Highway 103 between Halifax and Bridgewater is surely the dullest drive in Nova Scotia. For the last three or four years, motorists forced to traverse its dreary confines have enjoyed momentary comic relief near the Tantallon exit, in the form of a car-sized, more-or-less cubical rock outcropping, painted as a Rubik’s Cube.

Rubric one LR

“A jumbled Rubik’s Cube fixed in stone, really heavy stone,” said West Dublin resident Peter Barss, who waxed philoshical about its deeper artistic significance:

A monumental monument to confusion and frustration? A puzzle that never changes… and can never be solved? An implied order, an order that can never be realized? A metaphysical statement about some absolute truth about the universe?

This week, the nerdish joke got better when someone — Glooscap? Giant MacAskill?  — solved the cube.

Rubik's two

Contrarian does not condone the defacement of Nova Scota granite, but we are prepared to make an exception in this case.

Avian tool use in West Dublin

For a long time, we humans flattered ourselves with the belief that tool use was among our defining and exclusive traits. In the last decades of the 20th Century, we grudgingly conceded the  franchise — first to primates, then elephants, cetaceans, and birds. But who knew we had tool-using songbirds right here in Nova Scotia?

Sunday afternoon, two nuthatches, one red-breasted, one white-breasted, transformed a stump in West Dublin, Nova Scotia, into a vice. The birds wedged sunflower seeds into a crack in the stump, thus freeing their beaks to peck open the firmly secured meals.


Few things annoy the Contrarian more than cheesy anthropomorphism, (e.g.: the Weimaraner-abusing William Wegman), so I will tag this post sittapomorphism.  Photos by Peter Barss.