Life as a Human

Why A Wolf?

Have you ever seen a wolf just glide
Across the field or through the wood
It is truly a vision to behold
A dance of nature with grace and trust!

Why A Wolf? is a post from: LIFE AS A HUMAN

Read More

Posted on 26 March 2015 | 11:00 am

CTV News

'I thought she was dead': Woman reunited with lost cat after 6 years

Thanks to some creative pet detective work from an animal rescue worker, a cat that was missing for six years is finally being delivered back into the arms of her original owner.

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 1:45 am

Vancouver Sun

Suspect in alleged Strathcona sex assault charged, remains in custody

A man has been charged after a Vancouver woman was allegedly tied up and sexually assaulted by an intruder in her home.

Read More

Posted on 28 March 2015 | 12:15 am


Painting forces evacuation of B.C. airport

KAMLOOPS, B.C. – A rolled-up painting stored inside a tube is the latest suspicious-looking package to force an evacuation in Western Canada. Kamloops, B.C., airport manager Fred Legace (legacy) says an employee noticed a suspicious looking package Thursday afternoon and … Continue Reading

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 2:59 am


See in the dark (for a little bit) with night vision eyedrops

Daring biohackers from California's Science for the Masses collective have just performed the world's first night vision-enabling "Shine Job." They employed a chemical called Chlorin e6 (Ce6), which is extracted from deep sea fish and occasionally us...

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 11:39 pm

Ottawa Citizen

Chianello: We're past the point of politicians taking credit for spending our money

Do the names Newton J. Ker or S.D. Parker or Geo. A. Arnott mean anything to you? Not so much?

Perhaps Peter Clark, Tim Kehoe, Jacquelin Holzman and Gilles Pouliot are more likely to ring a bell, at least to those of us of reasonably recent vintage.

These are among the dozen or so names on two side-by-side plaques at the Bank Street Bridge. The first set belongs to the city engineer, resident engineer and the superintendent who were involved in building the original bridge way back in 1912. The second set are the politicians who were in office when the bridge was rehabilitated in 1993.

Politicians and plaques. It's a tradition that goes back years and years. But the practice made news this week when the Citizen's Matthew Pearson reported that former River ward councillor Maria McRae ordered more than two dozen commemorative benches for the ward before leaving office. Many of those benches will feature bronze plaques, which cost $570 each. (About $200 for each sign – or a total of $3,800 – went towards engraving the signs with the councillor's name.)

It's important to note that McRae didn't break any rules by spending the money in her ward's parks fund — money which was raised during her term of council. Whether it's appropriate that she appears to have spent her ward's parks account before leaving office is up for debate. Certainly, each councillor's spending on parks should be posted online exactly the way councillors' office expenses are. With that added transparency, residents would be able to judge for themselves if their councillor was spending parks money appropriately.

But when it comes to a councillor — or the mayor, for that matter — putting his or her own name on some sign, here's the way forward: Stop doing it.

Not only would banning politicians from plastering, engraving and otherwise emblazoning their names on public property save money, it would also make enforcing municipal election rules that much easier. Two months before an election day, anything paid for with public money can't be used as an advertisement for a councillor running for re-election. Last fall, a number of councillors who had their names on speed-display signs in their wards, for instance, had to cover them up during the campaign.

Politicians at all levels of government have always relished taking credit for spending our money on our behalf. There are plenty of examples all over town of plaques on municipal infrastructure bearing the names of every member of council in office when the ribbons were cut. In some cases, this is getting out of hand. The name of former Gloucester-South Nepean councillor Steve Desroches, for example, appears on a number of signs in the ward as "Deputy Mayor"—a purely ceremonial title, not a real job, that needn't be set down for posterity anywhere.

Just because something's always been done, it doesn't mean it should continue.

Historically, a valid reason for clearly recording the names of politicians — as well as engineers and contractors — was to make these folks accountable if anything went wrong. Bridge falling apart? The public would know very well who designed and built it and blame could be apportioned accordingly. These days, however, we have the Internet (and other tools) to dig up almost immediately who's responsible for what edifice.

But the real reason that politicians like to put their names on stuff isn't to take responsibility; it's to claim credit. It's a natural instinct. In some cases, elected officials worked hard to get that rec centre/field house/library built during their term of office. No shame in seeking recognition, but that's also what they were elected to do.

And the truth is, impressions of whether some former politicians were good or bad aren't shaped by the number of times their names appear on plaques — who even pauses to squint at those things? — but on the basis of actual memories about their effectiveness.

Desroches spent most of his eight years in office trying to get the Vimy Memorial Bridge built across the Rideau River. That's a great legacy to leave the south Ottawa community and likely what the folks there will remember him for.

McRae was elected with healthy pluralities in each of the three elections she ran in over the last decade, and would have most certainly won again if she had decided to run in 2014. That sort of loyalty isn't affixed to the heart of any grateful voter she represented in the form of a bronze plaque.

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 7:45 pm

Government of Canada

Minister Nicholson Meets with U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond to Discuss International Security

The Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today met with Philip Hammond, the United Kingdom's Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, to discuss issues of national security and the current threat posed by extremist jihadism.

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 10:15 pm


Antarctic Ice Shelves are Thinning Rapidly — and the Losses are Accelerating in West Antarctica

Yesterday, I posted a story about the Halley Research Station on Antarctica's Brunt Ice Shelf. I titled it a "Winter Postcard from Antarctica," and it included photos and comments about life at the station from Tom Welsh, the wintertime manager there. Well, I was so busy putting that post together that I missed the big news yesterday about Antarctic ice shelves in general: They are thinning faster than previously thought. This is a big deal because these ice shelves act like dams that 

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 6:50 pm

Open Media

The Tyee: Steve Anderson and MP Roxanne James spar over secret police Bill C-51

"I just want to say... I found that the comments mentioned a second ago from MP James kind of insinuate that Canadians are not informed and are stupid. I find that really distasteful for a public office holder."

Article by Jeremy J Nuttall

Appearing before the House of Commons public safety committee this week was a disappointing experience, punctuated by one Tory MP's "arrogant and elitist" attitude toward the public, says Vancouver activist Steve Anderson.

read more

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 8:24 pm

Mark Steyn

Everyone's An Ally. (Except Israel.)

On my weekly radio date with Hugh Hewitt, Hugh and I discussed the unraveling of the Middle East and Obama's coziness with Iran. But we started with the news that co-pilot Andreas Lubitz had intentionally crashed Germanwings Flight 9525 into a mountain:

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 2:00 pm


Killer whales in captivity: An idea whose time has passed?

As attitudes change, it may be time for animal advocates to change their focus from captive killer whales to wild ones

The post Killer whales in captivity: An idea whose time has passed? appeared first on

Read More

Posted on 26 March 2015 | 10:48 pm

Huffington Post

Online Polls: Good for Lifestyle Quizzes, Not for Politics

I have been reading with great interest why online polling is misunderstood and unfairly maligned in response to the recent article, "A voters guide to political polling."

Both articles raise good points about the polling industry in Canada, and why it seems the majority of polls are less accurate today then they once were. I need to agree with Angus Reid that there are benefits to online polling, including the complexity of questions they can ask and the ability to use visual stimulus to solicit responses. Online polls can be fun and if we want to determine the public's opinion on their favourite colour, or why they like Britney Spears better than Madonna, they can be accurate enough to be newsworthy, I suppose. I am not a statistician so I won't bore you with the usual argument that online polling isn't truly random because of the "opt in" nature. I think we have to look at the differences between American and Canadian politics and culture to understand why online polls don't accurately reflect public opinion accurately enough when it comes to voting intentions.

Comparing Apples and Chocolate Pudding

In the last U.S. election, as was pointed out by Mr. Reid, four of the seven most accurate polls were sourced online. Comparing U.S. & Canadian politics and political culture is like comparing apples and chocolate pudding, they are both edible. Consider some numbers from the last two federal elections in the U.S. and Canada. In the 12 months leading up to the 2012 Presidential Election, Barack Obama and the Democrats raised approximately $800,000,000 from 4.2-million Americans, relying heavily on online and email solicitations to raise small and repeat donations.

During the 12 months leading up to the last Canadian Federal election in 2011, Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party raised just under $25,000,000 from under 120,000 Canadians. Again, the Conservatives rely on small individual donations and repeat donations from engaged supporters. Proportionately, 3.2 times more money is raised from 3.5 times more people in the U.S. The trend of small, online and email solicitations supporting campaigns, started in 2004 with the Howard Dean campaign and quickly grew to be a big part of all subsequent campaigns. Many campaigns in Canada have attempted to replicate the Dean/Obama email solicitation and online engagement/mobilization effort, yet the best effort ever in Canadian political history (in that regard) falls short by a factor of 3-3.5.

Now, it's quite possible that American political strategists are 3.2 to 3.5 times as smart as Canadian political strategists. To provide some context, if we look at the top crowdfunding campaigns in Canada versus the U.S. in 2014, we see that Canada outperforms compared to our population. Canadians are not averse to the internet or spending money online so how do we explain the discrepancy in political donations which is now largely online or via email. Perhaps we haven't hit a critical mass, perhaps we never will. In my opinion, Canadians don't like sharing their political opinions online with the same proportion as their U.S. counterparts, I would bet somewhere between 3.2 to 3.5 times less likely.

Work Harder, not Smarter

The notion that live phone polling costs more today than it did 20 years ago is an idea I can't possibly ridicule enough. It's true that response rate have dropped from somewhere around 20 per cent to as low as 5 per cent but the technology available today with voice over internet protocol (VOIP) and predictive dialling software more than makes up the difference in costs of those reduced response rates. If fewer people are answering polls, the answer shouldn't be to wring our hands and reminisce about the good old days of public opinion research, the answer should be make more calls. Nik Nanos correctly states that the goal should be to weigh as little as possible, or not at all, this requires bigger samples, more work and perhaps increased costs. The stampede to online polling probably has more to do with profit margins than a sincere desire to get more accurate results.

Undecided voters don't behave like they used to

There is one last factor that I believe has affected the ability of many pollsters to accurately gauge voter intentions for the last few years, the undecided voters aren't doing what they are supposed to. Traditionally, the undecided vote used to break in nearly the exact same way as the decided vote, and that is simply not the case anymore. If pollsters aren't taking this in to account somehow, predictions versus outcomes will continue to be less accurate. The last few years, we have seen a significant shift in the behaviour of undecided voters towards supporting incumbents. The closer than expected results in 2014 in New Brunswick, the results in Ontario, B.C. and Alberta saw varying degrees of incumbency swing in the closing days before election day. This may bode well for Stephen Harper this fall if that trend continues.

So how do we account for that undecided break you may ask? We pour on a few grains of salt, of course.

Which polls should you trust

With all the above said, I won't tell you which polls to believe or not believe. There are many pollsters who have a great track record of explaining why they were wrong, and few who have a great track record of not needing to explain why they were right. My online poll of which you choose to trust will be released tomorrow.

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 9:54 pm

CTV Atlantic

With heavy rains expected, flood fears rise in the Maritimes

With rain on the way for the Maritimes, many residents in the region are bracing for flood damage,fuelled by this year’s extraordinary winter.

Read More

Posted on 26 March 2015 | 11:09 pm

1000 Awesome Things

#280 When little kids get really, really excited

Big news, big news. I’ve got a new girlfriend. Her name is Leslie and she’s a kindergarten teacher. Now, one of the things I love about her is swapping stories after work because we do such different things. I work … Continue reading

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 4:01 am

American teen CiCi Bellis advances to potential match against Serena Williams at Miami Open

KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. — Precocious amateur CiCi Bellis says she’s ready to take on the best of the pros — Serena Williams. Bellis, a 15-year-old American who made a big splash at last year’s U.S. Open, advanced Friday to a […]

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 8:19 pm


This is what the new Drake Raptors gear looks like

Drake raptors clothingThe official launch of the OVO-branded Raptors gear is scheduled for tomorrow at 11am, but it would seem that good old Drizzy didn't want to wait for the big reveal. A rather significant sneak peek of the new duds is on offer at Drake's website, which shows off examples of hoodies, shirts, jerseys, and hats in the now iconic black and gold OVO colour combo.

Made by Mitchell & Ness, the line looks pretty much exactly like what you'd expect out of a Drake/Raptors collaboration. There's plenty of OVO owls to be found on these clothes, but it's always clear that the gear is related to the basketball team. Is this the most Toronto-repping apparel around? Quite possibly. We'll have to wait until tomorrow for the info on pricing to become available. Have a look at more of the line below.

Drake Raptors clothingDrake Raptors clothingDrake Raptors clothingDrake Raptors clothingDrake Raptors clothingPhotos from the OVO website

Read More

Posted on 26 March 2015 | 8:35 pm


Basketballer crashes hard attempting to dunk over car

Basketballer crashes attempting dunk

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 12:56 am

Metro News

No murder charge for woman accused of cutting baby from womb

DENVER – A Colorado woman accused of luring an expectant mother to a basement and cutting the baby from her belly will not be charged with murder, prosecutors said Thursday night. Catherine Olguin, a spokeswoman for the Boulder County District … Continue Reading

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 3:13 am

The Province

Woman seriously injured as Good Samaritans subdue suspect in alleged sexual assault in Vancouver home

A woman was taken to hospital with serious injuries Thursday following a violent sexual assault in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood. A man armed with a weapon entered a home and confronted the woman inside, according to a Vancouver police report.

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 11:06 pm

Rabble CA

B.C. government seeks to privatize and control teacher professional development

read more

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 9:30 pm


Extra, Extra: Spadina Extension Cost Overrun, CBC Layoffs, and Another Apology by That One Councillor

Every weekday’s end, we collect just about everything you ought to care about or ought not to miss. York Region has agreed to pay an additional $60 million as its share of the Spadina extension cost overrun. The region is responsible for 40 per cent of the cost of the extension, which goes beyond Toronto’s […]

Read More

Posted on 26 March 2015 | 9:30 pm

Quirks and Quarks

Scientists Make Cancer Cells Benign - 2015/03/28 - Pt. 3

Cellular reprogramming could be the future in the fight against cancer.

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 4:00 am

Sun Columnists

March Madness -- Alberta budget edition

No one would blame you if you hadn’t noticed that it’s late March, and yet, there’s hardly been any news coverage on government budgets. After all, March Madness basketball and the upcoming NHL playoffs are far more interesting. But when it comes to government spending, something odd is happening this year, and it may be worth your time.

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 10:55 pm

The Progressive Economics Forum

Homelessness in Canada’s North

Over at the blog of Northern Public Affairs, I’ve written a post titled “Ten Things to Know About Homelessness in Canada’s North.” Topics covered in the post include the high cost of construction in many parts of the North, the relatively high costs of operating housing in the North, and declining federal funding for social […]

Read More

Posted on 25 March 2015 | 9:55 pm

Religious News Blog

Islam’s Rotten Apples * Abusive Churches * Aum Cult

Cover of 'Heretic' a book by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

There are three kinds of Muslims, former Muslim Ayaan Hirsi Ali says, and moderates are not among them. The outspoken Islam critic calls for a reformation within Islam.

Also: Former members of a church in Palmerston, New Zealand, say they were suicidal, depressed and in need of counselling after leaving the “cult-like” church and being shunned by their friends and family.

Full story: Islam’s Rotten Apples * Abusive Churches * Aum Cult

Read More

Posted on 26 March 2015 | 11:36 am

Much Music

Can You Pass This Quiz On The Season 5 Finale of Pretty Little Liars?

On Tuesday’s season finale of Pretty Little Liars (watch here and read the recap here), the girls get closer to ‘A’ than they’ve ever been before. But will they ever be free again? How closely did you watch Episode 525 Welcome To The Dollhouse? Take this quiz and find out! Click here to catch up […]

Read More

Posted on 26 March 2015 | 7:37 pm


New Questrade ETFs not part of Portfolio IQ

All six ETFs are based on Russell indexes

The post New Questrade ETFs not part of Portfolio IQ appeared first on MoneySense.

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 1:05 pm


Torn cup denies $100 Roll-Up-the-Rim prize

Torn cup denies $100 Roll-Up-the-Rim prize

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 7:55 pm

National Post Blog

N.B. education minister angry after learning French and English students have been sharing a school bus

Under a long-standing policy the provincial government claims it is constitutionally mandated to provide separate buses for anglophones and francophones

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 3:01 am

Eureka Science News

Solving molybdenum disulfide's 'thin' problem

The promising new material molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) has an inherent issue that's steeped in irony. The material's greatest asset--its monolayer thickness--is also its biggest challenge.

read more

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 10:12 pm

The Toronto Star Columnists

Conservatives to propose minor amendments to Bill C-51

OTTAWA—The majority Conservatives will put forward four changes to their proposed terrorism law, clarifying that protests and dissent do not qualify as national security threats.

The government’s amendments to Bill C-51, to be tabled on Tuesday, would address two specific concerns brought before the Commons committee studying the bill.

The first amendment would clarify that any protest or dissent would not fall under C-51. The bill currently excludes “lawful protest,” but legal experts and activists warned that civil disobedience could be considered “unlawful” and, as such, would be fair game for CSIS.

Another would clarify that CSIS agents are not permitted to arrest people as part of the agency’s new powers to “disrupt” threats to national security.

Under the proposed changes, government departments would be limited to sharing information with 17 government and security agencies, rather than “with any person for any purpose.”

Finally, the government will drop wording that would allow the minister of Public Safety to order an airline to “do anything that, in the minister’s opinion, is reasonable and necessary” to prevent someone on the no-fly list from travelling.

University of Ottawa law professor Craig Forcese, along with fellow academic Kent Roach, has conducted an in-depth analysis of the bill. Forcese said Friday that dropping the word “lawful” from C-51 to ensure it doesn’t target civil disobedience activities may allay some concerns on the part of environmental and aboriginal groups.

But Forcese said the wording of the amendments will have a serious impact on how CSIS wields its new power. For instance, while CSIS may not be able to arrest someone, its new powers to “disrupt” threats could involve detention — especially in foreign countries.

“The language is going to matter. Detention is a much broader concept (than arrest). Arrest is a form of detention, but it’s not the whole universe of detention,” Forcese said.

“To say they have no powers of arrest, if that’s interpreted to mean they have no powers under the Criminal Code, that doesn’t really matter because it doesn’t foreclose the possibility of detention overseas.”

While the Conservatives will tweak their terrorism bill, they do not appear open to the most common concern expressed at the Commons committee studying the bill: the lack of parliamentary oversight.

Both critics and supporters of the C-51’s measures have called on the government to create some civilian oversight for Canada’s spies. Canada is the only member of the Five Eyes security partnership — including the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand — without such an oversight body.

In a press conference Friday morning, the opposition New Democrats tabled their proposal to create a parliamentary committee to decide how that oversight should work, as well as to restore the position of CSIS Inspector General, who provided direct oversight on the agency’s actions.

But NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison said they still want large portions of the bill scrapped. Specifically, the New Democrats want to delete the section that gives CSIS “disruption” powers, as well as the creation of a new criminal offence for advocating terrorism “in general.”

“We’re proposing to delete some provisions that violate the basic rights and fundamental freedoms of Canadians, including the new terrorism offence and the disruptive powers of CSIS,” Garrison told reporters.

“We would narrow the scope of the bill to make the bill both more respective of rights and at the same time more effective meeting the threats that we face as Canadians.”

The New Democrats are also calling for the creation of a national co-ordinator to oversee community outreach and “deradicalization” efforts among young people who stray toward extremism and terrorism.

The Liberals, for their part, have also proposed parliamentary oversight, but stopped short calling on the government to abandon the proposed new powers for CSIS. Instead, the party is calling for a three year “sunset” clause for the disruption powers, as well as a complete review into how C-51 has been used over that period.

The Commons study into Bill C-51 continues on Tuesday, while the Senate begins its own hearings on the bill on Monday.

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 10:48 pm

Canadian Tech Blogger - MobileSyrup

First batch of Apple Watch apps land in the App Store, including Air Canada, Tangerine Bank and Transit App

We’re still a month away from the official launch of the Apple Watch, but that hasn’t stopped Apple from releasing the first batch of third-party apps for its upcoming wearable...

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 2:54 am

The Daily Galaxy

Why the Quantum, Why the Universe --"Are Findings Pointing to a New Physics?"

The existence and stability of atoms relies heavily on the fact that neutrons are slightly more mas-sive than protons. The experimentally determined masses differ by only around 0.14 percent. A slightly smaller or larger value of the mass difference would...

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 3:06 pm

The Movie Blog

Is this Ryan Reynolds in full Deadpool costume?

Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld has been extermely excited that his creation is making his way to theaters soon and has been very busy and very vocal about his support of...

Read More

Posted on 27 March 2015 | 4:30 pm


Pulling back the curtain on the Universe

The James Webb Space Telescope will be able to look further back in time than we have ever seen.

Read More

Posted on 23 March 2015 | 7:00 am