 seconds, if someone still has any contact with the ground, they lose.
  • If everyone successfully gets off the ground, life simply resumes as normal… until the next time!

One point of warning however; considering the game involves non-traditional usage of furniture, please be aware of authoritative grown-ups who might not be too crazy about you jumping and leaping all over their tables and chairs. So use common sense, and be smart and safe. (And please! Don’t squish and squash our decorative pillows. You know we love those.)

Here’s a few pics of when we played the Floor is Lava at my house;

As you can see, we just used whatever furniture and/or objects were nearby. Be creative! But also safe!

Fun Fact

In 2014, scientists from the University of Leicester (in England) did the important work of figuring out what would happen if the floor really was lava. Unfortunately, between the gases coming off the lava, and the extremely high air temperature above it, climbing up on the furniture wouldn’t be enough to save you from a floor of lava. Now you know!

Lava Activities

But maybe participating in the Floor is Lava is not your thing? That’s okay! Don’t want to risk the wrath of mom or dad by jumping on their prized La-Z-Boy recliner? That’s definitely ok! There’s lots of lava fun to be had. Check out this super cool, and super easy to do, Bubbling Lava Lamp experiment by Sick Science. Watch the video below, then try it yourself. But again, please, don’t use the good glasses!

Take it Further

Magma, lava, and ashes, oh my! Volcanoes are fascinating! Whether you’re interested in learning about the different volcanoes around our world (did you know, Eyjafjallajokull is the name of a volcano in Iceland… talk about a tongue twister!), or doing more volcanic eruption experiments (insert mad scientist laugh here), we’ve got books for it all!

Super Simple Volcano Projects: Science Activities for Future Volcanologists by Jessie Alkire ♦image credit: KPL Encore

Read all about volcanology in Super Simple Volcano Projects. Kids will learn about different kinds of volcanoes and how they form. Discover how scientists study volcanoes and try to predict when they will erupt. Then, build an erupting volcano, create a volcano landscape, and more. Each project has color photos and easy‑to‑follow instructions. Request it from the library.

How Hot is Lava?: and Other Questions About…Volcanoes by Kelly Smith ♦image credit: KPL Encore

What exactly is a volcano? Can it really destroy an entire city? And how hot is lava? Kids will learn all about this force of nature, from where to find the ring of fire to whether volcanoes exist on other planets. Request it from the library.

I Survived the Eruption of Mount St. Helens, 1980 by Tarshis, Lauren ♦image credit: KPL Encore

The mountain exploded with the power of ten million tons of dynamite… Eleven-year-old Jessie Marlowe has grown up with the beautiful Mount St. Helens always in the background. Of course, she knew the mountain was a volcano…but not the active kind, not a volcano that could destroy and kill! Then Mount St. Helens explodes with unimaginable fury. Can Jess escape in time? Request it from the library.

Your Turn

So! Did you play your own Floor is Lava game? Perhaps you’ve played it before…maybe outside?? Learn any new facts about volcanoes? Or maybe you decided to try that cool lava lamp experiment instead. We’d love to hear about it! Share your experiences with us at childkpl@kpl.org.


Knox Waterloo Presbyterian Church

November 29, 2020 – Advent 1

Advent 1: Intergenerational Service
Those who dream…keep awake (Hope)


Call to Worship

One: In every season of life,
All: God is always with us, even when we believe otherwise.
One: In this season of waiting,
All: Jesus reminds us Bethlehem is the beginning of our discipleship, Not the end of the journey.
One: In this season of Advent anticipation and hope,
All: the Spirit opens up our minds and hearts to dream.

Hymn #122: “Oh come, Oh come, Emmanuel” (v. 1,3,4,7)

Gathering Prayer

Prayer of Confession (video): “Whirl Kids Celebrate Advent” by Sparkhouse
Used with permission.

Assurance of God’s Grace

Peace Invocation: “May the Peace of Christ be with you” (Izumi Shiota, Lori True)
OneLicense #87626

May the peace of Christ be with you
May the love of Christ dwell deep in your heart
May the spirit enlighten your way
May you live in the comfort of God’s care

Story: “The Advent of Christmas” Adaption of book written by Matt Maher and Illustrated by Mercè Tous

Lighting of the Advent Candle of Hope (The Almeida Family)

Sung Response: “Hope is a star” vs. 1

Song: “Counting the Days” Words by Laura Alary, Music:  Traditional Bluegrass

Life and Ministry of Knox Waterloo

Presentation of our offering:

Offerings may be given in prayer and service and with financial gifts…
Ways to Give to Knox

Offertory: So Will I x 100 Billion (Hillsong Worship)
Ayshia Bailie and Jotham Sennema

Doxology: #145 In the bleak mid-winter, v. 4

What can I give him,
poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd,
I would bring a lamb;
if I were a wise man,
I would do my part;
yet what I can I give him —
give my heart.

Prayer of Dedication

Those who dream…keep awake

Story: “Little People, Big Dreams: Audrey Hepburn” by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara, illustrated by Amaia Arrazola

We share our dreams….

Musical Reflection: We Are Waiting (Joel Raney)
Mary-Catherine Pazzano

Sacrament of Communion

Invitation to the Table

Sung response: “Waiting for you” (Hannah Rand, Lenora Rand)

Great Prayer of Thanksgiving

Sung Lord’s Prayer (Knox Choir)

Enjoying the gifts of the earth

Prayer of Discipleship (unison)

God of pregnant expectations,
God of Christmas promise,
God of child-like hope,
we have been nourished from your table.
May the eating and the drinking fill us with hope in a world of despair.
May we be beacons of hope as we wait for the day when the world will be changed.
Grant that this taste of your banquet, which is to come, would give us the hunger for peace and justice in our community and around the world.

Hymn: “Live in Hope”
(Jane Park Huber, Thomas Williams/Lowell Mason)


Advent Sending Song (Music: Old 100th, text Allan P. Happe, used with permission)

Hope in the Lord who reigns above,
who holds us all in steadfast love;
whose spirit blows across the Earth,
preparing us for second birth.

Knox Waterloo: CCLI License # 2580326
Images and videos used with permission.

KW Granite Club

Practice Ice


Date   Sheet 1 Sheet 2 Sheet 3 Sheet 4 Sheet 5 Sheet 6                     December 3, 2020 11:30   Bob Jansen             1:00 Hitchmans (2)               2:30                 5:30                 7:00                 8:30                                 December 4, 2020 11:30                 1:00 Mark I               2:30 Mark I               5:30                 7:00   Sean 2 Sean 2           8:30   Sean 2 Sean 2                           December 5, 2020 11:30     Cody H           2:00 Sheri R Sheri R (3)                             December 6, 2020 11:30                 2:00                                                   December 7, 2020 11:30                 1:00 Bonnie   Sharon Barbara Sandy       2:30   Larry H             5:30                 7:00                 8:30              

Kitchener Waterloo Association of Realtors


KITCHENER-WATERLOO, ON (November 30, 2020) ––On Friday, November 27, 2020, a new board of directors was elected to lead the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® (KWAR). Nicole Pohl, a real estate agent with RE/Max Twin City Realty Inc. has been elected to serve as president, succeeding...


Knox Waterloo Presbyterian Church

This Week at Knox – Nov 27

 Children, Worship & Communion

  • This week we light the candle of Hope on our Advent wreath as we dream dreams of a better world. The service will be for all ages (including children) and will include stories, music, and a fun animated video on learning to take our time through Advent.
  • We will celebrate the sacrament of communion to mark the beginning of Advent. If you are able, have some wine and bread on hand (or something equivalent—it can be anything, really!)
  • Livestream the service here: watch.nowmediaservices.com/knoxwaterloo
  • Listen by radio on the FM dial at 98.5 CKWR.
  • Knox YouTube channel: www.youtube.com/channel/UCI4TPrWnvz4luhVquJR0nzw

Sr. High Sunday School

Calling all Sr. High to join this Sunday’s Zoom class featuring Christmas trivia! This fun-filled trivia is the perfect opportunity to show off your knowledge of Advent and the Christmas story. Plus, if you come dressed in a holiday sweater or shirt, you can earn bonus points! Mark your calendars, Sunday, November 29th at 11:30am. Zoom information will be sent out soon.

Advent at Home with Children

Check out the Advent resources online at cnob.org.

Weekly Online Advent Conversation (on Zoom)

Courtney invites you to join her for a weekly online Advent Conversation on Zoom as we journey through the 4 weeks of Advent. The conversation will be based on the Advent worship services & the “Those Who Dream Advent Devotional.” Two time slots are offered per week: Sundays at 1pm (Nov 29th, Dec 6th, Dec 13th, Dec 20th) and Wednesdays at 11am (Dec 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd). Each time slot is limited to 24 participants. You can register for any one of the two time slots each week. Register using the following links:

Week 1: doodle.com/poll/f9v2a7brany6umcm?utm_source=poll&utm_medium=link

Week 2: doodle.com/poll/4cc4wtbx5f7ev553?utm_source=poll&utm_medium=link

Week 3: doodle.com/poll/ivhmg9fndukhyxxd?utm_source=poll&utm_medium=link

Week 4:  doodle.com/poll/uzpzamf8sab6v5ci?utm_source=poll&utm_medium=link

Those who dream Advent Devotional (attached in this email)

Attached to this email is the digital format version of Advent Devotional that accompanies our Advent Worship Series and Weekly Faith Formation Advent Conversations. If you would like a paper copy in regular or large print, please contact the church office to make arrangements about getting a copy. If you would like a printable version to print yourself at home, please e-mail Courtney at courtney@knoxwaterloo.ca and she would be happy to send you a copy. The devotional includes scripture readings, reflections, poetry, and artwork. As you walk through the devotional prompts and readings day by day, may you dream alongside prophets and angels, Mary and the Magi. Together, may we seek and sow God’s dreams for our world.

Our Daily Bread

Copies of the latest issue of Our Daily Bread are available for pick-up. You can find them in the outdoor mailbox by the main doors of the church building.

Global Partners

This year, the Global Partners team at Knox would like to encourage everyone to consider making a gift this year to one or both of the following organizations:

    • Our White Gift recipient will be Ray of Hope. You may donate directly to them at this website: www.rayofhope.net/how-you-can-help/donate/
    • The PWS&D Gifts of Change catalogue is online: www.gifttool.com/shop/ShopDepartment?ID=2034&VER=1&LNG=EN&DID=1248

Connecting Together – Christmas flower arrangement on Dec 14

This week the Women Together had a great night of connection as we explored resilience in our faith and in our lives. We decided that the name Connecting Together better represents the season we’re in. We’re going to continue to meet monthly through the winter so we’ll provide more information when dates are set. Our focus will be on caring, comfort and connection and everyone is welcome.

On Dec 14, we’ll be doing our traditional Christmas flower arrangement virtually. Supplies will be available for pick up or delivery during the day and then we’ll meet from 7 to 9PM. We’ll start with time to chat from 7:00 to 7:30. At 7:30 we’ll begin working on the flower arrangements. Instructions will be given through Zoom. We promise that we’ll make it easy to follow and then you’ll have something beautiful to enjoy. There’s a cost of $25 for those who are able.  We want everyone to be able to join so please let us know if we can help.

Final Thought

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.” – Harriet Tubman (Harriet Tubman was an American abolitionist and political activist. Born into slavery, Tubman escaped and subsequently made some 13 missions to rescue approximately 70 enslaved people using the Underground Railroad.)


Rev. Hugh Donnelly
Lead Minister at Knox Waterloo

Bridgit Solutions

Is construction an essential business?

  ♦ Building vector created by stories - www.freepik.com 

As many parts of North America re-enter some form of lockdown, many project managers are unclear as to whether construction is an essential business. Keep reading to learn how various jurisdictions approach this issue.

What is an essential business?

Essential businesses are those providing services governments deem imperative for societal functioning. The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) classifies these services under the term “critical infrastructure.” These 16 sectors fall under that classification:

  • chemical

  • commercial facilities

  • communications

  • critical manufacturing

  • dams

  • defense

  • emergency services

  • energy

  • financial services

  • food and agriculture

  • information technology

  • nuclear

  • transportation systems

  • waste

Public Safety Canada, meanwhile, has identified these 10 sectors as essential:

  • energy and utilities

  • information and communication technologies

  • finance

  • health

  • food

  • water

  • transportation

  • safety

  • government

  • manufacturing

States and provinces have a fair bit of freedom regarding how they implement these federal guidelines, as you’ll see later in the article.

Is construction an essential business?

While construction itself isn’t listed among the essential sectors in Canada or the United States, it supports sectors that are. As such, relevant infrastructure work has continued throughout the pandemic.

Highways, water treatment facilities, healthcare institutions, energy plans, and more continue to be built, keeping construction crews busy.

That said, construction leaders have been pushing for inclusion on the list of essential services. The President of North America’s Building Trades Unions and the CEO of the Associated General Contractors of America issued a joint statement in March calling on the government to “treat the construction industry and the work it performs as vital and essential to the critical industries that must remain in operation.”

Examples of essential construction work

Next, let’s take a closer look at how construction has served a few critical sectors.


Construction workers continue to play an integral role in building the healthcare facilities that service an increased demand for testing and treating COVID patients. In Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, officials extended construction hours for healthcare projects, allowing crews to work around the clock building new facilities and expanding existing ones.

To protect workers, the government also ramped up its job site inspection efforts.

Industrial (energy, chemical, waste, etc)

For these sectors, CISA identifies as essential the role of expanding, operating, and distributing resources – all of which touch on construction.


In many populous parts of North America, governments are taking advantage of empty streets to speed up the construction of transportation infrastructure, recognizing the importance of said infrastructure for keeping essential resources moving.


While physical roads have seen a decrease in demand during COVID-19 lockdowns, digital highways experienced the exact opposite. Construction crews have played an essential role in maintaining and building communication infrastructure throughout North America to keep up with increased loads on networks.

In the pandemic’s early days, CISA overlooked this area. However, following pressure from the industry, the agency conceded, including communications among its list of essential sectors, which paved the way for construction projects to continue.


The manufacturing sector has faced considerable demand throughout the pandemic, with many facilities retooling and expanding to support the creation of medical supplies. Construction workers have helped build and modify the infrastructure required for this shift.


While the fight against COVID-19 has captured much of our attention this year, other threats have not subsided. Defense agencies continue their work ensuring security, helped by the countless construction workers that oversee building and maintaining the necessary infrastructure.

How individual states treat construction

As mentioned earlier, the guidelines we’ve discussed thus far come from the federal governments of Canada and the United States. Smaller jurisdictions have used these guidelines to craft their own restrictions. As a result, the list of essential construction projects in each state and province can differ substantially. Let’s take a closer look, starting with U.S. states.

  ♦  States in which construction is essential

The vast majority of U.S. state governments have declared construction an unequivocally essential service, with local governments upholding that decision. According to the Journal of Light Construction, that includes:

  • Alabama

  • Alaska

  • Arizona

  • Colorado

  • Connecticut

  • Delaware

  • District of Columbia

  • Florida

  • Georgia

  • Hawaii

  • Idaho

  • Illinois

  • Indiana

  • Kansas

  • Kentucky

  • Louisiana

  • Maryland

  • Minnesota

  • Mississippi

  • Missouri

  • Montana

  • Nevada

  • New Hampshire

  • New Mexico

  • North Carolina

  • Ohio

  • Oklahoma

  • Oregon

  • Rhode Island

  • South Carolina

  • Tennessee

  • Texas

  • Virginia

  • West Virginia

  • Wisconsin

Governments in many of these states have issued executive orders specifically adding residential construction to the list of essential services (it’s not on CISA’s list).

The governments of Arizona, California, Illinois, and Texas are a few examples.

Keep in mind that even in states where construction is unequivocally essential, governments have often introduced enhanced health and safety measures.

Grey area states

No state has implemented an outright ban on construction across the board. However, many – like the federal government – have placed limits on its scope. These include:

  • California

  • Maine

  • Massachusetts

  • Michigan

  • New Jersey New York

  • Pennsylvania

  • Utah

  • Vermont

  • Washington

  • Wyoming

States with no mandate

Lastly, several states have not issued any particular guidance regarding construction as an essential business. According to the Journal of Light Construction, these include:

  • Arkansas

  • Iowa

  • Nebraska

  • North Dakota

  • South Dakota

How individual provinces treat construction

As of writing, construction has been deemed an essential service in all Canadian provinces. According to Engineering News-Record, most provinces maintained this view early on in the pandemic as well, refusing to shutter construction job sites. Ontario and Quebec are two notable exceptions.


In April 2020, Ontario Premier Doug Ford issued guidance limiting the scope of construction projects allowed to continue during COVID. Essential construction projects boiled down to those serving these sectors:

  • healthcare

  • transit

  • energy

  • justice

  • chemical

Limited residential construction projects were also allowed to continue.


Quebec, Canada’s hardest-hit province, saw a three-week shutdown of certain construction projects earlier in the pandemic. Residential construction suffered in particular, facing a total shutdown that was only lifted in late April.

Other challenges faced by construction companies during COVID

The construction industry has faced many challenges that go beyond certain types of projects being paused at various points. We wrote about these challenges as they relate to construction resource management in this article.

In a nutshell, construction companies have been forced to completely overhaul their safety protocols, implementing respirators, strict disinfection routines, and social distancing. These have tremendously affected businesses, presenting many challenges and opportunities for growth in the sector.

Is construction an essential business? Explicitly, at the federal level in Canada and the United States, the answer is no. However, industries identified as critical in both countries rely heavily on construction, meaning various types of projects have continued throughout the pandemic.

Additionally, individual states and provinces have been allowed to create their own mandates regarding COVID-19 restrictions. As such, many have listed construction as essential even though it’s not on federal lists.

We hope this article has been helpful to you in figuring out whether construction is a non-essential business in your region. For more construction management news and tips, visit our blog.


Lauren Lake is the COO and co-founder at Bridgit. She holds a degree in Civil Structural Engineering and is well-versed in construction workforce management and resource planning processes. Lauren has been named to the Forbes Manufacturing & Industry 30 Under 30 and Best Of Canada Forbes Under 30 Innovators lists. Lauren has presented at industry events and conferences, including BuiltWorlds, Canadian Construction Association, Procore Groundbreak, and more. Follow Lauren on LinkedIn and Instagram.


Andrew Coppolino

Pad Thai at Bangkok Cuisine Kitchener

Reading Time: 3 minutes

According to the Bangkok Cuisine website:

We have been closely monitoring the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation and the well-being of our valued customers and employees is of the deepest concern to us. We want you to know that your safety will remain our top priority as this situation continues to evolve.

PHASE 3 Update – Bangkok Cuisine will not be opening our dine-in services at this time and will continue with take out services

We are open Monday to Sunday from 4 p.m. – 9 p.m.

Please call us at 519-748-7676 to place your order ahead of time. Orders will usually take 20-40 mins depending on how large the order is or volume of orders.

NOTE: Masks are mandatory. One customer in the restaurant at a time. Please wait outside of the restaurant until the customer in front of you has been helped. If your order is not ready, you may pay for your order and return to your car. Once your order has been completed, a staff member will bring it out to you.


[Previously published] I get to talk to many chefs, and whenever I ask what they like to eat in their time off—what flavours call out to them when they go out for a meal—they invariably describe some sort of dish from the Far East: Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, and quite often Thai. The most famous Thai choice? Pad Thai. Google it, and you’ll get about six million results.

York University nutritional anthropologist Penny van Esterik has an interesting perspective on pad Thai and other foods that are more than mere dishes: they encapsulate a great portion of ethnic identity, she says.

Her book Materializing Thailand notes that in 1976 there were only nine Thai restaurants outside of the country but that number grew to nearly 20,000 by 2008. Imagine what the pad Thai scene was like here in Waterloo Region 10-15 years ago?

Where are we now? Well, fairly well blessed with several restaurants—and each culturally hybridized—serving kway teow pad Thai, its full and proper name, in a few variations.

Pad Thai, as van Esterik says, is a national—and somewhat bureaucratic—dish if there ever was one. Back in the late 1930s, Siam became Thailand and there was an era of great modernization and nationalization from government sources, including of things dietary. Kway teow pad Thai was virtually decreed a national dish.

What is kway teow pad Thai? Well, it is not terribly spicy, as some people imagine. It’s a balance of starch, protein and veg: a choice of shrimp, pork or chicken accompanied by a sugar of some sort (traditionally palm sugar), fish sauce, garlic, often tofu, and peanuts. And of course rice noodles.

The primarily flavour that I look for, however, is tamarind, the fibrous pulp that envelopes the seeds of a bean tree that is native to Africa and Madagascar. Tamarind has a nice acidity and a deep brown appearance—you will likely know it best as a central flavour in the remarkably vibrant Worcestershire sauce.

The best pad Thai—the variations in the dish and the multitude of individual palates and preferences notwithstanding—has a good balance of these flavours and textures and of course properly executed cooking.

One of my favourite kway teow pad Thai versions is that made by the family-owned Bangkok Cuisine way down on Weber Street east, outside of the city core.

The kitchen at Bangkok Cuisine maintains that it uses a tamarind sauce which I think is supported in the flavour. Ideally, according to the legend of pad Thai, this sauce is tamarind juice, palm sugar, fish sauce, water and salt: cooked down, it becomes a think syrup. They also add slightly beaten eggs to the dish which is the classic preparation. You will also find spring onions and a lemon wedge are part of the garnish.

I can’t say for sure that when you detect a tomato nature in your pad Thai that it is from the addition of ketchup; however, if you look at the condiment historically and linguistically: ketchup may come from the Chinese “ke tsiap”—a pickled fish brine—so that is well in keeping with Asian flavours.

Ultimately, then, the attraction for those chefs on their days off, and for we mortal diners, is the terrific balance of flavours—salty, sour, sweet, and spicy—and the texture contrasts of soft noodles, nicely chewable proteins, and the crunchy mung bean sprouts and peanuts that make pad Thai not only a prescribed national dish but one that is delicious medicine indeed.

Check out my latest post Pad Thai at Bangkok Cuisine Kitchener from Andrew Coppolino - World of Flavour.

Elmira Advocate


Well. There were two positives that I got from the meeting. Their names were Linda Dickson and Katerina Richter. There were also two negatives and their names were Tiffany Svensson and Dustin Martin. None of these impressions/opinions are written in stone. Sometimes good people make errors in judgement and sometimes bad people do the right thing for whatever reason. Firstly I am so very tired of the most important Agenda items being last! Whether UPAC, CPAC or RAC/TAG, last night was no exception. A non naive person might get the impression that this was being done intentionally in order to have volunteer members tired and ready to pack it in prior to the most important item. ....................................................................................................... I have this morning talked to two CPAC members who attended virtually last evening as well as another who did not attend last night but has been a regular attendee during live and in person RAC and TAG meetings. I also talked briefly last night after the meeting to Dr. Sebastian Seibel-Achenbach who presented "East Side Concerns Discussion" under Agenda Item 5.1 . There are some commonalities in the comments. Firstly the two positives, Linda and Katerina, clearly have open, objective minds. They listened carefully and know that the south part of the Stroh property has been intentionally avoided. Secondly Dustin Martin seemed compelled to undermine and criticize Sebastian's presentation. What angered me was his lack of balance which was excruciatingly observed at the end of his comments when he was trying to throw Sebastian a bone. He initially nitpicked about the three locations of GP-1, the Hydrograph Table and the subsurface cross-section of the Municipal aquifer which Sebastian likely misinterpreted as deep municipal groundwater apparently flowing eastwards. Neither of the last two points are frankly even remotely relevant to Sebastian's basic premise that the southern part of the Stroh property near Lanxess has NOT been properly investigated. Regarding the location of GP-1, there are three professional maps showing three different locations of GP-1 and I was appalled that Dustin felt it necessary to support GHD's (Lanxess's consultants) self-serving opinion of GP-1's location with absolutely zero evidence to back it up. That to me, shows evidence of bias. Regarding the "bone" that Dustin threw Sebastian's way Dustin vaguely and with mediocre word choice actually 100% supported Sebastian's basic premise that there has been zero investigation of the south one third of the Stroh property. Dustin did this with the following words " GHD have failed to fully and properly delineate the Stroh property." ....................................................................................................................... So how do those words support Sebastian's position? Well it would have been very helpful if Dustin had been more specific as to what "delineation" he was talking about. I believe and understand that Dustin meant that GHD had failed to fully and properly delineate ...the extent of contamination...on the Stroh property. In other words exactly as Sebastian has been saying...Lanxess, GHD and the MECP have utterly failed to do a proper investigation of the Stroh property. Thank you Dustin Martin even though you prefaced it with nitpicking irrelevant criticisms and you failed to make your final message in plain, clear English. ............................................................................................................ Why the shot in the fourth sentence, first paragraph above regarding Tiffany Svensson? The impression that both I amd other observers to the meeting had was that Tiffany was supporting Dustin's criticisms of Sebastian's presentation. It is becoming clearer that she is a "company man". That is unfortunate.

House of Friendship

I Learned to Give Back in My Childhood

Anna Mae Steinman grew up in a community of faith that taught her to give back. That’s one reason why she’s leaving a gift in her Will to House of Friendship.

Anna Mae Steinman grew up as part of a strongly connected community.

As a young Amish girl, Anna Mae was always surrounded by loved ones. She had cousins to play “house” with – often with the cousins themselves serving as “dolls.” Her aging grandfather, rather than moving to a nursing home, was cared for at home.

At a young age, Anna Mae was taught to take on the responsibilities that came from being part of a larger community. She often had to prepare meals for construction workers who were boarding at her house.

“In my faith and in my family, it was always expected that you give back,” said Anna Mae.

“I did the gardening, and also the cooking for those guys when my mother was gone,” said Anna Mae. “When I think back now, what I had to do at 14… most 14-year-olds wouldn’t know how to cook dinner for six men plus the threshers when they did the harvesting on the farm. I learned how to work.”

Anna Mae met her husband, Floyd, when she was 10. They went to the same little country school together and started dating when they were 16. By the time Anna Mae turned 21, they were married and getting ready to raise a family of their own.

Floyd sadly passed away earlier this year after a lengthy battle with brain cancer. Anna Mae and Floyd had been married 61 years, living and working together in the Wellesley area, continuing to be part of a large community of friends and family, including their church.

It’s that sense of community that has guided Anna Mae.

Anna Mae has given back in many ways, volunteering at House of Friendship, both as a committee member and with our annual Christmas Hamper program.

Together, she and Floyd decided that they want to ensure the work of House of Friendship will continue. That’s why they have chosen to give a gift in their Will to House of Friendship.

“House of Friendship is a good organization that has been around for a long time, and I think they will continue to be there. I want to support that.”

To learn more about leaving a gift in your Will to House of Friendship, visit www.houseoffriendship.org/Wills.

The post I Learned to Give Back in My Childhood appeared first on House Of Friendship.

Code Like a Girl

7 Reasons Why Companies Choose Agile For Mobile App Development

Started in 2001, the ‘Agile Methodology’ has become one of the most popular project management approaches in the world today. With…

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Code Like a Girl

Ultrasonic Sensor for social distancing

Ever wonder how tech help with social distancing?

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Code Like a Girl

The Dangerous Messaging At Diversity Events

The Problem with Diversity Event Messaging♦

I have attended many women in tech and diversity in leadership events over the years. I’ve started to notice that there is a very dangerous message that seems to come up at nearly every single event. That message is that women and minorities need to change to fit into the white-male dominated corporate cultures that we currently have. This message seems to come up no matter the exact topic of the event or the specified target audience.

Why is this message so prevalent?

The primary reason this message comes up is because of the audience. If I’m speaking to a non-male person of color, the advice that will help their career the most right now is that they should attempt to fit in. It is very likely that they will be ready for retirement if they wait for the system to change enough to welcome, celebrate, and leverage them as they are now. So instead of waiting for the system to change, or even trying to change the system, the easiest and most effective way to help that individual is to teach them to try to work with the current system. This doesn’t make it the right answer, it just makes it the best answer for that person.

The second reason is because of the speakers. There’s nothing as inspiring as putting a very successful person of color on stage and asking them to inspire and teach the next generation. Now don’t get me wrong, there is a lot to learn from these folks. However, they will inevitably get asked how they got to where they are or what advice they have for others, and again they will talk about learning to work within the system. These people rose in the ranks within our current workplaces. They got to where they did by learning to work with the current system, not by completely changing that system. Even if they did manage some change, it’s almost always after they rose to the top. So again, their message will be to learn to fit in or to find ways to leverage the current system.

So What’s the Problem?

Okay, so we’re all telling the next generation of people who can add diversity to our organizations to learn how to play the game. We’re telling them to learn how to work with and fit into the current business structures. How is that a problem?

First of all, the entire point of trying to bring diversity into a setting is to benefit from different viewpoints, ways of working, and ways of thinking. If we force everyone to think and work in the same way, we’re losing an important aspect of diversity. If we all look different on the outside but think and work in exactly the same way, we lose most of the advantage of diversity.

Secondly, we’re putting the responsibility for advancement on the people who are already struggling. When we give the message that we need to teach women or people of color to learn to fit in, we’re also inadvertently sending the message that the status quo is just fine. The people currently with all of the power don’t need to do a thing. We send the messages that our workplaces are fine the way they are, and instead, it’s the people who are different who have the problem. If anything, this is just reinforcing privilege.

Now on top of this, I’ve noticed that nearly all diversity events have some combination of up and coming folks who identify with whatever group the event is aimed at (be it people of color or women or LGBTQ+, etc.) and allies and leaders. No matter which direction the event tries to market, it seems to always have a split between these two groups. It’s great to get these groups together. However, the problem magnifies itself when I get up to tell my fellow young women how I got where I am and to tell them to learn to get over their imposter syndrome and to learn to speak up. Unfortunately, because I’m at this mixed event, the male allies and leaders are also there hearing that women just need to work harder, to talk more, and just need to learn that they aren’t imposters. These allies are hearing that to change their organizations, they don’t need to do anything. The women in their organization just need to learn a few things. These leaders and allies come away from the event feeling proud that they’ve done something for the cause and feeling like they’re supporting diversity. Then they come back to their organizations to tell the women that they need to change.

There lies the problem.

Is this really happening?

I’m sure it may seem like I’m exaggerating. After all, it’s rarely as blunt as someone coming back to announce that women need to be better or that people of color need to do better. But before you write me off too much, ask yourself how many women in leadership workshops have you seen? How about female-specific public speaking classes? Meetups for people of color on how to build their brand or to effectively improve their network? Meanwhile, how many classes have you seen aimed at men to learn how to make sure their female colleagues are heard? Classes for dominant voices to learn when they shouldn’t talk? Talks about how to completely ignore your network and instead recruit from people who aren’t in anyone’s network? If you are lucky enough to have had bias training, you can bet everyone at your company attended, not just the majority culture. Who are we trying to change here?

To be fair, my suggestion is not that we stop all of these training sessions or that we don’t look for ways to give non-men and people of color a leg up. I just want us to recognize that that’s only a small part of the answer. It puts pressure on an already struggling group and adds even more expectations to an already unfair playing field. If we really want to succeed at this diversity thing, we need to think about how we can put the onus of having a successful and diverse workforce on the privileged folks. We need to think about how we can change our organizations and our structures so that these training sessions no longer even make sense.

What should we be saying?

Unfortunately, what exactly we should be saying at these events instead is the hard part. Ideally, we should be sharing what we did that effectively changed our organization to welcome diversity. We should be talking about how our company managed to get a diverse set of people at all levels. We should be talking about what our allies do to make sure everyone gets heard. Unfortunately, in most of corporate America, we’re still just starting to try to figure out what those exact steps might be. We don’t have any of this figured out, and we certainly don’t have any complete success stories to point to.

All of that leaves us in a position where we have to recognize the world where we are right now — largely living with a system that favors rich white men — but also where we want to go. We need to continue to encourage people from diverse backgrounds to try to learn to fit into that current system. But, at the same time, we should loudly recognize that that isn’t the real solution and we should be working to change our current system. We should be finding ways to take the burden off of the already burdened people. We should talk about our success stories, no matter how small. We should be sharing what has worked and what hasn’t. More than anything, we should be striving not to change people to fit our workplace but to change our workplace to fit all people.

To all execs and allies out there: No matter how many times you hear us telling our people to change, that message is not for you. That is not the solution for which we’re looking. Our message to you is that you need to change the workplace so that we don’t have to change.

The Dangerous Messaging At Diversity Events was originally published in Code Like A Girl on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Concept UWaterloo

Hacking Hockey

Waterloo students use 5G technology to develop the future of sports fan engagement

As the cold weather hit the region, University of Waterloo students designed some hot new ways for Canadians to enjoy NHL Hockey. The Sportsnet Hockey Hack Powered by Rogers 5G was a collaborative weeklong event that introduced high profile partners to the ingenuity of UWaterloo students to help shape the future of sports tech innovation.

Waterloo’s Concept, Stratford School of Design and Business and GEDI partnered with Rogers, the NHL and Intel to offer students the first opportunity of enhancing hockey fan engagement through 5G technologies. Students used real datasets of NHL puck and player tracking from the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs to power their ideas and offer new solutions that Sportsnet could incorporate into their viewing experiences.  

The NHL, and many other sports leagues, were put on hold as COVID spread throughout the world which further highlighted the need for new methods of fan engagement. As leagues begin to recommence without fans in the stands or with limited attendance, the search for ways to further engage audiences beyond in person experiences has never been more important. The advances of 5G technology and its low-latency capabilities have created new opportunities for fan interaction. That’s where our incredibly innovative students stepped in and offered their unique solutions for Canadian hockey fans.  

From strangers to teammates  

Armed with the problem statement to provide Sportsnet and NHL fans an unmatched viewing experience that delivers immersive, social-safe, and fun engagements both inside and outside the physical arena by leveraging 5G, teams began creating their initial ideas towards winning solutions. These new teammates worked to create their initial ideas and began building the front and back ends of their hacks.

“Working with four strangers, when we haven’t even met, was quite challenging but interesting as well because I got to learn so much from them. It was a great opportunity,”

Navpreet Kaur, Game2 team member and Masters of Electrical & Computer Science student. 

After receiving customer feedback from UWaterloo community members, teams adjusted their approach to improve or adapt the features of their solutions — all while receiving support from their dedicated coaches.

In addition to coaches, students had access to a roster of highly experienced mentors who answered specific questions, helped implement technical changes, utilize the full potential of new technologies and provided feedback on the students’ ideas. This offered students the opportunity to work directly with industry contacts, build their networks and showcase their capabilities to successfully design with customers in mind.

“This hockey hack was a crash course for me in applying all the skills that I’ve learned from my courses and put it into a real-life case. I looked at it from the perspective of business creation by solving these problems.”

Karthik Prasanna, Master of Business, Technology and Entrepreneurship student and The Great Ones team member.
A race to the final buzzer

As the week came to a close, teams prepared three minute pitches to distill their solutions and showcase their designs. High level representatives from Rogers, Sportsnet, The NHL, Rogers, and the University of Waterloo made up a prestigious judging panel. They selected the three teams they felt best addressed the problem statement, applied the capabilities of 5G technology and created a unique offering to further engage hockey fans. Introducing the winning teams from the Sportsnet Hockey Hack: Powered by Rogers 5G.

Congratulations to our winners  First place: Game2

Game2 created new advanced stats to bring fans the game within the game and bring new player metrics to the world of fantasy hockey and betting.  

♦ Second place: The 5 G’s

The 5 G’s brought us Fan Fortune, a new micro-betting experience for fans inside the arena and at home to predict next actions in hockey games.  

♦ Third place: The Great Ones 

The Great Ones developed NHL Party, a multi-screen 5G streaming platform to watch hockey games with friends and other fans.  

This weeklong hackathon brought some incredible ideas to light and great progress was made, but this is just the beginning. Winning teams have the opportunity to continue developing their idea with increased support from our partners to further build their 5G concepts. Follow Concept on social media to stay up to date with the progress these teams are making and hear about other exciting opportunities like this Hockey Hack.  

The post Hacking Hockey appeared first on Concept UWaterloo.

Bardish Chagger

Highlights from Google Hangout with SJAM and Fort Hope FN


Bardish Chagger

Behind the Curtain - Episode 4 (RVC 2016)