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Snapshots: horoscopes, dog safety, cat memes, and military uniforms

Curtailed commentary on current conditions.




Print Edition: July 2, 2014

Illustrations: Anthony Biondi (The Cascade)

Horoscopes aren’t for crazy people

People are tolerant of the craziest things, but horoscopes seem to set this whole “open-mindedness” thing back 50 years!

Astrology is an age-old study of the universe’s energy and how it impacts people. We often forget we are just as sensitive to the movements of the planets as nature and the climate are. If the moon controls the ocean tides, what’s wrong with thinking different energies affect people’s attitudes?

There is way more to astrology than your daily horoscopes.

For example, your natal chart is a personalized look at the location of the planets when you were born. It provides a unique look at certain energies the universe was sending you at that time.

Each planet represents a different aspect of your life, depending on how close it is to Earth and which zodiac “house” it lives in at the time of your birth. It’s not simply  saying “all Virgos are this,” or “no Scorpio is like that.” Of course, the degree of Mars in the house of Gemini at your time of birth won’t prophesy that you’re going to be a noncommittal warlord, but it can give you some insight to your instincts in a certain part of your life. The zodiac can be much more personalized and meaningful, if its given a chance.



Keep dogs safe

I have seen countless drivers get pulled over for using their cellphones. However, using a cellphone is not the only way one can be distracted behind the wheel.

I’ve seen the art of multi-tasking in a vehicle: changing songs or CDs, eating, putting on makeup, and so on. But what truly bothers me is when people allow their dogs on their laps while in the driver’s seat. A living thing that can roam around freely is a big distraction.

I understand people want to bring their pets with them, because pets are often considered family. But if you got into an accident, what would be the consequences? Would the impact include the loss of the dog? If they are family, you should keep them safe. Having them in the driver’s seat with you does just the opposite.



Costly cat memes

Last week it was revealed that Facebook manipulated the news feeds of 689,003 randomly chosen people in January 2012, exposing them to either positive or negative posts to see how they responded. The survey successfully showed that our Facebook posts tend to reflect the emotions of others in our newsfeeds, whether positive or negative.

It also successfully pissed off a lot of people.

Now you not only have to worry about potential employers, your new girlfriend’s parents, and sleazy strangers from Australia creeping your personal profile — the number one threat to our Facebook privacy seems to be the corporation itself. They conduct psychological research on their users, advertise to us based on our Googling preferences, and turn our information over to unknown parties in marketing, law enforcement, and the government.

How much further is Facebook willing to go?

More importantly, how much more are we willing to take? And what does it say about us when we’ll sell our personal information for a steady stream of cat memes?



Pricey flashback

The Conservative government wants to spend $4.5 million on new uniforms. The bulk of the expenditure involves ordering brand new jackets for soldiers and naval officers. There’s nothing wrong with the jackets they have; this change is purely cosmetic. The reason for the change is to return to the style of uniforms from WWII.

The defence minister’s press secretary Johanna Quinney told CBC, “this initiative encourages esprit du corps … and reinforces our country’s rich military history.”

Yet after a $2 million budget cut in January, cadets in Canada have been handing off and exchanging used uniforms — CBC reported earlier this year that this was due to cuts across the board for the Canadian Forces.

So where is the $4.5 million coming from to fund this frivolous endeavour? Federal governments past and present have been accused of skewed priorities, but this is more than a little ridiculous.


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