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General

#563 Watching cream swirl into coffee

Posted February 21, 2019 by Anonymous

Swirling seas of milky white twist and twirl like strange and distant galaxies in the far corners of outer space. As you grab a rushed coffee break in the chatty workplace cafeteria or cutlery-clinking dining hall, just stare deeply into your chipped ceramic telescope and enjoy the two-second escape from reality to watch those floating […]

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Art

Here’s a Huge Trump Papier-Mache… Thing

Posted February 20, 2019 by Anonymous

It’s 65 feet tall, and it is deeply, deeply weird.

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General

Watch Tucker Carlson Tell a Guest to ‘Go Fuck Yourself’ in a Wild Leaked Segment

Posted February 20, 2019 by Anonymous

“You tiny-brain—and I hope this gets picked up, because you’re a moron! I tried to give you a hearing, but you were too fucking annoying.”

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Culture

‘Game of Thrones’ Is Literally Demanding a Blood Sacrifice for an Upcoming Event

Posted February 20, 2019 by Anonymous

Their “Bleed for the Throne” blood drive is kicking off with an immersive experience at SXSW.

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General

Andrew Scheer Criticized For Support of United We Roll Convoy

Posted February 20, 2019 by Anonymous

Scheer spoke at the same rally as Faith Goldy, the notorious white nationalist. Anti-hate activists say the United We Roll campaign has been plagued by racist messages.

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General

Watch a Hungry Student Interrupt Kirsten Gillibrand to Get Ranch for Her Pizza

Posted February 20, 2019 by Anonymous

“Everyone was like, ‘What happened down there?’ and I was like, ‘I really don’t know, man. I got the ranch though.'”

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General

This Guy Is Selling Quebec Cream Soda to American Rappers for $200 a Box

Posted February 20, 2019 by Anonymous

With his company Rare Drank, this “soft drink dealer” sells high-priced Quebec cream soda to lean dealers and American rappers.

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Election

‘Election’ and ‘Dick’ Warned Us Not to Underestimate Young Women in Politics

Posted February 20, 2019 by Anonymous

Both were prescient 20 years ago, but couldn’t predict how terrible things would get.

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Climate Change

How This British Climate Action Group Is Aiding the Fight Against Global Warming

Posted February 20, 2019 by Anonymous

We met members of Extinction Rebellion to talk about their plans to save the world.

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General

We’re Only a Few More Tory Defections from a General Election

Posted February 20, 2019 by Gavin Haynes

Here are the odds on who those defectors might be.

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General

‘Russian Doll’ Is Necessary TV for Our Isolationist Times

Posted February 20, 2019 by Anonymous

The Netflix original show, starring and co-created by Natasha Lyonne, speaks to the power of bonding with others.

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General

Help us choose the Spring/Summer 2019 Canadian Geographic Travel cover!

Posted February 20, 2019 by Anonymous

Help us choose the cover of our upcoming issue of Canadian Geographic. Vote Now!
And don’t forget to sign up to always be notified by email when covers are being voted on!

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General

Revealed: How the Tobacco and Fossil Fuel Industries Fund Disinformation Campaigns Around the World

Posted February 20, 2019 by Anonymous

Read time: 11 mins

fossil fuels and tobacco funding

Fossil fuel companies have a long history of adopting public relations strategies straight from the tobacco industry’s playbook. But a new analysis shows the two industries’ relationship goes much deeper — right down to funding the same organisations to do their dirty work.

MIT Associate Professor David Hsu analyzed organisations in DeSmog’s disinformation database and the Guardian’s tobacco database and found 35 thinktanks based in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand that promote both the tobacco and fossil fuel industries’ interests.

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General

#564 Fishing a giant piece of lint out of your belly button

Posted February 20, 2019 by Anonymous

Belly buttons means business, buddy. Yes, your innie or outtie is where heaping truckfuls of DNA were dumped into your ittie bittie body when you were a cute little negative-year-old. And of course, as a special thank-you present from those few fetal months of dump-truck deliciousness, you get a lifelong tummy scar that occasionally gets […]

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General

Entergy Poised to Get Green Light for Gas Plant Despite Role in Paying Actors in Astroturf Campaign

Posted February 19, 2019 by Julie Dermansky

Read time: 6 mins

Protesters of the proposed Entergy New Orleans gas plant at a city council meeting

Sparks flew at a New Orleans City Council’s utility committee meeting on Valentine’s Day, compelling the committee to delay voting on a resolution that would scrap plans to rescind the permit for Entergy’s proposed $210 million natural gas power plant in exchange for a $5 million fine.

The contentious permit was awarded to Entergy, which provides power to the city, on March 18, 2018, but the city council’s third-party investigation of Entergy found the allegations that the company took part in an astroturf campaign to influence the vote for its proposed New Orleans East gas plant to be true. The investigation concluded that the company was responsible for hiring paid actors, who were wearing t-shirts supporting the plant, to fill council chambers and speak in support of the project.

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General

Justin Trudeau delivers remarks to supporters in Halifax

Posted February 19, 2019 by Liberal Party of Canada

Halifax, NS – Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, will deliver remarks to supporters at a donor appreciation event in Halifax on February 20, 2019. The Liberal Party of Canada has committed to the strongest standards in federal politics for openness and transparency with political fundraising events, and is challenging other parties […]

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General

Life In Scarborough: The Fried Pork Rinds of Scarborough

Posted February 19, 2019 by bigcitylib

Was inside the Jian Hing market at Markham and Lawrence on Family Day, looking for Filipino  Pork Rinds.  They have about 40 different varieties at Jian Hing.  I’m not kidding, there’s a whole aisle devoted to nothing but.  Fil…

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Exercise

Guest Post: The Problems With Balancing Accuracy And Reach In Science Communication: What To Do When Even Journals Want To Contribute To Media Hype (HIIT Edition)

Posted February 19, 2019 by Yoni Freedhoff

Last week saw the publication of a new study in the BJSM entitled (highlighting mine), “Is interval training the magic bullet for fat loss? A systematic review and meta-analysis comparing moderate-intensity continuous training with high-intensity interval training (HIIT)“. Understandably intrigued given a prominent medical journal was suggesting there was a magic bullet for fat loss, I clicked through, and then reading the piece I learned that the amount of fat lost that the BJSM was calling a “magic bullet” was a 1 pound difference, one which the study’s abstract’s conclusion described as, “a 28.5% greater reductions in total absolute fat mass (kg)”. Duly surprised, I then took to Twitter to poke around and found that one of the study’s authors, James Steele, was tweeting out a corrective thread to his own study’s hype – hype which understandably and predictably led to an onslaught of media overreach. Intrigued, I approached him directly to ask about the discordance in tone between his tweets and his study’s title and conclusion, and he sent me such a thorough and thoughtful response (explaining how it was the BJSM’s editor who’d changed both), that I asked him if he’d mind my sharing his thoughts here as a guest post. Suffice to say, in my opinion, medical journals and their editors shouldn’t be in the business of clickbait hype, as it diminishes themselves, research, and furthers societal scientific illiteracy by suggesting that such things as “magic bullets” for weight or fat loss can conceivably exist.

I was first slightly concerned that the findings would be overhyped and potentially misrepresented when I saw the press release that was sent to the media. I was forwarded various requests by our institutions news team and saw the wording of the first line of which was

Short bursts of high intensity exercise are better for weight loss than longer sessions in the gym, research suggests.

My colleague James Fisher noted to me that he also thought the press release didn’t reflect the findings accurately and wondered whether the title change resulted in the perception of a different finding.

The original title in our submission to the journal was

Comparing the effects of interval training versus moderate-intensity continuous training on body adiposity: is it possible to find a signal in the noise? A systematic review and meta-analysis

which was chosen as an homage to Nate Silvers’ book and the use of meta-analysis to find the ‘signal’ from among the ‘noise’ of conflicting findings in smaller studies The paper underwent peer review as normal and we made changes suggested by the reviewers to improve the manuscript; but, none of the reviewers commented on the title if I recall. After the reviewers were happy with the paper and had no further changes they wanted we received a recommendation that it be published, but with minor revisions which were suggested by the editor. Most of the revisions suggested where helpful as they seemed to be aimed at improving readability of the manuscript. However, it was also suggested that the title was changed, as well as the addition of the percentage difference to the conclusion of the abstract. This was suggested to be intended to attract more attention to the article, make it seem more compelling, and ensure recognition was received for the work. I didn’t particularly like the newly suggested title, nor did some of my co-authors, but it was not strictly saying that anything ‘was’ a ‘magic bullet’ and so I did not push the issue. I must confess I did not at the time notice the seemingly minor change to the abstract conclusion though. I personally dislike the presentation of % values in this manner as to me they are often misleading and detract from whether the absolute values are really meaningful or not (a big problem in sport and exercise IMO wherein a lot of studies make interventions seem better than they are by reporting % values). The value is not inaccurate, but it does lead the less wary reader to potentially draw the wrong conclusions.

I did suspect that the changes were suggested because the paper would likely be selected for a press release which turned out to be correct. I’m glad the paper got some wide coverage, but wanted to make sure it was covered in a nuanced manner. So I tweeted a little thread to try and provide some balance and when I was interviewed about it on BBC World Service I also made sure to provide as balanced a commentary as I could in the time permitted.

It doesn’t surprise me that the media initially interpreted things to be saying that ‘HIIT’ (high-intensity interval training) was better than ‘MOD’ (moderate-intensity continuous training) for fat loss without considering all the nuance… that’s just how it goes sadly. I also can empathize with the journal and publisher in wanting to try and increase the reach of the work that they publish. To my mind if we can widen the reach of good science, and raise appreciation of its importance, then that’s a good thing. This is something I’d like to be able to do more of. But, though this is good in principle, in execution it proves to be difficult. It’s tough to get the nuance across because science is hard and most people aren’t really able to understand it. I guess it’s part of the media cycle though. The wider media wants ‘stories’ and just regular boring old science doesn’t make for a good story. So to get the wider media’s attention journals and academic publishers need to try and make things seem more exciting. In that process though nuance gets lost. However, I can’t think of any other way to communicate science more widely at the moment. I guess what we need to ensure is that, once the media get hold of a story and want to run it, the actual scientists themselves are the ones they speak to and interview so they end up with a platform and captive audience to explain the nuance and implications in an understandable manner. At least, that’s what I’ve tried to do and hope I achieved.

I think if I was able to ‘do over’ this example specifically then I would have likely pushed back more on the issues. I would like to have kept the original title and would have argued for this position as I suspect my co-authors likely would have too. I definitely would have pushed back on the change to the abstract conclusion and will be more vigilant to these issues in future. In likelihood this might have meant the paper would have been less ‘impactful’ as a story for the media. But it would have meant that the paper itself didn’t contribute to any potentially misleading publicity. The publisher could have still put out the press release as they desired… Can’t stop them from doing that. But at least the paper would have better reflected what we found in full. I think I would advise authors who face similar situations to make sure they think and have a conversation about this. We all want our work to reach the widest audience to hopefully have the biggest impact possible. But we don’t in the process want it to distort in terms of its message. Make sure to discuss it with your co-authors and the journal/publisher and find the right balance so that scientific integrity is retained, whilst reach is maximized. It’s tough to do, but worth striving for IMO.

Dr James Steele is the Principal Investigator at the ukactive Research Institute, and Associate Professor of Sport and Exercise Science at Solent University. James completed his BSc (Hons) in Applied Sport Science in 2010, and hid PhD examining the role of lumbar extensor resistance training in chronic low back pain in 2014. He has extensive experience of research and applied consultancy in the area of physical activity, exercise, and sport from over the past decade, working with a wide range of populations ranging from elite athletes across a range of sports, to the general population across the lifespan, and both those who are healthy and diseased. James has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and delivered several invited talks at international conferences on a variety of areas relating to sport, strength and conditioning, physical activity and exercise, health and fitness. He was appointed to the Expert Working Group revising the Chief Medical Officers Physical Activity Guidelines for the UK and is a Founding Member of the Strength and Conditioning Society, as well as the Society for Transparency, Openness, and Replication in Kinesiology, and member of both the British Association of Sport and Exercise Sciences and the American College of Sports Medicine.

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General

Wild for game

Posted February 19, 2019 by Anonymous

Plate of ricotta cavatelli with venison neck ragu

Ricotta cavatelli with venison neck ragu. (Photo: Jody Shapiro)

Step aside, bland chicken breasts. See you later, ho-hum pork chops. Au revoir, flavourless beef patties. Wild game is cropping up on menus across the country, and chefs like Michael Hunter, owner of Antler Kitchen & Bar on Dundas West in Toronto, are at the forefront of the movement, introducing diners to the delicious flavours of wild boar, duck and even squirrel. Here are some of Hunter’s favourite recipes to get you aquainted with wild game — bon appétit.

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General

#565 Getting up, moving forward, and moving on

Posted February 19, 2019 by Anonymous

We’re all gonna get lumps. We’re all gonna get bumps. Nobody can predict the future but we do know one thing about it: It ain’t gonna go according to plan. Yes, we’ll all have massive highs, big days, and proud moments. Color faded, postcard-streaked blurs will float and flash through our brains on our deathbeds, […]

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General

What Green New Deal Advocates Can Learn From the 2009 Economic Stimulus Act

Posted February 18, 2019 by guest

Read time: 6 mins

Assembling capacitors for electric automobiles at SBE, Inc. in Barre, Vermont, July 16, 2010. SBE received a $9 million stimulus grant to build electric drive components.
By Joseph Aldy, Harvard Kennedy School

Congressional Democrats have introduced a “Green New Deal” proposal that calls for a 10-year national mobilization to curb climate change by shifting the U.S. economy away from fossil fuels. Many progressives support this idea, while skeptics argue that a decade is not long enough to remake our nation’s energy system.

The closest analog to this effort occurred in 2009, when President Obama and Congress worked together to combat a severe economic recession by passing a massive economic stimulus plan. Among its many provisions, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 provided US$90 billion to promote clean energy. The bil’s clean energy package, which was dubbed the “biggest energy bill in history,” laid the foundation for dramatic changes to the energy system over the last 10 years.

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General

#566 Unforgettable best friends

Posted February 18, 2019 by Anonymous

My friend Chris died a few years ago. He quietly suffered from mental illness for a long time but took great care to ensure everybody around him felt good, felt happy, and never worried about him. Most people didn’t know because his first concern was always how you were feeling, not him. I spoke to […]

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General

‘It’s About Economics’: Two Coal Plants to Close Despite Trump’s Tweet

Posted February 16, 2019 by guest

Read time: 4 mins

Paradise coal plant in western Kentucky

By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch. Reposted with permission from EcoWatch.

Trump is losing his rallying cry to save coal. The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) voted on Thursday to retire two coal-fired power plants in the next few years despite a plea from the president to keep one of the plants open.

Earlier this week, the president posted an oddly specific tweet that urged the government-owned utility to save the 49-year-old Paradise 3 plant in Kentucky. It so happens that the facility burns coal supplied by Murray Energy Corporation, whose CEO is Robert Murray, is a major Trump donor.

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General

The Latest Propaganda Push From Pro-Pipeline Front Group GAIN

Posted February 15, 2019 by guest

Read time: 4 mins

Natural gas pipeline warning at a Pennsylvania pipeline construction site

This is a guest post by ClimateDenierRoundup.

Although pipelines have been facing a number of setbacks recently, pro-pipeline groups aren’t giving up. One of those is Grow America’s Infrastructure Now (GAIN), which came to our attention because it’s recently begun sponsoring the Washington Examiner’s daily energy newsletter.

GAIN’s website simply describes the group as supporting strengthening infrastructure development and only mentions pipelines as one aspect of its focus, which also includes bridges, roads, etc. But the group’s blogTwitter, and coverage in the media are pretty exclusively dedicated to pro-pipeline messaging. Hmmm, almost like it isn’t an all-around infrastructure group, and perhaps may have some ulterior motive …

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General

‘Earth Shattering’ – all the ways the universe is trying to kill us

Posted February 15, 2019 by Anonymous

Cataclysmic events have shaped our world and our universe

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General

Swallowing needles packed in a turtle shell to treat diabetes

Posted February 15, 2019 by Anonymous

A new needle pill is out to replace insulin pens, but without the pain

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General

Breast milk is best, but is there a problem with pumping?

Posted February 15, 2019 by Anonymous

Pumping breast milk depletes the milk microbiome

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General

Canadian researcher proves Darwin right by jailing mice in Nebraska

Posted February 15, 2019 by Anonymous

Connecting the dots in evolution: a unique experiment in Nebraska

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General

Flavour chemicals in e-cigarettes could damage lung tissue

Posted February 15, 2019 by Anonymous

E-cigarette flavouring chemicals may damage lung tissue

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General

Do other vertebrates suffer from dementia or memory loss as we do?

Posted February 15, 2019 by Anonymous

Animals like dogs and cats certainly suffer from dementia.

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General

Your photos: Canada weathers the snows of winter

Posted February 15, 2019 by Anonymous

Church with sunset clouds

The sun rises over the St. Lawrence river, casting an apricot glow on the church of Château-Richer, Quebec. (Photo: Rene Bourque/Can Geo Photo Club)

It’s been a long winter. Ottawa became the coldest capital in the world last month, while a cold wave swept through Alberta before winter had barely even begun. And earlier this week, a rare heavy snowfall brought Vancouver to a standstill (although the rest of B.C. would like it to be known that they know what snow is). 

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General

President Trump May Be A Racist, Antisemitic, Xenophobic, Man-Child, But Despite What You May Have Heard Yesterday, He’s Not Obese

Posted February 15, 2019 by Yoni Freedhoff

Yes, I know the medical report released on him yesterday stated that Trump’s weight gives him a BMI of 34 and that 30 (for better or for worse – that’s a whole other post) is where medicine defines the threshold of obesity. And yes, I know that the media consequently published piles of stories about him being obese, not to mention the many comments on social media.

But here’s the thing. You can’t “be” your chronic disease.

Chronic diseases are things people have, not who they are.

If you find this confusing, consider this – people have cancer, they aren’t cancerous.

People first language puts people first, it doesn’t define them by their medical conditions.

So yes, President Trump can be a racist, antisemitic, xenophobic, man-child with obesity, but not a racist, antisemitic, xenophobic, man-child who is obese.

For more on people first language and why it certainly matters with obesity, click here.

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General

Four flags that almost became Canada’s national flag

Posted February 15, 2019 by Anonymous

The Flag Committee, Canada, Flag, maple leaf, 1965

The Flag Committee (left) began its deliberations with a sense of historical mission and in a spirit of cooperation. It wouldn’t last. Nevertheless, on Feb. 15, 1965, Canada had a new national flag to raise (right) at a celebration in front of Parliament’s Centre Block. (Left: Queen’s University Archives, John Matheson Fonds, Locator #2131; right: Duncan Cameron/Duncan Cameron/PA-168019, Library and Archives Canada)

They started with some 5,900 design submissions, but when Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson’s flag committee handed the controversial red maple leaf on white with red bars to Parliament for consideration in late 1964, the symbol and colours on the prospective flag were no new invention.

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General

#567 Getting to the light at the end of a dark tunnel

Posted February 15, 2019 by Anonymous

My world was spinning in 2008. After finishing school in Boston and going on a cross-country road trip with my friends Chris and Ty, I moved to a dusty suburb to live with my brand new wife in my brand new life. Yes, we got married young, we got married quick, and after living on […]

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General

Court Throws out Energy Transfer’s ‘Racketeering’ Claims Against Dakota Access Pipeline Opponents

Posted February 14, 2019 by Sharon Kelly

Read time: 4 mins

Dakota Access pipeline protest in Philadelphia

A North Dakota federal judge dismissed Energy Transfer’s racketeering lawsuit against Greenpeace and all its co-defendants in a sharply worded ruling issued today, finding that the pipeline builder’s allegations fell “far short of what is necessary to establish a [racketeering] claim.”

In August 2017, Energy Transfer filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act civil complaint against Greenpeace and other environmental groups who had opposed the company’s Dakota Access pipeline, claiming that the protests had caused $300 million in damages (and requesting three times that amount from the defendants).

Today’s ruling flatly rejected Energy Transfer’s claims.

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General

Fossil Fuels Are Bad for Your Health and Harmful in Many Ways Besides Climate Change

Posted February 14, 2019 by guest

Read time: 7 mins

Flint Hills Resources oil refinery near Houston, Texas
By Noel Healy, Salem State University; Jennie C. Stephens, Northeastern University; and Stephanie Malin, Colorado State University

Many Democratic lawmakers aim to pass a Green New Deal, a package of policies that would mobilize vast amounts of money to create new jobs and address inequality while fighting climate change.

Led by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Ed Markey, they are calling for massive investments in renewable energy and other measures over a decade that would greatly reduce or even end the nation’s overwhelming reliance on fossil fuels.

As experts in environmental geography, sociology, and sustainability science and policy, we wholeheartedly support this effort. And, as we explained in a recently published study, climate change is not the only reason to ditch fossil fuels.

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General

Canadian ultrarunners embark on expedition across Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula

Posted February 14, 2019 by Anonymous

Canadian ultrarunner Ray Zahab, with his beard full of ice, against a snowy mountain backdrop

Canadian ultrarunner and RCGS Explorer-in-Residence Ray Zahab is departing on his latest expedition, a winter traverse of Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula. (Photo: Ray Zahab)

Ray Zahab is not one for staying still.

An Explorer-in-Residence of The Royal Canadian Geographical Society, Zahab has crossed almost every desert on the planet and in 2009 broke the world record for the fastest unsupported trek to the South Pole. Now, the ultra distance runner and founder of the nonprofit impossible2Possible has set his sights on the Kamchatka Peninsula in far eastern Russia.

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General

#568 Mom’s love

Posted February 14, 2019 by Anonymous

My mom was born in Nairobi, Kenya in 1950. Growing up the youngest of eight kids in a small house off the downtown core, she was quiet, shy, and always the baby. Her three older brothers received the bulk of the family’s praise, attention, and money for education, while the girls were taught to sweep […]

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General

New Report Warns Geoengineering the Climate Is a ‘Risky Distraction’

Posted February 13, 2019 by Anonymous

Read time: 7 mins

view of Earth from space

A new report makes the case that the fossil fuel industry prefers geoengineering as an approach for addressing climate change because it allows the industry to keep arguing for continued fossil fuel use.

In Fuel to the Fire: How Geoengineering Threatens to Entrench Fossil Fuels and Accelerate the Climate Crisis, the Center for International Environmental Law (CEIL) warns that geoengineering, which includes technologies to remove huge amounts of carbon dioxide and to shoot particles into the atmosphere to block sunlight, potentially offers more of a problem for the climate than a solution.

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