Outdoor drone advertising survival (COM0011)

Something new could be in the traffic mix

Outdoor drone advertising has been in the news because of its novel use in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Recently an article appeared in The Verge  trafficdronesmexicoexplaining how advertising drones  in Mexico were hovering over cars, while people were driving on highways. The ad was promoting Uber car pooling. That’s advertising reaching new heights!

Previously advertising drones have flown banners and done promotional drops to create awareness about a brand, product an/or service. Within the same scope of application, drones have been used to take photos of outdoor events such as product launches, festivals, concerts and to stream video feeds.

Too much too soon

I realize that outdoor advertising is not new. There has been advertising blimps and small planes that have flown banners. Drone advertising is considered to be the new frontier of advertising. Yet, I am concerned about some forms of drone advertising, particularly drones flying near vehicles and in traffic.

Once concern is the fact that specific regulations governing airspace for commercial drones still needs to be ironed out, according to aviation experts. Transport Canada has admitted that new regulations need to be developed for drone advertising and are in the process of doing so. Knowing that regulation is still in its infancy stage is rather alarming.

Drone falls behind world champion ski racer

Another concern is public safety and annoyance. On the safety front, if an advertising drone flies above, around or in front of a driver, it could be a distraction as well as a road hazard. The drone could hit and damage vehicles and trucks. There has been plenty of reports in Canada and the United States (ex. Fast Company) about commercial drone accidents.

There is recognition by police and the public that it is dangerous to use mobile devices while at the wheel. Advertising drones are part of that interference mix, and this time the driver has no control of the situation. Drones are operated with various degrees of autonomy- some are controlled remotely by a human operator and others by computers. Failures can happen.

On the annoyance front, there is the case of the loud buzzing noise of drones (sounds) and seeing them when driving on city streets and highways, whether there is traffic or not. I know that we do not have the rights to the use of air space. Nevertheless, this type of drone advertising seems like visual and sound pollution.

Evolutionary but is it necessary?

Drones have a place for scientific, agricultural, commercial and other applications such as remote sensing, policing, aerial photography and snow removal detection, to name a few.  I support advances in technology and innovation in the advertising industry. goofIntelligence use of the technology and regulations are paramount.

There are however times when the application of a new technology is not meant to be. And the use of drone advertising in a traffic/road application is one of them! It might appear to be evolutionary for advertising yet is not necessary to bring into play. We have the option to rebel by not purchasing the product or service that is being advertised. That might not be sufficient to avoid a few accidents and agitate us when driving.

A matter of manners (Post #5)

Have our manners gone astray?

This blog is intended to question whether or not there is a decline of good manners in the 21st century. My reference to manners is not about proper table etiquette. Dr. P.M. Forni, Director of the The Civility Initiative at Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore, Maryland) describes manners and civility as being about how we treat each other in everyday life. This applies to adults, adolescents and children. My scope does not include Donald Trump’s rudeness, as that is much more than bad manners, it’s a character issue (in my opinion).

This question first crossed my mind in the late 90’s when there were significant technological advancements with cell phones going from analogue to digital. At that time, more and more people started to use cell (digital) phones because of their new features. In doing so, people appeared to be forgetting about good manners.  For example, people on their cell phones would talk loudly in public areas or take calls in the middle of a conversation with them. In sports, I have witnessed some of my friends take calls when they crossed the tennis court to change serving position, during a match, with no apologies offered! And cell phone abusers continued. Years later, the prospect of the decline in civility was covered in a 2008 television documentary that was titled “To Hell With Manners”. It was aired on CTV and included everything about discourteous behavior to a young pregnant woman left standing on the subway to airline passengers going ballistic in the skies. Studies that were conducted in the UK (2014) and the United  States (University of Chicago, 2016) indicate that the majority of surveyed people think that good manners are lacking and/or declining. Whether or not the shift is real, could be a case of perceptions and differences in generational expectations.

Root causes on missed mannerisms?

The slippery slope of incivility and bad manners could be caused by a number of reasons. Perhaps, it’s because of:

  • A perspective that life seems a little harder these days and we are getting grumpier.
  • A misunderstanding in some situations about the notion of gender equality, as this post suggest in a comment’s section of a UK newspaper article: “On the way home on a bus, I offered my seat to a younger lady who had just boarded our full bus” She said “You don’t have to stand there because I’m a women”. I replied “I’m not. I got up because I am a gentlemen”.
  • An outcome of business automation and downsizing. Nowadays the process for a complaint about a mass product or service often does not involve face to face contact.  The complaint system can allow us to abruptly cut off an online chat or get rude to the customer service person that is based in the Philippines. We do not have to face these people on the street the next day or at school reunions.
  • Life’s pace has sped up and we have less time and patience for each other (ex. drivers get cut off, people infringe on our personal space, you loose your cool in long line-ups at airports).
  • Our wired and social media networking world has diminished our human sensitivity. This  ranges from knee jerk reactions on social media to online shaming. 
  • The ubiquitous wear of earphones by colleagues, and youth/adults in their homes conveys a  message of “do not disturb me”. Sometimes it’s necessary to do wear them. However bad manners can develop by making it a habit of wearing earbuds to not be part of conversations and not respond to questions.
  • Who sets the tone in a household, the parents or the children/adolescents? This is for example agreeing not to have smart phones at family meals. Parents cannot be indifferent in these settings.
  • Lack of discussion between parents and youth about proper manners, including on social networks. And the guidance and oversight needs to be regular, yet some parents feel intimated in the case of social media, and do not follow-up.

Surely there are more  causes. It’s difficult to pin it down to one root cause. This tree, the decline in civil behavior, has many roots.

In summary 

And to go back to my initial question “whether or not there is a decline of good manners in the 21st century”,  I think that the answer is yes. I also believe that modern manners are at work and in progress.

While surveys and news about this decline is valuable, we also need to become aware and take action on this issue. It could mean to speak up more often and say to someone in a civilized way, that their behavior is not acceptable and why. And let’s not forget that uncivil behavior can be hurtful.

Manners and behaviors are a sign of civility and manners and behaviors are a manner of civilized society.




What’s with the craze of creepy clowns?

Is Halloween early?


During the week of October 6, 2016, Ottawa and the Gatineau area were hit with a few sightings of creepy clowns and alleged intrusions. When I first heard about this in the Ottawa news, I wondered if I had momentarily lost track of time because of my demanding work schedule and thought that Halloween was coming up in a few days. I was not aware of the clown sighting craze that had started several months ago in parts of Canada, the United States and has spread in Scotland, England, and Australia.

The creepy clown reports involve alleged sightings or instances of people dressed in clown attire who approach the general public and children. Some of these spooky clowns have reportedly tried to lure women and children in the woods, chased people with knives, guns and machetes, and even yelled at people from cars.  These sightings have been referred to as “stalker clowns” because the people disguised as clowns are hoaxers and get a thrill at pulling pranks and terrorizing people. Loren Coleman, an internationally recognized cryptozoologist, calls the clowns “phantom clowns” because they rarely get caught. Prank or not, these clown incidents have led to police arrests, school boards sending warning letters to parents and police investigations.

Will clowns become more creepy?

ronalmcdonalIt is well known and studied by psychologists that many adults and children, at least in North America, find clowns creepy.  This finding is supported in the “Creepiness Study” conducted by Frank McAndrew where participants rated clowns as the creepiest occupation out of a list of 21 occupations. A strong fear of clowns is clinically called coulrophoria. In the book “Bad Clowns” by Benjamin Radford, the writer traces the historical evolution of clowns into unpredictable and menacing creatures and explains that the notion of an evil clown is not new. jestcrownOther factors that have made us uneasy with clowns is for example the story of the serial killer John Wayne Gacy who appeared at children’s birthday parties as a”Pogo the Clown”. Pennywise in "It"Next was the making of numerous films about villainous clowns starting with ABC’s television miniseries “It” which was based on the Stephen King novel of 1986 and featured a horrifying clown called “Pennywise“.

Given the history of clowns and people’s eeriness about them, I  surmise that this phenomenon should not make clowns become creepier than ever. Plus there is the comfort of knowing that some of these ghoulish clowns are getting caught by law enforcement and the public is being told that the sightings are people who are not real clowns. Yet, there are a few reasons to think that the good image of authentic clowns could get tarnished:

  • The media’s sensationalized this matter and authorities like the White House commented on it.
  • This time, social media fueled this craze to the point that it went viral, much to the surprise of Michele Coscia, a Harvard Kennedy School computer scientist who studies what makes an idea or not go viral.
  • The terrifying behavior behind the costume is causing the problem.
  • The issue appears to be reaching a stage of mass hysteria.

Let the good clowns live on

While this current creepy clown frenzy is no laughing matter and is wrong, I hope that it will not result in giving clowns a bad rap, for the sake of good clowns and their profession. I encourage the public to realize that social media reporting on such topics is often inaccurate. And this week, the novelist Stephen King told the American public in a tweet “Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria–most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh“. Nice, but easier said than done. We still need to get through Halloween when surely some older kids will get dressed and act as wicked clowns.

As said by Miles Leahy (select video),  second vice-president of Clowns Canada, the clown’s three-happy-clownsprayer is to create more laughter than tears, forget momentarily all the unpleasantness in our lives and to make us  smile.

I trust that this incident and this evil play to create bad clowns will pass.

Long live the good clowns!



Could the Sixties Scoop have been well intended?

Back in the 1960’s

Between the 1960’s and late 1980s, the federal and provincial governments were involved in the placement of Aboriginal children for adoption or foster care in Canada to primarily white-middle class families. Some were placed in the United States or Western Europe.  At that time, this placement was thought to be in the best interest of these children. The Government of Canada’s compulsory residential school system had started to phase-out  in the 1950s and 1960s and as a successor plan, it was decided that child welfare and other social services for Aboriginals (First Nations reserve communities)  should fall under the provinces.  That move was the result of major revisions to the Indian Act, introduced in 1951.

That period was referred to as the “Sixties Scoop” by Patrick Johnston, author of the 1983 report Native Children and the Child Welfare System. An estimated 20,000 Aboriginal children were taken from their parents, in most cases without the consent of their families or bands.  The governments’ approach to child welfare for Aboriginal children was discontinued in the 1980s.

Is hindsight 20/20 in this case?

We now know that those decisions were disastrous for the adoptees and their families. This has been reported in numerous studies and commission reports (i.e. the Kimelman Report) as well as in a number of credible documentaries (i.e. Hidden Colonial Legacy: 60’s Scoop”. CBC 8th fire, 2011). In my research, I have read that the rationale by governments may have been well intended, even seemed practical.  Yet, this social welfare practice occurred until the 1980’s.  How can that be? Surely Canada was not in the dark ages.  I would like to believe that Canada was an educated nation by then and wonder why the governments were not aware of the broad impact of removing children from their family living in reserves. Other countries had similar child welfare systems such as in Australia for their indigenous people (The Stolen Generation), the United States for pre-marital pregnancies (Baby Scoop Era) and the U.K. for poor children (Oranges and Sunshine). Do those practices elsewhere, help us understand the Canadian governments’ actions? Usually, two wrongs do not make a wrong!  Were the blinds (government) leading the blinds (other governments)?  Would this have happened if social media existed then or would these practices remained a secrecy?

I  have wavered on judging whether or not this matter was well intended, taking into consideration the fact that hindsight is 2o/20.  The outcomes the Sixty Scoops civil class action law suits against the Government of Canada will influence my judgment.  I may not be too forgiving in my judgment if the the Government of Canada argues, as is expected, that they did nothing wrong legally.

A final thought

The root cause for governments’ decisions to create residential schools and child welfare services for Aboriginals was the belief that children needed to be culturally assimilated in order to become part of mainstream Canadian society.  And we have learnt that was wrong and catastrophic.  Whether or not that thinking was inherent to some type of supremacist mindset, I hope that history will show us to never let this happen again.








Should asexuality be identified as a sexual identity in a census?

New wave of dinner discussion

In September, I noticed that a new topic had made its ways to dinner conversations. It was about asexuality which is defined to be the lack of sexual attraction (by human beings) to anyone, or low or absent interest in or desire for sexual activity (Wikipedia). I thought it might be coincidental even though the topic was discussed with different groups of friends, over different main courses and in different cities.  It seemed plausible that this topic was bantered because people were weary of talking about the Clinton versus Trump spectator showdowns. And then, an article appeared last week in the National Post titled “Asexuality needs to be recognized as its own, unique sexual orientation, Canadian experts say”.  It mentioned that there is interest by the U.K. and Canada to add asexuality as a group to an upcoming census questionnaire.

Why should we care?

My research into asexuality gave me the impression that it is a highly charged concept. The dinner conversations certainly reflected a range of opinions about claims and consequences on this topic. Some experts say that asexuality should be recognized as a major sexual orientation like heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality.  Asexuality is not a problem. Others qualify asexuality as a psychological or biological disorder.

I wondered if opening the conversation about this topic could help people who are dealing with issues about asexuality.  For example, it could enlighten couples who are having problems with intimacy and place blame on a partner.  When I think of the September dinner table conversations, there were a few young women (who were present without their husbands) who had gone to marriage counselling and were told that their husband’s lack of intimacy with them was the wife’s fault. counchSome other experts would instead have considered the possibility that the husband was or had become asexual rather than making the wife feel guilty. More education could help people in those situations rebut narrow-minded advice.  In another other example, dialogue would give some answers to young people understand their disinterest in intimacy, when they start dating, making them feel less isolated and lonely in those situations.

I recognize that the examples are simplified and there could be other reasons for concerns about lack of intimacy in relationships. Nevertheless, I mention them to point out that the lack of awareness about asexuality can limit our capacity to understand differences in human behavior.

The links to the census

Whether you accept or not the concept of asexuality, research shows that it exists. It’s in our world, it’s real.  Adding this sexual orientation as a group to a future Canadian census could give the topic of asexuality a forum for discussion and hopefully provide better knowledge about it. Empathy could ensue rather than discrimination. It could benefit asexuals as well as those who are in relationship with them.

Who to Believe in the Fat/Fitness Fix? by Andrée – Post #1

This post is aimed at an audience who is interested in reading about healthy living, nutrition, fat loss and fitness from a technical perspective.

The Trigger

This summer when my brother was visiting me with his family from Singapore, I told him that I finally had a healthier and better approach to my nutrition and fitness program.  And this was based on advice from my qualified fitness trainer and information published by subject-matter experts. After giving him a brief description about the importance of eating a balance of macronutrients and the impact of too much exercise among other highlights, he said “Every summer that I visit, you have a new  solution”.

Perhaps he had a point, but I did not tell him.  It’s my younger brother! His response did however lead me to read even more  science-based information written by experts in areas such as medicine, physiology, nutrition and fitness training.  My reading focused on how and what to eat to be healthy and lose some fat. There is no shortage of information on this topic particularly on social media platforms and websites. There  are a lot of contradictions, which makes it challenging to know who to believe and what to do.  But then again, social media is about interaction and there are opportunities to engage in  valuable discussions.    

United Front on Food/Fat/Fitness Facts 


My research of science-based information led to finding common grounds on some points. The shorlist:

  • Loosing weight is not about calories in and calories out or fat grams or carbs. It’s partly about your metabolism – the body’s balanced process to store (anabolism) and provide (catabolism) energy . (Halie PomroyNote:  It’s about your burn rate (your inner furnace).
  • Chronic dieting among other unhealthy factors  will slow down your metabolism and create havoc with your hormones such as the thyroid hormones.  When your metabolism is healthy, the thyroid promotes fat burning (T3).  If your metabolism is compromised, the thyroid will  favour a  hormone that encourages fat storage(reverse T3 or RT3).  (Dr. Natasha Turner).  Note: Stop dieting.  Plus it’s old school.
  • Processed sugar is not only a drug , it’s poison (Dr. William Coda Martin).  It’s depleted of proteins, vitamins and carbohydrates.  Excess refined sugar eventually affects negatively every part of the body including resulting in fat deposits in active organs (i.e. heart, liver, kidneys) and inactive areas (i.e. belly, buttocks) . (Paul Check). Note: Be a sugar detective.
  • Proper chewing of food is optimal for digestion,  the conversion of food to energy,  nutrient absorption, elimination and prevention of unwanted fungi and parasite infestation (Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD). A small action that can have a big bang impact on your nutritional health and fitness results. Note: Crunch and chew away more slowly.
  • Overdosing on exercise can be counter productive.  I am always surprised when I hear people at my spinning club brag about the fact that they did a morning and evening class. And they add that this is part of their weight loss regime!  When there is an imbalance between the amount of exercise relative and the amount of rest time, it can backfire.  For example there is fatigue,  excess cortisol production- a stress stress- that contributes to catabolism and chronic disease, and even microscopic tears in your muscles.  (WebMD  and Dr. Micheal J. Joyner, M.D). Note: Muscle message – play smart.

In the end

I spoke to a friend about the topic of this blog.   She listened attentively and recognized that there are people like me who are  interested in technical information about healthy nutrition, fat loss and fitness.  She asked, “in the end is not all about proper eating, less food,  moderate exercise and less stress”?. I responded,  “somewhat but not “allwhat” because I still like to know the whys of how things work.”

I hope that some of you enjoyed this blog – that is if you are interested in the “ins and outs” on this topic.