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Why Plans to Turn America’s Rust Belt into a New Plastics Belt Are Bad News for the Climate

Posted  October 28, 2018  by  Sharon Kelly

Read time: 11 mins

Pipes from the former Bethlehem Steel Plant in Pennsylvania

The petrochemical industry anticipates spending a total of over $200 billion on factories, pipelines, and other infrastructure in the U.S. that will rely on shale gas, the American Chemistry Council announced in September. Construction is already underway at many sites.

This building spree would dramatically expand the Gulf Coast’s petrochemical corridor (known locally as “Cancer Alley”) — and establish a new plastics and petrochemical belt across states like Ohio, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

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This 1980 Shell Chemical Company Publication Outlines Plans to Create ‘Grassroots’ Campaigns

Posted  October 27, 2018  by  guest

Read time: 5 mins

Shell TREND publication article

Originally posted on Climate Files.

This 1980 edition of TREND, a bimonthly Shell Chemical Company (Shell) publication, featured a series of articles on issues concerning the company, including: “Emerging techniques for effective corporate response to public issues,” the Chemical Manufacturers Association “Communication Action Plan,” “Individualism,” “Gasohol,” “The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on OSHA’s Benzene standards,” and “Chemical feedstocks from synfuels.”

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Saturday Stories: College Reunions, George Soroses, and Runaway Trains

Posted  October 27, 2018  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Deborah Copaken, in The Atlantic, on what her 30th year College reunion taught her about life.

Spencer Ackerman, in The Daily Beast, on every era’s George Soros.

Alexandra Petri, in The Washington Post, on how difficult it is to get the train to stop.

[And if you don’t follow me on Twitter or Facebook, and you have a few minutes this weekend, I really enjoyed recording this podcast with Half Size Me’s Heather Robertson, where we covered a lot of ground and she asked me the sorts of insightful questions that you might expect from someone who herself has maintained a 170lb loss.]

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TigerSwan, County Sheriff Sued Over Road Blockade During Dakota Access Pipeline Protests

Posted  October 26, 2018  by  Steve Horn

Read time: 6 mins

National Guard checkpoint

On October 18, two Standing Rock Sioux Tribe members and a pastor for an Episcopal Church on the reservation filed a class action civil lawsuit against state, county, and private law enforcement in the latest chapter of the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) saga. 

The plaintiffs allege that these groups were involved in a prolonged effort to blockade North Dakota State Highway 1806 to opponents of the controversial oil pipeline during the most heated protests from late October 2016 through early 2017.

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What They’re Saying: Putting a Price on Pollution

Posted  October 26, 2018  by  Liberal Party of Canada

Canadians know pollution isn’t free. That’s why Justin Trudeau and the Liberal team have a real plan to protect a clean environment while growing our economy, and it’s working.

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Neanderthals nursed their sick and injured back to health with ancient medicine

Posted  October 26, 2018  by  Anonymous

Neanderthals played doctor, caring for their ill and injured

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Listen to the Antarctic ice sheet sing a song of melting ice

Posted  October 26, 2018  by  Anonymous

Antarctica is singing the blues with seismic signals about melting ice

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There’s a catch to ‘catch and release:’ hook injuries interfere with fish feeding

Posted  October 26, 2018  by  Anonymous

Hook injuries could hamper fish’s ability to feed

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Purple reign: life on Earth might once have been dominated by purple micro-organisms

Posted  October 26, 2018  by  Anonymous

Was Earth once a purple planet, and is there more purple life out there?

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Evolution is going uptown as plants and animals adapt to city life

Posted  October 26, 2018  by  Anonymous

Evolution in cities is happening faster than Darwin could have imagined

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Why is the sound we hear in two earbuds not twice as loud as the sound from one?

Posted  October 26, 2018  by  Anonymous

Why is the sound we hear with both ears not twice as loud as the sound we hear with one ear?

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Why Canadian Tar Sands Oil May Be Doomed

Posted  October 25, 2018  by  Anonymous

Read time: 9 mins

Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada, tar sands oil operations

At current prices, Canadian tar sands oil producers are losing money on every barrel of oil they dig out. Despite signs earlier this year the industry would “turn profitable in 2018,” a much more likely scenario at this point is a fourth straight year of losses.

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A Cautionary Tale for Oil-by-rail: the Lac-Mégantic Disaster Five Years Later

Posted  October 24, 2018  by  guest

Read time: 7 mins

Lac-Mégantic rail disaster, oil trains on fire

By James Wilt, The Narwhal. Originally posted on The Narwhal.

In this Q&A we speak with Bruce Campbell, author of a new book on the disaster that transformed a small Quebec town but left Canada’s neglected regulatory system largely unchanged

It’s now been half a decade since the catastrophic Lac-Mégantic rail disaster in southern Quebec. On the night of July 6, 2013, a runaway train carrying shale oil from North Dakota exploded, killing 47 people and destroying most of the town’s center.

But despite being the deadliest event in Canada’s history since the Halifax Explosion in 1917, the Lac-Mégantic disaster has largely faded from the public’s consciousness outside of Quebec.

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Energy Transfer: New Name for Pipeline Company But Same Spills and Violence Against Protesters, Says Greenpeace Report

Posted  October 24, 2018  by  Sharon Kelly

Read time: 5 mins

Protester in front of gates to Energy Transfer CEO Kelcy Warren's Dallas home

Battles over new shale gas pipelines involving Energy Transfer, formerly known as Energy Transfer Partners, have heated up in recent weeks — an escalation that carries a tilt, as one side stands accused of acts of violence.

Energy Transfer (ET) security contractors have been accused of physically assaulting pipeline opponents on multiple occasions, including incidents in which security allegedly pointed a gun at one pipeline opponent, struck another with the butt of a shotgun, and overturned two boats carrying a television film crew and pipeline opponents into a Louisiana swamp, according to a new report published by Greenpeace USA on October 18.

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Conservatism: not a politics–a diagnosis

Posted  October 24, 2018  by  Anonymous

Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. The photo above is of the Doug Ford Progressive Conservative government of Ontario cheering and applauding as they repeal an increase in the minimum wage slated for next year, junk…

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The Environment Is on the November Ballot — Here’s Where and What’s at Stake

Posted  October 23, 2018  by  guest

Read time: 8 mins

Nevada solar array at Nellis Air Force Base

By Tara Lohan, The Revelator. Originally published on The Revelator.

Environmental issues such as polluted drinking water in Michigan and harmful algal blooms in Florida could influence which candidates voters will support in this November’s midterm election, says Holly Burke, communications coordinator of the League of Conservation Voters.

Water issues really resonate with voters in states where clean water has been a dramatic problem,” says Burke.

These issues may affect certain political candidates, but in some states ballot measures will be a more direct way for residents to weigh in on environmental issues. For those hoping that statewide initiatives will help to combat environmental rollbacks at the federal level by the Trump administration, this election will be a crucial test.

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Climate Deniers on the Ballot in 2018

Posted  October 23, 2018  by  Anonymous

Read time: 8 mins

Hurricane Michael destruction on a beach in Florida

As the midterm elections approach, DeSmog is taking this opportunity to highlight some of the top climate science deniers currently running for office in the U.S.

Did we miss someone notable? Let us know.

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Justin Trudeau delivers remarks to supporters in Montreal

Posted  October 22, 2018  by  Liberal Party of Canada

Montreal, QC – Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, will deliver remarks to supporters at an open Liberal fundraising event in Montreal on October 23, 2018. 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 […]

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Fast Initial Weight Loss The Secret To Success? Or Do Only Successful People Remain In Weight Loss Studies?

Posted  October 22, 2018  by  Yoni Freedhoff

There was a lot of buzz last week about a new study that purportedly found that “fast initial weight loss may be key to diabetes prevention“.

I say purportedly because the reporting wasn’t about a published study, but rather a presentation given to the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) 2018 Annual Meeting on the to be published one day PREVIEW study.

The presentation reported that 3 years after an initial rapid, induced by meal replacement, weight loss, by way of 4 different dietary strategies, 96% had not developed type 2 diabetes.

This was contrasted apparently with the results of the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study (DPS) and US-based Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), neither of which included that initial rapid 2 month meal replacement loss, and where participants without diabetes at 3 years in the DPS and DPP were 91% and 86%, respectively.

So yes, the PREVIEW results were a touch better.

Or were they?

Whereas the DPS and DPP studies had tremendous retention of participants (92% and 92.5% respectively), PREVIEW’s results come from just 41% of initial participants with 59% being lost to follow up at 3 years.

Which leads me to wonder whether PREVIEW’s results are worthy of much publicity, as that’s a tremendous loss to follow up, and it’s quite plausible that the people most likely to follow up 3 years later, are the ones who did the best in sustaining their losses. I suspect therefore, that even here, success is dependent simply on adherence, and not on weight loss modality.

Finally, as always, I’ll point out, that there is no one best way, and reporting like this, whether on a study with incredibly poor retention or otherwise, suggests to the public and to health care professionals that there may be one right or best way, despite the fact that different strategies will work differently for different people, which I would argue in turn, undermines patient care.

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Beer shortages could be a result of climate change thanks to barley crop failures

Posted  October 19, 2018  by  Anonymous

As the climate gets warmer cold beer could be rarer

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A dung beetle’s genital worms will help care for its offspring

Posted  October 19, 2018  by  Anonymous

Sexually transmitted worms make excellent babysitters for dung beetle offspring

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A meat eater chooses a side of seagrass – this shark’s an omnivore

Posted  October 19, 2018  by  Anonymous

Not just ravenous meat-eaters: This shark is an omnivore

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Rain, spiders and bears are all part of discovering Canada’s backcountry biology

Posted  October 19, 2018  by  Anonymous

Taking stock of alpine species in our country while we have a chance

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Why you don’t go momentarily blind when you blink

Posted  October 19, 2018  by  Anonymous

Why you don’t miss a thing when you blink

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Why don’t we sneeze when we’re asleep?

Posted  October 19, 2018  by  Anonymous

Why don’t we sneeze when we’re asleep?

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Liberals nominate Mary Jean McFall as new Team Trudeau candidate for Leeds–Grenville–Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes

Posted  October 18, 2018  by  Liberal Party of Canada

Brockville, ON –  On Thursday, local Liberals in Leeds–Grenville–Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes were joined by the Hon. Lawrence MacAulay and Mark Gerretsen to nominate Mary Jean McFall, a devoted community advocate, lawyer, and former City Councilor, as the Team Trudeau candidate in the upcoming federal by-election. “We are thrilled to have Mary Jean McFall […]

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Justin Trudeau joins supporters at Team Trudeau 2019 Nomination Event with Kim Rudd

Posted  October 18, 2018  by  Liberal Party of Canada

Cobourg, ON – Justin Trudeau will join local Liberals for Kim Rudd’s Team Trudeau 2019 nomination event in Northumberland—Peterborough South on October 19, 2018. Justin Trudeau and the Liberal team are focused on a positive plan to strengthen the middle class, grow the economy, and make life better for Ontario families. More than 58,000 Ontarians […]

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Buzzkill

Posted  October 17, 2018  by  Anonymous

Here’s one person who inhaled in his youth and beyond who will admit feeling uncomfortable about the legalization of cannabis, at least the way it’s being done, thought about and celebrated. I’m a child of the ‘sixties, back when a…

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One Bowl Pumpkin Chocolate Muffins (Vegan + Gluten-free)

Posted  October 17, 2018  by  Angela (Oh She Glows)

One thing that’s been especially hard during my recent health struggles is that I’ve had some negative feelings resurface surrounding food and restriction. Those of you who’ve been reading for years may know that one of the reasons I started blogging back in 2008 was to share my journey to health. I spoke a lot […]

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Wow! 29 Teams of Analysts, One Identical Data Set, One Identical Research Question, 29 Different Outcomes.

Posted  October 17, 2018  by  Yoni Freedhoff

This is an incredible paper, Many Analysts, One Data Set: Making Transparent How Variations in Analytic Choices Affect Results, saw 61 analysts (in 29 teams), be given the same data set meant to address the same research question (are soccer referees more likely to give red cards to dark skinned players than light skinned players).

The outcomes?

20 teams found a statistically significant positive effect, while 9 teams did not, and where effect sizes ranged (in odds-ratio units), despite all teams working from the same data set, from 0.89 to 2.93 (where 1.0 would be no effect).

Why so many differences?

Because results depend a great deal on any study’s authors chosen analytic strategy which in turn is influenced by the authors’ statistical comfort and choices and their interplay with the authors’ pre-existing working theories.

Now these results weren’t incentivized examples of p-hacking. The authors of this study point out that the variability seen was based on “justifiable, but subjective, analytic decisions“, and while there’s no obvious means with which to ensure a researcher has chosen the right methodology for their study, the authors suggest that,

“transparency in data, methods, and process gives the rest of the community opportunity to see the decisions, question them, offer alternatives, and test these alternatives in further research”.

Something all the more important in cases where authors might in fact have biases the would incentivize them to favour a particular outcome, and why I wish I was offered more in the way of stats and critical appraisal in medical school (and maybe less in the way of embryology for instance).

[Photo by Timur Saglambilek from Pexels]

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On Stephen Miller and Glue Eating

Posted  October 15, 2018  by  bigcitylib

There has been much ridicule directed at Trump adviser Stephen Miller for an alleged childhood habit of drying glue on his arm, and then eating it .  Obviously, I disagree with the guy’s politics but many people don’t realize that glue i…

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From The Education Alone Isn’t Enough To Change Behaviour File: Fast Food Edition

Posted  October 15, 2018  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Two weeks ago I gave a talk at Ottawa’s 6th Biennial Championing Public Health Nutrition Conference. I was part of a group of speakers talking about the how can it possibly not be published yet new Canada Food guide.

I was struck, both during the other presenters talks, and during the question and answer period, how focused people were on how the Food Guide will be utilized by individuals.

In my opinion, as a direct tool, it pretty much won’t be. That’s not to say it can’t or won’t have an impact on Canadian dietary patterns (it will by way of its impact on policy), nor that a person who picked it up couldn’t choose to follow it, but rather speaks to the simple fact that education alone doesn’t seem to be enough to change behaviour. Because time and again we learn that education, even when tied to terrifying events like heart attacks, doesn’t seem to be able to consistently lead people to sustain consequent lifestyle changes, nor does genetic knowledge of specific disease risks.

The reasons why are likely myriad, but probably boil down to a combination of normal human nature and change being difficult, along with the impact of a person’s food environment and social determinants of health.

For a food related example of this, take this recent paper regarding perceptions about the consumption of fast food. In it, among many other statistics, the authors note that 73% of weekly fast food consumers reported that they believed fast food wasn’t good for them.

When it comes to behaviour change, knowledge alone does not seem to correlate particularly strongly with power.

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Saturday Stories: Labour Antisemitism, The Name Of The Dog, And a Risk Conundrum

Posted  October 13, 2018  by  Yoni Freedhoff

Man Booker prize winner Howard Jacobson, in The Atlantic, with perhaps the definitive piece on Jeremy Corbyn and Labour’s antisemitism.

Taimer Safder, in The New England Journal of Medicine, with a lovely read about the name of the dog (do read this one before it disappears behind a paywall).

Lisa Suennen, in Venture Valkyrie, on the conundrum of divergent ways to evaluate cardiac risk that span from biology to social determinants of health.

[photo by Alexandru Rotariu via Pexels]

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Cannabis and the brain: the knowns and the big unknowns

Posted  October 12, 2018  by  Anonymous

What we know and don’t know about how cannabis affects us

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What’s in a pot plant? Exploring the genes of your favourite ganja

Posted  October 12, 2018  by  Anonymous

Cannabis botany: what’s really behind the labels

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Cultivating cannabis: Five tips on how to grow your own a bit better at home

Posted  October 12, 2018  by  Anonymous

Cultivating cannabis

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Cannabis in a van: American researchers get creative to study high-potency products

Posted  October 12, 2018  by  Anonymous

A lab in Colorado is driving around regulations to study high potency cannabis products

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Addiction and cannabis: it’s real and this is what you need to know about it

Posted  October 12, 2018  by  Anonymous

Contrary to popular belief, cannabis addiction is a real thing

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Harper rises from his political grave, offers dead thoughts

Posted  October 11, 2018  by  Anonymous

Guest blogpost from reader Jim Owens. ******** Had I remembered to pick up tinfoil the other day, I might have escaped the latest emanations from the mind of Stephen Harper, as radiated by his book excerpt in yesterday’s National Post….

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