Science & Environment

spaminator

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Invasive, mutant version of crayfish discovered in Burlington-area waters
Author of the article:postmedia News
Published Oct 09, 2023 • Last updated 2 days ago • 2 minute read
Marbled crayfish
Marbled crayfish, which has been discovered in the wild in Canada for the first time. PHOTO BY HANDOUT /Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry
An invasive species of self-replicating crayfish — believed to have been created in captivity — has been found in Ontario waters.


The prohibited marbled crayfish, also known as marmokrebs, was discovered for the first time in the wild in Canada earlier this year in a Burlington-area pond, according to an Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry statement released Aug. 4.


No known wild species of marbled crayfish exist and it is believed to have originated through the aquarium trade in 1995.

The marbled crayfish is regulated under the Invasive Species Act — one of more than 30 species with that designation — and are illegal to “import, possess, release, transport, breed/grow, buy or sell … in Ontario,” according to the MNRF statement. “You can’t even keep them in an aquarium. They may be listed for sale under other names such as marble crayfish, self-cloning crayfish or marmorkrebs.”


This version of crayfish is a mutant with the ability to reproduce quickly and is capable of cloning itself, which means only one could be responsible for starting a new population. One marbled crayfish has the ability to produce hundreds of offspring every time they reproduce, “without the need for sperm or a fertilized egg,” according to the MNRF.

“If established, marbled crayfish will have a negative impact on Ontario’s native crayfish populations through competition for food and habitat,” the MNRF said. “Marbled crayfish can rapidly take over an area and replace native crayfish species, which are already being impacted in parts of Ontario by the invasive rusty crayfish.

“Marbled crayfish may also impact Ontario’s biodiversity by feeding on algae, plants, invertebrates, and amphibians and may cause shoreline destabilization and erosion through burrowing activities.”

Marbled crayfish have been found to survive in many different environments, including countries with climates like Ontario. They have been released and become established in nine European countries and Madagascar and Japan.

The species, which resembles a miniature lobster, is medium-sized (3-10 centimetres in length) with a body that can be dark brown, tan, brown-green or sometimes blue, always with marble patterning.

The MNRF is asking anyone who has seen the invasive species in the wild to call the toll-free Invading Species Hotline at 1-800-563-7711.
marbled-crayfish-2023-10-05[1].jpg
 

spaminator

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'Freak of nature' tree find of a lifetime for B.C. forest explorer
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Cathy Free, The Washington Post
Published Oct 10, 2023 • 5 minute read
Ancient Forest Alliance photographer TJ Watt stands beside "The Wall" -- an ancient western red cedar tree -- on the day he came across it in June 2022.
Ancient Forest Alliance photographer TJ Watt stands beside "The Wall" -- an ancient western red cedar tree -- on the day he came across it in June 2022. PHOTO BY TJ WATT / ANCIENT FOREST ALLIANCE / HANDOUT /The Washington Post
TJ Watt has spent half his life as a forest explorer, a self-described “tree hunter” in British Columbia. He wades deep into endangered forests to find pristine towering trees that are hundreds of years old and massively wide but have never been photographed or documented.


He draws attention to the enormous old-growth trees to show the importance of saving the natural wonders from logging.


The day he approached a gargantuan western red cedar he’d been trekking with a friend for several hours in a remote area on Flores Island in Clayoquot Sound in Ahousaht territory off the west coast of Vancouver Island.

“After bush whacking for a while in the woods, we started to see some really large cedars, then suddenly, up ahead, we could see the looming trunk of this giant tree,” he said. “It was so large that at first, we almost thought we were looking at two trees.”

As he drew closer to the tree, Watt said he was overcome with disbelief: He was dwarfed by a tree standing 151 feet (46 metres) tall and 17 and a half feet (5 metres) in diameter.


The tree, believed to be more than 1,000 years old, was the find of a lifetime. It’s one of the largest old-growth cedars ever documented in British Columbia, Watt said.

“I feel humbled every time I think about it,” said Watt, 39. “I nicknamed it ‘The Wall,’ because it can only be described as a literal wall of wood.”

He said this was a first in his 20 years of tree hunting.

“I’ve found thousands and thousands of trees, and I’ve shot hundreds of thousands of photos of old-growth forests,” he said. “But I’ve never seen a tree as impressive as this one.”

An aerial view over the old-growth forests of Flores Island in Ahousaht territory, Clayoquot Sound, B.C.
An aerial view over the old-growth forests of Flores Island in Ahousaht territory, Clayoquot Sound, B.C. PHOTO BY TJ WATT / ANCIENT FOREST ALLIANCE / HANDOUT /The Washington Post
Watt felt humbled by the discovery.

“It was incredible to stand before it,” he said. “I’d describe it as a freak of nature because it actually gets wider as it gets taller. As I looked up at it, I felt a sense of awe and wonder.”


He found the tree in June 2022, but he didn’t alert the public about it until the end of July this year because he wanted to make sure the tree was thoroughly documented, and also wanted input from Ahousaht First Nation members who have lived in the territory for thousands of years.

“It was decided that we should keep the tree’s location a secret because these are sensitive areas, and everything could get pretty trampled if word got out where to find it,” Watt said.

The Ahousaht First Nation has about 2,400 members, with 1,100 living on Flores Island, said Tyson Atleo, a hereditary representative for the nation, someone who is a caretaker of the nation’s cultural traditions and history.


Atleo said he didn’t know about the colossal cedar until Watt took him to see it.


“The tree leaves you with a sense of wonder about the natural world and the universe,” said Atleo, 37. “There is so much about that tree and the life it upholds that we will never understand. When you look at it, it hits you like that.”

He said the Ahousaht people would have admired it over the ages.

“People would have seen this tree for hundreds of years – my people would have interacted with it for as long as it’s been here,” he said. “Today we covet these large trees because there are so few of them left.”

Canada’s largest tree, widely recognized as the Cheewhat Giant, was first documented in 1988 measuring about 19 feet (6 metres) in diameter and 182 feet (55 metres) in height, according to the Ancient Forest Alliance. It’s located in the protected Pacific Rim National Park Reserve.


These 2020 photos show TJ Watt with a giant red cedar tree before and after it was cut down by loggers in the Caycuse watershed in Ditidaht First Nation territory on southern Vancouver Island.
These 2020 photos show TJ Watt with a giant red cedar tree before and after it was cut down by loggers in the Caycuse watershed in Ditidaht First Nation territory on southern Vancouver Island. PHOTO BY TJ WATT / ANCIENT FOREST ALLIANCE / HANDOUT /The Washington Post
While it is protected, about 80% of the original, productive old-growth forests on Vancouver Island have been logged, satellite photos show, according to the Ancient Forest Alliance.

Too many old-growth trees have been cut down for timber rather than being recognized for their value providing habitat for wildlife and storing vast amounts of carbon, Atleo said. An old-growth forest is typically described as a forest containing trees that have developed over hundreds of years, with unique characteristics that are not found in younger forests.

British Columbia has a plan to protect its old-growth forests, but many conservationists have found government implementation of the plan to be slow, said Watt.

“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” he said.


Atleo said his nation now operates an eco-cultural tour company to showcase some of the territory’s old-growth trees (the tree found by Watt won’t be included), and his community is working to get financing to save more ancient forests. The nation has protected 80% of its Clayoquot Sound lands on Vancouver Island’s western coast, and the nation will now protect the large tree that Watt documented, he said.

“We need to acknowledge that our community is reliant on some [logging] employment in the forest sector, but we are envisioning doing it in a better and new way,” Atleo said. “TJ’s work is helping raise public awareness and inspiring people to feel connected to these forests.”

Watt said he undertook the Flores Island tree-hunting expedition as an explorer for National Geographic and the Royal Canadian Geographical Society, through a grant provided by the Trebek Initiative, a group that funds photographers and others who contribute to Canadian wildlife projects.


Watt shares photos of the giant trees on social media and his Ancient Forest Alliance website.

“I was excited to post the photos because I knew people would be as blown away by the tree as I was,” he said, adding that he also shared some of his first photos of the enormous cedar with the Canadian Broadcasting Company.

Watt lives in Victoria, where he grew up in the small town of Metchosin, climbing trees and playing in the woods, he said.

“It was a lush place with forested hillsides – you had the fog rolling through the forest, sunbeams coming in and moss hanging off everything,” he said.

Watt honed his photography skills, he said, and in 2010 he co-founded the Ancient Forest Alliance nonprofit to both document the trees and try to preserve them.


He said he’s now in the woods every chance he gets to explore and photograph some of the most rugged landscapes in British Columbia.

“I look at maps and study satellite imagery of forests to pick an area, then I pack my bags with cameras and communication gear and that’s when the fun starts,” Watt said.

He is often exploring for days at a time and usually takes somebody with him.

“We’ll drive on the back roads, then get out and walk into the woods, and that’s the magic of it,” he said.

Although he’d visited Flores Island before, he said he was looking forward to exploring more of the island’s 96 square miles of forests. He’s still stunned by what he found there.

“I know I’m not the first person to see this big tree – the Ahousaht people have inhabited this area since time immemorial,” he said. “But I feel honoured in modern times to be the first to notice and document it.”
bc-treehunter-1[1].jpgbc-treehunter-3-e1696958502764[1].jpgbc-treehunter[1].jpg
 

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RCMP launches probe into Ontario’s Greenbelt land swap
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Liam Casey
Published Oct 10, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 4 minute read

The RCMP has launched an investigation into the Ontario government’s decision to open up parts of the protected Greenbelt for housing development, a probe the premier’s office said the province will co-operate with.


The police force said Tuesday that its “sensitive and international investigations” unit is leading the investigation.


The province removed 7,400 acres of land from the Greenbelt last year as part of its broader push to build 1.5 million homes by 2031, while adding land elsewhere. The swap triggered a public outcry and investigations from two legislative watchdogs.

In January, the Ontario Provincial Police said they were working to determine whether they should investigate and in August the force referred the matter to the RCMP out of concern over a perceived conflict of interest.

The RCMP had been assessing whether to launch a probe since then. On Tuesday, the Mounties said an investigation into the land swap had begun.


“Following a referral from the Ontario Provincial Police, the RCMP O Division’s sensitive and international investigations unit has now launched an investigation into allegations associated to the decision from the province of Ontario to open parts of the Greenbelt for development,” Cpl. Christy Veenstra wrote in a statement.

Veenstra said no further details would be released to protect the integrity of the investigation.

Premier Doug Ford’s office said the government would work with the Mounties.




“We have zero tolerance for any wrongdoing and expect anyone involved in the decision-making about the Greenbelt lands to have followed the letter of the law,” it wrote in a statement.

“Out of respect for the police and their process, we will not be commenting further at this time.”

Ford previously said he was confident nothing criminal took place.

The RCMP’s sensitive and international investigations unit specializes in “sensitive, high-risk matters that cause significant threats to Canada’s political, economic and social integrity of its institutions across Canada and internationally,” the force’s website said.

The squad performs political investigations that examine elected officials on allegations of fraud, financial crimes, corruption and breach of trust.


Ontario created the Greenbelt in 2005 to protect agricultural and environmentally sensitive lands in the Greater Golden Horseshoe area from development.

Two legislative watchdogs examining the government’s land swap found the process to select which lands were removed from the Greenbelt was flawed and favoured certain developers.

The province’s integrity commissioner J. David Wake found that Steve Clark, the province’s housing minister at the time, violated ethics rules. Clark resigned shortly after the commissioner’s report was released.

Auditor general Bonnie Lysyk, in a separate report, found the developers stood to see their land value increase by $8.3 billion because of the land swap.

Both the integrity commissioner and the auditor general focused their probes on Ryan Amato, Clark’s chief of staff at the time.


Lysyk found that more than 90% of the land removed from the Greenbelt was in five sites passed on to Amato by two prominent developers Amato met at an industry dinner.

Wake found no evidence of developers being specifically tipped off that the government was considering Greenbelt removals — though he found one developer “questionable” on that point — but that Amato’s actions and conversations with them had that effect.

Amato resigned shortly after the auditor general’s report. He previously said he did nothing wrong and declined to comment Tuesday.

“On the advice of my legal counsel, it would be inappropriate for me to comment on an ongoing police investigation,” Amato wrote in an email.

Ford has since apologized for the land swap and said in September that 15 parcels of removed land would be returned to the Greenbelt. The premier also pledged to not touch the Greenbelt in the future.


The aftermath of the watchdog probes saw several high-profile resignations, including Clark and another cabinet member, Kaleed Rasheed.

The province is soon set to table legislation so future changes to the Greenbelt would have to be done through the legislature and not by regulation, as the Ford government did last November.

The opposition roundly supported the RCMP probe on Tuesday.

New Democrat Leader Marit Stiles said Ford’s government is “spiralling out of control.

“It is absolutely shameful that under Premier Ford’s leadership this government has appeared to have acted so improperly that the RCMP was compelled to launch an investigation,” Stiles said.

Interim Liberal Leader John Fraser also welcomed the probe.


“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire and we need to get to the bottom of why a handful of the premier’s friends and fundraisers were given the inside track for an $8.3-billion windfall,” he said.

Green party Leader Mike Schreiner said an RCMP investigation is key to delivering justice and accountability to Ontarians.

“I am pleased to hear that the RCMP is investigating the corrupt process that saw a few wealthy, well-connected land speculators cash in $8.3 billion on Ontario’s Greenbelt,” Schreiner said.

“The people of this province put their trust in the premier and he chose deals for developers over everyday Ontarians.”
 

spaminator

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Crane brought in to remove tree by Hadrian’s Wall that was cut down in act of vandalism
Author of the article:Associated Press
Associated Press
Pan Pylas
Published Oct 12, 2023 • Last updated 2 days ago • 2 minute read
Police officers look at the tree at Sycamore Gap
Police officers look at the tree at Sycamore Gap, next to Hadrian's Wall, in Northumberland, England, Thursday Sept. 28, 2023 which has come down overnight. PHOTO BY OWEN HUMPHREYS /THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LONDON — A crane on tracks removed large sections of a much-loved and often-photographed tree Thursday from the place near the Roman landmark of Hadrian’s Wall in northeastern England where the sycamore was cut down two weeks ago in an apparent act of vandalism.


The National Trust, which seeks to protect England’s heritage and natural landscapes, said it was necessary to move the downed tree to protect the delicate and now-damaged wall and to make the site safe again for visitors.


The stump, which could generate new shoots, will be kept in place and is currently behind a protective barrier. Seeds also were collected to see if they could be used to propagate new saplings.

Though the 50-foot-long (15-metre-long) tree was too big to move in one piece, experts hope that relocating the trunk in large sections will provide opportunities for preserving it.

“We’ve explored every option for moving the tree, and while it isn’t possible to lift it in one go, as the tree is multi-stemmed with a large crown, we have aimed to keep the trunk in as large sections as possible, to give us flexibility on what the tree becomes in future,” said Andrew Poad, the site’s general manager for the National Trust.


Northumbria Police arrested a 16-year-old boy and a man in his 60s after the tree was felled a fortnight ago. They were released on bail pending further inquiries into what a chief detective described as the “senseless destruction” of the tree.

The tree was one of the main landmarks along Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site built nearly 2,000 years ago, when Britain was part of the Roman Empire, to guard its northwestern frontier. The National Trust is dating the tree but believes it was planted in the late 19th century.

For generations, walkers have paused to admire and photograph the tree at Sycamore Gap, which was made famous when it appeared in Kevin Costner’s 1991 film “Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.”

The tree, which was cut down near the base of its trunk, could grow again, experts said, though they cautioned that it would never be the same.

“Effectively, what the perpetrator has done is coppice (prune back) the tree,” Poad said. “So ironically, they have prolonged the life of the tree.”

The National Trust has received thousands of messages about the tree, with advice on what could be done with the felled remains, including making benches, a sculpture or souvenirs to sell.

There will be a public consultation about what happens next at the site.
aptopix-britain-hadrians-wall-felled-tree[1].jpg
 

spaminator

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TTC riders disgusted after bedbugs spotted on seat
Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Published Oct 17, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 1 minute read
Screenshot of bedbug on TTC seat.
Screenshot of bedbug on TTC seat. PHOTO BY ITSGUEN /TikTok
Bedbugs were all the rage during Paris Fashion Week after the pesky insects were increasingly spotted in homes, theatres, airports and trains across France’s capital.


There were warnings that a global infestation could be upon us. What if a plague of the bloodsuckers have already latched on to travellers in Paris and now have new homes?


Someone on TikTok posted a clip of a bed bug and crawling across TTC seats.

“My guy flew all the way from Paris,” read the text onscreen of user Itsguen’s post.

She added #bedbugs and #bedbuginfestation to the caption, however many argued that it was not a bed bug, but a louse.

Either way, the comments section was thoroughly grossed out.

“Y’all commenting ‘it’s lice’ like that’s better?,” one disgusted person asked.

“Omg the TTC needs to get rid of the cloth fabric chairs!!!,” one user suggested. “We need to bring back those orange plastic benches on the TTC subways.”

There were many who declared they were never sitting down again on the TTC, but one person ominously warned, “Those that think standing would help, it won’t.”

Bedbugs on the TTC should not be too surprising. Earlier this year, Toronto was once again ranked the bedbug capital of Canada.
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spaminator

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Ontario NDP ask for ethics probe on ties between developer, former minister
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Liam Casey
Published Oct 18, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read

TORONTO — Ontario’s official Opposition requested Wednesday the integrity commissioner probe the relationship between a minister, members of the premier’s inner circle and a prominent developer whose land was removed from the protected Greenbelt.


New Democrat Leader Marit Stiles said her party wants the commissioner to examine a 2020 trip to Las Vegas by then-minister Kaleed Rasheed, Doug Ford’s then-principal secretary Amin Massoudi, Jae Truesdell — at the time in the private sector but who served as Ford’s director of housing policy starting in January 2022 — and developer Shakir Rehmatullah.


Rasheed, Massoudi and Truesdell initially told the integrity commissioner they went to Las Vegas in December 2019 where they “briefly” encountered Rehmatullah.

They later said the trip occurred in 2020 after reports from The Trillium and CTV called Rasheed’s timeline of his trip into question and a spokesperson said Rasheed had “mistakenly” given the integrity commissioner incorrect dates.


“From where I’m standing, none of this looks right and I know it doesn’t look right to Ontarians either,” Stiles said. “We hope our request will get people the truth that they deserve.”

Stiles wants Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake to examine the “misleading” information given to the commissioner.

“This government wants us all to believe that it was a total coincidence that one of their MPPs and two of the premier’s closest advisers all provided the wrong dates to the integrity commissioner and only corrected the record once media reported evidence to the contrary,” Stiles said.

The lawyers for Rasheed, Massoudi, Truesdell and Rehmatullah did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The province removed 7,400 acres of land from the Greenbelt last year to develop housing, but has since tabled legislation to reverse course.


That reversal came 10 months after the province removed the land and only after two legislative watchdogs found the selection process was flawed and favoured certain developers.

The scandal has rocked Queen’s Park and cost Rasheed his job as minister of public and business service delivery. He was also booted from the Progressive Conservative caucus, but could return should he clear his name, Ford has said.

The Greenbelt land removals also cost Steve Clark his job as housing minister.

The RCMP is investigating the government’s decision to open up the Greenbelt to development.

Ford has apologized for the Greenbelt land removal and said it won’t be touched going forward. He also said he believes nothing criminal has taken place and the government will co-operate with the police probe.


The government supports the NDP’s request to the integrity commissioner to investigate, said new Housing Minister Paul Calandra.

“The premier has been clear to all of us: we will assist to the fullest extent on this and anything else,” he said.

The Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario confirmed it received the request to investigate.

“The request will be reviewed in accordance with the office’s procedure,” said Michelle Renaud, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario.

She added the request will take into account a section of the Members Integrity Act that states: “If the commissioner, when conducting an inquiry, discovers that the subject-matter of the inquiry is being investigated by police or that a charge has been laid, the commissioner shall suspend the inquiry until the police investigation or charge has been finally disposed of, and shall report the suspension to the speaker.”


In August, Wake found the government gave preferential treatment to certain developers, including Rehmatullah, when it chose which lands to remove from the Greenbelt and allow development.

Rasheed told Wake on that probe that he is close friends with Rehmatullah and that his wife works for the developer.

Rehmatullah also attended the wedding of Ford’s daughter last September.

In the fall of 2022, the developer requested Ryan Amato, Clark’s then chief-of-staff, to remove a parcel of land from the Greenbelt, which the government eventually did, the integrity commissioner’s report found.

“On the evidence, I am unable to make a definitive finding as to what or who prompted Mr. Rehmatullah in the fall of 2022 to take the steps he did to request that his small piece of land and the land of two of his fellow members of a landowners group be removed from the Greenbelt,” Wake wrote. “But I find it is more likely than not that someone did.”
 

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Low Earth Orbit
Ontario NDP ask for ethics probe on ties between developer, former minister
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Liam Casey
Published Oct 18, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 3 minute read

TORONTO — Ontario’s official Opposition requested Wednesday the integrity commissioner probe the relationship between a minister, members of the premier’s inner circle and a prominent developer whose land was removed from the protected Greenbelt.


New Democrat Leader Marit Stiles said her party wants the commissioner to examine a 2020 trip to Las Vegas by then-minister Kaleed Rasheed, Doug Ford’s then-principal secretary Amin Massoudi, Jae Truesdell — at the time in the private sector but who served as Ford’s director of housing policy starting in January 2022 — and developer Shakir Rehmatullah.


Rasheed, Massoudi and Truesdell initially told the integrity commissioner they went to Las Vegas in December 2019 where they “briefly” encountered Rehmatullah.

They later said the trip occurred in 2020 after reports from The Trillium and CTV called Rasheed’s timeline of his trip into question and a spokesperson said Rasheed had “mistakenly” given the integrity commissioner incorrect dates.


“From where I’m standing, none of this looks right and I know it doesn’t look right to Ontarians either,” Stiles said. “We hope our request will get people the truth that they deserve.”

Stiles wants Integrity Commissioner J. David Wake to examine the “misleading” information given to the commissioner.

“This government wants us all to believe that it was a total coincidence that one of their MPPs and two of the premier’s closest advisers all provided the wrong dates to the integrity commissioner and only corrected the record once media reported evidence to the contrary,” Stiles said.

The lawyers for Rasheed, Massoudi, Truesdell and Rehmatullah did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The province removed 7,400 acres of land from the Greenbelt last year to develop housing, but has since tabled legislation to reverse course.


That reversal came 10 months after the province removed the land and only after two legislative watchdogs found the selection process was flawed and favoured certain developers.

The scandal has rocked Queen’s Park and cost Rasheed his job as minister of public and business service delivery. He was also booted from the Progressive Conservative caucus, but could return should he clear his name, Ford has said.

The Greenbelt land removals also cost Steve Clark his job as housing minister.

The RCMP is investigating the government’s decision to open up the Greenbelt to development.

Ford has apologized for the Greenbelt land removal and said it won’t be touched going forward. He also said he believes nothing criminal has taken place and the government will co-operate with the police probe.


The government supports the NDP’s request to the integrity commissioner to investigate, said new Housing Minister Paul Calandra.

“The premier has been clear to all of us: we will assist to the fullest extent on this and anything else,” he said.

The Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario confirmed it received the request to investigate.

“The request will be reviewed in accordance with the office’s procedure,” said Michelle Renaud, a spokeswoman for the Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario.

She added the request will take into account a section of the Members Integrity Act that states: “If the commissioner, when conducting an inquiry, discovers that the subject-matter of the inquiry is being investigated by police or that a charge has been laid, the commissioner shall suspend the inquiry until the police investigation or charge has been finally disposed of, and shall report the suspension to the speaker.”


In August, Wake found the government gave preferential treatment to certain developers, including Rehmatullah, when it chose which lands to remove from the Greenbelt and allow development.

Rasheed told Wake on that probe that he is close friends with Rehmatullah and that his wife works for the developer.

Rehmatullah also attended the wedding of Ford’s daughter last September.

In the fall of 2022, the developer requested Ryan Amato, Clark’s then chief-of-staff, to remove a parcel of land from the Greenbelt, which the government eventually did, the integrity commissioner’s report found.

“On the evidence, I am unable to make a definitive finding as to what or who prompted Mr. Rehmatullah in the fall of 2022 to take the steps he did to request that his small piece of land and the land of two of his fellow members of a landowners group be removed from the Greenbelt,” Wake wrote. “But I find it is more likely than not that someone did.”
So who is the City of Toronto connection? In the long run its the city who will gain. Right now it sits as untaxed Crown lands.

The instant its sold, its now taxed by municipal authorities but as park zoned, undeveloped, unserviced land. Thats one layer. The city grows but the land value is still dirt cheap because of zoning.

Second layer. Zoning. Its up to the city to now do zoning. Once rezoned to residential/retail commercial the value of the land skyrockets. At this point both the city and the developers can now borrow against that parcel even if it sits for 100 years without a shovel turned.

The Province doesnt really gain anything.
 
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spaminator

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Blood offers clue to living to 100, say researchers
Researchers studied almost 45,000 Swedes

Author of the article:Jane Stevenson
Published Oct 22, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 1 minute read

Want to reach the ripe old age of 100?


A new study, published Oct. 10 in GeoScience, says centenarians tend to have lower levels of glucose, creatinine and uric acid from their 60s onwards, compared to other people, reported the Independent newspaper.


Involving 44,500 Swedes, the study is the largest of its kind. Researchers measured different blood molecules of study participants between 1985 and 1996, and followed up until 2020.

The findings may lead to a simple blood test to predict a person’s chance of reaching 100, according to researchers.

“We found that, on the whole, those who made it to their 100th birthday tended to have lower levels of glucose, creatinine and uric acid from their 60s onwards,” study authors wrote in the Conversation.

However, the study doesn’t go as far as recommending which lifestyle factors or genes are responsible for these blood molecule levels.

“However, it is reasonable to think that factors such as nutrition and alcohol intake play a role,” said the researchers.

“Keeping track of your kidney and liver values, as well as glucose and uric acid as you get older, is probably not a bad idea.”

Researchers focused on people born between 1893 and 1920, who were between 64-99 years old when their blood samples were first tested. They were tested again as they grew closer to 100 years of age.

About 1,200 of those studied reached 100 and the study compared their data with those of their younger peers.
 

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Red meat increases type 2 diabetes risk significantly: Study
Researchers studied almost 217,000 patietns over a 30 year period

Author of the article:Jane Stevenson
Published Oct 23, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 1 minute read

A new study says eating just two servings of red meat weekly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 62%, reported Fox News Digital.


However, the report, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also says replacing red meat with plant-based proteins or diary can reduce diabetes risk by 30% and 22%, respectively.


More than 30 years of health data and diet for 216,695 participants was studied by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study found 22,000 participants developed type 2 diabetes.

The report also found with every daily serving of processed red meat, the diabetes risk increased by 46% compared to 24% for each serving of unprocessed meat.

“Our findings strongly support that limiting intake of red meat and instead choosing mainly plant sources of protein will help reduce an individual’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its consequences,” said first author Xiao Gu, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard, in a statement to Fox News Digital.

Researchers recommend limiting red meat consumption to no more than two servings per week “and once would be better,” said Gu.

“We would also suggest people replace red meat with healthy plant-based protein sources, such as nuts and legumes. Adopting this dietary strategy will help reduce individuals’ risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its consequences, which will ultimately improve the health and well-being of people worldwide.”
 

petros

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Red meat increases type 2 diabetes risk significantly: Study
Researchers studied almost 217,000 patietns over a 30 year period

Author of the article:Jane Stevenson
Published Oct 23, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 1 minute read

A new study says eating just two servings of red meat weekly increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 62%, reported Fox News Digital.


However, the report, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, also says replacing red meat with plant-based proteins or diary can reduce diabetes risk by 30% and 22%, respectively.


More than 30 years of health data and diet for 216,695 participants was studied by researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. The study found 22,000 participants developed type 2 diabetes.

The report also found with every daily serving of processed red meat, the diabetes risk increased by 46% compared to 24% for each serving of unprocessed meat.

“Our findings strongly support that limiting intake of red meat and instead choosing mainly plant sources of protein will help reduce an individual’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its consequences,” said first author Xiao Gu, a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard, in a statement to Fox News Digital.

Researchers recommend limiting red meat consumption to no more than two servings per week “and once would be better,” said Gu.

“We would also suggest people replace red meat with healthy plant-based protein sources, such as nuts and legumes. Adopting this dietary strategy will help reduce individuals’ risk of developing type 2 diabetes and its consequences, which will ultimately improve the health and well-being of people worldwide.”
Red meat with or without alcohol? Domestic or imported red meat? Cut red meat or ground? White people or SE Asians who eat buffalo? What are the side dishes? Pasta? Potatoes? Breads? Rice?

Was that study funded by a health supplements conglomerate or by????
 
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spaminator

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Advanced imaging helps scientists reconstruct face of 12 million-year-old great ape
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Mark Johnson
Published Oct 24, 2023 • 5 minute read
Scientists using advanced X-ray imaging technology have reconstructed the face of a 12-million-year-old great ape similar to chimps and gorillas, opening a window into a critical moment in primate evolution.
Scientists using advanced X-ray imaging technology have reconstructed the face of a 12-million-year-old great ape, opening a window into a critical moment in primate evolution that may reveal important clues about our origins.


Reporting in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers from the United States and Spain have provided the first accurate three-dimensional image of the face of the great ape Pierolapithecus catalaunicus, revealing a creature with a mosaic of features, some shared by living primates, others by species long extinct. The mix of physical characteristics may help scientists answer a frustrating question.


“Basically, the story of the living apes is a mystery,” said Sergio Almecija, one of the authors of the new paper and a senior research scientist at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

“We don’t have fossils that everyone agrees go to one of the branches of the living apes. At the same time, we have tons of fossils of apes. But no one agrees what they are because they are so different from the living ones.”


The incomplete fossilized remains used in the study come from the only known example of Pierolapithecus, discovered 20 years ago during expansion of a landfill in northeastern Spain, part of which has since become a vineyard.

It may be hard to imagine apes in this part of the world. But millions of years ago in the Mid-Miocene epoch, there were 10 times as many great ape species as there are today and they were scattered across a much wider geographical area, including parts of Asia and Europe.

The apes of the Mid-Miocene also lived in woodlands that were far less hot and wet than the tropical forests where a small number of great apes now survive, all of them either endangered or critically endangered.




The Miocene landscape, however, shifted.

About 9.6 million years ago, changes to the climate wiped out much of the evergreen forest habitats in Eurasia. The loss “was disastrous for apes,” according to a paper in Nature Education Knowledge. Most apes disappeared from the region in an extinction event known as the Vallesian Crisis.

Pierolapithecus lived at an important moment “just before the Earth’s climate changed and lots of these apes went extinct,” said Carol Ward, a professor of pathology and anatomical sciences at the University of Missouri School of Medicine who did not work on the paper.

Well-preserved fossils from this period are in short supply, Ward said. “The fossil record can be cruel. It gives us broken fossils, distorted fossils and fragmentary fossils.”


Such is the case with the lone set of remains from Pierolapithecus. The bones — which include the whole face, portions of the hands and pelvis, a foot, a few vertebrae and some ribs — were uncovered as workers created the landfill now known as Abocador de Can Mata near Barcelona.

“The face was a little smushed in different directions,” said Almecija, explaining that researchers suspected at first that bone fragments had been bent out of shape during the millions of years they lay buried beneath tons of sediment.

In the course of reconstructing Pierolapithecus, however, researchers realized that the bone fragments were not distorted. Many had shifted and separated from one another, leaving behind a kind of three-dimensional puzzle hampered by missing pieces.


CT scans have been used since the mid-2000s to reconstruct the images of long-extinct animals, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis, which at about seven million years old is among the oldest known species assigned to the human family tree. But today’s equipment provides far better resolution, allowing scientists to achieve results that a decade ago would have been “almost impossible,” Almecija said.

The machine that scientists used to examine Pierolapithecus employs more-powerful X-rays than the traditional CT scanners found in a hospital. Known as a micro CT scanner, the device can penetrate dense material and produce much higher-resolution images.

Kelsey D. Pugh, a research associate at the American Museum of Natural History and a lecturer at Brooklyn College, led the CT analysis of Pierolapithecus.


“One part of the reconstruction is that you have the CT scans, which are of this damaged specimen, and you need to segment out what is bone and what is rock,” Pugh said. “You have to make decisions about which fragment should stay with which other fragment.”

Having assembled segments of bone, Pugh said, she then had to find the right position for each one, a task that took months and required “a lot of anatomical knowledge and a little bit of art.” One technique, called “mirror imaging,” made use of the symmetry in skulls. When fragments were absent from the left of the skull, she deduced what they ought to look like based on the fragments present on the right side.

The larger size of the pointed teeth called canines told the scientists they were looking at a male Pierolapithecus. It would have weighed about 75 pounds, roughly the size of a present-day female chimpanzee.


“The big surprise was that it was a mosaic,” said Almecija.

Pierolapithecus occupies an important branch on the tree of life, possessing a face similar to the great apes we know today — such as orangutans, chimpanzees and gorillas — and shorter hands like those of monkeys. Living apes have long hands and are able “to suspend themselves below the branches using their long, curved digits like hooks,” he said.

In the torso, Pierolapithecus was closer to living apes and humans with the upright posture that helps humans walk on two feet and lets apes climb and suspend from tree branches, said Almecija. “Monkeys have more of a primitive body (form), like a cat or a dog.”

Pugh said what appears most distinctive about Pierolapithecus is the height of the face, in particular the distance between the areas of the skull that house the eyes and the nose. The eyes “sit quite high on the face,” Pugh said. “This is a feature we see in some other fossil apes, but it’s higher than most living apes.”


Kieran McNulty, an anthropology professor at the University of Minnesota who did not participate in the study, said that “this kind of detailed reconstruction is beneficial, but takes a ton of work.”

The paper’s authors have made their CT scans of Pierolapithecus available to other scientists, a relatively rare practice in paleontology and paleoanthropology, McNulty said. This will allow other teams to attempt their own reconstructions of the species.

For scientists studying the evolution of hominids, the primate family that includes humans, the reconstruction and similar work should improve our understanding of the changes that have taken place over millions of years of ape evolution.

That will lead to “the really interesting question: Why did these changes take place?” Ward said. “Then we can start piecing together the story.”
 

spaminator

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He developed a cancer-fighting soap - while in middle school
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Praveena Somasundaram, The Washington Post
Published Oct 25, 2023 • 3 minute read

In a video for a nationwide science competition, Heman Bekele spelled out his mission in a single sentence.


“Curing cancer, one bar of soap at a time.”


In the two-minute video, Heman, a student at Fairfax County’s Frost Middle School, pitched his idea for a soap that could help fight skin cancer at a cost of less than $10 per bar. The soap, Heman explained, would be made with compounds that could reactivate the cells that guard human skin, enabling them to fight cancer cells. In April, Heman submitted the video to the 3M Young Scientist Challenge, an annual competition that invites students in grades five through eight to “change their world for the better with a single innovative idea.”

Earlier this month, after competing against nine other finalists in the challenge, he won the title of America’s Top Young Scientist.

“To see that all of the hard work paid off in the end, it was really a surreal experience,” Heman, now 14, told The Washington Post.


Heman’s idea for the competition came from the early years of his life in Ethiopia.

“There, I always saw people who were constantly working under the hot sun,” Heman said.

He moved to the United States at age 4 and never really thought much more about it. But as he started considering ideas for the competition, he harked back to his time in Ethiopia and wondered how many of the people he’d seen working in the sun were aware of the risk of sun exposure. The memories fueled his decision to focus his research on skin cancer.

“I wanted to make my idea something that not only was great in terms of science but also could be accessible to as many people as possible,” Heman said.

As he thought about his approach, Heman wanted his product to be something that was as much of a “constant” in people’s lives as possible – an item that was “most convenient and most trustworthy,” he said.


“No matter where you live, I think you know and trust soap in comparison to other medicinal products,” Heman said.

Heman submitted his pitch video and, in June, got a call that he was one of 10 finalists in the 3M Young Scientist Challenge. All finalists were paired with a mentor from 3M, which hosts the challenge along with Discovery Education, to develop and test a physical prototype of their ideas.

Heman’s mentor, 3M product engineering specialist Deborah Isabelle, said she could see the teen’s energy and passion for the project from their first meeting. She described Heman as “focused on making the world a better place for people he hasn’t necessarily even met yet.”

Heman and Isabelle had weekly virtual meetings as he worked on the prototype and documented his process – a requirement of the competition.


It took months of trial and error to create a prototype with a combination of compounds that could work effectively. Heman used computer modeling to determine the formula for the soap prototype he planned to present at the final competition.

The soap, called Skin Cancer Treating Soap (SCTS), works by using a compound that helps revive dendritic cells, which are killed by cancer cells. Once the dendritic cells are revived, they are able to then fight against the cancer cells. In essence, it reactivates the body’s healing power, Isabelle said.

“The Skin Cancer Treating Soap reminds the body how to defend itself,” she said.

Similar creams and ointments exist, Heman said, but he doesn’t believe soap has ever been used to fight against skin cancers in their early stages.


Earlier this month, Heman was given five minutes to present his idea to a panel of judges at the final event, held in St. Paul, Minn.

As his presentation came to a close, Heman told the panel he hoped to turn the soap into a “symbol of hope, accessibility and a world where skin cancer treatment is within reach for all.”

Though he won the competition, Heman’s plan for the soap stretches far beyond it.

He has a five-year plan, which includes seeking approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Isabelle has already connected him with other scientists who specialize in medical products to help him move forward with his plans.

Heman also hopes to start a nonprofit to distribute the soap in the future, he said.

“There is still a lot left to do,” he said.

For more health news and content around diseases, conditions, wellness, healthy living, drugs, treatments and more, head to Healthing.ca – a member of the Postmedia Network.
 

spaminator

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Flu shots may protect against the risk of Alzheimer's, related dementias
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Marlene Cimons, The Washington Post
Published Oct 25, 2023 • 5 minute read

There are many good reasons to get a flu shot this fall, but here’s one that might surprise you: It could protect your brain.


Recent research suggests that regular vaccinations against influenza and other infectious diseases such as shingles, pneumococcal pneumonia, and tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough) may reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.


“Vaccines are the great public health success story of our generation,” said Paul E. Schulz, professor of neurology and director of the Neurocognitive Disorders Center at the McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston, who led several of the studies. “They keep you safe from any number of infections, many of which can be life-threatening. And now it appears there is another tremendous benefit, this one against a disease that is among the most feared.”


What the research says
A number of studies have found that people receiving vaccinations for flu and several other infectious diseases appear less likely than the unvaccinated to develop dementia, although scientists aren’t sure why. Some believe that infectious agents play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and that vaccinations help by preventing or reducing the likelihood of getting these infections.

Alternatively, Schulz speculates that vaccines may curb an immune system reaction to amyloid plaque, a naturally occurring protein found in abnormally high levels in Alzheimer’s. The immune system sees plaque as a foreign invader and attacks it, causing chronic brain inflammation and the death of nearby neurons, which contribute to dementia, he said.


In quelling the immune response to amyloid, vaccines may save brain cells that the body’s immune system might otherwise kill, he said. It’s also possible that vaccines strengthen the immune system’s ability to get rid of plaque. “Fewer plaques lead to less inflammation and less brain cell loss,” Schulz said, adding: “We aren’t sure yet exactly what the mechanism is, but something is going on with the brain and the immune system that seems to make a big difference.”

Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and co-director of the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, said the studies “suggest long-term benefits from immunizations with vaccines that may go beyond the intended direct benefits.”


It is unclear why vaccinations may slow or prevent dementia, Hotez said. “In some cases, they may prevent viruses from causing direct neurological involvement, especially for neurotropic viruses, or indirectly through brain inflammation that can result from pathogens,” he said. “In other cases, they may stimulate innate immune mechanisms that may be protective against the sequence of events leading to dementia.”

Schulz led a recent study that found a statistically significant difference in the incidence of Alzheimer’s after following two groups – one vaccinated against flu, the other unvaccinated – for up to eight years.

In the flu study, the researchers took participants from a national patient database, two groups of 935,887 each, one group vaccinated, the other not. To avoid the potential influence of various factors that could affect the results, the scientists ensured that each group shared many of the same characteristics, such as age, gender, how frequently they went to the doctor, and certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol.


Schulz and his colleagues found that an annual flu vaccination for three consecutive years reduced the dementia risk 20 percent over the next four to eight years, while six shots doubled it to a 40-percent reduction.

There were 47,889 cases of dementia in the vaccinated group, compared with 79,630 in the unvaccinated participants – a difference of more than 30,000 cases, Schulz said.

Similar results from other vaccines
In another study, his team found similar results with vaccines for other infectious diseases, including shingles, pneumococcal pneumonia and the combination of tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (whooping cough), known as Tdap, or with tetanus and diphtheria without the pertussis component.


With the shingles vaccines, for example, (Zostavax, the early shingles vaccine, and Shingrix, the most recent one), the researchers compared 198,847 patients, who were vaccinated to an equal number who were not, Schulz said. Among the vaccinated, 16,106 patients developed Alzheimer’s during the eight-year follow-up, compared with 21,417 of the unvaccinated – or 5,311 fewer patients in the vaccinated group got dementia.

With Tdap and Td vaccines, the researchers compared two groups of 116,400 patients each, one vaccinated, one not. In the vaccinated, 8,370 individuals developed dementia over the eight years, compared with 11,857 in the unvaccinated – 3,487 fewer patients among the vaccinated.

With the pneumococcal vaccine, they compared two groups of 260,037 each, one group vaccinated, the other unvaccinated, and recorded 20,583 dementia cases among the vaccinated after eight years, compared with 28,558 unvaccinated people – 7,975 fewer patients in the vaccinated group, Schulz said.


In two studies conducted in the United Kingdom – still unpublished and under peer review – researchers at Stanford University found similar results. The first, among an older population in Wales, suggests that vaccination with Zostavax prevented an estimated 1 in 5 new dementia cases during a seven-year period, said Pascal Geldsetzer, assistant professor of medicine in the division of primary care and population health at Stanford University, who led the research.

The second analyzed mortality data for England and Wales and found a 5 percent difference in the probability of dying from dementia – or 1 in 20 deaths averted – during a nine-year follow-up.

For both studies, the scientists established two groups for comparison purposes based on the country’s birth date eligibility requirements. Those who turned 80 just before the vaccine program started were not eligible for the vaccine, and remained ineligible, while those who turned 80 just after the program began received the vaccine free over the course of the following year.


“It is likely that the only difference between the two comparison groups was a tiny difference in age, but a large difference in the probability of getting the shingles vaccine,” Geldsetzer said. “That makes our study fundamentally different in its approach to studies that simply compare people who get vaccinated with those who don’t. We think that our findings from this unique natural randomization strongly suggest a causal relationship.”

Need for more research
Experts said more studies were needed to determine the effects of the vaccine on the brain.

There may be undetectable factors that distinguish the vaccinated from the unvaccinated, despite researchers’ efforts to control for them, such as prior head injuries, genetics or environmental exposures, said William Schaffner, professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University.

Regardless, experts agree that people should get their shots. “All this requires further studies, but vaccination, along with good diet, exercise, intellectual and emotional stimulation are key factors for healthy aging,” Hotez said.

No one should suffer from preventable diseases, Schaffner said: “Vaccinations are a critical means of staying well and living a healthy life.”

For more health news and content around diseases, conditions, wellness, healthy living, drugs, treatments and more, head to Healthing.ca – a member of the Postmedia Network.
 

spaminator

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Autonomous driving systems worsen driver attentiveness — UWindsor study
Author of the article:Dave Waddell
Published Oct 25, 2023 • 4 minute read
His study found that semi-autonomous driving features in cars led to drivers being far less attentive than in manual mode.
His study found that semi-autonomous driving features in cars led to drivers being far less attentive than in manual mode.
Motorists using semi-autonomous driver assistance systems are twice as likely to be inattentive behind the wheel compared to those driving in manual mode, according to a University of Windsor study.


The six-month study had 30 volunteers from the university drive a Tesla Model 3 vehicle to and from the school and Chatham on Highway 401. One way was done with the driver completely in control while the other half of the trip was done with the Tesla Level 2 (L2) autopilot system engaged.


“Attentiveness was the main difference (between L2 and manual mode),” said associate human kinetics professor Francesco Biondi. “We created ideal conditions for attentiveness by not allowing mobile devices or being able to use the touchscreen.

“They were getting bored. We had some drivers doze off and the researcher in the back seat had to take care of it.

“I think the problem is actually worse than what we found.”

A Level 2 system maintains control of the vehicle’s speed and lateral lane position. Drivers are expected to keep their hands on the wheel and monitor the vehicle’s functioning and resume manual control when necessary.


Biondi has been studying such autonomous systems for a couple decades with Jaguar/Range Rover and the University of Utah before arriving in Windsor. He wasn’t surprised by the findings of the study, the first of its kind in Canada.

He was blunt in his dismissal of the safety value of L2 driving systems at this point.

“In my opinion it’s not better with L2,” Biondi said. “There are more unknowns about the technology than knowns.

It’s a social experiment. I don’t think it’s gone well
“We know human drivers tend to get lazy using autopilot, the technology doesn’t make you any safer.

“It’s a social experiment. I don’t think it’s gone well.”

That opinion was backed up by the California Department of Motor Vehicles decision Tuesday to suspend the permits for General Motors to test and operate its Cruise driver-less autonomous taxis in San Francisco after a pedestrian was run over and dragged underneath one of its vehicles three weeks ago.


The Windsor study, however, was centred on the human behind the wheel.

It focused on the driver’s cognitive workload, physiological activities, attention allocation and driver experience during the roughly 80-minute round trip. The study was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to help the province craft policy around autonomous driving and vehicles.

The volunteers, which included 13 female drivers, were measured for their response rates, heart rate, pupil size, eye blink rate and off-road glances while behind the wheel.

Biondi said the biggest lure for wandering eyes was the 15-inch horizontal screen in the Tesla.

In manual mode, drivers spent 100 seconds — or four per cent — of their total manual driving time taking their eyes off the road.


During the semi-autonomous mode, the average time was 200 seconds — or 16 per cent — of the driving total. In some cases, the driver’s eyes were off the road for over 400 seconds total.

“Drivers in manual mode, didn’t have much variance in their times of eyes being off the road,” Biondi said.

“In L2, drivers were all over the place. Some spent nearly seven minutes with their eyes off the road.”

The study found there were no differences in the gaze time between modes when drivers were checking their mirrors.

The study also didn’t find much variance in cognitive workload and physiological activity.

The fourth area of study showed drivers aren’t completely comfortable with the semi-autonomous driving experience.

While many were comfortable on Highway 401 outside of construction zones, drivers were uneasy by L2’s performance in construction zones. The driving experience was described as ‘jolty’ with it more difficult for the car to recognize lane markings and the jumble of traffic cones.


“The owner’s manual advises against using these systems in construction zones or in bad weather,” Biondi said. “Yet it didn’t disengage itself when it found itself in the construction zone and struggling a bit.”



Biondi said government policy must consider how new driver safety assistance systems can be misused or rendered ineffective by human behaviour issues.

The study recommends:

• enhancements needed in driver training on L2 systems;

• manufacturers need to offer more training for sales/dealership staff to help educate at the sales point;

•manufacturers should be required to track more closely semi-autonomous crashes;

• research needed on the impact of long-term driver use of L2 systems and their ability to function in unique road and weather conditions.

“We’ve added all this technology in cars in the last 20 years, but we’re still training drivers the same way,” Biondi said.

“We’re also hoping to help manufacturers get a better handle on technology and the potential risks they’re putting in these cars.”

Dwaddell@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/winstarwaddell
 

Dixie Cup

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Here is the Midea appliance megafactory where there are no pollution controls or labor standards, where children and Uighur slaves occasionally die building popular "Canadian" Senville heat pumps, which will be shipped to you on a bunker oil burning container ship and diesel truck. Seamus wants to give them our tax dollars because this solves climate change.
 
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Dixie Cup

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Just as an aside, I needed to recently rent a car. Got a Toyota Prius hybrid & had it for several weeks. What a great car & great on gas!! We simply need to build more of these cars cuz insurance agencies don't have an issue insuring them, car manufacturers don't have an issue building them BUT when it comes to EV's, insurance companies don't want to insure them as it's too costly, especially if in an accident the battery is involved - it means a total write-off. Also, car manufacturers don't necessarily want to build them because of costs & they'd have to lay-off half or more of their workers. EV's take 40% less parts & labor to make - likely issues with the Unions.

I went 690.9 km on one tank of gas. Couldn't have been happier, that's for sure!! There were a few things I would rather do without cuz if they broke, the cost of repair would be formidable but it was fun to drive.
 

petros

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Just as an aside, I needed to recently rent a car. Got a Toyota Prius hybrid & had it for several weeks. What a great car & great on gas!! We simply need to build more of these cars cuz insurance agencies don't have an issue insuring them, car manufacturers don't have an issue building them BUT when it comes to EV's, insurance companies don't want to insure them as it's too costly, especially if in an accident the battery is involved - it means a total write-off. Also, car manufacturers don't necessarily want to build them because of costs & they'd have to lay-off half or more of their workers. EV's take 40% less parts & labor to make - likely issues with the Unions.

I went 690.9 km on one tank of gas. Couldn't have been happier, that's for sure!! There were a few things I would rather do without cuz if they broke, the cost of repair would be formidable but it was fun to drive.
If you're a business owner you can only get a CCA depreciation of 40% on an EV.
 

spaminator

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Parks Canada says whirling disease could decimate fish, respect B.C. closures
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Published Oct 27, 2023 • 2 minute read
Yoho National Park signage is shown in this handout image.
Yoho National Park signage is shown in this handout image. PHOTO BY PARKS CANADA /The Canadian Press
VANCOUVER — Parks Canada officials said they’re closely watching lakes and rivers in Kootenay and Yoho national parks for a parasite that could “decimate” as much as 90 per cent of young trout and salmon.


The first suspected case of whirling disease in British Columbia was found in September in Emerald Lake, in Yoho National Park, prompting the closure of the lake and other nearby waterways.


Francois Masse, Parks Canada’s field unit superintendent for Lake Louise, Yoho and Kootenay national parks, said they later found “additional suspected cases” of the disease in the Kicking Horse River, Wapta Lake, Finn Creek, and Monarch Creek.

Parks Canada has closed all waterbodies in Yoho and Kootenay national parks until the end of March next year.

Whirling disease doesn’t pose a risk to humans, but can be deadly for trout, salmon and whitefish, causing spinal deformities and making fish swim in erratic circles.

Masse said at a news conference on Friday that the high mortality rate among infected fish necessitated the closures in the parks, where at-risk species include westslope cutthroat trout and Kokanee salmon.


“Aquatic invasive species, such as the parasite responsible for whirling disease, threaten freshwater ecosystems and native trout populations, harm infrastructure and reduce aquatic recreational opportunities,” Masse said.

“Once established, aquatic invasive species may never go away.”

Parks Canada spokeswoman Megan Goudie said recreational activities in the waterbodies were likely to blame for the disease being spread to Yoho and Kootenay parks.

Goudie said the parasite not only lives in fish but can also can thrive in water and mud.

“So, if you’re transporting those things on a paddleboard or canoe, angling equipment or gear, that is a very high risk,” said Goudie.

She said the disease is incredibly difficult to eradicate once spread in a watershed.

Parks Canada said it will work with other jurisdictions experienced in dealing with whirling disease to determine the next steps.

Masse said it’s still too early to say what specific measures might be needed, but the public should respect all closures.
whirling-disease-20231027[1].jpg
 

spaminator

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She was discovered as a 500-year-old Incan mummy. Scientists re-created her face
Author of the article:Washington Post
Washington Post
Daniel Wu, The Washington Post
Published Oct 27, 2023 • 4 minute read
The model of Juanita, the Incan girl discovered as a frozen mummy in Peru in 1995. MUST CREDIT: Courtesy of Dagmara Socha
The model of Juanita, the Incan girl discovered as a frozen mummy in Peru in 1995. MUST CREDIT: Courtesy of Dagmara Socha PHOTO BY COURTESY OF DAGMARA SOCHA /Handout
In 1995, explorer Johan Reinhard made a startling discovery on the frigid peaks of the Andes. In a crater near the summit of Ampato, a dormant Peruvian volcano, lay a frozen bundle of cloth roughly the size of a person. Reinhard inspected it. He found a withered human face poking through the rags.


Reinhard had discovered an Incan teenager, who would come to be known as Juanita, or the Maiden of Ampato: a roughly 13-year-old girl sacrificed by the Incas who had been preserved almost perfectly for centuries as a frozen mummy.


The discovery on Ampato, a sacred mountain for the Incas, electrified scientists and historians. In her unique condition, Juanita offered remarkable insight into the Incan Empire, its culture – and Juanita herself. She was displayed in Washington and Japan before returning to Peru, and Time magazine declared her one of the year’s biggest discoveries.

On Tuesday, researchers unveiled a stunning milestone in the study of Juanita. Researchers from Peru, Poland and Sweden created a lifelike silicone model of her face that approximates the girl’s appearance at the time of her death, according to an announcement from the Catholic University of Santa María in Peru, where Juanita is displayed.


Twenty-eight years after her discovery, the mummy that captivated the world has a face.

“It’s beautifully done,” Reinhard told The Washington Post. ” . . . you look in the eyes and honest to God, they look like the eyes are alive.”

Reinhard said he never thought he’d see Juanita in such a light, not least of all in 1995 as he and a partner hauled the roughly 1oo-pound mummy down from Ampato’s summit. Juanita’s discovery was a story of serendipity and grit; she was revealed only when a neighboring volcano’s eruption melted Ampato’s snowcap, allowing Reinhard to inspect its summit. Reinhard and his partner had little equipment or help to bring Juanita back from the mountain. But they made the precarious, hours-long trek down with the mummy in tow.


It was worth the effort. Though the cloth had torn around Juanita’s face, the rest of her body was almost perfectly preserved by the unique combination of mummification and the freezing cold, which had warded off any decomposition or decay. Reinhard knew he’d brought home a phenomenal find.

“Mummies frozen naturally, frozen at the time of death, are the closest thing I think we’ll ever have to true time capsules,” Reinhard said.

An analysis of Juanita’s skull found that she died from a sharp blow to her right temple, Reinhard said. He placed Juanita’s death sometime between 1450 and 1532, based on the period when the Incas were active in the region, he wrote in National Geographic in 1996. She was probably sacrificed, like other Incan human sacrifices, to appease the mountain gods believed to supply Incan fields and villages with water, according to Reinhard.


Juanita, hunched in a fetal position, was buried in a tomb that was dislodged by a rockslide, spilling her and a bounty of pottery and other treasures across the icy summit of Ampato, Reinhard wrote. He could only speculate on Juanita’s final moments: a pilgrimage from her village that ended in the exhausting climb up Ampato, accompanied by priests and llamas carrying ritual offerings.

“Although she must have been frightened, she may have felt honored to be selected as a sacrifice, imagining perhaps that she was entering a glorious afterlife,” Reinhard wrote.

Dagmara Socha, an archaeologist with the University of Warsaw’s Center for Andean Studies, said the idea to create the model came after researchers created a CT scan of Juanita’s face in 2022. As she reviewed the images for a separate study, Socha and her team realized the scan could also help bring Juanita to life.


Socha contacted Oscar Nilsson, a Swedish archaeologist and sculptor who specializes in facial models to help the researchers turn their scans into a lifelike reconstruction. In a process that took around 400 hours, Nilsson 3D-printed a replica of Juanita’s skull, molded her facial tissue using clay and then cast the face in silicone, he wrote in an email to The Post.

Besides the data from the skull, the well-preserved mummy helped Nilsson ensure the model’s accuracy. He collected measurements of Juanita’s nasal cavities, eye sockets and teeth, and referenced the hairstyle she’d been preserved with. Analysis of Juanita’s DNA was also used to inform the model, according to the Catholic University of Santa María.


The model of Juanita was dressed in clothes made in Peru, Nilsson said. He took liberties only when choosing the expression on the model’s face.

“In Juanita’s case I wanted her to look both scared and proud,” Nilsson wrote.

The model was unveiled Tuesday in a ceremony at the university, with Reinhard and Socha in attendance.

Socha said work is underway to carbon-date Juanita, which could reveal further clues to the circumstances of her life: Any recorded natural disasters or historical events that coincided with the time of her death might explain the reasons for her sacrifice.

Reinhard is optimistic that Juanita’s preservation means there’s more still to be revealed about her as research techniques progress. The startling, lifelike model of the Incan girl, he said, is proof of that.

“What we thought were miracles 20 years ago are commonplace today,” he said. ” . . . That’s probably going to be nothing compared to what we’re going to get down the road.”
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