“I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living”

History is full of policies established to determine which human lives were valuable and which were not. Are we comfortable going down that path again?

“I am a man with Down syndrome and my life is worth living”By observing history without judgment, we can learn from our mistakes. By examining primary documents – artifacts from a particular era – we can begin to understand the thinking of the people of that time. In an effort to create a more objective perspective, I tell my students to imagine that they’re living in the…

Baseball’s big free-agent balk

Baseball’s new success formula: Get out of the middle class for a while, sell the house, live in a trailer, accumulate credits and then buy a fabulous mansion

Baseball’s big free-agent balkWe’re told that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation. If it’s the case that teams are imitating the Houston Astros, then it’s no surprise that prominent agents for Major League Baseball players  are screaming foul about the phoney war going on in the baseball talent pool. MLB pitchers and catchers report to spring training…

When a large city learns the value of hugging trees

Part 1 of a five-part series: Urban vegetation has implications for human mental and physical health, and combats flooding, heat, pollution and soil erosion

When a large city learns the value of hugging treesCan the Russians teach us anything about improving the quality of life in a major industrial city? The authors of a new five-part Troy Media series of articles believe so, especially from the ‘green city’ project being implemented in Russia's fourth largest city, Ekaterinburg (named after Peter the Great's wife) on the Ural mountains. This…

The trouble with lusting after status

It’s inherently human to want to be significant in some capacity. But if the price requires sacrificing civility and honour, we've lost ourselves

The trouble with lusting after statusStatus is a constant in human life, although much of the time we don't think about it because it's everywhere and takes so many forms. It’s been said that “if it doesn’t happen on YouTube, it didn’t happen.” But are those messages helping or hindering? Are we unintentionally inviting individuals to seek their moments of fame…

Can meditation create a more peaceful world?

Studies show that meditation and mindfulness training lead to better health in body, mind and spirit. Is that enough to solve the world’s problems?

Can meditation create a more peaceful world?The Dalai Lama said, “If every eight-year-old in the world is taught meditation, we will eliminate violence from the world within one generation.” This quote has gained a great deal of traction through social media in recent years. Is the answer to all of the world’s problems really this simple? While meditation does bring with…

Trump: no retreat, no surrender

State of the union address makes it clear the president won't abandon his core principles … or his rhetorical flourishes

Trump: no retreat, no surrenderDonald Trump’s first state of the union address sent a clear message that the president is not prepared to compromise on his fundamental and core beliefs. His long-stated mantra has been to “put America first” and to “make America great” again. If anyone thought he was going to abandon either of those guiding principles to…

Face-to-face education drives home the message

Higher education cultivates relationships – the abstract relationship with knowledge and the flesh-and-blood relationships with other people

Face-to-face education drives home the messageThe older I get, the more my life looks like a bank of fog. Distant memories fade. Only the most important moments in my life give off light. But memories blink out eventually, so in the long run they may not prove the best way to measure our time. As is the case of school.…

We’re flushing money and resources down the drain

To Dr. Nicholas Ashbolt, wastewater has great value, but realizing that value requires an infrastructure overhaul

We’re flushing money and resources down the drainOnce you learn what Dr. Nicholas Ashbolt does for a living, you’ll never look at plumbing the same way again. Ashbolt believes it’s time for a paradigm shift in the way we think about water, sewage and public health. From his perspective, wastewater has value and we should stop flushing money and resources down the…

Pleasure and pain: tree skiing at Whistler

The 2010 Olympics ended nearly eight years ago but the party carries on. The hills and streets echo with languages and accents from around the globe

Pleasure and pain: tree skiing at WhistlerI was navigating a black-diamond run at the end of our last day in Whistler. The path dropped through a steep mogul field, then narrowed to a single track in thick forest. I veered hard right through a tiny opening between two Douglas fir trees. I emerged blindly from the dark boughs. Terra firma vanished.…

Is it time to trade in your bratty kid?

Trade, trade, trade your way to the perfect family

Is it time to trade in your bratty kid?A few years back my dog suffered from GDV, gastric dilatation volvulus, a sudden killer that can affect the healthiest dog. GDV is more commonly known as gastric torsion, where that cute, furry little quadruped stomach flips like a young Eastern bloc gymnast and is quite often fatal if not caught in time. Even if…