How to fix the disaster of human roads to benefit wildlife | Aeon Essays


    …about a million individuals of all species are killed every day on the roads of the US. In North America overall, the cumulative scale of all this roadkill now surpasses hunting as the main cause of death in larger species

    As bad as that is, the impact roads have on dissecting land up into small islands is even worse for species’ habitats. The article goes on to describe some of the initiatives underway to reduce the impacts of this “sprawling web”.

    Year of the Tangible

    Inspired by Coretex, I’m declaring Tangible as my theme for 2021. I’ve chosen this theme because I want to spend less time looking at a screen and more time with “tangible stuff”. I’m sure that this is a common sentiment and declaring this theme will keep me focused on improvements. Since working from home with an iPad, I’m averaging about 9 hours a day with an iOS device. This isn’t just a vague estimate; Screen Time gives me to-the-minute tracking of every app I’m actively using.

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    4th Axe Pancreatic Cancer fundraiser

    Thanks to generous support, the 4th Axe Pancreatic Cancer fundraiser was a great success. We raised over $32K this year and all funds support the PancOne Network. So far, we’ve raised close to $120K in honour of my Mom. Thanks to everyone that has supported this important cause!

    Axe Pancreatic Cancer tickets are available now! This is a very fun event for a great cause. Early Bird tickets are selling quickly. So, if you’re interested, sign up now at…

    Charity donations by province

    This tweet about the charitable donations by Albertans showed up in my timeline and caused a ruckus. Albertans give the most to charity in Canada, 50% more than the national average, even in tough economic times. #CdnPoli — Oil Sands Action (@OilsandsAction) August 31, 2017 Many people took issue with the fact that these values weren’t adjusted for income. Seems to me that whether this is a good idea or not depends on what kind of question you’re trying to answer.

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    Successful AxePC 2016 event

    Thank you to all the participants, donors, and volunteers for making the third Axe Pancreatic Cancer event such a great success! Together we’re raising awareness and funding to support Pancreatic Cancer Canada.

    Axe PC 2016

    We’re hosting our third-annual Axe Pancreatic Cancer event. Help us kick off Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month by drinking beer and throwing axes!

    I was given an opportunity to propose a measure to clarify how and on what basis the federal government allocates funds to STI - a measure that would strengthen relations between the federal government and the STI community by eliminating misunderstandings and suspicions on this point. In short, my proposal was that Ottawa direct its Science, Technology and Innovation Council to do three things:

    To provide an up-to-date description of how these allocation decisions have been made in the past;

    To identify the principles and sources of advice on which such decisions should be based;

    To recommend the most appropriate structure and process - one characterized by transparency and openness - for making these decisions in the future.

    These are reasonable suggestions from Preston Manning: be clear about why and how the Federal government funds science and technology.

    Of course I may not agree with the actual decisions made through such a process, but at least I would know why the decisions were made. The current process is far too opaque and confused for such critical investment decisions.

    Mama Earth Organics

    I’m certain that paying attention to where my food comes from is important. Food production influences my health, has environmental consequences, and affects both urban and rural design. Ideally, I would develop relationships with local farmers, carefully choose organic produce, and always consider broad environmental impacts. Except, I like to spend time with my young family, try to get some exercise, and have more than enough commitments through work to actually spend this much effort on food choices.

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    Death Sentences Review

    Death Sentences by Don Watson is a wonderful book – simultaneously funny, scary, and inspiring – that describes how “clichés, weasel words, and management-speak” are infecting public language. The humour comes from Watson’s acerbic commentary and fantastic scorn for phrases like: Given the within year and budget time flexibility accorded to the science agencies in the determination of resource allocation from within their global budget, a multi-parameter approach to maintaining the agencies budgets in real terms is not appropriate.

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    After seventeen years as a vegetarian, I recently switched back to an omnivore. My motivation for not eating meat was environmental, since, on average, a vegetarian diet requires much less land, water, and energy. This is still the right motivation, but over the last year or so I’ve been rethinking my decision to not eat meat. My concern was that I’d stopped paying attention to my food choices and a poorly considered vegetarian diet can easily yield a bad environmental outcome.

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    Election 2008

    Like most Canadians, I’ll be at the polls today for the 2008 Federal Election. In the past several elections, I’ve cast my vote for the party with the best climate change plan. The consensus among economists is that any credible plan must set a price on carbon emissions. My personal preference is for a predictable and transparent price to influence consumer spending, so I favour a carbon tax over a cap-and-trade.

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    Stern Review on the economics of climate change

    The Stern Review has been in the news recently for predicting that global warming could cost up to $7 trillion if not addressed soon. Of course, this has caused quite a stir as it offsets many of the, likely unfounded, concerns that fixing climate change will cost too much. The full report is available online and should be a quite interesting, if long, read.

    TED-- Hans Rosling

    An excellent presentation regarding the use of country statistics. The visualizations are particularly effective.

    Resumes & Spam Filters

    Since I’m looking for work, I found this post rather interesting. They’ve applied a spam filter to resumes to automatically filter through candidates. The output is only as good as the reference resumes used to construct the filter, but still an intriguing idea. My results are below. Most importantly the probability of me not being hired is 1.15e-59, which is a very, very small number. Perhaps I should add this fact to my resume?

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    Heart of the Matter

    CBC’s Ideas has been running a series of shows on heart disease called “Heart of the Matter”. Episode 2 is particularly interesting from a statistical perspective, as the episode discusses several difficulties with the analysis of drug efficacy. Some highlights include: Effect sizes Some of the best cited studies for the use of drugs to treat heart disease show a statistically significant effect of only a few percentage points improvement. Contrast this with a dramatic, vastly superior improvement from diet alone.

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    Intelligent design in the classroom

    Now that intelligent design is back in the Canadian news, we should consider (again!) the consequences of teaching intelligent design in the classroom. Intelligent design makes two postulates: Complexity cannot be explained by science. Given 1, complexity comes from an intelligent designer. Now, consider a science exam in any subject and the danger of intelligent design being taught in school becomes apparent. Physics question: Why does the earth orbit the sun?

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    Climate change and public relations

    A recent column in the Globe & Mail reminded me of our Federal Government’s plan for reducing greenhouse gas emissions: the One Tonne Challenge. This campaign challenges each Canadian to reduce their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions by one tonne. The first step is to calculate your emissions and then implement recommendations for reductions. According to the online calculator, Kelly & I combined emit 4.23 tonnes annually. Fortunately, this is below the national average of 5.

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    The Crusade Against Evolution

    An interesting read from Wired News – The Crusade Against Evolution. In addition, the Panda’s thumb has been following and carefully dissecting the recent controversy over an intelligent design paper being published in a peer-reviewed journal. The evolution-creation debate seems to be resurfacing after a short time off. The debate is important and the intelligent design supporters have to be countered, but their arguments have become hackneyed.