Posted in Book Review

Returning Home

map_easternCanada_2bAfter five weeks in the North, what has changed on the home front? First, Dr Mackinnon has retired. This means no family doctor. Make sure that you have registered on the 811 list; not an encouraging sign, especially given the recent video that went viral on a young cancer patient. Second, Highway #201 is still full of logging trucks removing trees from the remaining forests of Southwest Nova Scotia. Third, no news on the Gordonstoun build outside of Bridgetown. It does make you wonder whether we need a change in our political leadership. or are most of our woes related to the performance of the civil service? In which case, we need a ‘change in the culture’.

bookCover_WonderWithinYouOn a more positive note, courtesy of Amazon, I returned to find two new books by David Manners. You may recall from an earlier blog, that he wrote a novel in the 1940s about rural living in Centrelea. In The Wonder within You, David Morgan-Jones gives a useful biographical introduction to Manners’ life. Manners was born in Halifax in 1900. After going to the University of Toronto to study Forestry, while there, he started his acting career. In the 1930’s he was a Hollywood film star. He dropped out, and moved to Yucca Loma where he wrote two novels: Convenient Season (1941) and Under Running Laughter (1943). He shared his life with Bill Mercer (1948-1978) in both Yucca Loma and Santa Barbara. Manners died in 1998. Awakening from the Dream of Me (1987) was described as ‘a unique collection of aphorisms from an American sage‘. The Wonder within You (2005), edited by Morgan-Jones, was published after his death. It contains a selection of quotation from both his newsletters and journals. For example,

‘No tools, no money, no travel, no teacher, no group, no organization is needed. The ultimate is here, and it is free and open to everyone. No identification card is needed, no scroll of great deeds or list of failures. Come as you are, naked of the world’s judgements.’

From the past, this month, I have received emails from students who were in Lawrencetown in the 1980s. Bill Castel and his mother, Pat, were both students at NSLSI in the Scientific Computer programming program. Sidey Timmins and his sister, Ann, were both students in the new GIS program from the mid-eighties. I have also been in contact with Danielle Robinson. She is PhD candidate at the University of Guelph looking at food sustainability and rural tourism.  She is making a comparison between the Okanagan Valley, BC and the Annapolis Valley, NS. I look forward to her visit to Nova Scotia next month.

bookCover_NovaScotiasLostCommunitiesMy last piece of reading, I picked up this week, at my father-in-law’s house in New Glasgow. The book is by Joan Dawson Nova Scotia’s Lost Communities: the early settlements that helped build the provinceBesides raising questions about the historical exploitation of the Nova Scotian landscape, whether saw mills, shipbuilding or mining, it offers us a reminder that the current overexploitation of our resources will again pass into history. However, it does beg the question: will we ever learn? To do things differently?


To those friends and relatives who believe that ‘there must be a better way’ without exploiting people and the planet. To Heather Stewart and Edward Wedler, fellow travellers.


After five weeks away, I have five issues of The Guardian Weekly to digest. Just imagine.     In the April 19th. edition, there is a promising book review of Outpost by Dan Richards. Alex Preston, the reviewer compares the writing to the work of Robert MacFarlane. Time to use the services of inter-library loan in Lawrencetown.



David Manners.1987. Awakening from the Dream of Me. Non-stop Books.

David Morgan-Jones. (ed).2005. The Wonder within You. From the Metaphysical journals of David Manners. Trafford Publishing.

Joan Dawson. 2018. Nova Scotia’s Lost Communities: The Early Settlements that helped Build the Province. Nimbus Publishing.

Posted in Book Review

Northern Reflections

We have been in Iqaluit for a week. One of the first stops was the Arctic Ventures store. They have a good collection of Northern literature from Inhabit Media. All week, I have been reading The Hands’ Measure. It is a series of essays honouring Leah Aksaajuk Otak’s contribution to Arctic Science.bookCover_HandsMeasure

”Leah was an oral historian and linguist with the Nunavut Research Institute in Igloolik. Leah’s lifelong advocacy of Inuit culture and language was uniquely expressed in her passionate promotion of traditional sewing skills and clothing-making techniques.

”To measure with the hands” she asserted, was the essential first step in producing a perfectly fitting garment. Aptly this axiom serves as a proxy for Leah’s unwavering certainty about the essential role of tradition in contemporary Inuit society”.

The nineteen essays were edited by John MacDonald and Nancy Wachowich. Of particular note, for myself, were the contributions by Claudio Aporta and Hugh Brody. Claudio teaches at Dalhousie University. Hugh is an anthropologist and filmmaker and holds the Canada Research Chair at the University of the Fraser Valley.

Aporto’s essay ‘Living, Travelling, Sharing. How the Land permeates the Town through Stories’ contained the following quotation.

”The concept of ‘body of knowledge’ only scratches the surface of that complex relationship that Inuit have with their environment. As Tim Ingold (2000) has argued, it is in the unveiling of relationships that people truly learn, through a process that he calls ‘enskilment’. Many books have been written describing this or that aspect of Inuit knowledge, but knowledge separated from skills (and actual performance) has only partial meaning in the Inuit world. This is perhaps true of any knowledge, but in the Inuit approach to learning, knowledge, skills and performance are fundamentally entangled, to the point that separating them is detrimental or nonsensical.”

Or Hugh Brody’s essay on ‘The People’s Land – the Film’

”To write about the film now is to be reminded that… hundreds of others in the North were determined that Inuit history be known, Inuit knowledge respected and the Inuit land – the people’s land – be a continuing source of every kind of nourishment for the Inuit.” The People’s Land was filmed in Pond Inlet in 1974.

Visiting grandchildren in the North, this book raises a number of questions.

For example,
What is the concept of an elder in Western society?
What skills do we have to pass on?
What happens when you remove people (elders) from the land?


John MacDonald and Nancy Wachowich (ed). 2018. The Hands’ Measure. Published by Nunavut Arctic College Media.

Inhabit Education is a Nunavut-based educational publishing company with a mandate to provide educators and parents with educational resources that are infused with authentic Northern perspectives, ways of life and imagery.Inhabit Education






Posted in Book Review

Penguin Comfort

Last week at the Box of Delights bookstore in Wolfville, I noticed a new series of Penguin Books – Great Ideas.bookCovers_Orwell Number #99 was by George Orwell Some Thoughts on the Common Toad. It contained eight essays, including a defence of PG Wodehouse, an examination of Gullivers Travels, and a commentary on Tolstoy and William Shakespeare.

In the Great Ideas series, Orwell also contributed #20 Why I Write and also #57 Books v. Cigarettes. Further online research took me to the Penguin Classics web site.

From Some Thoughts on the Common Toad:

” So long as you are not critically ill, hungry, frightened or immured in a prison or a holiday camp. Spring is still Spring.

The atom bombs are piling up in the factories, the police are prowling through the cities, the lies are streaming from the loudspeakers, but the earth still goes around the sun, and neither the dictators nor the bureaucrats, deeply as they disapprove of the process, are able to prevent it” p.6.

With minus 20 degrees centigrade on the outside thermometer, it was good to stay indoors with a wood stove and the comfort of Penguin books.

bookCover_Thanks for ListeningThe Orwell essays complemented my reading of Ernest Buckler. I had the opportunity to read Glance in the Mirror. This quotation caught my eye.

“They thought that writing was always wonderful, but most of the time it was the loneliest job in the world. That crippling stillness when you sat down to try the first few lines. As if everything you looked at was tensed for you to make a sound and you are tongue-tied, like someone in a nightmare. If that lasted long enough you would sit there then and hear the sound of your own life going by. A lifetime is not forever, and yours was already half gone.”

EBLES hopes to present Glance in the Mirror as a short play on June 29th at the Temple in Bridgetown.

For the last two weeks, we have been dog-sitting Uke and Siqsiq, our son’s twelve-year-old retired sled dogs. As Arctic dogs, they enjoy the cold weather. Cold comfort! Daily walks make us appreciate the wood stove and the books.


Anne Crossman for transcribing Glance in the Mirror. Heather Stewart for help with the dog walking and loading the wood stove. Edward Wedler for the graphics.


George Orwell. 2010. Some Thoughts on the Common Toad. Penguin Books. Great Ideas #99

Ernest Buckler. Glance in the Mirror

Posted in Book Review, Event Review

Profit of the Wilderness



The Inside Story in Greenwood (previously owned by Edward and Anne Wedler) maintains a good collection of books by local authors. I picked up Allison Mitcham’s Prophet of the Wilderness . It is a biography of Abraham Gesner (1797-1864). Gesner is perhaps best known for the invention of a new fuel ‘kerosene’. He also wrote the first treatise on the geology and mineralogy of Nova Scotia. From Mitcham’s title, Gesner was a prophet about the future of the wilderness, in this case, Nova Scotia. Although he also conducted significant field research in New Brunswick. My blog title is a wordplay on how we can profit from this landscape.

On Friday, I arranged for a meeting with Celes Davar (Earth Rhythms) and Ed Symons (Community Mapping at COGS). The broad topic was experiential tourism and the different methods for telling our stories. What is the role that maps and mapping can play?

This sent me off in a slightly different direction. I am less interested in telling stories that can be consumed by the visitor, but rather the stories which we share between residents of this landscape.

For example, I have been checking the writing and life of David Manners. Yesterday, I received a note from the library that soon I will be able to read his second book, Under Running Laughter.

poster_dracula1931Last night at the Centrelea Cinema, there was a showing of Dracula (1931), featuring the actors Bela Lugosi and David Manners. It was wonderful to be in a community hall, being served popcorn, and able to watch an actor who had spent time, here in the community in the ’20s.

But the real story is as follows. Not only had a small group of citizens arranged the film series, with Dracula as the kick-off event, but they had arranged for the technology and the movies to be available. AND, before the main feature, there was a screen welcome to the Centrelea Cinema and a short cartoon. How does that happen? How do those skills reside in Centrelea? What other skills reside in this empty space or ‘wilderness’ called ‘rural Nova Scotia’?


To Ed Symons and Celes Davar for a fruitful conversation. Please check earthrhythms and codsounds web sites. To Anne Crossman and Nancy Godfrey for the movie night in Centrelea. Edward Wedler for editorial and graphics skills.


From Henry Thoreau, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers

‘In my short experience of human life, the outward obstacles, if there were any such, have not been living men, but the institutions of the dead. It is grateful to make one’s way through this latest generation as through dewy grass. Men are as innocent as the morning to the unsuspicious… I love mankind, but hate the institutions of the dead un-kind’.

See Brain Pickings February 24,2019 for the larger context.


Allison Mitcham. 2018. Prophet of the Wilderness. Nimbus Press.

Brain Pickings. February 24,2019

Posted in Book Review

Orwell’s Nose

orwellsnoseThe idea for the Ernest Blair Experiment blog came from a combination of Ernest Buckler, writing about the Annapolis Valley and Eric Blair (aka George Orwell) known for his writing about England. When I came across John Sutherland’s book Orwell’s Nose – a pathological biography, it was hard to resist.

Sutherland, Emeritus Professor of English at the University College London describes Orwell’s life (b. 1903 and d. 1950) in terms of his literary career, but within the context of smells.

David Lodge, in his review of the book, states. ‘Orwell’s obsession with smells, agreeable and (more often) offensive, has been noted before, but never explored to such effect, not excluding the smells of shag tobacco and BO he emitted himself’.

Orwell was born before the First World War and died after the Second. He went to school at Eton, served in the Burma police service. He was inspired by social anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski. He spent time ‘down and out in Paris and London’, as well as visiting the North of England (The Road to Wigan Pier).
orwell_roadtowiganpier orwell_1984
His final book was Nineteen Eighty-Four, completed on the remote Scottish island of Jura.

Robert MacFarlane, in The Wild Places, writes:

” It is clear that Orwell needed to be in that wild landscape to create his novel; that there was reciprocality between the self-willed land in which he was living and the autonomy of spirit about which he was writing. The price of this vision, though, was his life’.  p.140.

A visual biography, taken from artist’s website www.

It is interesting to reflect on the next generation in England, born around the start of the Second World War and subsequently emigrating to either Canada or Australasia. I am part of that generation, as well as my older brother. This year my artist-brother has put together a series of postcard paintings for his grandchildren, with notes for every five years of his life. This has now been supplemented with a YouTube video matching each postcard painting.

All of this reflection has set me thinking. How does the landscape enter into the writing task?


Thanks to Edward  Wedler for his graphics contribution. Peter Maher for sharing his autobiographical work in progress. Shared memories indeed.


John Sutherland. 2016. Orwell’s Nose. Reaktion Books.

Robert MacFarlane. 2008. The Wild Places. Penguin Books.

George Orwell’s books include Burmese Days, Down and Out in Paris and London, Keep the Aspidistra Flying, The Road to Wigan Pier, Homage to Catalonia, Coming up for Air, Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty-Four.


Posted in Book Review

Proust and the Squid

On CBC’s The Sunday Edition (December 2nd), Michael Enright interviewed Maryanne Wolf on the subject of the reading brain in the digital world and her new book.readerComeHome  squid


The following day, we went over to Mahone Bay and Lunenburg. At Lexicon Books, I purchased a copy of the earlier book Proust and the Squid: the story and science of the Reading Brain.

‘Knowing what reading demands of our brain and knowing how it contributes to our capacity to think, to feel, to infer and to understand other human beings is especially important today, as we make the transition from a reading brain to an increasingly digital one.’ p.4.

Wolf describes the reading brain’s development and evolution – both the personal-intellectual and the biological. She uses Marcel Proust as a metaphor and the squid as an analogy for two different aspects of reading.

Proust saw reading as a kind of ‘intellectual sanctuary’ where human beings have access to thousands of different realities.

‘The study of what the human brain has to do to read is analogous to the study of the squid in earlier neuroscience’.

My interest revolves around the relationship between reading about a landscape and experiencing that landscape. From my blogs, you will have noticed the tendency to link reading of a variety of local authors to our sense of place.

The other dimension relates to our changing digital world (check out the podcast). There is a difference between book-length reading and short blogs. It is increasingly difficult to balance the reading brain between these different formats. However, the challenges presented by Wolf in her books make it all worthwhile.


Kent Thompson describes his search for copies of Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina as an excuse for getting out of town on his bicycle. Today, I found two volumes of this book at the Thrift store in the village of Lawrencetown.

artOfTravelMy second link relates to Alain de Botton’s book The Art of Travel. He describes the work of John Ruskin on word-painting.

‘The effectiveness of Ruskin’s word-painting derived from his method of not only describing what places looked like but also analyzing their effect on us in psychological language. He recognized that many places strike us as beautiful not on the basis of aesthetic criteria – but on the basis of psychological criteria because they embody a value or mood of importance to us’.

Back to Wolf (in fact Walter Ong)

‘The interaction between morality that all human beings are born into, and the technology of writing, which no one is born into, touches the depth of the psyche.

Writing introduces division and alienation, but a higher unity as well. It intensifies the sense of self and fosters more conscious interaction between persons. Writing is consciousness-raising’.

Finally, Marcel Proust:

‘I believe that reading, in its original essence, is that fruitful miracle of a communication in the midst of solitude.


CBC Sunday Edition. December 2, 2018. Michael Enright. Podcast.  Come Home: the Reading Brain in the Digital World.

Maryanne Wolf. 2008. Proust and the Squid. The Story and Science of the Reading Brain. Harper Perennial.

Maryanne Wolf. 2018. Reader Come Home: The Reading Brain in a Digital World. Harper and Collins.

Alain de Botton.2002. The Art of Travel. Penguin Books.

Posted in Book Review

Eccentrics in Paradise

In 1926, William Inglis Morse self-published a limited edition book, Eccentrics in Paradise and Other Essays. Besides short descriptions of some of the characters in the village, it also offers a description of the village itself.


‘In the Notes of 1888 (Ticknor and Company, Boston) Paradise is sketched as a ‘pleasantly situated village of about 400 inhabitants, with several sawmills, grist mills and tanneries. The principal exports are lumber and cheese, though there are also large deposits of merchantable granite in the vicinity’. p.8.

With reference to the Mi’kmaq:

‘their habitat was a government grant on the south side of the Annapolis River, at the head of the tide, from which vantage ground they witnessed the passing of the years and the river flowing to the sea.’ p.12

The book’s appeal, besides the title, is the relationship between the author and a specific place. Today, we still have the Morse estate and Burnbrae Farm.

A second example of author and place is between Elizabeth Bishop and Great Village. This week, Sandra Barry gave me a copy of Elizabeth Bishop’s Great Village. A Self-guided Tour. This is a beautiful combination of maps, history and images linked to Bishop’s writing.

‘ Bishop’s childhood in Great Village had a profound effect on her and years later her memories found their way into poems and stories. The village and its people were not merely subjects in Bishop’s work, her experience with them fundamentally shaped her worldview and artistic sensibility’. p 1.

A third example can be found in the writing of Kent Thompson, Getting out of town by book and bike. Thompson describes a bicycle ride from Annapolis Royal to West Dalhousie, and then back to Lequille on the old Dalhousie Road.

” Some 65 kilometres. Great day; one of the great rides in Nova Scotia. I almost hate to tell anyone about it. Might want to keep it a secret” p.98

En route, he visits Ernest Buckler’s gravesite at Gibson’s Lake.

” The graveyard sloped upward on one side, and on the other, the lake lapped softly in the sun, like the breathing of someone asleep”. p 91.

The original quote is from The Mountain and the Valley p. 89. For the full context, read Thompson, Chapter 6 Secret Road to the Lost Village. p. 83-98.

There, we have three very different examples of the relationship between literature and geography. I am not sure whether the self-guided tour format produced by Sandra Barry for the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia could be transferred to a self-guided bicycle tour of West Dalhousie for the Ernest Buckler Literary Event Society. What is evident, is that there are ‘eccentrics’ in many small rural communities. Their observations on rural life continue to sustain us, or in Sandra Barry’s words:

” Great Village is a place where roads converge. Each road (each travelled by Bishop) is followed to the edge of the village with hints of what lies beyond’ p. 1.

or Kent Thompson:

‘You can even capture passing time, a way of life with all its implements and terms, which is escaping. And is gone to the eye, now. Not a farm left on this road.” p.98.

The last word is with David Canaan (aka Ernest Buckler)

‘Suddenly he knew how to surmount everything….. (And all that time the key to freedom had been lying in these lines, this book) There was only one way to possess anything: to say it exactly. Then it would be outside you, captured and conquered.” MV p.195.

Discussions with Edward Wedler reveals that economic development has sprung from connecting literature/film to place (including Nova Scotia), as noted in his blog post “What do the Films Outlander, Titanic and Def-Con 4 have in Common?”


Thanks to Edward Wedler, Sandra Barry and Heather Stewart.


There is a screening of Climate Change and the Human Prospect on Wednesday, November 28th at Kings Theatre, Annapolis Royal at 7:30 pm. It will be followed by a Question and Answer session with Timothy Habinski, Gregory Heming and Robert Cervelli.


Willam Inglis Morse. 1926. Eccentrics in Paradise and Other Essays. Nathan Sawyer, Boston.

Sandra Barry 2005. Elizabeth Bishop’s Great Village. A Self-Guided Tour. Gaspereau Press.

Kent Thompson. 2001. Getting out of town by book and bike. Gaspereau Press.

Ernest Buckler. 1952. The Mountain and the Valley. McClelland and Stewart.(MV)


Posted in Article Review, Book Review

Two magazines and a book

One of the additional pleasures of visiting my father-in-law in New Glasgow is the opportunity to catch up on the current magazines. This time, it included Canadian Geographic and Saltscapes.

In the latest issue of Canadian Geographic, Michael Palin talks about his new book, Erebus.

” I already knew a lot about Canada, as it was a country beloved by British Geography masters, being friendly and coloured pink, and because all maps were on a Mercator’s projection, it looked absolutely colossal.” p.69.

This reminded me of my Geography teacher at Chiswick Grammar School in England. Howard (Hank) Williams would draw maps of the world on the blackboard with coloured chalk. Our task was to identify all the numbered cities and rivers on the map. It seemed that we had these tests every couple of weeks (1958-61).

saltscapesCover_AugSep2018In the latest issue of Saltscapes, two articles caught my attention. Jodi DeLong reviewed  Sandra Phinney’s book ‘Waking up in my own backyard. Explorations in Southwest Nova Scotia. Or as DeLong titled her article ‘ Celebrating our own spaces’

The second article was by Suzanne Robicheau describing an alternative approach to rural economic development, where a group of Annapolis Royal artists put their faith in a brick and mortar marketplace. She describes how “after reading the Ivany report, Jane Nicholson cashed a bond and invested in her community by establishing a private economic development firm called Annapolis Investments in Rural Opportunity (AIRO)”.

Both local, good news stories.

When we drive from the Annapolis Valley to New Glasgow, we often prefer to take the back roads, rather than the 100 series highways. This weekend, we detoured through River John to revisit Sheree Fitch at the Mabel Marple Bookstore. It has one of the best collections of Atlantic Canada books, aside from the wonderful collection of children’s books.

divisionsOfTheHeart_CoverThere, I discovered:
Divisions of the Heart: Elizabeth Bishop and the Art of Memory and Place. Edited by Sandra Barry, Gwendolyn Davies and Peter Sanger.  The book is a collection of twenty-five essays presented at a conference at Acadia University in 1998, as well as forty photographs relating to Bishop’s life.

One essay that caught my attention was by Brian Robinson. He is described  as ‘a Geographer interested in the relationship between Geography and Literature’ p.314

Robinson, in his essay, references a couple of other Geographers which took me back to my graduate residency at the University of Western Ontario (1969-1972).

David Harvey. Between Space and Time: reflections on the Geographical Imagination. AAAG (1990) p. 418-434. and

John Pickles. Phenomenology: Science and Geography, Spatiality and the Human Sciences. Cambridge University Press. 1985.

It is going to take me a while to read all twenty-five essays in the book plus conduct research into the relationship between Geography and Literature.

I wish to acknowledge the graphic contribution of Edward Wedler, and my travel companion, Heather Stewart.


Michael Palin. Life of Erebus. Canadian Geographic. p68-71. September/October 2018.

Jodi DeLong. Celebrating our own spaces.  Saltscapes. p.35 August/September 2018

Suzanne Robicheau. Reinventing the shopping mall. Saltscapes. p.92-94. August/September 2018.

Barry, Davies, Sanger (eds) 2001. Divisions of the Heart: Elizabeth Bishop and the Art of Memory and Place. Gaspereau Press.

Posted in Book Review, Opinion

Community Engagement: a ghost story

bookCover_capitalAGhostStoryThis blog was inspired by Arundhati Roy’s book Capitalism. A Ghost Story. It is a collection of short stories about life in India. Indeed, it is a VERY scary book [Youtube interview with Arundhati Roy], especially if we look South of the border, to the United States.

In a nation of 1.2 billion, India’s one hundred richest people own assets equivalent to one-fourth of the GDP‘. p.7

At the opposite end of the demographic spectrum, we have rural Nova Scotia. I have identified a few of the concerns that have crossed my desk in the last week or two.

The Municipality of Annapolis County is seeking a solution to the demand for high-speed Internet. Meanwhile, i-Valley is evaluating different alternatives.

The provincial Department of Natural Resources has responsibility for forest practices across the province. A recent hike along North Mountain, above Bridgetown, illustrated the challenges faced by both humans and wildlife, in traversing the trash left by clearcutting. We still await the Lahey report; an independent review of forest practices in Nova Scotia.

econous2018On the economic development front, The Centre for Local Prosperity is promoting EconoUS 2018 in its latest newsletter, as ‘an economy that works for all‘.

We are beset by water quality issues, related to our geology, giving us high levels of arsenic and uranium, especially on South Mountain.

Today, the Municipality of Annapolis County is threatening to withdraw from Valley Waste Resources. Thus we may lose our garbage delivery. This information has been conveyed through an online newsletter and video.

We live in a world with a multitude of multi-media communication tools; be it podcasts, YouTube video, online courses, Twitter, LinkedIn or FaceBook.

The uncertainty, defined through these technologies, can lead to an increase in anxiety for our rural communities. They may lead to a false sense of community engagement. This aligns well with the picture described by Roy, under a plutocratic Capitalism in India where a small group of individuals or organizations are controlling the lives of a rural population. These new technologies can be used to improve the health of communities or they can be used to exploit the community resources. The choice is ours. Again, a VERY scary proposition — A Ghost story.

As usual, thanks to Edward Wedler for his editorial comments and graphics.


Arundhati Roy.2014. Capitalism. A Ghost Story. Haymarket Books.

Centre for Local Prosperity. Newsletter dated August 13, 2018

The Municipality of Annapolis County. Newsletter and video. Referenced August 13, 2018.

Posted in Book Review

The Story of COGS

As a contribution to the Canadian Cartographic Association (CCA) annual meeting at COGS, May 29-June 1st, 2018,  Ted McKinnon has produced a Flash version and a downloadable PDF version of The Story of COGS: a Nova Scotian Experiment in Technical Education. COGSThe original was written by Bob Maher and Heather Stewart in 2013. Ted was also responsible for adding the graphics and making a book-like product.

This type of collaboration has been a fundamental COGS value from the early ’80s. With the design of the Scientific Computer Programming program, we had to combine the application of the technology with the ability to customize the technology through programming. At the outset, the original team was Bob Maher and Bruce Peveril. Subsequently, we brought on board a number of our graduates: Patricia Castel, Bill Power, Kate Bate, David Colville, Roger Mosher, Marlin Gould. The applications evolved to include GIS and Image Analysis. We formed strong relations with industry leaders: ESRI and DIPIX.

Jump forward to 2018. We have a more complex technology suite. We are working on different devices: desktops, laptops, iPads, mobile phones. We are using software on the web to access information and to communicate with each other.

For myself, to produce a blog, whether for the GoGeomatics or Ernest Blair site, I need to collaborate with others who bring their complementary technical skills to the table. For example, the ability to find and add graphics, or to include maps on a website, all require technical expertise.

In our work, we need to combine the stories of geography, with the language of maps and technology. This remains the teaching challenge at COGS and other similar institutions.

This blog is dedicated to Bill Power who passed away last weekend. Bill had an excellent technical, engineering mind and a commitment to the teaching of the next generation of programmers.

I also want to acknowledge the contributions of Heather Stewart, Edward Wedler and Ted McKinnon.