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Wet’suwet’en update

Posted February 22, 2020 by Anonymous
He waited as long as he could, too long in the opinion of many.
He was obviously hoping that peaceful negotiation could bring down the rail barricades, in the best Canadian tradition.
But at last Justin Trudeau’s patience was exhausted.The negotiations were going nowhere, because there were none.
“We can’t have dialogue when only one party is coming to the table. For this reason, we have no choice but to stop making the same overtures.”
And for that the blame must go to these old men, the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs.

Like Montreal Simon, I could not believe how lackadaisical and disrespectful the hereditary chiefs were being in refusing to respond to Trudeau’s obvious respect.
They didn’t seem to realize that the time to make progress was NOW, this week, when they had Canada’s attention and a great deal of support across the country. 
What they cannot do is keep raising the ante.
While the story earlier this week was that the Wet’suwet’en had worked out a deal for RCMP to move back to Houston BC, the story today was that they wanted both the RCMP AND the pipeline company to leave, and then “nation-to-nation discussions with Canada and BC” should start.
And the tactic of leisurely visiting Mohawk reserves in Eastern Canada and holding news conferences instead of talking to the prime minister doesn’t make any sense.

“We are waiting for Indigenous leadership to show that it understands,” [Trudeau] said in a news conference. “The onus is on them.”
Injunctions to clear tracks must be obeyed and the law must be upheld, he said, adding that it is pointless to continue making overtures to Indigenous leaders if they aren’t accepted.
“Let us be clear: all Canadians are paying the price. Some people can’t get to work, others have lost their jobs,” Trudeau said. “Essential goods … cannot get where they need to go.”
The situation “is unacceptable and untenable,” he said.

Canadian support has started to evaporate when the chiefs could not seem to articulate what they wanted to achieve – no pipeline at all? a pipeline but on a different route? more negotiations for the existing route?  — and when thousands of Canadians were being increasingly affected, losing jobs and fearing for their heating oil supplies. 

Also as predicted earlier this week, Canadian support for Trudeau’s whole reconciliation agenda was disintegrating as the railway disruptions continued with no end in sight.
Trudeau appeared to realize this too, after talking to the Premiers on Thursday and to Cabinet today.

On Twitter, the usual suspects were berating Trudeau for not acting first and thinking later. But Trudeau tried to resolve the blockades with dialogue instead of immediately turning the dispute into a dick-measuring contest like Scheer and McKay wanted.
At least the Mohawks are clear about what they want — the Mohawks have an agreement with Indigenous Services minister Marc Miller that the Ontario trains will run as soon as RCMP have withdrawn to Houston from Wet’suwet’en territory. 
As Manitoba Premier Palliser said today, no individual or group has an absolute veto on natural resource projects.

“Public opinion matters on these things,” he said. “This federal Liberal government has said that reconciliation is a priority. But if you want real reconciliation, then you have to do the real work of achieving it. And you have to establish some parameters. You have to put a fence around the discussion to some degree. And you don’t do that if you don’t make it clear that everyone does not have a veto.”
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Climate Change

NASA Reveals Shocking Ice Cap Melt in Antarctica After Record Heat

Posted February 21, 2020 by Becky Ferreira

New images from Antarctica’s record heat wave show the rapid greening of an island’s ice cap.

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Bloomberg Caves to Elizabeth Warren and Says He’ll Release Women From 3 NDAs

Posted February 21, 2020 by Anonymous

The presidential candidate called the non-disclosure agreements “consensual” at the debate earlier this week.

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No One Knows Why This Woman Asked for a Q on ‘Wheel of Fortune’

Posted February 21, 2020 by Anonymous


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People Are Still Gluing Hats to Pigeons’ Heads and This Time It’s So Much Worse

Posted February 21, 2020 by Anonymous

Of course now they’re MAGA caps. Can we all agree to just leave birds alone?

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Justin Trudeau Says Rail Barricades ‘Need to Come Down Now’

Posted February 21, 2020 by Sarah Berman

Canada’s prime minister has called on Indigenous leaders including the Wet’suwet’en Nation to not stand in the way of reconciliation with Canada.

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To Many’s Dismay, Permian Produces More Gas and Condensate Instead of Oil and Profits

Posted February 21, 2020 by Anonymous
aerial view of West Texas oil fields

Read time: 8 mins

As oil prices plummet, oil bankruptcies mount, and investors shun the shale industry, America’s top oil field — the Permian shale that straddles Texas and New Mexico — faces many new challenges that make profits appear more elusive than ever for the financially failing shale oil industry.

Many of those problems can be traced to two issues for the Permian Basin: The quality of its oil and the sheer volume of natural gas coming from its oil wells.

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Sketchy ‘Metabolism Drops’ Are Big With TikTok Teens

Posted February 21, 2020 by Anonymous

Wellness company Rae’s product is effectively marketed—even if it might not actually be effective.

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The Weinstein Jury Might Be Deadlocked on His Most Serious Charges

Posted February 21, 2020 by Anonymous

The judge told them to keep at it.

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White House Report Is ‘Pure Propaganda’ for AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast

Posted February 21, 2020 by Anonymous

Experts tell Motherboard that no, rubber stamping the whims of AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast did not result in untold riches for American consumers.

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Harvard—Home of Alan Dershowitz—Says the Wealth Tax Economist Is Too Much

Posted February 21, 2020 by Anonymous

Gabriel Zucman was reportedly refused tenure partly because of the “arguments he was making in the political arena.”

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What to Do If You’re Worried About Never Having Been in a Relationship

Posted February 21, 2020 by Julia Pugachevsky

Not having much romantic experience in your late 20s can lead you to wonder if that’s normal. So… is it?

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Artifacts retrieved from Erebus wreck reveal snapshot of life on doomed ship

Posted February 21, 2020 by Anonymous

Franklin expedition epaulettes

A pair of epaulettes that would have been worn as part of the dress uniform of a British Royal Navy officer. These were discovered in officers’ quarters inside the wreck of HMS Erebus and may have belonged to 3rd Lieutenant James Walter Fairholme. (Photo: Parks Canada Agency)

An accordion. A wooden hairbrush with many of its bristles still intact. A stick of sealing wax bearing the thumbprint of the last person who used it. A pair of Royal Navy epaulettes, carefully stored in a box. 

Preserved for over 170 years by the frigid waters of the Arctic Ocean, these and hundreds of other artifacts retrieved from the wreck of HMS Erebus and revealed to the public for the first time this week paint an intriguing picture of life aboard the doomed ship — and may ultimately hold clues to the fate of Sir John Franklin’s lost expedition. 

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A Canadian discovery: Repeating fast radio burst from space detected in British Columbia

Posted February 21, 2020 by Anonymous

CHIME telescope, space, radio burst, discovery

The CHIME telescope, located in British Columbia’s southern Okanagan. (Photo: Andre Renard, Dunlap Institute)

In a spiral galaxy far, far away — 500 million light years away, to be exact — a mysterious repeating radio signal is making history with its patterned bursts. 

For the very first time, Canadian researchers working with the Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) telescope in British Columbia’s southern Okanagan have discovered a fast radio burst (FRB) that is repeating in regular 16-day intervals. 

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Exposé Shows Rise of Heartland Institute’s Climate Denial Efforts Overseas, Using Dark Money and a YouTuber

Posted February 20, 2020 by Sharon Kelly

Read time: 9 mins

A recent German news report has shed light on the inner workings of the Heartland Institute’s international efforts to sow doubts about climate science using the dark money group Donors Trust. Part of those efforts include the climate science-denying organization touting its newest representative, a young German YouTube “influencer,” Naomi Seibt, whom Heartland markets as the deniers’ answer to breakout youth climate activist Greta Thunberg.

The U.S.-based Heartland Institute receives millions of dollars a year to fund its climate denial efforts and is looking to expand them in Germany, according to the undercover joint investigation by German outlets CORRECTIV and Frontal21.

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‘The story I was intended to write’: Michelle Good on forthcoming novel ‘Five Little Indians’

Posted February 20, 2020 by Anonymous

Cover of Five Little Indians by Michelle Good

Michelle Good’s new novel ‘Five Little Indians’ explores what happens when survivors leave residential schools. (Cover image: HarperCollins Canada)

Canadians are becoming more and more familiar with the story of what went on inside residential schools, but little attention is paid to what happens to residential school survivors after they’ve left those locations.

Michelle Good’s new novel Five Little Indians aims to change that. The story follows five residential school survivors as they struggle to find safety in Vancouver after they are finally released. Alone and without any skills, support or family, the characters cling to each other as they each attempt to find their place in the world.

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New species of tyrannosaurus discovered in Alberta

Posted February 19, 2020 by Anonymous


An artist’s rendering of how Thanatotheristes might have looked when it ruled the Alberta wilderness 79 million years ago. (Illustration: Julius Csotonyi)

Paleontologists at the University of Calgary and the Royal Tyrrell Museum have discovered a new species of predatory dinosaur in Alberta. 

Called Thanatotheristes, which means “reaper of death,” the 79-million-year-old fossil is the oldest known tyrannosaur from North America and the first tyrannosaur species identified in Canada in 50 years. 

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Q&A: Tom Koch on disease mapping and medical geography

Posted February 19, 2020 by Anonymous

historic disease map

The earliest instances of disease mapping can be traced back to 1691, when Fillippo Ariette mapped quarantine zones in Bari, Italy. (Controlling the Geographical Spread of Infectious Disease: Plague in Italy, 1347-1851)

Tom Koch has several job titles, but he’s notably an adjunct professor of medical geography at the University of British Columbia and author of Cartographies of Disease: Maps, Mapping and Medicine. As an expert in disease mapping, Canadian Geographic spoke with him about the practice and what we can learn from past pandemics as the world grapples with how to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19. 

On his introduction to disease mapping and medical geography

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Oh My God The Nutrition World Is Painful

Posted February 19, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

Short post to say that watching people aggressively argue about their preferred diets of choice, and seeing reputable people willing to prop up the most shameless of medical hucksters if they happen to share a nutritional belief, and the endless debates about physiology, and meal timing, and breakfast, and fasting, and macronutrients, and lipids, and anti-science shilling, and multi-level marketing, and so much more, is so very tiresome.

As a clinician I know that what actually matters is how to help the person sitting in front of me, remembering that science, meal patterns, macronutrients, and physiology, may not always matter the way some study says they could or should in the face of an individual’s life and personal preferences. Ultimately, and regardless of what I think is “right” on paper or right for me, my job is to help patients make sustainable changes that in turn lead them towards the healthiest life that they can actually enjoy.

Similarly, as a public health advocate, I know that if there were any amount of education, or a brilliantly crafted public health message, that in turn would effectively drive societal behaviour change we’d have all already changed all of our behaviours. I can also tell you that energies spent on initiatives relegated to personal responsibility, including but not restricted to those promoting one person’s diet tribe, pale in importance to energies spent on initiatives relevant to changing the food environment. And there’s no shortage of targets that span all dietary dogmas – from advertising to kids, front-of-package health claim reforms, junk food fundraising, the provision of free cooking skills to kids and adults, national school food programs and improvements, tax incentives and disincentives, and more.

All this to say, it’s my opinion that these two flawed foci, that there’s one best or right way and that personal responsibility will be our salvation, are the two main reasons why we can’t have nice things in nutrition and nutrition related public health.

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Wetsuweten protests- we don’t get to choose the battle; we can only choose our side

Posted February 16, 2020 by Anonymous
Once again, I think we have reached the point in Canada where we don’t get to choose the battle. We can only choose our side.
I can’t say I understand the #Wetsuweten protests, but I am coming to realize that if Canada’s usual suspects are against them, then the side I must choose is to support them.
I cannot yet see what the resolution will be acceptable to this impasse — no pipeline at all? a pipeline in a different place? some kind of a joint economic development consortium between Wetsuweten and the government and the gas companies? I just don’t know.
But I do know that I simply cannot support this kind of attitude:

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheers says the “protesters” need to check their “privilege” and let the rail system open again. #Wet‘suwet’en.

— APTN National News (@APTNNews) February 14, 2020

This is civil war.

Military action is a must.

Retain / constrain as needed.

— * W. Brett Wilson * (@WBrettWilson) February 14, 2020

Or this kind of frightening, provocative and unacceptable behaviour:

Wet’suwe’ten protester in RCMP gunsight pleads in video for police to put down their arms | CBC News

— Tantoo Cardinal (@tantooC) February 14, 2020

At least there is still a little humour to be found, too:

Oh well, just boil it, you’ll be fine 🤷🏻‍♀️#Ironic

— Janine Manning (@NewStarWoman) February 14, 2020

Montreal Simon is concerned that the blockade protests risk annoying and inconveniencing so many people in Eastern Canada who have no voice or choice in the matter, that support for reconciliation will be threatened — and this is not an unlikely concern. Susan Delacourt also writes about how complicated the reconciliation issues have now become:

This is where Trudeau’s “most important relationship” gets complicated, maybe hopelessly so. It is not just about historic reconciliation. It’s also about economic circumstances, resource development versus the environment, and the populism arising from economic inequality — some of the most vexing, conflict-laden issues facing the federal government. Throw in contempt for the law and it’s easy to see why what looked important in 2015 can look impossible in 2020.

Here are some good tweet threads with more info:

OK, thread: For the last few days I’ve tried to learn what I can about an alternate route for the Coastal GasLink pipeline that was apparently proposed by #Wetsuweten hereditary chiefs and brought into the discussion by a Green Party MP. Here’s what I’ve learned

— Andrew Kurjata 📻 (@akurjata) February 16, 2020

Some thoughts on the “rule of law” that so many Canadians wish would end today’s uncomfortable and inconvenient protests over a fossil gas (ie natural gas) pipeline crossing unceded Wet’suwet’en territory and RCMP action to drive it through. #Wetsuweten #CoastalGasLink


— Peter Fairley (@pfairley) February 14, 2020

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2019 was the warmest year on record for the world’s oceans. What does that mean for Canada?

Posted February 14, 2020 by Anonymous

sea star disease the blob

In 2013, an outbreak of sea star wasting disease on the west coast of North America coincided with the appearance of an area of warmer-than-normal water in the Pacific Ocean that scientists dubbed “The Blob.”

2019 was the warmest year on record for the global ocean, continuing a trend that has scientists worried about the health of marine ecosystems worldwide. 

According to a recent study published in the journal Advances in Atmospheric Science, the past five years have been the top five warmest in the ocean since 1955.

The findings indicate that unless greenhouse gas emissions are reduced globally, ocean temperatures will continue to rise, with significant consequences for marine life.

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Negative tests for microplastics a positive for marine mammals in eastern Canadian Arctic

Posted February 14, 2020 by Anonymous

scientist in lab coat looking at microscope slide

Madelaine Bourdages inspects seal stomach contents under a microscope. (Photo: Jennifer Provencher)

A good news story about microplastics? 

Researcher Madelaine Bourdages was surprised, too, when her research project involving seals from the eastern Canadian Arctic revealed no traces of microplastics in the seals’ stomachs.

Recent studies have found plastics in the digestive systems of turtles, albatross and other marine animals. Bourdages had the opportunity to find out how eastern Canadian Arctic seals were faring in these days of marine plastic pollution.

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Great tweets: politics or animals or maybe both

Posted February 13, 2020 by Anonymous

Here’s some tweets I enjoyed this week.
And doesn’t it always seem that January DRAGGGGS while February goes so FAST?


— Jay Arnold 🏳️‍🌈 (@JadedCreative) February 11, 2020

Expectation vs Reality.

— Darwin Award 🔞 (@AwardsDarwin) February 5, 2020

I’m not sure he totally qualifies as a Good Boi™ with that food theft at the end – 🤣🤣🤣 – but he’s definitely both adorable and hilarious!

— Julie Ritt (@faeryfancier) February 2, 2020

When you’re trying to end an argument, but your bird won’t let you. 🔊
(🎥: Imgur user MrPuckett)

— Clare Logan (@withchillies) January 19, 2020

Good joke…

Interviewer asks Michael Bloomberg what he thinks about a possible situation where two billionaires are running against each other for the presidency

Bloomberg says ” Who’s the other one ? “

— John Cleese (@JohnCleese) February 5, 2020

If we’re being honest about these democratic candidates not only would any of them be better than this president but any of their personal assistants would be better. So let’s get the primaries over with, try not to be too mean to each other & get this guy the hell out of office.

— Mike Birbiglia (@birbigs) February 10, 2020

Hooooly shit.

An audience member asks Warren if she ever wonders, “Who is going to be my Mike Pence? Who is going to look at me with adoring eyes?”@ewarren: “I already have a dog.”

— Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) February 10, 2020

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California Lagged in Capping Century-old Oil Wells Leaking Under Homes of LA Residents Plagued by Illness and Odors

Posted February 13, 2020 by Anonymous
Roger Majano and Rosalinda Morales in front of an oil storage tank in LA

Read time: 15 mins

On November 28, 2015, Roger Majano, plagued by a noxious smell overwhelming his Los Angeles neighborhood, heaved a jackhammer onto the walkway in front of his property at 323 Firmin Street. It was the dead of night, but Majano had run out of patience trying to get to the bottom of the sickening and persistent smell.

What he found, two days later, would eventually confirm his fears and frustrations surrounding an environmental and public health risk haunting the City of Angels. Under his property, Majano had discovered an ancient oil well, leaking potentially toxic gases. 

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EU Plans to Measure True Climate Impacts of LNG Imports From US Fracked Gas

Posted February 12, 2020 by Anonymous
LNG tanker

Read time: 5 mins

With growing evidence that the climate impacts of natural gas are comparable to coal, the European Commission is planning to study ways to reduce methane emissions across the life cycle of natural gas production and consumption, with potential implications for fracked gas producers in the U.S.

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Why Service Provision Fatally Confounds All Diet Studies (5:2 Intermittent Fasting Edition)

Posted February 11, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

Last week I posted about a 5:2 intermittent fasting study that demonstrated terrible adherence with a 58% 5:2 drop out rate by the end of year one and where the average loss was 11lbs.

In response, Erik Arnesen shared another year long 5:2 intermittent fasting vs. continuous energy restriction study where the drop out rate at the end of year one was just 7% and the average loss was 20lbs! (and actually I blogged about this one in the past – tl;dr no difference in outcomes but 5:2 participants were hungrier)

If the diets were identical, why the tremendous difference in adherence and weight loss at a year?

Sure, could be different patient populations, but I’m guessing the much larger factor was the service provision. Because at the end of the day that’s a huge part of what’s being measured in any organized diet study. Not just in terms of how many visits or touch-points a particular program has, or what collateral materials and support they provide their participants, but also the rapport development, motivational ability, and teaching skills of the service providers themselves.

Having led an inter-professional team for 16 years, I can tell you that who you’ve got helping your patients/participants has a tremendous impact on their outcomes even within the same program’s delivery.

So the next time you consider the outcomes of any study’s diet arm, a question worth pondering is how much of those outcomes are consequent to the prescribed diet itself, and how much are consequent to the health care professionals administering it?

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Climate Justice and Indigenous Rights Advocates Rally in Solidarity With Wet’suwet’en People as RCMP Continue Raids

Posted February 10, 2020 by guest
On February 8, 2020, a Wet'suwet'en solidarity event stopped a Toronto train at Dufferin Street and Bartlett Avenue in Toronto.

Read time: 3 mins

By Julia Conley, Common Dreams. Originally published on Common Dreams under CC BYSA 3.0 US.

Indigenous rights supporters held solidarity actions across Canada over the weekend as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police continued their raids on Wet’suwet’en land in British Columbia.

The Unist’ot’en Camp reported on its official Facebook page Sunday that at least 21 people had been arrested since Thursday, when, as Common Dreams reported, the RCMP conducted a violent pre-dawn raid to fulfill an injunction on behalf of Coastal GasLink, which aims to build a pipeline in Wet’suwet’en territory in northern British Columbia. 

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Report Attacks Industry Campaign to Fix Natural Gas’s Climate PR Problem

Posted February 9, 2020 by Anonymous
From the cover of Food and Water Watch's report, Fracking's Bridge to Climate Chaos.

Read time: 10 mins

A new report from advocacy group Food and Water Watch argues that fracking and continued reliance on natural gas is detrimental to addressing climate change. The report, which calls out the fossil fuel industry’s misleading narratives around natural gas, comes at a time when progressive members of Congress like Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are introducing a bill to ban fracking and when the industry is ramping up its public relations push around gas.

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Advocates Call on EPA to Expand Air Pollution Monitoring of Refineries After 10 Found Emitting High Benzene Levels

Posted February 8, 2020 by Julie Dermansky
View of Chalmette Refining from a ferry

Read time: 7 mins

Available for the first time, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air monitoring data from over 100 U.S. oil refineries shows that 10 facilities have exceeded federal limits for cancer-causing benzene along their borders. The data, which raise health concerns about the communities adjoining these refineries, were released in a February 6 report by the Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit group of former EPA enforcement attorneys, public interest lawyers, and community organizers.

Lt. General Russel Honoré, founder of Louisiana’s Green Army, a grassroots anti-pollution coalition, hailed the report as a great tool for communities that live near refineries to press for the monitoring of additional toxic chemicals. 

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Dark-Moneyed Denialists Are Running ‘Fixing Science’ Symposium of Doubt

Posted February 7, 2020 by John Mashey

Read time: 28 mins

The “Fixing Science” symposium, which is hosted by the National Association of Scholars and kicks off today in Oakland, California, includes credible speakers who want to improve some areas of science hurt by the use of poor statistical methods or making irreproducible claims.

Unfortunately, they are outnumbered by people who have often cast doubt on mainstream climate, environmental, and health sciences. For starters, who thinks that long-time fossil fuel–funded Patrick Michaels, a senior fellow with the climate science–denying Competitive Enterprise Institute, will “fix science”?

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Canadian Town Evacuated After Another Oil Train Derails and Burns

Posted February 6, 2020 by Anonymous
Site of December 2019 CP oil train accident site, with the derailment looking south

Read time: 3 mins

Early in the morning of February 6, an oil train derailed and caught fire near Guernsey, Saskatchewan, resulting in the Canadian village’s evacuation. This is the second oil train to derail and burn near Guernsey, following one in December that resulted in a fire and oil spill of 400,000 gallons.

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Newly Revealed Emails Highlight Coziness and Favors Between Local Officials, Jordan Cove LNG Backers

Posted February 6, 2020 by Sharon Kelly
Coos County Commissioner Melissa Cribbins testifies before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Read time: 14 mins

Emails exchanged between an Oregon county commissioner and Pembina, the parent company of the proposed $10 billion fossil fuel export terminal Jordan Cove, raise ethics issues and may create openings for legal challenges to key permits for the controversial Jordan Cove project.

The emails, obtained via an open records request by the Energy and Policy Institute and shared with DeSmog, appear to show contacts between Pembina officials and Coos County commissioners — communications that were not disclosed during public hearings. Oregon law generally requires communications with commissioners about a pending permit to be disclosed publicly, so that those from the other side can respond.

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California Communities Argue Their Climate Liability Suits Are Based on Fossil Fuel Disinformation Campaigns

Posted February 5, 2020 by Anonymous
Increased sea level and storm surge impact roads and trails at Golden Gate National Recreation Area.

Read time: 6 mins

In back-to-back hearings before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Wednesday, lawyers representing California cities and counties suing fossil fuel companies over localized climate impacts argued their cases are based on the companies’ alleged campaigns of deception around climate science that downplayed the danger of their products.

Opposing arguments by an attorney representing Chevron as well as a Department of Justice lawyer failed to defend against this core allegation, and instead claimed that global warming broadly is an issue of federal concern that requires federal rather than state court jurisdiction.

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Back Home Again

Posted February 5, 2020 by Polar Bear

I have been away from the blogger writing for quite a time. I have been busy working to get well and after two years without being able to walk I am finally making progress. I was encouraged during the past couple of years to receive many contacts from…

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New research on Newfoundland seabirds is a window into thousands of years of change

Posted February 5, 2020 by Anonymous

Newfoundland, Leach’s storm-petrels, climate change

Leach’s storm-petrel populations have experienced significant fluctuations over the last two millennia. Canadian researchers are looking at what this can tell us about long-term environmental shifts and human-influenced climate change. (Photo: iStock/Pete Morris)

“I was never expecting to see such big changes — it complicates the story,” says John Smol, a leading environmental change expert and paleolimnologist, of a recent study of storm-petrel populations off southeast Newfoundland’s coast.

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Best moment at #SOTU

Posted February 4, 2020 by Anonymous
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Year Long 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Study Reports It’s No Better Or Worse Than A Horribly Restrictive Diet

Posted February 4, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

I started out planning to write about a different paper – a one year post intervention followup of people who had completed a prior year of being randomly assigned to 5:2 style intermittent fasting (IF) (2 days a week consuming 400-600 calories) vs. continuous energy restriction (typical of eating less daily) which showed that there was no difference between the two, but when I read it I realized the story was in the initial intervention, not the follow up.

The initial intervention involved randomly assigning 332 people to one of 3 dietary interventions:  Continuous (daily) energy restriction (CER), week-on, week-off energy restriction, and a 5:2 intermittent fasting pattern involving 5 days of habitual intake and 2 very low energy diet days each week.

Of the only 146 completers, no differences were found between the different diets in terms of weight loss, adherence, change in lipids, or fasting glucose.

And most of that is consistent with other studies of 5:2 IF which have found that it’s no better or worse than any other approach when it comes to weight loss and biochemical changes. But what’s not consistent is adherence being the same, wherein other studies tend to see more people quitting IF.

Digging the tiniest bit deeper into this two things stand out. Adherence was abysmal for both CER (49% drop out rate) and IF (58% drop out rate). But what was different here was what was involved in the CER arm. Women randomized to the CER arm were aimed at consuming only 1,000 calories daily for a year, while men were aimed at only 1,200 calories daily. That’s a life-suckingly low number of calories for anyone to be aimed at and honestly it surprises me that researchers (and peer reviewers) would think that degree of continuous restriction would be worthy of study.

All this to say, that people were just as likely to report adherence to a misery inducing 1,000-1,200 calorie per day diet as they were to a 5:2 IF approach does not reflect well on the enjoyability (and consequently the broad applicability) of 5:2 style diets.

And for the inevitable trolls, I’m not knocking 5:2 IF. If you love it, terrific! Don’t stop! But don’t anyone expect it’s a panacea for all comers.

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