Part 1: “Technology increases mankind’s intelligence.”

Part 1 from Ray Kurzweil talk last night, singularity and the Law of Accelerated Returns


Although I agree with Kurzweil on some of the reasons why this statement is true, which include:

  • Technology increases the amount of information we know compared to the past
  • Access to information is much easier, quicker and more efficient
  • Communication of our ideas on the information is more quick and easy than ever before

I feel that knowing does not mean a person is smarter and knowing does not make a person inherently more intelligent.

Let’s take a step back and understand the definition of intelligence:

The ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations: reason; also: the skilled use of reason (2): the ability to apply knowledge to manipulate one’s environment or to think abstractly as measured by objective criteria (as tests)

 Technology does not make us more intelligent. That statement, “technology increases mankind’s intelligence” made by Kurzweil is like saying a person has more intelligence than a rock.

 “Welllllll…” you might say, “now you’re comparing apples to oranges. And that doesn’t make sense.”

Let me explain. A rock embodies the information about earths’ natural history, it is millions of years old, the environment around them shaped it and even some rocks have long dead living things inside them! They are full of information about the earth through time and humans use them to unlock the mysteries of earths past. My point is, knowing is half the battle and it’s what you do with that knowledge that differentiates an intelligent person from one that is slightly less so. A rock provides information and one could use it to make tools etc., but a person can be armed with information and be completely useless.

There are many people who have a plethora of information at their fingertips using their smartphones and computers, but not everyone can, for their life, apply that information in a useful way and/or in a way that benefit themselves or others. In contrast, some less intelligent people might even apply their knowledge to make life more difficult for themselves and others around them.

Technology and making information accessible does not inherently make all humans more intelligent. Instead, technology is more of a vehicle or tool that assists in the advancement of human intelligence.

Technology creates more opportunities to realize our human potential.  For example, I’ve been watching a whole set of TED talks delivered by young people who have been inspired by technology, science and innovation.

  • Richard Turere: My invention that outsmarted lions
    Turere didn’t have the best technology at hand, but proved that even with limited access to through the knowledge he gained through electrical devices he gathered, he was able to apply it to his everyday life. And the result, not only was he able to save his cattle, but also the lions who live in the national park
  • Jack Andraka: A test for pancreatic cancer
    Drawing inspiration from a scientific paper he read, his biology class and opportunity to work in a lab, Andraka was able to invent a low cost detection assay for pancreatic cancer.
  • Tavi Gevinson: A teen just trying to figure it out
    I’ve checked out Rookie a few times and this is one of my favourites from the site:
    Anyway, Gevinson is a great example of using technology and gaining knowledge of the pop culture around her and by doing that, she realized there was something missing, in particular, strong female characters in pop culture for teens to look up to.
  • Thomas Suarez: A 12-year-old app developer
    Thomas Suarez reminds me when I was discovering flash animation and flash web applications (ah, flashback to elementary school when I wanted to become an engineer just like a girl in a poster in the family studies room. A bit ironic.). He demonstrates how a young person can just play with an app-building platform and build cool games.
  • Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids
    Adora Svitak speaks about something I feel very strongly about – giving the younger generation respect for their ideas, listening to them and the need to foster their curiosity and need to find answers. Adults should not stifle young creativity because adults are pessimistic and over-calculating.

    During Kurzweil’s Q&A session after his talk, a university student asked how Kurzweil distinguishes a good idea from a bad idea. This young man told a story where he had a great idea and then told his roommates and professors about it, they found a million criticisms to his idea and he became discouraged.

    Kurzweil didn’t really provide a good answer to this question, but I didn’t really expect him to do so anyway. But the point of it all is that children have an unspoiled mind and are fearless. For them, all ideas are good and they’ll pursue all of them and find ways to make them work if given the opportunity. Sure, that is a sweeping generalization, but the enthusiasm and curiosity young people have shouldn’t be ignored or suppressed. They are, as we all know, the future.

These young people had access to a vast range of information, and along with their mental capabilities and ideas, they did REALLY COOL things and solved some problems in today’s society. And that’s because technology provided them with easier access to information and assisted their learning (whether practical or through literature).

Intelligence is what one does with information, not the quantity of information one has.


how much do you love food?

Amsterdam Brewery excitement

Let’s skip to the news – Amsterdam Brewery is moving from its Bathurst/Lakeshore location in Toronto to Leaside (boo) BUT IS ALSO OPENING A BREW PUB ON THE TORONTO HARBOURFRONT!!!

I’m really excited about this because currently that space is occupied by Pier 4, which is not a place I would ever want to go in regardless of the the view.

Check these pics out that I saw on blogTO

RE: The Butchers/Marlon’s Meat in Toronto – the last of it!

For now?

Perhaps you’ve read some of my previous posts about The Butchers/Marlon’s Meat and their coupon fiasco: here and here

Recently I’ve come across this article written by Ellen Roseman at The Star (article). In short, the store closed, yet again, before the “new” coupon deadline of Labour day.

Surprised? Probably not…

Gift Idea’s for Father’s Day – June 17th!

Every year I feel somewhat guilty because my dad is awesome, but it always seems like Mother’s day is a bigger event and I feel bad for the dad’s who just can’t seem to get the same excitement and build-up.

This year I think I’ve got some few good idea that my siblings are throwing around for him.

1. Global Knife

Global knives are pretty expensive, but they are sooo good! I have a couple and they’re super great to use. Light, sharp and easy to manuvere. This will also be a great gift because there are only dull knives at my dad’s :(

2. Davids Tea – Gentleman’s Collection

My dad really likes tea – although extremely partial to Chinese tea. This little gift set for $16.50 has 3 types of interestingly flavoured tea – Buttered rum, salted caramel and Brazillionaire:

Got a black tea lover on your gift list? Introduce them to three new classics with this exceptional collection of black tea blends. It’s got Buttered Rum, a creamy mix of black tea, coconut and vanilla. Then there’s Brazillionaire, a fabulously rich blend packed with whole Brazil Nuts. Finally, we have Salted Caramel, a sweet treat with two types of caramel and a touch of French sea salt. Looks like tea time just got a lot more interesting.

3. Summerlicious Dinner

Why not? He likes eating and so do we!! The list is out for this years event taking place July 6 to 22 with reservations starting June 21.

That’s all the ideas me and my siblings have so far…LET’S SEE WHERE THIS GOES!!!

Get your mom something tasty for Mother’s Day this year!

Just a reminder – Mother’s Day is May 13 this year.

Every year I feel completely overwhelmed by the plethora of gifts one could buy for mom, but then every year my mom will receive flowers, chocolates and a homemade card (if she’s lucky). I did become creative once and bought her some perfume and I don’t think she liked it.

Anyway, this year I have a couple of new ideas for all of you who don’t know what to do! First one being these delicious cupcakes from Baker Street! Just FYI, they have Mother’s Day themed cupcakes and cake!

Definitely great for those who can’t bake very well or have time to bake and still want mom to have a delicious day!

I tried Baker Street’s Rosé cupcake the other day and I have to say, they were really good! They had a great spongy cake, full of vanilla flavor and icing that was light and creamy! Another great thing is they won’t break your bank and your mom won’t feel like she ate 3lbs of icing *coughprairiegirlcough*

Aside from satisfying my sweet tooth, I also had the pleasure of talking to Baker Street’s marketing manager about their cupcakes (some tidbits to impress your mom with)!


Baker Street started in 1978 by what it seems to be 2 women – who are they and motivated them to start up Baker Street?

Baker Street was opened 34 years ago this summer, by two sisters, Marie and Esther. Being of European background and privy to great baked goods, Marie and Esther noticed that Toronto didn’t have much delicious handcrafted desserts, so they decided to do something about it. They started making cakes and pies in one of their kitchens and soon moved to another house. The demand was so strong they started baking at a bakery and soon rented out the ovens from there in the evenings. They essentially worked 24 hours, delivered the goods themselves while with kids. They soon bought a place on Dupont and then from there moved their current Hopewell Avenue location. Here they now have  2 buildings to make all their products that are shipped across North America.

Both Marie and Esther are extremely dedicated and can be found there 6 to 7 days a week and work 12 hours a day. Marie is very involved in research and development of new products, while Esther is mainly responsible for the financial aspect of the company.


What was the first item sold at Baker Street?

First hand crafted products were, well there were 3: a New York style baked cheese cake, a carrot cake that has won several awards, and a chocolate cake.


Since then, what other baked goods and items does Baker Street offer?

Baker Street now offers an entire line of cakes, torts, pies and cheesecake.

We have a natural line that we sell at Loblaw’s. For that line we’ve taken the gelatin out, it has a cleaner label and it doesn’t have overly processed ingredients. We did it because people started to learn, discover and move toward this natural trend, so we wanted to make sure we were serving products that our customers and the public would want to serve to their families.


Speaking of food trends, we all know there is this movement toward using fresh, clean (no GMO, antibiotic, humane), local, organic ingredients, what is Baker Street’s stance on this?

Well Marie and Esther grew up near Kensington market and as kids they would just get ingredients from there locally and they knew where it’s coming from and they would be supporting local farmers. They have always stayed true to that, what they learned from their parents and implement that in their baking. The majority of every Baker Street product contains local Canadian ingredients.

For the Natural line, the strawberry, peach and apple pies all smell like grandma’s kitchen. They are made from about 5 ingredients. For example, the apple pie has apples, brown sugar, flour, and butter. We use real butter, no margarine allowed!


As you know Mother’s Day is coming up within the next couple of weeks, is Baker Street offering any Mother’s Day specialty items?

Well we just recently started making cupcakes and we have 2 of our cupcakes in the Loblaw’s Superstore right now – the Rosé and Sensationally Strawberry cupcake.

The Rosé cupcake is a vanilla cake with vanilla bean frosting and pink sprinkles.

The Sensationally Strawberry cupcake is a vanilla cake with strawberry butter cream icing!


Mmmmmmm – sounds delicious! Anything else?

At Ontario Metro stores we have a 6 inch Double Chocolate Heart cake made from milk chocolate, chocolate mousse, and chocolate ganache.

Where can one get these tasty treats?

Our cupcakes are only at the Loblaw’s Superstore. But we have our other baked goods at Metro in Ontario, Sobey’s and other Loblaws stores.


Rapid fire

Cupcake or cakepop? Cupcake

What makes a good cupcake? The icing. Only because I love cream cheese icing!

What’s your favourite item from Baker Street? Carrot cake

What are you going to get for your mom for Mother’s Day? Probably in NYC that week…oh boy, I’d probably get her one of those hearts, she’s a big chocolate fan.

(This interview has been condensed and edited)

RE: Class Action Lawsuit against The Butchers/Marlon’s Meat in Toronto

I’ve been periodically following-up with this developing story and I noticed the Marlon’s Meat website is down, but they do have a formerly active twitter feed (@ButchersOrganic).

The issue is now a focus for Peter Silverman and he is looking for others who have been affected. His focus is more on government action and protection – the Consumer Protection Ministry and cracking down on the Federal Competition Bureau for false advertising. He also urges those affected to contact their MPP.

I have also received a comment on my original post about Marlon’s Meat on a more unified class-action suit against Marlon Pather and his organization:

Good afternoon fellow fraud victims!

If you’re interested in an attempt to recover some or all of the money you spent at The Butcher’s Organic/Marlon’s Meats, please email

I am not a lawyer. I am, however, betting that Mr. Pather and his accomplices have assumed that the individuals he defrauded will not be able to work together to pursue him. I’d really like to prove him wrong and I’m willing to administer a list of people interested in a class action. Once a reasonable number of people have indicated their willingness to participate in a class action civil suit, I will communicate our options via email. If we have an overwhelming response (fingers crossed) I intend to form a committee of interested individuals to manage the process.

Your information will NOT BE SHARED without your explicit permission and will be only be communicated to the lawyer that we ultimately engage to represent us.

Please note that harassment will not be tolerated and will be reported to the authorities.

Please provide:
1. your name
2. a daytime telephone number
3. your email address
4. the terms of the deal you purchased

Looking forward to hearing from you! Please spread the word and don’t hesitate to be in touch!