Showing posts from August 26, 2014

Life doesn’t make trash: Is Our Genome Full of Junk DNA?

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[A genome is not a blueprint for building a human being, so is there any way to judge whether DNA is junk or not? An interesting piece on certain kinds of "freeloaders" in our DNA. *RON*]
by Itai Yanai and Martin Lercher, Aeon Magazine, 25 August 2014

Itai Yanai is associate professor in biology at the Israel Institute of Technology.

Martin Lercher is professor at the Institute of Bioinformatics in Dusseldorf, Germany. Lercher and Yanai are co-authors of the forthcoming book, The Society of Genes, from Harvard University Press.

Humans are astounding creatures, our unique and highly complex traits encoded by our genome – a vast sequence of DNA ‘letters’ (called nucleotides) directing the building and maintenance of the body and brain. Yet science has served up the confounding paradox that the bulk of our genome appears to be dead wood, biologically inert junk.

Could all this mysterious ‘dark matter’ in our genome really be non-functional?


Caribou habitat in Alberta ravaged beyond repair

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["About five per cent of range for the Little Smoky and a la Peche caribou herds remains undisturbed — a long way from the federal government’s 65 per cent target." *RON*]
Derrick, West Coast Native News, 25 August 2014

Scientists studying the ravaged caribou habitat of Alberta’s northwestern foothills say they have found so much disturbance from decades of industrial use that restoration of the terrain will have to be selective.

“There’s just so much disturbance, it’s important we prioritize,” said Laura Finnegan, a biologist with the Foothills Research Institute in Hinton, Alta.

The institute is one year into a three-year study on how animals and humans continue to use this ragged landscape in an effort to understand how to best restore it.

Governments are counting on that work to help them live up to promises of sustainable development.
Deforestation worse than in Brazil

This stretch of foothills still looks like pristine, trackless boreal…

Supporting ‘terror tourism’ to Israel gets Canadian tax credits

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[The Foreign Enlistment Act makes it illegal for Canadians to join foreign armed forces, and a Canadian judge has referred to people who attempt to do so as 'terror tourists.' Yet there are 145 Canadians in the Israeli army and part of the tab for training these soldiers to go there is being picked up by Canadian tax payers as a charitable donation tax refund. *RON*]
By Yves Engler,, 24 August 2014

When is a Canadian who leaves this country to join a foreign military force and participate in the killing of innocent civilians, including children, called a terror tourist and sent to jail?

a) Always;

b) Never;

c) Only when that person joins a military force the Conservative government disagrees with.

Numerous ministers in the current federal government have loudly denounced the radicalization of Canadian youth in foreign wars. Last year, the Conservatives passed a law that further criminalizes “leaving or attempting to le…

Underneath the legal drama: The ethics of for-profit health care in B.C.

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[Here's the important point: "If Cambie wins this case, health care could thereafter be freely traded between Canada and the U.S. under NAFTA without option to restrict the growth of for-profit care that would spill northward from the U.S. due to our free trade agreement. The enormity of financial interests in this case are difficult to overstate." *RON*]
By Vanessa Brcic,, 26 August 2014

One of the most important constitutional trials in Canadian history was set to begin on September 8, 2014 before the B.C. Supreme Court. Dr. Day, owner of the for-profit Cambie Surgical Centre says he is fighting for the freedom of patients who are victims of "medical enslavement," while making generous and unlawful profits well above what the government and his own profession have identified as fair. These arguments were to be heard in a costly 24-week trial that pits our public health system against the two-tiered, free-market…