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Stories of courage from Fort McMurray

Posted  May 5, 2016  by  Anonymous

I’m sure every one of the thousands of Fort McMurray families has their own story of what happened to them during the evacuation, but here’s one of the most thrilling stories of courage that I’ve seen so far:

If Cora Dion only needed transport for two horses as she fled Fort McMurray with her twin 15-year-old daughters, three dogs and a cat, the family’s escape from Alberta’s worst wildfire in years would have been fairly straightforward.
But she had four horses. And a trailer for two….
So they joined the vehicular torrent on Highway 63 — Dion, the dogs and the cat in her truck; two horses in the trailer; and Gwen and Carly riding the two remaining horses.
They didn’t even have time to saddle them both: Carly rode bareback; Gwen took charge of Addie, a six-year-old thoroughbred who, as a racehorse, is high-strung by nature.
Sometimes they took the shoulder, Dion driving slowly alongside. Where there was no shoulder, they were on the road, in traffic. …
“Seriously, for my daughter to jump on a six-year-old thoroughbred and ride down the highway, that takes guts,” she said. …
“We had Harleys driving right behind. Normally a Harley would cause great stress, especially in a really young horse like Addie.”
“My horse, she’s very much the leader of our little herd there, and you could tell she was very visibly trying to suppress her stress. She was pretending to be calm, but when we pulled her off she was drenched with sweat.” …
As Dion and her girls waited for their next ride at the junction of highways 63 and 881, a stranger with a four-horse trailer pulled up beside them.
“I don’t know who you are, but load in — let’s get going,” she recalls him saying.
“He literally put my horses in his trailer and we were on the road in five minutes.”…
They’ve no idea when they’ll be able to go home or what will be left when they do. (So far, from what they hear, the house is still standing.)
Especially painful is the thought of the animals they left behind: a corn snake, a bearded dragon, and a ball python named Demetrius who probably won’t make it without carefully controlled heat and humidity.
Hunter, their 10-year-old cat, was nowhere to be found when they left. Dion hopes he can take care of himself for a little while.
“Honestly, now that I look back, it was pretty terrifying,” Dion says.
But at the time, she was in survival mode.
“I was just, OK, this is what we have to do.”

Other families evacuated included Syrian refugees who had only arrived in Fort McMurray four months ago:

As members of Fahed Labek’s family from war-torn Syria fled the inferno engulfing their adopted Alberta hometown, he recalls them staring back at the flames in Fort McMurray.
“They said, ‘OK. We left the fire and now we saw another fire. From fire to fire,’ ” said Labek, 43, who fled the approaching wildfire on Tuesday.
Labek lives in Fort McMurray with his wife and two children. He helped relocate his mother, sister, brother-in-law and their two children to his home in late February.
They are among about six families of Syrian refugees that resettled in the city in recent months….
Labek and his family left in a rush for oilsand workers’ camps to the north of the city, expecting a 45-minute drive. Instead they drove for eight hours and when they arrived, apologetic aid workers told them no beds were available.
The family, including his 68-year-old mother who is in a wheelchair, set off again for Edmonton.
When their car broke down they were picked up by other evacuees in two different vehicles. Labek was awake for 42 hours before everyone reunited in Edmonton at about 6 a.m. Wednesday.
“Now we have another story. I have to find a place to stay, I have to find some food,” Labek said Thursday.
“We don’t have clothes for my kids, we don’t have milk. For my kids, we don’t even have diapers.”

The evacuation order happened so quickly that people couldn’t fill up their tanks — now hundreds of cars are abandoned on the highways, and the government has sent tanker trucks and set up mobile gas stations to allow owners to get their vehicles moving again.
Here are before and after photos from The Weather Network:

Nobody has died so far, and two babies have been born during the evacuation.

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General

Oh, they’re just pets, let ’em suffer….

Posted  May 8, 2016  by  Anonymous

This just infuriates me.
A volunteer group organized through Facebook is ready, willing, able and on the spot to rescue the Fort McMurray pets.
Instead of helping them, some bureaucratic RCMP officers are preventing them — they’re not “official”, you see. Its actually some municipality job or maybe the SPCA — though neither have bothered setting up any rescue yet, but they’re getting to it any day now, yes siree! And its just dogs and cats anyway, so who cares….

Sam Sansalone, who’s based out of southern Alberta but has taken on a leadership role in the Facebook group Fort Mac Fire – Pet Rescue, where many of the efforts are being co-ordinated, said group members rescued about 230 pets on Wednesday and Thursday.
But on Thursday, and again on Friday, police kicked them out, he said.
He said authorities told them that the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo was taking over pet rescue duties, and there was a risk that people working independently might loot houses under the guise of attempting to rescue pets.
Sansalone said he understands that concern, but that official resources are spread too thin, and civilians should be allowed to help.
Plus, Wood Buffalo’s rescue effort didn’t start until Saturday. Sansalone said he was worried that would be too late for many of the pets.
“This is a mass grave, in basements, in crates,” he said.

And The Globe and Mail carefully titles its story “SPCA asking evacuees to register pets left behind in Fort McMurray” when the story is actually about the volunteer group — they’re the ones who set up a facebook group and they’re the ones who are organized already to rescue the pets. The SPCA could have done this. The Municipality of Wood Buffalo could have done this. The RCMP could have done this.
But they didn’t.
Instead, they seem to be putting their best efforts into preventing the rescue of animals that dying as we speak.

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General

Squid and Octopus Thrive In Changing Oceans – 2016/06/04 – Pt. 3

Posted  June 2, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Cephalopods have biological traits that make them adaptable to changing oceans.

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Moths Tell Bats They Taste Nasty – 2016/06/04 – Pt. 6

Posted  June 2, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Tiger moths make a noise for bats to hear in order to warm them they taste nasty.

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Exercise Can Impair Your Eyesight – 2016/06/04 – Pt. 5

Posted  June 2, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Exercise can slow eyesight function.

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General

Pride

Posted  June 1, 2016  by  Anonymous

— Scott Brison (@scottbrison) June 1, 2016

Events at Saskatoon’s Pride Festival are here.

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Meerkats Eat To Compete In Survival Of Fattest – 2016/05/28 – Pt. 1

Posted  May 26, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Meerkats understand that their size is related to their hierarchy.

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Helpless Babies Make For Smart Parents – 2016/05/28 – Pt. 3

Posted  May 26, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

A link has been found between helplessness in infants and intelligence in parents.

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Arctic Warming Is Shrinking The Red Knot Shorebird – 2016/05/28 – Pt. 4

Posted  May 26, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

The red knot has become 15% smaller over the past 30 years because of a warmer Arctic.

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Specatcular Horned Dinosaur Joins The Club – 2016/05/28 – Pt. 5

Posted  May 26, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

A new species of horned dinosaur found in Montana.

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Arctic Fox Turns Stark Tundra Into Green Space – 2016/06/04 – Pt. 2

Posted  June 2, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Urine and defecation around fox dens adds nutrients to the soil, which promotes vegetation.

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Keeping Off The Rain with A Cardboard Roof – 2016/06/04 – Pt. 1

Posted  June 2, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

An additive can make cardboard suitable for roofing in poorer nations like India.

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Everything you need to know about fentanyl, the dangerous new drug on the block

Posted  June 7, 2016  by  Anonymous

A powerful painkiller that’s many times more potent than heroin, fentanyl is the reason music icon Prince is dead. It’s also a growing problem in Canada, where fentanyl-related deaths have spiked in the past five years. Here’s what you need to kn…

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New 2016–2017 programming at the Biosphere

Posted  June 7, 2016  by  Canada News Centre - National News

As part of the launch of its new programming for 2016 2017, the Biosphere invites journalists to visit its new exhibitions on the themes of weather forecasting, climate change, and the benefits of nature.

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General

On this historic night

Posted  June 7, 2016  by  Anonymous
BREAKING: @AP finds Clinton reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination for president pic.twitter.com/e473F0G4vX

— The Associated Press (@AP) June 7, 2016

I am woman, hear me roar in numbers to great to ignore

This is my fight song

Sail on Silver Girl…your time has come to shine.

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General

Endorsing Trump is like tying a rotting fish around your neck

Posted  June 7, 2016  by  Anonymous

I loved this comment at Lawyers, Guns and Money:

Endorsing Trump is like tying an already “whiffy” dead fish around your neck – it’s already going off, and it will just smell worse and worse, until, finally , people are disgusted to be around you. And then you have to answer the inevitable questions – Why would you tie a dead fish around your neck? Didn’t you know it would smell? Don’t you know fish goes off? Do you like the smell of rotting fish? Do you believe in wearing rotting fish? What’s wrong with you…..? But the worst thing is after weeks, you personally will no longer be able to smell the fish – it will be normal to you – and people will have to yell at you, “you smell of rotting fish! You’re disgusting!”
And finally when you want to take it off – “yech, you still smell of rotting fish … get out of here.” And once you remove the fish, you’ll start to smell it again, in your clothes, your furniture, your car – and you’ll be mortified. And before anyone will let you back into polite company you’ll have to burn your entire wardrobe, disinfect or reupholster the remaining furniture, and you’ll always have to deal with people worried about your taste for the smell of rotting fish.

That’s exactly what the Republicans are now finding out.
Even Harper wasn’t as bad, and that’s saying something.

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General

The difference between Trump and Clinton

Posted  June 4, 2016  by  Anonymous

Eric Alterman writes about How False Equivalence Is Distorting the 2016 Election Coverage | The Nation and sums up the basic difference between Trump and Clinton:

 Journalistic abdications of responsibility are always harmful to democracy, but reporters and pundits covering the 2016 campaign will be doing the public a particularly grave disservice if they continue to draw from the “both sides” playbook in the months leading up to the November election. Now that Donald Trump has emerged as the presumptive Republican nominee for president, some simple facts about him and his campaign should be stated clearly and repeatedly, not obfuscated or explained away or leavened into click bait. Trump is a pathological liar and conspiracy theorist, a racist, misogynist, and demagogic bully with a phantasmagoric policy platform and dangerously authoritarian instincts. Hillary Clinton’s flaws and failures are many, and they should not be discounted, either. But they are of an entirely different order. Love her or hate her, at least we don’t have to wonder whether she believes in democracy. When it comes to sane and even semi-sensible policy proposals for America’s future in the 2016 presidential election, there is only one side.

Emphasis mine.

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General

Bringing Home the Pool Table

Posted  June 4, 2016  by  Polar Bear

Here at our clubhouse we are setting up a pool hall and games room. I am in charge of the games room. We have been given three tables for our use. One is brand new and we have to set it up. One is already set up and the third is another story.This frie…

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General

Views from Our Balcony

Posted  June 4, 2016  by  Polar Bear

Our bungalow has a walkout lower level and above it is a nice size balcony. It is large enough for a barbecue , two small tables and four Muskoka chairs. In the winter and the leaves are gone there is a wide open space to view the creek and protected a…

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General

The Antarctic Did Not Escape The Mass Extinction – 2016/06/04 – Pt. 4

Posted  June 2, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Fossil evidence suggests the mass extinction was just as rapid and severe in the Antarctic as everywhere else.

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General

Purple Martins Keep Invasive Fire Ants In Check – 2016/05/28 – Pt. 2

Posted  May 26, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

The invasive red fire ants in the southern US is gobbled up in the billion by the Purple Martin.

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General

Supernovae Sharpnel Hits Our Solar System – 2016/05/28 – Pt. 6

Posted  May 26, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Particles from a fairly recent supernovae have been captured by a NASA satellite.

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General

Ahhh…..

Posted  May 13, 2016  by  Anonymous

Duck family gets police escort to safety | Saskatoon StarPhoenix:

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General

Kepler Confirms A Thousand Planets – 2016/05/14 – Pt. 1

Posted  May 12, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Kepler has confirmed nearly 1300 planets, many in the habitable zone.

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Invasive Earthworms Threaten Forest Diversity – 2016/05/14 – Pt. 2

Posted  May 12, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Earthworms are eating and moving seeds around resulting in a lack of diversity in some forest areas.

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General

Dung Beetles Diversified By Dining On Dinosaur Droppings – 2016/05/14 – Pt. 3

Posted  May 12, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Flowering plants provided dung beetles with more nutrition in the form of dinosaur poop.

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General

Humans Get Lousy Mileage Compared To Apes – 2016/05/14 – Pt. 4

Posted  May 12, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Humans have greater energy needs and higher metabolism than apes.

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General

African Frogs Facing Fatal Fungal Infection – 2016/05/14 – Pt. 5

Posted  May 12, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Chytrid fungus may have turned up in Africa.

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General

Early Modern Humans In Europe Had A Rocky Road – 2016/05/14 – Pt. 6

Posted  May 12, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Early modern humans in Europe were displaced several times.

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General

Mothers Day

Posted  May 8, 2016  by  Polar Bear

Every year when Mothers Day comes around I have memories that pop up to keep Mom alive in my life. It is 42 years since Mom passed away but it does not seem that long ago. When I talk on the phone to my siblings our conversations usually get around to …

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General

Trees and Birds are Back

Posted  May 15, 2016  by  Polar Bear

The last two weeks has seen a magical transformation in our area. Our trees budded and blossomed and right during this time the birds came back in large numbers. Our two apple trees were stressed this year from unseasonal weather during January and Feb…

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General

Wonderful Wedding

Posted  May 16, 2016  by  Polar Bear

Saturday past Theresa and I attended a wedding for our Grand daughter and her new partner Jamie. It was a family get together like few from the past. One hundred and sixty people who came together to celebrate this special day. We met people that we ne…

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General

One of these things is not like the others

Posted  May 22, 2016  by  Anonymous

Canadian politics has apparently entered its silly season just before everyone takes the summer off and goes to the lake. While Canada discusses Sophie’s workload and “elbowgate” — both such important news stories! — in the United States we see Hilla…

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General

Plankton Drunk On Algae Take Life Threatening Risks – 2016/05/21 – Pt. 3

Posted  May 19, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Plankton behave strangely after consuming toxic algae in algal blooms.

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General

The Sting Of The Wild – 2016/05/21 – Pt. 5

Posted  May 19, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

In the book ‘The Sting Of The Wild’ Dr. Justin Schmidt experiences the stings of ants, wasps and bees for his personal pain scale.

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Robot Surgeon Does Suturing Better Than Humans – 2016/05/21 – Pt. 1

Posted  May 19, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

A robotic surgical assistant makes perfect stitches.

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General

Underwater Archaeology Confirms Early Humans in Americas – 2016/05/21 – Pt. 2

Posted  May 19, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

Human activity has been identified in pre-Clovis America 14,500 years ago.

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General

Giraffe Genome Tells A Tale Tale – 2016/05/21 – Pt. 4

Posted  May 19, 2016  by  podcasting@cbc.ca

The giraffe genome includes genetic changes but few innovations.

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General

Bullying Is NOT Leadership Mr. Trudeau.

Posted  May 19, 2016  by  leftdog

Bullying is not leadership, whether it is invoking Closure on an important Bill or testosteronic rampaging on the floor of the House of Commons which injured a fellow Member of Parliament. Just sayin’ 🙁

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"Trudeau’s Rampage"

Posted  May 19, 2016  by  leftdog

Trudeau’s Rampage it is 🙂

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