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#796 The sound of rain hitting the tent

Posted June 23, 2018 by Anonymous

Okay, straight up: you know those big kettle drums you see in the symphony? The ones being pounded with padded drumsticks by a bald guy in a tuxedo? Well, the sound of rain from inside the tent feels like living in a kettle drum. Now, let’s be honest. The best thing about the sound of […]

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Oil Companies and Lobbyists Say They’re Ready To Solve Climate Change? Check The Fine Print

Posted June 22, 2018 by guest

Read time: 8 mins

By David Halperin, crossposted from Republic Report

On Wednesday, former senators Trent Lott (R-MS) and John Breaux (D-LA) announced, with a big public relations blitz, a new campaign, Americans for Carbon Dividends, to address the threat of climate change. The effort is being heralded as a breakthrough by some because it is endorsed by big oil and gas companies Exxon Mobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP, and Total, and it calls for a $40-a-ton carbon tax, incurred at the source of emissions, with revenues to be returned to citizens as dividends, perhaps $2000 a year for each American family of four.

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How long did it take to wipe out the dinosaurs?

Posted June 22, 2018 by Anonymous

The effects of the asteroid impact and subsequent mass extinction 66 million years ago, began immediately.

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Antarctica’s rising bedrock could stabilize the ice melt

Posted June 22, 2018 by Anonymous

Rising land could offset melting ice in Antarctica.

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Seals who sleep with half their brains help explain how humans snooze

Posted June 22, 2018 by Anonymous

Fur seals don’t need REM sleep for long periods of time

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Identifying criminals by the ‘bacterial fingerprints’ they leave behind

Posted June 22, 2018 by Anonymous

How bacteria can help solve crimes

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Separating children from parents can negatively affect brain development

Posted June 22, 2018 by Anonymous

Separating kids from parents changes their brains

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A celebration of the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada

Posted June 22, 2018 by Anonymous

Three people looking down at a giant floor map

Educator Charlene Bearhead, left, points out features of the Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada Giant Floor Map to Canadian Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly and RCGS CEO John Geiger at a celebration of the project on Thursday, June 21. (Photo: Ben Powless/Canadian Geographic)

The Hon. Nellie Kusugak, Commissioner of Nunavut, grinned as she knelt down on The Royal Canadian Geographical Society’s Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada Giant Floor Map and pointed to the hamlet of Arviat.

As a child in a residential school, Kusugak never heard her language spoken, nor could she find her birthplace, then known as Eskimo Point, marked on maps of Canada and the world.

“It made you wonder: do we even matter?” she said.

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Methane Leaks from Oil and Gas 60% Higher Than EPA Estimates, New Study Finds

Posted June 22, 2018 by Sharon Kelly

Read time: 6 mins

Each year, oil and gas industry operations in the U.S. are leaking roughly 60 percent more methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, into our atmosphere than previous estimates from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which relied heavily on self-reporting by the industry.

That’s the conclusion of a study published today in the peer-reviewed journal Science and conducted with funding from the Department of Energy, NASA, and private foundations. The two dozen researchers involved found that the U.S. oil and gas supply chain releases between 11 and 15 million metric tons of methane per year. 

“This study confirms the growing body of peer-reviewed science indicating oil and gas extraction’s methane pollution makes it as harmful to climate as coal burning’s carbon dioxide pollution,” said Dr. Anthony Ingraffea, Cornell University professor emeritus of engineering and vice president of Earthwork’s board of directors.

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#797 Seeing a police car on the side of the road and realizing you’re already going the speed limit

Posted June 22, 2018 by Anonymous

Stress level goes up. Stress level goes down. AWESOME! Photo from: here — Follow me on Twitter —

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Free speech forever! (Whoops.)

Posted June 21, 2018 by Anonymous

Jordan Peterson and Lindsay Shepherd, those intrepid champions of free speech, have launched twin lawsuits against Wilfrid Laurier University. As Peterson intimates fairly strongly in the video clip above, his own action is really about backing up Lindsay Shepherd,…

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Quebec First Nations step in to help save Val-d'Or caribou herd

Posted June 21, 2018 by Anonymous

Tombstones representing each of Canada's 51 endangered caribou herds set up outside the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada in Gatineau, Que. May 1st, 2018

Greenpeace activists erected 51 tombstones (representing the 51 caribou herds in Canada) outside the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Canada on May 1 to denounce Canada’s failure to protect endangered caribou. (Photo: Toma Iczkovits/Greenpeace)

Three Quebec First Nations are stepping in to help save an endangered caribou herd after the provincial government said it would take no further action to stop the herd’s decline.

On Thursday, the Lac Simon Anishinabe Nation, together with the First Nations of Kitcisakik and Long Point, announced they will receive $1.26 million over five years from the federal government to implement measures to protect the Val-d’Or woodland caribou herd.

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How companies and communities are fighting the problem of plastic pollution

Posted June 21, 2018 by Anonymous

Mass of floating seaweed with bits of plastic stuck in it, in the ocean

Single-use plastics like straws, coffee stir-sticks, plastic cutlery and bags are major contributors to the problem of plastic pollution in the ocean. (Photo: Kevin Krejci/Flickr)

“Plastic pollution is a global challenge that does not respect borders — it litters our streets, accumulates in our landfills and contaminates our rivers and oceans.” So said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in a statement issued earlier this month for World Environment Day.

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#798 When the blood rushes quickly back to your foot after it was asleep for a while

Posted June 21, 2018 by Anonymous

See ya later, pins and needles. Welcome back, blood. AWESOME! Photo from: here — Follow me on Youtube —

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Scott Pruitt Is An Ethics Nightmare, But So Is Ryan Zinke

Posted June 20, 2018 by guest

Read time: 10 mins

By David Halperin, crossposted from Republic Report

A Westerner appointed to President Trump’s cabinet, he’s drawn attention for his penchant for expensive travel, vanity perquisites of office, abuse of agency staff time, and cozy personal financial deals with business executives whose industries he oversees. Meanwhile, he has denied the dangers of climate change, met extensively with corporate lobbyists, and gutted the environmental protections implemented by prior administrations.

Yes, that’s entitled EPA administrator Scott Pruitt, whose record of seeking personal luxuries and advantages at taxpayer expense, while gearing policy to polluting industries, and punishing subordinates who object, is breathtakingly awful.

But it also pretty well describes Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.

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Poll by Former Koch Lobbyist Skews Public Support for Clean Cars, Electric Vehicles

Posted June 20, 2018 by Anonymous

Read time: 5 mins

Gas car vs. electric car

The American Energy Alliance (AEA), a free market group with close ties to the Koch brothers, just released misleading results of a poll asking voter opinions on electric vehicles (EV) and car fuel efficiency standards.

Though the public opinion poll showed that Americans overwhelmingly view electric cars as better for the environment, and a majority believe in the necessity and value of fuel economy standards, the AEA is claiming that Americans don’t support EV-friendly policies.

Not surprisingly, most of the questions in this agenda-driven “push poll” were worded to influence the respondent’s choice, framing federal programs as anti-choice and taxpayer-subsidized.

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Dramatic delivery

Posted June 20, 2018 by Anonymous

Two women share maternal and child health information during a home visit in Bauchi state, Nigeria. (Photo: Federation of Muslim Women Association in Nigeria)

Videos modelled on popular Nigerian soap operas are just one part of a project that is u…

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Eugenics

Posted June 20, 2018 by Anonymous

Apparently conservatives have oversized amygdalae. Can this be detected in utero?…

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ParticipACTION Report Cards Remind Us Every Year How Badly We’re Failing Canadian Children

Posted June 20, 2018 by Yoni Freedhoff

(Originally posted in 2016. Since nothing’s changed, reupping it with 2018 data)

We suck at helping our kids to be active.

Here are the past 14 years of ParticipACTION kids’ activity report card grades (click on 2018 for this year’s edition):

2018: D+
2017: Didn’t happen
2016: D-
2015: D-
2014: D-
2013: D-
2012: F
2011: F
2010: F
2009: F
2008: F
2007: F
2006: D
2005: D

So what has Canada done about it?

From my vantage point, it sure doesn’t seem like much.

As to what we could we doing, I’m honestly not sure.

One thing I am sure of though, simply telling kids to be more active (or telling them and/or their parents how inactive they are) clearly isn’t doing a whole heckuva lot. We need changes that change the default.

If you’re a parent, I’ve blogged about the simple solution you could employ to help your kids move more (move with them).

If you’re an educator, how about making every classroom/student reward an active one instead of relying on junk food (same goes for all of your various fundraising endeavours)? Oh, and get rid of inane over-protective schoolyard rules like bans on hard balls that effectively stifle active play.

If you’re a city planner, how about more time and attention paid to developing safe, comprehensive, and unified biking and walking infrastructure?

And consider too the fact that decreasing kids’ physical activity may well also be influenced by their rising weights (and not the other way around). I’ve worked with so many parents who report that as their kids gained weight, suddenly their interest in favourite activities waned. The why is something people either forget or overlook. Kids are cruel. Being picked last because you’re slow, or simply not being able to keep up, would make most kids not want to play. One comment about “jiggling” while a kid runs is liable to lead a kid to stop running. Not wanting to change in front of your peers because of fat jokes and weight bias makes is another common hurdle. Here we need to see calls to action to tackle weight bias, and continued work towards improving the way we use food with our children, and ideally ending the regular use of foods by our kids’ schools, teachers, coaches, cities, scout leaders, friends’ parents, etc. to reward, pacify, and entertain them at every turn.

So how many more years of reading these depressing report cards before we either stop issuing them, or actually do something about the problem?

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Colorado Adopts California Clean Car Standards in Defiance of Trump Admin

Posted June 20, 2018 by Ben Jervey

Read time: 4 mins

Colorado truck license plate

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced Tuesday that his state would join 13 states and the District of Columbia in adopting California’s clean car emissions standards.

Colorado has a choice,” Gov. Hickenlooper said in a statement. “This executive order calls for the state to adopt air quality standards that will protect our quality of life in Colorado. Low emissions vehicles are increasingly popular with consumers and are better for our air. Every move we make to safeguard our environment is a move in the right direction.”

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#799 When the backseat car windows go down all the way

Posted June 20, 2018 by Anonymous

When it’s a dark, summer night, and you’re cruising around town, bass thumping, head bumping, rocking out in the backseat, let me ask you something: what feels nicer than slipping your hand out the window and letting that cool breeze wash right over you? If you said not much, baby, then you got it. Listen […]

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30 Years Ago Global Warming Became Front-Page News – and Both Republicans and Democrats Took It Seriously

Posted June 19, 2018 by guest

Read time: 8 mins

James Hansen in 1988

By Robert Brulle, Drexel University

June 23, 1988 marked the date on which climate change became a national issue.

In landmark testimony before the U.S. Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Dr. James Hansen, then director of NASA’s Institute for Space Studies, stated that “Global warming has reached a level such that we can ascribe with a high degree of confidence a cause-and-effect relationship between the greenhouse effect and observed warming … In my opinion, the greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now.”

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A Modest Propuesta

Posted June 19, 2018 by Balbulican

President Trump took a short break this week from strengthening ties with China, Canada, England, Germany, France, Mexico, NATO and the UN to clarify his deterrence policy of frightening potential illegal immigrants by caging their children like stray dogs. Trump…

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#800 Finally picking that tiny splinter out of your finger

Posted June 19, 2018 by Anonymous

After a lot of pinching, tweezing, and biting out pops that annoying little sliver of wood, leaving behind only a tiny, satisfying puncture hole. AWESOME! Photo from: here — Subscribe to my Youtube channel —

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These Auto Industry Companies Are Demanding Strong Clean Car Standards, Despite Trump

Posted June 18, 2018 by Ben Jervey

Read time: 4 mins

Average MPG on a dashboard

There’s a major sector of the automobile industry that is unwavering in its support of strong clean car standards: auto parts manufacturers.

Carmakers, through the powerful Auto Alliance trade group, have flip-flopped on fuel economy and emissions targets for cars and light duty trucks — claiming they aren’t for rollbacks even after lobbying for them. On the other hand, auto parts suppliers have consistently argued on behalf of strong national standards, going against the direction currently pursued by the Trump administration.

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Oil Giants Shell and Eni Face Trial in Milan over Bribery Allegations in Biggest Corruption Case Facing Sector in Years

Posted June 18, 2018 by Anonymous

Read time: 4 mins

Shell truck

One of the biggest corruption cases faced by the oil industry in recent years is due to resume in Milan on Wednesday as two of the world’s biggest oil companies Royal Dutch Shell and Italian firm Eni are facing trial.

Prosecutors are bringing criminal charges against Shell and Eni executives over allegations of corruption regarding a $1.3 billion oil deal in Nigeria.

This is the first time an oil company as large as Shell or senior executives of a major oil company have ever stood trial for bribery offences.

The case, which has been repeatedly delayed, involves the 2011 purchase by Shell and Eni of Nigeria’s OPL 245 offshore oilfield — one of Africa’s most valuable oil blocks.

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Sea Level Rise Could Put 2.4 Million US Coastal Homes at Risk

Posted June 18, 2018 by guest

Read time: 3 mins

Sunny day flooding in Miami, Florida

By Olivia Rosane, EcoWatch. Crossposted with permission from EcoWatch.

More than 300,000 U.S. coastal homes could be uninhabitable due to sea level rise by 2045 if no meaningful action is taken to combat climate change, a Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) study published Monday found.

The study, Underwater: Rising Seas, Chronic Floods and the Implications for U.S. Coastal Real Estate, set out to calculate how many coastal properties in the lower 48 states would suffer from “chronic inundation,” non-storm flooding that occurs 26 times a year or more, under different climate change scenarios.

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Previously stable population of polar bears now in decline, study finds

Posted June 18, 2018 by Anonymous

Polar bear and cub on green tundra

An aerial survey of southern Hudson Bay has found that the previously stable polar bear population is now in decline, with fewer cubs surviving their first year. (Photo: Martyn Obbard)

A population of polar bears in southern Hudson Bay that was previously considered stable has declined by 17 per cent in five years, new research has found.

The findings come from an extensive 2016 aerial survey of southern Hudson Bay covering an area of more than 5,000 kilometres. Compared to an equivalent study in 2011, polar bear numbers had dropped by almost a fifth.

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Honouring “Canada’s fightingest ship”

Posted June 18, 2018 by Anonymous

The HMCS Haida docked in Hamilton, Ontario

HMCS Haida has been docked in Hamilton Harbour since 2002. Last month, she was named the ceremonial flagship of the Royal Canadian Navy, an honorary title recognizing her performance in three wars. (Photo: Photo: Laszlo Varga/Wikimedia Commons)

She was called “Canada’s fightingest ship” because, during her 20 years of service, HMCS Haida destroyed and sank more enemy tonnage than any other warship in the history of Canadian naval combat.

Now, she has been honoured for her proficiency and performance. Late last month, Haida became the very first ceremonial flagship of the Royal Canadian Navy.

The story of what made Haida a legendary warship dates back to the height of the Second World War.

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Dear @ChronicleHerald, Publishing Industry Talking Points As “Commentary” Does A Disservice To Your Readers

Posted June 18, 2018 by Yoni Freedhoff

More than one person shared this “Commentary” published last week by The Chronicle Herald entitled,

Keep Canadian juice on the table for better health

It was written by Pierre Turner and it asserted that 100% fruit juice is a source of essential nutrients and phytochemicals and that by extension juice is

“essential in helping to treat or reverse some of our leading causes of death, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes and hypertension.”

The commentary goes on to talk about how juice helps combat food insecurity, that it’s nutritionally equivalent to fruit, and that the food guide is going to explicitly encourage people to consume moderate amounts of ice-cream and bacon, but to avoid juice, and that these recommendations in turn will worsen Canada’s rates of diabetes, obesity, and heart disease.

Now as ridiculous as the piece is, it’s not particularly surprising given the author is vice-president Quality, Sustainability, Research and Development at Lassonde Industries. It even says so at the end of the piece.

Want to take just one guess as to what Lassonde Industries produces?

So did The Chronicle Herald, who reports in their Vision statement that they’re proud of their integrity, get paid for this juice industry advertorial disguised as opinion, and was this just an example of their promise to,

“innovate to remain a relevant and competitive channel for advertisers to reach their consumers.”?

Or was this just poor judgement?

Either way, publishing industry talking points as if they’re thoughtful commentary does a disservice to readers, who instead should be taught to eat their fruit, not drink it, and also that the World Health Organization, Canada’s Heart and Stroke Foundation, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and more all recommend explicitly limiting fruit juice’s consumption. Yes, if people followed these recommendations it would be decidedly bad for the juice industry, but why that’s a concern of The Chronicle Herald (unless they’re being paid), is beyond me.

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#801 When you know your remote control so well you don’t need to look at the buttons

Posted June 18, 2018 by Anonymous

Ever tried to turn on someone else’s TV? Brother, we both know that’s a tough slog, probably involving a couple of these fine moves: 1. The Brand Name Match-Up. You stare at three identical-looking black remotes on their coffee table and play Sherlock by matching brand names. You eye the Panasonic logo in the corner […]

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Justin Trudeau delivers remarks to supporters in Ottawa

Posted June 17, 2018 by Liberal Party of Canada

Ottawa, ON – Justin Trudeau, Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, will deliver remarks to supporters at the Laurier Club Summer Reception and Garden Party, an annual Liberal donor appreciation event, in Ottawa on June 18th, 2018. The Liberal Party of Canada has committed to the strongest standards in federal politics for openness and […]

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The mudfish chronicles, cont’d.

Posted June 17, 2018 by Anonymous

Photocredit: Lloydminster Little Theatre It’s Patrick Ross’ birthday today. He is 37. More than seven and a half years ago, I wrote about what proved to be the initial chapter of a seemingly never-ending legal saga. My friend Robert Day,…

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#802 Watching something download super fast

Posted June 17, 2018 by Anonymous

The first website I ever visited was Yahoo.com. The whole sordid affair went down in the mid-90s on a school trip to the Science Center. While other kids from our class learned how paper was made or watched Imax films about the Amazon, my friends and I raced to a dim room at the back […]

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#803 Your favorite comfortable T-shirt that’s probably the oldest one in your closet

Posted June 16, 2018 by Anonymous

Sure, maybe the collar’s stretched out, the iron-on’s wearing off, and a moth chewed a few holes in the back, but how good does that translucent, tight-fitting second skin feel when you squeeze into it and rock it down the street? AWESOME! Photo from: here — Follow me on Twitter —

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In-depth: BP’s Global Data for 2017 Shows Record Highs for Coal and Renewables

Posted June 15, 2018 by guest

Read time: 10 mins

Piles of coal and polluted water in India's Meghalaya State

By Simon Evans, Carbon Brief. Originally posted on Carbon BriefCC BYNCND 4.0

Renewable energy grew by the largest amount ever last year, while coal-fired electricity also reached a record high, according to new global data from oil giant BP.

However, set against continued rapid rises in energy demand fuelled by oil and gas, renewables were not enough to prevent global CO2 emissions rising significantly for the first time in four years, the figures show.

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Why do Cheerios stick together when they are floating in milk?

Posted June 15, 2018 by Anonymous

Cheerios stick together due to surface enery

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To Pluto and beyond! The inside story of a mission to the edge of the solar system

Posted June 15, 2018 by Anonymous

The inside story of the New Horizons mission to Pluto

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