Technology

1773 ChatGPT and me

ChatGPT and me by Larry Hannant * The media today is agog with artificial intelligence and its boundless possibilities to expand mere mortals’ striving towards perfection, or to relegate them to the scrap heap. The intensity quickened on March 14, with the release by OpenAI of version 4 of ChatGPT. In a thoughtful Globe and…
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1765 Cooling our jets

Scrubbing the Sky: Inside the Race to Cool the Planet by Paul McKendrick Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2023 $28.95  / 9781773272085 Reviewed by Douw Steyn * The strange “naked ape” we are has been on planet earth as a distinct species for about 200,000 years. Most of that time we spent migrating across all continents,…
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1761 Pacific highways and byways

Incredible Crossings: The History and Art of the Bridges, Tunnels and Inland Ferries that Connect British Columbia by Derek Hayes Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2022 $46.95 / 9781550179903 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh  * Pacific Highways and Byways: Travelling Through BC History by Boat, Train, Road or Armchair Pick a road, any road. Chances are you’ll…
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1757 Announcing interview series

Announcing the BC Review interview series by Richard Mackie * In November 2022, at the most recent board meeting of the Ormsby Literary Society, the chair, Byron Sheardown, suggested that we open a YouTube channel and start an interview series. Board member Trevor Marc Hughes jumped at the suggestion. “I’ve got filmmaking experience,” he said,…
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1711 Manways and shabby motels

Thick Skin: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood by Hilary Peach Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2022 $22.00 / 9781772141955 Reviewed by Catherine Owen * “People love to read about work” — Stephen King The best writers make readers interested in a subject they never imagined they might be compelled by. I think of Cormac…
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1680 Northwest Coast artist archive

The Transforming Image: Painted Arts of Northwest Coast First Nations. Second Edition by Bill McLennan and Karen Duffek Vancouver: Figure 1 Publishing, 2022 in collaboration with the Museum of Anthropology, University of British Columbia (first published by UBC Press, 2000; reprinted by Douglas & McIntyre and University of Washington Press, 2007) $65.00 / 9781773271989 Reviewed…
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1649 BC’s undersea adventurers

Deep, Dark & Dangerous: The Story of British Columbia’s World-class Undersea Technology Industry by Vickie Jensen Madeira Park: Harbour Publishing, 2021 $36.95 / 9781550179200 Reviewed by Dave Flawse * In 1967, when a few cash-strapped Canadians towed their newly built manned-submersible from Vancouver to Washington State, biologists at the University of Washington got the chance…
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1621 Noise, heat, smoke, & smell

Out of the Fire: Metalworkers along the Salish Sea by Pirjo Raits. Photographs by Dale Roth and Michele Ramberg Victoria: Heritage House, 2022 $39.95 / 9781772033434 Reviewed by Theo Dombrowski * The cover image of a book entitled Out of the Fire might be expected to be aflame with oranges and red. Not this one: even…
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1609 Nuu-chah-nulth high bow canoes

Making a Chaputs: The Teachings and Responsibilities of a Canoe Maker by Joe Martin and Alan Hoover Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum Press, 2022 $24.95 / 9780772680273 Reviewed by Isabel Nanton * With a Pacific coastline that stretches 25,725 km (15,985 miles), British Columbia has for eons relied on water transport and for centuries First…
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1594 The celebrated camera obscura

Art, Research, Play: The Midnight Sun Camera Obscura Project by Donald Lawrence, Josephine Mills, and Emily Dundas Oke (editors), foreword by W.F. (Will) Garrett-Petts Lethbridge: University of Lethbridge Art Gallery, 2021 $39.95 / 9781927770115 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve  * “This is a book that arrests attention but won’t stand still.” Thanks to W.F. Garrett-Petts for this assertion…
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1549 Clarifying climate policy

The Resistance Dilemma: Place-Based Movements and the Climate Crisis by George Hoberg Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (The MIT Press), 2021 $54.00 / 9780262543088 Reviewed by Stephen Bocking * The climate crisis demands that we break our fossil fuel habit. This implies an energy revolution, rewiring society to rely on renewable electricity. New technologies can…
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1528 The cords that bind

Cordage from the Ozette Village Archaeological Site: A Technological, Functional and Comparative Study by Dale R. Croes with Darby C. Stapp (editor) and Victoria Boozer (publications assistant) Richland, WA: Journal of Northwest Anthropology (JONA) Memoir Number 21, May 2021 $24.99 (U.S.) / 9798504397573 Reviewed by Andrea Laforet * Ozette, a village on Cape Alava on…
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User experience & Sophocles

User experience & Sophocles by Thomas Girard * i. Ideas trapped within us We have ideas within us. They swim through our minds and sometimes move faster than we know what to do with them. A young guy approached me after the event last night and asked me what to do, with all of these…
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1392 A one-man freedom convoy

man@the_airport: How Social Media Saved My Life. One Syrian’s Story by Hassan Al Kontar New Westminster: Tidewater Press, 2021 $23.95 / 9781777010188 Reviewed by Daniel Gawthrop * Given the staggering human toll of the civil war in Syria since 2011 — half a million dead, more than six and a half million internally displaced, another…
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1348 Baffling thrums of reasoning

White Lie by Clint Burnham Vancouver: Anvil Press, 2021 $18.00 / 9781772141740 Reviewed by Peter Babiak * One of my favourite lines of literary theory is from the mystical German Jewish essayist, Walter Benjamin. A perspicacious man who recognized just how much literary works are indebted to the economic and technological conditions that form their…
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1341 An unsafe online world

Coding Democracy: How Hackers are Disrupting Power, Surveillance, and Authoritarianism by Maureen Webb, with a foreword by Cory Doctorow Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (The MIT Press), 2021 $23.95  /  9780262542289 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * An Unsafe Online World: What happens if do-evil computer nerds overrun do-good ones in the struggle to save democracy?…
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1323 Eavesdropping in the bush

Caught on the Trail: Nature’s Wildlife Selfies by Dale Bakken and Sandra Lynch-Bakken Surrey: Hancock House, 2020 $24.95 / 9780888390585 Reviewed by Jocie Brooks * A curious black bear nuzzles the camera on the cover of Caught on the Trail: Nature’s Wildlife Selfies. This book offers “up close and personal” views of BC’s wildlife that…
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