Freshly Exhumed writes "What a father eats before his child is conceived may influence the chance a baby will be born with a birth defect, a new study suggests. Much of the focus on how diet relates to birth has been done on moms. A father's diet before conception plays a crucial role in the health of his offspring, researchers in Canada suggest. Sarah Kimmins, a researcher at McGill University in Montreal, said the study focused on vitamin B9, also known as folate, which is found in green leafy vegetables, cereal, fruit and meat. The researchers found that the mouse offspring of folate-deficient fathers had a 30 percent increased risk of birth defects, compared to those offspring who had received a sufficient amount of folate."
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Lev13than writes "Canada Post is phasing out urban home delivery, raising the price of a letter to $1 and cutting 8,000 jobs to cope with dwindling volume and a projected loss of $1B/year by 2020. About 1/3 of Canadian homes currently get mail delivered to their door. Deliveries will remain weekdays-only and business will be unaffected (at least for now). Much like the USPS, Canada Post is mandated to be self-funded, but 5% annual volume declines and rising costs are taking their toll."
An anonymous reader writes with news that even Canada is getting its hands dirty in the international dragnet fiasco. From the article: "The leaked NSA document being reported exclusively by CBC News reveals Canada is involved with the huge American intelligence agency in clandestine surveillance activities in 'approximately 20 high-priority countries.' ... Wesley Wark, a Canadian security and intelligence expert at the University of Ottawa, says the document makes it clear Canada can take advantage of its relatively benign image internationally to covertly amass a vast amount of information abroad. 'I think we still trade on a degree of an international brand as an innocent partner in the international sphere,' Wark said. 'There's not that much known about Canadian intelligence.'"
angry tapir writes "With the look of Google Plus and Facebook-like elements, a new social network named "Syme" feels as cozy as a well-worn shoe. But beneath the familiar veneer, it's quite different. Syme encrypts all content, such as status updates, photos and files, so that only people invited to a group can view it. Syme, which hosts the content on its Canada-based servers, says it can't read it. "The overarching goal of Syme is to make encryption accessible and easy to use for people who aren't geeks or aren't hackers or who aren't cryptography experts," co-founder Jonathan Hershon said in an interview about the service." See also Diaspora.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Brad Lendon reports at CNN that 29 satellites, the most ever launched at one time, will be aboard a single Minotaur I rocket scheduled to lift off from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia Tuesday night at 7:30 pm. The main payload will be the Air Force's Space Test Program Satellite-3, plus 28 tiny satellites called CubeSats about 4 inches on each side, weighing about 3 pounds and with a volume of about a quart. The cubesats will include Ho`oponopono-2 from the University of Hawaii to continue a long-existing radar calibration service for the 80 plus C-band radar tracking stations distributed around the world. It will also have CAPE-2 from the Cajun Advanced Picosatellite Experiment, to give students at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette the opportunity to research, design, develop, and maintain a low earth orbiting satellite, and SwampSat from the University of Florida to advance the TRL (Technology Readiness Level) of CMGs (Control Moment Gyroscopes) appropriate for smallsats. Among the CubeSats is the TJ3Sat, the first satellite made by high-schoolers to go into space, built by the students of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia. It will give students and other amateur radio users the opportunity to send and receive data from the satellite. Approved text strings will be transmitted to the satellite, and the resulting voice interpretation will be relayed back to Earth over an amateur radio frequency using the onboard Stensat radio. Orbital says the 29 satellites should achieve orbit in a little less than 12½ minutes after the rocket ignites. NASA says the launch may be visible from northern Florida to southern Canada and as far west as Indiana. Live coverage of the launch is available via UStream beginning at 6:30 p.m. EST on launch day."
theshowmecanuck writes "A school in British Columbia (the province that now even California can call flakey) has just banned elementary school students from touching each other during recess. You know, one of those times for play and more importantly learning how to socialize (which itself includes touching). CTV News reports: 'A ban on touching during recess at a B.C. elementary school has shocked parents, who call the new no-touch policy "ridiculous." For most kids, recess is a chance to run around and goof-off with their friends, but a new ban on touching at a school in Aldergrove could put a damper on playtime. School administrators at Coghlan Fundamental Elementary School in B.C. have banned kindergarten students from touching each other during recess.'"
Zothecula writes "Nintendo recently announced that it was ceasing all production of its original Wii video game console. It seemed as if it had run its course, and Nintendo was shifting 100 percent of its focus to the floundering Wii U. Turns out, the Japanese company had other plans, announcing that its previously Canada-exclusive $99 Wii Mini is making its way to the U.S. 'The $99 price has been neglected in this product generation, but in the past, it has been a very successful price for game consoles. More than half of the volume of machines in the PlayStation and PlayStation 2 generations sold at the $99 or under price."
minty3 writes "Nathan Gray, 10, from Nova Scotia, Canada, recently discovered a 600-million-year-old supernova in the galaxy PGC 61330, which lies in the constellation of Draco – beating his sister by 33 days as the youngest person to find a supernova. Gray made the discovery on October 30 while looking at astronomical images taken by Dave Lane, who runs the Abbey Ridge Observatory (ARO) in Nova Scotia. The Royal Astronomical Society of Canada confirmed Gray's discovery, but astronomers with the International Astronomical Union say they will need to use a larger telescope to make the finding official."
Trailrunner7 writes with this excerpt: "A Dutch member of the European parliament is supporting a grass-roots effort to restrict the export of surveillance software such as FinFisher and others, which are used by some governments and law-enforcement agencies to monitor their citizens' activities. The effort, dubbed Stop Digital Arms, is supported by Marietje Schaake, a member of the EU Parliament's International Trade committee. The petition itself is on the Change.org site, and it calls upon members of the European Union 'to give the European Commission the mandate to draft the laws and develop initiatives necessary to stop digital arms trade' ... In a report called 'For Their Eyes Only' released earlier this year, the Citizen Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the university of Toronto detailed the spread of this software around the world and identified a slew of FinFisher command-and-control servers in countries such as Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States, among many others."
Daniel_Stuckey writes "According to a Bloomberg report, Canadian oil sands giant Suncor, which is "Canada's largest energy company by market value," is currently testing haul trucks that are run by computers. Extracting bitumen from sands requires first digging up an enormous amount of the sand itself, with about two tons of sands required to produce one barrel of oil. Digging up all of that sand is the job of huge excavators, which then offload into gigantic haul trucks that transport sands to extraction plants. Time is money, and in this case being faster means carrying as much sand as possible. Haul trucks can carry hundreds of tons at a time, and are in constant motion, moving back and forth between excavator and extraction plant."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "BBC reports that Jofi Joseph, a senior National Security Council staffer who was a key member of the White House team negotiating on Iran's nuclear weapons program, has been fired ... after a months-long probe into a barrage of tweets that included caustic criticisms of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and top NSC officials, especially Ben Rhodes – whom he accused of dodging questions about Benghazi. Joseph, who posted under the now defunct Twitter name @NatSecWonk, gave a lacerating commentary on anything from policy to personal appearance. 'Was Huma Abedin wearing beer goggles the night she met Anthony Weiner,' he tweeted, referring to the scandal-hit former New York mayoral candidate and his wife, a former aide of Hillary Clinton. He tweeted that Mrs Clinton 'had few policy goals and no wins' in the Middle East. He said Chelsea Clinton was 'assuming all of her parents' vices,' and targeted figures such as Republican commentator Liz Cheney and Mitt Romney's wife Ann for their looks and weight. Many in the foreign policy community reacted with shock to the revelation that Joseph was the mystery tweeter because Joseph was well known among policy wonks and his wife, Carolyn Leddy, is a well-respected professional staffer on the Republican side of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. 'What started out as an intended parody account of DC culture developed over time into a series of inappropriate and mean-spirited comments,' said Joseph in an apology. 'I bear complete responsibility for this affair and I sincerely apologize to everyone I insulted.'"
beerdragoon writes "One of Canada's biggest mobile and TV providers will soon begin collecting detailed information on usage patterns of its subscribers. Starting November 16th, Bell plans on using this information to provide targeted ads for subscribers. According to Bell this policy will allow customers 'to receive Internet advertising that's relevant to them rather than the random online advertising they're receiving now.' Customers have until the 16th to opt out of the targeted ads, but there doesn't appear to be a way to opt out of the data collection. Apparently this is not illegal, but it is certainly considered unethical by many."
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Phys Org reports that Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has announced her government is creating a secure email system to try and shield official communications from spying by the United States and other countries. 'We need more security on our messages to prevent possible espionage,' Rousseff said on Twitter, ordering the Federal Data Processing Service, or SERPRO, to implement a safe email system throughout the federal government. The move came after Rousseff publicly condemned spying against Brazilian government agencies attributed to the United States and Canada. 'This is the first step toward extending the privacy and inviolability of official posts,' Rousseff said. After bringing her complaints against U.S. intelligence agencies to the United Nations General Assembly last month and canceling a state visit to Washington, Rousseff announced that the country will host an international conference on Internet governance in April."
Freshly Exhumed writes "Researchers from the University of British Columbia, Cornell University and Toronto's Centre for Addiction and Mental Health report in the journal Psychological Science [abstract; press release] that a gene variant can cause individuals to perceive the negative side of every situation. UBC Prof. Rebecca Todd said the ADRA2b deletion variant influences not only emotional memory, which was previously known, but also amplifies a person's real-time perception of events, for better or for worse. 'Some individuals are predisposed to see the world more darkly than others,' Todd said. 'What we found is that a previously known genetic variation causes some individuals to perceive the world more vividly than others and, particularly, negative aspects of the world.'"
Stunt Pope writes "This morning, Toronto-based domain registrar easyDNS received a request from the City of London (UK) police demanding that they summarily take down a BitTorrent search site based out of Singapore — or else they would 'refer the matter to ICANN' — suggesting easyDNS could lose its accreditation. The police further directed easyDNS to point all traffic for the domain to an IP address that promoted competing commercial online music services based out of London, UK." easyDNS raises some important questions in the blog post they put up after receiving the request. Quoting: "Who decides what is illegal? What makes somebody a criminal? Given that the subtext of the request contains a threat to refer the matter to ICANN if we don't play along, this is a non-trivial question. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I always thought it was something that gets decided in a court of law, as opposed to 'some guy on the internet' sending emails. While that's plenty reason enough for some registrars to take down domain names, it doesn't fly here."
An anonymous reader writes "A group of Montreal MBA students took home this year's million-dollar Hult Prize, winning a competition for socially innovative business ideas that calls itself 'one of the planet's leading forces for good.' But now the ethics of the winners and the prize committee are being called into question. McGill PhD researcher Jakub Dzamba says that after he supplied the idea and design behind their pitch, products of years of development work, the team reneged on its promises to make him a partner and is instead taking credit for his work. Apparently, Hult knew about the issue before it awarded the prize." Yes, these are the students whose win garnered $1 million awarded by Bill Clinton.
An anonymous reader writes "Former US President Bill Clinton, through the Clinton Global Initiative, has awarded $1 million to a group of Canadian MBA students who are looking to solve urban hunger by feeding people insects. The students will use this as seed money for their start-up, Aspire Food Group, which aims to farm, produce, and sell edible insects as a way of solving world hunger, particularly in slums. Aspire says it will even work toward replacing livestock farms with insect farms in some areas." Insects as food aren't necessarily incompatible with conventional livestock, either.
iONiUM writes "Today the new Blackberry Z30 was announced today (release coming in the next 'few weeks'). It has a 4.97" 16:9 screen running at 720x1280. The CPU also got an upgrade, at 1.7Ghz. The news claims that the battery is a 2880maH with up to 25 hours of use. I'm not really convinced this is enough of a differentiation between the Z10 to save Blackberry, and as someone who owns a Z10 and Q10 (but uses an S3 instead), I don't see how this addresses any of the real issues Blackberry is facing, the biggest being a lack of apps."
New submitter sandbagger writes "Stephen Harper and the Canadian government have made headlines several times for stifling opinions that dissent with their own. This also applies to respected, peer-reviewed science. Canadian scientists have chafed at being gagged and having evidence take a back seat when forming policy, so they're grabbing their slide rules and marching in protest. 'Hundreds of participants gathered in 17 cities for rallies on Monday. In Toronto some donned lab coats while in Vancouver protesters were seen wearing gags adorned with the Conservative Party logo – a reference to the alleged muzzling of federal scientists by political overseers. ... Dr. Gibbs and colleagues said they hoped the rallies would alert the public to scientists’ concerns that the federal government has shifted funding markedly toward commercially driven research at the expense of public-interest science. ... Dr. Gibbs said her group would consult with the Canadian research community and look to other countries in trying to craft recommended policies for science in government. In recent years explicit scientific integrity rules have been adopted by many U.S. federal departments and agencies, after accusations of censorship and politicization of science during the administration of former president George W. Bush. 'Canadian scientists are where American scientists were maybe a decade ago,' said Michael Halpern, a Washington, D.C.-based program manager with the Union of Concerned Scientists. 'They're trying to figure out how to protect themselves from a government that’s increasingly focused on message control over a more open discussion of the facts.'"
dreamstateseven writes "Canadian Bitcoin enthusiasts will be able to exchange Canadian cash for the digital currency through a kiosk that's similar to an ATM. Bitcoiniacs says it has ordered five Bitcoin kiosks from a Las Vegas-based company called RoboCoin and intends to roll them out across Canada in the coming months, with the first machine expected to land in Vancouver in early October. The kiosks allow users to select how much money they would like to spend, insert cash into the machine and then scan a QR code on their phone to transfer the Bitcoins to their wallet."