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Why did the most abundant bird in the world go extinct in just 50 years?

Posted  November 17, 2017  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Hunting and lack of genetic diversity mean we don’t see passenger pigeons blocking the sun today

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Why Conspiracy theorists are more likely to see patterns in a painting like this

Posted  November 17, 2017  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Belief in conspiracy theories based in ‘illusory pattern perception’

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Mauritian monkeys could be the key to understanding Berlin patient’s rare HIV cure

Posted  November 17, 2017  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Timothy Ray Brown’s ‘functional cure’ from HIV now less of a mystery

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More Rocket Shenanigans, Parts Problems at KB Yuzhnoye & Skyrora’s Plan for a Scottish/ Ukrainian Spaceport

Posted  November 16, 2017  by  Chuck Black
          By Chuck Black

For those who don’t believe the hype from the Ukrainian government and others that the Ukrainian space industry is capable of rebuilding facilities rendered inoperative after the 2014 Crimean Crisis or remaining competitive in the face of growing challenges from low cost NewSpace launch providers like SpaceX, you may be right.

Here are four news reports which support your view:

A Soyuz rocket launches from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Ukraine has no indigenous launch capabilities but instead depends on facilities provided through the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and others.  Photo c/o Ars Technica.

  • The tests on the RD-861K engine, the Ukrainian built rocket engine expected to be used as the 2nd stage of Maritime Launch Services (MLS) proposed Canadian launched, Cyclone 4M rocket, are expected to resume this month, after a short break to assess tests performed in October, 2017. 

But there remain questions over whether the final engine can be built in useful quantities using domestically sourced, Ukrainian technology.

    As outlined in the November 14th, 2017 RussianSpaceWeb post, “Ukraine resumes testing of the RD-861K engine,” the earlier test also acted as sales aids to validate the program to potential investors and foreign buyers.

    According to the post: 

    The resumption of the tests should also boost the morale inside the beleaguered Ukrainian rocket industry, which has faced many problems after the breakdown of its ties to Russia in the wake of the annexation of Crimea in 2014. 

    In particular, the Ukrainian propulsion systems depended on supplies of Russian structural materials and hardware. 

    Experts familiar with the matter say that the RD-861K engine is almost ready for operational use, but its development and serial manufacturing still faces serious challenges due to lack of resources, personnel and propellant components. 

    The engine burns hydrazine and nitrogen tetroxide (carcinogenic hypergolic propellants) which are not currently produced in Ukraine and have to be imported from China. 

    There are also problems with the production of new components for the engine, which forced engineers to recycle parts from older units and caused several delays in the latest tests. 

    The post goes on to state that, “one industry source told RussianSpaceWeb.com that KB Yuzhnoye (the rocket designer) had been able to line up domestic suppliers of the structural materials necessary for the RD-861K program.”

    But according to others: 

    … the production of the turbine for the RD-861K still depended on the EP742 heat-resistant alloy that KB Yuzhnoe had procured from the TsNIIMV material science institute based in Korolev, Russia. 

    Each turbine in the RD-861K engine is certified to operate in up to a dozen live firings before being replaced.

    Theoretically, a similar material for the turbine could be acquired elsewhere, but it would need to go through its own tests before being certified for use on the engine, an expert familiar with the matter said.

    The Ukrainian-built version of the RD-120 engine (on the left) will be a basis for the next generation RD-870 engine (right), planned for use in the Cyclone 4M. As outlined in the September 19th, 2017 RussianSpaceWeb post, “RD-870 could become Ukraine’s first booster engine,” the RD-870 engine is “intended to propel the first stage of the Tsyklon-4M (Cyclone-4M) rocket‘ and “will be based on a Soviet-era second-stage engine but redesigned to lift the rocket off the launch pad”, instead of firing in the stratosphere.” The RD-120 was developed at NPO Energomash in Moscow, but built in the Ukraine by KB Yuzhnoye (design) and Yuzhmash (manufacturing), except for its combustion chamber, which was “supplied by a manufacturer in Samara, Russia.” The RD-870 is yet to be built. Graphic and photo c/o Anatoly Zak.

    • The second stage of the Cyclone 4M rocket isn’t the only stage with potential sourcing problems. There are also concerns over the Zenit rockets, which are intended to serve as the basis for the first stage of the Cyclone 4M.

    Sea Launch, a multinational launch provider which, until 2013 used a mobile maritime launch platform for equatorial launches of commercial payloads on specialized Zenit-3SL rockets, has plans to revive the mothballed service.

    But they’d prefer not to use the Zenit because those rockets are getting hard to come by.

    As outlined in the November 15th, 2017 Russian Space Web post, “Sea Launch seeks help from Roskosmos, proposes new applications,”  Sergei Sopov, the director general of the S7 Group which owns Sea Launch, has sent a draft of a potential cooperation agreement to Roskosmos head Igor Komarov. 

    The latest plea for cooperation would open the Sea Launch platform to Russian satellite developers, who until now have relied almost exclusively on launch vehicles based in Kazakhstan or Russia. 

    But it would also include, “the development of a new-generation cargo ship which could lift off from the Sea Launch to re-supply manned orbital stations.”  

    Cyclone 4M configuration, including the listing of the engines required for the program (four RD-870’s and one RD-861K). The November 9th, 2017 SpaceQ post, “Maritime Launch Services Targets May 1 to Begin Construction at Nova Scotia Spaceport,” quoted MLS CEO Steve Matier as saying that the work remaining on the rocket is more of a simple “integration of parts. Some of them are already done, but the work that Yuzhnoye is doing right now is essentially all the design work for integration of these known quantity and proven heritage components into the vehicle itself.” Graphic c/o MLS

    This new rocket would likely be a variation of the next generation Russian medium class launcher which, as outlined in the November 13th, 2017 Russian Space web post, “Preliminary design for Soyuz-5 races to completion,” will be known as the Soyuz 5, and is expected to replace the Zenit rocket.  

    The first prototype for the new rocket is expected to be tested in 2022. 

    The five or more year development period is typical in programs of this type and would certainly have to be duplicated in the Ukraine, where the existing RD-120 engine used in the Zenit second stage, would need to be upgraded to the RD-870 engine which is supposed to comprise the first stage of the Cyclone 4M.

    If the Russians are taking five years or more to replace Zenit rockets and having trouble sourcing them now, what makes the Ukraine think that it will be able to source rockets for new Canadian customers?

    And how specifically would the Ukraine propose to take any less time to develop a new rocket engine? What’s so special about their development process?

    As of now, no one knows.

    A Soyuz booster is assembled prior to a crewed flight to the International Space Station. As outlined in the August 20th, 2015 Spaceflight New post, “Russia to build new eco-friendly Soyuz-5 rocket by 2022,” the proposed new rocket should be able to solve all the problems associated with the previous rocket model. This suggests a certain “fuzzyness” in the design parameters and indicates that there is much work still to be done before the design is finalized. Photo c/o Bill Ingalls / NASA.

    • Speaking of Russia, it’s worth noting that Roscosmos has a plan to compete with SpaceX, but that plan likely isn’t going to work.

    As outlined in the November 13th, 2017 Ars Technica post, “Russia has a plan to compete with SpaceX—but it has a flaw,” the Russian rocket corporation, NPO Energia, has fast-tracked development of a new medium-class launch Soyuz 5 vehicle in the hopes that it to be able to remain competitive with the existing SpaceX Falcon-9 rocket. 

    But of course, five years from now, the Falcon-9 rockets are expected to be much more capable, reusable and able to launch nearly on demand for far less than the $60Mln US ($76Mln CDN) currently being charged.

    So the Soyuz 5 won’t be able to compete when it rolls out in 2022, because SpaceX will have advanced with its capabilities. 

    Is the Ukrainian Cyclone 4M able to compete with current SpaceX rockets? Nothing in the published specs indicate that it can. And when the actual Cyclone 4M rocket is finally rolled out, the indications are that it will be as far behind as the planned Russian Soyuz 5.

    Pavel Botsula, the head of design in Dnipro (oddly enough, the same city where both Ukrainian based KB Yuzhnoye and  Yuzhmash have their HQ’s), with Mikhail Andrievskiy, the head of propulsion system department at Dnipro and Daniel Smith, the business development manager at Edinburgh, UK based Skyrora. Photo c/o ROOM.

    • But if all else fails, there are plans to relocate components of the Ukrainian space program to Scotland. 

    As outlined in the  October 25th, 2017 ROOM post, “Firm announces plan to launch rockets from Scotland,” Edinburgh & London UK based Skyrora, a privately-funded launch vehicle developer with a research and development hub in Ukraine, has announced “plans for entering the small satellite launch market during the Reinventing Space conference taking place in Glasgow, Scotland, this week.”

    The article quoted Skyrora business development manager Daniel Smith as stating that “Scotland is an ideal place from which to operate. Its launch suitability, strong manufacturing history and the fact that Glasgow, in particular, is a leading city within the European space sector are all positive factors.

    Over the summer, “Skyrora worked with a research and development hub in the Ukraine and with individuals that have experience on a number of major Ukrainian space projects,” and visited the Shetland Islands off the north east coast of Scotland as part of their search for a launch site. 

    The 15th Reinventing Space Conference was held in Glasgow, Scotland from October 24th – 26th, 2017. It focused on “novel applications that are becoming commercially viable as space technology improves. These include space tugs; space tourism; satellite refueling; debris removal; debris exploitation; manufacturing in orbit; real-time video from space; space mining; etc.”

    Of course, as outlined in the September 11th, 2016 post, “Ukranian Based Yuzhnoye Design Office Eyeing a Canadian Spaceport for its Cyclone-4 Rocket,” what the Ukrainians really need isn’t a good location or strong manufacturing.

    What they really need is money (and lots of it) to help fund their ongoing development and build out the final product. Any suggestions that Ukrainian rockets are capable of flying now, with only a little bit of “integration” to fit together existing parts is obviously in error, given the facts of the situation.

    But the first country willing to provide money, lots and lots of money, will get a spaceport, eventually.

    For better or for worse.

      Chuck Black.
      ___________________________________________________________

      Chuck Black is the editor of the Commercial Space blog.

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      Did Northam’s Office Try to Hide the Dominion Executives and Lobbyists Sitting on His Transition Team?

      Posted  November 16, 2017  by  Anonymous

      Virginia’s Democratic governor-elect, Ralph Northam, announced his transition committee this week. In a press release, his office listed 85 individuals who will comprise the “bipartisan” committee, representing Virginians “from across the Commonwealth who will join him over the course of the next two months to lay the groundwork for a successful administration.”

      But there is something odd about the list of people and their affiliations, or lack thereof. Dominion Energy — the state’s most powerful corporate player who will need certifications from the Northam administration for its pivotal Atlantic Coast pipeline — doesn’t appear once on the list.

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      Bonavista-Burin-Trinity Liberals nominate Churence Rogers as new Team Trudeau candidate

      Posted  November 16, 2017  by  Liberal Party of Canada

      Clarenville, NL –  Liberals in Bonavista-Burin-Trinity have nominated Churence Rogers, an experienced community leader and Mayor of Centreville-Wareham-Trinity, as the official Team Trudeau candidate in the upcoming federal by-election.  “After an exciting nomination race and voting held across the riding this week, we are honoured to welcome Churence Rogers to Team Trudeau as the Liberal candidate […]

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      Despite Trump Plan to Ditch Paris Accord, Former US Climate Envoy Thinks America Will Be Back

      Posted  November 16, 2017  by  Anonymous
      Todd Stern

      BONN, GERMANY – Even if Donald Trump successfully withdraws the U.S. from the Paris climate accord in the next three years, Todd Stern, former climate envoy under Obama, doesn’t think the country will be gone from the agreement for good.

      I just firmly believe the U.S. will be back in,” he told attendees of the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, Germany. “I don’t know exactly when that will be, obviously, but we’re gonna be back in.”

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      Climate Depot’s Marc Morano Returns to UN Climate Talks to Mock Activists, Spin Climate Denial

      Posted  November 16, 2017  by  Ben Jervey
      Marc Morano

      Climate Depot’s Marc Morano made his annual trek to the United Nations climate talks, where he and his colleagues like to tweak climate campaigners and delegates with their well-greased climate science-denying PR machine.

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      Creamy Gouda Cheese Cauliflower Bake

      Posted  November 16, 2017  by  Anonymous

      This Creamy Gouda Cheese Cauliflower Bake is a delicious and easy side dish for any time of year! It’s Cheese of the Month time again!  I’m really enjoying sharing delicious Canadian cheeses and creating new dishes each month, and I hope you are too!  Since I began my partnership with the Dairy Farmers of Canada, I’ve had the chance to feature a wide variety of delicious, award winning Canadian cheeses, and have created desserts, lunches, side dishes, snacks and appetizers with all different types of cheese. So much yum. This month I wanted to create a comforting and cheesy side dish recipe that you can serve at holiday dinners, or any time of year too!  And because I think cauliflower and cheese were made to go together, I created this Creamy Gouda Cheese Cauliflower Bake with Sylvan Star Cheese’s Grizzly Gouda, an extra-aged Canadian Gouda. I thought that the sharp bite of the Grizzly Gouda would taste amazing in a cream based sauce so I stirred in a generous cup of the grated cheese.  It’s a perfect compliment to the subtle flavour of the cauliflower. Then put it in the oven and let the magic happen…the end result is a creamy, delicious side dish that […]

      The post Creamy Gouda Cheese Cauliflower Bake appeared first on A Pretty Life In The Suburbs.

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      Physicians Best To Have Practiced What They Preach Regarding Lifestyle

      Posted  November 16, 2017  by  Yoni Freedhoff

      A few days ago I put out a tweet that stated that physicians (and with more characters here I’ll say other allied health professionals as well) shouldn’t give lifestyle advice unless they’ve followed it themselves. Given it led to a varied discussion, thought I’d expand more here.

      First, I’m talking primarily about diet and fitness advice which pertain to any diet/fitness responsive condition or simply on healthy living as its own aim.

      Second, while I think it’d be terrific if all physicians continually walked their talks, this isn’t a reasonable expectation. What is however reasonable, at least in my opinion, is that a physician providing lifestyle advice has spent at least some time following their own advice (barring of course any physical or medical limitations that might preclude same).

      Living the whys, wherefores, real-life challenges, and logistics, of their own lifestyle advice provides physicians with insights and empathy that in turn will help in their understandings of their patients’ struggles and barriers. That understanding is likely to improve the counselling and support those physicians provide.

      Whether it’s keeping a food diary, following a particular diet, cooking the majority of meals from fresh whole ingredients, exercising a particular amount each week or day, mindfully meditating, etc – spending a real amount of time doing so (my non-evidence based suggestion would be for a month at least) will make you a better clinician.

      [And to be clear, as there were those online who wanted to extrapolate my statement into one that suggested physicians must themselves all live incredibly healthful lives and maintain certain weights – that’s definitely not what I’m saying, nor of course does weight provide real insight into the health of a person’s lifestyle (as plenty of people with obesity live healthy lives, and plenty of people without don’t).]

              
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      Industry is Betting Big on CCS as a ‘Shield’ for Fossil Fuels at Bonn Climate Talks

      Posted  November 15, 2017  by  Anonymous
      CCS at COP23

      BONN, GERMANY – Each day at the international climate talks, dozens of side events take place on a wide range of topics: from phasing out coal to the role of music in the climate action movement.

      Those looking for the particular thrill of learning about carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology have been spoilt for choice. All thanks to an industry-sponsored programme run by a business lobby group tucked away at the very back of the exhibition centre.

      There, four events on CCS were held in the space of just three days. The reason industry groups are so keen? Because the technology provides “a clear way forward without the need for a rapid abandonment of the world’s fossil resources”, according to the group’s brochure.

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      Steve Sailer: Different Hoax for Different Folks — Lt. Gen. Silveria and the ADL

      Posted  November 15, 2017  by  Kathy Shaidle
      Steve Sailer: Different Hoax for Different Folks — Lt. Gen. Silveria and the ADL

      Steve Sailer writes:The only problem with the ADL’s ceremony honoring Lt. Gen. Silveria’s “commitment, dedication, and leadership in the fight against hate” was that six days earlier the Air Force Academy had admitted that the graffiti had been a hoax perpetrated by an unnamed black student. (…)Last winter, for example, the ADL had been doing […]

      Kathy Shaidle’s NEW book, Confessions of a Failed Slut, is available HERE.
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      Gear review: A foldable daypack perfect for hiking and travelling

      Posted  November 15, 2017  by  Anonymous

      The Eagle Creek daypack. (Photo: Alex Cohen)

      Any traveller who has lost their luggage can attest to the need for travelling light. After waiting days for luggage to be returned, whether it be on foreign or domestic soil, some opt to only ever trav…

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      Germany Must Phase Out Coal to Meet Merkel’s Climate Pledge, Pacific Islanders Plea

      Posted  November 15, 2017  by  Ben Jervey
      80 meter long red banner reading 'Keep it in the ground' at the COP23 climate talks

      This morning, before German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrived at the United Nations climate talks in Bonn, UN staffers rolled out a red carpet.  At the same time, a group of Pacific Islanders rolled out their own red carpet, in the form of an 80 meter scarlet banner that read: “Keep It In the Ground.”

      The islanders and many other climate advocates at these talks (known as COP23) had another, more specific request — that Merkel commit Germany to a full phase-out of coal by 2030.

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      Saskatchewan's wild boar problem

      Posted  November 15, 2017  by  Anonymous

      baby boars

      Sure, these young boars look cute, but in Saskatchewan, wild boars, which are non-native to the province, are becoming a huge problem for farmers and conservationists. (Photo: Natally Klaric/Can Geo Photo Club)

      They’re big, bad and bristly, and they’re tearing up parts of Saskatchewan at an alarming rate.

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      Justin Trudeau to join Gordie Hogg in South Surrey—White Rock

      Posted  November 14, 2017  by  Liberal Party of Canada

      White Rock, B.C. – Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, will join candidate Gordie Hogg in South Surrey—White Rock on Wednesday, November 15, 2017. Wednesday, 15 November, 2017 1:00  PM – Community visit – Laura’s Café 15259 Pacific Ave White Rock, BC V4B 1P8   Notes for Media: Open coverage, photo opportunity only – […]

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      BAFFLED BY FACEBOOK

      Posted  November 14, 2017  by  John Downing

      OLD FARTS AND THE INTERNETI was baffled by algorithms long before the Internet came along to stupefy me again.It wasn’t enough for the maths of high school to curdle my brain to such an extent that I had to take all sorts of extra courses to limp into …

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      Justin Trudeau makes remarks to supporters in Vancouver

      Posted  November 14, 2017  by  Liberal Party of Canada

      Ottawa, ON – Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, will deliver remarks to supporters at a Liberal fundraising event in Vancouver on November 14, 2017. The Liberal Party of Canada has committed to the strongest standards in federal politics for openness and transparency, and is challenging other parties to do the same. […]

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      The Economist Assesses the Space Industry

      Posted  November 14, 2017  by  Chuck Black
                by Allison Rae Hannigan

      It felt like the conference was spread over two days, as so much content was packed into the one day at the “Space Summit: A New Space Age,” event presented by The Economist Events, which came to The Museum of Flight in Seattle on November 9th, 2017.

      Waiting for A New Space Age at the Museum of Flight in Seattle on the morning of November 9th. Photo c/o Allison Rae Hannigan.

      A mix of inspirational, and entertaining, presentations with thoughtful discussions of pertinent issues to the current state of the space industry was offered for the well over 200 participants to enjoy.

      Big Name” headliners included Lori Garver (the former deputy administrator to NASA), Steve Jurvetson (an American businessman, venture capitalist and former partner at venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson), planetary scientist Carolyn Porco and Russian entrepreneur, venture capitalist, physicist and DST Global founder Yuri Milner.

      A variety of formats was used to keep participants engaged, which was a refreshing change of pace from more typical conferences.

      Here are some highlights from the sessions, fireside chats, and “big bang disrupters” presentations and discussions.

      Putting the Space Back into the Space Industry

      Inspirational and informative talks were sprinkled in that served to remind everyone about the true wonder of the actual place beyond Earth’s atmosphere called space, as opposed to the economic sphere of activity usually referred to as the ‘space industry.’ 

      Famed planetary scientist, Carolyn Porco, who was imaging lead for the recently-completed Cassini Mission, gave a talk on that mission and some of its discoveries. She gifted the audience with beautiful pictures of Saturn and spoke about the moons Enceladus and Titan, and possible future missions there. 

      She recalled her connection to Carl Sagan, and his “Pale Blue Dot” moment from the Voyager mission, when we could see Earth from space from the far reaches of the solar system for the first time. 

      As outlined in the July 22nd, 2013 post, “NASA Releases Images of Earth Taken By Distant Spacecraft,” the Cassini mission had a similar effect with its, “interplanetary salute” moment, when Earthlings were told to smile for the camera in July 2013. 

      Earth as viewed through Saturn’s rings. Photo c/o Graham Looney on Twitter.

      A ‘fireside chat” followed her talk, with one of the two moderators, Oliver Morton, the briefings editor at The Economist. Another “chat” was held later in the day between George Whitesides, the CEO of Virgin Galactic and Tom Standage, the deputy editor of The Economist

      An inspirational talk and discussion was delivered by Susmita Mohanty, co-founder and chief executive of Earth2Orbit. She is a serial entrepreneur, who spoke of future space activities by private entrepreneurs. She shared her experiences to date, and also highlighted recent advancements in India’s space program. 

      Challenging the audience to think of space activities in an inclusive way, she does not accept the commonly-used term “space colony” for historical reasons, and a new term needs to be imagined. 

      Turning her vision to the future, Susmita said she will begin work on climate change research, and will eventually launch an earth observation constellation of satellites. 

      Susmita Mohanty, co-founder and chief executive of Earth2Orbit in Seattle on November 9th, 2017. Photo c/o WaSpaceGrant.

      No Business Like the Space Business

      In a more familiar format, the morning started with a panel discussion about tools and vision for the next “great leap.” NASA’s Voyager mission was used as a benchmark for standards of technology over time, looking back at how it was so very “primitive” 40 years ago, and comparing it with today’s technology, as well as to what the future holds.

      Tom Bradicich, the head of IoT and intelligent edge systems at the event’s sponsor, HPE, made the case for using new technology in distant space to decrease latency in communications and control, for example on future Mars missions.

      Project Extreme Edge is building technologies that are faster than fixed technologies, but they also are re-configurable on the fly,” he said, introducing the audience to his company’s newest space effort, putting a supercomputer, the HPE Apollo System (also known as the Spaceborne Computer) on the International Space Station (ISS).

      The concept is to use ordinary open standard technology, wrapped around with intellectual property and invention for added value. The innovation is with what he called the “software hardening.” Using predictive analysis and looking at problems such as memory leaks, resources being used in an exhaustive way, or even failing, the system is able to program around these issues and will have redundancy built into the software.

      As outlined in the November 9th, 2017 HPE Newsroom post, “Our Next Frontier: Taking HPE Technology to the ‘Extreme Edge’” the software hardening is configured to “manage real time throttling of the computer systems based on current conditions and can mitigate environmentally induced errors.”

      Jim Bell, the president of the board of directors of the Planetary Society, and Robyn Gates, the deputy director of the ISS at NASA were also on the same panel, titled, “A Space Odyssey: The Tools and The Vision Powering Man’s[sic] Next Great Leap.” Tom Standage, the deputy editor of The Economist moderated. 

      Another “space business” panel, “Down to Earth: The Global Economic Impact of Space,” featured Lori Garver, the former deputy administrator of NASA and current general manager of the Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA). In addition, Dirk Hoke, CEO of Airbus Defence and Space, as well as Brian Weeden of the Secure World Foundation and Dario Zamarian, the group president of Space Systems Loral (SSL) participated under the guidance of moderator Tom Standage.

      The purpose of this session was to examine the space economy and whether some of Earth’s greatest challenges can be solved by space-based technologies; while also looking at future business opportunities for entrepreneurs. 

      One main track of the discussion about the role of public funds in space technology development was led by Garver, who explained at length the analogies between civil aviation and space. In the economy that relies upon drone technology, the government role at this point is limited to staying as far out of the way as possible, and not ‘over-regulating it.’  

      Speaking of space, she said, “I just really think that fundamentally we need to shift how we invest our public dollars in these areas.” She basically advocated government spending less on big missions and more on enabling technologies so that the private sector can play a more commercial role. 

      Dirk Hoke, Lori Garver and Brian Weeden. Photo c/o Allison Rae Hannigan.

      Carissa Bryce Christensen, the founder and CEO of Bryce Space and Technology, Peter Platzer the CEO of Spire Global, Chad Anderson, the CEO of the Space Angels Network and Pete Roney, the chief innovations officer at Thales USA were guided by Oliver Morton in a lively conversation during the business session about remote sensing called, “The Data Race.” The panel of experts and entrepreneurs all came to similar conclusions about the huge economic opportunities for extracting answers from all the imagery currently being collected.

      It’s big, getting bigger, and innovation is making the future come along faster than anyone can realize. The environmental benefits are also plain to see, as Earth’s resources are being monitored and managed more every day.

      Anderson cited the year 2009 as the “Dawn of the Entrepreneurial Space Age,” which is basically when SpaceX started operating commercially. His Space Angels fund has issued a new space investment report (the Space Angels Investment Quarterly Q3 2017) that makes this claim, and shows the rise of equity investment in the sector.

      With billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos putting their own funds into developing space transportation systems, the certainty in future markets gains legitimacy, and follow-on investment is happening in new systems, especially the Big Data remote sensing constellations. 

      As outlined in the October 31st, 2017 Ars Technica post, “New report: Entrepreneurial space age began in 2009,” SpaceX launched its first commercial payload in July 2009, a date which marked the “a key inflection point between the “governmental” space age and the “entrepreneurial” space age.” Graphic c/o Space Angels Investment Quarterly Q3 2017.

      Teach them well and let them lead the way” – Whitney Houston

      In a session designed to showcase the industry’s future leaders, but more likely succeeding in helping much of the audience feel old, three MIT Media Lab experts presented, “Our way to the stars: astropreneurships and space hacking.” 

      Barret Schlegelmilch and Steven Link, co-presidents of the MIT Astropreneurship and Space Industry Club and Ariel Ekblaw, Founder and lead, MIT Media Lab’s Space Exploration Initiative, each presented about their initiatives for self-assembling in-orbit architecture, bioengineering genomes for space and blockchain-mediated satellite telecommunications as they look to democratize access to space exploration technology with the help of source materials from the MIT Media Labs.

      Scaring the (Expletive) Out of Us!

      Space junk: clean-up time” painted a grim picture not only of human impact on the orbital environment, but also the geo-political risks we face here on Earth as potentially threatening space assets. The United States’ Air Force Space Command is tracking around 22,000 pieces of man-made space debris, mostly bigger than 10 cm across, and there are estimated to be hundreds of thousands more smaller fragments. 

      Twitter was also active in Seattle on November 9th. Image c/o @TheAerospaceCorp

      Nobu Okada, Founder and chief executive, Astroscale, Jamie Morin, Executive director, Center for Space Policy and Strategy, and vice president, The Aerospace Corporation, and Saadia Pekkanen, Associate director, Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington each gave their perspective on the situation.

      Always Leave Them Laughing / Wanting More

      Although the final session, a “spotlight interview,” with Yuri Milner, the founder of  DST Global, finished the day, the lasting impression will be the quite lively and downright funny “Three Way Debate” between Naveen Jain, the founder and chairman of Moon Express, Chris Lewicki, the president and CEO of Planetary Resources, and John Logsdon, the founder of George Washington University’s Space Policy Institute

      Elon Musk has joked that he wants to die on Mars, “Just not on impact,” and the debate premise asks what will he see from his deathbed 100 years from now? Habitation on the Moon, Mars/Asteroids, or neither? 

      Speaking on behalf of the Moon, Jain made the feistiest jokes and boldest statements, often peppering his claims with profanity which created an even larger impact on the audience. “Who the Hell wants to live on an asteroid?”  

      Lewicki presented his case with the calm, cool and snark precision of a planetary scientist and engineer, arguing that we will find many more riches in asteroids than those spread very thinly on the Moon. 

      As for Logsdon, well, despite his personal desire to see all of these scenarios succeed, he is convinced that humanity will not succeed at any of them. 

      He argued that we’ve had since Apollo to make the case to the public to fund future space exploration, and have failed to secure the support needed.

      Fortunately, most of the rest of the people attending the conference were much more enthusiastic.

      Perhaps we were simply more focused around the entrepreneurs and private sector rather than concerned over public funding for government programs, while Logston’s focus was on the governments and the public policy decisions which define their role.

      But as outlined in the November 9th, 2017 Geekwire post, “‘New Space Age’ gathering sets the stage for commercial spaceflight’s big year,” this year is supposed to be a big one for the private sector. That’s where the energy and the ambition is currently concentrated.

      Welcome to the future.

      Allison Rae Hannigan.

      _______________________________________________________________

      Allison Rae Hannigan is an impassioned space industry professional focused on development opportunities, marketing, and business related to microgravity and earth observation sectors. 

      She is also a free-lance consultant who has created marketing communications campaigns, as well as provided market research, and regulatory expertise to the international space community.

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      General

      David Cole: “Gentrification today, gentrification tomorrow, gentrification forever”

      Posted  November 14, 2017  by  Kathy Shaidle
      David Cole: “Gentrification today, gentrification tomorrow, gentrification forever”

      David Cole writes:Signs were posted around the city depicting a white hipster’s head in the crosshairs of a rifle. And through it all, at no point did the activists make any attempt to hide the racial nature of their cleansing campaign: “No white people. No white stores.” It’s almost funny reading the reactions of some […]

      Kathy Shaidle’s NEW book, Confessions of a Failed Slut, is available HERE.
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      Jim Goad: Where Are All the Tranny Dudes In Politics?

      Posted  November 14, 2017  by  Kathy Shaidle
      Jim Goad: Where Are All the Tranny Dudes In Politics?

      Jim Goad writes:Eight trannies elected to office in one night? That’s good. Only two of them now identify as men? That’s bad—especially if one wants to pretend that gender is fluid. If one even dares to notice a firm statistical pattern that the roaring majority of trannies are men who claim they’re women, one risks […]

      Kathy Shaidle’s NEW book, Confessions of a Failed Slut, is available HERE.
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      Children

      Early Childhood Physical Activity Does Not Vaccinate Against Obesity

      Posted  November 14, 2017  by  Yoni Freedhoff
      By Pete (originally posted to Flickr as determination_0970) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

      It’s not uncommon when I met parents of children with obesity for them to tell me either that it doesn’t make sense because their child is extremely active, or that inactivity is to blame for their child’s struggles.

      And while my confirmation bias is that weight leads to inactivity in kids rather than inactivity to weight, data is somewhat mixed, with some studies finding total daily energy expenditure in very young children is associated with lesser weight gain, and others, not.

      One of the shortcomings of prior studies were that they focused primarily on energy expenditure measured during a child’s first year of life, and didn’t cover the period known as adiposity rebound whereby BMI typically decreases until the age of 4-7 years before beginning to increase through late childhood.

      A recent small study, High energy expenditure is not protective against increased adiposity in chldren, included that time period.

      Briefly, 81 subjects who were classified as either at low risk of developing obesity (in that they had lean mothers with an average BMI of 19.5), or at high risk (mothers with an average BMI of 30.3), were recruited, and 53 remained through to the study’s conclusion of 8 years. Three measures of adiposity at 8 years were collected – BMI percentile, BMI Z-score, and percent body fat. Total energy expenditure was measured using doubly labelled water at 4 months, 2, 4, 6, and 8 years of age (though only 58% of all total measurements were collected). Body composition was measured by way of bio-impedance analysis at ages 0.25 and 2 years, and by way of DEXA at ages 4 and 6.

      What was found was that total daily energy expenditure increased with body size, but,

      there was no evidence supporting the hypothesis that a low habitual TEE for that body size leads to subsequent increase in BMI or % body fat

      Nor was there an association between measures of adiposity at age 8 and total energy expenditure between the ages of 0.25 and 6 years.

      The authors overarching conclusion is that when it comes to the genesis of childhood obesity, it’s energy in, not energy out.

      I can’t help but wonder, were that to be the prevailing belief, would parents with concerns about their children’s weights be more conscious of their children’s diets (especially liquid calories and purchased meals) as energy-in is something that many parents deemphasize over during our initial discussions.

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      State Leaders Diss Trump Coal Revival as US Pushes ‘Cleaner’ Fossil Fuels at Climate Talks

      Posted  November 13, 2017  by  Anonymous
      Jay Inslee, Jerry Brown, and Arnold Schwarzenegger

      BONN, GERMANY – From the United Nations climate summit in Bonn, Germany, Arnold Schwarzenegger declared he wasn’t worried about Donald Trump — not his threats to withdraw from the Paris agreement or his plan to bring back coal.

      Imagine bringing back coal,” laughed the former California governor. “In a time when coal is plummeting in the United States and all over the world … It’s like bringing back Blockbuster or something.”

      But that is exactly in line with the plan embraced by the Trump administration at these climate talks — where coal deals are even rumored to be a possible outcome. Today the administration held its only organized event of the summit, a “side event” which promoted “cleaner and more efficient” fossil fuels and nuclear power as “vital” ways to reach the goals of the Paris accord.

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      Battlefords—Lloydminster Liberals nominate Larry Ingram as Team Trudeau candidate

      Posted  November 13, 2017  by  Liberal Party of Canada

      Battleford, SK –  Battlefords—Lloydminster Liberals have nominated Larry Ingram, a hardworking small business owner and former municipal councillor, as the official Team Trudeau candidate in the upcoming federal by-election. “Larry Ingram knows Battlefords—Lloydminster inside and out, and he is deeply committed to growing Saskatchewan’s middle class,” said Anna Gainey, President of the Liberal Party of […]

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      Bayou Bridge Pipeline Opponents File to Intervene in Hearing for Private Security Firm in Louisiana

      Posted  November 13, 2017  by  Julie Dermansky

      A broad base of advocacy groups opposed to Energy Transfer Partners’ (ETP) proposed Bayou Bridge pipeline continue to pressure officials in Louisiana to deny the remaining permissions the company needs to build the pipeline.

      The groups are also trying to stop TigerSwan LLC, one of the security firms that ETP worked with in North Dakota, from obtaining a permit to operate in Louisiana.

      ETP, the company behind the Dakota Access pipeline, intends to build a 162-mile pipeline across southern Louisiana. If built, the Bayou Bridge will be the last leg, carrying oil fracked in North Dakota to Louisiana. 

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      On the Eve of Fusion Power

      Posted  November 13, 2017  by  Chuck Black
                By Brian Orlotti

      Curiosity and politics enable science, but sometimes the science is so obviously useful by itself that commercial interests step in to expedite the commercialization process.

      An example would be LPP Fusion (LPP), a private New Jersey-based firm, which has begun another round of crowdfunding for its alternative fusion reactor technology.

      Building on the success of a previous crowdfunding effort, the company has built a device that has achieved several key milestones. LPP is now seeking more funds to refine and commercialize its technology.

      The company, incorporated in 2003 and led by US plasma physicist Eric Lerner, was an outgrowth of alternative fusion experiments performed in collaboration with the University of Illinois in 1994 and Texas A&M University and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 2001.

      In May 2014, after years of steady progress, LPP launched a crowdfunding campaign via Indiegogo supported by a global blitz on social media, print media and television interviews. The effort was a great success, with LPP raising over $180,000 USD ($230K CDN).

      The 2014 Indigogo funding campaign for the LPP “Focus Fusion” technology peaked out at 90% of its stated goal, but fundraising continues. As outlined in the November 10th, 2017 Next Big Future post, “LPP Fusion raising $1 million via equity crowdfunding,” the current goals are more ambitious. Screenshot c/o Indigogo/ LPP Fusion.

      The traditional approach to developing nuclear fusion is centered around the idea of containing super-hot gas (called plasma) and stabilizing it, which is both technically challenging and expensive.

      LPP instead utilizes a technique called  “focus fusion” in which a plasma’s instabilities are harnessed in order to concentrate the plasma within a very small area.

      Focus fusion is done via a device called a Dense Plasma Focus (DPF). The DPF consists of a thick, hollow central anode surrounded by a ring of cathodes that are about the size and shape of candles.

      Using electromagnetic acceleration and compression, the device produces a short-lived plasma that is hot and dense enough to cause nuclear fusion and the emission of X-rays and neutrons.

      Earlier this year, LPP claimed to have set a world record temperature for fusion plasma of over 2 billion degrees kelvin. LPP’s paper documenting this claim is currently under peer review, having been submitted to the peer reviewed journal Physics of Plasmas.

      LPP shares its research results with both investors and the public. The company has also formed a network of focus fusion researchers in other nations in order to share knowledge and accelerate progress.

      LPP’s effort, centered around a small and lean team contrasts with massive government-funded fusion research programs, most notably the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) now under construction in southern France. ITER, a joint effort of seven nations, has been marred by over a decade of delays as well as doubts over its long-term economic viability.

      ITER’s cost is expected to exceed the $13.7Bln USD mark and won’t begin operations until at least 2027.

      LPP Fusion’s current Wefunder campaign at https://wefunder.com/lppfusion, as of 4pm EST, November 13th, 2017. The purchasing of shares in LPP Fusion is now available to both US and non-US citizens. Graphic c/o Wefunder/ LPP Fusion.

      As for LPP, only time will tell whether it can surpass its previous fundraising success and moves forward to create the promised new source of clean, cheap and ecologically safe energy.

      But such a success would enable the company to finally fulfill fusion power’s earthshaking promise and free humanity from the dirty, blood-soaked cost of fossil fuels.

      Brian Orlotti.
        ______________________________________________________________
      Brian Orlotti is a regular contributor to the Commercial Space blog.

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      Northam’s Transition Team Leader Has Ties to Companies Behind Atlantic Coast Pipeline

      Posted  November 13, 2017  by  Anonymous

      Virginia’s governor-elect, Ralph Northam, wasted no time in organizing a transition team. A day after his November 7th victory, Northam announced that Marianne Radcliff, a former state transportation official with rich experience in local government and politics, will lead his transition team.

      Over the past two decades, Radcliff has established herself as a prominent lobbyist in the state’s capital. She is currently vice president of the Richmond-based lobbying firm Kemper Consulting. Previously she worked as a lobbyist for Williams Mullen.

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      Scarborough—Agincourt Liberals nominate Jean Yip as new Team Trudeau candidate

      Posted  November 12, 2017  by  Liberal Party of Canada

      Scarborough, ON –  Scarborough—Agincourt Liberals have nominated Jean Yip, a devoted community leader and experienced insurance professional, as the official Team Trudeau candidate in the upcoming federal by-election. “We are very proud to welcome Jean Yip as our newest Team Trudeau candidate for this important by-election,” said Anna Gainey, President of the Liberal Party of Canada. […]

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      The Federal Electric Vehicle Tax Credit is a Bipartisan Success Story, Which House Republicans Want to Undo

      Posted  November 12, 2017  by  Ben Jervey

      As the House and Senate develop their respective versions of a tax reform bill, the $7,500 federal electric vehicle (EV) tax credit is positioned to be a potential bargaining chip. The House’s version of the bill, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” includes a repeal of the EV tax credit.

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      Debt Vultures Behind Puerto Rico Austerity Are Also Fueling Climate Change

      Posted  November 11, 2017  by  guest

      By Rob Galbraith, crossposted from LittleSis.org’s Eyes on the Ties 

      The island of Puerto Rico has been devastated by a set of human-made catastrophes – two hurricanes supercharged by fossil fuel emissions and a debt crisis and ruthless austerity regime imposed by Wall Street.

      Seeds for both of these disasters were sown by Seth Klarman, the president of Baupost Group, a Boston-based hedge fund heavily invested in both Puerto Rican debt and in the oil and gas industry. Klarman is also a trustee of the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank which has both fought against action on climate change and for austerity in Puerto Rico.

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      Saturday Stories: Trump’s USDA, ORBITA, and ‘Woman, Black’,

      Posted  November 11, 2017  by  Yoni Freedhoff

      Michael Lewis in Vanity Fair on Trump’s USDA.

      James Hamblin in The Atlantic covers the ORBITA trial and wonders how much of heart disease is a state of mind?

      Future physician Chika Oriuwa with her spoken word poetry slam ‘Woman, Black’

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      Notice of Nomination Meeting to Select the Liberal Candidate for Bonavista-Burin-Trinity

      Posted  November 10, 2017  by  Liberal Party of Canada

      Pursuant to the Interim National Rules for the Selection of Candidates for the Liberal Party of Canada, the call has been issued for a meeting to nominate a candidate in Bonavista—Burin—Trinity. The meeting is being called pursuant to the provisions of Sections 1 and 13 of the above Rules on this day, November 9, 2017. […]

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      Even its Head Office Now Considers MDA, "a business unit of Maxar Technologies"

      Posted  November 10, 2017  by  Chuck Black
                By Henry Stewart

      Suppose you’re an iconic Canadian space company with tens and perhaps even hundreds of millions of Canadian dollars worth of annual revenue tied up in ongoing Federal government space and communications contracts which are, at least in part, dependent upon your firm being viewed as a fully Canadian supplier, immune to foreign influence.

      And even your US HQ keeps forgetting to acknowledge your independence. What would you do?

      As outlined in the November 9th, 2017 National Post article, “Canadarm creator to transform into U.S. company, raising concerns of tech heading south of the border,” Maxar CEO Howard Lance believes that “Canadians don’t need to worry (over MDA’s status) since the country will still retain overall control of the Radarsat-2 surveillance satellite,” and he has no plans “to cut jobs in Canada.” That’s not to say that the US executive wouldn’t be able to lay off workers at any of his worldwide subsidiaries or rearrange his business units in any way that his US based board might see fit, if the need arose. Given that, the appropriate customer response should be to cultivate alternative suppliers for critical requirements, just in case. Graphic c/o National Post.

      That’s the situation Richmond BC based MDA, a company once known as MacDonald Dettwiler and Associates, but re-branded and re-organized into a subsidiary of the larger San Francisco, CA based Maxar Technologies earlier this year, is currently faced with.

      As outlined in the November 8th, 2017 Maxar Technologies press release, “MDA to provide communication subsystems,” MDA is “a business unit of Maxar Technologies.”

      November 9th, 2017 MDA online display ad from the SpaceQ website.

      On the other hand, the MDA business unit has just “signed a contract valued at approximately US$9 million for an undisclosed customer,” so things aren’t all bad.

      MDA will provide two communication subsystems that will increase the time LEO satellites are in communication with the ground and improve the amount of data that could be transferred, according to the press release.

      However, in order to keep the Canadian orders flowing and combat the perception that the company is no longer Canadian, MDA has embarked on a marketing campaign touting its Canadian origins and independence.

      The campaign includes various sponsorships in a variety of space focused conferences, including the Canadian Space Commerce Association (CSCA) 2017 Canadian Space Policy Summit, which was held in Ottawa on November 9th, 2017.

      MDA has also purchased display ads in the Ottawa, ON based Hill Times and other publications.

      Of course, the marketing campaign will do little more than postpone the inevitable. MDA will likely begin to bleed Canadian market share as the Justin Trudeau Liberal government moves to diversify its supplier base.

      If the Feds don’t do this, the Federal Conservative party will begin asking uncomfortable questions in Parliament and the issue will divide up along party lines. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just business.

      Potential hungry MDA competitors include Toulouse, France based Airbus (bolstered by its new partnership with Montreal PQ based Bombardier and its influential Quebec voting base), Carlsbad, CA based Viasat (just itching to sell new communications capabilities to the Canadian military) and even Vancouver BC based Urthecast (the only Canadian company on this list, but one chock full of ex-MDA employees so there might be some synergies).

      Stand by. There’s a great deal of money at stake.

      _______________________________________________________________________

      Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer.

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      Christmas

      Cheesy Lentil Bolognese Casserole + Celebrating 9 years!!

      Posted  November 10, 2017  by  Angela (Oh She Glows)

      Oh She Glows just celebrated her 9th birthday! Can you believe it? (I know, I know, where is the cake? I didn’t plan this very well, did I? I promise you today’s recipe is a keeper even if it’s not covered in frosting. Do you think cheese-covered will do the trick?!) Many moons ago, in […]

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      General

      Proposed Bailout of Coal and Nuclear Is Trump Admin’s Attempt to Save Dying Industries

      Posted  November 10, 2017  by  Anonymous
      A Caterpillar D9 bulldozer pushes a mountain of coal at a rail/barge terminal on the Tennessee River. Calvert City, September 2010.

      Energy Secretary Rick Perry recently ordered the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to fast-track a rule that purports to make the energy grid more resilient but which in reality will force utility customers to buy more expensive electricity from coal and nuclear plants. A new report by the nonprofit Environmental Working Group (EWG) casts this proposal as a thinly veiled bailout for two industries that are no longer competitive in the electricity generation markets.

      According to federal data compiled by EWG, without this bailout, utilities plan to close 75 coal and nuclear plants in the next three years.

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      The Timothy Leary of Antifa: I was going to mock Professor Mark Brey’s dumb comments about free speech and Weimar…

      Posted  November 10, 2017  by  Kathy Shaidle
      The Timothy Leary of Antifa: I was going to mock Professor Mark Brey’s dumb comments about free speech and Weimar…

      …in that semi-viral Chronicle of Higher Education profile…In fact, there’s a point Mr. Bray made in an interview that Mr. Scott often finds himself citing. “We don’t look back at the Weimar Republic today and celebrate them for allowing Nazis to have their free-speech rights,” he says. “We look back and say, Why didn’t they […]

      Kathy Shaidle’s NEW book, Confessions of a Failed Slut, is available HERE.
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      Climate Denier Lamar Smith Holds Rare Congressional Hearing on Geoengineering

      Posted  November 10, 2017  by  Steve Horn
      Rep. Lamar Smith

      Geoengineering, hailed in some circles as a potential technofix to the climate change crisis, has taken a step closer to going mainstream.  

      The U.S. House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology held a rare joint subcommittee hearing on November 8, only the second ever congressional hearing of its kind on the topic (the first was held in 2009). The committee invited expert witnesses to discuss the status of geoengineering research and development. Geoengineering is a broad term encompassing sophisticated scientific techniques meant to reverse the impacts of climate change or pull greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. 

      Ironically, the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology is chaired by U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith — a climate science denier who has received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from ExxonMobil throughout his political career. In fact, Smith actually mentioned “climate change” in his opening remarks for the hearing, in discussing his interest in geoengineering.

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      Find out why scientists no longer fear a discovery that dwarfs the power of an H-bomb

      Posted  November 10, 2017  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

      The fusion of bottom quarks results in a powerful, but not dangerous reaction.

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      Get your head in the clouds. Science says it’s good to daydream

      Posted  November 10, 2017  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

      Neuroscience says it’s good to daydream

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      If you’re going to get hurt, you’re better off doing it during the day

      Posted  November 10, 2017  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

      If you’re going to get hurt, your immune system would prefer you do it in the day

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