Online and Offline

A valuable recognition that leapt out at me the from flood of remembrances for the late Aaron Swartz:

I think he knew that the amazing platform provided by the Internet could only bring about real changes if people were willing to put them into action. That documents and data and records posted online would need to translate into action or impact offline.

Anyone who seeks social or political change and sees the Internet as a tool for such must keep reminding themselves of this. For Aaron’s sake, if nothing else.

Making the Trains Run on Time

For the second time in as many weeks, protesters involved in the Idle No More movement blockaded the routes of VIA Rail passenger trains in the Toronto-Ottawa-Montréal corridor yesterday. I can only dream of a day when the same level of internet comment-based hostility that greeted this blockade is directed at CN Rail every time one of their freight trains delays passenger service.

I probably shouldn’t hold my breath.

(Happy New Year.)

Gradgrindism

Some inspiration from Laurie Penny:

I’d say, go to university, but go for the right reasons. Education isn’t a gun held to your head: it’s a weapon in your hands. Go not because you’re afraid of not getting a job – that’s not something you can count on anyway – but go because you love to learn, because you’re excited by ideas, because you believe that education is important for its own sake, and when you get there, pay attention, read everything you can get your hands on, cram yourself with words and figures and ideas, because that’s the one thing they can never take away from you.

This was literally exactly what I needed to read as I begin prepare myself for a meeting with Concordia’s new president next week.