Posts Tagged ‘Canada’
While we hear a lot about the ways in which hovering aerial drones can potentially be used to violate peoples’ privacy, it’s always nice to know that they can help us, too. That was the case last Friday when RCMP from the Canadian city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan used a remotely-operated quadcopter to locate the victim of a single-vehicle rollover, which occurred in the countryside at near-freezing temperatures.
At 12:20 am, the Saskatoon RCMP first received a report of the rollover, and went out to the accident site to investigate – they were joined at the scene by fire rescue and emergency medical response teams. The car was located, but even after conducting a 200-meter ground search of the area, no occupants could be found.
An air ambulance helicopter was then called in, the crew of which used a night vision system to conduct a larger, aerial search. When that search also proved fruitless, the RCMP brought in Corporal Doug Green, a Forensic Collision Reconstructionist, along with the detachment’s forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera-equipped Draganflyer X4-ES quadcopter – the drone is made by Draganfly Innovations, which is itself based in Saskatoon.
By 2:10 am, the 25 year-old lone driver of the car made a 911 call from his mobile phone, letting police know that he was cold, and didn’t know where he was. With some help from the phone company, the GPS coordinates of his phone were triangulated, indicating that the call was made approximately 3.2 km south of the accident site.
Green moved to that area, and the X4-ES was relaunched. It picked up three heat signatures on its FLIR, one of which was the injured driver. He was located in a wooded area 200 meters from the site of his phone call, curled in a ball next to a snow bank at the base of a tree. He wasn’t wearing any outdoor clothing, had lost his shoes, and was unresponsive. Ground crews soon reached him, and proceeded to get him a hospital.
According to the RCMP, “Without the UAV and FLIR, searchers would not have been able to locate the driver until daylight.” For its part, Draganfly Innovations stated, “To our knowledge, this is the first time a public safety agency has saved a life using a sUAS (small Unmanned Aerial System) helicopter”.
Bravo! I’ve spoken before about not only repurposing our military – anyone else recall the “peace dividend”? That level of understanding and political will isn’t needed for repurposing and humanitarian use of hardware that folks think destined only for acts of death and destruction.
Seventy-five years ago an amateur scientist made a breakthrough discovery in the field of climate change. Guy Stewart Callendar linked global warming to CO2 emissions but his work went largely unnoticed at the time.
Now the anniversary of his discovery has been commemorated by two leading climate scientists.
Prof Phil Jones, from the University of East Anglia in Norwich, and Dr Ed Hawkins, from the University of Reading, have published a paper looking at Callendar’s legacy.
Prof Jones said the steam engineer’s work was “groundbreaking”.
Callendar, born in Montreal, Canada in 1898, made all his calculations by hand in his spare time, decades before the effects of global warming became widely debated.
The son of English physicist Hugh Longbourne Callendar, who studied thermodynamics, Callendar worked from his home in West Sussex.
A steam engineer by profession, his research first appeared in the quarterly journal of the Royal Meteorological Society in April 1938.
Prof Jones, of the UEA’s Climatic Research Unit, and Dr Hawkins, from Reading’s National Centre for Atmospheric Science, have had their commemorative research paper on Callendar published in the same journal this month.
“Callendar was the first to discover that the planet had warmed,” said Prof Jones. “He collected world temperature measurements and suggested that this warming was related to carbon dioxide emissions.”
“He is still relatively unknown as a scientist but his contribution was fundamental to climate science today,” said Prof Jones.
He deserves credit for his groundbreaking work. The kind of research still unread by most of the no-nothing skeptics who remain unperturbed by essential peer-reviewed science. It is a delight to learn of seminal work being republished.
Hole in the office floor above the bank vault
Toronto-area police say they have foiled a Hollywood-style heist, arresting five men they say camped out in vacant office space above a bank branch and, under cover of night, cut through a thick concrete ceiling to gain access to the vault below.
Halton Regional Police arrested the men with $293,000 jammed into two hockey bags after discovering them hiding in a field not far from a Toronto-Dominion Bank branch in Burlington, Ontario.
Police spokesman Sgt Dave Cross said the elaborate caper – in which the men allegedly covered the office windows to make it look like they were doing renovations – was likely a first for the bedroom community of 175,000, a few miles west of Toronto…
He said police responded to alarms at the bank early on Monday, but found the exterior doors locked when they arrived and saw no signs of disturbance.
As they looked around the immediate area, a police dog led them to the five suspects, who were hiding in a wooded area with the bags full of cash, rare coins, and jewelry.
When police entered the bank, they found a gaping hole in the ceiling. They later found three vehicles nearby containing sledge hammers, concrete cutting saws, rappelling equipment and an acetylene torch, which police say were used in the robbery…
Police said the alleged thieves managed to bypass the bank’s main alarm system, but tripped a secondary alarm as they were leaving.
John Hickey, 44, Aldo Simoni, 31, Alexander Papic, 48, Mentor Vishjay, 36, and Besim Rugova, 32, all face charges of break, enter and commit, and possession of break-in instruments, police said.
TD Bank spokesman Mohammed Nakhooda said the bank was working to contact affected customers and said it has robust security procedures with multiple layers and backstops.
Montreal – Canada Border Services Agency officers found an impressive amount of cocaine in the two suitcases of a female traveller flying in from Jamaica on Feb. 27, almost 32 kilograms.
The seizure took place at international arrivals at the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport…
The suitcases were stuffed with 63 packets of powdered soy milk in plastic bags jumbled in with some clothing.
When tested, the soy powder, to which you add water to make a milk substitute, was anything but a healthy drink product.
The woman who had checked in the bags was arrested and the case has been turned over to the RCMP who will continue the investigation.
Try to convince Canadian coppers you thought you couldn’t get soy powder in Canada – so you brought your own? Cripes!
Cedar Waxwing: Ben Thomas, 2012 GBBC 1st place photo
From Antarctica to Afghanistan, bird watchers from 101 countries made history in the first global Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC), Feb. 15-18.
In the largest worldwide bird count ever, bird-watchers set new records, counting more than 25 million birds on 116,000 checklists in four days — and recording 3,138 species, nearly one-third of the world’s total bird species. The data will continue to flow in until March 1.
Building on the success of the GBBC in the United States and Canada for the past 15 years, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Audubon and Bird Studies Canada opened the count to the world for the first time this year, powered by eBird, a system that enables people to report birds globally in real time and explore the results online. Bird-watchers are invited to keep counting every day of the year at http://www.eBird.org
Hurricane Sandy: The weather system that caused Sandy’s landfall also blew some European birds to North America, and evidence of this is still showing up in GBBC results. The colorful, crested northern lapwing was reported in Georgia, New Jersey and Massachusetts during the GBBC.
…A red-flanked bluetail has wintered at Queens Park, Vancouver, and was also reported in the GBBC for the first time. This British Columbia bird has been drawing bird-watchers from all over the United States and Canada hoping to see this rarity. This little thrush is one of the only birds in the world with a striking blue tail and is native to Asia: the other GBBC report of the red-flanked bluetail this year was from Japan.
RTFA for interesting stats. Visit the ebird site.
When you can, join in next year and help build knowledge at the grassroots level about the feathered critters who share this planet with us.
A teenaged robbery suspect has filed a civil suit against Trois-Rivieres police after he was beaten during an arrest.
The arrest was captured on surveillance video, and it shows a quartet of police officers running up to a man lying on the ground — then kicking and punching him repeatedly for 30 seconds.
Alexis Vadeboncoeur, 19, stated in court Thursday that he was seriously injured from repeated kicks to his testicles, and that a female officer grabbed his scrotum and squeezed.
His lawyer, Rene Duval, said that despite repeated requests for medical attention Vadeboncoeur has yet to see a doctor…
“He’s telling me that since he’s been in detention he’s asked many times — in writing because that’s the way it should be done — and as of now he hasn’t received any medical assistance…”
The incident began when Vadeboncoeur allegedly robbed a Jean-Coutu pharmacy while armed with a pellet gun.
The video shows a hooded man running into the parking lot of CEGEP Trois-Rivieres while pursued by police. The man then drops some items and lies face down in the snow, with his arms spread wide.
An officer then runs up and immediately begins kicking the man in the side, and several other officers join in.
The Surete du Quebec has launched an investigation into the arrest, and the four officers seen on the video have been suspended with pay.
Cops investigating cops – in the GWN. Not sure if that increases the likelihood of justice. I doubt it.
They must be Canadian. You have to do something indoors in the winter.
And, Tom – I promise real pandas, soon.
You can erect a prefab shed in a remote field, but that doesn’t make it a house. Mercifully, Nathan Buhler of BLDG Workshop and Evan Bare of 608 Design are more circumspect when it comes to their collaborative effort, the Bunkie. Talking to Gizmag, Buhler said that he thinks of the design more as a large product than as small-scale architecture. Effectively a spare room you can put in your yard, we think that’s bordering on understatement.
“We started with the Bunkie as a medium to experiment in ideas that cross boundaries between architecture and furniture design,” Buhler explained. Like furniture, Bunkie will be factory-built and assembled on site. Less like furniture, you can sleep in it comfortably without getting drenched or poked by a mustelid.
Built, a Bunkie has footprint of 12.5 by 8.5 ft and stands about 11 ft high. That gives the Bunkie an area of 106.25 sq ft, which is under the 108 sq ft threshold for building without planning permission under the Ontario Building Code, Buhler informs us. (Both Buhler and Bare operate out of Toronto.) “Everything can be built in a factory and shipped on site for final assembly,” Buhler said.
Bunkie is designed to be multi-purpose, and includes what the designers describe as three distinct “modes” – sleep, play and open. In sleep mode, two queen-sized wall beds flip down to turn the Bunkie into a makeshift dormitory. One folds out from the main wall of the Bunkie, while, cunningly, the other folds out from the pitch of the roof above, creating a sort of queen sized bunk bed arrangement with the top bunk accessed by ladder. A folding table and chairs are secreted in another wall, and can be removed for use in play mode. Open mode is simply use of the whole space, “for meditation, yoga, reading, etc.” Buhler suggests…
Finally, because the front and back faces of the Bunkie are composed of glass, you can basically see through it, so your view of your backyard’s rear fence needn’t be completely ruined.
Delightful. Sensible. Room for one – or two very close people. I would build it without the guest bed in the ceiling.
“Terrorism and violence cannot be permissible in Islam,” Tahir ul Qadri told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in 2010 after declaring a Fatwa on terrorism.
The bold pronouncement thrust Qadri into headlines worldwide and led to an invitation to speak at the prestigious World Economic Forum and United States Institute for Peace.
Two years on, the religious cleric has resurfaced in Pakistan, demanding free and fair elections, after spending the last six years living in Canada.
Qadri has come a long way since his time as a parliamentarian during General Pervez Musharraf’s regime in the early 2000s.
After promoting his agenda from abroad — speaking out in videos and books — he is now back in the political spotlight in his home country, calling for a caretaker administration to take the government’s place and carry out election reforms ahead of an upcoming vote.
According to Qadri, the composition of the caretaker government should be decided with the input of the judiciary and the military.
But in a country with a history of military coups, Qadri’s mention of the army in the electoral process set off alarm bells with the current government and opposition who quickly reassured the Pakistani people that nothing would stand in the way of timely elections and the democratic process…
Qadri threatened that unless his election reform demands were met by Thursday, he would stage a “Million Man March” to the capital, paralyzing the city with thousands of supporters.
“We will not succumb to these illegal demands,” Senator Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s Interior Minister told media Thursday, in anticipation of the protest, which is expected to arrive in Islamabad tomorrow, on Monday.
Malik said he would not allow the rally to enter downtown Islamabad as it posed a security risk and would disrupt business operations in the city; he said the Pakistani government had cordoned off sensitive areas of Islamabad.
I suggest you cock an ear to broadcasts from AlJazeera or BBC World starting early Monday morning. Hopefully, the march will remain peaceful. Hopefully, the people who oppose the march will remain peaceful.