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Now it got Jack Layton.  He was a good man.  Someone in politics for what seemed to be the right reasons.  A politician who passed the “would I have a beer with him” test with flying colours – I did have a beer with him and we had a lovely time.  He was one of those people who could make you feel like the most important person in the world the way he listened to you.  And now just like that he’s gone.

I’ve really had a problem with the discourse (or really, lack thereof) that’s surrounded his fight with cancer.  The dogged optimism.  The refusal to come out and say, when you’ve had prostate cancer and it’s back, and on top of that you’ve now got another kind of cancer as well, you’re pretty much fucked.  And also, things like what Edmonton Strathcona MP Linda Duncan said on CBC this morning: “If anybody could beat cancer, it would be Jack.”  I understand the sentiment.  I really do.  If cancer was something that could be fought with the will, who better than Jack, the perpetual underdog who never gave up.  If cancer was something you could fight with hard work and determination, who better than Jack, who lead the NDP from near-demise to official opposition status.  Except that cancer doesn’t care how hard you fight.  If it did, we’d still have Jack.  And a whole lot of other people too.

Pushing the limits of our knowledge is what science is all about.  Consider what NASA is learning about thunderstorms and their possible role in creating anti-matter.  Fascinating stuff!

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August 2011


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