Adventures in Data
Part 2
My employer, the IGM Financial Group of Companies; IG Wealth Management; Mackenzie Investments and Investment Planning Counsel, has joined the anti-hate social media ad boycott. How very cool!

Canada's five big banks have joined as well. Scotiabank, RBC, CIBC, BMO and TD.

I could go on, but the list keeps growing. A great first step in, what I imagine, will be a long fight ahead.

When I first began trying to reverse-engineer the algorithms of social media, starting with Facebook's newsfeed, I was totally ill-prepared for the level of ignorance and hate I would encounter in these forums. And then to figure out first-hand how it is actually designed to amplify such behaviour. It is very much hate by design.

I can't even begin to express what a relief it is to know that I am not alone in thinking this is unacceptable. That there is still such a thing as ethics. I mean, make no mistake, to perpetuate lies and profit from harassment only makes you complicit. I'd even go as far as to use words like accomplice, accessory, and aiding and abetting; since so much of what happens online are criminal acts, punishable by law. The latest example being this heinous report involving Snapchat.

I am also relieved to know I'm not the only one on the planet who's been impersonated by fraudsters. Ripple, the cryptocurrency company, has sued YouTube for letting scammers impersonate its CEO, damaging its reputation. I'm fairly certain Twitter has verified these types of fraudulent accounts too, making that checkmark symbol meaningless.

It's also worth noting that Google has recently banned ads for spyware as well. For more information on spyware, please visit the Coalition Against Stalkerware at

I am curiously anticipating the next iteration of social media. The future of the Internet. A safer space where harassment isn't rewarded and identity theft near impossible – because math. One can only hope.

A village can be rebuilt. A warrior can die only once. – The Last Kingdom
Vector Institute’s AI can also predict random events; only when AI does it, it has a proper name: Neural stochastic differential equations (SDEs). Fascinating. It no longer requires a human to manually update data based on rapidly changing variables. It can see in real-time now. AI keeps getting smarter and smarter.

Congratulations GSP! Je t’aime Georges St-Pierre!! Respect.

And thank you to Ubisoft for the epic Assassin’s Creed Valhalla trailer! I am very much looking forward to playing.

Five Eyes
I am relieved to hear doctors in Italy have begun training/using AI to diagnose Covid-19.

It puzzles me that with all the data and technology available to us, we are still so woefully ill-prepared for pandemics; though it is always heartening to see technology being used for more than just profit. After all, Artificial Intelligence is meant to be used for good, not personal gain. The perfect opportunity to take advantage of its computing prowess is now. Right now.

To see AI in action, check out DeepMind's doc, AlphaGo – The Movie. It is remarkable really.

There is also a shorter doc for AlphaStar: The Inside Story in which we see the AI agent learn to play StarCraft, the real-time strategy game.

AlphaZero vs. Stockfish (chess) games are super fun to watch as well.

Some recommended reading during lockdown:
The Art and Science of Prediction

by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner

The Signal and the Noise
by Nate Silver

The Peripheral
by William Gibson
And finally, possibly one of the most underrated shows on television; "That was Justice!" – Uhtred Ragnarson, The True Lord of Bebbanburg, The Last Kingdom.

I wish everyone a safe and healthy Easter.

These are the precincts of pain. A goddess lives here. Her name is VICTORY.
Significant news items to follow: the coronavirus spread; the stock market crash 2020; and under holy sh**! the U.S. and the Taliban have signed a peace agreement to end the nearly 2-decades-long Afghan war. I have not finished reading the extent of what the deal entails, but am cautiously optimistic.

Merci bien / thanks very much, to all the super cool bands playing in Toronto this spring and summer. I am SO looking forward to all the great live music.

And if, like me, you've been searching for intelligent music with substance, look no further than the new Killswitch Engage album, Atonement. I am wide awake now, and Jesse Leach has my undivided attention.

I also love that Howard Jones returns for The Signal Fire. Atonement is f***ing masterful. Do yourself a favor and turn it up!


So now that the music industry seems to have lost its sense of coolness so completely, I'd like to dedicate the following playlist to all you non-beliebers. I know you're out there. "It's better to burn out, than fade away!"

I love you, MCR!! <3

My Chemical Romance:
An Offering...
The Ghost of You
Welcome to the Black Parade
Bulletproof Heart

Ursine Vulpine & Annaca:
I Am the Only One – Solace EP

Everything But The Girl:
Missing – Todd Terry Club Mix
Missing – Javier Penna Deep Remix
Amplified Heart – Full Album

Fine Young Cannibals:
Good Thing

Word Up

Petit Biscuit:
Sunset Lover

Thirty Seconds to Mars:
The Kill

The Tea Party:
The Messenger
Heaven Coming Down

Big Wreck:

Matthew Good:
While We Were Hunting Rabbits

Sam Roberts Band:
Brother Down

Loud Love

The Killers:
Mr. Brightside
Miss Atomic Bomb

For Love Not Lisa:
Slip Slide Melting

Dave Matthews Band
# 41
All Along The Watchtower
Crash Into Me

Frou Frou/Imogen Heap:
Must Be Dreaming
Just For Now
Let Go


Massive Attack:

Parov Stelar:
La Calatrava
Ragtime Cat

Dare You to Move
This is Your Life

When You Sleep
If You Asked

I Might Be Wrong
Kid A – Full Album

Swedish House Mafia:
Don't You Worry Child

Nicolas Jaar:
And I Say – Xinobi Edit
Why Didn't You Save Me

Miss You
Still on Fire

Past is Prologue – Full Album

Go Quiet – Full Album

One Perfect Sunrise

Dubnobasswithmyheadman – Full Album

St Germain:
Tourist – Full Album

Asante Sana

Swahili for Thank you very much...
for the beautiful film, Mia and the White Lion.
"I love you, Charlie!"

Please visit the Kevin Richardson Foundation; preserving habitat and protecting lions.


CONGRATULATIONS! Magnus Carlsen has, once again, defended his title to win World Chess Champion 2018. Well played!

The official Tournament Report, and more, can be found here; and the Play Magnus apps here.

Magnus' Playing Stats:

Classic: 2853

World Rank: 1

Blitz: 2873

World Rank: 2

Rapid: 2894

World Rank: 1

Hats off to Fabiano Caruana for the many complicated and intense games. I don't always have time to follow along as closely as I'd like, (anyone who actually knows me IRL, would know that work always supersedes life for me) so many thanks to World Chess,, Altibox Norway Chess, chess24, ChessNetwork, ChessBaseGmbH and GM Huschenbeth for covering the tournaments, and for all the insightful and instructive game analysis/ YouTube videos too. I am a stronger chess player now, and also take comfort in knowing there is still something positive to be found on the giant greed-driven hate machine we call the Internet.

It is highly likely I won't have time to update this website again for another 6-months, so until then, a news trivia outro: has named 'MISINFORMATION' the 2018 word of the year.

My Advice to Young Citizens
of the Internet

Evidently an alarming number of people seem content with getting all their information from unhinged rapists on twitter. (Reasons Trump is an actual president.)

It's become a thing. Like fake news. Apparently some find sexual harassment really entertaining too. This is profoundly unethical.

Before making conclusions, (or judgements) always consider the source.

Toronto Police advised me to never engage a stalker in any way. Don't respond to emails or cat calls online. Any reaction from you would only fuel their disturbing social behaviour. Provide more fodder for their invented fantasies, thus perpetuating their sick fixation. Of course, this approach doesn't work online. Stalkers seem to so enjoy the attention they receive from fellow stalkers and bullies online, any response from you is hardly necessary for harassment to escalate.

I can only hope AI will soon fix this, but until then, your only true recourse is to learn to hack.

When meeting strangers, online or IRL, steer clear of any human who seems uncomfortably desperate and needy right off the bat.

People you meet at parties are not your friends. They won't have your back. Don't 'Friend' or 'Follow' them, and if you occasionally partake of herbal remedies like marijuana, don't give out your business card while high.

If you are going to stand up for something publicly — human rights, ethics, politics — be prepared to stand alone.

I don't spend 24/7 on twitter, or any other social network, and neither should you. These are toxic environments and it would be wise to limit your exposure.

Be vigilant about protecting your information and privacy online.

This is the kind of man (or woman) who spends his (or her) days creating multiple anonymous twitter accounts from which to stalk and harass random women online: Canada Creep. The Canada Creep twitter account amassed over 17,000 (complicit) followers, (whose names/photos I'd still like to see.) That this has become acceptable social behaviour is not funny. Honestly, sometimes I feel like I no longer wish to participate in this century. If you see something that's not right, report it, don't just ignore it. Don't let them win. For the love of all things good and true, don't let this become the future of the Internet.

Stalking a woman is not a romantic gesture. It is a crime.

Sexual Harassment is not a bizarre new form of reality television.

And a stalker/rapist is not your boyfriend. He is not your ex-boyfriend. He is a disturbed individual who should seek professional help.

There are a number of possible ways to fix the unholy sewer of hate and defamation that is twitter. Encouraging harassment isn't one of them.

Photo by: Toa Heftiba Cebu City, Philippines

Adventures in Data
Part 1

I don't recall exactly when I became obsessed with data, but it was a long time ago. Back when Facebook was fairly new and I was still posting selfies and pretending to appreciate the 'FarmVille gifts' from my co-workers at Corus Entertainment.

I actually have Mark Zuckerberg to thank for having accidentally stumbled into a rabbit hole of data, and then deciding I'd rather not climb out. It all started with Facebook. I mean, I was already using analytics to track user activity on my personal and work websites, but really, it was Facebook that turned it into an obsession.

I quickly grew bored of FarmVille and was convinced there had to be more to social networking than this. More than sharing selfies and shilling diet products. That's when I discovered EdgeRank, Facebook's original newsfeed ranking system. You could easily customize what was showing up in your newsfeed. I began adding music and science stories, and subtracting all the gardening and knitting photos from relatives. (Sorry, Mum.)

It was all fun and games until Facebook began employing a more complex ranking algorithm based on machine learning. They stopped calling it EdgeRank, now it's just called Facebook's Newsfeed Algorithm, and this was about the time I discovered all the (bordering on unethical) ways an algorithm can be applied.

I found I was able to use similar algorithms to predict outcomes with an average 85% accuracy. And it worked with anything. I began collecting data on various random subjects and using Facebook to field test my results. It was kind of like a secret science experiment.

While I became more and more fascinated with algorithms and statistical modeling, I was also growing increasingly suspicious of social networking in general. If you only knew just how much personal information one can gleen from social networks; based on the kind of intimate information I've been able to collect from total strangers. I won't even go into issues of stalking and harassment (yet). It was no longer about connecting with friends and family. It became creepy. A dark alley you don't venture into alone at night. I stopped accepting 'Friend Requests' and sharing personal information, pictures, anything that would give away my location; particularly party invitations, because the invitations that were public, would show the entire world exactly where you'd be, and when you'd be there. My social networking presence resembled the sparsely furnished foyer of a newly constructed office building. A couple folding chairs and maybe a glass of water, but don't get comfortable, you won't be staying long.

To be continued...

Site Building

First I have to say, Vive la France! Vive l'Europe! <3 I am very happy France has elected Emmanuel Macron as President.

Second, I forgot how fun it is to build websites, hence Astronaut Cat. :)

Third, for reasons I haven't figured out yet, the embedded Google Map in the contact section doesn't work in the new Microsoft Edge browser, but seems to work fine in every other browser known to man. I secretly hope no one on earth is using Microsoft Edge and also that one of the good people at Google Maps notices this oversight.

And lastly, work at Solar Ship supersedes life at the moment, but I intend to start, when time permits, writing more useful bits about my adventures in data, as the blog title suggests.

A New Website

I haven't started actually writing here yet because I'm still in the middle of building, but I have written a few short posts about my volunteer work for friends at Environmental Vision Exchange; a Canadian charity that travels (mostly through Africa) solving problems. You can find it here: