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Saturday , 25 March 2017

Monthly Archives: December 2016

Greener data centres will make our digital lives more Earth friendly

In one of those “top five of the year” type stories that appear everywhere at this time of year, this one from Eco-Business, the greening of data centres is included as an important development. This seemed interesting, mainly because we hadn’t thought much about a) data centres or b) how green they currently are. As it turns out, the world’s data centres consume vast quantities of energy—30 billion watts of electricity, or enough to power thirty nuclear power plants by one estimate—and most of the data they store is essentially dead, consisting of our old emails and selfies and other digital junk sitting on some always-on server. Big energy users, ... Read More »

Car towed? New Ontario rules could make it a less horrible experience.

Except when they’re needed, the sight of a tow truck is generally not a welcome one to drivers. To be fair, drivers who park their cars in spots that are clearly marked as towaway zones more or less deserve what they get. But, as the man said, let the punishment fit the crime. Stories of drivers whose cars were towed miles away, after which they were charged extortionate fees in the thousands of dollars to get them back, are easy to find on the Internet. It happens in towns and cities all over the country. Towing companies are often described as “pirates,” “predators,” “highway robbers” and much, much worse. Therefore, ... Read More »

Strong interest in home ownership persists, renovation business booming

You have to wonder whether Ontarians who express an intention to buy a home in this province in the next two years aren’t a little deluded. Half of them, including Torontonians, say they are “likely” to buy a detached home. In the case of the Toronto residents, that’s an increase of 21 per cent from a year ago. Haven’t they heard that detached homes in Toronto, both resale and new built, are as scarce as Fabergé eggs, and almost as expensive? The average detached home in Toronto is now pushing $1.3 million. A recent RBC study found that Toronto homeowners now must spend 63 per cent of their income on ... Read More »

An argument that road tolls are the price we must pay for congestion

When Mayor John Tory proposed implementing road tolls on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway, he was opposed by both the right and the left. The Conservative leader, Patrick Brown said he didn’t like the idea, but blamed the Wynne government. NDP leader Andrea Horvath expressed her concern, calling the proposed tolls “flat and regressive.” Such tolls can have a “disproportionate and unfair” impact on struggling and marginalized communities, she said. Still, the tolls were approved at city council by a handy margin, and will take effect, at the earliest, in 2019. Now a couple of analysts at the Fraser Institute, described as a conservative, even libertarian-leaning public ... Read More »

Housing supply continues downward trend as prices rise

Does this sound familiar? The costs of land and materials are rising, and there are not enough finished lots in the neighborhoods where people want to live. Builders are “hamstrung” by regulations that cost them up to a quarter of the price of a new home. A “huge” labour shortage makes it harder to find workers to build homes. And by building fewer homes when demand is so high and supply so low, builders can demand a higher price for each home. The lack of supply of affordable homes is particularly difficult for first-time buyers. That is a summary of the US new homes market as given by CNBC a ... Read More »

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