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Showing posts from February 27, 2018

Today's Trumpery

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Arctic warming: scientists alarmed by 'crazy' temperature rises

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[Record warmth in the Arctic this month could yet prove to be a freak occurrence, but experts warn the warming event is unprecedented. See also: Antarctica's king penguins 'could disappear' by the end of the century. *RON*]

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian, 27 February 2018


An alarming heatwave in the sunless winter Arctic is causing blizzards in Europe and forcing scientists to reconsider even their most pessimistic forecasts of climate change.

Although it could yet prove to be a freak event, the primary concern is that global warming is eroding the polar vortex, the powerful winds that once insulated the frozen north.

The north pole gets no sunlight until March, but an influx of warm air has pushed temperatures in Siberia up by as much as 35C above historical averages this month. Greenland has already experienced 61 hours above freezing in 2018 - more than three times as any previous year.

Seasoned observers have described what is happenin…

We can’t truly protect the environment unless we tackle social justice issues, too

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[Racism and environmental justice. People of color continue to live closer to environmental hazards. *RON*]

Amal Ahmed, Popular Science, 26 February 2018


In the Southside of Chicago, Ali Rashad works with a group of men to rebuild the community they live in; environmentally, spiritually, and economically. As the manager of the Inner-City Muslim Action Network’s Green ReEntry Program, Rashad helps formerly incarcerated individuals find jobs that are rooted in sustainability.

The program, which has been operating for the last seven years, aims to provide these Chicago residents economic opportunity by rehabbing and revitalizing homes in Chicago Lawn, a neighborhood on the city’s southwest side that has experienced decades of white-flight, segregation, and changing demographics.

The Green ReEntry Initiative runs a fully accredited program that helps members become certified for HVAC installations, carpentry, and electrical work. But in each step, t…

$1B upgrader plan aimed at getting Alberta off boom-bust rollercoaster

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[As long as Canada is producing oil and gas (and I believe we should leave most of it in the ground), we should do more processing in Canada. But I can't for the life of me see why this will "get Alberta off the boom-bust rollercoaster." It won't, but it will make corporate welfare queens happy. Investing in alternative sustainable energy would stop the rollercoaster ride, however. *RON*]

Todd Coyne, CBC News, 26 February 2018


The Alberta government will spend up to $1 billion on a series of grants and loan guarantees to build two to five partial oil upgraders in the province.

The government hopes the money will attract up to $5 billion in additional private investment and create 4,000 new construction jobs.

Premier Rachel Notley made the announcement Monday, following new recommendations from Alberta's Energy Diversification Advisory Committee.

The money is expected to start flowing from government coffers in 2019 and las…

How Companies Scour Our Digital Lives for Clues to Our Health

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["People typically touch their phones 2,617 per day, according to one study — leaving a particularly enticing trail of data to mine." Wow! Brought to my attention by my friend Peter. An emerging field, digital phenotyping, tries to assess people’s well-being based on their interactions with digital devices. *RON*]
Natasha Singer, New York Times, 25 February 2018



Your digital footprint — how often you post on social media, how quickly you scroll through your contacts, how frequently you check your phone late at night — could hold clues to your physical and mental health.

That at least is the theory behind an emerging field, digital phenotyping, that is trying to assess people’s well-being based on their interactions with digital devices. Researchers and technology companies are tracking users’ social media posts, calls, scrolls and clicks in search of behavior changes that could correlate with disease symptoms. Some of these services are o…

Discredited hair-testing program harmed vulnerable families across Ontario, report says

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[Wow! Via my friend Harry. Commissioner issues 32 recommendations as 'steps toward ensuring that no family experience similar harm'. *RON*]

Melanie Glanz and the Canadian Press, CBC News, 26 February 2018


A commission looking into child protection cases involving the Motherisk test lab says bad science removed vulnerable children from more than 50 families based on now-discredited hair analysis, but few parents have a chance of finding a satisfactory legal remedy.

The Motherisk Commission was set up by the Ontario government to analyze legal cases dating from 1990 to 2015. The cases involved flawed hair-strand drug and alcohol tests from a lab run by the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

On Monday, the two-year review into more than 1,200 child welfare cases involving hair tests concluded that in 56 cases the test results had a substantial impact, such as being used to pull children from their parents' care.

Provincial court ju…