Top Canadian Blogs and News Sites



On The Existence of Street Pianos In Toronto Community Centers

Posted January 18, 2020 by bigcitylib

I used to be totally against them.  It was always some no-talent eight year old plinking out a ghastly version of Chopsticks and you can’t tell them they suck or STFU! because their parents will get upset and report you to the facility staff becau…

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Delayed Senate Energy Bill Promotes LNG Exports, ‘Clean Coal’ and Geoengineering

Posted March 12, 2020 by Steve Horn
Kemper County coal plant under construction in 2013

Read time: 7 mins

The huge bipartisan energy bill currently stalled in the Senate would fast-track exports of fracked gas, offer over a billion dollars in subsidies to “clean coal” efforts and make available hundreds of millions in tax dollars for a geoengineering pilot project.

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$3 Billion ‘Bailout’ for Oil Producers Dropped From Economic Stimulus Package

Posted March 30, 2020 by Anonymous
Cemetery near Strategic Petroleum Reserve oil tanks in Louisiana

Read time: 6 mins

Bucking President Trump’s directive for buying oil to fill up the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR), Senate Democrats last week nixed what they say was a $3 billion bailout for oil producers from the coronavirus economic stimulus bill that passed the Senate on March 25. An earlier version of the $2 trillion relief bill favored by Senate Republicans allocated $3 billion for filling up the SPR to aid a struggling oil sector.

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Wexit: The Moose In The Room

Posted October 24, 2019 by Balbulican

Just in time for Halloween, the recent Liberal expulsion from the West has injected new life into Western Separatism, one of Canada’s favourite political zombies, now lurching back to life under the catchy Brexit-inspired trademark “Wexit”. Because who can’t look…

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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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A Faltering Fracking Industry, on the Verge of a Bailout, Mixes Patriotism and Oil in the Permian

Posted March 17, 2020 by Julie Dermansky
Oil industry worker hat with American flag in Permian Basin

Read time: 6 mins

Signs equating patriotism with the oil and gas industry are abundant in the Permian Basin, one of the United States’ most prolific oil and natural gas plays. 

There, the messages on billboards, trucks, and the sides of rest stops suggest that supporting the industry that’s one of the largest contributors to the climate crisis is a matter of American pride.  

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Court Rules EPA Can’t Keep Secret Key Model Used in Clean Car Rule Rollback

Posted April 1, 2020 by Anonymous
Andrew Wheeler

Read time: 3 mins

A federal appeals court ruled April 1 that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) had no basis to withhold one key part of a computer model used by the agency to develop its less stringent greenhouse gas emission standards for new vehicles. The ruling came just one day after EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a final rule rolling back clean car standards set under the Obama administration.

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Its the Year of the Optometrist!

Posted January 1, 2020 by Anonymous
People around the world are celebrating 2020 – which my husband calls The Year of the Optometrist.
Singapore, with 500 performing drones
New Year’s Eve - Singapore
Photos from the New York Times.
And from Twitter:
Couldn’t resist this tweet:

“I’m going to learn the flute and write my novel this year”

dude if we aren’t bartering dried beans and ammo with the last person who remembers how to make antibiotics in a year let’s call it a win

— Mass for Shut-ins (is a podcast) (@edburmila) December 31, 2019

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Louisiana’s Cancer Alley Community At Increased Risk of COVID-19

Posted March 25, 2020 by Julie Dermansky

Read time: 6 mins

Our people aren’t prepared for a pandemic,” Robert Taylor, executive director of the Concerned Citizens of St. John The Baptist Parish, told me a couple of days before the governor of Louisiana issued a stay-at-home order due to the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the state.

“Many of us have cancer and weakened immune systems from the chemical onslaught we endure everyday. This could be a death sentence for many of us,” Taylor said.

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Should Statistically Significant But Clinically Meaningless Outcomes Still Be Reported As Significant?

Posted January 22, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

Rather than call out the specific paper that led to this blog post (I also don’t want to add to its Altmetrics), just a question.

If your systematic review findings demonstrate that a particular supplement/food/diet led to an average total weight loss of 0.7lbs is it appropriate to describe that effect as significant even if statistically you believe you’re able to make that claim?

Personally, I don’t think so.

Especially not when we’re discussing food, because as Kevin Klatt recently pointed out on his blog, there are no food placebos. and as John Ionnidis pointed out, we eat thousands of chemicals in millions of different daily combinations which markedly challenges our ability to conclusively opine about the impact of any one food.

Worse though, is the fact that the media (both traditional and social), won’t bother to qualify their enthusiasm when describing these findings and instead will report them as beneficial, significant, and important, as of course will PubMed warriors.

So how to fix this? Perhaps including a qualifying, “but not likely to have any clinical relevance” statement in the abstract might lead to more balanced media coverage (or less media coverage ) which in turn would be less likely to report significant but clinically meaningless outcomes as important, which ultimately would be good for science and scientific literacy.

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In Senate Hearing, Economic Experts Warn Climate Crisis Could Spur Financial Crash Like 2008

Posted March 12, 2020 by Anonymous
Senate Democrats’ Special Committee on the Climate Crisis Hearing on financial risks

Read time: 6 mins

Could the climate crisis precipitate a financial crash akin to or even greater than the one in 2008? With markets currently in turmoil due to the coronavirus pandemic, experts testified Thursday that there is high risk for an even larger economic crisis absent urgent climate policy.

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Will Pandemic Relief Become a Petroleum Industry Slush Fund?

Posted March 30, 2020 by guest
Oil rig at sunset in the Permian Basin

Read time: 14 mins

By Amy Westervelt, with additional reporting from Emily Gertz, Drilled News. Originally published on Drilled News.

Recently, President Trump and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin both made clear their intentions to include some sort of bailout for the oil and gas industry as part of the federal government’s emergency economic response to the coronavirus pandemic.

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TPL heebie-jeebies and the Fa’a Samoa

Posted October 30, 2019 by Anonymous

Let me be clear: when it comes to Meghan Murphy and her followers at the Toronto Public Library versus the protesters outside, I stand with the protesters. Now, let me be less clear. At this point, I’m beginning to…

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Courage is found in unlikely places

Posted March 18, 2020 by Anonymous

Things are awful and they’re going to get worse – the economy is going to tank, maybe worse than it did in 2008, and hundreds of thousands of people are going to lose their jobs. 

To understand why the world economy is in grave peril because of the spread of coronavirus, it helps to grasp one idea that is at once blindingly obvious and sneakily profound.
One person’s spending is another person’s income. That, in a single sentence, is what the $87 trillion global economy is.That relationship, between spending and income, consumption and production, is at the core of how a capitalist economy works. It is the basis of a perpetual motion machine. We buy the things we want and need, and in exchange give money to the people who produced those things, who in turn use that money to buy the things they want and need, and so on, forever.
What is so deeply worrying about the potential economic ripple effects of the virus is that it requires this perpetual motion machine to come to a near-complete stop across large chunks of the economy, for an indeterminate period of time.

In spite of the billions that governments will spend to prop up the economy, our standard of living is going to decline. Or at least it will FEEL like it is declining — we won’t have the restaurants around anymore that we used to love, we won’t be getting the variety and quality of food we are used to seeing in grocery stores because the agricultural and shipping industries are going to be in such disarray, we won’t have sports or new TV shows or new movies or touring theatre companies or concerts or community events. For many of us, our retirement savings are taking a hit that we won’t be able to recover. 
Not to mention, of course, the hundreds of thousands around the world who will get sick, and the tens of thousands who will die in the next 18 months to two years, before a COVID vaccine can be developed and put into production and reach the market.
Goodbye yellow brick road, yes indeed.
Someday maybe we will say “I remember when you could walk into a store and buy bananas any time of the year”.
So in the meantime, I can only keep my spirits up by searching out some “good news” stories. Because once again, in a crisis, people have a remarkable way of pulling together, pushing though, helping themselves and each other to cope and to manage and to survive.

“But where shall I find courage?” asked Frodo.
“That is what I chiefly need.”“Courage is found in unlikely places,” said Gildor.
“Be of good hope! Sleep now!”

Beautiful. King Street, right?

— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 18, 2020


You wanted some positive stories.
Here you go. This man must be a listener.

Sask. First Nation chief prepared for COVID-19 pandemic weeks before it hit

— Raptor Girl SK- We the Champs! (@raptorgirlSK) March 17, 2020

While our doors may be closed, we’ll still bring the Gallery to you online.

During our closure, we’ll take you on a tour, gallery by gallery. Each day we’ll focus on one room and the works of art on view within it. #MuseumFromHome

— National Gallery of Art (@ngadc) March 14, 2020

We’re better than our political leadership.

— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) March 16, 2020

Louis Vuitton is switching all its perfume & cosmetic manufacturing factories to make hand sanitizer gels.

— Krishnan (@cvkrishnan) March 15, 2020

Hope they were able to find some TP

— Kevin Smith (@Global_Smith) March 15, 2020

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I Followed a Kilo of Cocaine From Field to Street

Posted April 2, 2020 by Anonymous

In a new book, Kilo: Inside the Deadliest Cocaine Cartels, war correspondent Toby Muse reports on the human stories behind the drug’s passage across Colombia, from coca leaf pickers and jungle chemists to cartel sicarios and speedboat smugglers.

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Australian Food Industry Launches World’s Least Aggressive New Voluntary Self-Regulatory Effort

Posted March 2, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

Waiting for any industry to self-regulate itself is just plain dumb. Honestly, industry’s job is to protect and promote sales, and that’s of course true for the food industry as well.

Self-regulation tends to crop up not out of altruism or doing the right thing, but rather as a means to forestall legislative regulatory efforts which in turn would prove to be more damaging to sales.

Take this recent initiative out of Australia which will see the food industry not advertising their junk to kids within 150m (500ft) of schools. 150 whole metres! While certainly not likely to do anything at all, it’ll be especially useless perhaps in that the school buses themselves will be exempt, as of course will be the bus stops’ shelters.

Oh, and as toothless as it is, it’s also voluntary.

Really the only thing this initiative will do is provide the food industry with ammunition if and when facing calls for legislated regulation (something we’re hearing more and more calls for) and to pretend that they care about anything other than profits.

It’s always best to remember, as I’ve written before, the food industry is neither friend, nor foe, nor partner.

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Why Public Health Experts Support These Youth Suing the US Government Over Climate Change

Posted March 25, 2020 by Anonymous
protesters at a "die-in" at COP25

Read time: 5 mins

Leading experts in the medical community, including two former U.S. Surgeons General, recently filed supporting briefs backing a youth climate lawsuit against the federal government because, like the current coronavirus pandemic, the climate crisis poses “unprecedented threats to public health and safety.”

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Great tweets of the day, animal edition

Posted January 22, 2020 by Anonymous

Here’s some tweets that I have been enjoying today:

An incorrectly assembled whippet.

— Jonathan Best (@jonnnybest) January 18, 2020

No matter the size, cats will be cats😂

— Akki (@akkitwts) January 16, 2020

— 41 Strange (@41Strange) January 17, 2020

There are 2 types of dogs…

— viralvideos (@BestVideosviral) January 22, 2020

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Life In Scarborough: The Plague Journal, Day I

Posted March 12, 2020 by bigcitylib

This evening at the local Metro  I saw something resembling “panic buying”.  Not quite at that point. Nobody got violent.  More like the kind of lineups you see before the Superbowl or a long-weekend.  Except everyone, everyone, was…

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Oil Refineries Face Shutdowns as Demand Collapses

Posted March 30, 2020 by Anonymous
ExxonMobil's Baytown refinery in Texas

Read time: 6 mins

A growing number of refineries around the world are either curtailing operations or shutting down entirely as the oil market collapses. 

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“Send us your money and everything will be just fine”

Posted December 4, 2019 by Anonymous

I’m very glad to see that Canadian authorities are taking these scams seriously: A Burnaby, B.C., man has been identified as a suspect in an RCMP investigation into organized crime groups;accused of scamming Canadians by posing as Canada Revenue Agency…

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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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Posted March 18, 2020 by Polar Bear

The year 2000 sure has been a wonderful this year. Whatever riled her up we will never know but  the daily events have been nothing less than specular. Record low temperatures and record high temperatures. Record snowfalls and record everything. I…

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Thousands of People Are Building a 1:1 Recreation of Earth in ‘Minecraft’

Posted April 2, 2020 by Anonymous

The Earth in Minecraft is one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken in the game.

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It’s Twelfth Night!

Posted January 6, 2020 by Anonymous

Today is Twelfth Night AKA Epiphany Eve.Here is one classic version:   And another much earlier classic too: The director, Wendy Toye, was one of the few female film directors in the 1950s (or in any decade, for that matter).

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Federal Judge Tosses Dakota Access Pipeline Permits, Orders Full Environmental Review

Posted March 25, 2020 by Sharon Kelly
Standing Rock camp in December 2016

Read time: 6 mins

Today, a federal judge tossed out federal permits for the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL), built to carry over half a million barrels of Bakken crude oil a day from North Dakota, and ordered the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to conduct a full environmental review of the pipeline project.

U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg indicated that he would next consider whether to shut down the current flows of oil through DAPL while the environmental review is in process, ordering both sides to submit briefs on the question.

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Another poetry post

Posted January 23, 2020 by Anonymous

Darkest Hour was on, so I was able to watch this great scene again today:

Horatius  —Thomas Babington Macaulay

Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the gate:
“To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds
For the ashes of his fathers
And the temples of his gods.”
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COVID tweet-fest

Posted March 13, 2020 by Anonymous

I keep saving COVID-19 tweets and then before I can post anything, it all gets worse.  

So here’s a few, but with the warning that they might be completely out of date by the time anyone reads this.

“These are all the predictable consequences of giving power to people whose only understanding of the role of government is to protect investment portfolios.”

— Anil Kalhan (@kalhan) March 13, 2020

Republicans made a bet that they could stick a moronic incompetent in the Oval Office and get their preferred policy outcomes without cost. They lost, and now the bill is coming due.

— Matthew Gertz (@MattGertz) March 12, 2020

1. Trump has made clear – the administration will not save us. It is unable to turn, to acknowledge the severity of this crisis. No one is coming to help you. You must protect yourself and your loved ones on your own.

Here is what increases your chances of weathering this….

— Kurt Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) March 12, 2020

How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart

— Raju Narisetti (@raju) March 10, 2020

Palate cleanser

One of our kittens is a bit of a drama queen

— Kittens (@kittensfolder) February 27, 2020

I don’t think the sign is working. 🤔

— You Had One Job (@_youhadonejob1) March 12, 2020

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Chamber of Commerce’s Energy Members Silent After Group Opposed Using Wartime Law to Produce Medical Supplies

Posted March 30, 2020 by guest
US Chamber of Commerce building

Read time: 6 mins

By Dave Anderson, Energy and Policy Institute. Originally posted on Energy and Policy Institute.

Major electric utilities and fossil fuel producers that are members of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce remained silent when asked whether they supported the lobbying group’s controversial opposition to using the Defense Production Act to address a shortage of medical supplies and equipment crucial to fighting the coronavirus. 

Some of those same energy companies, and their trade associations, have for years lobbied for the use of the Defense Production Act to bail out struggling coal plants.

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Daughter Dearest

Posted December 9, 2019 by Anonymous

Hmmm — I’ve been saying for years that SOMEBODY in Trump’s inner circle is a Russian asset.  I am convinced that someone very close to him has been feeding him all the pro-Putin and pro-Russian stuff he has been parroting since 2016, convincing him that the Russian world-view is correct, leading him to say things like how unfair it is that Russia is out of the G7, etc.

Occasionally, Trump has actually done something anti-Russian, like announce new sanctions in retaliation for assassinations – maybe when the asset is out of town and isn’t whispering in his ear.  But then later Trump will almost always reverse himself and change his mind, indicating that the asset continues their subversion.

I have not been able to believe that Trump himself is the asset — he isn’t smart enough and his lies are often too self-delusional to be the kind of conscious falsehoods that a Russian asset would need to promote.

So now maybe we are finding out who the Russian asset might be: maybe its Ivanka.

Reaching out to someone like Steele and trying to develop/maintain a relationship w him is the kind of thing one might do if you were a Russian asset.

— Dana Houle (@DanaHoule) December 9, 2019

NEW via @thamburger @PostRoz: Ivanka Trump was personal friends with former British spy Christopher Steele, according to person familiar with the situation

— Matea Gold (@mateagold) December 9, 2019

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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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Shell’s Latest Annual Report: More Greenwashing?

Posted March 19, 2020 by Anonymous

Read time: 8 mins

Two years after internal documents surfaced showing that Royal Dutch Shell, like ExxonMobil, knew about climate dangers decades ago, the oil giant released its latest annual report outlining its business strategy and approach to addressing climate change. Despite clear warnings from scientists, global health experts and even central banks of impending climate-driven crises, Shell’s report largely sends a message that everything is fine and the company’s “business strategy is sound.”

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‘Yoga With Adriene’ On Her Rising Popularity During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Posted April 2, 2020 by Anonymous

As more people are trying to stay healthy while not being able to leave their homes, YouTube’s yoga star becomes more popular than ever.

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How Much Do You Like Your Diet? Given Adherence Likely Dependent On Enjoyment, Our Recent Paper Set Out To Quantify That

Posted January 6, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

Back in 2012, I wondered aloud about creating a scoring system for dietary enjoyment. I blogged about it a few times here and there, and happily, a wonderful team of researchers in New Zealand took notice. Now, thanks to the hard work of Michelle Jospé, along with Jillian Haszsard, and Rachel Taylor, the first step towards its formal use has been taken.

Our paper, A tool for assessing the satisfaction of a diet: Development and preliminary validation of the Diet Satisfaction Score, was published late last year and it details our Diet Satisfaction Score’s preliminary reliability and validity.

With the help of the 1,604 people (spanning 24 different countries!) who answered our survey questions, as well as 6 diverse experts (thanks to Melanie Dubyk, Kevin Hall, Scott Kahan, Silke Morrison, Marion Nestle, Sherry Pagoto, Arya Sharma and Ethan Weiss), we arrived on the following questions geared to address various aspects of dietary adherence and satisfaction

The simplest way to think of the Diet Satisfaction Score’s use is the higher the overall score (each question is answered on a 5 point Likert scale and the final DSS score is calculated by way of taking the mean of all available items yielding a total score between 1 and 5), the greater an individual’s satisfaction/enjoyment of that diet is. The hypothesis then would be higher scores correlating with better adherence and consequently better/sustained weight loss.

And that’s what our preliminary findings suggest whereby each 1-point higher Diet Satisfaction Score correlated with a 1.7 week longer diet duration. It was also found that compared with those who had abandoned their diets, those maintaining them reported larger losses.

The value of a simple and quick score like this to individuals would be as a means to assess how much (or how little) they were enjoying their diets taking into account more than just whether they like the foods they’re eating, but also the impact their chosen diet might be having on related aspects of life (socializing, time, cost, etc.). Those evaluating their new diets and finding their scores low, might explore means to tweak their diets, or to try new ones.

The DSS score’s value to clinicians would be as a quick means to screen their patients’ efforts and perhaps to use the tool to help trouble shoot, or to triage referrals to professional resources such as registered dietitians.

The value of the DSS score to researchers would be using this tool with shorter term studies as a means to predict whether or not their studied diets are likely to be sustainable (as who really cares how much weight a person might lose on a particular short term diet if few people would actually sustain it).

Of course now what’s required is the repeated use of the Diet Satisfaction score in a long-term prospective trial. The good news is that because the tool, like me, is diet agnostic, it can be administered with any and all dietary strategies. Should you be interested in using the Diet Satisfaction Score in your trial Dr. Jospe is the person to contact and her contact information is just this one click away.

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Oregon Republicans Flee Climate Legislation for the Second Time in Less Than 1 Year

Posted March 7, 2020 by guest
Oregon State Capitol building

Read time: 3 mins

By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

Oregon’s Republican Congresspeople have once again scuppered attempts to pass a climate change bill, by running away.

In June of 2019, Oregon Republican Senators refused to show up to work in order to deny the Senate a quorum to vote on a cap-and-trade bill that had passed the House. Some even fled the state to avoid being forced to return. That standoff ended when Senate Democrats said they did not have enough votes for the bill.

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Sleepwalking and hallucinations: A Canadian’s journey in the world’s toughest footrace

Posted March 26, 2020 by Anonymous

Steven Jackson heading to Inuvik on day five of the 6633 Arctic Ultra, a gruelling 617-kilometre footrace from the Yukon to the Northwest Territories. (Photo courtesy 6633 Arctic Ultra)

On day four of the world’s toughest footrace, Steven Jackson was marching along an ice road in the Northwest Territories when he looked to the side and saw what looked like petroleum railway cars rolling alongside him, stretching far into the distance. 

Above him, he could hear an unsettling buzz of drones, and far to the right, he could see a Romanian opponent being interviewed by a documentary crew. Jackson knew there was no railway beside this lonely, frozen stretch of road, but his exhausted brain had begun to conjure visions from the snowbanks.

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