Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Mid-Week Post

That's the one!

At first, he warmed to the idea of a Liberal/NDP coalition:

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau says he would "maybe" be more open to the idea of forming a coalition with the NDP if Tom Mulcair was not running the party.

Asked on Tuesday whether having someone other than Mulcair as leader would change the dynamic in terms of a coalition between the two parties, Trudeau replied: "I don't know.... Honestly, I don't want to get into hypotheses. Maybe, but maybe not.

"There are no problems in terms of personality," he told The Canadian Press in an interview from Oakville, Ont. "Mr. Mulcair is a veteran politician who has proven himself.

"His style is anchored in the old way of practising politics. Politics needs to be about rallying. And we have very different perspectives on how politics should be practised."
Then he hated it:

Justin Trudeau is 100 per cent against the idea of forming a coalition with the NDP, in any way, shape or form, he said Wednesday.

Now, his mother has stepped into the fray:

Sure, she's his mom and all that.

But Margaret Trudeau told host Robyn Bresnahan on CBC Radio's Ottawa Morning Wednesday that she's dreading "that horrible game of politics" and the nasty campaign attacks she feels are bound to come Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau's way in this year's federal election.

"All that attacking, all that meanness, all the partisanship… I have a bigger, peaceful view of life than aggressively breaking down other people. I try to build up people, not break them down, and in politics, it seems now the game is breaking down your opponents," she told host Robyn Bresnahan during an interview to promote her new book The Time of your Life.

"I'm not looking forward to the attack ads. I think it's straight out bullying, and I'm ashamed of Canadians for doing this — having this as part of their platform," she said.
(Sidebar: it doesn't look good when a grown man's mother stands up for him, especially when he wants to be prime minister.)

Leave Justin alone!

What would have been a fantastic source of clean energy is fracked natural gas but please continue, New Brunswick. I look forward to hearing how your latest scheme will bust up sooner rather than later:

New Brunswick's forests and tides are regularly marketed as tourist attractions, but renewable energy experts say they could both play an important role in reducing the province's greenhouse gas emissions.

A 2012 study carried out by forester Stéphane Bouchard said that byproducts from the wood industry in New Brunswick have the potential to generate up to 500 megawatts of power.

"That amount of energy would represent about one third of the electrical baseload of the province," said Bouchard. "Everywhere in New Brunswick has the potential to use biomass for energy. Basically because there is forest everywhere in New Brunswick."

Bouchard's Université de Moncton research with colleagues Mathieu Landry and Yves Gagnon proposed 17 regional combined heat and power plants. Bouchard acknowledges that investment costs to set up such plants would prove to be a barrier, but he's convinced biomass has an increasingly important part to play in future power generation.

"As the price of energy goes up and the technology for biomass evolves and the price [of that] goes down, it becomes more and more feasible economically," he said. "We have the local know-how and the expertise in forestry. It's just a matter of time before we integrate biomass energy into our society." ...

Biomass is a so-called carbon-neutral energy source. Trees remove the same amount of carbon from the air while alive, as they emit when burned.

NB Power says between 31 and 32 per cent of its in-province energy sales are currently generated using renewable technology. Almost all of that energy currently comes from eight hydroelectric power plants and three wind farms. 


The Bay of Fundy is home to the world's largest tides. Every day 160 billion tonnes of seawater flow in and out of the bay. 

Marie-Hélène Briand, the global director of water power at Hatch engineering, says the technology to harness that power is on the cusp of viability.

"What we call 'hydrokinetic technology' is about to enter the commercial stage," said Briand. "The Bay of Fundy is one spot that is identified as being high potential for this type of technology."

According to a 2006 study by Triton Consultants Ltd., tidal energy in the bay has the potential to power the Maritimes, hundreds of times over. The potential between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia is as high as 23.5 terawatt-hours per year. However, a 2008 Acadia University study warns that extracting the full potential of the tides could have a serious environmental  impact on the region.
The water power in the bay is such that the tide snapped blades off an experimental turbine in 2010. It is part of a test program, part-funded by the government of Nova Scotia.

"This is still considered new technology. It's equivalent to what the wind power industry was maybe 25 years ago." said Briand.

But the Montreal-based coastal engineer says one advantage of tides over wind is that you can forecast exactly when power can be generated.

"Predictability is a great advantage of this technology. Tides are predictable for years in advance with a very high level of accuracy."

The world's first commercial tidal turbine has been in operation in Northern Ireland since late 2008.

What is biomass energy? Wood or dung.

And what is wrong with using biomass material?

Burning wood in pre-industrial Western Europe caused massive deforestation, as is occurring in much of the developing world today. The indoor air pollution that biomass produces kills more than three million people annually. Likewise, modern energy crops increase deforestation, displace agriculture, and push up food prices.

While the tides coming in and out of the Bay of Fundy are the largest in the world, making the proposed tidal power project an enticing hydro-electric one (a form of energy the province of Ontario clearly despises), it will undoubtedly kill a number of sea-living creatures, rather like wind turbines killing birds and bats.

Because Premier Gallant has stalled any hydraulic fracturing in New Brunswick, he must look elsewhere for energy and these proposals are the long shots he needs to make it seem that he is serious about energy.

Prime Minister Harper and visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have signed an agreement for 7.1 million pounds of Saskatchewan's uranium:

India and Canada signed several agreements Wednesday aimed at increasing trade and co-operation between the two countries, but the biggest one for both countries involves the sale of uranium for nuclear energy.

Canada has been inching towards a free trade deal with India over the last several years.

During an official visit to Ottawa by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, agreements were signed dealing with transport, space exploration, social security and maternal and newborn health.

An agreement with Cameco, one of the largest producers of uranium in the world, will have long term effects for Canadian jobs and Indian living standards.

India’s Department of Atomic Energy has pledged to purchase 7.1 million pounds of uranium from Cameco through 2020.

While the deal is small compared to Cameco’s annual sale of 30 million pounds of uranium, it is the first deal between a Canadian uranium producer and India’s nuclear industry.

In case Premier Wynne hoped that one forgot:

This afternoon, defense lawyer Clayton Ruby argued against the Crown's proposed three years and six month sentence for his client, disgraced former Deputy Minister of Education for Ontario Ben Levin.

Look- for the refreshing honesty of it, why not just admit that for some people teaching is not the easy ride some thought it would be and giving standardised tests is work one would rather not be doing. That way, real teachers could step in and mould students into the productive adults one knows they can be:
Everyone has one — that crazy, kooky, out-of-step teacher who got you thinking or feeling more involved in the classroom.

However, some advocates say increasing competition for jobs and resources, combined with an increasingly standardized curriculum, are forcing the brightest and most creative teachers away.

The result: nearly one third of new teachers are leaving the job within five years of starting out, says Joel Westheimer, a research chair and professor in the Faculty of Education at the University of Ottawa.

Westheimer, who trains new teachers, says each year graduates outnumber available jobs.
At the same time, he said the last 10 to 15 years have seen a radical shift in the culture of teaching and education, skewing towards standardized training and testing.

As a result, "teachers feel compelled or forced to teach to the test and other aspects of the curriculum are pushed to the margins," he said.

The increase in standardization, combined with a heavy curriculum load that leaves limited time for creativity or autonomy, can leave teachers feeling like assembly line workers, he said.

The fields of education and training are going to have undergo a massive sea change in order for students to compete in a marketplace that sees Asian powerhouses dominate, cheaper itinerant labour, fewer benefits, job insecurity, lower wages and degrees in STEM fields. "Creativity" and "autonomy" are not what modern teachers do best.

Yazidi girls and women report that ISIS conducted some sort of "lottery" in order to determine who would be raped:

A doctor in charge of treating survivors in Dohuk said at least 70 of the 105 female survivors she had treated appeared to have been raped while being held hostage by the extremist group.

One woman, Rashida, described militants choosing women by drawing their names out of a "lottery". The 31-year-old says she tried to kill herself by swallowing a toxic chemical after being ordered by the fighter who picked her name to bathe. 

Two girls described the abuse of their 16-year-old sister by four men over a period of several months. Their sister, who was allowed to visit them, recounted a Ukrainian fighter beating her, raping her, giving her electric shocks and denying her food.

How is that "degrading ISIS" thing going, Western countries?

Anti-semitic attacks surged in 2014:

Anti-Semitic attacks surged worldwide in 2014, with the highest number of incidents occurring in France, according to an annual study published in Israel on Wednesday.

The report, by Tel Aviv University's Kantor Center for the Study of Contemporary European Jewry, said 766 violent anti-Semitic acts, with or without weapons, were carried out around the world last year -- a 38 percent increase over 2013.

Arson, vandalism and direct threats against Jews, synagogues and other Jewish institutions were included in the figure, making 2014 the worst year for such attacks since 2009.

"The overall feeling among many Jewish people is one of living in an intensifying anti-Jewish environment that has become not only insulting and threatening, but outright dangerous," the study said, citing "alarming reports especially from Western Europe and North America".

For some perspective:

“It is entirely legitimate for the American people to be deeply concerned when you’ve got a bunch of violent, vicious zealots who behead people or randomly shoot a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris,” Obama said.
kosher shop victims
A couple of "folks" "randomly" killed at Paris' Hyper Cacher Jewish deli (source here).

Carry on.

There's no censorship like post-Soviet censorship:

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s media watchdog group, has updated a “personal data” law to allow for the government to regulate and ban memes using the likenesses of public personalities, including President Vladimir Putin.

And now,  a puppy doing push-ups.

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