Canadian budget pushes applied research

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 3.48.01 PM

With six months to go before the next Canadian election, the reigning Conservative party has introduced a budget that emphasizes applied research and scientific collaboration with industry.

The 518-page proposal, released on 21 April, will take effect in coming weeks. It spells out how Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s government plans to balance its budget this year — at the same time pledging plenty of new spending in years ahead.

The Canada Foundation for Innovation would receive Can$1.33 billion (US$1.09 billion) in new money for university and hospital research facilities, to be doled out over six years beginning in 2017. The budget also includes a modest 2% hike for the country’s research funding councils, much of it targeted for areas “that will fuel economic growth.” Continue reading . . .

Humans needs to change course to stay within planetary boundaries

Scientists warn the 'Earth system' is deteriorating and people are to blame

Scientists warn the ‘Earth system’ is deteriorating and people are to blame

Humans are the prime driver of the deteriorating “Earth System,” says an international research team that is calling for a change in trajectory.

“The only state of the planet that we know for certain can support contemporary human societies is now being destabilized,” says the report, published Thursday by the journal Science.

Continue reading

Researchers advise pregnant women to limit exposure to receipts and plastic

Team led by Deborah Kurrasch has shown bisphenol A and S can alter brain development in zebrafish.

Team led by Deborah Kurrasch has shown bisphenol A and S can alter brain development in zebrafish.

Pregnant women are being warned to avoid reaching for credit card and cash register receipts as the ubiquitous bits of paper are increasingly seen as a threat to unborn children.
The receipts can contain the toxin bisphenol A and its chemical cousin bisphenol S, chemicals that a new study shows can alter brain development and behaviour in animals exposed to extremely low doses.

Continue reading

Canada seen as big loser if world gets serious about climate change

Rruck dumping oilsands into a hopper at Suncor's base plant oilsands upgrading facility north of Fort McMurray, Alta.  ~ RYAN JACKSON / EDMONTON JOURNAL

Dumping oilsands into a hopper at Suncor’s oilsands upgrading facility north of Fort McMurray, Alta.
~ RYAN JACKSON / EDMONTON JOURNAL

Published: January 7, 2015

Most of Canada’s oil riches should stay the ground, according to an international study that has deemed 75 per cent of Canada’s oil and all the Arctic’s fossil fuels “unburnable.” Continue reading

Tsunamis toss Japanese buoys and hard hats into B.C. forest

Scientist Lucinda Leonard sets up equipment to assess the way a 2012 tsunami inundated the old growth forest on Haida Gwaii, leaving behind plenty of seaweed and debris visible on the ground ~ NRCan Photo

Scientist Lucinda Leonard sets up equipment to assess the way a 2012 tsunami inundated the old growth forest on Haida Gwaii, leaving behind plenty of seaweed and debris visible on the ground ~ NRCan Photo

VANCOUVER _ Japanese hard hats and fishing floats are now lying in old growth forests on the British Columbia coast after being washed into the Pacific Ocean by the biggest tsunami of 2011, and then out of the Pacific by the largest tsunami of 2012.

But apart from the shared wreckage, the two tsunamis show just how different impacts of the giant waves can be. Continue reading

Five years, five homes demolished and gas keeps bubbling from the deep Part 2: Trouble Beneath Our Feet – Trying to plug the leak in Calmar, Alberta

Ralph Olson's home beside the leaking well in Calmar, Alta.~ Edmonton Journall photo

Ralph Olson’s home beside the leaking well in Calmar, Alta.~ Edmonton Journall photo

Imperial Oil workers came knocking in Calmar, a small town southwest of Edmonton, looking for old oil and gas wells in 2008. They found one leaking just a metre from the Beaudry home on Evergreen Crescent and took drastic steps to try to stop the gas rising from the deep.

Continue reading

Cracks in natural gas ‘bridge’ to clean energy future

 The proposed Woodfibre LNG Project processing and export facility, to be located near Squamish, BC ~Woodfire LNG

The proposed Woodfibre LNG Project processing and export facility, to be located near Squamish, BC ~Woodfire LNG

B.C. Premier Christy Clark sees a big role for natural gas in the “clean energy future.” So does Hillary Clinton, former U.S. secretary of state and probable candidate for president, who likes to describe natural gas as a “bridge” to a greener economy.

A study released Wednesday casts more doubt on such sunny forecasts.

Continue reading