By: David Charbonneau

David will be posting his columns every week on Thursday. He has eclectic interests ranging from social and political issues to science. He is a retired Electronics Instructor from Thompson Rivers University, former president of the Faculty Association, and curriculum writer. He now paints acrylic on canvas for Thompson Studio.

The future of smart radios

March 9, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — I imagine that the future of radio will combine traditional FM with the technology of smart phones.

I’m not talking about the distant future: the FM broadcast protocols already exist and most cell phones already have an FM radio chip, although you’d never know it. Chris Burns wonders why. In his article for SlashGear.com and he explains how you can find out if your phone has the chip:

Unmasking Uber and Facebook

February 23, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Let’s stop pretending that Uber is just along for the ride in the gig economy and that Facebook is just a technology company.

At first glance, the gig economy seems great: a way for individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit to improve themselves. The reality is that it’s a race to the bottom. For many workers, it’s all they have. They string together a number of insecure, low paying, temporary jobs to try to keep the wolf from the door.

Local content on the new aether

February 16, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Medieval scientists believed that radio waves were carried through a medium they called the aether. Seems sensible. If sound waves require a medium, why not radio waves?

It turns out that radio doesn’t need a medium; a vacuum will do nicely.

The internet is the new aether. The “network of networks” depends on wires and optical fibers to carry signals. The internet wouldn’t exist without it (Wifi is radio but it’s just a connection to the internet).

Electoral reform disappointment #3

February 9, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — I was disappointed but not surprised when Prime Minister Trudeau abandoned his plans for electoral reform. I’ve been let down before.

The first time was in 2005 when a Citizens’ Assembly was created to study models of reform. After much deliberation, they recommended a made-in-BC type of Single Transferable Vote called BC-STV.

The referendum was coincident with the provincial vote. Only weeks away from the vote, an Angus Reid poll showed that two-thirds of respondents knew "nothing" or "very little" about BC-STV.

The bitter side of honey

February 2, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — Becoming bee friendly is a good first step for the city. Now Kamloops needs to become honey friendly.

Canadian and American consumers are getting stung with fake honey. Much of comes from China, the world’s largest honey producer but you wouldn’t know it. Chinese honey is being laundered.

The label rarely says “made in China.” Instead, it will show the country of origin as being from countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, and Taiwan: suspiciously, places that ordinarily don’t produce much honey.

Pipelines are good politics, bad economics

January 26, 2017 - 5:00am

KAMLOOPS — New pipelines get politicians elected. However, they will remain empty; much like election promises that remain unfulfilled. There are environmental reasons not to build new pipelines but the economics are rarely discussed.

First the politics. Workers in the resource extraction industry like new pipelines because they symbolize well-paying jobs. NDP leader Adrian Dix learned that bitter lesson in 2013 when he opposed the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline and regular unionized workers flocked to the BC Liberals.