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The New Apps That Let You Test the Health of Your Sperm with Your Phone

Posted April 27, 2017 by Anonymous

The New Apps That Let You Test the Health of Your Sperm with Your Phone

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This Robot Could One Day Be on the Moon Building Landing Pads for Spaceships

Posted April 27, 2017 by Anonymous

This Robot Could One Day Be on the Moon Building Landing Pads for Spaceships

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Gambling

Matty Matheson and Master Rang Gamble in Las Vegas

Posted April 27, 2017 by Anonymous

Matty Matheson and Master Rang Gamble in Las Vegas

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Haida Gwaii: Mist-Enshrouded Showcase of Haida Culture

Posted April 27, 2017 by Anonymous

It is easy to see why Haida Gwaii, a charming archipelago off the west coast of Canada, captivated legendary artist Bill Reid as he embraced his heritage.

The post Haida Gwaii: Mist-Enshrouded Showcase of Haida Culture appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

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Meet the Moms Who Treat Their Kids’ Autism with Cannabis on ‘WEEDIQUETTE’

Posted April 27, 2017 by VICE Staff

Plus, Abdullah Saeed brings in the chefs behind LA’s Trap Kitchen to whip up a weed-infused meal on ‘BONG APPÉTIT.’

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History Got it Wrong: Scientists Now Say Serpent Mound as Old as Aristotle

Posted April 27, 2017 by Anonymous

The age of Serpent Mound has been revised as the result of a new radiocarbon analysis, suggesting that the mound is about 1,400 years older.

The post History Got it Wrong: Scientists Now Say Serpent Mound as Old as Aristotle appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

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Culture

A Baby Is Born and Hope Is Dead in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Posted April 27, 2017 by Genevieve Valentine

“Birth” highlights the power structure between Offred and the Commander, and between Offred and the Wives.

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It’s Ann Coulter all over again: Mark Steyn notices something different about American readers lately. Me too.

Posted April 27, 2017 by Kathy Shaidle
Mark Steyn notices something different about American readers lately. Me too.

Yep. Mark Steyn writes about Ann Coulter being threatened at a university (in Ottawa seven years ago) and now (at Berkeley): So here we are seven years on from the show not going on in Ottawa, and free speech is despised even more. I should note one other small change: in the old days, columns such […]

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Puffed Wheat Squares

Posted April 26, 2017 by Julie

This feels like a bit of a copout, but I’ve been meaning to mix up a batch of puffed wheat squares (a very prairie thing) and eat the whole pan myself for awhile now. And I think if anyone came across a plate of these on the kitchen counter, they’d eat them. I’d like to say I grew up eating puffed wheat squares, but I didn’t – hopefully W will not suffer the same fate. I’d make them more often if puffed wheat was a thing I normally kept in the house, but when I think to buy a bag, I remember that a panful takes about ten minutes to stir together. Well worth it. There’s no technique here, really – just a formula. And likely the same ratio of butter:sugar:syrup:cocoa that has been mixed together for generations. If you really want to go all out, try making them with Corn Pops (really), or stir a handful of salted peanuts into the mix. (OK, that’sContinue reading

The post Puffed Wheat Squares appeared first on Dinner With Julie.

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People Show Us The Weird Stuff They Kept From Past Relationships

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anonymous

Proof that love fades, but the teddy bear your boyfriend gave you in high school is forever.

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Trump’s New Tax Plan Would Cut Taxes for the Rich and Businesses

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anonymous

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin released the president’s one-page bulleted list Wednesday, which called for tax cuts across the board.

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Canada

Women from Papua New Guinea bring rape complaints to Canadian mining company’s door

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anonymous

‘They like raping us, the security guards’

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Animals

‘Goodnight Galaxy,’ Today’s Comic by Benny Montero

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anonymous

Froggy tucks his friend into bed after spending the day eating soup and watching TV.

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What Makes Climate Science Deniers Change Their Minds? A Reddit Confessional Gave Us a Rare Insight

Posted April 26, 2017 by guest
Mash-up of Reddit user posts about why they changed their minds about climate change

This is a guest post by Karin Kirk, crossposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

The political environment in America is gripped by deep polarization. No news flash there.

Throughout the Presidential campaign and in the initial months of the Trump presidency, the public and their national politicians dig themselves ever deeper into entrenched positions, leaving little hope for compromise or reconciliation.

But sometimes people do the unimaginable: they change their minds.

An AskReddit discussion poses a tantalizing question, “Former climate deniers, what changed your mind?” 

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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Premiere Is a Terrifying Nightmare

Posted April 26, 2017 by Genevieve Valentine

The first episode of Hulu’s Margaret Atwood adaptation wastes no time launching viewers into its unsettling world.

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How Propaganda Works to Divide Us

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anonymous
Trump protest in London

Political propaganda employs the ideals of liberal democracy to undermine those very ideals, the dangers of which, not even its architects fully understand.

In the early years of DeSmog’s research into anti science propaganda, I thought of energy industry PR campaigns such as “junk science,” “clean coal,” and “ethical oil” as misinformation strategies designed to dupe the public.

Although that’s obviously true, I now understand that propaganda is far more complex and problematic than merely lying about the evidence. Certainly propaganda is designed to deceive, but not in a way you might think. What’s more, the consequences are far worse than most people who produce and consume it realize.

My deeper understanding evolved after I interviewed Jason Stanley and read his important book How Propaganda Works. The American philosopher and Yale University professor will speak about the history and dangers of demagogic propaganda at UBC’s Point Grey Campus in Vancouver on April 27 (7 p.m. Buchanan A210, 1866 Main Mall).

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GroovaLottos to Open Gathering Of Nations Pow Wow April 28th

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anonymous

Soul, Funk and Blues masters GroovaLottos will perform at Grand Entry at the Gathering Of Nations Pow wow on April 28th and also the 29th on Stage 49

The post GroovaLottos to Open Gathering Of Nations Pow Wow April 28th appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

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Native Transgender Woman Denied Food at Christian Shelter Because She Was Wearing Dress

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anonymous

Denied food and shelter, Isabella Red Cloud, a Native Transgender woman was told to leave a shelter until she changed her dress

The post Native Transgender Woman Denied Food at Christian Shelter Because She Was Wearing Dress appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

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Police Shoot, Kill Native Vet Ivan Wilson-Dragswolf in Mandan, North Dakota

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anonymous

Ivan Wilson-Dragswolf, 24, was killed by police in Mandan, North Dakota, on April 14. Police say Dragswolf, a U.S. Marine, approached them with a knife.

The post Police Shoot, Kill Native Vet Ivan Wilson-Dragswolf in Mandan, North Dakota appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

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“Joe” (1970) “was a film that divided critics and audiences”

Posted April 26, 2017 by Kathy Shaidle
“Joe” (1970) “was a film that divided critics and audiences”

Cary Edwards at BrightLights: Some people came out of theatres loving a character who had voiced their concerns about society (loving it enough that an LP of Joe’s speeches from the film was released). Others shouted threats at the screen: “We’re coming for you, Joe”; threats real enough for Peter Boyle to try to establish […]

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Senator Asks FEMA to Listen to Tribes Desperate for Emergency Assistance

Posted April 26, 2017 by Rob Capriccioso

Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) is asking FEMA to address pressing tribal concerns when it updates its consultation policy, which is expected to happen in August.

The post Senator Asks FEMA to Listen to Tribes Desperate for Emergency Assistance appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

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Elem Indian Colony Halts Disenrollment Process

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anonymous

The Elem Indian Colony’s executive committee recently took the first steps to healing a decades-long rift between factions that consisted of disenrollment.

The post Elem Indian Colony Halts Disenrollment Process appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

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Video Poem Wins Navajo Filmmaker National Prize

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anonymous

Navajo filmmaker and photographer Pamela J. Peters can now add ‘poet’ to her list of art genres, having won Button Poetry’s best video poem of 2016.

The post Video Poem Wins Navajo Filmmaker National Prize appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

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ICMN Announces the Debut Issue of Indian Country Magazine

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anonymous

Indian Country Media Network has launched the bi-monthly Indian Country magazine, focusing on the culture and issues affecting Native Americans today.

The post ICMN Announces the Debut Issue of Indian Country Magazine appeared first on Indian Country Media Network.

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The Cult of Personal Responsibility Only Extends To Obesity #COS17

Posted April 26, 2017 by Yoni Freedhoff

Yesterday saw the release of the Canadian Obesity Network’s Report Card On Access To Obesity Treatment for Adults which grades the availability of obesity treatment options in Canada.

While you’re welcome to peek at the report, its bottom line is that despite obesity’s growth and prevalence, whether it’s behavioural programs (and full disclosure, I run one), medications, or surgery, virtually nothing is covered aside from surgery, and among the report’s findings, not a single provincial drug benefit plan covers the cost of pharmacotherapy for obesity, nor do any of the Federal Public Drug Benefit Programs.

And it’s important to be clear here too as to what CON is talking about when calling for increased access to obesity treatment options. This isn’t about vanity. According to CON, obesity,

should be diagnosed by a qualified health professional using clinical tests and measures that assess health, not size

and that it matters because,

obesity is a leading cause of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer and other health problems. It also affects peoples’ social and economic well-being due to the pervasive social stigma around it. Weight bias can increase morbidity and mortality, and is associated with significant employment, healthcare and education inequities.

The responses to the report (in the comment sections of various stories) are anything but surprising and can be summed up by the quotes obtained by the National Post from Senator Kelvin Ogilvie in discussing the report with him,

Obesity, to be blunt, is very largely a lifestyle issue” he said.

Translation?

It would seem that according to Senator Ogilvie people with obesity have done this to themselves, and similarly, if they just wanted to badly enough, they could fix things stating,

So, at some point people have to take some responsibility for their own management, and obesity is one of those areas around which, with some initial medical advice and guidance, people do have the opportunity, largely, to manage it on their own.

Now rather than expound on how the provision of health care should not be blame based, or discuss the fact that only ignorance and weight bias leads a person to cite personal responsibility as obesity’s answer while simultaneously discussing the appropriateness of medical attention and treatment for a myriad of other chronic non-communicable diseases (diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, many cancers, mood disorders, and many more) which are all also preventable and treatable by way of lifestyle, I want to bring your attention to a new study that just came out in JAMA that explored the use of cholesterol lowering medications in patients who had just suffered a heart attack.

You’d imagine that someone who had just survived a heart attack would be an incredibly motivated patient – one that would likely take on behaviour changes to try to prevent a recurrence. Now this study didn’t look at the far more difficult behaviour changes involving dietary overhauls and the adoption of regular exercise that would be required in the management of obesity, this study looked at whether or not post-heart attack patients took their daily recommended cholesterol lowering medication – a behaviour that no one could argue requires much effort.

Cholesterol lowering medications are recommended post-heart attack because people who have had heart attacks are at much higher risks of more heart attacks and these medications have been shown to reduce those risks.

Before getting into this study, I should point out that a prior study had found that less than 30% of Medicare beneficiaries 65 to 74 years of age who were hospitalized for heart attacks filled their prescription for statins within 90 days of discharge. That means that the vast majority of patients who’d had heart attacks didn’t even bother to try to take on the behaviour change of filling the prescription for, let alone taking, a medication shown to reduce their risk of having another.

This study wanted to explore the rest – the minority of post-heart attack patients who did fill their prescriptions for cholesterol lowering medications and it followed nearly 60,000 patients hospitalized for a heart attack who filled their prescription for a high dose of cholesterol lowering medication within 30 days of discharge and then tracked the medication’s continued usage.

6 months later 32% had stopped taking it with high adherence. 2 years later and 60% weren’t taking it as directed, and 20% had stopped taking it altogether.

Pulling the two studies together (which while not statistically fair is something I’m going to do to make a point anyways) suggests that of those patients on Medicare between the ages of 65 and 74 who had a heart attack, 2 years later only 8% were actually following through on the recommended behaviour change of taking a daily high dose statin.

I bring this up because it demonstrates that behaviour changes, even those that as effortless as taking a daily medicaitons, are challenging to sustain.

Regardless of just how tone deaf it is in the face of decades of global increases in weight, to suggest the useless truism of “eat less move more” as a practical approach to the millions of Canadians whose weights are affecting their health or quality of, the fact is that sustained changes in behaviour challenge each and every one of us regardless of how beneficial those changes might be.

Change being difficult is part of the human condition, and the provision of health care should not be dependent on a person’s success therein. Denying that only when it comes to obesity? Well that’s just ignorance, or bias, or both.

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Gear review: Photographing Baffin Island with a Nikon D4S

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anonymous

Icebergs in Pond Inlet, near Bylot Island

In late August 2016, Canadian Geographic’s managing editor Nick Walker hitched a ride on a 10-seater prop plane hopping between Baffin Island’s far-flung hamlets (see profiles of these communities in the March/April 2017 issue).

For the trip, Vistek equipped him with the Nikon D4S camera body and a versatile pair of lenses: the AF-S Nikkor f/3.5-4.5G 24-85mm and AF-S Nikkor f/5.6E 200-500mm. Read on to learn more about this powerhouse pro camera and lens kit, as well as photos from the corners of the Baffin region.

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Mark Steyn: Let’s Build the Wall and Get Canada to Pay for It (video)

Posted April 26, 2017 by Kathy Shaidle
Mark Steyn: Let’s Build the Wall and Get Canada to Pay for It (video)

More from my siteEzra Levant: Time to halt Muslim immigration to Canada (#video)Mark Steyn: ‘Rat’s-ass-wise, I’m with Kathy’Pro-sharia caliphate lecture held at Canadian college (#video)How Mark Steyn would deal with returning war criminal Omar Khadr (video)

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The importance of Wanuskewin Heritage Park

Posted April 26, 2017 by Anonymous

Wanuskewin dance troupe

“Both First Nations and non-First Nations people come to this park, and a lot of them say ‘When I come out here I feel different,’” says Ernie Walker, a professor in the department of archaeology and anthropology at the University of Saskatchewan, about Wanuskewin Heritage Park, an Indigenous cultural site a 15-minute drive from downtown Saskatoon. Here, the park’s elder, Jake Sanderson, shares thoughts on Wanuskewin’s importance and why and how visitors may feel different there.

On the importance of Wanuskewin

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New York Times Defends Hiring of Climate Science Denier Bret Stephens, Claiming ‘Intellectual Honesty’

Posted April 25, 2017 by Graham Readfearn
New York Times office by night

The New York Times has been defending the paper’s hiring of a climate science denier, fighting off its critics with what it claims is a standard fashioned from hardened “intellectual honesty.”

The controversial hire in question is that of Bret Stephens, formerly of the Wall Street Journal, who has joined the NYT as a columnist and deputy editorial page editor.

While at the WSJ, Stephens consistently undermined and disparaged climate change, one time describing it as an “imaginary enemy” and another comparing it to religion with a “doomsaying prophecy and faith in things unseen.”

Stephens’ new boss, editorial page editor James Bennett, told the paper’s public editor Liz Spayd: “The crux of the question is whether his work belongs inside our boundaries for intelligent debate, and I have no doubt that it does. I have no doubt he crosses our bar for intellectual honesty and fairness.”

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Weeks Before Becoming Trump Top Energy Adviser, Mike Catanzaro Lobbied for Keystone XL

Posted April 25, 2017 by Steve Horn
Pipeline sections for Keystone XL pipeline in 2009

Just weeks before being hired as President Donald Trump‘s top White House energy adviser, Mike Catanzaro was paid by TransCanada to advocate for the Keystone XL pipeline.

Lobbying for his old employer, CGCN Group, disclosure forms reviewed by DeSmog reveal that a team of lobbyists including Catanzaro advocated for “Policy issues and executive branch approval of the Keystone pipeline.” TransCanada paid Catanzaro and the CGCN team $90,000 for their work during the first quarter of 2017. The Trump administration recently gave the Canadian energy company the green light to build the long-contested cross-border pipeline, which will carry tar sands from Alberta, Canada, to Cushing, Oklahoma.

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Forest Service’s ‘Independent’ Report on Atlantic Coast Pipeline Written by Pipeline Company Contractor

Posted April 25, 2017 by Anonymous
Monongahela National Forest sign

The U.S. Forest Service recently published an assessment of the proposed Atlantic Coast pipeline, calling the report “independent.”

DeSmog has learned, however, that in reality the assessment was performed and written by none other than a contractor working for the pipeline company. The contractor was hired by the Forest Service to conduct the assessment.

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Meet the aurora chaser who named an atmospheric phenomenon "Steve"

Posted April 25, 2017 by Anonymous

Steve, atmospheric phenomenon

Chris Ratzlaff first saw the atmospheric phenomenon he would jokingly call “Steve” while out hunting for the aurora borealis near his hometown of Airdrie, Alta., in August of 2014. The photographer and weather enthusiast, who has been chasing auroras since 2010, initially thought the narrow strand of purplish light arcing dimly across the sky was an airplane contrail catching the glow from some light source on the ground.

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Photos: Across the Arctic with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield

Posted April 25, 2017 by Anonymous

Col. Chris Hadfield in the bridge of the Soviet-era icebreaker, Capitan Khlebnikov. Canadian High Arctic.

Chris Hadfield believes in the power of ideas.

Since retiring from the Canadian Space Agency, the Canadian astronaut — who rocketed to global fame in 2013 thanks to his multimedia dispatches from orbit as commander of the International Space Station — has dedicated his seemingly boundless energy to the promotion of ideas that challenge and excite.  

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Homemade Chewy Amaretti Cookies

Posted April 25, 2017 by Anonymous

♥ can you improve on “perfection” ♥ maybe there’s a certain cookie you crave even long for every single day.. something you would indulge in { if you could } more than once a day ♥ ♥ well.. i…

{ This is a content exerpt only.. Please click on the Blog Title to continue reading this post, share your love, browse Just a Smidgen and more.. }

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How to Not Screw Up the Segmental Cat Camel

Posted April 25, 2017 by deansomerset

The cat camel stretch is a drill that I often see being taught or explained, but unfortunately it looks more like a modified twerk than something designed to provide movement control through the spine. I mean, if you’re rocking this sucker so fast that you’re more closely resembling a seizure than controlled motion, you’re likely…… Read More

The post How to Not Screw Up the Segmental Cat Camel appeared first on DeanSomerset.com.

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Paul Naschy’s “Werewolf vs the Vampire Woman” (1971)

Posted April 25, 2017 by Kathy Shaidle
Paul Naschy’s “Werewolf vs the Vampire Woman” (1971)

More from my siteDark Corners looks at ‘Face of the Screaming Werewolf’ (1964)Thoughtful commentary on ‘An American Werewolf in London’ and the original ‘The Wicker Man’‘How To Make a Monster’ (1958) — one of my favorite movies — airs on AMCGavin McInnes: Playing Gay in F-L-A

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My NEW Taki’s column, about the history of “fashionable” diseases

Posted April 25, 2017 by Kathy Shaidle

During this same era, “gout…functioned as more than a malady; it was also part of a social code embedding class, rank, affiliation, standing and political position.” The distinguished Scottish physician James Makittrick Adair complained in Essays on Fashionable Diseases (1790) drily that: “Upwards of thirty years ago, a treatise on nervous diseases was published…. Before […]

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The high cost of cheap clothes

Posted April 25, 2017 by Anonymous

Collapse of a garment factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh

The collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in 2013 was the worst industrial disaster in Bangladesh’s history, killing more than 1,000 people. A Dhaka-based think tank is working to ensure a similar incident never happens again. Part of an ongoing series of stories about innovative projects in the developing world, a partnership between the International Development Research Centre and Canadian Geographic.

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More on Canada’s "Next Top Astronauts," Canada’s "Failure To Scale" & Is Our Space Agency "Muzzling" its Contractors?

Posted April 24, 2017 by Chuck Black
          By Henry Stewart

There’s nothing new under the sun and pretty much everything happening today is understandable when placed in the context of what’s happened in the past. That’s why this blog is currently running two historical series, by acknowledged Canadian experts, on “A History of the Canadian Space Program – Policies & Lessons Learned Coping with Modest Budgets,” and “150 Years of Canadian Aerospace History.”

Given that. and for the week of April 24th, 2017, here are a few of the stories we’re currently tracking for the Commercial Space blog:

At least they’re mostly not “striking a pose” or wearing heels. We’re down to the “final seventeen,” an important enough milestone to splurge on brown polo’s and organize a group shot with the innovation minister (on the left, with his back facing the camera). A final decision on the two Canadian astronaut openings is expected to be announced sometime this summer. To view the complete April 24th, 2017 press conference, please click on the graphic above. Screenshot c/o CSA.
  • As the hot PR winds continue to blow, Federal minister of innovation Navdeep Bains has announced the “final seventeen” candidates completing for the two open slots in the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) astronaut corps. 

As outlined in the April 24th, 2017 Global News post, “Final candidates unveiled as Canada searches for 2 new astronauts,” the finalists now include “twelve men and five women, roughly reflecting the ratio of men to women who applied to the program.” A complete listing of the remaining seventeen candidates are available online on the CSA “Who are the astronaut candidates?,” webpage.

The competition, being run by the CSA, began last year with over 3,700 applications received. 

That field was initially reduced (with much fanfare) to seventy-two, and then reduced again earlier this year to thirty-two candidates. The expectation is that the final two successful applicants will be chosen later on in the year, again with much fanfare.

As part of the presentation surrounding the latest unveiling, Minister Bains noted the $379Mln CDN the Federal government allocated to International Space Station (ISS) activities in 2016 (which covers costs through 2024 and was originally announced by the previous government), the $80Mln CDN the Federal government allocated to new space projects in 2017 and the ongoing activities related to the space working group, which began meeting just two weeks ago to assess potential, future space projects.

As outlined in the 2016-17 Report on Plans and Priorities, published yearly by the CSA, the current CSA base budget (the amount of money required to keep CSA employees on staff and CSA buildings open and functioning even without any activities, exploration or science being undertaken) is $300Mln CDN annually.

The cover page of the April 2017 Impact Brief on “Canadian Tech Tortoises; Is a lack of spending on marketing and sales delaying fundraising?” Graphic c/o Impact Centre.

  • Are Canadian start-ups unable to scale into large corporations? A recent study from The Impact Centre at the University of Toronto seems to think so and might have even suggested a reason why.

As outlined in an April 24th, 2017 e-mail from Charles Plant, a senior fellow with the Impact Centre, “anecdotal evidence suggests that many Canadian technology companies wait until their products are launched before spending funds on crucial functions such as marketing and sales and that this practice is delaying growth and success in fundraising.”

The key component missing from Canadian start-ups seems to be that “Canadian firms have significantly fewer employees in marketing and sales functions than US firms do,” at least according to Plant.

Plant and his colleagues also found that, “even among the best funded firms, Canadian technology firms have 25% fewer marketing and sales employees than US based Unicorns do. This lack of emphasis on marketing and sales may be delaying and impeding rapid growth and our companies’ ability to get funding to scale to world-class status.”

The complete April 2017 report, under the title “Canadian Tech Tortoises; Is a lack of spending on marketing and sales delaying fundraising?” is available online at http://www.impactcentre.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/170421-Tech-Tortoises.pdf.  

A bipartisan reminder, courtesy of the April 30th, 2012 Ottawa Citizen Post, “Agency’s Long-term plan years overdue,” that the Canadian government space program has been drifting for decades, even as our private space sector activities took off. But at least we’ve been allowed to publicly assess our flaws, right? Well… Maybe not. Graphic c/o PressReader.

  • Has the CSA “muzzled” its contractors? The latest CSA request for proposal (RFP), posted on the Federal government Buy and Sell procurement website, suggests that it has.

As outlined on the April 24th, Buy and Sell posting, “Radio-Frequency (RF) Communication Contribution Concept Study (9F050-16-0974),” the CSA has issued an RFP for a single contract, “for an all-inclusive budget not to exceed $400,000.00 CDN (excluding any applicable taxes)” covering “potential solution for an RF communications contribution.” 

    The attachment to the solicitation document (CSA-DSTRF-SOW-0001) under the title, “Post-ISS Human Spaceflight Contributions – Deep Space Telecommunications (DST) RF Concept Study,” goes into a little more detail on the nature of the work the CSA is contracting. 

    As outlined in the document, the RFP is to help define concepts for “collaborative Beyond Low Earth Orbit (BLEO) Missions” as defined in the NASA global exploration road map, which is being developed by space agencies participating in the International Space Exploration Coordination Group (ISECG). 

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s good that our space agency is co-operating with others to generate useful plans for activities after the ISS winds down.

    The main page of the ISECG website, a forum set up by 14 space agencies (including Canada’s CSA) to “advance the Global Exploration Strategy through coordination of their mutual efforts in space exploration.” Screenshot c/o ISECG.

    But there sure seems to be some onerous restrictions on how CSA subcontractors can go about discussing their contributions to this program. 

    As outlined on page twenty three of the main solicitation document under the title Communications Activity Coordination Process:

    The contractor must coordinate with the CSA’s Directorate of Communications and Public Affairs all Communication Activities pertaining to the present contract. To this end, the contractor must:

    • As soon as the Contractor intends to organize a Communication Activity, send a Notice to the CSA’s Directorate of Communications and Public Affairs. The Communications Notice must include a complete description of the proposed Communication Activity. The Notice must be in writing in accordance with the clause Notice included in the general conditions applicable to the contract. The Communications Notice must include a copy or example of the proposed Communication Activity. 
    • The contractor must provide to the CSA any and all additional document in any appropriate format, example or information that the CSA deems necessary, at its entire discretion to correctly and efficiently coordinate the proposed Communication Activity. The Contractor agrees to only proceed with the proposed Communication Activity after receiving a written confirmation of coordination of the Communication Activity from the CSA’s Directorate of Communications and Public Affairs.
    • The Contractor must receive beforehand the authorization, approval and written confirmation from the CSA’s Directorate of Communications and Public Affairs before organizing, proceeding or hosting a communication activity. 

    These clauses makes it essentially impossible for CSA subcontractors to talk to the public without either the formal approval of the CSA Directorate of Communications, unless they are willing to run the risk of becoming non-compliant with their CSA contract.

    This is similar to the actions of the previous Stephen Harper conservative government as outlined in the November 6th, 2015 Huffington Post report, “Liberals Unmuzzle Canadian Scientists, Promise They Can Now ‘Speak Freely.‘”

    It’s also an activity the current Justin Trudeau Liberal government had insisted was done away with when they took office in 2015. 

    Newly minted innovation minister Navdeep Bains at a press conference on Parliament Hill on November 6th, 2015 where he fulfilled a Liberal party campaign promise to allow government scientists and experts to comment on their work to the media and the public. Hopefully, he’ll also do the same for our space agency. Photo c/o Adrian Wyld/CP.

    Oddly enough, similar clauses are also included in other recent CSA documents posted on Buy and Sell, such as the April 19th, 2017 “Development of enabling space technologies (9F063-160953/A)” notice of proposed procurement (NPP) and the April 5th, 2017 “Dextre Deployable Vision System (DDVS) – Phases B/C and D (9F052-160487/A)” NPP. 

    This blog has requested clarification on those contract clauses and the reasons for their inclusion in CSA documents and will update this post as new information becomes available. 

    For more, check out our upcoming stories in the Commercial Space blog.

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

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    US Air Quality Improving but White House Looking to Reverse That Progress

    Posted April 24, 2017 by Farron Cousins
    Smokestacks emitting pollution

    The American Lung Association (ALA) released its “State of the Air” report last week, and the organization found that air quality in U.S. cities has improved in the time period from 2012–2014. The ALA report specifically cites the increased air quality protections and emission reduction programs that first began popping up in the U.S. to improve air quality in the 1970s.

    While overall air quality improved in the major cities studied in the report, the ALA did note that short periods of increased air particulate contamination existed in many areas. Furthermore, the ALA added that at least 166 million Americans are currently living in areas where the level of air contaminants exceeds safe limits.

    The timing of this report is very important, as the group is hoping to use this information to convince the Trump administration not to repeal or otherwise weaken air quality standards enacted by the Obama administration.

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