Life Musings

Fitting

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Fitting. The place. The time. Them together. Them being there; that moment. The cityscape growing. The soundscape grating.  The woodlot, trails scarring. Majestically standing in peace. Forest’s breathing life it owns. It’s grown up. It’s un-urbane. It’s an escape.

Their pace measured. Gravel grinding softly under feet. Their voices whisper just above the breeze. Their voices hint of wonder. Curiosity. It’s a love of what’s seen, what’s heard and not heard. It’s a love of what’s breathing into them. Breathing out, crispness billows. Hanging in the air. Brisk. Stopping. No words, looking above, all around, beyond, into each other’s eyes. It’s a love of the silence. That moment. Hush. Breezeless. Breathless. Completeness.

The bench. A memory to others who crossed paths in wonder. Weathered. Rough. It’s faded, etched with time, elements and countless moments shared leave scars. It’s welcoming. There’s warmth. A late day sun inviting them to sit. Their hands together. Weathered. Life’s moments. Marks. Them together. Fitting. So much said in those moments of silence. The glance. Fixed. Only a moment. Says all. The smiles. Punctuate. The moment.

Sunshine. Warm reflection. Tightly together, whispers of their today and hints of their tomorrow. Reeds bend. A breeze. Sun’s light shimmers. Mirrored water. Ducks breathe life. Waning light. Trails speak. Tightly together, weathered hands, their pace measured. Home calls. Fitting. Marked trails have them together. They escape together. The moments add up to them being there together. A future together. They have. Fitting.

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Cycling Through. Vancouver Streets

City dwelling

Car free.

Care free.

I admire Vancouver’s cycling community (especially those who follow the rules of the road)… fewer cars the better. For sure I’d get around the city faster, but walking works for me.

Walking around town affords these moments of stopping and wondering what the owner feels at the sight of their cannibalized ride.

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I’d be pissed. Every time I see sights/sites like these I see images of Sketchy

Bolt cutter toting tools of the trade backpacking opportunists

I think…

Loss

Despair

No respect

self or other

No careIMG_3408

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Kiss Your Right to Communicate Freely Goodbye

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“To every man is given the key to the gates of heaven; the same key opens the gates of hell.” – As told to Richard Feynman (Theoretical physicist) by a Buddhist monk.

The search query Bill C-51, leaves me wondering how quickly the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) or the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) will come to know about my curiosity. Other than that simple search term what else do they know, or what else do they think they know? What more can they find out about my interest in the subject?

IMG_3907Like thousands of other Canadians, by attending a weekend rally that was vociferously against the attempt to pass this omnibus bill, I’ve knowingly exposed myself even further to the mechanisms of State surveillance. I’ve been surveilled without context. It’s just like searching the internet is now an act of being surveilled without context.

Think back in history, even before surreptitiously cracking a wax sealed envelope and peaking into its contents, communication technology and surveillance have long been strange bedfellows.

Ultimately the mechanisms of State surveillance are rooted in the manipulation of, and projection of power.  “The increased power of officials is an inevitable result of the greater degree of organization that scientific technique {communications technologies} brings about. It has the drawback that is apt to be irresponsible, behind-the-scenes, power, like that of Emperors’ eunuchs and the Kings’ mistresses in former times. To discover ways of controlling it is one of the most important political problems of our times” – Bertrand Russell (The Impact of Science on Society – 1953)

This “Act (Bill C-51) that may be cited as the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015” is being fast tracked to becoming (in it’s own words),  “An Act to enact the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act and the Secure Air Travel Act, to amend the Criminal Code, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts.”  This is a significant legislative overhaul. This will make us no safer nor more secure tomorrow that we already are today. This is nothing more than a security services power grab.

Bill C-51 is full of murky definitions and offers a troublingly broad definition of what constitutes “threats to the security of Canada.” According to our Prime Minister’s hyperbole ““Jihadist terrorism is not a future possibility, it is a present reality,” Harper said at the announcement. “It seeks to harm us here in Canada, in our cities and in our neighbourhoods through horrific acts.”

Yet, let’s look for these sources of terror. This ominous spectre of terror that’s lurking in shadowy corners and looming over our country, the terrorist threat we all need to fear according to CSIS, is the one that’s “emanating from Al-Qaeda-inspired extremism… Despite recent successful operations targeting Al-Qaeda Core, the Service continues to see support for AQ causes in Canada. Of particular significance is the above-mentioned investigation into an alleged Al-Qaeda-linked plot to attack a train in Southern Ontario, which led to the arrest of two individuals in April 2013.” It’s important noting that this lone terrorist plot was foiled using today’s current surveillance methods and within today’s legislative framework.

I accept that Google, Facebook, and Apple possess a potential treasure trove data points about me. I can accept what these corporations know about me because they can’t bankrupt me; they can’t incarcerate me; they can’t potentially ruin my life. The state can.

I’m not keen on feeling powerless to defend myself against the mechanisms of our State surveillance and security authorities. What does the Canadian State surveillance and security system know about me right now? It’s haunting to think that a faceless and nameless bureaucrat can take shards and fragments of information, of metadata and create a story that’s not mine. The state can create their own narrative for each of us. One day we might find ourselves no longer free to create and communicate our own narrative.IMG_3902

This story of safety, security, and terrorism is supposed to be about trusting our government. We’re supposed to believe that giving up more freedom and privacy is good for us. How is the imposition of self-censorship good for us? Do I have to consider how framing a dissenting perspective about the federal government could be taken out of context? Can my suggesting that we have a government that’s displayed total lack of environmental stewardship while schilling our natural resources to interests that best suit a myopic and greedy fiscal agenda, be potentially deemed a “threat to the security of Canada?”

IMG_3915As well, this state abuse of communications technology could further curtail our freedom of movement. The no-fly list is nothing new, but under the new version of this law authorities will be permitted to use undisclosed secret evidence against suspects. Again we’ll be left powerless to defend ourselves.

The internet is a door that opens two ways. While we can see a world of good and evil, we also have to allow for the reality that this door also lets both walk through it too. One of those evils should not be our own supposedly democratically elected government. Echoing Edward Snowden, government needs to recalibrate it’s relationship with us. That relationship can not be defined as those ruling the ruled; it must be one that’s between the electorate and the elected. Bill C-51 is about being ruled. It’s the real looming spectre of terror that’s in our midst today.

“There can be no doubt that behind all the pronouncements of this court, and in my case, behind the arrest and today’s inquiry, there exists an extensive organization […] And the purpose of this extensive organization, gentlemen? It consists of arresting innocent people and introducing senseless proceedings against them, which for the most part, as in my case, go nowhere. Given the senselessness of the whole affair, how could the bureaucracy avoid becoming entirely corrupt?” (Kafka – The Trial)

#NoFilters. Social Media, Representation and Responsibility

No filters

It’s time we stop prefixing media with the word “social.” It’s media. It’s also a free-for-all, that’s both filtered and unfiltered. Everyone with an internet connection has access to the platforms and ability to use the applications of their choosing. Everyone is free to participate, create and communicate.

Everyday at BetaKit we get to celebrate, question, and sometimes deride, technology. Thinking about, talking with, and writing stories about the people behind the technologies empowering us to communicate in ways unimaginable even 10 years ago is an opportunity I’m grateful for.

For instance, it’s staggering to consider that we’re uploading and sharing over 1.8 billion photos each day according to KPCB analyst Mary Meeker’s 2014 Internet Trends report (see slide #62). How tall would that stack of polaroids be?

Technology is more pervasive than ever. There’s a deluge of stories to share and sift through, and no shortage of shiny new gadgets to communicate or consume media with. Yet everyday I find myself thinking more about the meaning of representation. I ask myself about what representation means with respect to context; or how does representation come into play in terms of my understanding the relationship between an object or a subject. Most importantly, I think about how representation comes with responsibility.

It’s worth remembering, representation is the use of signs that stand in for and take the place of something else. It is through representation that people organize the world and reality through the act of naming its elements. Signs are arranged in order to form semantic constructions and express relations.”

Generate Kris Krug

Images coming from the filtering app Generate jumped off my Facebook feed one day. It was Galiano Island photographer and entrepreneur Kris Krug’s creative touch applied to TEDxVancouver that pushed me to thinking more the relationship between technology filters, representation, and responsibility.

Is the representation and therefore our relationship or understanding of a person, a group of people, a place or thing, impacted by the filters we apply to any medium – be it visually, through our choice of words, or the soundscapes we create?

Any images, words or sounds we digitize and submit to the public domain puts us in the position as both a creator and communicator. As a creator and communicator what is your responsibility? It’s one thing to misrepresent yourself, but it’s altogether another issue when you’re misrepresenting the world around you.

Using filters, or changing the appearance of an image is nothing new. The history of photography and film is one of alteration through development techniques, and using different materials such as paper and chemicals. The difference between then and now is cost and accessibility. Then, you had to be a professional or well-heeled amateur to own the equipment. I wonder if photographers like Ansel Adams, Annie Leibovitz, or a National Geographic contributor like Jim Brandenburg would use #nofilter?

Think about it, photoshopped is now an adjective, but photoshop the application is barely 25 years old. As well, it originally cost $1000.00. Today we have sub ten dollar to free photo apps at the disposal of everyone carrying a smartphone. It was overwhelming scrolling through the app store at the number of photo-filtering apps; I quit counting at 35.

Instagram has over 200 million users, and you can apply filters to pictures with the mobile Facebook, Twitter, and native iOS camera app. So mainstream they’re the source of some great humour like this Oatmeal cartoon, and this YouTube video.

All joking aside, it’s important to think about representation as related to what we see. Consider the intent of what’s being created and communicated. Is there a relationship between representation and some form of truth and reality? Does the use of a filter make that person an agent of change? Does it potentially alter our relationship or sense of reality?

Generate Kinder Morgan Protest

Is some regards the filtering of a visual experience can be adding commentary to our reality. Are we filtering an angst or dissatisfaction with reality? Blurring the lines of reality? Could we also be representing a filtered sense of joy, marvel, or perspective of what could be better or more beautiful?

Science is largely about the study of objects, whereas much of what’s populating our media feeds are people, places, events, food, and funny animal tricks. I’m all for sharing the subjects of our interest, desire, and love. I’m all for using filters as a form of commentary or creativity.

When there’s a lack of rigour and thought behind what’s being represented, it then becomes a potential act of objectification. Simply put, our world needs less objectification. It’s at the root of so much tension, misunderstanding and anxiety that pollutes our conversations and narratives.

The tools of communication might be free and we’re all free to use them, but it shouldn’t mean we’re free use them free of responsibility. It’s worth pausing and asking “why am I thinking this, why am I saying it,  or why am I seeing it this way?” before pressing submit and post.

“How strange painting is, it delights us with representations of objects that are not pleasing in themselves!”
– Eugene Delacroix

Photographs courtesy of Kris Krug.

This story originally appeared in BetaKit

Charles Montgomery, Talks Technology and the Happy City: Part II

Charles Montgomery I

It was thinking about the relationship between people (individually and collectively) our space, and built environments that motivated this conversation with Happy City author Charles Montgomery. It’s envisioning a post-combustion engine, congestion free, non- pollutant spewing transportation grid. It’s future where people not cars claim primacy to the urban experience. This is an idea worth turning into action.

Borrowing lessons from the ancient world, he writes about how Athens captures a human-centric approach to design. “The city was more than a machine for delivering everyday needs; it was a concept that bound together Athenian culture, politics, mores, and history… Anyone who did not concern himself with public life was himself less than whole” (p.19).

Looking at our 20th century car-centric design thinking and urban planning, the detrimental societal and environmental effects are on full display. There’s nothing social about meltdowns in gridlock. There’s also nothing sustainable about a melting planet.

Asked about a future for the self-driving car, and the potential that a vehicle will simply become a node on a distributed transportation grid, Montgomery thought “it’s an exciting possibility.” He added, “because of the errors, the catastrophe of modernist city planning throughout the 20th century that many existing neighborhoods, particularly on the fringes of cities simply can not support public transit.” Something that simply looks like a human driving an expensive automated bus isn’t going to improve a system of infrastructure built for yesterday.

“At the same time I think that the tech fetishes out there fail to see that traffic and congestion are a natural occurrence in vibrant thriving cities,” he pointed out. In other words, having driverless cars is not going to solve the problem of congestion. Montgomery said “as along as individuals insist on traveling alone in their vehicles whether they are driving or a computer is driving, they’re going to get stuck in traffic.”

He thinks, “driverless cars will be useful, even as part of the public transit system in helping people in dispersed areas access say transit nodes or suburban villages so they can reach high quality, high status shared transportation. Ultimately, it still doesn’t solve the problem of squeezing all of these separate vehicles into the limited space in your thriving central city.”

He reported being impressed with Arlington Virginia as a city that’s creating happier experiences. Saying “they are converting boring, blank, horrid, what some people call car sewers into livable neighborhoods. The subway nodes are surrounded by low and mid-rise with building of shops and services and bars and fun with great sidewalk.”

More impressively, Arlington’s transit authority has dozens of people working on transportation demand management. Montgomery said, “what this means is engaging in the good work of changing hearts and minds.  When we think of cities, movement and technology we keep looking for some holy grail that’s going the fix the problems, when really the biggest issue around transportation is in the firing of our own neurons.”

He doesn’t hesitate saying “we habitually and predictably get it wrong when making decisions about our own happiness about maximizing utility. We all do this everyday in making decision about how to move.”

Public health experts and psychologists are doing robust studies on how moving affects life happiness. According to him, what they’ve found out is “that when people switch from driving their cars to active transportation like walking, biking and even taking transit they get happier. This was a shocker, because most people report in surveys that they don’t like taking transit, and that they feel more fear, rage and sadness than in any other mode.”

We need to envision a system of movement. “It’s a system of life choices that occurs whenever individuals decide to move in a different way, so a transit journey or transit lifestyle isn’t just about getting on a bus. It’s about walking through your neighborhood, and the getting on a bus, and then walking through another neighborhood,” he pointed out.

Coming back to Arlington, “what their commuter services is doing is hacking the minds of commuters in their town. Simply by not showing them data but showing them new stories about how peoples lives are changing when they decide to move differently, that’s all.”

Montgomery said they’re succeeding. “More and more people are choosing to move differently, what that means in Arlington is even though they have tens of thousands of people moving to these new transit neighborhoods there are no more cars on the road. Life gets easier and cheaper for everyone, and the municipality ends up paying less for road improvements.”

TEDxVancouver Signage - JonathanEvans

As we both call Vancouver home, I had to ask his thoughts about it’s place on the Happy City continuum. “You can see we’re doing many things right,” he offered. “Those of us who are lucky enough to own here get to drink from that sweet fountain. But, it’s false to rate a cities happiness simply on questions of livability. You also have to ask yourself the question of equity, of fairness and the question is really very simple; is your city really happy if most people can’t afford to live there?”

According to Montgomery this is where the city has failed. “We’ve failed to anticipate and deal with the effects that the global economy would have our city and on our lives. I’m talking about affordable housing. The big question for Vancouver is not how we can be greener, but how can we extend the riches of city life to more people who want to live here and to the people who already live here and are being pushed out.”

I’m grateful for the opportunity to write about technology and to share stories about the dynamic people making Vancouver a thriving community. But I also 100% agree with Montgomery when he says “guess what, technology is not going to solve that problem. It means finding new forms of tenure. New ways of owning property that makes it less attractive to speculative buyers, and it means finding new ways of adding supply in our neighborhoods. The kinds of housing supply that again aren’t attractive to speculative buyers. The solution to that problem is policy.”

Technology can be enabling, engaging, and empowering, but will accomplish none of this if it’s not designed for people first. The machine, it’s bits and bites are soulless. More than ever we need to keep humanity front and center in our conversations about technology.

“Whatever creates or increases happiness or some part of happiness, we ought to do; whatever destroys or hampers happiness, or gives rise to its opposite, we ought not to do.” Aristotle, Rhetoric

This story was originally published in BetaKit

Charles Montgomery, Talks Technology and the Happy City: Part I

Charles Montgomery -JonathanEvans

Massive urbanization on a global scale is inescapable. It’s not just a trend, it’s happening. Some research suggests that by 2210 nearly 87 percent of the worlds population will live in a city. This future will undoudtedly highlight both the best and worst of humanity. I don’t harbour visions of the Blade Runner like dystopian future. With meaningful policy, purposeful planning, and the infusion of humanity into technology, I’m hopeful of seeing our collective best.

I’ve written about topics like the connected city and urban mobility. It was a significant consideration for the TEDxVancouver team to arrange a conversation with Charles Montgomery. Reading Happy City was a seminal experience. Montgomery works with the BMW Guggenheim Lab, the Museum of Vancouver and other institutions. He creates experiments that challenge us to see our cities—and ourselves—in entirely new ways.

Asked if a city can be happy with technology attempting to make it smarter? “An interesting question” he suggested. “I’d turn it around. I think we need to be asking how is the smarter city going to make us happier? How can it? It may not always.”

Montgomery offered that “there’s a relationship between the use of information and technology in urban systems that may make our lives a little easier. But I’d like to also talk about limitations.”

Mobility’s importance starts the smarter cities conversation. Considering public transit, Montgomery commented that some of the greatest anxiety for transit users involves a sense of uncertainty. “If you don’t know when your bus or train is coming and if you don’t know about making connections, stress levels spike.”

Reducing this stress on shared transit systems isn’t rocket science. This is where information and technology can play a key role. “Just by give people better information make a huge difference,” he said. “When institutions curate more information for customers, doing things a simple as including information or light boards at train and bus stations telling you when the next bus is coming is found to decrease stress.” People feel more in control just having the perception of a shorter wait time.

He talked about the growing number of jurisdictions offering open data. This is allowing app developers the chance work with around transportation systems to give people the information they want in their own pocket. As a Radar user for the Vancouver transit system, he said, “it’s terrific. It shows me where my buses are. It’s not about projected arrival times, I find cognitively that it’s more reassuring to see where the bus is.”

The open data movement can also be empowering for people who just need to get around town. Montgomery sees “it’s powerful for both transit and sharing networks like ZipCar and Car2Go.” He added a unique take on Car2Go, likening it to recycling a pop bottle. Find a car with an app, pick it up, use it, and toss it (leave it curbside). “I think our mobile technologies are essentially enabling these new systems of sharing that are making us more free in cities,” he says.

But he highlighted an important limitation, musing that “we have so far to go.” Recounting a conversation with a leader of the Paris bike sharing program who said, “we know we need to shrink our environmental footprint, and the good news is that it can actually make our lives easier.” He kept returning to this theme of freedom, “what we want is to be free, to move unencumbered through our cities” he said this without mentioning any specific technology or specific mode of movement.

There was a stated desire that more and more Parisians, “want to leave the front door, and want to reach a destination using any mode they please without having to think about it.” Montgomery said further that “he suggested the problem with the old fashioned model of mobility is that you need to own a thing, typically an expensive thing like a car or even a bike. It’s useful for only a few minutes or up to a couple of hours per day, and the rest of the time you have to worry about maintaining it, storing it, and even protecting it.”

The wondrous thing about the Velib bike sharing system in Paris is that it brought a new kind of freedom. A freedom from having to own things, which sounds like Socialism to “us”, but he was talking about valuing experience more that stuff. And guess what, the psychologists and behavioural economists are now telling us that experience is the key to happiness.”

Touching on Aristotle’s notion of Eudaimonia he offered that, “happiness is feeling empowered to reach your full potential. So the question is, how can our cities help us get there? How can they empower us so that we can take on the great challenges of everyday life, and thrive?”

There are current technological limitations relating to shared mobility supply, demand, logistics and fulfillment. Montgomery points out, “in some ways open data and mobile technologies are helping us get there, however I don’t think we can detach ourselves from the realities of the material world. By that I mean, as wondrous as a bike share system or a system like Car2Go is, all you have to do is look at your bike share or car share app to see that at certain times of day there are no vehicles in your neighborhood. They all disappear in the morning, and they all come back at night. So this tells us all the data in the world is not going to fix the issues arising from urban design.”

He talks about intensifying the mix of uses right across the city. “Some people might not like the sounds of this, but if I had more offices, or auto body shops near my house I would have more cars available. And I think the smarter city of the future is necessarily a city of fine grain and mixed uses”

The self-driving car, plus interesting examples of what the cities of Arlington VA, and Vancouver, BC are doing highlight Part II of our conversation.

“It’s impossible to separate the life and design of a city from the attempt to understand happiness, to experience it, and to build it for society.”Charles Montgomery, Happy City

This story was originally published in BetaKit

Celebration Day 01/07/14

75520

01/07/14

20 rolls

It’s V6A

8:00

AM

Tall boy downed

then downed

tossed

tossers ride

the ally

Tall boy empty

finds new hands

change found

celebrate

small change

no change

celebrate

what day?

a new day

another day

survive

suffer

sunshine

bolt cutters gripped

cutters rip what?

celebrate

loot

bounty

pawn

quick fix

smoke it

shoot it

down it

celebrate

it’s another day

it’s Canada Day

it’s V6A

 

picture courtesy of Alpha Coders

 

The Perfect Couple. A Perfectly Cruel Place

They really were the perfect couple. Just not officially betrothed. Together they wreaked more havoc than their four horsemen brethren. Misery was the body blow. Torment was the head shot. With no more to give, and realizing no more could be taken they found the door.

Even when Misery and Torment flipped the bird and flipped off the light, that empty windowless room wasn’t completely devoid of light. It just seemed so.

Bleeding out in darkness is good. You can’t see the size of the wounds. You can’t even see how big the puddles of fluid are. You can just lay there and ooze. You can just wallow and lie. Replay lies. The darkness is a good place to feel sorry for yourself. No one can see the sorry excuse you’ve become.

You let Misery and Torment in. You can only blame yourself for letting them stay so long. Funny thing is how they blame you for having nothing left to give. Funnier thing is that Misery and Torment were happiest finding the door on their own. Guess there was a sense of victory surveying the carnage wrought.

The bleeding stops. The real pain ends. It’s the phantom pain that hangs on. The imagination, and replaying of all those lies keeps the pain feeling real. There’s medication for that. The darkness is the best place to medicate too. No one else knows your prescription. No one else controls your dose. In the darkness no one sees the emptiness. In the darkness you can’t see through the emptiness. You can only feel it. Enough medication eventually removes that feeling too.

Misery and Torment didn’t chain and padlock the door. Only closed it. Not quite airtight. You can still breath. Barely.  Bottom isn’t a soft landing. Eventually the hardness forces you to face the door. It’s allowing yourself the will to grope around in the darkness. It’s about getting a handle. Strain and you’ll even see a sliver of light. Even in complete incoherence, faith has potentiality.

Wallowing is weak. Blind faith in others is weaker. Having no will to power yourself is the weakest. This space offers two choices. Dark or light. Bottom isn’t middle ground. No shades of grey for mental camouflage. Gripped by misery and torment, or the embrace of faith and will. Choose. Them or You.

Stand up, move forward or wallow and stay fetal. The light burns at first, but bottom sores fester and rot. Misery and Torment thrive in rotting knowledge. Misery and Torment are my ex’s; spouse and a business co-founder. They’re excuses.

The ex’s are out, it took some time wallowing before quitting on the excuses. I finally quit on them. The perfect couple now occupy their own perfectly cruel place.

Excuse free. In clarity. Clarity drives purpose of decisions. Purpose with clarity gives meaning. With weightless purpose now moving effortlessly through the dark, the light, the grey, Misery and Torment free. No fear, only faith and will. Goodness, Meaning, Happiness.

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The Wise Owl Talks with the Space Cadet

They were introduced as the rock star astronaut and social media giant. Colonel Chris Hadfield and Hootsuite CEO Ryan Holmes kicked off the inaugural Innovators Speaker Series event forScience World at the TELUS World of Science last week.

Hadfield shouldn’t need much of an introduction, but it’s worth noting that he’s the pioneer of many “firsts” in Canadian space history. That includes: the first Canadian to use the Canadarm; the first Canadian to board a Russian spacecraft; the first Canadian to perform two spacewalks as a mission specialist on STS-100; and the first Canadian to command the International Space Station (ISS). He’s also currently promoting his book, An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth.

Meanwhile, most of Canada’s technology community is familiar with Holmes’ efforts as the CEO of HootSuite. Beyond changing social media management for over seven million users across six continents, he’s also an authority on the social business revolution. Holmes further serves the community as an angel investor and advisor, mentoring startups in Canada and around the world.

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While he wasn’t the first to tweet from space, he’s certainly prolific with his 140 character musings, so it seems only fitting for Hadfield and Holmes to have a conversation about  science, space, the power of music and social media.

The evenings host, Riaz Meghji, had them each reflect on a conversation that proved to be of early importance in life. Holmes spoke about a Grade 12 teacher relating the story about 15th century workers throwing their sabots (wooden shoes) into the wooden gears of textile looms to break the cogs, fearing the automated machines would render the human workers obsolete.

Sharing the origin of the word saboteur, Holmes said that “change is inevitable, so throughout my career I’ve thought about the resistance to the change of technology, and tried to adopt it, embrace it, and be on the frontside of the wave. I think that has really stuck with me.”

It shouldn’t come as a surprise when Hadfield revealed that “two guys named Buzz & Neil” were his inspirations.

He spoke in revered terms about the first lunar landing. Above all, he said was “their conversation and making the decision to find a new landing place, in spite of limited fuel. It was a lifetime of building the knowledge, awareness, and professionalism that allowed them to find safe place to touch down. They only had 16 seconds of fuel left.”

With Buzz and Neil averting disaster and announcing “the eagle has landed”, Hadfield’s deciding against extraordinarily long odds to become an astronaut was set. His advice for what it takes to become an astronaut is pretty good lifestyle advice in general. He says “take care of your body. Eat smart and exercise a little; get an advanced education; practice decision making. The more decisions you choose to make the better you’ll get over time.”

Holmes asked if space tourism is realistic? As Hadfield pointed out “private citizens have paid up to now some $30 million to go, including the founder of Cirque du Soleil who bought a ride with Russians. He spent six weeks training in Russia to fly aboard Soyuz. As well, you’ll soon be able to spend $250,000 and fly Virgin Galactic to get the sense of weightlessness.” Hadfield likened the future of spaceflight being an everyman experience to that of the history of buying an airline ticket. One day it will be commonplace.

Hadfield asked Holmes about how business plays an important role in the community, noting that it’s not just about being a revenue generating endeavour. Holmes shared his excitement for launching a new foundation, The Next Big Thing, which “is about the discovery of the next generation of entrepreneurs. Ten 17-18 years olds (who are probably asking themselves what’s next?) will be given the opportunity to discover anything from a new twist on the lemonade stand to a new software idea. We’ll get them set up at Hootsuite HQ, and connected with a bursary to lessen the risk, and with mentors who will help propel their ideas forward.”

Crediting his nephew for the question, Holmes line of scientific inquiry moved to a little body function junction when asking  “what happens when you fart in space?“ Hadfield had some fun, and patiently offered that “gravity won’t let you burp in space.” You can reverse engineer the answer to gas, as he further suggested that “it’s non-propulsive, which is likely result of poor nozzle design.”

With almost one million Twitter followers (@Cmdr_Hadfield) (and a YouTube success with his remake of Space Oddity, garnering over 19 million views), Hadfield doesn’t just talk a good social game. He thinks the popularity of the video is because it  “crosses over between the fantasy and the reality of spaceflight, and gets people thinking of what’s going on in the Space Station.”

At one point it seemed as if Hadfield was actually channeling Holmes, when talking about social media having to be a social experience. He suggested that you need to really care about what you’re communicating with 140 characters. It’s an opportunity to engage in meaningful thought and the exchange of ideas..

However, appreciating the sight of our planet from space Hadfield leaves us all with the most important thought to ruminate on, simply saying, “we’re in this together. “

This story originally appeared in BetaKit