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Let’s not rush to a decision, even for an expressway – National

by admin on 01/03/2019

Transport infrastructure is like plumbing: it should facilitate flows and not necessarily look pretty.

The public debate about Gardiner Expressway has missed that very point. Instead of focusing on the core function of the Expressway, i.e., enhancing accessibility to Canada’s largest and most successful employment hub, the conversation has been centred on aesthetics and the potential for land development.

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As a transport professional, I am concerned about the following. First, the process adopted for the Environmental Assessment (EA) leaves much to be desired. Second, the City Staff’s recommendation to tear down the eastern section understates, if not ignores, the travel time delays associated with the remove option. Third, false assertions about travel time impacts in the media have not been addressed.

Let’s first look at the process. The terms of reference (ToR) for the EA stated five explicit goals for the project, of which only one focused on transportation. Again, the stated goal for transportation was not to improve accessibility and reduce travel times. Instead, it listed a vague, directionless statement “to maintain an effective local and regional transportation system, including commuters and freight, and minimize the impacts by balancing alternative travel modes, including transit, cycling and walking within the system.”

The process was also flawed because of bounded rationality. The ToR confined the choice set to four arbitrary alternatives: maintain, improve, replace, and remove. It is understandable to restrict alternatives to a manageable number. But this particular choice set would, by default, have resulted in ‘maintain’ being the costliest to implement. And if travel time impacts were ignored altogether, ‘maintain’ would again appear less appealing.

Another lacuna in the process was the order in which information was presented for public consultation. Instead of first presenting the travel time impacts of the four alternatives, which were shared with the public only this month, the EA released architectural renderings of the four alternatives in June 2013 and asked citizens to vote on their favourite design. This exercise implied that travel time considerations would not have mattered if the citizens were to choose the ‘prettiest’ of the four alternatives.

The June 2013 document paints a rosy after the fact picture of cities that replaced expressways with boulevards. The document, for instance, mentions Embarcadero Freeway in San Francisco that was replaced with a promenade. The EA document fails to mention how traffic was redistributed from Embarcadero Freeway to local streets, such as Fremont Street, which experienced a 192 per cent increase in traffic, or 6th Street, which experienced a 67 per cent increase in traffic.

It is wrong to assume that traffic simply disappears after a freeway is removed. The proponents of the remove option, who believe in the assumption, fail to appreciate that the absence of proof is not proof of absence. The fact that published research on the impact of expressway removal is not available for all cities does not mean that there was no impact on traffic patterns or travel times. However, technical studies of the impact of freeway removals have shown that “individual roads within the case studies saw substantial increases or decreases much higher than the average change for the area, which may be a cause for concern from a congestion standpoint.”

The City staff’s recommendation to remove Gardiner Expressway ignores traffic studies, conducted as part of the EA, which show increases in travel times of up to 20 per cent for the remove option compared to the maintain option. Still, this did not pre-empt the City Staff to present an un-weighted matrix of the four alternatives where worsening travel times for commuters and freight were included along with other less relevant concerns, such as the ‘public realm’.

Earlier studies commissioned by the Toronto Waterfront Revitalization Corporation and others have consistently shown that the remove option will result in longer commutes as it will reduce operating speeds by 10 to 15 km per hour. Despite this, writing in the Toronto Star on January 28, 2014, J. Michael Kirkland claimed that in “two-thirds of cases, a commuter to downtown from the west could make the same trip in more or less the same time without the elevated structure.” Mr. Kirkland, however, does not have any documentation to back up his claim.

At its core, the Gardiner Expressway is a critical component of the city’s transport network that is vital to the continued success of Toronto’s downtown. No wonder then that representatives of downtown employers in the round table organized by the deputy mayor, Norm Kelly last week unanimously supported the maintain option.

The City Council yesterday made the right choice by deferring the decision on Gardiner Expressway to February 2015. As it stands today, we are being forced to choose from an incomplete choice set while we ignore the concerns of employers and workers in downtown Toronto. Rushing into a decision, even for an expressway, will be foolish.

Disabled Canadian ship arrives at Hawaii’s Pearl Harbor

by admin on 01/03/2019

PEARL HARBOR, Hawaii – A Canadian refuelling ship disabled by an engine fire pulled into Pearl Harbor under tow Thursday morning with nearly 300 sailors aboard.

U.S. Navy tug boats guided the HMCS Protecteur to a pier after making a slow journey from Pacific Ocean waters north of Hawaii.

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The ship got help from the U.S. Navy after the fire broke out last week, leaving 20 sailors with minor injuries, the Royal Canadian Navy said. The fire engulfed a space as large as a school gymnasium, three or four stories high. The Canadian navy said a doctor treated sailors for dehydration, exhaustion and smoke inhalation.

Sailors came off the ship having not shaved or showered in a week. The ship lost power amid the fire and did not regain it during the trip to Pearl Harbor.

Commodore Bob Auchterlonie, leader of the Canadian Pacific Fleet, said the ship encountered “an absolute worst-case scenario” of a major fire on board a tanker in the middle of the ocean at night, compounded by the power loss.

“The leadership on board, the professionalism of the sailors and the courage displayed to get through this has been absolutely exceptional,” he told reporters after meeting the ship.

Auchterlonie expressed his gratitude for the U.S. Coast Guard and U.S. Navy’s help during the ordeal. “I can’t thank them enough for the great job they did in helping our sailors get back to port safely,” he said.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Shawn Mosson said he had just sat down to have a cup of coffee in the cafeteria when he heard the alarm. He immediately went down below and grabbed a hose to cool off the deck.

The heat was so intense, his eyeglasses melted when he set them down.

“Our boots were starting to melt to the deck from the heat,” he said. “(We were) overcome with smoke. You couldn’t see your hand in front of your face.”

Mosson, from Brandon, Manitoba, said his training kicked in and his mind went blank as he focused on fighting the fire.

Now that he’s back on land, Mosson said he’ll first take a shower – “a very long one at that.”

He’s looking forward to returning to Canada.

“As soon as I get home, I’m going to grab my wife, my son, my stepdaughter and I’m never going to let them go,” he said.

The fire was under investigation, and Cmdr. Al Harrigan of Maritime Forces Pacific Headquarters said getting the ship back to a dock was the first step in that process and eventually guiding the vessel back to Canada.

The 44-year-old Protecteur was on its way home from a three- to four-week deployment, he said.

The Protecteur is a supply ship that refuels and provides food and parts to other navy vessels at sea.

Earlier this week, an American guided-missile destroyer took 19 relatives of the Canadian crew back to Hawaii. The family members had been travelling with the Protecteur as part of a regular program allowing relatives to join crews on return trips from long missions. The rest of the crew stayed with the Protecteur, except for one crew member who cut his hand, Harrigan said.

The tow was initially complicated by rough seas that caused the tow line to break on Sunday. But the deep-water ocean tug USS Sioux took over the towing, and the escort saw better conditions later in the week.

The Protecteur was scheduled to be retired next year.

©2014The Canadian Press

Man named by Newsweek as Bitcoin’s founder strongly denies it – National

by admin on 01/03/2019

LOS ANGELES – Dorian Prentice Satoshi Nakamoto said Thursday that he is not the creator of Bitcoin, adding further mystery to the story of how the world’s most popular digital currency came to be.

The denial came after Newsweek published a 4,500-word cover story claiming Nakamoto is the person who wrote the computer code underpinnings of Bitcoin.

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In an exclusive two-hour interview with The Associated Press, Nakamoto, 64, denied he had anything to do with it and said he had never heard of Bitcoin until his son told him he had been contacted by a Newsweek reporter three weeks ago.

READ MORE: American CEO of Bitcoin exchange found dead in Singapore

Nakamoto acknowledged that many of the details in Newsweek’s report are correct, including that he once worked for a defence contractor, and that his given name at birth was Satoshi. But he strongly disputed the magazine’s assertion that he is “the face behind Bitcoin.”

“I got nothing to do with it,” he said, repeatedly.

Newsweek stands by its story, which kicked off the relaunch of its print edition after 15 months and reorganization under new ownership.

Since Bitcoin’s birth in 2009, the currency’s creator has remained a mystery. The person — or people — behind the digital currency’s inception have been known only as “Satoshi Nakamoto,” which many observers believed to be a pseudonym.

READ MORE: 16×9: An investigation into Bitcoin’s remarkable rise

Bitcoin has become increasingly popular among tech enthusiasts, libertarians and risk-seeking investors because it allows people to make one-to-one transactions, buy goods and services and exchange money across borders without involving banks, credit card issuers or other third parties. Criminals like Bitcoin for the same reasons.

For various technical reasons, it’s hard to know just how many people worldwide own bitcoins, but the currency attracted outsize media attention and the fascination of millions as an increasing number of large retailers such as Overstock杭州夜网 began to accept it.

Speculative investors have jumped into the Bitcoin fray, too, sending the currency’s value fluctuating wildly in recent months. In December, the value of a single bitcoin hit an all-time high of $1,200. It was around $665 on Thursday, according to the website bitcoincharts杭州夜网. Bloggers have speculated that Bitcoin’s creator is worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Bitcoin.

After Newsweek posted the story on its website early Thursday, Nakamoto said his home was bombarded by phone calls. By mid-morning, a dozen reporters were waiting outside the modest two-storey home on the residential street in Temple City, Calif., where he lives. He emerged shortly after noon saying he wanted to speak with one reporter only and asked for a “free lunch.”

During a car ride and then later over sushi lunch at The AP bureau in downtown Los Angeles, Nakamoto spoke at length about his life, career and family, addressing many of the assertions in Newsweek’s piece.

He also said a key portion of the piece — where he is quoted telling the reporter on his doorstep before two police officers, “I am no longer involved in that and I cannot discuss it” — was misunderstood.

Nakamoto said he is a native of Beppu, Japan who came to the U.S. as a child in 1959. He speaks both English and Japanese, but his English isn’t flawless. Asked if he said the quote, Nakamoto responded, “No.”

“I’m saying I’m no longer in engineering. That’s it,” he said of the exchange. “And even if I was, when we get hired, you have to sign this document, contract saying you will not reveal anything we divulge during and after employment. So that’s what I implied.”

“It sounded like I was involved before with Bitcoin and looked like I’m not involved now. That’s not what I meant. I want to clarify that,” he said.

Newsweek writer Leah Goodman, who spent two months researching the story, told The AP: “I stand completely by my exchange with Mr. Nakamoto. There was no confusion whatsoever about the context of our conversation – and his acknowledgement of his involvement in Bitcoin.”

The magazine pulled together its thesis on the creator’s identity by matching Nakamoto’s name, educational history, career, anti-government bent and writing style to the alleged creator of Bitcoin. It also quoted Nakamoto’s estranged wife and other family members who said they weren’t sure he is the creator.

Several times during the interview with The AP, Nakamoto mistakenly referred to the currency as “bitcom,” and as a single company, which it is not. He said he’s never heard of Gavin Andresen, a leading Bitcoin developer who told Newsweek he’d worked closely with the person or entity known as “Satoshi Nakamoto” in developing the system, but that they never met in person or spoke on the phone.

When shown the original Bitcoin proposal that Newsweek linked to in its story, Nakamoto said he didn’t write it, and said the email address in the document wasn’t his.

“Peer-to-peer can be anything,” he said. “That’s just a matter of address. What the hell? It doesn’t make sense to me.”

Asked if he was technically able to come up with the idea for Bitcoin, Nakamoto responded: “Capability? Yes, but any programmer could do that.”

The nearest Nakamoto has come to working on a financial system, he said, was a project for Citibank with a company called Quotron, which provided real-time stock prices to brokerage firms. Nakamoto said he worked on the software side for about four years starting in 1987.

“That had nothing to do with skipping financial institutions,” he said.

Nakamoto said he believes someone either came up with the name or specifically targeted him to be the fall guy for the currency’s creation.

He also said he doesn’t discuss his career because in many cases, his work was confidential. When he was employed by Hughes Aircraft starting around 1973, he worked on missile systems for the U.S. navy and air force.

He said he also worked for the Federal Aviation Administration starting around 1999, but was laid off following the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Getting hired by a military contractor was the reason he applied for and received American citizenship. He decided around that time to change his name, adding “Dorian Prentice” to Satoshi Nakamoto, partly to sound more western. He said he picked “Dorian” because he says it meant “a man of simplicity” and referred to the ancient Greek people. “Prentice” alluded to his affinity for learning, he said.

As he pored over the Newsweek story with a reporter, Nakamoto repeatedly said “Oh, jeez,” as he read private details about himself, quotes from family members and even specifics from his medical history.

“How long is this media hoopla going to last?” he said.

©2014The Canadian Press

WATCH: BC flaggers upset over “slack” fines

by admin on 01/03/2019

We’ve all seen the signs, the ones that say that fines for speeding in work zones double.

But do they really mean what they say?

According to the BC Flaggers Association, the signs say one thing but the government is saying another.

The flaggers say the government is breaking a promise, but the BC Liberals say current fine structure is putting the brakes on speeders.

The organization says it’s been informed by the government this week that double fines for speeding in construction zones will not be going ahead.

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Shirley Tary from Kelowna has been a flagger for nearly 20 years. She says news that the government won’t live up to its promise on doubling the fines is a let down.

“Disappointing, actually because no one seems to be paying attention to the rules of the road when it comes through construction sites and they don’t listen to us and I would assume they would do something.”

Under current regulations, the fine for speeding in a construction zone jumps by 42 per cent to $196, which is a long way from double the fine.

So why do the signs categorically say that traffic fines double in work zones?  According to the BC government, those signs date back to the 1990’s when the maximum fine would top out at $300, but since then the government has moved to graduated fines.

BC’s Transportation Minister, Todd Stone, says under the graduated system construction zone speeders are facing much higher penalties depending on how fast they’re going.

“I know that the flaggers association has asked for government to consider doubling the fines. I believe doubling the fines on what they used to be, which at the high end was $150, so doubling would take it to $300 automatically. Again, at the discretion of law enforcement, the way the structure works today, the fine can be considerably higher than 300 dollars. It can be as high as $483. So, we think that there’s a good balance there today.”

Minister Stone says he’s invited the BC Flaggers Association to Victoria to see if any further changes are required. But flagger Shirley Tary says the government’s broken promise is sending the wrong message to speeders.

“That they can do anything they want and that it doesn’t matter about our lives. It’s whatever is important to them that counts. Not us.”

Study looks into whether less medication can help kids with ADHD learn – Calgary

by admin on 01/03/2019

CALGARY- Researchers at the University of Calgary are looking into whether children with Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) can perform better academically with less medication.

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“We’re very interested in trying to see how best we can ensure medication is improving their learning so their long term gains in academic achievement is sustained overtime,” says Dr. James B. Hale, a neuropsychologist with the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is often genetic.  It impacts 4 % of Canadians children and is usually diagnosed before the age of seven.  For children with ADHD, part of the brain responsible for focus, behavior and emotional control is underactive.  Medication is used to help stimulate the production of dopamine.

“There is long term positive effects on children treated with medicine which actually shows their brain rewires,” says Hale. “But while more medication is usually better for behavior, less medication may be better for thinking.”

Hale and his team of researchers plan to examine how the medication,  methylphenidate (commonly known by the brand name Ritalin), impacts behavior, problem solving, emotional control and learning.

Study participants with ADHD  will be divided into two groups; one will continue taking medication as directed by their doctor, while the other group will alternate between a week on medication and a week on a placebo.

“Then we compare the thinking and behaviour on and off medication to see the impact it has, not only on the child’s behaviour, but also their thinking and learning as
well,” says Hale.

The research team will use both clinical data and neuroimaging to determine the effects of the medication on children with ADHD.

The study will involve 120 children from the Calgary area, including 100 diagnosed with ADHD and another 20 who do not have ADHD. 

Children in the study with ADHD will be monitored for six months.

Parents interested in enrolling their children in
the study should phone Sara Holland at 403-220-5656 (ext. 2) or e-mail
[email protected]桑拿按摩.  More information can also be found on the lab

©2014Shaw Media