More lawyers should have purple hair, if you ask us.
Canada Day (French: Fête du Canada) is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the British North America Act, 1867 (today called the Constitution Act, 1867), which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire. While originally called Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confédération), the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed.
Probably you don’t care about any of that. Probably you just wish that our settler ancestors had managed to instead enact the British North America Act on “The first Monday in July”, so that you’d be at the cottage right now instead of at the office. Sad trombone.
Since you’re stuck there, we pulled out three articles from this past weekend to give you something to chat to your cubicle-mate about. So at least you have a day off from “struggling for small talk topics”.
1. Supreme Court’s First Nations ruling a game-changer for all
tl;dr – This might not seem like a tech or employment related story at first glance. But the truth is, we don’t yet know all of the impacts of a recent Supreme Court decision about First Nations land claims. It will absolutely affect the resource industry, most immediately the Northern Gateway pipeline. Following a decades long fight between Tsilhqot’in First Nation and the government of British Columbia, this ruling clarifies major issues such as how to prove aboriginal title and when consent is required from aboriginal groups. Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin wrote unequivocally “This is not merely a right of first refusal with respect to Crown land management or usage plans. Rather, it is a right to proactively use and manage the land.” First Nations groups across the country are expected to file similar suits against companies and projects that will disrupt the ecosystems of unceded territory.
Ask your coworkers – How many generations has your family been in Canada?
2. Facebook is learning the hard way that with great data comes great responsibility
tl;dr – In 2012, Facebook helped facilitate a study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences to determine how much your Facebook content impacted your mood. 700,000 members had their news feeds manipulated to show either more positive or more negative content from their friends and family. The study found that online expressions of emotions were contagious, with users who saw more negative posts going on to make more negative posts themselves. Since the details of this study have been released, Facebook has come heavily under fire. Many feel this type of manipulation is seriously unethical.
Ask your coworkers – How much do you think Facebook affects how you are feeling?
3. Hello Mary Sue, goodbye heart
tl;dr – If you are a woman, and a self-described geek, you probably know and love the website “The Mary Sue.” Since 2011, it has been fulfilling its mandate of “highlighting women in the geek world, and providing a prominent place for the voices of geek women.” A great place to find news and analysis about gender in geek culture, it just merged with the gender-non-specific website Geekosystem. Immediately, the site’s “About” page was edited to take out any mention of feminism and female-identifying geeks, which upset the site’s existing audience quite a bit. To make matters worse, the new (male) associate editor handled this completely predictable outcome terribly, tweeting all-caps complaints that he was being declared “THE ENEMY” because he is a straight white man.
Ask your coworkers – Have you ever had a favourite website that turned lousy?
There you go, everyone! Have some great conversations, and do something fantastic with your day off tomorrow!