420 and bluegrass – Or: Things that I didn’t know before coming to Canada

I have mentioned before that a lot of people in Vancouver tell me about the quality and importance of B.C. marijuana and how the laws or rather their enforcement is lenient compared to the US and Canada’s east. I think I also mentioned that on the other hand alcohol laws and their enforcement are extremely strict compared to those in Austria. So I was already kind of used to seeing the reverse image of Austrian culture: people smoke weed in public or at concerts where there’s a strict “no tobacco” policy, people get arrested for drinking or being drunk in public.

Anyways, when it came to April 20th I was still stunned by how different our two cultures deal with the two drugs. April 20th or 420 (4-20) is a (supposedly) global counterculture holiday to celebrate the use and demonstrate for the legalisation of marijuana. It obviously never made it to Austria, a country where April 20th is more related to the birth of a rather unpleasent historical figure.

So – how would you expect this counterculture holiday to look like? Secret private gatherings? Think again.

(Nope: I do not have original video material as I was not downtown …)

Please take a second to imagine a demonstration like that in Vienna, preferably 1st district.

On the same day, maybe remotly connected in terms of ideology, I agreed to attend a bluegrass concert. The Yonder Mountain String Band was in town and I got some insider information that they would be absolutely amazing live. And they were. (Music starts at 1:40)

The “Holodeck” isn’t that far away …

The folks at the IDEO Lab are kindly sharing their experience at EON Reality’s immersive 3D room.

You can see technology in action in this little video. Read their blog post to learn how it works.

Amazing 3D immersion technology from IDEO Labs on Vimeo.

Looking at this, the amazing video razorfish has recently released, showing their surface, gestual interface physics simulation (emerging experiences) and recent augmented reality research makes you think about the endless possibilities the combination and fine-tuning of these technologies are going to offer in the near future.

Canada, Beer and The Least Common Denominator (or: “Proud to be Canadian”)

Waving Maple Leaf (you didn't know that, did you?)
At the very end of our intercultural training for my exchange semester in Canada, the professor showed us a little video to loosen up and cap our session.

We had talked about culture and intercultural communication in general before, about Austrian an Canadian culture in particular and we had even discussed about some “strange encounters” between Canadians and Austrians. We had heard lots about the “Britishness” of Canadian culture, and how it is different from the US in some way. And still, when we watched the video (which is from 2000 by the way), we had really no clue what it really was about (or “a boot”).

Almost four months and some Canucks games, pints of (not very well-tasting) Molson Canadian and “intercultural interactions” later, I feel like I know a great deal more about Canada. Continue reading Canada, Beer and The Least Common Denominator (or: “Proud to be Canadian”)