Stories tagged Canada

This is pretty weird. A 19-year-old woman was just attacked and killed by two coyotes in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Setting aside the horrible tragedy of the story... this is kind of strange. Coyotes don't often weigh more than 50 pounds, and they're usually pretty cautious of people. But apparently attacks on humans occasionally do happen. I guess it sort of makes sense, though—while larger predators, like wolves and big cats, are generally pushed out of a region by humans, coyotes are better able to adapt to human environments, and they can hang around in urban and suburban areas. (Although this incident happened outside the city, it looks like.)

Anyway... I never really considered coyotes to be dangerous. This was surprising.


Pigs get flu from humans
Pigs get flu from humansCourtesy teresia

Canadian human infects pigs with "swine flu"

"A worker at (a Canadian) farm had traveled to Mexico, fallen ill there and unknowingly brought the disease back to Canada last month. The worker has recovered.

About 10 percent of the 2,200 pigs on the farm got sick. According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, all recovered without treatment in five days.

The entire herd remains under quarantine as a precaution. New York Times"

Learn more
For additional information read this Wall Street Journal post titled,
Pigs in Canada Contract Flu Virus


Diamonds from Canada: Click on the mafic link for more photos related to hunting for diamonds near the Arctic Circle.
Diamonds from Canada: Click on the mafic link for more photos related to hunting for diamonds near the Arctic Circle.Courtesy mafic

Understand geology

Chuck Fipke, with a degree in geology, was hired out of college by Kennecott Copper to look for gold and copper. About 8 years later Superior Oil hired him to look, not for metals, but diamonds. A Superior geologist named John Gurney, discovered that the presence of chromite, ilmenite, and high-chrome, low-calcium garnet within kimberlite predicted the finding of diamonds. Fipke, combining what he understood of Gurney's work with results coming out of Russian labs and his own skills with field sampling, started looking for diamonds in Canada.

Using what you know, start looking

With Superior's backing, he teamed up with a geologist and pilot named Stewart Blusson, formed Dia Met Minerals, and headed north.

Drill for samples and work "upstream"

De Beers geologists were already looking for diamonds in Canada. Fipke knew that glaciers pushed everything southward so he looked further north. He also noticed that the further North he went the less worn were the edges of the diamonds.

Fipke got a helicopter and flew back and forth over the Arctic Circle, using a magnetometer to track variations in magnetic field that would suggest kimberlite. After thousands of miles and hundreds of hours in the air, he found a promising site near Lac de Gras, a barren world of lakes and rock and muskeg a few hundred miles outside the Arctic Circle.

Keep looking, don't give up

He'd been surveying for eight years. He hadn't found a single diamond. Superior had abandoned the diamond business. Dia Met's stock was trading at pennies a share.

I worked hard, and I mean really hard. I worked seven days a week from 8 am until 3 am. Every day. We drilled and drilled all winter when it was dark and the windchill was 80 below. Everyone thought I was crazy.

Become a billionaire

In 1991, Fipke found a kimberlite pipe (buried under 30 feet of glaciated sediment) with a concentration of 68 carats per 100 tons — the first Canadian diamonds ever found. Shares of Dia Met rocketed to $70.

Chuck Fipke had partnered with mining giant Broken Hill Proprietary Company (now BHP Billiton) to get the diamonds out; BHP opened the Ekati mine at Lac de Gras in 1998. Soon Dia Met's 29 percent share of the mine was worth billions. Fipke would go on to sell his chunk to BHP for $687 million, retaining 10 percent ownership in the mine, worth another $1 billion.

Diamonds from Canada now account for 10 percent of all diamonds by carat sold in the world. The country's four working mines produced 17 million carats in 2007.

Source: How a Rogue Geologist Discovered a Diamond Trove in the Canadian Arctic Wired


Map of British Columbia: Georgia Strait where the majority of the feet were found.
Map of British Columbia: Georgia Strait where the majority of the feet were found.Courtesy Puget Sound Partnership
A mystery has been unfolding in British Columbia over the past year. Since August 2007, seven body-less feet have been found washed up on the banks of the Frasier River and Georgia Strait. The most recent foot was discovered on November 11 by a couple walking along the Frasier River. One of the feet has been identified by DNA as belonging to a missing man. Investigators are looking to missing persons reports in an attempt to identify the other feet.
Some people have found the fact that many of the feet were in tennis shoes and were right feet to be suspicious, but authorities believe that the body parts are most likely from natural deaths and have travelled by ocean currents to the shore. Forensic analysts agree with a scenario in which the feet disarticulated naturally from the bodies, with the tennis shoes keeping the feet afloat while other body parts likely sank. Is this a hoax, a serial killer who has a big problem with sneakers or just an odd and icky manifestation of natural deaths? You can find more information in this article Another severed foot washes up on B.C. coast. And, to see what local British Columbians think is going on, or if you enjoy some morbid humor and a foot pun or twelve, check out the comments section of this article.


Almost 50 years ago in Canada, a 14-year old boy was sentenced to death for the alleged murder of a 12-year old classmate. The 12-year old was found murdered two days after she was last seen with the 14-year old. Public opinion resulted in the boy being sentenced to life, due to what many thought was an improperly carried out investigation. Some of the evidence from this investigation included photographing and collecting some maggots from the body of the 12-year old. In 2000, the case was reopened.

Part of the research of the defense centers on the maggot evidence collected in 1959. In 2006, the corpses of three pigs were placed at the crime scene to collect additional maggot specimens. For those not in the know with regard to fly lifecycles, the development of a fly from egg to larva (maggot) to pupa to adult is tied to local environmental conditions, such as the temperature. Richard Merritt, a fly specialist from Michigan State University reviewed the specimens and environmental data. After examining the small size of the 1959 maggots, larval growth rates and the temperature, Merritt determined that there was no way that the boy could have committed the murder the day the girl disappeared (the boy had an alibi for the following day).

To check out some maggots in action on a pig corpse, check out Liza's pig cam log on Science Buzz pig!


All hail to the beer fridge!: Canadian beer drinkers are destroying the planet, but having too good a time to notice.
All hail to the beer fridge!: Canadian beer drinkers are destroying the planet, but having too good a time to notice.Courtesy Brian Warren

Canadians love their beer. However, possessing only the standard number of kidneys (2), they must drink it slowly, and store it until they are ready. To keep their cold ones, er, cold, they have developed the tradition of the “beer fridge” – an old, used refrigerator, kept in the garage or the basement, and used just for beer and snacks. (Newer, nicer fridges go in the kitchen.)

But a new study by the Canadian government claims that this piece of native culture is wrecking the environment. The old refrigerators use more energy than newer models. Researchers have suggested buy-back programs, which basically amounts to taxpayers buying me a new fridge. Finally, a government subsidy we can all get behind!

There’s no reliable data on the energy consumption of the beer-launching fridge, clearly the greatest achievement in the history of civilization.