Stirred or Shaken? How to Make a Perfect Vodka Martini The Maserati Quattroporte: Luxury You Can Sort of Almost Imagine Affording Reyka Vodka May Have the Coolest Distiller on the Planet Tasc Performance Crafts Sustainable Fabrics Without Sacrificing Style The 100% Biodegradable Vollebak T-Shirt Is Made From Plants and Algae Editors’ Recommendations Well, so it happened… the “future” as predicted by the venerable film BACK TO THE FUTURE II has not quite arrived despite the date depicted in the film having come and gone. (Marty, Doc, and Jennifer popped into the future on October 15th, 2015, FYI. Instead of time travelers arriving from the 80s on 10/15/15, instead we announced the halt of troop withdrawal from Afghanistan that day, which does in fact have some correlation to the 80s, so hey!)Related: Should your self-driving car kill you to save a school bus full of kids?We have no self-drying jackets, no flying cars, and of course… no hover boards. But while those matters sartorial and automotive may be still far in the offing, on that latter front, technology has made some rather impressive strides. None of the three devices discussed today are going to zip you around like Marty McFly on a wild ride, but they’re all pretty damn cool, and at least they prove that some brilliant designers and engineers out there are doing their damnedest. So, maybe we’ll check back in 2045? For now, here is the finest stand-on transportation 2015’s technology has to offer:The AirWheel Q5This unique self-balancing electric unicycle lets you stand still while zipping across town at the pace of a fast jog. The AirWheel Q5 has a top speed of a little over 11 miles an hour, and a range of about 12 to 14 miles depending on the terrain. And as the AirWheel weighs just 25 pounds but can support riders of up to 260 pounds, it’s a viable method of transportation around a city or to/from a train or subway: unfold the pedals, ride your electric unicycle to the station, pop it into a backpack or duffel, and then be on your way. At about $450 before taxes and shipping, the AirWheel isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s both enjoyable and useful enough to be worth consideration.The Hendo HoverboardSo guess what? There is a real, honest-to-goodness hover board that already exists! The only catch? You need a massive flat metal floor upon which to operate it. The Hendo Hoverboard works by using the repellent power of magnetism: its dual disc “hover engines” create a powerful magnetic field that lifts the board off the metal flooring beneath it, creating a true hover effect and thrilling the rider who does not immediately fall down. While not a practical toy for most of us at present, given the need for that huge metal surface, the Hendo company does have some promising ideas for more industrial applications. Can’t you picture a fleet of robots hovering around a factory floor, sorting your order of books/garden hoses/textiles/beef jerky with the greatest of ease? We’re going to guess Jeff Bezos can…HoverBoost HoverBoardOK, right out of the gate we have to take some issue here: this company calls itself HoverBoost and calls their flagship product a HoverBoard despite the fact that there is nothing at all hovering here. In fact the HoverBoost HoverBoard sits squarely on the ground atop its two parallel wheels. That said, it’s remarkably easy to use with simple, natural body movements, and it has a range of as much as 18 miles on a full charge.If you want to get about as close to a Marty McFly-style hoverboard as possible without breaking the bank and installing a massive metal floor in your home, this, for now, is the way to do it. Again, how about it, 2045?
Norfolk County has hired an interim CAO with extensive experience at the regional and metropolitan level.Harry Schlange, 61, was the head bureaucrat in Niagara Region from 2013 until he accepted the top administrative job in the City of Brampton in 2016.Last December, new Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown announced that his city council had decided to “part ways” with Schlange.Schlange takes over from former Norfolk CAO David Cribbs, who left Governor Simcoe Square in mid-January. His appointment takes effect Monday.“Interest in municipal politics is at an all-time high in Norfolk County,” Mayor Kristal Chopp said Thursday in a news release.“Residents have spoken loud and clear in favour of change. Schlange is just the kind of authentic leader we need to help deliver that change and modernize the corporation.”The mayor added that Schlange will help Norfolk compete “for talent, ideas and innovation.”“He understands how communities like ours need to differentiate themselves and eliminate any and all barriers to progress,” Chopp says. “That’s what makes him the right leader for this community.”Appointing an interim replacement took on some urgency in recent weeks after senior staff warned they are spreading themselves too thin.Last week, division managers reported that a CAO has knowledge of county files that they do not. As such, the recent routine of appointing general managers to wear the CAO hat on a rotating basis was not working.Staff told council March 26 that important items and issues were sitting idle and multiplying due to the increased workload. During an in-camera session at the same meeting, council opted to hire a CAO on an interim basis.Schlange has had a bumpy ride in recent years. The St. Catharines Standard reported three years ago that he survived an in-camera confidence vote at Niagara Region shortly before he accepted the CAO position in Brampton.Before Schlange left Niagara Region, his resignation letter to council was leaked to the media.In the letter, he said the region’s leadership was too timid and that some council members did not bring a constructive mindset to the table. Schlange said his job had become more difficult than it needed to be.“I have observed actions and behaviours at the leadership level that run contrary to these efforts and inhibit my ability to continue to deliver on the commitments I have made to you,” he said.“Instead of feeling empowered to take bold steps, we are beginning to find ourselves in an organization that is overwhelmed by the threat of strong repercussions and fearful to take even the most calculated risks.”MSonnenberg@postmedia.com