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General

MOTHER NATURE

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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General

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? https://t.co/LkN6dqdqnj

— David Frum (@davidfrum) March 18, 2020

@CoronavirusCast

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 https://t.co/1zRd7e74O3

— 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 pic.twitter.com/VfI4Nm8kj5

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

We’re better than our political leadership. https://t.co/ez9K1RChDP

— John Pavlovitz (@johnpavlovitz) March 16, 2020

Louis Vuitton is switching all its perfume & cosmetic manufacturing factories to make hand sanitizer gels. https://t.co/p6I5QC1s4d

— Krishnan (@cvkrishnan) March 15, 2020

Hope they were able to find some TP https://t.co/3gBnXKJAKB

— Kevin Smith (@Global_Smith) March 15, 2020

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General

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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General

Meet the Climate Science Deniers Who Downplayed COVID-19 Risks

Posted March 16, 2020 by Sharon Kelly

Read time: 9 mins

On January 30, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the outbreak of novel coronavirus 2019, which causes the disease COVID-19, was officially a “public health emergency of international concern.” At the time, there were cases confirmed in 19 countries and deaths in China had reached 170.

The very next day, the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) published an article titled, “Coronavirus in the U.S.: How Bad Will It Be?”

Is coronavirus worse than the flu?” it began. “No, not even close.”

It already has spread from person-to-person in the U.S., but it probably won’t go far,” ACSH added. “And the American healthcare system is excellent at dealing with this sort of problem.”

ACSH is one of several organizations promoting climate science denial that are now spreading misinformation on the coronavirus, with potentially deadly consequences.

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General

Exxon Now Wants to Write the Rules for Regulating Methane Emissions

Posted March 16, 2020 by Anonymous
A compressor station along newly constructed pipeline in Loving County, Texas.

Read time: 10 mins

ExxonMobil is a company capable of contradictions. It has been lobbying against government efforts to address climate change while running ads touting its own efforts to do so.

And while the oil giant has been responsible for massive methane releases, Exxon has now proposed a new regulatory framework for cutting emissions of this powerful greenhouse gas that it hopes regulators and industry will adopt. As Exxon put it, the goal is to achieve “cost-effective and reasonable methane-emission regulations.”

So, why is Exxon asking to be regulated?

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General

COVID Shakespeare

Posted March 15, 2020 by Anonymous

What’s the difference between Covid 19 and Romeo & Juliet?

One’s a corona virus and the other is a Verona crisis.

— Julian Lee (@JulianLeeComedy) March 14, 2020

One’s a pandemic disaster, the other’s Iambic pentameter

— folb (@SleepingAnnual) March 14, 2020

Omg. Now do Two Gentlemen of Corona.

— Steve Austin from Texas (@ResistTheLiars) March 15, 2020

With jokes like that you’re just trying make us welcome death

— Tom (@_T0M_V_) March 15, 2020

ok isaac newton discovered calculus and william shakespeare wrote king lear while in quarantine but i bet none of them could eat 2 family packs of chips ahoy in 3 days while in quarantine so what the fuck

— Ryan Dils (@ryan_dils) March 15, 2020



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General

How Technology Can Combat the Rising Tide of Fake Science

Posted March 14, 2020 by guest
Crop circles in Switzerland

Read time: 5 mins

By Chris Impey, University of Arizona

Science gets a lot of respect these days. Unfortunately, it’s also getting a lot of competition from misinformation. Seven in 10 Americans think the benefits from science outweigh the harms, and nine in 10 think science and technology will create more opportunities for future generations. Scientists have made dramatic progress in understanding the universe and the mechanisms of biology, and advances in computation benefit all fields of science.

On the other hand, Americans are surrounded by a rising tide of misinformation and fake science. Take climate change. Scientists are in almost complete agreement that people are the primary cause of global warming. Yet polls show that a third of the public disagrees with this conclusion.

In my 30 years of studying and promoting scientific literacy, I’ve found that college educated adults have large holes in their basic science knowledge and they’re disconcertingly susceptible to superstition and beliefs that aren’t based on any evidence. One way to counter this is to make it easier for people to detect pseudoscience online. To this end, my lab at the University of Arizona has developed an artificial intelligence-based pseudoscience detector that we plan to freely release as a web browser extension and smart phone app.

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General

Life In Scarborough: The Plague Journal, Day II

Posted March 13, 2020 by bigcitylib

Visited The Elsy (LCBO) today.  I notice that while they’re knifing each other over toilet paper at the Walmart across the parking lot, here everything is calm.  People believe that Water and wipes are essential, booze some kind of peripheral…

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General

Oil Industry Front Group Launches Latest Attack on Electric Vehicle Tax Credit in Senate Energy Bill

Posted March 13, 2020 by Anonymous
electric car and tax credit form

Read time: 4 mins

As this week the U.S. Senate tries to advance stalled bipartisan energy legislation, the American Energy Alliance (AEA) last week announced its latest initiative opposing any tax credit extension for electric vehicles (EV) in that bill.

Through a series of digital ads, the group, which receives a substantial share of its donations from an oil refinery trade group, is calling on Senate Republicans to squash a proposed amendment expanding the number of vehicles eligible for the credit.

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General

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.” https://t.co/RJNDb0Vdcu

— 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 https://t.co/iFPcJrHdqM

— Raju Narisetti (@raju) March 10, 2020


Palate cleanser

One of our kittens is a bit of a drama queen pic.twitter.com/oklQb6eTae

— Kittens (@kittensfolder) February 27, 2020

I don’t think the sign is working. 🤔 pic.twitter.com/wjwLhRV0QZ

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


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General

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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General

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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General

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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General

The North American Natural Gas Industry Is Struggling—Here’s Why

Posted March 11, 2020 by Anonymous
LNG carrier

Read time: 7 mins

Last year, the financial prospects for the North American natural gas market were looking grim, as nervous investors started pulling back and producers announced big spending cuts and layoffs.

Today, the challenges facing the gas industry here have only worsened, even for LNG exports, its much-vaunted savior.

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General

The Future of Exxon and the Permian’s Flaring Crisis

Posted March 11, 2020 by Anonymous
Giant flare in the Permian Basin

Read time: 8 mins

On March 5, there was a sense of drama and tension unlike in years past as ExxonMobil’s top executives gathered for their annual Investor Day presentation, a highly anticipated event where the oil major lays out its plans for the next few years in an effort to woo investors.

Long a darling of Wall Street, that day the oil major’s share price had fallen to a 15-year low. Battered by a volatile oil market and increasing scrutiny over the climate crisis, investors wanted answers on how Exxon planned on dealing with the shifting landscape.

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General

‘Fossil Fuel Companies Knew’: Honolulu Files Lawsuit Over Climate Impacts

Posted March 9, 2020 by Anonymous
Diamond Head Honolulu Hawaii

Read time: 4 mins

Hawaii has officially joined the fight to hold fossil fuel companies accountable for the climate crisis. On Monday the City of Honolulu filed a lawsuit against 10 oil and gas companies, seeking monetary damages to help pay for costs associated with climate impacts like sea level rise and flooding.

The lawsuit, filed in Hawaii state court, is based on claims of nuisance, failure to warn, and trespass and alleges that the climate impacts facing the city stem from the oil companies’ decades-long campaign to mislead policymakers and the public on the dangers of fossil fuels.

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General

Stock Market Turmoil Undermines Claimed Energy Dominance Benefits of US Shale Drilling

Posted March 9, 2020 by Sharon Kelly
Donald Trump

Read time: 9 mins

Oil prices collapsed today amid falling energy demand and the global response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, as the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide reached over 113,000. On Friday, talks disintegrated inside the so-called OPEC+ alliance, which includes Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) as well as non-OPEC members like Russia.

This breakdown kicked off a global oil price war that left Wall Street reeling on Monday, threatening the already troubled U.S. shale oil and gas industry and challenging the resilience of the Trump administration’s “energy dominance” theory that argues domestic shale oil production benefits national security and insulates the U.S. against the actions of other countries. Instead, relying on a shaky shale industry may have left the U.S. economy more vulnerable during times of crisis.

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Children

TikTok Is All About Fat Shaming These Days

Posted March 9, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

I was driving with my 13 year old daughter on Saturday and we were just chatting. I asked her what was trending these days on her TikTok stream (in the past she’d been served up antisemitism)? Apparently it’s fat shaming Lizzo.

I asked her to share some videos with me.

She sent over 10 in less than a minute.

Some representative examples to follow, but all this to say, TikTok, while hugely entertaining, is a cesspool of hate and bullying, and if your children use it, probably worth asking them every once in a while what’s trending on their streams so that you can take the time at least to talk about it.

@noahswitzer98

Everyone please ##stop making ##lizzo memes ##fyp

♬ original sound – noahswitzer98

@nickring4

When you lose Lizzo while your whale watching 😂 ##greenscreen ##lizzo ##meme ##xyzbca ##xyzcba ##joke ##fyp ##memes ##tiktokmemes ##comedy ##comedicgenius

♬ ITs ANIT new girlfriend of your ex – its_anit

@yaboyg35

##greenscreenvideo ##lizzo ##meme ##tacticalnuke ##mw2

♬ original sound – yaboyg35

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General

The sweetest thing

Posted March 7, 2020 by Anonymous

My sister is presently training one of our dogs in Rally Obedience, so I am trying to flag any tweets, etc about this sport. 

And here is one that I found, which isn’t exactly about the sport, but more about how people in this sport act:

This beautiful little girl has autism. She brought her stuffed-puppy to the dog show.

One of the judges stopped, walked over to her, and asked if she wanted to show her dog as well.

This is what happened.

Humanity.❤️ pic.twitter.com/wkkcJCiIWC

— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) March 6, 2020


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General

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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Children

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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General

Tweets of the Day

Posted February 28, 2020 by Anonymous

Here’s a Friday palate cleanser for ya:

— CCTV IDIOTS (@cctvidiots) February 27, 2020


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General

Health Canada Fails Science And Canadians By Allowing Any Purported Weight Loss Supplements To Be Sold

Posted February 24, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

The latest of many systematic reviews and meta-analyses of herbal supplements for weight loss plainly makes the case that there is no justification for their sale.

They. Don’t. Work.

None of them.

None. Of. Them.

So why does Health Canada license and allow the sale of 1,128 natural products whose listed purported use is for weight management? Or of the 671 products that purport they’ll improve sexual enhancement? Or of pretty much any of them?

Maybe the answer lies somewhere in the taxation of the $1.8 billion annual Canadian sales of vitamins and supplements?

Maybe it lies in well-intentioned hope?

Maybe it lies is political contributions and lobbying?

But the one place where it doesn’t lie is in science. Shouldn’t that be the only place that matters?

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General

Wet’suwet’en update

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Oh My God The Nutrition World Is Painful

Posted February 19, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

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

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

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

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

        
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General

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

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

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheers says the “protesters” need to check their “privilege” and let the rail system open again. #Wet‘suwet’en. pic.twitter.com/dQKZ6IKouU

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

This is civil war.

Military action is a must.

Retain / constrain as needed. https://t.co/aOlxSx5R3Y

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

Or this kind of frightening, provocative and unacceptable behaviour:

Wet’suwe’ten protester in RCMP gunsight pleads in video for police to put down their arms | CBC News https://t.co/6jtXi7vHzj

— Tantoo Cardinal (@tantooC) February 14, 2020

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

Oh well, just boil it, you’ll be fine 🤷🏻‍♀️#Ironic https://t.co/hSVXcjGoaT

— Janine Manning (@NewStarWoman) February 14, 2020

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

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

Here are some good tweet threads with more info:

OK, thread: For the last few days I’ve tried to learn what I can about an alternate route for the Coastal GasLink pipeline that was apparently proposed by #Wetsuweten hereditary chiefs and brought into the discussion by a Green Party MP. Here’s what I’ve learned pic.twitter.com/hm4gAVCfyc

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

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

THREAD…

— Peter Fairley (@pfairley) February 14, 2020


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General

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?

TAKE. NO. CRAP. 💅🏻

pic.twitter.com/iBVE1fuQNC

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


Expectation vs Reality. pic.twitter.com/0PDhoroVe8

— 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! https://t.co/1qpw17TXTm

— Julie Ritt (@faeryfancier) February 2, 2020


When you’re trying to end an argument, but your bird won’t let you. 🔊
(🎥: Imgur user MrPuckett) pic.twitter.com/KXYTv3Olq3

— 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.”pic.twitter.com/svyS5dkCRw

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



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General

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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General

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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General

Best moment at #SOTU

Posted February 4, 2020 by Anonymous
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General

Year Long 5:2 Intermittent Fasting Study Reports It’s No Better Or Worse Than A Horribly Restrictive Diet

Posted February 4, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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General

Great tweets of the day: laugh and the world laughs with you

Posted January 31, 2020 by Anonymous

Well, I guess there’s nothing to do today really except laugh, so here goes:

I’m on the edge of my seat! pic.twitter.com/tn2MbABmZe

— Gillian OShaughnessy (@GillOshaughness) January 31, 2020

— Mr. Meowgi (@Mr_Meowwwgi) January 30, 2020

this is ringo, i think that it’s safe to say that he likes to swim
(ringo.swims.alot IG) pic.twitter.com/yVwRUzlAVd

— Humor And Animals (@humorandanimals) January 29, 2020

When you’re trying to end an argument, but your bird won’t let you. 🔊
(🎥: Imgur user MrPuckett) pic.twitter.com/KXYTv3Olq3

— Clare Logan (@withchillies) January 19, 2020

An incorrectly assembled whippet. pic.twitter.com/CVAAOL3efV

— Jonathan Best (@jonnnybest) January 18, 2020

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

Cat Latte Art by Japanese barista Kazuki Yamamoto
(https://t.co/rHxhzUgICI) pic.twitter.com/421iIHMN0H

— 41 Strange (@41Strange) January 20, 2020

Boing, boing, boing pic.twitter.com/jkisvk6bHV

— Life on Earth (@planetpng) January 28, 2020


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Children

Study Published Stating The Daily Mile Doesn’t Improve Childhood Obesity Speaks To Risks Of Tying Weight To Exercise

Posted January 29, 2020 by Yoni Freedhoff

Published this week in the International Journal of Obesity is Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of The Daily Mile on childhood weight outcomes and wellbeing: a cluster randomised controlled trial whereby researchers reported on the impact a school year worth of 15 minutes of daily running had on children’s BMIs.

It’s an odd study in that we’re talking about 15 minutes of running per day which literally no one should expect to have a marked effect on childhood obesity given both math (15 mins of children running, jogging, or walking a mile probably doesn’t even burn the calories of a single Oreo) and the fact that multiple meta-analyses have shown that even far more involved school based PE initiatives don’t have an impact on childhood obesity.

It’s also odd because The Daily Mile itself doesn’t tie itself to weight,

The aim of The Daily Mile is to improve the physical, social, emotional and mental health and wellbeing of our children – regardless of age, ability or personal circumstances

And it’s a problematic study in that consequent to the wholly predictable non-exciting outcome, it’s the sort of study that might be used as a means to discourage the program’s continuation.

What might have been studied instead? How about the impact of the Daily Mile on marks, concentration, endurance, or physical literacy (note, they attempted to do some of this, but data collection was too poor for them to make many conclusions), or if there was a strong desire to tie it to something medical, how about blood pressure, heart rate recovery, mood, sleep, or lipid levels?

As I’ve said many times, dumbing down exercise to weight management shortchanges both the benefits of exercise and the realities of weight management, and frankly doing that in the name of a program that sees kids running an extra 15 minutes a day, and then seeing that published in a credible journal, speaks to just how pervasive and dangerous that practice is.

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