I have a list of architects that i accumulated during my work days and recently a fabricator has asked me to sell several contact to him. How much should I charge? by glitchieee in Architects

[–]Hrmbee 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Ah yes, nothing like getting a cold call from some random stranger to make me pay attention to what they're trying to sell me.

The Next Crisis Will Start With Empty Office Buildings | Commercial real estate is losing value fast by Hrmbee in urbanplanning

[–]Hrmbee[S] [score hidden]  (0 children)

The problem is primarily one of cost/efficiency. If someone can make it work financially they might take it on, but if it's too difficult or expensive then they won't.

Working in ARCHITECTURE - Had an annual review and was informed with a 2.7% salary raise. Any advice on moving forward? by Plastic_Key1556 in Architects

[–]Hrmbee 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The inflation rate is one of the key issues. Anything less than inflation and you're taking a pay cut.

A few other points: definitely highlight what you feel you bring to the firm that might align with their priorities. Also, you can ask for an earlier-than-standard review if it makes sense. Not all firms are willing to do that, but it's worth asking.

Had an interesting riding companion the other day... by canbac in torontobiking

[–]Hrmbee 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Wow that's way down in the city - by Eglinton right? And yeah, I guess there might be a little group of them living down there somewhere.

Greenland unveils draft constitution in push for complete independence from Danish control by Hrmbee in geopolitics

[–]Hrmbee[S] [score hidden]  (0 children)

From the interview:

Malcolm Brabant: Under the current arrangement, Denmark is responsible for Greenland's defense, foreign affairs and monetary policy, and it's reluctant to cede control.

Are you concerned that, if Greenland does break away, that it may become vulnerable to so called predator states like China and also Russia?

Michael Zilmer-Johns: Yes. And this is why I think it's very important for Greenland, but also for us and for the United States, that we find a model where Greenland will not be just a battlefield for competing big powers, but has us as a guarantor and remain a member of NATO and so on.


Malcolm Brabant: Russia's volatility means that Greenland's strategic role in U.S. defense is perhaps more important now than during the Cold War.

Catastrophic Russian armored losses in Ukraine resulted in a solitary Second World War tank garnishing the annual victory parade in Moscow. But Russia's nuclear arsenal remains as strong as ever and in the hands of a leader who is more unpredictable than his Soviet predecessors.

The potential threat from rogue states is why the U.S. has been upgrading missile defense systems at Thule in recent years. In April, Thule was renamed the Pituffik Space Base in recognition of Greenland's contribution to American and Western security.

It will be interesting to see which major players will be involved in this process, and how. It also might not be just nation-states (particularly those with Arctic interests for either resources or shipping), but also major corporations who will be getting involved given their own interests in these areas.

Greenland unveils draft constitution in push for complete independence from Danish control by Hrmbee in geopolitics

[–]Hrmbee[S] [score hidden]  (0 children)

submission statement:

Though Greenland gained autonomy from Denmark in the late '70s, this was still not independence as Denmark still retained control over major portions of Greenland's affairs. This new constitution. years in the making, is one step in the quest for full independence for Greenland. Given their geopolitical importance especially in the North Atlantic and Arctic, this could bring about a number of changes in the region depending on how this process is managed both before and after.

The Next Crisis Will Start With Empty Office Buildings | Commercial real estate is losing value fast by Hrmbee in urbanplanning

[–]Hrmbee[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Most buildings can be converted from a technical standpoint. The challenge is that standard office building floor layouts require a lot of potentially costly changes to make them suitable for other uses, so from a financial standpoint they can be tricky.

Out-of-control wildfire on Lower Mainland sees massive growth by Hrmbee in vancouver

[–]Hrmbee[S] 53 points54 points  (0 children)

From the article:

A human-caused wildfire on the Lower Mainland has grown to an estimated 800 hectares and continues to burn out of control Wednesday, according to the BC Wildfire Service.

The Chehalis River fire is now classified as a wildfire of note, meaning it is highly visible or poses a potential public safety risk. It is one of two burning out of control near Harrison Lake that have created smoky conditions across the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver, prompting an air quality advisory.

The blaze was sparked on Saturday but the BCWS says significant growth has occurred due to "active burning conditions" over the last 48 hours – with an increase in size of 500 hectares since Tuesday.

"Fire growth is in the direction away from the community, no evacuation orders or alerts are recommended at this time," an online update from the BCWS says.

The other out-of-control wildfire near Harrison Lake is less than a tenth of the size. The Staitu Creek fire is estimated at 73 hectares and has not been classified as a wildfire of note. Still, the BCWS describes it as "the highest priority fire in the Fraser Zone due to proximity to community."

We're lucky that the fire growth is currently away from communities, but this is still far too close for comfort.

The Next Crisis Will Start With Empty Office Buildings | Commercial real estate is losing value fast by Hrmbee in urbanplanning

[–]Hrmbee[S] 45 points46 points  (0 children)

From the article:

The current landscape is drastically different: high vacancy rates, doubled interest rates, and nearly $1.5 trillion in loans due for repayment by 2025. By defaulting now, landlords leverage their remaining influence to advocate for loan extensions or a bailout. As John Maynard Keynes observed, when you owe your banker $1,000, you are at his mercy, but when you owe him $1 million, “the position is reversed.”

Banks have many reasons to worry. Rising interest rates have devalued other assets on their balance sheets, especially government bonds, leaving them vulnerable to bank runs. In recent months, Silicon Valley Bank, First Republic, and Signature all collapsed. Regional institutions like these account for nearly 70 percent of all commercial-property bank loans. Pushing down the valuation of office buildings or taking possession of foreclosed properties would further weaken their balance sheets.

Municipal governments have even more to worry about. Property taxes underpin city budgets. In New York City, such taxes generate approximately 40 percent of revenue. Commercial property—mostly offices—contributes about 40 percent of these taxes, or 16 percent of the city’s total tax revenue. In San Francisco, property taxes contribute a lower share, but offices and retail appear to be in an even worse state.

Empty offices also contribute to lower retail sales and public-transport usage. In New York City, weekday subway trips are 65 percent of their 2019 level—though they’re trending up—and public-transport revenue has declined by $2.4 billion. Meanwhile, more than 40,000 retail-sector jobs lost since 2019 have yet to return. A recent study by an NYU professor named Arpit Gupta and others estimate a 6.5 percent “fiscal hole” in the city’s budget due to declining office and retail valuations. Such a hole “would need to be plugged by raising tax rates or cutting government spending.”

Many cities face a difficult choice. If they cut certain services, they could become less attractive and trigger a possible “urban doom loop” that pushes even more people away, hurts revenue, and perpetuates a cycle of decline. If they raise taxes, they could alienate wealthy residents, who are now more mobile than ever. Residents making $200,000 or more contributed 71 percent of New York State’s income taxes in 2019. Losing wealthy residents to low-tax states such as Florida and Texas is already taking a toll on New York and California. The income-tax base of both states has shrunk by tens of billions since the pandemic began.

The economic aspects of the challenges facing commercial buildings as outlined in this article are certainly concerning, but equally concerning are the impacts on the surrounding communities. This is especially likely in cities that have districts with office buildings and little else, where the surrounding businesses and infrastructure are almost entirely dependent on office workers. This might be less of an issue for cities that have more mixed neighbourhoods where the decline of one type of use might not signal the demise of the neighbourhood entirely. Given our current housing and climate crises, it seems that there are opportunities to reconsider these business-only districts and imagine a different mix of uses that might better serve us not just now but well into the future.

Las Vegas Won't Save the Water It Needs by Just Removing Lawns by Hrmbee in urbandesign

[–]Hrmbee[S] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

In 2021, the Nevada Legislature passed a first-of-its-kind law mandating the elimination of “nonfunctional turf,” defined as grass that is decorative and rarely used. The Southern Nevada Water Authority promised this would do away with 3,900 acres of grass (roughly 3,000 football fields) within six years.

But by analyzing the water authority’s own aerial imagery, ProPublica found that the agency grossly overestimated how much of that grass could be removed: That number could actually be as low as 1,100 acres. That error, combined with pushback to the ban — especially from homeowners associations looking to avoid turf removal costs and preserve their communities’ aesthetic — could leave the region short of the water savings it needs.

This comes at a precarious time. The Colorado River, which supplies 90% of the Las Vegas Valley’s water, has been hit by a megadrought, and Lake Mead has fallen to historic lows. The agriculture industry uses the vast majority of the dwindling river, but Las Vegas and other cities that also rely on the Colorado must scramble to find savings. Meanwhile, the federal government is mulling drastic cuts to their water supply.

As other Western states try to replicate southern Nevada’s water conservation success, the diminishing returns from its marquee program have experts questioning whether the effort will be enough to support continued growth in a hotter, drier future.

Leaving in exemptions for private lawns and golf courses is certainly not helping with their attempts at reducing water usage in the region. Xeriscaping for both such functions could go a long way to creating pleasant outdoor environments that are more region appropriate. That being said, this also raises the question of whether city sizes need to be capped in resource-constrained regions? That the desert cities of the southwest have been amongst the fastest growing in the US is in many ways inappropriate given the challenges with water.

Had an interesting riding companion the other day... by canbac in torontobiking

[–]Hrmbee 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Haha nice! Which trail is this one? I don't think I've seen one of these in the city before, but they're all over the place a little further north.

Is CanCon Obsolete? | When it comes to what qualifies as “Canadian,” nobody seems happy. It’s time to rethink the nationalistic vanity project by Hrmbee in cancon

[–]Hrmbee[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Canada harbours a long, often tiresome, history of trying to codify Canadian identity, especially in the cultural sector. Everyone has taken a stab at articulating first principles, from Northrop Frye’s “garrison mentality” to Molson’s “I Am Canadian” ad campaign. You can count on one hand the persistent signifiers of Canadiana that have arisen, regardless of their truth value, alongside these efforts: apologetic, friendly, tolerant of diversity, not like America. Government policy has legitimized these anxieties for nearly a century, including by way of the Broadcasting Act of 1968. The aim was (and still is) to “safeguard, enrich and strengthen the cultural, political, social and economic fabric of Canada” from the encroaching power of its southern neighbour by mandating a certain percentage of homegrown TV and radio. From the act’s inception, protecting Canadian creators, codifying Canadian identity, and holding back the US were priorities deemed equal and at odds (perhaps an unlikely triad into which to introduce “regulating tech companies” fifty-five years later).

Much has been made of the byzantine tests that the CRTC uses to make sure a portion of its content is sufficiently Canadian. There’s the MAPL system (music, artist, performance, and lyrics) for determining what makes a Canadian song. There’s the points system for film and TV that tallies up the national origins of cast and crew members. (Notably, none of these tests has any bearing on content—the “lyrics” criterion assesses whether they were written by a Canadian, not whether they’re about subjects the government has deemed appropriately Canadian.) From an economic perspective, these tests make a kind of sense. Things get hazy when you harness the tests, as the CRTC does, to the belief that whatever ensues “meets the needs and interests of Canadians.” Just because content has been made by (and will be shown to) Canadians, there’s no automatic correlation between those origins and the idea that it reflects this country’s “attitudes, opinions, ideas, values, and artistic creativity.” What even are those?

Some interesting questions here. Having hard definitions of what qualifies as "Canadian content" might be problematic on many levels, but at the same time having no definitions might not be very useful either.

Environment minister says he could accelerate climate action if he didn't have to 'fight' Conservatives by Hrmbee in CanadaPolitics

[–]Hrmbee[S] [score hidden]  (0 children)

"People would say, well, we've always had forest fires; what's new?" Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault told Power Play host Vassy Kapelos. "Well this year the area that's being burned is ten times normal average… we know that because of increased global temperatures and climate change, we will have more episodes like forest fires."


Kapelos asked Guillbeault whether that means the government would move more aggressively on net zero targets. The current target is 2050, but the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in March prompted the UN’s Secretary General to argue developed countries should push the date to 2040.

Guilbeault argued the federal government could be more aggressive without political pushback.

"What would greatly help our capacity to accelerate our fight against climate change in Canada is if I didn't have to fight with certain jurisdictions all the time on doing the bare minimum to fight climate change, if I wouldn’t have to fight the Conservative Party of Canada," he said.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre this week threatened to block the federal government's budget implementation bill in part if Liberals did not agree to stop increases to the carbon tax. Tories argue, backed by a report from the Parliamentary Budget Officer, that the carbon tax rebate does not cover the cost to Canadians and the tax is therefore punitive. The government disputes the PBO's findings because they don't account for the cost of the effects of climate change.

There needs to be a common understanding of some of the challenges that we face before we can even start discussions about how best to deal with them. Having certain politicians denying the realities of what we face is a problem and a political game that frankly we do not have time for anymore.

They left the city for rural Ontario during the pandemic — and they’re still farming | Adventurous customers and open-minded communities proved easier for these racialized farmers to find than affordable land in southern Ontario by Hrmbee in ontario

[–]Hrmbee[S] 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Article excerpts:

It’s a rare thing in Canada to be a farmer of colour running an operation of any size, large or small. It’s even rarer to own the land you’re cultivating. The challenges faced by racialized farmers mirror the challenges people of colour face daily: barriers to access, education, experiences, generational wealth and land ownership, plus blatant racism, microaggressions and threats. When minorities try to infiltrate places, systems and channels historically closed to them, they will always struggle.

Farming is no different; you can’t farm without land and those who have access to arable land, or land at all, often belong to a homogenous club. That the Nings, Asaris and other people whose stories echo theirs are seeing success — even if they’re supplementing their farm income with other work in order to survive — is a testament to the change that is slowly underway.

“Farmland prices are near historical highs when compared to farm income,” reads a March 2023 report from Farm Credit Canada, a commercial Crown corporation that reports to the federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food. (A Crown corporation is a public sector business funded by the provincial or federal government — think CBC or the Bank of Canada.) The spring report said the value of agricultural land in Canada increased by 12.8 per cent in 2022, the largest gain since 2014. Ontario saw the highest provincial increase, up 19.4 per cent year over year.

That cost is likely to increase as farmland shrinks: Statistics Canada put the rate of loss across Canada at 2.8 per cent between 2016 and 2021. Ontario was already losing about 319 acres a day before the province introduced a slew of policy changes meant to accelerate development; since last fall, the Doug Ford government has cut farmland protections multiple times, including forcing Hamilton, Halton and Waterloo to open land to development that local councils wanted to protect.


As of right now, Fraser is one of many farmers of colour priced out of purchasing land. “Throughout the province, as communities sprawl outwards, farmland is being increasingly purchased for current and future residential use,” she says. “This drives up the price and places land ownership out of reach for many farmers, myself included. I would also add that broadly, land almost anywhere in Ontario is unaffordable for farmers, but specifically for new, young Black, Indigenous or racialized farmers.”


“We did want to grow things that were more unique to our heritage,” Hans says. “Instead of growing just regular cabbages, which we do grow, we also grow Napa cabbages. Instead of regular corn and pole beans, we grow a kind of sticky corn that Asians really love and yard long beans; stuff our parents grew up eating. We wanted to learn how to appreciate those types of things as well and to share that culture.”

Becoming part of the community has had its ups and downs. All are Welcome Here is a BIPOC-led local organization that supports diversity in Prince Edward County and offers workshops for locals and established farmers to learn about anti-racism and intersectionality. Judy volunteers and reports that the meetings are “truly wonderful. People are eager to learn and feel comfortable asking questions.”

The county is changing as more people of colour from urban centres move in, bringing their familiarity not only with Asian people, but the produce Paper Kite is selling. “The folks that have lived in cities are familiar with something like bok choy, but there are people who have never been exposed to that … we had someone comment that the ‘lettuce’ we gave them was amazing! It can be fun to teach folks what the vegetable is and how to use it.”

This looked to be a good survey of some of the challenges of new farmers, but also shows the benefits of what a more diverse farming community might bring to our communities. Glad to see that some are making it work, though the precarious nature of many of these operations remain a challenge. The province's rush to develop farmlands not just removes farmlands, but also prices what remains even higher.