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Tiny plant and animal species raise big questions for conservation biologists

Posted December 3, 2019 by Anonymous

Puvirnituq mountain draba

These slopes in Nunavik covered with orange gravel, left, are the only known habitat of the Puvirnituq mountain draba, right, a tiny mustard plant that was discovered less than a decade ago. Because of its limited range, the plant has been assessed by COSEWIC as being of Special Concern. (Photos: Benoît Tremblay)

A pair of snails that rely on the last remnants of mature forest near Lake Erie. A fish that grows to less than 10 centimetres in length and lives in just one lake near Vancouver. And a globally rare moss that only grows on one square metre of vertical limestone cliff in Haida Gwaii, British Columbia.

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Researchers are using AI to track gentrification across Ottawa

Posted December 3, 2019 by Anonymous

Ottawa, deep mapping, gentrification, city

Chris Brackley/Can Geo

It’s a force that transforms neighbourhoods and whole cities, but gentrification has always been notoriously hard to track. That’s especially true in major urban centres, where city councils and planners must consider how the phenomenon can simultaneously reinvigorate older neighbourhoods and displace low-income families and small businesses.

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Years Before Exxon Valdez, Documents Show Exxon’s Imperial Oil Prioritized Public Image Over Spill Impacts

Posted December 3, 2019 by Anonymous
Imperial Oil Esso holding tanks

Read time: 8 mins

On February 4, 1970, the oil tanker SS Arrow was carrying a cargo of heavy bunker oil for Imperial Oil Limited when it encountered rough weather off the east coast of Canada. The ship’s captain had not sailed this route before and reportedly had no navigational charts. The ship itself had known problems with its navigation system. When the radar warned the crew of trouble ahead, the warning was ignored. The ship promptly ran aground on a well-known hazard, Cerberus Rock, ultimately spilling approximately 2.5 million gallons of oil, which coated 190 miles of shoreline.

Nearly two decades before the Exxon Valdez catastrophe in Alaska, the Arrow oil spill became a public relations black eye for Imperial Oil, a Canadian subsidiary of Exxon, and internal company documents published today by DeSmog and the Climate Investigations Center reveal that the company viewed the environmental disaster more in the context of improving its public image than improving safety measures that would reduce these types of environmental risks.

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New Documents Reveal Exxon-owned Canadian Oil Giant’s Shifting Climate Change PR

Posted December 3, 2019 by Sharon Kelly
Imperial Oil gas station

Read time: 9 mins

It was 1971, less than a year after the world’s first Earth Day, and in Canada an oil giant was worried.

Public concern regarding environmental problems is being translated into legislation rapidly,” Imperial Oil warned in an annual research planning document dated January of that year. “The present trend in legislation will require substantial expenditures to reduce emissions and waste discharge for all facilities and reduce the impact on the environment of the products we sell.”

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#360 Finally cleaning off your disgustingly filthy windshield

Posted December 3, 2019 by Anonymous

After momentarily blinding yourself under a thick layer of muddy smears you suddenly gaze out with sparkly eyes and a dropped jaw through a crystal-clear half-circle of sunshine. It’s like getting a new set of eyes. AWESOME! Photo from: here — Check out my new podcast 3 Books —

The post #360 Finally cleaning off your disgustingly filthy windshield appeared first on 1000 Awesome Things.

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The Imperial Oil Files: New Collection Adds to Climate and Energy Research Archives On Science and Denial

Posted December 3, 2019 by Brendan DeMelle
ExxonMobil and Imperial Oil climate science denial

Read time: 4 mins

Today, DeSmog and the Climate Investigations Center are co-launching a large collection of documents from Exxon’s Canadian subsidiary, Imperial Oil, that DeSmog collected from a company archive in Calgary over the past several years.

These documents add new context to the groundbreaking investigative reporting by Inside Climate News, and the Columbia School of Journalism in partnership with the Los Angeles Times, that revealed the #ExxonKnew conspiracy. Those journalistic efforts exposed the facts that Exxon’s own climate science research had confirmed the role of fossil fuels in driving global warming, and that the company pivoted away from that advanced knowledge, choosing instead to spend tens of millions of dollars funding climate science denial campaigns.

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Dear @OttawaCitizen, Your 83 Word Byline Free Drink Milk “Artice” Isn’t Journalism And It Contributes to Scientific Illiteracy

Posted December 2, 2019 by Yoni Freedhoff

Now to be clear, I’m not a journalist, though I have written my fair share of articles for various publications (including the Ottawa Citizen).

What I would never have submitted, let alone gotten away with, would be an 83 word (truly, that pic above is all there is), byline free, advertorial replete with a large photo promoting milk consumption in the name of Vitamin D and calcium citing a “report” that urged Canadians to drink milk, and mentioning “experts” three times, without actually naming the report or the experts.

Though I’m not sure which report the 83 words is referring to, my friend and PhD/RD Dr. Kevin Klatt (who you should absolutely be following on Twitter) was able to steer me to this study looking at non-dairy milk consumption and vitamin D levels in Canadian children which clearly demonstrates drinking non-cow’s milk leads to lower, but still fine, vitamin D status markers.

He noted, as actually cited experts should, that vitamin D’s daily recommended intake (DRI) levels were derived from intake studies performed in very high northern latitudes so as to remove the confounding issue of sunlight, and that consequently daily recommended intake levels are far more than are necessary to maintain safe vitamin D levels for everywhere but the far north. He also pointed out,

there’s not very strong evidence to suggest that not consuming milk places one at risk of having Vitamin D status in the range of insufficiency.

And though it may surprise you given the certainty of the 83 words up above, the data on dietary intake and Vitamin D are so limited that anyone who has concerns about their vitamin D status, regardless of whether they drink milk or not, should have their levels checked and not simply assume milk will be magical. Or better yet, not try to drink their way to higher levels of Vitamin D if they’re concerned and simply take supplements (with meals if this is your plan as Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin)

Given the full court press the Canadian dairy industry has been making since our new Food Guide rightfully relegated dairy to simply a source of protein rather than suggest it is a unique food group, I can’t help but wonder if this published seeming advertorial is consequent to their efforts and overtures, and while it might play to at least 50 years of Canadian dairy marketing, the Ottawa Citizen should know better than to simply pass along uncritical food takes suggesting magic benefits to specific foods to a population primed to believe them.

(Thanks to my friend and colleague Andrew Kujavsky for sending the photo of the article my way)

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#361 The first snowfall of the winter

Posted December 2, 2019 by Anonymous

Crystal flakes form in space before floating down from cloudy skies. Soon blankets of white coat sidewalks like icing and frosty corners freeze in shady yards by the shed. Scarves twist tightly around necks, noses sniffle and turn red, and everyone walks the streets with wide eyes and snowy lashes. Boots slip and slide on […]

The post #361 The first snowfall of the winter appeared first on 1000 Awesome Things.

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Texas Petroleum Chemical Plant Explosion, And Our Petrochemical “Collective Suicide”

Posted November 30, 2019 by Julie Dermansky

Read time: 5 mins

A plume from the Texas Petroleum Chemical (TPC) plant hung over Port Neches, Texas on Thanksgiving as emergency workers continued to fight the fire following explosions at the plant on November 27. A mandatory evacuation that called for 60,000 people within a four-mile radius from the plant to leave their homes the day before the holiday was lifted yesterday. 

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Fight or Switch? How the Low-carbon Transition Is Disrupting Fossil Fuel Politics

Posted November 29, 2019 by guest
cars in traffic

Read time: 6 mins

By Cara Daggett, Virginia Tech

As the Trump administration works to weaken regulations on fossil fuel production and use, a larger struggle is playing out across multiple industries. Until recently, oil companies and their defenders generally reacted to calls for regulating carbon emissions by spreading doubt and promoting climate denialism. However, I believe this approach is becoming less effective as climate change effects worsen and public demands for action intensify worldwide.

As a scholar who focuses on the politics of energy and the environment, I see growing anxiety among corporate elites. Some fossil fuel defenders are embracing a new strategy that I call climate defiance. With a transition to a low-carbon economy looming, they are accelerating investments in fossil fuel extraction while pressuring governments to delay climate action.

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Pennsylvania Communities Grow Wary of Worsening Air Pollution as Petrochemical Industry Arrives

Posted November 27, 2019 by Julie Dermansky
Shell Petrochemical Complex under construction in Beaver County, Pennsylvania

Read time: 9 mins

While the Ohio River Valley, long home to the coal and steel industries, is no stranger to air pollution, the region’s natural gas boom and burgeoning petrochemical industry threaten to erase the gains of recent decades. Concerns about air quality, which has already begun declining nationally since 2016, are growing rapidly for those living in the shadow of Shell’s $6 billion plastics plant under construction along the Ohio River in western Pennsylvania’s Beaver County.

Residents and activists from the greater Pittsburgh area fear that worsening air quality will lower the value of homes, deter new clean business development, and sicken people.

“It is not lost on us that Allegheny Health Network is building a cancer institute directly above the cracker plant at the Beaver County Mall,” Matt Mehalik, executive director of the advocacy group Breathe Project, said at a November 6 public meeting about the Shell plastics plant, also known as an “ethane cracker.” “There is a certain degree of sick irony about that.”

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Toronto’s SickKids Hospital New Oreos Fundraising Campaign

Posted November 27, 2019 by Yoni Freedhoff

Because of course they are.

SickKids hospital has never shied away from junk food fundraising and their latest campaign sees them working with food giant Mondelez to promote the sale of Oreo cookies.

Mondelez of course is thrilled and sees this partnership as,

a first step in a long-term partnership that will “allow for even more collaborative opportunities across portfolios and brands

The partnership also benefits Dairy Farmers of Canada who are likely running damage control following the release of a Food Guide that rightly de-emphasized milk’s unique importance in our diets and removed  our prior Guide’s explicit recommendations around its consumption and instead simply included dairy in the protein foods grouping.

Dairy Farmers are likely worried about the impact the Food Guide’s changes will have on their lucrative school milk programs and perhaps that’s what underlying their stated campaign rationale of “helping kids reach their full potential”, which no doubt will have more weight with SickKids’ push.

Apparently the campaign will include, “TV, cinema, digital, social media and public relations“, and there’s zero doubt that industry’s expectations are despite the campaigns likely huge costs, they’ll enjoy a return on their investment, either by way of direct sales, or by protecting current initiatives (like school milk programs).

As to what’s in it for Sick Kids, of course it’s just money. No doubt too that the amount of money SickKids is likely to get by way of fundraising with cookies, will be a fraction of what will be spent on the campaign to which they’re lending their name and integrity to market them.

No doubt too, if this were about altruism for the Mondelez and Dairy Farmers, they’d just cut cheques.

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General

Great tweets of the day – animal twitter edition

Posted November 27, 2019 by Anonymous

Some great animal tweets: 

Snowplow for hire pic.twitter.com/bdYu09XNhO

— Aussies Doing Things (@aussiesdointhgs) November 26, 2019

I like this video pic.twitter.com/dCTk2tZ68F

— Attractive Nature 🌿 (@NatureAttracts) November 26, 2019

Tom and Jerry

Maybe the cat should leave this rat alone 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/pFD6Uar2jx

— ༻⋆≺ Martin 🏳️‍🌈 ≻⋆༺ (@KlatuBaradaNiko) November 23, 2019


And I couldn’t resist including this one too:

— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) November 22, 2019


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Oil and Gas Industry Rebukes Fracking Ban Talk as UN Shows Just How Much Fossil Fuel Plans Are Screwing Climate Limits

Posted November 26, 2019 by Anonymous
Sign at a protest reading 'ban fracking'

Read time: 8 mins

The American Petroleum Institute, the nation’s largest oil and gas trade association, is promoting a new video touting domestic natural gas production as essential to energy security. The video, titled “America’s Energy Security: A Generation of Progress At Risk?” comes at a time when calls for halting new fossil fuel production and infrastructure are getting louder and coincided with the release of a United Nations report highlighting the misalignment between global climate goals and countries’ plans to develop fossil fuels.  

API’s video is part of a broader strategic campaign by the oil and gas industry to quash public support for a national ban on hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and to promote itself as the “natural gas and oil industry.” The lobbying group released its video last week to coincide with the fifth Democratic presidential debate, saying, “some Democratic presidential candidates are now proposing restrictive energy policies that would erase a generation of American progress.”

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Utilities Don’t Want Peabody Energy’s ‘Clean Coal’ Awards Anymore

Posted November 25, 2019 by guest
Protester holding sign 'Clean coal is a dirty lie'

Read time: 4 mins

By Joe Smyth, Energy and Policy Institute. This was originally posted on the Energy and Policy Institute.

In the latest sign of the U.S. coal industry’s declining ability to compete in the power sector, Peabody Energy is now struggling to find electric utility companies who are willing to accept a “clean coal” award that it presents annually.

In an email obtained through a public records request, a Peabody executive explained that it’s “hard these days for utilities to take the praise publicly.”

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General

Great tweets of the day: All Trump edition

Posted November 24, 2019 by Anonymous

I really do enjoy twitter for all the wit that people share.

And with Trump in the White House, there’s lots to be witty about:

If there is a Trump Library, it will be at Leavenworth.

— David Neiwert (@DavidNeiwert) November 20, 2019

SUMMARY OF THE DAY SO FAR:

“It’s like every five minutes a new warhead lands on Trump’s dick.”

— Martin Longman (@BooMan23) November 16, 2019

Sometimes I miss being young, when the only monsters were the ones I imagined living in the closet or hiding under the bed, rather than sitting in the Oval Office and walking the halls of our nation’s Congress.

— Abraxsys (@Abraxsys) November 23, 2019

Meanwhile, at the White House… pic.twitter.com/JNHkssnaDb

— Abraxsys (@Abraxsys) November 23, 2019


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Who’s training who?

Posted November 23, 2019 by Anonymous

My sister is training one of our dogs for rally obedience and things are going pretty well, I think. Our Molly is a bit of a handful, but my sister really knows her stuff.  

But I must tell her about the tweet I saw today:

Me: wow these meat chunks are a great tool to finally train my dog to come back

My dog: wow coming back is a great tool to finally train this idiot to give me chunks of meat

— Jimmy Thomson (@jwsthomson) November 23, 2019


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Transportation Climate Initiative Draws Opposition from Oil and Gasoline Business Groups

Posted November 23, 2019 by Anonymous

Read time: 6 mins

As California continues to battle the Trump administration over the state’s authority to set stricter greenhouse gas emissions standards for vehicles, a coalition of East Coast states is facing a potential battle of its own, with opposition emerging to the states’ plan to tackle transportation emissions. 

That plan, called the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), seeks to curb transportation-sector greenhouse gas emissions through a cap-and-invest program. The 12 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states plus the District of Columbia are modeling it after the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a similar cap-and-trade scheme for the power sector. As in RGGI, there would be a regional emissions cap that declines each year to reach a target emissions level. Each jurisdiction would be allocated a percentage of the overall cap as an “allowance budget.” Fuel suppliers would need to hold allowances, purchased at auctions, and the auction revenue would be invested in various clean energy and transportation priorities. 

With transportation surpassing the power sector as the largest source of carbon emissions both nationally and in many states, programs like TCI are meant to help address this problem. “This is a program designed to reduce global warming emissions,” explained Daniel Gatti, policy analyst in the Clean Vehicles program at Union of Concerned Scientists. Transportation, he said, is the only sector where emissions have consistently risen since 1990.  

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With Coal’s Decline, Pennsylvania Communities Watch the Rise of Natural Gas-fueled Plastics

Posted November 22, 2019 by Julie Dermansky
Cemetery angel next to closed Bruce Mansfield Coal Plant and Beaver Valley Nuclear Plant

Read time: 9 mins

For Beaver County, just northwest of Pittsburgh, the construction of Royal Dutch Shell’s towering new plastics factory overshadows the closure of the Bruce Mansfield Power Plant, the state’s largest coal power station, located along the same stretch of Ohio River in western Pennsylvania. 

The juxtaposition of these two projects, in which one powerful fossil fuel supply rises as the other falls, reflects the broader pattern of changing energy sources in America. A growing chorus agrees the expansion of the natural gas industry, which feeds plastics and petrochemical plants like Shell’s, is moving the U.S. in the wrong direction to prevent catastrophic impacts from climate change.

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Stanford Study Says Renewable Power Eliminates Argument for Using Carbon Capture with Fossil Fuels

Posted November 21, 2019 by Anonymous
coal power plant

Read time: 7 mins

New research from Stanford University professor Mark Z. Jacobson questions the climate and health benefits of carbon capture technology against simply switching to renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Carbon capture technology is premised on two possible approaches to reducing climate pollution: removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere anywhere in the world, an approach generally known as direct air capture, or removing it directly from the emissions source, such as the smoke stack of a fossil fuel power plant.

Jacobson’s study, published last month in the peer-reviewed journal Energy and Environmental Science, concludes that carbon capture technologies are inefficient at pulling out carbon, from a climate perspective, and often increase local air pollution from the power required to run them, which exacerbates public health issues. Replacing a coal plant with wind turbines, on the other hand, always decreases local air pollution and doesn’t come with the associated cost of running a carbon capture system, says Jacobson.

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General

Today in impeachment

Posted November 20, 2019 by Anonymous

What a day for the impeachment inquiry!  I’m biased of course, but I don’t think Devin Nunes got anywhere with his stupid “boooooring!” comments.  Of course the narrative is complicated and the questions and testimony got into the weeds sometimes, but it was fascinating all the same.

Vindman and Williams were stunning and impressive in standing up for principles.  
Then came Volker and Morrison — and I didn’t realize until I read some of the news stories later that they were supposed to be testifying FOR Trump!  With friends like these….. 
Volker came across as well-meaning but naive, while Morrison tried his best but could only babble on about how the president sets foreign policy — nobody is saying that Trump doesn’t have this authority, just that he based his so-called “policy” on corruption and personal advantage — and in the end even Morrison had to admit that he couldn’t support what Trump had tried to do to the Ukraine.
And I thought many parts of Morrison’s testimony were ridiculous —  he said the July 25 call was fine, just FINE. completely proper — except that somehow it was also so potentially “politically damaging” that he had to talk to White House lawyers about it right away. And he said Vindman shouldn’t have talked to those same lawyers because it was inefficient to have two people talking to them.  And he said the call transcript had been put into the Super Double Secret Probation server because of “administrative error” — oh, really?
I thought this comment from Schiff was great:

Shorter: Trump got caught, someone blew the whistle. and THAT is what Trump and his Republicans are upset about.
God, I hope Americans will rid themselves of that man and his whole corrupt administration. https://t.co/1PB3dW0r5n

— Cathie from Canada 🇨🇦 (@CathieCanada) November 20, 2019

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Rachel Maddow’s New Book on Russia, Oil, and Politics Accidentally Had Perfect Timing With Trump Impeachment Inquiry

Posted November 19, 2019 by Anonymous
Trump and the cover of Blowout by Rachel Maddow

Read time: 4 mins

As public hearings in the Trump impeachment inquiry headed into their second week, one of the nation’s top political cable news hosts was connecting the dots between the rise of authoritarianism, challenges to democracy, and the corrupting power of the oil and gas industry.

I didn’t set out to write about the oil and gas industry,” Rachel Maddow told the audience at Mount Holyoke College on Sunday, November 17 in what was the final stop on a nationwide tour for her new book Blowout.

Indeed, the host of MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” said her initial inclination was to look into why Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. That path inevitably led to the industry at the heart of Russia’s stunted economy.

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Citing Latest Climate Science, Nearly 30 Arrested Protesting New Natural Gas Plant in New York’s Hudson Valley

Posted November 19, 2019 by Anonymous
Protesters locked down with a tractor blocking Cricket Valley gas plant construction site

Read time: 6 mins

On Saturday, November 16, 29 people were arrested in a rally at a massive natural gas-fired power plant, the Cricket Valley Energy Center, that is being constructed in a picturesque rural valley of farms and forests near the New York-Connecticut border, about 80 miles north of New York City.

This is my first arrestable action, I am definitely excited,” said 18-year-old Lucinda Carroll, who wore thick mittens and numerous layers to brace against the sub-freezing cold and was one of 10 people chained to a neon green and yellow tractor.

With each new report that comes out, and each new article that comes out I get angrier and angrier,” said Carroll, a student at nearby Vassar College. “I’ve spent plenty of time going to marches and rallies, I think at some point you have to take a leap of faith.”

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Geography’s new groove: Celebrating 90 years of the RCGS

Posted November 19, 2019 by Anonymous

The RCGS 90th anniversary expedition jacket is now available through the Canadian Geographic online store.

The Royal Canadian Geographical Society has been celebrating Canada since 1929 — and now you can celebrate the Society’s 90th anniversary in style.

Over nine decades, Canada’s foremost explorers have been elected RCGS Fellows, many of whom have literally put aspects of Canada’s geography on the map. From the great navigators  captain Joseph-Elzéar Bernier and RCMP Henry Larsen to polar legend Vilhjalmur Stefansson and astronaut Roberta Bondar, these individuals have defined Canada’s history.

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The Corollary To If You Serve It We Will Eat It (If You Don’t, We Won’t)

Posted November 18, 2019 by Yoni Freedhoff

I’ve written before how as human beings, if you serve it to us, we will eat it, with examples from medical conferences, medical resident events, and dietetic conferences, and published recently in JAMA Internal Medicine is it’s corollary, if you don’t serve it, we won’t eat it, or at least we’ll eat it less.

The paper, Association of a Workplace Sales Ban on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages With Employee Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Health explores what happened to sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption in the 10 months after the University of California at San Francisco banned their sale from campus and medical centre venues (including in their cafeterias, vending machines and retail outlets). People were of course still free to bring whatever beverages they wanted to work or school. Specifically researchers were interested in the impact the sales ban would have on those with heavy SSB intake (defined as a pre-intervention consumption of more than 12 fl oz daily for the prior 3 months).

For two months prior to the intervention, they canvassed for heavy intake participants, and once the SSB sales ban was enacted, half were randomly assigned to receive a 15 minute motivational intervention targeting SSB reduction, half were not, and 10 months later, all of their intakes were again explored.

The findings weren’t particularly surprising. When SSBs aren’t sold, fewer are consumed.

How much fewer?

Half as much overall, with those receiving the brief motivational intervention seeing their consumption decrease by roughly 75%, and those who didn’t by 25% (though it should be noted, especially among those who received the motivational intervention, social desirability bias may have influenced their self-reported consumption reductions).

Bottom line though, it certainly stands to reason that if you don’t serve or sell it, we won’t eat or drink it, or at the very least, we’ll eat or drink much less of it, and so as far as public health interventions go, likely wiser to reduce access to hyperpalatable and indulgent fare rather than simply encouraging people to just eat less of them.

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Introducing Climategate @ 10

Posted November 18, 2019 by Anonymous

Read time: 2 mins

On November 19, 2009, an unknown hacker published a cache of emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit. It was meant to be the hack that brought down climate science. But it made the research — and researchers — stronger than ever.

10 years on, this five-part series looks back at the key players that manufactured the scandal that came to be known as ‘Climategate’:

Series — Climategate @ 10

Tags: 
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DeSmog Was Created to Combat Climategate-Style Misinformation. We’re Still Going

Posted November 18, 2019 by Brendan DeMelle
pow!

Read time: 4 mins

DeSmog was launched in January 2006 to call out the public relations industry for working with fossil fuel industry clients to sow doubt and seed misinformation about climate science. In those early years, we focused most of our attention on the merchants of doubt who were scuttling political action to address global warming in the United States. 

Little did we know that climate science denial was spreading throughout the English-speaking world, and we would have to follow it to the UK and beyond.

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Where Are the Ring-Leaders of the Manufactured Climategate Scandal Now?

Posted November 18, 2019 by Anonymous
I don't believe in global warming

Read time: 12 mins

Ten years ago, leading climate scientists at the University of East Anglia had a mass of email correspondence stolen from their computers and broadcast around the world, in what became known as ‘Climategate’.

Climate science deniers pounced on the leaked emails as supposed proof that scientists were manipulating data and creating panic about climate change out of nothing.

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Here Are 3 Climategate Myths That Have Not Aged Well

Posted November 18, 2019 by Anonymous
Flooded trash bins

Read time: 7 mins

Excessive media coverage of an email hacking tilted the outcome of a critically important event against the victims of the crime. Sound familiar?

In 2016, it happened to the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and the Democratic National Committee. That was déjà vu for climate scientists, who seven years earlier had experienced a nearly identical chain of events leading up to the 2009 UN climate change conference in Copenhagen. 

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Interview: Climategate Felt Like a Disaster, But Climate Science Is Now Stronger Than Ever

Posted November 18, 2019 by Anonymous

Read time: 4 mins

There was this incredible hullabaloo,” says Robert Brulle, recalling the moment that the Climategate scandal broke, 10 years ago today. He remembers thinking that it was all much ado about nothing: a coordinated PR campaign by climate deniers to discredit the science of global warming. 

Brulle is a professor of sociology and environmental science at Drexel University in Pennsylvania, who has researched the environmentalism movement for more than two decades, and has focused in recent years on the funding of climate denial. In some sense, his prediction would be proven correct. 

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General

Great tweets of the day

Posted November 16, 2019 by Anonymous

Beluga Whale playing some rugby pic.twitter.com/OhRINNfYoq

— Animal Life (@animalIife) November 9, 2019

Any hope of getting my prowl on today is #BuriedUnderTheSnow. #CatsOfTwitter pic.twitter.com/nwk2mcxru5

— 🐾Beware of Dogma🐾 (@ellelljaytoo) November 16, 2019


SUMMARY OF THE DAY SO FAR:

“It’s like every five minutes a new warhead lands on Trump’s dick.”

— Martin Longman (@BooMan23) November 16, 2019


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General

“I’m not racist! How dare you say that?”

Posted November 13, 2019 by Anonymous
Those of you calling for Stephen Miller to be fired by the White House because he has been revealed (again) to be a white supremacist do not understand that’s the reason why he was hired.

— David Rothkopf (@djrothkopf) November 12, 2019

Employers favor men not because they are prejudiced against women, but because they have the perception that men perform better on average at certain tasks. https://t.co/RRcBSRCQfA

— Quartz (@qz) November 12, 2019

There’s something bizarre about the way some people define “racism” (and sexism, and homophobia, etc, but I’ll just use “racism” as a shorthand to mean all of these things.)

They recognize it, and condemn it, but just cannot admit that they, themselves, could do it.  Its an odd form of “othering” where the “other” is actually an uncomfortable part of their own personality.

So they can say “I’m not racist, I just don’t like black people” (or Aboriginal people or Asian people or whoever) of “I’m not sexist, I just don’t think women can do things as well as men can” or “I’m not homophobic, I just don’t like gay people”. And they remain blithely ignorant of their own racist impulses and behaviour. 
You see, they KNOW that being racist is bad.  So it makes them VERY uncomfortable to think of themselves as racists.  So when they DO racist things and THINK racist thoughts, they have to tell themselves there is actually nothing wrong with what they did or thought because their motives are pure and their actions are just.  They take refuge in the belief that they are actually just telling the truth.
So Don Cherry can talk about “you people”.  And Trump can say there are “good people” on “both sides” of Charlottesville.  And neither of them will ever even think they have said anything racist, because after all they don’t think of themselves as racists. Today, we see pundits who are actually surprised that Stephen Miller has been “revealed” to be a white supremacist.  Of course he is — who else would come up with a government policy to imprison 70,000 immigrant children? Only a racist could ever think up something so grotesque and cruel, and then get upset to be booed out of a Mexican restaurant.
Here’s the tell — racists think we all actually secretly agree with them. They think we just don’t admit it because we’re all Politically Correct cowards, whereas the racists are courageous truth-tellers.  “Now admit it, you know I’m right!” is what they will say. 
Image result for racism cartoons
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General

New Systematic Review Concludes No One Will Ever Successfully Maintain Their Lost Weight. Or Does It?

Posted November 12, 2019 by Yoni Freedhoff

From the Journal I Can’t Believe This Ever Got Published (ok, in this case from Obesity Reviews) comes The challenge of keeping it off, a descriptive systematic review of high-quality, follow-up studies of obesity treatments.

The paper apparently is meant to be a counterpoint to other systematic reviews of long term weight loss where,

conclusions are generally positive and give the impression that weight loss interventions work and that weight loss can be maintained

Well we can’t have that now can we?

It appears these authors sure couldn’t because here are the criteria they used in selecting papers for their systematic review that concluded long term weight loss is impossible:

  1. Studies must have follow up periods of at least 3 years
  2. Patients must not have had any continued interventions during the follow up period
  3. Medications approved for weight management aren’t allowed

So what they ended up with were 8 studies of varied protocols being administered temporarily for a chronic medical condition. But guess what, chronic medical conditions require ongoing treatment, and what happens when you actually provide it? Well you get studies that would spoil the impossible narrative as noted by the authors of this paper,

“several of the non-included studies report a majority of participants achieving satisfactory weight loss and little regain, especially among studies with continued interventions during the follow-up period.”

Imagine that! Appropriately treating a chronic medical condition with continued interventions works!

And this notwithstanding the fact that many (most? all?) of those studies that provided ongoing interventions likely did not include the appropriate prescription of medications to either help with losses or to prevent regain (just as we would with any other chronic condition) because weight loss medications are almost always excluded from use in weight loss diet studies. Which is odd by the way. Consider hypertension for instance. Sure some people might be able to resolve theirs by way of such things as lower sodium diets, increased exercise, and weight loss, but there’s zero doubt that patients with hypertension will receive regular ongoing follow up visits with their physicians, and where appropriate, will be prescribed medications to help. Why? Because that’s how chronic condition are managed! Which is why we’ll never see a systematic review of hypertension treatments demonstrating that brief lifestyle counselling and the explicit exclusion of medications didn’t lead to lower blood pressure 3 years later.

Leaving me to wonder, why publish a paper with the literal conclusion,

that the majority of high-quality follow-up treatment studies of individuals with obesity are not successful in maintaining weight loss over time

when really all your systematic review (of just 8 papers all with different dietary/lifestyle interventions) has proven is that delimited, lifestyle counselling doesn’t miraculously cure a chronic medical problem, and where you admit in your paper that the appropriate provision of ongoing care might well in fact lead to sustained treatment benefits?

But I don’t really need to wonder. Because the only reason that this paper was conceived and published is because of weight bias, whereby obesity has different rules applied to it, in this case, the notion that unlike so many other chronic medical conditions that are impacted strongly by lifestyle changes (eg. hypertension, type 2 diabetes, GERD, heart disease, COPD, gout, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and many more) people believe that for obesity some brief counselling should be enough to do the job, because that in turn plays into the trope of obesity being a disease of willpower and a deficiency of personal responsibility.

(Thanks to Dr. Andrew Dickson for sending my way)

Thanks to your generosity I’m over 2/3s of the way to my $3,000 Movember fundraising goal. While I’ll never monetize this blog, this is my annual fundraiser and if you find value here, consider a donation! Remember, every dollar counts, it’s tax deductible, and you can give anonymously! To donate, simply click here

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Great tweet of the day

Posted November 12, 2019 by Anonymous

“missed me, you big stripy fuck”

📹: https://t.co/Rq7dW7lgS9 pic.twitter.com/wHvXQwmTiR

— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) November 10, 2019

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Maybe now I can watch hockey again

Posted November 11, 2019 by Anonymous
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Lest we forget

Posted November 10, 2019 by Anonymous

Chief Petty Officer Margaret Louise Byam — my mother.  I have often wondered now why she did it, but she died before I thought to ask her.  A small-town Prairie girl, the youngest of four daughters, she joined the Wrens during World War…

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Saturday Stories: Mary Cain, Fatal Powerpoint, And Echo Chambers

Posted November 9, 2019 by Yoni Freedhoff

Mary Cain, in the New York Times, tells her story of the intersection of abuse and elite sport.

Jamie, in McDreeamie Musings, on the Powerpoint slide that killed 7 people.

C Thi Nguyen, in Aeon, on the dangers of echo chambers

And if you haven’t had a chance to donate yet to my lipterpillar, and you find some value or enjoyment from this blog, please consider and remember, every dollar counts. So far this year the generosity of friends and family have helped to raise $1,640. Movember is a tax deductible charity and you can give anonymously if you’d prefer. And of course, as I’ve mentioned, Movember funds multiple men’s health initiatives including mental health, suicide, body image, eating disorders, substance use disorders, & testicular cancer. To donate, simply click here

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