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Millennial Media Moguls: Danielle Finestone

Disclaimer: Danielle and I are first cousins and have known each other our whole lives   Millennial Media moguls is a series of interviews with millennial entrepreneurs, young people who are making a living in jobs that didn’t exist a generation ago. Creating unusual jobs for themselves that seize on the new opportunities of the twenty-first century economy. Though also a part time employee of Yelp and sometimes a social media consultant, Danielle Finestone makes the bulk of her income from her Instagram page. Danielle is the owner operator of ToFoodies; a page which depicts delicious food from all over Toronto. ToFoodies started as a passion project of hers only 3 years ago born out of her love for Toronto night life. After years spent in the industry, a year ago Danielle quit her full time job at a major record label to take on ToFoodies full time. In that time she has made enormous strides toward growing her brand with currently over 72,000 followers. Nathaniel: So start at the beginning. How did ToFoodies start? Danielle: It wasn’t a straight path that brought me here, although it seems that way in hindsight. I did my undergrad at Ryerson in the Radio and television arts program. My specialty was in studio television since that’s what I wanted to go into. I interned like crazy -- every summer I had a different internship that opened me up to everything going on in the entertainment industry in Toronto. I interned at Yelp, MTV, Sony Music Canada and the Marilyn Dennis Show, and each one of those introduced me to a lot of people in different sides of the industry. N: Would you say your education played a big role in setting you on the path you’re on now? D: Getting an education really… Read More

Free speech in sports should go both ways

With the craze surrounding the U.S national anthem protests taking the world by storm, it is once again time to discuss what this latest protest means for the conservation of free speech in North America.   To me, the protests embody what is great about the western world—the ability to gather and demonstrate when we do not agree with what is being done, or are experiencing an injustice. It is a real shame that partisan lines have been drawn in an that should be a concern for both liberals and conservatives.   When former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started his protest about a year ago, his intentions were not malicious. He saw an injustice, and he did what he thought would bring attention to said injustice. I do not agree with Kaepernick position, nor do I agree with the method in which he protested. However, free speech is a right that everyone holds, and he deserves to have his message heard.   The problem is both the political left and right have bastardized Kaepernick’s original message so much, many have forgotten what the original issue was. President Trump only stirred the pot with his various tweets denouncing the players, and the protests are now about a completely different subject.   The protests have made one particular issue come to light , and that is the blatant hypocrisy surrounding the Pittsburgh Penguins decision to visit the White House, as is routine for the Stanley Cup winners. To be fair, the Penguins announcing their decision on the same day the Golden State Warriors were uninvited from the White House was short-sighted, but a White House visit isn’t a bad thing.   The National Hockey League has always been the more apolitical of the four major North American sports leagues, so… Read More

The purpose of the state

You know summer is indeed over when Parliament goes back to work. For some, this signals little more than the return of bickering background noise. For others, this signals a passionate call for a return to arms. Regardless of the extent to which we pay attention to what goes on, and regardless of the extent to which we engage, as it begins to unfold, we would do well, I believe, to reflect on what the role of the state is and what it should be. What is its task and in what areas should it intervene? There are many disagreements over this most important question. Answers vary from “as much intervention as possible” to “as little intervention as possible.” I suspect, however, that a great many parliamentarians go about their business on an issue to issue basis. They do so mostly out of good will no doubt, but also without being able to provide a principled and robust explanation as to why the intervention which they support, be it an action, policy, or program, should even find itself within the jurisdiction of the state in the first place. Interventionists generally believe society’s ills are the result of design-flaws within its power structure. Such flaws allow the wrong people to wield power, hence the contempt with which the term one-percenter is uttered. In their view, this deficiency inevitably leads to exploitation and it prevents society from progressing and reaching its full potential. With a deep concern for progress, therefore, interventionists see the state as the only instrument powerful enough to remedy such flaws. Consequently, in an effort to give the best and brightest the necessary tools to lead and carry us forward, they believe state power should grow and its reach should expand. Non-interventionists generally believe society’s ills are the result… Read More

H. G. Wells and His Enduring Weapons of Mass Instruction

Actor Rod Taylor starring in George Pal's 1960 version of The Time Machine   No writer of the 20th century has had, and still has, more influence on the public imagination  than Herbert George (always 'H.. G.') Wells (1866 –1946). But while becoming a world-renowned travelling public figure as well, no enthusiast for science as a new religion, and for a utopian and socialist reconstruction of all human society, had such an absence of practical effect, including on political leaders who often gave him public praise. He lived long enough to see the Second World War conclude with the two atomic bombings on Japan, and when he died a few months later, was an embittered man. His last and little-remembered small work was called Mind at the End of its Tether, in which he declared his disillusionment with the human race. This bleak conclusion followed his last two decades of voluminous but hastily-written and instantly-forgotten books, pamphlets, and newspaper articles. The exception was his widely-read 1934 Experiment in Autobiography, delighting readers almost as much as his early and brilliant science fiction tales, and bringing him a gushing letter of praise from Franklin Roosevelt, which exulted '...our [sic] biggest success is in making people think.' FDR was then creating his New Deal 'brains trust', which did somewhat resemble one of Wells's many calls for the establishment of such expert cabals. But the need for 'scientific planners' was a popular commonplace in the 1930s anyway: American New Dealers and Soviet Communists could alike look back to such proposals from the French Enlightenment's Henri de Saint-Simon, and even to Plato. It has not been unusual for writers to long outlive their times of triumph, combining broadening superficial fame with declining real impact, but Wells experienced this irony in its most acute form. His at… Read More

Legalize weed, but not like this

Anyone who knows me know that I am a strong advocate for the legalization of not just marijuana, but all drugs. I campaigned for Justin Trudeau just a few months ago and briefly worked for the Liberal MP I helped elect in my city. Despite this, I am appalled at how legalization is being handled by the Trudeau government. This issue is obviously not the only thing that disappoints me with my government, but it takes the cake. It’s hard to blame people for not knowing much about a controlled substance, but it’s quite terrifying when even our lawmakers don’t see fit to do some basic reading before legislating. For example, the proposed Cannabis Act would allow every citizen “to grow 4 marijuana plants, no higher than a meter each”. At first, this seems reasonable, if people are allowed to make wine at home, why not cannabis? Home-growing is already allowed for medical patients, thus it would be hard to suddenly outlaw it. But the strange part is the size requirement. A meter for an indica strain is reasonable, but sativa strains can go as high as six meters high if left to grow naturally. Both are marijuana plants, and while their effects on people are very different, neither is more dangerous than the other. This is not obscure information -- a simple Google search will tell you that. Putting this into law would be like telling people they’re allowed to make Cabernet Sauvignon in their basement, but not Beaujolais. Even more puzzling, edibles will not be legal when the law first comes into action because designing "an appropriate regulatory system for cannabis edibles is a complex undertaking and there are unique potential health risks and harms that need to be carefully understood before the development and coming into force of… Read More

All homemade booze should be legal

During VICE’s town hall on weed with Justin Trudeau last month, the prime minster was asked what his plan B was if Canadians continued buying cannabis from the black market. Trudeau naturally migrated towards the familiar example of booze: “currently, there is no black market for alcohol.” While it’s true that most people won’t get solicited in the street by bootleggers in stained trench coats, an underground market does exist. There are plenty of ways to buy liquor outside the purview of our provincial monopolies if you know where to look. As just one example, there’s an active Facebook page for ordering illegal alcohol outside of the SAQ’s hours of operation at a hefty markup; it has over 61,000 members. The Quebec government estimates that it loses $90 million per year in revenue from people buying their liquor outside of its control, either illegally or otherwise. But the next thought that came out of Trudeau’s mouth is more interesting: “you can make [alcohol] at home if you want”, Trudeau said, but added that most choose to buy it from established sources. Hipsters can and do indeed brew beer and make wine from the comfort of their own homes, but provincial legislation across Canada prohibits the unlicensed distillation of alcohol, as does the federal Excise Act. You can ferment whatever the hell you want, as long as you don’t try to heat the inebriating substance and turn the vapours into something more potent. Moonshining typically draws up images of blind hillbillies concocting bathtub hooch in the woods, yet the anachronism isn’t appropriate for the twenty-first century. Contemporary technology removes much of the worry over homemade liquor – you can easily test for the presence of methanol and other non-potable compounds and operate an alembic safely. And far from a rickety concoction… Read More
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