Friday, September 29, 2006

David Myles on the Vinyl Cafe

For those who are inclined, tune into the Vinyl Cafe tomorrow or Sunday and catch Halifax and Fredericton's best badly kept secret, David Myles. "When It Comes My Turn" will be kicking off the show. So, not only do you get to listen to Stuart McLean somehow entrance you with a story about a ticket stub and a lost love (or some other seeming banality), but you'll get to hear David's great anthem.

For those not interested, I suggest you take your bow and go do some hunting.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Hey Porter, bring me that bag with $20 million

I've posted earlier on the launch of Porter Airlines. I think it's an interesting project, though I wondered about the economics of it. The Globe is reporting today that the federal government paid Robert Deluce $20 million after it cancelled the building of a bridge to the Island Airport (Torontonians will recall that this was David Miller's principal campaign issue in the last mayoral election). This, apparently, did harm to both Deluce (who was in the hole $11 million on the project) and the Toronto Port Authority. I don't know about the merits of either claim, but I do know that it's a lot easier to start an airline with a $9 million headstart.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Call me Bob, at 1.866.910.7531

I am not a Liberal party member, so I am yet to receive one of the automated "poll" questions that is going around. But, I can tell you a few things about:

1.) It's not a poll, it's a canvass.
2.) It's probablybeing run by Bob Rae's campaign, which indicates that while he's polling well he has so little organization on the ground that he is resorting to automated calls to identify his supporters.
3.) If you'd like to talk to the person running this poll, give Jim Zagak a call at 1.866.910.7531. Perhaps ask him who he's working for. Or, better, ask him why he is pretending to do a poll.

Apparently this race is not only not about ideas, it's also not about having an organization on the ground.

UPDATE: Solus One doesn't claim to be a polling firm, apparently. And, if they were, I hope they'd have some shame over breaking every one of the ten simple industry standards expected of pollsters. This is just more evidence that this is most certainly a canvas. If this is the Rae campaign, I wonder how Bob Rae feels about his campaign using deception to identify supporters?

UPDATE2: I've qualified two statements above using italics. Alex Swann from the Bob Rae campaign emailed me this afternoon. He wrote: "I have talked to people in my organization this afternoon and can say we are not behind this poll/canvass. Can you tell me how you determined our campaign was running this?" The following is the logic I used to come to this conclusion:

1. I know this is not a poll bought by a private firm because:
a. it makes no sense for any firm to know the voting intentions of every party member;
b. presumably no campaign would sell their entire list to a firm as fly by night as Solus 1.
2. It is thus a canvas being run by a campaign.
3. As only four names are mentioned – Ignatieff, Dion, Rae, and Brison, it most certainly has to be run by these campaigns.
4. I know with certainty the Ignatieff and Dion campaigns are not running the poll.
5. I presume it is not being run by the Brison people because it is being fielded in areas where he has no delegate candidates, so a canvas of his support in those areas is useless.

I am thus left with the conclusion that it is the BR campaign. Moreover, I think this fits with the general understanding of the depth of Rae's ground organization. Anyways, we should know with certainty whether this is the case in the next two days, as any number of people have selected Bob Rae just for good fun. Should they receive a call from one of Bob's phonebanks encouraging them to attend the DEMs, then this is fairly good proof that it was his campaign. Until then, I am willing to wait and see.

Wells gets 15 yards for facemasking

At the end of third clip on this page you can see Paul Wells try to pull the mask off of one of Volpe's ghosts. He then appears to chase him down the street. He apparently takes his opposition to this kind of ratf__king quite seriously. Well done, Paul.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sam Harris on Liberalism and Religious Extremism

This is a fine fine article I just picked up off of Arts and Letters Daily, one of the finest sites on the web.

On Polls and Pollsters

There have been two recent polls on the Liberal leadership race: a Strategic Counsel poll of 1000 Liberal members nationally, and an Ekos poll of 1000 members in Ontario and Quebec. Both purport to show a more or less even run between Ignatieff and Rae, with Dion polling strong.

Should we believe these numbers? Here's two reasons why I don't believe them yet. First, it's quite hard to draw a good sample of party members. They aren't always keen to share their opinions. And, as is becoming clear, a good portion of them probably don't even know that they're members, meaning they won't attend the DEMs. One good indication of how good the sample is the screens used to weed out effective non-members. Another is the number of calls each firm made to a name drawn from the list before giving up (the more the better). A final one is the response rate. To my knowledge, neither Ekos nor the SC have provided this information.

Second, the weighting of responses matters a lot. I assume that provincial weights have been applied. But, given that ridings have vastly uneven numbers of members, unless weights were applied to ridings (and the sample was inordinately large), it's unlikely that the regional support levels are anywhere near accurate to the conventional margins of error.

I've emailed principals in both firms with questions about their samples. Fairly straightforward ones, in fact. I've heard nothing back.

Now, this may just be because they don't respond to lowly PhD students who only know this stuff in theory but not in practice. Or, it may be because they don't care. But, either way, it speaks to either their professionalism or the quality of their polls, or both. All I know is that I can answer straightforward and simple questions about all the modelling decisions that I make.

Polls aren't magic, but they are good tools for understanding how a population thinks. Provided they are done correctly. I'd love to be assured that this is the case.

James Bay Trip. Day 3 and 4: James Bay to Ottawa

After Sam and I left the shore we headed to Chisasibi for dinner. Food in our bellies, we would ride in the dark to the Rupert River at kilometer 257. For those counting, that’s 90 kilometers out from Chisasibi, and then 343 kilometers on the JBH.

On the way out of Chisasibi we took a quick detour to see LG1, one of the great hydroelectric dams of northern Quebec. My eyes don’t see well at dusk, so it was a fine time to get off the bikes for a few minutes. We soon discovered that we could ride across the top of the dam, and then to a viewing platform downriver. It is hard to capture the scale of the barrage, but it is 1.3 kilometers wide and 160 meters in height.

Downstream at Le Grande


The sun completely down, we set off for the JBH. By the time we reached the highway I was freezing. The temperature had dropped close to freezing, which makes it several degrees colder at speed. We stopped to regroup, adding whatever layers we had. We also used the last of our heatpacks. It was ultimately all for not. Within 100 kilometers I could barely keep my legs from shaking, and my speed was dropping continuously, a tell-tale sign of fatigue. Soon after that I was convinced I could see frost on the trees, and the miles rolled by dreadfully slowly. What seemed like an hour would pass and we’d be just ten kilometers closer to our goal. The steady stream of northbound logging trucks soon proved a hazard, as I began to fear drifting across lanes, especially as it became more difficult to hold our lines through the corners. Then, at km 470, we hit a fog which swallowed our front wheels. It was only with good fortune that we were alongside Lake Mistanikap, dotted with Cree summer camps. We set up camp as quickly as we could. Chilled to the core, I slept in all my gear.

I woke up late the next morning. It had been an awful ride the night before. And today we had 1100 kms to home. Still, I looked forward to the challenge. Even when I pushed my head outside of the tent and proceeded to cough up a bunch of blood.

The camp in morning

We tried to be efficient in cleaning up camp, but the long night had gotten the better of us. Sam dropped his bike in the sand twice. I almost dropped mine once (and had dropped it twice the day before). But we soon resolved ourselves to the task and set out. We rode a hard pace to Relais 381 where we would gas up for our longest stretch yet without fuel. Then, filled up on some mixture of Red Bull, ginseng, and Gatorade, we headed for Matagami. It’s hardly heavy fuel, but it will keep you eyes up on the bike.

At km 257 we finally hit the Rupert. We had crossed it earlier on the North Road, but there the river was nothing like it is here. By the time the Rupert crosses the JBH is has collected much more water, as several more lakes spill into its stream. I had seen pictures before, but they did nothing to capture the scale of the rapids. It takes little to imagine the most calm line leading to smashed canoes. And it is inconceivable that one could run the roughest section of the cataracts. This is, quite literally, a deadly river. It is a kilometer of crashing. crushing rapids. There is nothing calm or serene about it. The Queen of the North, it is one of Quebec’s greatest possessions. As I’ve written below, this is not for much longer. Sam and I briefly discussed the merits of damming the river, given how much power it will provide and how much wealth will accrue to the Cree nations as a result. But it really doesn’t make up for the loss. We had little time to stay – we had to get back to jobs and studies. Life rolls on like the Rupert, apparently. Until it doesn’t.

The Rupert River

From the Rupert we rode a little less than 900 kilometers home. I rode about 80 more than Sam, on account of his bike breaking down in the Gatineaus. The cause remains unknown, despite he and I performing a number of simple tests on the roadside, guided by my dad on a cellphone. I ended up winding the last 80 kilometers home following a tow truck with Sam’s bike. It was a poor ending to an extraordinary trip, the thoughts of which keep flowing.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Earlier, I suggested that the only thing more unscrupulous than suggesting that Canadian losses in Afghanistan were unnecessary is admitting that they are necessary but claiming someone else should do the heavy lifting. This guy crossed that line today. Count him among those whose internationalism doesn't matter when it really counts.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

James Bay Trip. Day 3: Nemaska to James Bay.

You can see the first two days of our trip here.

Sam and I woke up early in Nemaska with all the narrows covered in fog. We could only take the locals’ word about the beauty of Lake Campion.

We made a quick breakfast and packed up the bikes. We would ride another 100 kms of gravel north west, and then meet the James Bay Highway at kilometer 275. Pushing along near top speed on the gravel we ate up the road in an hour’s time.

The JBH – North Road intersection

When we reached the JBH we had only 434 kilometers to Chisasibi. It is counterintuitive how the miles accumulate when you are this isolated. When you ride through a populated area every town and rest stop reminds you that you are traveling a long distance. But left with only long sweeping curves, burned out forests, small mountains in the distance and lake after lake, the distance becomes arbitrary. Instead, the mind is on holding the finest line through the corner and keeping the bike at top speed despite admonitions to drop to 85 km/h. The KLR is a fine bike, and bulletproof. But it’s on roads like the JBH – wide-open and unpatrolled – when I wish I had a bike that could easily cruise at 150 or 160 km/h, like this or this. All in good time.

About an hour after entering the highway we came upon Relais 381. It is a town – of sorts – at kilometer 381 of the JBH. It exists to pump gas at exorbirant prices and charge $1 for two day old hard boiled eggs. Sam says it’s the crappiest town in Canada. I reserve comment.

Relais 381 on the ride back

Fuel tanks filled, we took off at just after noon for Chisasibi. On the way we passed the Trans-Taiga road, a 700 km eastward ride into the middle of nowhere. At its end you lie farther from a town than on any other road in North America. We were taken by its isolation, and pointed the bikes down it. But time would not permit the trip this time.

The start of the Trans-Taiga

We arrived three hours later. A mostly native town, Chisasibi sits 90 kilometers west of the JBH on the La Grande river, just downstream from the great LG1 hydroelectric dam, and just ten kilometers upstream from James Bay. We pushed beyond the town looking for some trail to James Bay.

Somehow we ended up on ATV dual track which kept getting thicker and thicker, turning towards and then away from the river. When we decided this was not the way to the bay we turned around and started a back track. Anxious to get to the bay I kicked up the speed of the bike and upshifted a couple of times. Riding in deep ruts, this was a bad idea. It was only a matter of seconds before I hit a bad series of bumps and inadvertently hit the throttle. The bike rocketed ahead, then over, they into a tree. I ended up beside it and ahead of it. Laying on the trail I took a few deep breathes and gave everything the once over. Trailing not far behind, Sam inspected everything. I then made my way back to the bike, which fared better than the tree. The front wheel and fork where fine. Nothing was broken, and the mirrors but needed adjustment. At this point I got mad at Sam for not taking pictures of the crash. He wanted to make sure I was fine before snapping pics. That’s what friends are for, apparently.

The bike after the crash

Back at speed, we left the trail and then found the three lane wide dirt road which leads to the Bay. Apparently our observational skills match our navigational skills.

We passed a steady stream of pick up trucks and cars on our way to the Bay, and arrived after ten minutes. All the riding had been worth it. I cannot imagine a better scene. The water stretches past the horizon, the sky goes on forever, rocks come up from the water at low tide, and fishing boats and drying racks dot the shore. The flow of Le Grande is great enough that you can taste just a trace of salt in the water. We considered cooking dinner on the shore, but the air was getting colder and we knew we had a long ride to the Rupert River at km 257, where we hoped to spend the night. So we decided on dinner in Chisasibi and a long ride through the night to the Rupert. We’d never make it that far.

James Bay

Juste un petit question

When Bob Rae travelled to Iraq to help the Kurds set up a constitution, did he mention that the war which liberated them was a big sham which he thinks should not have occurred?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Small pleasures, pt 2

Three small pleasures:

1.) When you realise that You Forgot It In People is exactly the length of time it takes to walk door to door from home to office;
2.) When someone like this teaches you more about research design in five minutes then you can figure out in five days;
3.) And when people like this and this and this and this make a paper you've been working on for a year several times better by taking an hour to read and comment.

Friday, September 15, 2006


I've never been happier to see a New Democrat win. Let's put away this rapid response garbage now, ok? It makes us all look silly, especially those who now stand in clear contradiction of the judgement of the people.

UPDATE: Kinsella clearly didn't get the memo. Why does he so pride himself on simple attacks and incivility, especially after it backfires?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Fata Morgana

I thought I might post this separately, as Don Domanski's work deserves space all its own. Throughout our ride, especially across the North Road, I thought about the isolation of northern Quebec. And I thought about crashing. We were really all alone on the road. There were no phones, no traffic, no hospitals. This was the essence of the adventure. But it is a sense as bone-chilling as it is thrilling. It is, I think, best captured in Fata Morgana, a wonderful Domanski poem. I remember seeing him read it six years earlier in the Owens Art Gallery at Mount A. It is with me still:

You’re walking alone in the forest
The moon is directly overhead
Eating her supper of astronomy
And wedding-gifts

There’s a thousand miles of trees
In every direction
Which means there’s just
Enough blood to go around
So you musn’t spill a drop

Of course every second tree
Is the Tree of Death
Every third one
The Tree of Life
While all the others
Are doors to atonement
But you mustn’t knock

You’re like me
And want a straight line
Through everything
But there aren’t any here
No path from A to B
No A or B

You’re just lost
This is the earth
You’re not human
But a fox or a rabbit

Your life behind a desk
Was an illusion
The shining city a madness
Brought on by fatigue
There aren’t any cars or telephones
There never were
Not a single clothesline or shoelace
In all the world

Your heartbeats are so many
Peapods being cracked open
Your footprints swallow themselves
As you walk along

What I said about the moon was a lie
There were never any weddings
Or any gifts
Not an astronomer to be found

The moon is devouring you
Just you tonight
With your long ears pricked up
In their sad salute to fear

This hour is called Abandonment
This night Bottomless
I would call you Insignificant
If you weren’t already named Essential
If you weren’t the very centre of the world

James Bay Trip. Days 1 and 2: Montreal to Nemaska

Sam and I left for James Bay on Friday night. We’d been planning for a couple of months to travel to Chisasibi, a native town on the northeast corner of the bay. It’s a fairly simple, if long ride. After winding your way 670 kms from Ottawa to Matagami, you get on the James Bay Highway and drive north on the same road for 600 kms. Some time after passing the 52nd parallel you turn left and head to the Bay. However, we decided to complicate the trip. We would first head to Chibougamau, 250 kms north of Lac Saint Jean, and then travel the Route du Nord 400 kms to the JBH.

We suited up on Friday night and left later than we should have. Michael Ignatieff is to blame, but that is another story.

Leaving the Plateau

We rode through a heavy rain as far as Trois Rivieres, and then turned north for Shawinigan. I watched Sam avoid a collision on a combined on/off ramp. I soon did the same. Add another small blessing to the pile.

The bikes performed admirably, as did my gear. Pushing through the rain at 110, I was quite certain I was prepared for the elements farther down the road. After a couple of hours of solid and straight riding we stopped in Shawinigan for dinner. We had set reaching Roberval as our goal, but night and fatigue overcame our best intentions. Winding along the Grane Mere, we finally stopped in Parc des Chutes, just south of La Tuque. We’d pushed 300 kms through the fog and rain. We quickly found a patch of grass beside a parking lot and set up tent. My head went down at 2 am only to be followed by a fitful sleep. I was nervous about the North Road.

Camp in the morning

Sam and I were both awake at 6 am. I think his sleep was like mine. We were both staring down a long day in the saddle and we both wanted to make time. We packed up and scored breakfast in La Tuque at a small truckstop. We then saddled up and pushed into grey clouds and fog.

The gray lifted as we crested a hill over Lac St Jean. Lucien Bouchard once said he would have been a federalist if he had visited Vancouver when he was young. Seeing the sun shine over the Saugenay, with blue mountains across the lake and farm land stretching out forever I was for a moment a sovereigntist. This is enough beauty for one country.

We turned left at Roberval and stopped in at a Canadian Tire for some gear additions. It was noon by now, but we were still cold. We bought more gloves and hot packs for the ride up north. All told, would we finish the day about 450 kilometers farther north, and in near-Taiga. We tried to prepare for the worst.

After we suited up again we headed for Chibougamau, doing to 250 kms in one hit. Sam led most of the way, and I was happy to follow. He is the perfect riding partner. Cautious, but not slow. Adventurous, but not careless. And he is always willing to push a bit farther.

By late afternoon we had reached Chibo. Fifteen kilometers north of the city we found the Route du Nord. Originally built to access cut blocks and hydro projects, the road winds some 400 kms across northern Quebec, running west and then turning North. During the week, the road is filled with logging trucks. As we are running on a Saturday, we are all alone. In the 300 kms we cover on Saturday, we see less than ten cars! Mostly, it is just skimming along on top of the gravel. The guides I have read suggest observing the speed limit, which is just 70 km/h. This is clearly too slow, and soon Sam and I are pushing 110, eyes peeled for large rocks, fighting occasionally against front-wheel dives in the berms, and always keeping an eye out for animals. The bikes love this terrain. We let a distance grow between us, so we are not riding in each other’s dust. We stop to meet up ever hour or so. This is the ride we’ve been waiting for: challenging, isolated, fast, and adventurous. We grin from ear to ear.

Somewhere in the middle of nowhere

It is in the corners that the counter intuitions of a motorcycle become clear. At speed, your wheels want to slide out under the gravel, and the bike wants you to take a straight line to the outside of the corner. The mind tells you to slow down, lean forward, and steer into the corner. The mind is wrong on three counts. Rather, you punch the throttle, stand up a little on the outside peg, and push the bars away from the inside corner. The bike leans and grabs a line and shoots out the corner. Everything you thought was right was wrong.

After 250 kms the sun is diving behind the hills and night is coming fast. We resolve to push as far as Nemaska, where we can get gas for the first time in 300 kms. We will decide then whether to spend the night.

Soon after this we cross the Rupert River. Seeing the river is part of the reason for the trip. The Rupert flows like an artery across the middle of Quebec, emptying millions of gallons of fresh water into the bottom of James Bay. It is spine-shattering rapids and wide, sweeping swathes of water. It will be diverted next year for a hydro project. But for now it flows, and we were keen to see it in all of its majesty. It was literally breath taking.

As we looked out over the river we saw a campfire on a landing above the rapids. We then turned around to see a fellow casually strolling down the bridge toward us. In the middle of nowhere we met Benoit, a Frenchman now living in Trois Riviere. He regularly camps alone in Quebec’s wilds. We enjoyed his brief company immensely, and he obliged us and took a picture of Sam and me above the rapids.

We then pushed on for Nemaska, a native town at kilometer three hundred. We had traveled 700 kms by the time we arrived, and decided to call it a day. But first we rode across a narrow isthmus into the town and gassed up. David, the station attendant, told us we could stay on the beach of the narrows. He said normally we could stay on the beach at the other side of the town, but everyone was there for a wedding party. So we headed back out the narrows and found the most beautiful campsite. A beach ran along a bay on Lake Campion. We pitched our tent and set to making dinner. We soon welcomed what seemed like a parade of visitors. Each one stopped to make sure we were alright. A village elder named Sam offered us the hospitality of his home. We declined, but he did accept our invitation to tea. He told us the story of his birth, brought forth in the bush by the light of embers. The candles had run out. He told us how Nemaska had been built after Hydro Quebec flooded his old home. He told us of his camps all over the region, explained the Caribou and moose hunting seasons, answered all our questions about the local fishing. And then he moved on, but not before extending an offer of lodging again. His welcome warms me still.

Tuesday Thoughts

I am sitting in Sam's apartment in Ottawa, about to hop on the bike to head back home. We travelled 3000 kms in four days. We ran the North Road, the highway to Chisasibi, the dirt track to James Bay, and then the length of the James Bay Highway and 109/5 back to Ottawa. A trip report will follow.

More importantly, I've decided to stop criticizing Jason Cherniak. He's a nice chap, and good hearted, too. In return, I hope he never again suggests that I am a Dal grad. Just kidding.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Not Biden Time Yet

I like Stephane Dion. A lot. He was almost singularly brave among Quebecers during and following the 1995 referendum. And he's sacrificed much for his views, not least of it the collegiality of some colleagues. He is a cut above.

I should also say that he invokes great loyalty in his staffers. I shared an office with one of his close assistants for a year at UdeM before he left to work for Dion. He remains one of my favourite people, in or out of politics. His belief in Dion vouches further for the man.

In short, I have not a bad word to say about M. Dion. Except that he has to straighten out this cut and paste job on environmental policy. Plagiarizing the David Suzuki Foundation - which is exactly what happened - makes his campaign look amateur. Denying it makes it look even worse. He should simply admit what is true: in looking for expressions of his policy a staffer directly borrowed unattributed sections from the David Suzuki Foundation. And he was not aware.

This isn't Biden mugging Kinnock, but if the Dion campaign doesn't restrain the likes of Cherniak it will be soon.

In the meantime, I shall continue to admire Mr Dion.

Monday, September 04, 2006

A Flock of Sheep Near the Airport

I was reminded of this poem when I was sitting in Logan yesterday. Enjoy.

A Flock of Sheep Near the Airport, Yehuda Amichai, The American Poetry Review, Sep/Oct 1996

A flock of sheep near the airport or a high voltage generator beside the orchard: these combinations open up my life like a wound, but they also heal it. That's why my feelings always come in twos. That's why I'm like a man who tears up a letter and then has second thoughts, picking up the pieces and pasting them together again with great pains, sometimes for the rest of his life.

But once I went looking for my son at night and found him in an empty basketball court lit by a powerful floodlight. He was playing all alone. And the sound of the ball bouncing was the only sound in the world.

Tragedy and Farce

This is a tragedy, but this is a farce. This, too. You cannot have development absent security. And you cannot have security without sacrifice. Kennedy and Layton may feel these lives were lost unnecessarily, that their sacrifice was unneeded (which is admittedly less morally unscrupulous than conceding that it is necessary but expecting someone else to do the heavy lifting, which I suspect they may feel down deeper). But that these lives were lost is just the point: they demonstrate a willingness to actually pay the cost of rebuilding failed states. Some politicians get this. Those who do not can join the list of those throughout history whose internationalism never mattered when it counted.

Small Pleasures, pt 1

I used to read Mark Steyn regularly. Somewhere along the line he fell out of my regular rotation. I was recently pointed by Daifallah to some interviews of him, and was reminded again of his wit and broadsides. And I came across this, which has stuck with me for the last week. Asked about why one would engage in battle against the illiberal elements in our world, Steyn responds:

"You want to do it because you want to enjoy all those small personal pleasures like being able to walk into a piano bar in London and hear a fantastic new singer singing The Way You Look Tonight. That is one of the small pleasures of life, and it's those accumulated pleasures that are something very important and something valuable.”

There’s much to be said in this, I should think. From freedom comes choice, from choice our ability to engage in the things we desire, and from these things the steady stream of pleasure which makes going forward worth the work.

I returned yesterday from three days in Philadelphia at the APSA ( I participated on this panel, and it captured so much of what I like about political science: questions about institutions and democratic performance, about information and participation, and about how these things don’t work together in the simple ways we often expect. And this, of course, was just one of many great undertakings, like this one on survey response, this one on the neuroscience of politics, and this one on causation and measurement. All in all, three days well spent, small pleasures all.

Today was equally well-appointed. I saw the Brian Jungen exhibit at the Musée d’Art Contemporain with Maskull and Holly, two fine fine artists. Jungen fashions incredible art from the most ordinary objects; Haida masks from Air Jordans, whale skeletons from lawn furniture. These works, I am informed, speak to modern consumerism, to the commercialization of the sacred, the changing relationship between labour and economic relations, etc. Most of this seems good and reasonable. Stumbling around art as I do, I cannot really say. But the sheer beauty of his work makes it worth your patronage. It is a small pleasure not soon to be forgotten.