Friday Diversions: June 24

There's a certain realization that you get pretty quickly when you spend any time hunting for residential real estate in this city: everything is very, very spread apart. Apart from a few small neighbourhoods in the central core, most of the homes here are spread along the outskirts, pushing the city boundaries further and further out with every new development. Sprawl is real, here; density is almost non-existent.

According to data published by economists Stephen Redding and Matthew Turner, compared with European averages, "U.S. and Canadian residents spend 30-50 percent more money and time on transport due to dispersed, automobile-dependent development." As someone who prefers to walk as a primary mode of transportation, a city built (growing outwards, spaced out) for the car, like the one where we live, is almost impossible to navigate on foot. It's a key consideration as we search for our next home here, and I'm not sure there's much we can do to avoid the added cost and time that will come from having to drive through a city of sprawl.

Random, unrelated miscellany, gathered in short list form:

I wrote a little remembrance on throwing a few punches with George Chuvalo, the "Canadian who faced down Ali."

The New York Times wrote an article on the future of punctuation without using any periods, reminding me just how old I am because I use full sentences and punctuation in my text messages.

"When many lower-income Americans feel isolated and empty, they yearn for physical social networks. All across US, this happens organically at McDonald’s."

Writers take on the difficult task of trying to figure out which song from Hamilton will go on to become a classic. My money's on "Wait For It."

I met Evan Williams years ago, just a few months after he launched Blogger, and he convinced me to take my (then, hand-coded) website and turn it into a blog. I've followed his career (signing up for Odeo, Twitter, and Medium immediately upon launch) and his advice every since.

Honest e-mail sign-off quotations for the uninspired.

"Wine is the goal of a life well lived, but also a way to temporarily forget you aren’t there yet. And somehow, my life hasn’t quite turned out the way I was hoping. I don’t, and will probably never have, a down payment for a home. I do, however, have a 2012 Barosa Valley Shiraz I am saving for a good steak or perhaps, one day, someone with whom I can talk while our faces are lit by candles."

I've never really followed the Kardashians and their rise to celebrity, but after reading this GQ profile of Kim Kardashian, I'm thinking I need to learn more. Fascinating woman, fascinating story, fascinating look at how she shapes culture.

This is exactly what my undergraduate thesis was all about, prior to the rise of social networks: "The danger of the Internet isn’t that it destroys community, but that it creates community. It’s just that it creates communities that don’t always fit into the current structures of nation-states, which can lead to violence, instability, and extremism."

Edward Hardy is 93, lives in a nursing home, and suffers from dementia and depression. Sam Kinsella, one of Mr. Hardy’s care givers and the narrator of this video, learns of Edward’s prior life as a jazz pianist: