Drowning man

Where are rivers people?

In Quebec, where the Magpie River in 2021 was recognized as a legal person with nine legal rights, including the right to flow, to maintain its biodiversity and to take legal action. It’s all part of the environmental personhood movement which began in the 1970s as a tactic to pressure governments to protect the environment: indeed, the Magpie River could now sue the government. Lest you think this is either legal over-reach or Woke gone wild, recall that women in Canada weren’t declared ‘persons’ until 1929.

Today, species, genders, and what were once thought to be wildly different kinds of living things are spilling over onto each other, insisting that they have voices and that their voices be heard.

So if plants have rights, surely artificial intelligence will soon demand its own as well.


1. Air travel is more stressful than going to the dentist. And that’s on a good day. Expedia has just released its 2024 Air Travel Hacks Report. Its conclusions may be fresh, but they’re hardly new. My flying strategy is, keep my head down, my mouth shut, my mask and earphones on, my movies downloaded, and my food and drink bought anywhere but on the plane.

And speaking of stress-reduction, there’s now an app, RunPee, that tells you the best time to have a pee so you don’t miss the highlights of the movie you’re watching in a theatre.

2. Turning Japanese. Marcus Gee wrote a scabrous column in The Globe and Mail about just how bad Toronto’s transit system is. I’m not just speaking of how it’s run, but how it’s built. Streets are tied up for years as new lines or stations get built. Even executives at the notorious Eglinton Crosstown Line dare not estimate when it will be finished. Gee contrasts this with how they do things in Tokyo. An entire above-ground line had to be moved underground, which they achieved not in years, months, or days, but in 3.5 hours. Here’s that story, now a decade old, on video.

3. Cheating isn’t just rampant in science, but in social science. Scientific misconduct is a big phrase for ‘cheating’, and it seems cheaters have been prospering in the ‘soft’ social sciences as well as the hard ones. One of the most famous is rock-star psychologist Dan Ariely whose pop-science books have been best-sellers for years. At issue is whether he manipulated data in a paper on bending the truth.

4. Do you distract easily, or do you have ADHD? Take this test and find out.

In an alternate reality, are you a lazy, depressive, productive late-bloomer?

5. You can own a Rembrandt. Well, part of a Rembrandt. Okay, a tiny sliver of a Rembrandt. And maybe not now, but soon. This month, the ultimate luxury product is going mainstream. Masterworks is selling shares of a $36.7 million painting by American artist Jean-Michel Basquiat who died in 1988 at age 27.

Still, without spending a nickel, you can watch a determined art conservator restore a painting of the Doomed Party-Girl, Isabella de’ Medici.

6. Worth seeing: One: From Academy-Award winning director Errol Morris, the final interview with John Le Carré. The Pigeon Tunnel premieres on Apple+TV on October 20.

Two: The Architecture of Health: The Zeidler-Evans Lecture to commemorate the late architect Eb Zeidler who changed how we view healing and buildings. Dr. Robin Mazumder, environmental neuroscientist from the Technical University of Berlin, will discuss “A City That Can Save Us”, October 23, 6:30 p.m.

Three: Gairdner Science Week, Oct. 24-26, the annual celebration of some of the world’s top medical researchers and their work.

Four: Wars, Memory, and Families. The Nov. 7th RamsayTalk launching R.H. Thomson’s By The Ghost Light, with Thomson and Eric Peterson.

7. New ways. New words. New bans. Here are two new ways of seeing things. But are they real? Also, September saw 690 new words added to the dictionary, from goated and ngl, to smishing and cold open. Finally, Britain may be banning tobacco entirely.

8. “People did that?” In the same way we marvel that people drove cars without seat belts or smoked cigarettes for their health, so too could we look at the idea of retirement. Just ask Brian Cox, Britain’s famous no-bullshit actor whose anthem is: “I just want to keep working.”

9. Three big questions: Hoose a good boy? What’s more popular than The Met and MOMA? The Tank Museum, in the English countryside, with more than 100 million YouTube views. And what’s the coolest emotional support animal? An alligator.

10. With glowing hearts. Canadians are the only people who stumble over the words of their national anthem – From “Our home on native land to true pastry gloves.




This is not a cruise, but a sail.

All we do is bask in the historic luxury of this unique ship and the tender expertise of Lindblad Expeditions.

So join Jean and me, next year from May 29 to June 5, on the sea from Nice to Amalfi.

For more information, click here.

Bob Ramsay


Here are the other trips RamsayTravels is hosting in the coming months.

In order of appearance…

February 25 – March 9, 2024 — South Pacific aboard the National Geographic Orion

September 2-9, 2024 — Lindblad Expedition to the Great Bear Rainforest.

Just e-mail Bob Ramsay at bob@ramsayinc.com if you have questions.

Thanks for coming this far with us.

Bob Ramsay


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