It’s the nickname for Venice and how, despite repeated ravages to its empire, it always appeared serene and in charge. The same can be said for Serena Williams, who took her final bow at the US Open last weekend after 25 years at the very peak of the world of tennis. She was eliminated in the third round, but no one cared, because she is the Greatest of All Time and, even better, she thanked her mom and dad.
Now, for this week’s Omnium Gatherum…
1. The 10 richest Canadians. Forbes has just updated its list of the wickedly rich. All 10 Canadians are men and three are ‘passport Canadians’ who live elsewhere. If you know more than “Thomson” and “Weston”, you’re doing better than me.
2. Finland, take a bow. In Finland, charging fees for tuition for basic education is illegal, which means rich kids have to mix with normal kids, which means rich families had to make sure the school their kid went to was good, which meant the rich were prompted to invest in public schools.
3. How to sound white and American. The homepage of San Francisco voice-tech startup called Sanas lets you hear the difference between a call centre staffer in India struggling to be understood – and then magically his voice sounds ‘white’.
4. What goes into a Tesla? Certainly not snips and snails, and puppy dogs’ tails. Here’s what makes them better than their gas-guzzler rivals.
5. You can cultivate serendipity. Indeed, you should. In a world awash in striving to be creative, we often forget it’s about making unaccustomed connections, which serendipity is, right? Here’s how and why.
6. Government grub. There are four cities where political institutions have pretty good restaurants.
7. Want to give your money a deserving cause? With the Fall comes Gala Season, and if you’ve been touched by cancer, think about going to the One Life Gala to support the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, one of the Top 10 cancer hospitals in the world.
8. Sybil Wa rides her bike to work. She has four kids, hails from Toronto, and now works in New York. She’s a principal at Diamond Schmitt Architects, heads their New York offices, and leads the reimagining of the new Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center which opens on October 8. This Washington Post profile on her captures how the new generation of women architects is changing the profession.
9. Socialite, jeweller, widow, spy. A rollicking true spy story about how a Russian agent charmed her way into NATO’s top circles in Italy. This story wasn’t broken open by an intelligence agency or the police, but by the British open-source investigation platform, Bellingcat. In other words, the spy business has come in from the cold.
10. The page-turner screws up. We’ve all sat in a piano concert and wondered what would happen if the page-turner missed their cue. Now we know.
Also, what’s better than Queen doing Bohemian Rhapsody? Elton John, Axl Rose and Queen doing Bohemian Rhapsody. And speaking of Queen…
11. The Queen is dead. Long live the King. Early Thursday afternoon, 7 different news feeds informed my phone that Queen Elizabeth had died. It took just one minute. Yet, the news of the death in 1952 of her father, George VI, took many hours to reach her in Kenya. Here’s the best summing up of her life and reign that I’ve seen.