Monthly Archives: April 2021

Professor suspended for using U-word as university investigates what U-word is

A professor at the University of Eastern Ontario has been suspended after a student’s complaint that he used the U-word in class. The university has launched an investigation to determine the circumstances of the incident, including figuring out what the “U-word” is.

“We took swift action to protect students from offensive academic material,” university president Goby Jasyrundy said in a statement. “We intend to fully investigate this incident, and invite the student in question to meet with our special panel to tell them what the U-word is and why it is offensive.”

Initial Google searches and checks with Urban Dictionary and the Scrabble Dictionary suggest the U-word may be an antisemitic slur or possibly a degrading term for people from Uruguay, but neither would seem to apply to this context.

“What’s important is that students learn in a safe environment, free from racial slurs or ethnic slurs or sexist terms or maybe just a word with too many consonants?” Jasyrundy said.

“We’ll get to the bottom of this,” he continued before apologizing for using the B-word.

Accidental recursion creates infinite number of Canadian Screen Awards nominations

The Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television is struggling to figure out how it can stop an automated system stuck in a recursive loop that is creating thousands of new Canadian Screen Awards nominees every day.

The academy had wanted to expand this year beyond its usual 141 categories into something “a bit more comprehensive,” spokesperson Oscar Nisansakagunu said Wednesday. “With the help of artificial intelligence and blockchain, we created an algorithm that generated new nominees for us, but … things got out of hand.”

People at the academy noticed something was wrong when the algorithm reported an error message indicating it was running out of disk space. By that point, more than 3.9 million Canadians had received nominations in 1.2 million categories. Within a month, it is expected all Canadians, and at least 10% of the world’s population, will have been nominated for at least one award. Within two months, 30% of the world’s computing power will be devoted to creating Canadian Screen Awards categories so more people can be nominated for them.

Plans are still being finalized as the academy does not know how many awards there will be in the end, but the expectation is that the awards will be given through a series of daily broadcasts starting May 1, with about 3,500 awards being given out every evening at a rate of about 23 per minute.

Schitt’s Creek creator Dan Levy leads the nominations with 94,310.

Facebook Canada launches impassioned GoFundMe campaign to help it compensate news publishers

Saying its financial future is under threat and it doesn’t know where it will find the money to pay off news producers for its use of their content, Facebook Canada launched a GoFundMe campaign so its users could chip in to help.

“It’s embarrassing to have to do this, but we have no other choice,” Facebook Canada VP Dory Paenga-wh?wh? said in a heartfelt post announcing the campaign. “If you believe in the future of Canada’s news business, we implore you to contribute what you can.”

Facebook has been under fire recently for brazenly making money while other people make less money, and recently it acknowledged things need to change. “The lack of subscriptions to Canadian media outlets is as much your fault as it is ours,” Paenga-wh?wh? said in her post, “so it’s incumbent upon you to help make that right. For the price of a cup of coffee a day, you can help pay for a journalist’s cup of coffee.”

Perks offered to those who contribute to the GoFundMe campaign include being listed on a thank-you page and access to that feature where you can see who looks at your profile.

Quebecor Media launches QUB ASMR streaming service

Quebecor is expanding its QUB-branded streaming empire, which includes talk radio service QUB Radio and music streaming service QUB Musique, to include a new soft-talking brain-tingling channel called QUB ASMR.

Following in the footsteps of successful YouTube streamers, QUB ASMR proposes to “leverage QMI’s media resources to provide a euphoric information environment that will stimulate the brain both mentally and physically,” explained Dab de Yebrir, one of the new hosts brought on to the service, as host of the new show Rubix QUB.

Among other programs QUB ASMR proposes are a daily show where philosopher Mathieu Bock-Côté soothingly explains how Quebec’s cultural heritage is under constant threat from immigrants and anglophones while slowly scratching a piece of felt, and another featuring Richard Martineau just whispering “hein?” over and over directly into a microphone for an hour.

QUB ASMR will be free to Videotron Mobile customers and $5 a month for everyone else.

Montreal’s orange cones announce union certification, plans to negotiate with city

Fed up of poor working conditions, low pay, lack of respect and literally being abandoned on the street, Montreal’s orange traffic cones announced on Thursday they have been certified as a bargaining unit and will attempt to negotiate a collective agreement with the city.

Though salaries will probably be a sticking point, union leaders say their primary focuses are working conditions and mental health.

“Our cone members are out there 24/7 in the most unforgiving weather,” said Greeneye Onerah Tokha, a member of the bargaining committee. “And despite their unwavering dedication to their jobs, all they get from people is frustration and hate.”

Among the proposals are winter coats, more frequent shift rotations and paid sick and family leave.

The city said it is willing to negotiate, but that coning remains an essential service and it will not accept putting non-cone citizens at risk.

New Rogers NHL GameVote™ lets premium subscribers choose who fights, how video reviews go, and which players are healthy scratches

Rogers is continuing to innovate as it begins the second half of its 12-year $5.2-billion rights contract with the National Hockey League. Today, it announced a new premium service for Rogers Ignite and Rogers Wireless customers called NHL GameVote™, which gives them unique new ways to influence gameplay.

GameVote™ will allow members to vote on things like which players will engage in the next on-ice fight, which way a video review gets decided, which players are made a healthy scratch and what line combinations to use.

“Hockey fans love to debate how coaches should manage their games and how referees call them, so we’re thrilled to put them in the driver’s seat with this new functionality,” said Rogers spokesperson Devario Ebrill. “If they don’t like a call, now they’ll have no one to blame but themselves.”

In order to not delay gameplay, GameVote™ subscribers will be given a game feed three minutes ahead of its TV broadcast, which Rogers is marketing as an additional perk. And though these decisions will be entirely up to fan voting for now, the NHL has given itself the power to override the vote if it feels it goes against the spirit of the game.

So far, Rogers NHL GameVote™ is only available to Rogers customers, but Ebrill said they are looking at making it a premium feature on Sportsnet NOW+.

Simon Jolin-Barrette says he’s almost finished reviewing every word in Larousse dictionary for improvements

Simon-Jolin Barrette, Quebec’s minister responsible for the French language, said Thursday he’s almost completed his word-for-word review of the Larousse dictionary and will be announcing proposed changes to the language in the coming weeks.

“I’m at zéro right now, so should be finally done by the end of the week,” the disheveled minister said as he downed a Red Bull to keep his eyes open. He estimated he would have recommendations on changing the spelling of more than 10,000 words and the pronunciations of about 3,000 more. He also said he plans to have several hundred words deleted, as they are offensive, too English or no longer serve their purpose.

“Soon, we will have a dictionary that truly reflects our society and will set us on the path to a more enlightened future,” he said.

New Larousses would be distributed to families across the province by fall. New bescherelles will have to wait a bit longer as a review of every conjugation of every verb will take some time.

Bell Media introduces new self-serve layoff system

Canada’s largest media company showed its innovative spirit once again today by launching a new system whereby its employees can lay themselves off from the comfort of their homes.

Avril Barbeau, a former employee at Bell’s 103.1 The Bass in Nanaimo, B.C., was one of the first to use the system to self-terminate her employment after 23 years at a company acquired by another company acquired by Bell. “Rather than burst into tears and embarrass myself at the office, I could cry about my life being ruined from the comfort of my own home,” Barbeau said. “It’s a much less painful experience.”

The self-layoff system is controlled through a website, where surplus employees can do everything from schedule a listen-only 90-second conference call where they’re insincerely thanked for their service to hiring a bailiff to come to their homes and confiscate any company-owned equipment. They can also digitally sign non-disclosure agreements and set up automated reminders threatening them if they talk about their layoff on social media.

“We expect self-layoff will do for the firing process in our industry what self-checkout did for the grocery store industry,” said Bell Media CEO Wayne Schusterman, shortly before he was informed he would be retiring at the end of the month to spend more time with his family. “We expect significant synergies with this system that will help us strengthen for the future.”

Bell expects to save several thousand dollars a year in human resources costs, and dozens of HR employees have been invited to use the system as they become redundant over the coming weeks.

CFQR-Anon believers say CJAD competitor will launch any day now

Undeterred by almost ten years of inaction, Montreal conspiracy theorists who have branded themselves followers of “CFQR-Anon” say the secret clues they have received send a crystal clear message that a direct competitor to news-talk station CJAD 800 will launch within days, with a large newsroom of dedicated professional reporters and an on-air lineup filled with personalities that have lost their jobs at other Montreal radio and TV stations.

Elver Kawasik, who has been part of the growing movement for most of the past decade, said he looks forward to hearing the voices of Peter Anthony Holder, Barry Morgan, Sarah Bartok, Elliott Price, Heather Backman, Frank Cavallaro, Richard Deschamps, Chantal Desjardins, Suzanne Desautels, Tasso Patsikakis, Patrick Charles, Brian Wilde, Sean Coleman, Jamie Orchard, Barry Wilson, Joanne Vrakas, Wilder Weir and others on the air again, and to experience a radio station that will spend unlimited amounts of money on journalists.

The CFQR-Anon group had gotten excited just after CFQR 600 AM went on the air in 2017 and promised a full launch with regular talk programming within weeks. But Kawasik said the station has just been in an extensive testing period waiting for the perfect moment to strike. Though there have been no announcements about studio space, staff hired or anything else giving signs of life, Kawasik said his fellow patriots should trust the system and be ready to switch their radios once the CFQR saviour has arisen.

“The shutdown of CJAD’s newsroom was the moment CFQR has been waiting for,” he said. “Our salvation is finally at hand.”

Projet Montréal, Ensemble Montréal announce merger to better compete against large foreign municipal parties

Days after former mayor Denis Coderre returned to municipal political life, he demonstrated how much of a changed man he is today by announcing Montreal’s two largest political parties — Projet Montréal, led by Mayor Valérie Plante, and Ensemble Montréal, led by Coderre — would merge ahead of this November’s election and present a unified slate of candidates.

“In order to better compete with unregulated foreign municipal political parties, we must consolidate our forces and find synergies,” Coderre said. “Montreal is a small market, and against forces like the Democratic and Republican parties in the States, we can’t compete unless we develop that critical mass.”

The rise of foreign political giants has worried Canadian municipal parties for years now. While the 2020 U.S. presidential election cost an estimated $14 billion, Projet Montréal had a budget of only $1.5 million in its last annual report.

“The Montreal political system must be strong or we risk foreign alternatives taking over,” Plante said at the announcement. “Key to this is maintaining the balance between rights and obligations and ensuring the health, quality and sustainability of local political parties within the global political reality, while continuing to fulfil public policy objectives.”

The merger requires the approval of the chief electoral officer of Quebec and of the party memberships.