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Posts Tagged ‘alberta’

My Favourite Blog Right Now

April 5, 2011 Leave a comment

It is election time in Canada (again), which means a plethora of poll data is just waiting to be analyzed by journalists, pundits and, well me.

So since I like numbers and statistics, my favourite blog for the rest of the month will be TheeHundredEight.com

ThreeHundredEight.com

This site amalgamates poll data and gives a projection of the next parliament. It is also updated every day so you can obsess over stats every single morning!

Now, I know Canadian politics does not have the animosity, craziness, stupidity or entertainment value of American politics, but that is something we Canadians should be proud of; even if its less fun to watch on TV.

While this site may only be interesting to my readers who occupy the intersection of this Venn diagram:

which should be what? Like, 8 people? 12? Meh, whatever. The site also gives poll data by province and even by riding, so even if you don’t like stats you may be interested in seeing which way the wind is blowing in your area.

Since I live in Alberta, and I am a bleeding heart left-wing hippy (which is how conservatives try to paint anyone who is not conservative), my vote will pretty much be useless. But I will still vote for poops and giggles.

Actually, The Globe and Mail also has a nice summary of the party platforms on its website. It is being continually updated as well, so keep an eye on that if you want a nice summary of the different platforms.

Hurray for democracy! And statistics!

Enough Griping. Time For Some Active Skepticism

January 12, 2011 Leave a comment

I started this blog to talk about poor science reporting and try to put some good information out there. Usually though, it comes off as complaining.

This has been true a number of cases, and recently because of the Wi-Fi scares going on in Canada.

There have been a number of stories, mainly on the CBC, about parents from 2 communities in Canada who do no want Wi-Fi installed in their children’s schools for fear of adverse health effects.

It is quite clear from a large body of scientific evidence that Wi-Fi is completely safe, and these fears are unwarranted. However, the fears are given credence because of a few crackpot “scientists” and poor media coverage.

It isn’t much, but I wrote an email to the CBC asking them to provide more accurate information in their reporting. Here is the email in its entirety:

I am writing in regards to the CBC’s recent reports regarding Wi-Fi technology in schools.

In recent months, there have been several news items written on the CBC news site regarding the health effects of wireless internet technology. These have mainly consisted of stories from Ontario and Alberta in which a group of parents has approached its local school board and requested that Wi-Fi not be installed in their children’s schools.

While I agree that it is important to report on these issues, I strongly disagree with the lack of background information and tone of the articles themselves. They give the average reader very little sense of the current body of scientific evidence, which overwhelmingly indicates that wireless technology is safe for both adults and children.

The articles fail to show this large disconnect between the mainstream scientific community and the views of a very a small fringe group. Blanket statements such as “Health Canada and the World Health Organization have said Wi-Fi is not dangerous” are simply not adequate to provide readers with an accurate picture. This is of concern to me since it may cause undo panic to parents across the country that are only looking out for the well-being of their children, and may be frightened by the poor representation of the scientific consensus in these articles.

Microwave radiation, at the powers and frequencies used by wireless systems has been thoroughly researched and the evidence is clear that it is quite safe. I respectfully ask that in future news items you provide more information on the research done on Wi-Fi which shows it is safe in order to put the minds of parents at ease.

I decided to write directly to the CBC because I generally respect its reporting and it is my primary source for news. However this issue has troubled me as I’m sure it has troubled many other readers.

Thank you.

Will I get a response? Probably not. Will it make a difference. Ha, probably not. But it is DOING something rather than just complaining, so maybe the skeptic gods (?) will smile down on me and make a difference.

 

Dinosaur Found in Sewer by My House!

August 25, 2010 Leave a comment

Yup, its totally true.

A city worker in Edmonton, Alberta (not far from yours truly) was having a regular, shitty day at work in the sewer. Thats gonna be my only sewer joke, I swear.

So this young man named Aaron Krywiak found what he described as “an interesting shaped rock.” Well that rock turned out to be the tooth of an Edmontosaurus. But thats not all.

Aaron Krywiak

Upon further investigation, Aaron found a “motherlode” of dinosaur bones belonging to Edmontosaurus and Albertosaurus.

Edmontosaurus

Albertosaurus

I love living here. Its pretty cool to be so close to such world class dinosaur research and sites.

I still haven’t made it to the Royal Tyrell Museum though, which is where these fossils are going to be taken. Not to worry, I’ll get there soon and you’ll be sure to hear about it!

My Travels In The Canadian Rockies

July 26, 2010 Leave a comment

So I make every effort to have a post up almost every day. And those of you loyal to my blog will realize I’ve missed a few days.

Well I have a good reason. I’ve been studying tectonic plate activity from 80 – 55 million years ago (i.e. vacation).

Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada

Perhaps one of the most beautiful sites in the world, Lake Louise in Alberta is where I spent this past weekend.

Hiking, horseback riding and canoeing comprised my thorough study of the geologic activity in the region.

Who is the gentleman in this photo?

So here is what I discovered from my travels, and a few web searches.

The North American Rocky Mountains were formed roughly 80-55 million years ago.

Location of the Rocky Mountains (Wikipedia)

The formation of the Rocky Mountain range was actually the result of tectonic plate collisions between the Pacific plate and the North American plate.

Tectonic Plates

As you may notice, these plates meet a large distance away from where the Rocky Mountain range is located. What is happening is that the oceanic plate (the Pacific Plate) will slide under, or ‘subduct‘, underneath the continental plate (the North American Plate). This interaction of the plates caused the ancestral rock in the region to ‘bunch up’ and rise into the air, forming the Canadian Rocky Mountains.

However they were formed, the Canadian Rockies are a great vacation destination. Great people, great outdoor activities, and great views.

Scientists Get Drunk and Name a New Dinosaur

July 11, 2010 Leave a comment

Even dinosaur nerds have a sense of humour. At least, when they are out drinking.

From xkcd

A new dinosaur discovery, published this past week in the Journal of Paleontology, led to the most difficult part of discovering a new dino friend: what to name it.

So, after a few rounds, some Yale grad students thought of a great one. You ready?

Mojoceratops.

Yup, Mojoceratops perifania was first discovered in 2008 when a post-doctoral fellow at Yale University was rummaging through some old fossils at the American Museum of Natural History.

Skull of Mojoceratops

While looking through a pile of bones thought to belong to a dino named Chasmosaurus, he realized that the skulls looked a little weird. Then BAM! it hits him, a brand new dino species.

Mojoceratops used to live up near yours truly in Western Canada. I really need to go check out some of the dinosaur museums around here.

Also kind of makes me want to go rummaging through my old closet and see what cool stuff I can find there…

Dinosaur Graveyard Found Near My House!

June 24, 2010 1 comment

What did people find near YOUR house today?

Ok, so maybe its a couple hundred kilometers away from me, but the same province still counts as nearby…right?

Anyway, researchers have found the world’s largest ‘Dinosaur Graveyard’ in Alberta, Canada. The site is roughly 2.3 square kilometers in size and contains thousands of bones from the herbivore Centrosaurus.

Centrosaurus

Centrosaurus lived roughly 76 million years ago in the Alberta area, which at that time was a lovely, warm, tropical area. Too bad its not like that now…

Alberta Weather, Present Day

The huge number of bones in the site suggest that Centrosaurus traveled in herds much larger than we originally thought.

It’s hypothesized that large collections of skeletons like this occur because of a rapid onset of a tropical storm. With the lack of high ground nearby, the dinosaurs pretty much drowned and were buried along with the whole herd.

What I love about dinosaurs (besides the fact that they are awesome) is that we are constantly learning more about them. I was really into dinosaurs when I was a kid, and even though I’m in my mid-20s now, I still find them interesting.

Think I’ll go watch Jurassic Park for the 1000th time.