Life as a Human

The Woman Who

The writer will struggle along the way, as does any artist to believe in self. But, in this doubt there is always a mentoring that brings the person to full potential - a personal reflection on that belief and one we all need.

The Woman Who is a post from: LIFE AS A HUMAN

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 7:00 am

CTV News

Winnipeg lifts boil-water advisory

The Winnipeg Regional Health Authority has lifted its boil water advisory for city residents after tests of water samples came up negative for any trace of E. coli.

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 4:43 pm

Vancouver Sun

Ottawa urged to seek longer visas for Canadians travelling to China

OTTAWA — The Harper government should open negotiations with China to match a recent Washington-Beijing accord that allows 10-year, multi-entry visas for frequent travellers between the U.S. and China, according to a motion tabled in Parliament Thursday.

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 7:46 pm


Quebec back on track at curling juniors

CORNER BROOK, N.L. – Quebec’ Felix Asselin earned a tight 2-0 win over Karsten Sturmay on Thursday as the race for the playoffs tightened up at the Canadian junior curling championships. After starting the tournament with six straight wins, Asselin’s … Continue Reading

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 6:46 pm


Amazon put $1.3 billion into Prime Instant Video last year

Amazon may have surprised Wall Street by how much sales went up in the fourth quarter of last year ($29.3 billion, with a profit of $214 million), but for customers its Prime service is the big deal. Founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said Prime membership i...

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 7:23 pm

Ottawa Citizen

Ottawa patients sought for testing of stem cell therapy that offers hope for MS

At a time when there is growing concern about patients travelling overseas for unproven treatments, Canadian doctors are beginning clinical trials of stem cell therapy they say offers real hope for people with multiple sclerosis. Dr. Mark S. Freedman, director of the multiple sclerosis research unit at The Ottawa Hospital, will lead the Canadian trials which are funded with a $4.2-million grant from the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and the Multiple Sclerosis Scientific Research Foundation. “This is the first major stem cell trial that is going on in MS right now around the world,” he said. “There is so much noise about stem cells in general and the hype that surrounds them, we are doing this study properly so we can answer the question for once and for all.” Recent publicity around hockey legend Gordie Howe’s stem cell treatment in Mexico after he had a stroke has focused attention on a growing international stem cell tourism industry offering therapies that have not been approved for use in Canada or the United States. Freedman said he sees patients who are willing to travel overseas to try risky and expensive treatments out of desperation. He said he worries that foreign clinics are preying on patients’ desperation by providing treatment that is not properly tested, is not proven to do any good and could carry serious risks. That is why it is crucial to conduct proper clinical trials, said Freedman, who is also a professor at the University of Ottawa. The potential for stem cell treatment is significant in Canada, which has the highest rates of MS in the world. The study announced Thursday will involve treating 40 patients — 20 in Ottawa and 20 in Winnipeg — with mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), extracted from the patient’s own bone marrow and then grown in a specialized lab. The cells are later given to the same patient intravenously. The cells are less risky to use than other stem cell therapies, and their potential seems to come from their ability to modify the immune system, by reducing inflammation, fas well as helping to prevent and repair tissue damage. Patients do not require chemotherapy to kill their immune system as they do with some other treatments. The Canadian randomized control trials join others underway around the world. In total, 200 patients in nine countries will be part of the trial that could result in routine clinical treatment for MS patients. Researchers in Ottawa are looking for 20 patients between 18 and 50 with relapsing-remitting MS for whom at least one of the existing treatments isn’t working or those with secondary and primary progressive forms of the disease with active disease activity. Patients must be Canadian and be willing to relocate to Ottawa for a year. Retired Kanata elementary school teacher Margo Murchison does not qualify for the trials, but they give her hope, she said. “I really do feel like we’re getting closer to a cure, and I believe that people who are diagnosed with MS today will have many more options than I did.” Murchison, who is 60, has had MS since she was 27. For more than a decade, the disease has been chronic. Murchison said in the early years of the disease she would have attacks that would cause her to limp. Later, she began using a walker, then a scooter and now a wheelchair. Although she can’t take part in the clinical trials, Murchison said they encourage her that one day stem cell therapy will be available for patients like her. “I am ready for a cure,” she said. Freedman and Dr. Harry Atkins, both senior scientists with The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, also pioneered a different kind of stem cell therapy for MS that uses a different kind of stem cells — hematopoietic — to replace a patient’s defective immune system with a new one. The therapy involves chemotherapy to eliminate the patient’s immune system which is then replaced by the stem cells. The therapy has had encouraging results, said Freedman. Ottawa’s Jennifer Molson said the therapy gave her a “second chance at life”. She has been symptom free since receiving the experimental treatment. That therapy, said Freedman, carries serious risks and is only suitable for a small number of patients with aggressive early MS. Mesenchymal stem cell therapy, if successful, “might offer a future treatment option for a larger group of patients,” he said. Freedman said the amount of time it took to secure funding and Health Canada approvals means the Canadian trials are a year behind those in Europe. The Canadian Stem Cell Foundation has said it would like to see the approvals process for stem cell research streamlined. Freedman said the growth of stem cell tourism makes such research in Canada crucial. “It is amazing what (patients) are willing to do out of desperation.” Further information on the trials can be found at

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 2:59 pm

Government of Canada

Minister Kenney tours Assiniboine Community College and discusses Canada Apprentice Loan

The Honourable Jason Kenney, Minister of Employment and Social Development, joined Larry Maguire, Member of Parliament for Brandon–Souris, at Assiniboine Community College today, where they spoke with students and administration about available supports for apprentices offered by the Government of Canada. During the tour, Minister Kenney highlighted the new Canada Apprentice Loan, an Economic Action Plan 2014 commitment that provides apprentices in Red Seal trades access to interest-free loans of up to $4,000 per period of technical training.

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 7:20 pm


Skull Discovery Tells a Human-Neanderthal Love Story

A 55,000-year-old human skull found within a cave in Israel could be evidence that modern humans and Neanderthals were close to each other. Very close. Scientists believe anatomical features of the partial skull, found in Manot Cave in western Galilee, indicate modern humans and Neanderthals may have interbred 50,000 to 60,000 years ago in the Middle East. Scientists believe this skull could be one of the missing links between African modern humans and European hominids. "Manot clearly

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 2:58 pm

Open Media

PressProgress: 5 ways your privacy could be threatened even more

This government has already proven itself untrustworthy when it comes to protecting Canadians' privacy rights. So what do we have to look forward to when they introduce a new anti-privacy law on Friday?

Article by PressProgress

Civil liberties and public safety.

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 6:52 pm

Mark Steyn

Condition Stable, But Not in Remission

Mark had a lively crowd for his event at Indigo Books in Toronto with Heather Reisman, which he'll have more to say about later. But in the meantime here's a couple of Wednesday media appearances. First, he joined Global's Morning Show for a wide-ranging discussion with Liza Fromer, Rosey Edeh, Kris Reyes and Antony Robart - a quartet of hosts all of whom were remarkably well-informed about his book. Click below to watch...

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 9:00 am


Feds spend $700,000 in court fighting veterans class-action lawsuit

Case brought by group of wounded Afghan veterans who say the new veterans' charter is discriminatory under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The post Feds spend $700,000 in court fighting veterans class-action lawsuit appeared first on

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Posted on 28 January 2015 | 6:06 pm

Huffington Post

Alberta: Government by Trial Balloon

"The chickens are coming home to roost, and you live in the chicken house."- General MacArthur to President Kennedy during the Bay of Pigs crisis.

Mr. Prentice, like President Kennedy, managed to get elected just in time to confront the nasty consequences of decisions made by his predecessors.

Albertans are staring down the barrel (gun, not oil) of an $18 billion deficit over the next three years. For a government that bills itself as "fiscally conservative," this is an unmitigated disaster.

Polls and trial balloons

In difficult times, most politicians commission polls and launch trial balloons.
John F. Kennedy was not one of those politicians. He didn't commission any polls during his presidency, preferring to incorporate the results of others' polls with his own observations, research and political intuition and make his own decisions, for which he remained solely accountable.

Sadly, that's not the case in Alberta.

Under Mr. Prentice we're faced a barrage of trial balloons, flying like flak in the London Blitz, as he tries to determine which way the political wind is blowing. He's tested everything from ignoring the set election date to introducing a sales tax.

Mainstreet Poll

This brings us to the Mainstreet Technologies poll that was recently "provided to" the Calgary Herald. Provided to...? Did it just slide in under the door?

Mainstreet conducted an automated telephone poll of 3,184 Albertans to determine what sorts of revenue generating mechanisms they'd accept in order to balance the budget (currently $7 billion short).

The overwhelming consensus (43%) was that government should cut spending. Raising taxes (15%), running a bigger deficit (11%) and increasing borrowing (9%) trailed far behind.

A provincial sales tax, floated by the Premier with the caveat that Albertans don't like it but he's "prepared to be educated and hear from the people" (which "people" is not entirely clear) was supported by only 9% of those surveyed.

The Calgary Herald says, "This threatens to forcefully prick Prentice's trial balloon."

Let's pause for a moment to consider the implications of that statement.

Trial balloons

The term "trial balloon" was coined in 1782 when the Montgolfière brothers invented the Montgolfière globe aérostatique (hot air balloon). Not being complete idiots they weren't about to risk life and limb without first determining whether man could survive 400 meters in the air. So they sent aloft a sheep, a duck and a rooster. (The king suggested they launch two criminals but was talked out of it). The farm animals returned safely to earth and Étienne Montgolfière became the first human to sail into the wild blue yonder.

Politicians use trial balloons for the same reason. They're not about to risk their political capital on a policy position that might turn around and bite them. If public reaction is negative, they can walk away unscathed.

Politicians lacking vision (like Mr. Prentice) launch trial balloons left, right and centre in the hope that somewhere along the line they'll get it right. This demonstrates a lack of conviction in the party's platform or a lack of confidence in the government's ability to explain difficult issues to the electorate.

So we can expect Mr. Prentice to respond to Alberta's financial crisis by cobbling together a "mandate" based on whatever is least offensive to the public, and "testing" this mandate by calling a snap election.

The "mandate" will bear no resemblance to PC party policy unless Mr. Prentice holds a policy convention to ratify it. Don't hold your breath.

Politicians blessed with vision make significant policy decisions without test driving them first.

Peter Lougheed was such a politician. Shortly after he was elected, he shocked Big Oil by boosting royalty revenues from 17% to 40%. His decision was consistent with his belief that Albertans own their natural resources and should be properly compensated for them. He added $10 billion a year to the provincial treasury.

Prentice's priorities

Now wait. Isn't this a little harsh? Wasn't Mr. Prentice working hard on other things when he was blindsided by the drop in oil prices?

Here are the five priorities he set out in the Throne Speech; you tell me:

1. A focused commitment to sound conservative principles: So far it's been trial balloons and veiled threats against the public sector.
2. Ending entitlement and restoring public trust: He appointed a governance committee to review four of the 200 agencies, boards and commissions (ABCs) but flip flopped on whether he'll publish salaries paid to ABCs' staff who manage two-thirds of the budget.
3. Maximizing the value of our natural resources and respecting property rights: He visited oil companies in Houston, picked up a T-bird on his way home and plans to visit Washington later this month. He passed Bill 1 which repealed one offensive property law but leaves six equally offensive laws on the books.
4. Establishing Alberta as an environmental leader: The carbon levy is delayed...again.
5. Enhancing Alberta's quality of life: Hundreds of schools and hospitals were announced, then postponed because oil prices took a nose dive.

Not much progress; so what has he been doing?


Mr. Prentice spent the fall of 2014 consolidating power by eviscerating the Wildrose opposition. He'll spend the spring of 2015 (the Legislature doesn't reconvene until March 10, 2015) ensuring everything is in place for a snap election.

And he's busy distracting the public by launching trial balloons to get a fix on the political slogans that will best capture the attention of the 40% of the population who are not too fed up to vote.

Frankly, I'd rather see him send up a sheep, a duck and a rooster. That would be equally unproductive but a whole lot more entertaining.

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 2:02 pm

CTV Atlantic

For N.B. homeless man, dignity instead of a death unnoticed

He died alone after a life falling through society’s cracks and his passing may have gone unnoticed, had it not been for a caring few.

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 6:41 pm

1000 Awesome Things

#319 Leaving your belt in your pants for tomorrow

Congratulations, Superdresser. You just saved twenty seconds of pushing that belt through your jeans tomorrow morning while bumbling around late for work. Also applies to leaving your shoelaces tied up, keeping your undershirt in your hoodie, and sleeping with your … Continue reading

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 12:01 am

Art flourishes in Detroit community of Hamtramck

By Dana McMahan We bump down an alley, trying to remember how we got to our destination the last time. We’re on a hunt for Hamtramck, Mich., Disneyland, not far from my newly adopted city of Detroit. I like taking […]

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 5:51 am


The top weekend events in Toronto: Jan 30 - Feb 1 2015

weekend events torontoWeekend events in Toronto will keep you warm and well fed, as Winterlicious's prix fixe mania and mountains of poutine join celebrations of beer, tea, and Drake. If you're not into Drake-drag, there are cosplay parties and film fests to hit up.

Here are my picks for the top events happening in Toronto January 30 - February 1, 2015.

La Poutine Week (February 1 - 7)
Celebrate this gravy-covered national treasure at restaurants in Montreal, Quebec City, Sherbrooke, Ottawa, New York and Toronto. Toronto participants include Poutineville, Cut the Cheese, Marky & Sparky's, Joy Bistro, Mr. Ciao, Holy Chuck, Caplansky's, Duke's Refresher + Bar, Fancy Franks and Lou Dawgs. LI


Winterlicious (January 30 - February 12)
Hope you've done your research on this annual prix fixe celebration: there are over 200 participating restaurants to choose from. Check out our guide of must-hit restuarants for Winterlicious 2015 here. LI


The Toronto Tea Festival (Jan 31 - Feb 1, Toronto Reference Library)
Tired of all the alcohol-centric events popping up on your calendar? Warm up with winter's true drink, tea. Showcasing and selling loose tea and tea-made foods to brewing gear, the two day festival is, fittingly, at the library, but you don't have to be too quiet - there will be tea-centric music, too.

Roundhouse Winter Craft Beer Festival (January 31, Steam Whistle Brewery)
The second annual Winter Craft Beer Festival hosted by Steam Whistle Brewery returns to the Roundhouse Park from 11am to 5pm. Over 20 breweries and 5 food trucks have already confirmed they'll be in attendance, and the first 500 people through the gates will get a 2015 festival toque. Tickets are on sale now for $20 (+$5 at the gate). LI

FeBREWary (February)
Beau's month-long celebration of beers is back in February with new special editions released each week and events, and tap take-overs happening at beer bars all month. LI


art shows torontoDouglas Coupland (January 31 - April 19, MOCCA + ROM)
Canlit fans will be excited about this upcoming exhibition at MOCCA and the ROM: Douglas Coupland's everywhere is anywhere is anything is everything installation will continue the writer's obsession with tech and pop culture via whatever means necessary - including Lego.


Class of 2015 (Silver Dollar)
No need to mope around after the NYE fuss is over - live music fans will have more fun launching 2015 with the New Year's Indie Music Honour Roll series at Silver Dollar. On weekends from January 1 - 30 catch seven different line ups including Pet Sun, NOBRO, Champion Lover, Several Futures, and CANYUN. Check out our preview here.

Owen Pallett (January 31, Lee's Palace)
It's been a banner year for violin-wielding virtuoso Owen Pallett thanks to an acclaimed LP, popular music theory lessons and everything from Emmy to Oscar nominations (he even handled that JG controversy like a pro). His gig with Jennifer Castle will feature the intricate compositions and deft musicianship that make him such a sought-after collaborator across the music world.

The Crush Project presents Drake Expectations (February 1, The Gladstone)
Toronto's rap darling surely gets a lot of invitations to parties, but none, I suspect, that sound quite so entertaining as this upcoming event hosted by the Crush Project. Drake Expectations is a night of comedy, burlesque, drag, and live music all devoted to our biggest star, clothier, weatherman and onomastician. What could be better than Drake-themed drag and burlesque?


Good Men, Good Women: The Films of Hou Hsiao-hsien (Jan 29 - March 1, TIFF)
TIFF presents a complete retrospective of Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-hsien all through February. This weekend see Dust in the Wind, A Time to Live and a Time to Die, and City of Sadness. Not to be missed for fans of new wave cinema.

The Great Digital Film Festival (January 30 - February 5, Cineplex Theatres)
Cineplex's annual gathering of mega-popular crowd pleasers returns once again to give audiences the chance to see some of their favorites on the big screen. This year's line-up includes tried-and-true pictures like Blade Runner, Kill Bill, Alien and Aliens. But it's especially worthwhile this year to check out the welcome inclusion of beloved cult classics like The Rocketeer, Darkman and The Monster Squad. AH

8 Fest (SPK, Jan 30 - Feb 1)
This weekend at the SPK Polish Combatants' Hall super 8 and small gauge filmmaking makes a comeback with the 8 Fest. Programming includes Canadiana, a David Anderson spotlight on Saturday, a concert with Fresh Snow, artist talks, and more. A weekend pass is just $25.


The Seagull (Berkeley Street Theatre, January 11 - February 8)
CanStage puts on Chekov's classic existential drama this winter under the directorial guidance of Chris Abraham. The play has a fascinating history, which started with an utter failure on its opening night all the way back in 1896. It's since become one Chekov's most important works, one which resonates today as much as it did a century ago.


Frostcon (January 31, Chestnut Conference Centre)
Cosplay your favourite character at Chestnut Conference Centre this Saturday for Frostcon, Toronto's cold-weather geek convention. There will be merch, Q&A's, art, special guests, and more.

For more events this weekend click on over to our Events section. Have an event you'd like to plug? Submit it for free using this form.

Contributions by Liora Ipsum, Alexander Huls, Derek Flack

Photo of Poutineville by Jesse Milns

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 3:59 pm


Gwyneth Paltrow raves about spa's vagina steam

Gwyneth Paltrow raves about vagina steam

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 9:37 am

Metro News

Amended Winnipeg Convention Centre deal gets council approval

The much-debated $3.75-million deal that lets a construction company off the hook from a hotel requirement for the Winnipeg Convention Centre passed at city council on Wednesday. “This was a unanimous decision and I think that speaks volumes,” Bowman told … Continue Reading

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 6:00 am

The Province

‘Coalition of strange bedfellows’ to launch Yes campaign in transit tax plebiscite

Supporters of a tax that will fund transit and transportation in Metro Vancouver finally appear to be getting ready to campaign for the controversial addition of 0.5 per cent to the provincial sales tax. The Better Transit and Transportation Coalition has four co-chairs and will launch its campaign Feb. 5 at Simon Fraser University to seek a Yes vote in the mail-in plebiscite that runs from March 16 to May 29.

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 8:16 pm

Rabble CA

Peoples, Palestine, and the Crushing of Free Speech: Steven Salaita

Is this show currently playing?
January 29, 2015
Professor Salaita is at the centre of an international protest against academic censorship. He spoke in Vancouver January 14.

Professor Salaita is at the centre of an international protest against academic censorship.  He spoke in Vancouver earlier in January 2015.

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Posted on 28 January 2015 | 11:59 pm


Extra, Extra: Eating Your Winter Feelings, Rob Ford’s New Website, and Talk Radio You Should Listen To

Every weekday’s end, we collect just about everything you ought to care about or ought not to miss. It’s cold, it’s snowy, and the sun has gone away. But as of tomorrow, you can sit in warm, dry, food-filled places and get some good deals at local restaurants thanks to the annual Winterlicious program. When […]

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 4:00 pm

Quirks and Quarks

Why Rover Rolls Over - 2015/01/24 - Pt. 3

Dogs roll over in the presence of other dogs as a combat tactic, not submissive as previously thought.

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Posted on 23 January 2015 | 12:00 am

Sun Columnists

Powdered milk is good enough

Powdered milk will soon by served to prisoners in all federal institutions. The savings, however, estimated at $3.1 million by Correctional Service Canada, does not impress the official opposition in Ottawa.

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Posted on 28 January 2015 | 7:14 pm

The Progressive Economics Forum

Don’t Play Tories’ Game on “Risk” of Deficit

Acres of newsprint have been devoted in recent weeks to the possibility that lower oil prices might push the federal budget back into a deficit position.  As I argue in my column in today’s Globe and Mail, this drama is mostly political theatre — and progressives should be cautious about accidentally accepting the Conservative frame […]

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 10:38 am

Religious News Blog

Is the FLDS cult expanding its presence in South Dakota?

FLDS cult compound in South Dakota

Observers believe the polygamous FLDS cult, whose 'prophet' is serving a life sentence, will soon move thousands of its followers to South Dakota.

Thought to house 300 people now, the compound is seeking to significantly expand its water usage permit.

Full story: Is the FLDS cult expanding its presence in South Dakota?

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Posted on 26 January 2015 | 6:54 pm

Much Music

7 Amy Schumer Gifs To Get You Excited For Her MTV Movie Awards Gig

The news is out! Amy Schumer is going to be the host of this year’s MTV Movie Awards on April 12 at 8E/5P on MTV. Check out the hilarious new promo for the show featuring surprise guest, Anna Kendrick. .@amyschumer is hosting the @MTV #movieawards on 4/12 because she's a really cool person. Right, @AnnaKendrick47? […]

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 6:13 pm


BoC to cut interest rate again, loonie to continue its slide: CIBC

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 12:34 pm


Family's dream home a house of horrors

Family's dream home a house of horrors

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 7:12 pm

National Post Blog

CRTC fumbles imaginary Super Bowl commercial crisis with plan that undermines Canadian advertisers

Terence Corcoran: The reality is that nobody pays attention to the CRTC’s rambling attempt to redefine itself in a new television era that hardly needs a regulator

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 10:59 pm

Wired Science

How Sequencing Foods’ DNA Could Help Us Prevent Diseases

How Sequencing Foods’ DNA Could Help Us Prevent Diseases

Scientists from the IBM Research and Mars Incorporated today announced the Sequencing the Food Supply Chain Consortium, a collaborative food safety platform aiming to leverage advances in genomics and analytics to further our understanding of what makes food safe.

The post How Sequencing Foods’ DNA Could Help Us Prevent Diseases appeared first on WIRED.

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 8:00 am

Eureka Science News

Los Alamos develops new technique for growing high-efficiency perovskite solar cells

This week in the journal Science, Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers reveal a new solution-based hot-casting technique that allows growth of highly efficient and reproducible solar cells from large-area perovskite crystals.

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 5:32 pm

The Toronto Star Columnists

Home health care workers may be on strike as early as Friday

Hundreds of thousands of Ontarians who rely on home and community health care could see care affected Friday morning if workers vote to strike.

On Thursday, the Ontario Nurses’ Association (ONA) announced they are urging 3,500 Community Care Access Centre (CCAC) health-care professionals to vote for strike action. They say their employers — 10 CCACs across the province — walked away from mediation and rejected requests for wage increases.

“This is not a pre-strike vote, like, building up the momentum,” ONA President Linda Haslam-Stroud told the Star. “This is the final vote. We are recommending strike.”

“I expect that all, if not the majority, will be out on strike” she said.

Strike votes are set for Thursday evening. Results were expected to be announced at 8 a.m. Friday.

Haslam-Stroud said the CCACs are “forcing” workers onto the picket lines due to a “very lowball offer.”

“They refused to negotiate any monetary issues at any of the tables,” she said, adding the CCAC asked workers to accept a wage freeze.

The provincial body working with the CCACs said the employers didn’t “walk away” and that the mediator and both parties determined discussions “would break when an impasse was reached on monetary issues.”

“The employer has offered a combination of wage increases and lump sum payments. It would not be appropriate for me to provide further details right now,” said Ontario Association of Community Care Access Centres (OACCAC) spokesperson Megan Allen-Lamb in an email to the Star.

The workers who could be affected by a strike — including registered practical nurses, rapid response registered nurses, care co-ordinators and direct care nurse practitioners — provide home care to palliative patients, offer mental health support in schools, offer rapid response nursing and help co-ordinate hospital discharges and long-term care placements though Community Care Access Centres across Ontario.

“We basically are the cog in the wheel for health care in the community and in long-term care,” Haslam-Stroud said.

She said a strike could “slow down” Ontario’s health-care system and create backlogs in hospital emergency departments.

“Those patients that require an impatient bed won’t necessarily have those beds available because the patients that should be discharged home don’t have a care co-ordinator there to plan their discharge,” she said. “Patients … would normally have a CCAC care co-ordinator arranging for them to get home care when they go home.”

Dianne Leclair, a CCAC care co-ordinator who works at a hospital in the Niagara region, said without her, patients would be sent home without a care plan.

“You could be at risk for falls. Your nutrition could be at risk,” she said. “These are the people who will end up coming back to (the emergency department).”

Allen-Lamb said all 10 CCACs have full contingency plans in the event of a strike.

“Services will continue without interruption,” she said.

The labour negotiations would not affect CCAC staff employed by contracted service provider organizations, including personal support, therapy services and nursing care, said Allen-Lamb.

In the GTA, North York and Scarborough could be affected by strikes. The Durham region, Hamilton Niagara Haldiman Brant region, Waterloo region and other areas throughout Ontario could also be affected.

The Toronto Central CCAC is not represented by ONA.

In a statement emailed to the Star, Ontario’s Health Minister Eric Hoskins said he hopes the parties can come to a resolution.

He added that government funding for CCACs increased by 5 per cent each year for the past two years and that the home- and community-care sector will receive an additional $270 million this year.

“‎Even with these increases, we have asked our public sector partners, including employers and bargaining agents, to work together to control costs so that we can continue to invest in expanding access to services for Ontario families and patients,” said Hoskins.

Hoskins did not respond to a question about making CCAC workers essential service workers, meaning they would not be able to strike.

Conservative health critic MPP Bill Walker said consideration could be given to making some levels of CCAC workers essential service workers.

“Any time when we’re talking about health care — particularly in emergent health care — then I think that needs to maybe be given consideration,” he said.

As many as 700,000 patients across Ontario relied on care from CCAC workers last year.

The ONA — which represents workers from 10 out of the province’s 14 CCACs — is asking for a 1.4 per cent salary increase each year for two years. The increase is comparable to what counterparts in hospitals, public health and long-term care facilities receive, she said.

The workers’ last contract expired March 31, 2014.

One point of contention for the ONA is the issue of high-paid CCAC CEOs — which is currently under review by Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk, who is looking into CCAC operations.

Between 2009 and 2012, almost all 14 CCACs gave their CEOs raises of more than 30 per cent. Some earn more than $300,000 annually.

“They need to look at the high-priced CEO salaries … that (money) could be put forward for front-line care,” said Haslam-Stroud.

Voting will take place in separate CCAC catchments — meaning some Ontario workers could be on strike Friday while others are back at work. All votes are expected to be in by midnight Thursday.

“This is very, very, very disheartening for our members,” she said. “We don’t want to be out on strike, we want to be out there caring for our patients but these employers have left us no other choice.”

CCACs were established by Ontario’s Ministry of Health in 1996 to help Ontarians access government-funded home and community services and long-term care homes, according to the ministry’s website. CCACs are funded by the Ministry of Health.

With a file from Bob Hepburn

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 7:56 pm

Canadian Tech Blogger - MobileSyrup

Qualcomm exec says the Snapdragon 810 is performing as expected

It’s been a bit of a whirlwind couple of weeks for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 810. The chip was confirmed for use in a Korean variation of the Galaxy Note 4 before...

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 6:06 pm

The Daily Galaxy

Image of the Day: "Massive Bubbles" --New 3-D Probe Inside an Iconic Milky Way Supernova

This composite image shows two perspectives of a three-dimensional reconstruction of the Cassiopeia A supernova remnant. This new 3-D map provides the first detailed look at the distribution of stellar debris following a supernova explosion. Such 3-D reconstructions encode important...

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 3:23 pm

The Movie Blog

Trailer: Ted 2

    Seth MacFarlane returns as writer, director and voice star of Ted 2, Universal and Media Rights Capital’s follow-up to the highest-grossing original R-rated comedy of all time. Joined...

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Posted on 29 January 2015 | 5:50 pm


Art inspires the magic Rubik's cube

The greatest and most popular puzzle of the 20th century began life as an artwork.

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Posted on 26 January 2015 | 7:49 pm