Posts Tagged ‘Canada’
Who’s that knocking at my door? I’ll open it and look.
An Alberta man who stabbed a friend in the chest as a test for what turned out to be an ineffective stab-proof vest was sentenced to six months in jail.
Calvin Clackson, 21, of Edmonton, pleaded guilty Tuesday to criminal negligence causing bodily harm in the Oct. 15, 2012, incident that required friend Justin Harder, 18, to undergo emergency surgery for a bleeding chest wound…
The court heard Harder had been wearing a purportedly stab-proof vest and invited Clackson to test it out with a folding knife.
“Unfortunately, the vest didn’t work and the knife went through the vest and into the chest cavity and Mr. Harder was seriously injured,” prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga said.
Provincial Court Judge Michael Allen said the stabbing was a serious incident that could have been worse.
“It was foolish for the friend to offer the invitation,” Allen said. “It was criminally negligent for the accused to take up the invitation.
Canada has given the go-ahead to commercial production of genetically modified salmon eggs, bringing the world’s first GM food animal closer to supermarkets and dinner tables.
…Environment Canada said it had granted a US biotechnology firm, AquaBounty Technologies permission to export up to 100,000 GM fish eggs a year from a hatchery in Prince Edward Island to a site high in the Panamanian rainforest.
The decision marked the first time any government had given the go-ahead to commercial scale production involving a GM food animal.
The move clears the way for AquaBounty to scale up production of the salmon at its sites in PEI and Panama in anticipation of eventual approval by American authorities…
AquaBounty has been raising GM salmon for several years on an experimental basis, growing fish eggs at a lab in PEI and then flying them to a ramshackle test site at a secretive inland location in the Panamanian rainforest, where they were grown to full size, and then ultimately destroyed.
The GM fish splices growth genes from a Chinook salmon and a seal eel onto an Atlantic salmon – which AquaBounty claims enables the altered animal to grow twice as fast as a regular fish…
The company has also fought to win over the public to the idea of GM fish. Within the last year, supermarket chains such as Whole Foods and Trader Joes, have said they will not stock GM salmon…
But Stotish said in the statement the company planned to go into commercial production once those other approvals are in place.
About as overdue as any science-based product facing irrational fear and superstition might be. Aside from folks never having been able to distinguish any difference between like-prepared samples of these salmon and other quality spec farm-raised varieties, there hasn’t been any peer-reviewed science that demonstrated differences – dangerous or otherwise – about these salmon.
Cripes, the Luddites probably wouldn’t eat any kind of eel on their own either.
What can you say about cigarette butts? They instantly make wherever they are look seedy, they don’t biodegrade, plus they’re highly toxic to aquatic organisms. It turns out, however, that they are good for something. The City of Vancouver and TerraCycle Canada launched a first-of-its-kind pilot program this Tuesday, in which the butts will be collected for recycling.
As part of the Cigarette Waste Brigade program, 110 cigarette recycling receptacles have been installed on several blocks in downtown Vancouver. The idea is that besides keeping the butts out of landfills, they also won’t be littering the streets. People are additionally being encouraged to save up butts in their home or workplace, then send them in for processing.
And no, they’re not being recycled into new cigarette butts. Instead, the cellulose acetate in their filters is being used in the production of industrial products such as shipping pallets. Additionally, tobacco extracted from them will be composted.
Incidentally, in a study conducted at China’s Xi’an Jiaotong University, it was found that discarded cigarette butts could also be used for rust-proofing steel.
The Cigarette Waste Brigade program is part of the Greenest City 2020 Action Plan, in which Vancouver is aiming to become the greenest city in the world by the year 2020. That plan has also included construction of the LEED-certified Vancouver Convention and Exhibition Center, the introduction of a car-sharing program, and the use of recycled plastic in road asphalt.
Vancouver rocks! If they weren’t sitting on an earthquake fault, I might be living there.
Sometimes, we get angry being stuck in traffic. We might be fuming about the person playing on their cellphone that rear-ended someone, or we might blame the person poking along in the left lane. And yes, sometimes, we might just blame the oppressive injustice doled out by traffic lights, particularly when we hit every… single… red.
But a researcher from the University of Toronto named Samah El-Tantawy might have a solution to at least the traffic light issues. As part of a pilot program in Toronto and Cairo, El-Tantawy installed a sort of artificial intelligence system in the lights that allows them to communicate with each other through decision-making strategies rooted in game theory to manage the traffic flow, rather than rely on algorithms from a central command center…
In Toronto, the effect of El-Tantawy’s lights on just 60 city intersections reduced traffic by about 40 percent and cut down on travel times by just over a quarter. It’s unclear what the effects were in Cairo.
Still, the chances of having our travel times cut down by up to 25 percent and the environmental implications of slashing traffic delays by 40 percent, make the idea of these autonomous traffic lights something we’d like to see in our own cities. I for one welcome our new traffic light overlords…
More detailed coverage of the trial is found over here.
Why am I not surprised that logic and science haven’t been applied in this manner before?
City staff says vandals are responsible for trimming a shrub to look like a phallic symbol on the waterfront.
Workers on Wednesday moved quickly to fix the three-metre tall shrub…A photo of the shrub was first posted on an online blog sometime Wednesday.
The city made changes after CBC News brought it to the city’s attention.
Cathy Masterson, the manager of cultural affairs, said the city was unaware of the situation until CBC News emailed her a photo…
Mayor Eddie Francis was not happy when CBC News informed him of the prank.
Staff trimmed the bush into what Masterson called a “more traditional shrub shape.”…Workers cut the shrub back to its trunk in some parts.
The City of Moncton, NB, is turning to an unusual tactic to try to deal with the city’s ever-growing goose population and the messy, potentially dangerous droppings they leave behind.
The Goosinator looks like a mechanical toy, but parks and grounds supervisor Dan Hicks is hoping the remote-controlled device will chase the gaggles of Canada Geese that flock to trails and fields away, to less populated areas.
“If you look at the actual unit, it’s bright colours, it’s got big teeth, it looks pretty menacing,” he said…”You don’t just drive headlong into the flock, you circle around them a little bit and act like a natural predator.”
The Goosinator costs about $3,500, but Hicks contends it would be money well spent. For years, the City has spent a lot of time and effort repairing fields and trails using mechanical sweepers and taking up staff time, he said.
“It is actually less expensive to operate one of these because that thing is so much fun, I can train volunteers and gladly have people come out and want to try this, especially if you’re a sports enthusiast and you’re going to use the field.
“There’s a number of people that have already said, ‘Ya, if that works, I’d sign up.’”
Hicks says the City will test the Goosinator for one more week, then decide whether to buy one, or look for another solution.
Goose poop is as much of a problem as geese just getting in the way, getting territorial and chasing kiddies. The poop is a reservoir of E.coli and folks involved in contact sports on the town’s playing fields don’t need to fall face-first into goose poop after a tackle.
Over the last few years, the government of Canada — led by Stephen Harper — has made it harder and harder for publicly financed scientists to communicate with the public and with other scientists.
It began badly enough in 2008 when scientists working for Environment Canada, the federal agency, were told to refer all queries to departmental communications officers. Now the government is doing all it can to monitor and restrict the flow of scientific information, especially concerning research into climate change, fisheries and anything to do with the Alberta tar sands — source of the diluted bitumen that would flow through the controversial Keystone XL pipeline. Journalists find themselves unable to reach government scientists; the scientists themselves have organized public protests.
There was trouble of this kind here in the George W. Bush years, when scientists were asked to toe the party line on climate policy and endangered species. But nothing came close to what is being done in Canada.
Science is the gathering of hypotheses and the endless testing of them. It involves checking and double-checking, self-criticism and a willingness to overturn even fundamental assumptions if they prove to be wrong. But none of this can happen without open communication among scientists. This is more than an attack on academic freedom. It is an attempt to guarantee public ignorance.
It is also designed to make sure that nothing gets in the way of the northern resource rush — the feverish effort to mine the earth and the ocean with little regard for environmental consequences. The Harper policy seems designed to make sure that the tar sands project proceeds quietly, with no surprises, no bad news, no alarms from government scientists. To all the other kinds of pollution the tar sands will yield, we must now add another: the degradation of vital streams of research and information.
It seemed a little silly over the weekend when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) felt compelled to release his birth certificate. The right-wing Texan was born in Calgary, Alberta, to an American mother, which immediately made Cruz an American citizen. With the senator apparently eyeing national office, and with much of the right fascinated by birth certificates in recent years, the move was apparently intended to resolve any questions about eligibility.
But in this case, it didn’t work out the way Cruz hoped. The Dallas Morning News noted that, as a technical matter, Cruz had dual citizenship — he was an American by virtue of his American mother, but he was also Canadian the moment he was born on Canadian soil. Cruz could, in theory, obtain a Canadian passport, register to vote in Canada, and even run for Parliament.
And so, late yesterday, Cruz filled out a form, renounced any claim to Canadian citizenship, and released a written public statement…
“Because I was a U.S. citizen at birth, because I left Calgary when I was 4 and have lived my entire life since then in the U.S., and because I have never taken affirmative steps to claim Canadian citizenship, I assumed that was the end of the matter.
“Now the Dallas Morning News says that I may technically have dual citizenship. Assuming that is true, then sure, I will renounce any Canadian citizenship. Nothing against Canada, but I’m an American by birth and as a U.S. Senator, I believe I should be only an American.”
What a strange story. Ted Cruz, the Harvard Law School grad and Supreme Court attorney, didn’t realize he had dual citizenship until two days ago? Because his Mom told him not to worry about it?
I have no doubts about Cruz’s eligibility, though I have to admit, seeing conservatives wring their hands about a “foreign-born” candidate is awfully amusing given the circumstances.
Though my friends and relatives in Canada try to maintain a tolerant attitude about American nutball politics, they will have a boatload of fun over this latest example of Tea Party xenophobia.
Birther stupidity infects the American right-wing as thoroughly as racist ideology. But, if you grew up in the United States someplace other than the Confederate state of mind – and after the McCarthyism decade – you may not be aware of the America First kind of bigotry that’s considered a requirement among uneducated bigots who still aren’t convinced the United States Constitution gives everyone the right to vote.
There will be dancing in the streets of Ottawa.
At least half of Canada’s 1.4 billion acre boreal forest, the largest remaining intact wilderness on Earth, must be protected to maintain the area’s current wildlife and ecological systems, according to a report by an international panel of 23 experts.
The report, published by the International Boreal Conservation Science Panel, was released July 22, the same day that panel members made recommendations to protect Canada’s vast wild lands at a symposium at the International Congress for Conservation Biology…
The goal is to protect these ecosystems before oil, gas, mining and lumber companies develop areas and extract natural resources, which often fragment and degrade previously pristine land, said Jeff Wells…associate scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and panel member.
“Elsewhere, [conservationists] are trying to stem the losses by protecting little pieces of land, or by restoring remnants to what they used to be,” by spending large amounts of money after development has already begun, said Wells, who is science adviser to Pew’s international boreal conservation campaign.
The new guidelines for conserving such large natural areas far exceed the previous science-based standard of protecting 10 percent to 12 percent of land to maintain wildlife. New science, including computer models that calculate the minimum amount of land necessary to support many species and their interactions, led to the revised guidelines, Wells said.
The report recommends that members of some 600 aboriginal communities in Canada should lead decisions and play major roles in planning where and how to conserve land. In this way, Canada can take their lead from Australia, where 58 Indigenous Protected Areas cover more than 120 million acres – an area larger than California – and employ close to 700 indigenous people in a ranger program. Such programs combine Western science while bringing in indigenous knowledge about hunting areas, sacred sites, key conservation areas and suggestions for economic development…
The hope is that conservation strategies in Canada and Australia’s outback will provide models for conservation in other parts of the world, said Wells. There have also been discussions of future conferences that might include strategies for conserving Siberian forests, the Amazon rainforest and the Congo basin, which account for other large pristine tracts of wilderness…
Bravo. I hadn’t realized that the Pew Foundation had established segments as specialized as the protection of boreal lands. Wow. Time for me to spend more time studying their mission in addition to the superb polling and research most political writers examine.