Fireball explodes over Yellowknife – National

by admin on 29/09/2019

MONTREAL – A fireball exploded and lit up the skies over Yellowknife early Thursday morning, but was not believed to have caused any damage.

One expert compared it to a similar incident that took place over Montreal last November.

An image of the explosion was posted on the website of Spaceweather杭州夜网. It was captured by a photographer who was leading a tour of the Aurora Borealis.

The exploding meteor was described as being so bright that it turned the night sky blue.

READ MORE: Western University researchers find asteroids like Russian event more likely than believed

Peter Brown, a physics professor at Western University in London, Ont., viewed the photo of the bright fireball, which he calculated was less than one metre in size.

He told The Canadian Press the fact that there was an explosion meant the object had probably penetrated deep into the atmosphere.

But Brown said that he was almost certain the explosive force was too weak to cause any damage.

He added that the view of an exploding fireball is something that people might only see once a year.

The Western University physics professor noted the meteor that exploded over the skies of Montreal in November 2013 created a thundering boom, but it also shook houses.

The two fireballs over Yellowknife and Montreal paled in comparison to what happened over Chelyabinsk, Russia just over a year ago.

That’s when a meteor estimated to be about 10 tons exploded over the Ural Mountains on Feb. 15, 2013 with the power of an atomic bomb.

The sonic blasts from that fireball shattered windows and injured about 1,000 people.

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    Fireball lights up night sky

    Meteorites found in Northern California likely from giant fireball over weekend

  • The Chelyabinsk meteor explosion, one year later

©2014The Canadian Press

Drug spending growth rate slows due to increased generics – National

by admin on 29/09/2019

TORONTO – A new report says Canadians spent nearly $30 billion on prescription medications in 2013 and another $5 billion on over-the-counter drugs.

The report says, though, that the annual rate of growth in the prescription drug spending figure was one of the lowest in more than two decades.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information says the growth in prescription drug spending went up by only 2.3 per cent last year.

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It suggests the slowing of the growth of spending on prescription drugs is due to the fact that expired patents on some commonly used drugs have allowed for cheaper generic versions to come on the market.

The report says government policies aimed at lowering drug prices have also had an effect.

READ MORE: Canada losing out on negotiating lower drug prices, study says

Prescribed drugs made up nearly 14 per cent of total health spending in Canada in 2014.

The top 10 classes of drugs accounted for 34 per cent of all prescription drug spending by public drug programs during 2013.

Public programs spent nearly $500 million on a type of medication called anti-TFN drugs, used for rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

Rounding out the top five drug classes by spending were: statins to lower cholesterol, proton pump inhibitors for gastric reflux, drugs to treat age-related macular degeneration and drugs for obstructive airway conditions such as asthma, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

READ MORE: Why critics say the EU trade deal will drive up Canada’s drug prices

A small proportion of individuals accounted for a large proportion of drug spending for the public programs, the CIHI report shows.

Just under 13 per cent of people accounted for 60.8 per cent of the drug spending in public programs. The report says public drug programs are spending more on high-cost drugs.

Cosmos: Making science sexy again – National

by admin on 29/09/2019

TORONTO – If you were around in the 1970s, you’ll likely remember the PBS special Cosmos, hosted by renowned astronomer Carl Sagan. For many people, that show was responsible for introducing them to our universe. It was wildly successful, reaching an estimated 700 million people.

In the show, Sagan explored not just astronomy, but the very essence of life, from the infinitesimally small, to the uncomprehendingly large. More than 30 years passed and rumours swirled about the possibility of reintroducing the series to a whole new generation.

But in our day and age — a time of instant gratification and shortened attention spans — how do you wow the audience in a 13-part show about the universe?

Carl Sagan standing next to a model of the Viking lander in Death Valley, California.

Bill Ray/The Seth MacFarlane Collection of the Carl Sagan and Ann Druyan Archive

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You put it on network television — in this case, Fox (Global in Canada) — and put funny-man and Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane at the helm.

READ MORE: Seth MacFarlane Discusses The ‘Cosmos’

You create a “Worldwide Premiere Event” airing it on National Geographic and National Geographic Wild at the same time.

You use state-of-the-art graphics depicting the Big Bang, collisions of worlds, and a sleek “spaceship of the mind” to take you on your journey.

You also include comic book-like animation to tell historical stories that might otherwise be lost in bland dialogue.

And you bring in world renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson to host it.

Put this all together and you have a way of capturing the attention span of those who might otherwise pass up the opportunity to learn about our universe.

In the 1970s, there were specials like Wild Kingdom, National Geographic Explorer and PBS specials like Cosmos. Science shows actually had science programming. But with the addition of hundreds of channels all vying for our attention, so-called specialty channels that promised science content had to reinvent themselves. 

In order for science to be appealing these days, it has to be sleek and sexy. National Geographic is now “Nat Geo,” a cable channel with a cool nickname. Shiny graphics, maps, and exciting footage are all used together with narration to provide a more immersive experience. And this is what the new Cosmos is doing.

Tyson is a logical choice for taking over where Sagan left off: his enthusiasm and love of astronomy and science is clear. He has mass appeal. And Sagan was a huge influence on Tyson, the two having met while Tyson was a teenager. Tyson has often said that he wants to follow in Sagan’s footsteps.

WATCH: Carl Sagan’s influence on Neil deGrasse Tyson

The question is whether or not — in the age of the Internet — that this kind of show will have legs. Can science television still capture the attention of millions of viewers when they can look at images from Hubble or a Mars rover while sitting at their desks?

But it’s not just about seeing pretty images. It’s about trying to understand what you’re looking at. It’s about putting things into perspective. It’s about learning.

It’s time real science was brought back into our homes.

Cosmos airs on Global Television Sundays at 9 p.m.

©2014Shaw Media

Funding expands brain study to former university hockey players, ex-NHLers – National

by admin on 29/09/2019

TORONTO – A study tracking the brain health of retired NHL players over several years has received $750,000 in additional funding to expand recruitment to university hockey alumni.

Thirty retired NHL players are currently enrolled in the study begun in 2011 by researchers at Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto.

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The new funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research will allow former university hockey players up to age 90 to join the study.

Lead investigator Brian Levine says the new funding will allow researchers to generalize their findings from a sample of hockey players more representative of the general population.

The former NHL players are undergoing comprehensive cognitive testing, brain scans and other tests aimed at identifying risk factors associated with dementia.

READ MORE: NHL Players’ Association hands Harvard $100 million to study brain injury

They will also have the option of donating their brains after death to determine if any neurodegenerative disease had occurred.

The study is unique because it focuses on aging hockey players, looking at numerous factors that can potentially affect brain health over time, said Levine, a senior scientist with Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute and an expert in head trauma and dementia.

“This is one of the most comprehensive studies out there,” he said Thursday in a statement. “In addition to concussion history, we are looking at lifestyle factors, chronic illnesses, and genetics and proteins related to dementia, which can all impact cognitive health in aging.”

READ MORE: Brain scan may detect brain disease in NFL players

Levine and his colleagues are testing individuals with and without a history of concussion, and those with and without age-related cognitive and behavioural changes. Comparing these different groups of volunteers is crucial to isolating important factors in neurodegenerative disease.

“As former super-fit athletes from a high-impact sport, we are very interested in contributing to research that will help illuminate the different factors that influence the aging process, particularly around brain health and dementia,” said Mark Napier, executive director of the NHL Alumni Association.

“We hope that the findings will have wider implications for all aging adults.”

READ MORE: Mood swings, memory loss first symptoms of brain disease in hockey, football players

The study has also enrolled age- and education-matched family members and friends of the retired NHL players to form a comparison group that is undergoing the same assessment.

The comparison group will help researchers tease apart the brain health factors that may be specific to retired hockey players as opposed to those that are present in the general population. Follow-up testing will take place every four years.

University hockey alumni who are interested in enrolling in the study should contact Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute recruitment hotline, 416-785-2500, ext. 3100. Eligible participants may still be active in recreational sports; however, those who are still actively competing as a professional, semi-professional or university hockey player will not qualify.

Lost German survives on flies in Australian Outback – National

by admin on 29/09/2019

BRISBANE, Australia – A German tourist who was missing for more than two weeks in the Australian Outback survived by eating flies after becoming lost and stranded by floodwaters, police said Friday.

Daniel Dudzisz was picked up by a motorist late Thursday near the township of Windorah in Queensland state, police Inspector Mark Henderson said.

The 26-year-old insulin-dependent diabetic had last been seen on Feb. 17 when he left Windorah to walk 77 kilometres (48 miles) north across rugged terrain to the settlement of Jundah, Henderson said.

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Dudzisz became stranded by floodwaters for about 10 days and lived on insects for most of the time he was lost, Henderson said.

“He joked about never going hungry in the Australian Outback because of the amount of flies you can eat for their protein,” Henderson told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio.

“He had some baked beans and cereal when he left Windorah and exhausted that pretty quickly, and said he’d been eating flies ever since,” Henderson added.

Dudzisz told police he had heard search helicopters but their crews could not see him through the canopy of trees, Henderson said.

Dudzisz, who had an adequate supply of insulin with him, refused medical treatment at Windorah.

“He certainly was hungry, but other than that he was in reasonable spirits,” Henderson said.

Henderson said Dudzisz remained determined to trek west to the sparsely populated Northern Territory.

“He has made an agreement now that he will stick to the main roads now rather than going cross country,” Henderson said.

Dudzisz had been hiking for several months through New South Wales state and Queensland, ABC reported.

©2014The Canadian Press