Autocorrect nightmare: cannibalism instead of cannabis

❝ Canada is one step closer to the accidental legalization of cannibalism after the House of Commons passed a typo-ridden Bill C-45, formerly known as The Cannabis Act.

“I think no one wanted to be the one to point out the error,” MP Sara Anderson said. “We all thought someone else would do it, and then they called the vote, and here we are, all voting to legalize cannibalism.”


Thanks, Corn

There’s sensible alternative commutes – and then there’s freezing your whatchacallits!

In many cities, pedestrians get sidewalks to travel on, bicyclists have their own lanes and obviously automobiles do, as well. But Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, might at least consider a proposal to add one more to that list, seasonally anyway, with the introduction of a specific route for ice skaters.

Dubbed the Freezeway, the 6.8 miles of ice through Edmonton would use existing pathways in the city, including an abandoned rail line, according to Wired. Building curbs along each side of the route would allow water to freeze. The proposal is still being finalized in terms of location and cost, but in the summer months, bicyclists could use the lanes or artificial ice could handle skaters all year long.

The concept for the Freezeway was the brainchild of Matt Gibbs who came up with the idea in his master’s thesis in landscape architecture. He’s “trying to find ways to make people fall in love with winter as opposed to as if was some unbearable curse,” Gibbs said to Wired.

Conceivably the lanes could appeal to those simply looking for recreation or be actual transportation for some folks to commute to work. A very similar idea is already at work in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, where people skate on the Rideau Canal in the winter (pictured above), and in Helsinki, Finland, it is common for people to ski on the city’s waterways in the winter.

I presume there will be the option of occasional fuel stops along the routes – purveying both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages of your choice.

Armor-plated worm discovered in Canada’s capitol

Scientists have unearthed the remains of one of the world’s rarest fossils — in downtown Ottawa, Canada. The 450-million-year-old fossil preserves the complete skeleton of a plumulitid machaeridian, one of only 8 such specimens known.

Plumulitids were annelid worms — the group including earthworms, bristleworms and leeches, today found everywhere from the deepest sea to the soil in your yard — and although plumulitids were small they reveal important evidence of how this major group of organisms evolved.

“Such significant new fossils are generally discovered in remote or little studied areas of the globe, requiring difficult journeys and a bit of adventure to reach them,” notes Jakob Vinther of Yale University, lead author of the paper describing the specimen. “Not this one though. It was found in a place that has an address rather than map co-ordinates…!”

It was Rudkin who first recognised its scientific significance: “This nifty little specimen first came to my notice when I received a letter from an amateur fossil collector in Nepean, Ontario. In prospecting for fossils in rock from a temporary building excavation he had turned up a small block containing a complete trilobite, but next to it was something else and he sent me a slightly fuzzy but very intriguing photo. The mystery fossil was clearly not another trilobite, and I although couldn’t be certain, I thought it might be some sort of annelid worm with broad, flattened scales. James, the collector, generously agreed to lend me the specimen and I realised immediately it was a complete, fully articulated machaeridian! The first I had ever seen.”

RTFA. Illustrates the fact we shouldn’t presume anything about the prehistoric world that reflects our short-lived and recent superstructure.

And what came to your mind when you confronted an “armor-plated worm” in downtown Ottawa?

Obama and Harper meet in Canada – discuss environment, economy

President Barack Obama and Canada’s Governor General Michaelle Jean
Daylife/Getty Images

The United States and Canada agreed to a new joint initiative to enhance cross-border cooperation to combat global warming…

“How we produce and use energy is fundamental to our economic recovery, but also our security and our planet,” Obama said. “And we know that we can’t afford to tackle these issues in isolation.”

Harper said the two leaders also had a “productive discussion” on the countries’ shared priorities for international peace and security, ” in particular our commitment to stability and progress in Afghanistan…”

Harper said nations pursuing their own economic stimulus plans must recognize that “we have a synchronized global recession that requires policies that will not just benefit ourselves, but benefit our trading partners at the same time.”

Both said the North America Free Trade Agreement, and similar free trade agreements, demonstrate that “trade ultimately is beneficial to all countries,” Obama said, but they also must look at human and environmental implications.

“We expect the United States to adhere to its — to its international obligations,” Harper said. “I have every expectation, based on what the president’s told me and what he said publicly many times in the past, that the United States will do just that.”

The “shared priorities” mean a lot to me of course. Half my North American kin are Canadian. I feel strongly about Canadian politics on both a global and continental scale.

Certainly, my strongest political responsibility is as an American citizen – though regular readers of this blog understand I’m a citizen of Earth, first.

Save your old snow – use it for air conditioning

A city official in Ottawa, Canada, is proposing using mountains of winter snow to provide air conditioning for city buildings in the summer.

In a motion filed with the city’s planning and environment committee, Councilor Diane Deans said an undisclosed city in Sweden already uses the snow technology to air condition a hospital complex.

Her motion says Ottawa is one of the coldest capital cities on the planet and would stand to save significant amounts of money on energy for summer cooling by using snow.

Why can’t we turn snow from a liability into an asset,” she told the Sun.

The concept involves establishing deposit sites where city snow removal crews would dump tons of snow into mountains that would take months to thaw on their own.

My wife and I were discussing this on the way home from our weekly grocery expedition, this morning. She made an excellent additional point:

After the city contains the snow to utilize cold air taken from the mass of frozen goodness, it should be pretty easy to channel the melt water, let it come up to ambient temperature and use it for irrigating parks and recreation land.

Two for the price of one.