Opinion » Cybernaut


Big country



Canada is huge. Mind boggling-ly big. So completely and utterly massive that the numbers become meaningless.

Canada is the second largest country in the world, covering more than 9,984,670 square kilometres – all of Whistler Village (including the Village North and Upper Village) fits in just one kilometre.

And for a big country, Canada is also relatively unpopulated. More than 85 per cent of Canadians live within 100 km of the southern border with the U.S. and the only major urban populations outside of that border zone are Ottawa and Edmonton.

To help people get around the Canadian Geographic Society has done the country a solid favour by putting an interactive Atlas of Canada online at www.canadiangeographic.ca.

Being Canadian, this service was naturally launched in the lamest way possible – with a 1960’s-looking cartoon featuring a young girl of undetermined ethnic origin with a friendly raccoon.

But beyond the launch lies a powerful tool for navigating this huge country. It’s much more than a map – an atlas contains social data, population data, environmental data, economic data, and all kinds of other data that can be represented geographically. The Canadian Online Atlas also includes stats about our country, and small feature articles on atlas information, such as a look at extreme weather in this country, and a story about western ecozones.

The interactive map features are still in the works, and you can only get within 321x321 square kilometres of Whistler and the surrounding area, but there’s always the CHiRP site at www.chirpwhistler.info if you want to get a closer look at our immediate community.

Interestingly, the Canadian Geographic project was released just days after Google announced that they would be offering aerial maps through their www.google.ca search engine. Check it out at http://maps.google.ca.

Spammer gets nine years

Sometimes, where criminal justice is concerned, it’s a good idea to make an example of someone to discourage others from following in their footsteps. That said, I don’t know what to make of the astonishing nine-year prison sentence handed down to serial spammer Jeremy Jaynes for sending millions of unsolicited e-mails.

Most people, frustrated with all the spam mail they’ve been receiving over the years, probably think that Jaynes got off lightly – some would prefer to see Jaynes stoned to death, drawn and quartered, and sent in little pieces to every corner of the country as a warning to other would-be spammers.

Jaynes was orginally found guilty of spamming last November by a North Carolina judge, and that sentence was upheld last week by a higher court. His prison term has yet to start, as the judge has referred the case to legal experts because of the unprecedented nature of the crime and the sentence. As a result, the sentence could be shortened, modified or even suspended by a higher court.

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