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Welcome to PEI Blogs, a list of weblogs (blogs), podcasts,news feeds and Tweets about or located in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada. Use the Add and Change Site buttons to recommend links or changes. Sites with RSS or ATOM syndication will display the last 5 posts. Be sure to subscribe to our mailing list of new additions. An aggregation of recent posts to selected sites is displayed on most pages. Click the subject to view the post description, or the blog name to go to it. Click on an entry's podcast graphic to play a podcast.

PEI Blogs is provided as a public service on a non-profit basis. Information comes from individual websites, through syndication, and from Twitter via Twitter Lists, and is displayed automatically by PEI Blogs, who have no control over information posted. Opinions expressed by posters are not those of PEI Blogs. Information posted will not be suitable for all readers, or all age groups. Sites may portray themselves as objective, but present a very biased point of view. Please make your own decisions as to the objectivity of any site.

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Wednesday November 25, 2015

13:20 Charlottetown to host Eastern Canadian ringette tournaments »The Guardian - Sports
High-speed ringette is returning to Charlottetown this spring as Ringette P.E.I. prepares to host the Eastern Canadian championships. The event will see up to 28 teams from the region competing in the under-14, -16 and -19 divisions as well as the 18 and older division. The tournaments, which ...
13:00 P.E.I. man says tensions between farmers and government inspectors »The Guardian - Local News
GEORGETOWN - A farmer, fined $1,000 for having loose straps on his truck, took the P.E.I. government to task for what he described as an unhealthy atmosphere between the farm community and government inspectors. An environmental official, inspecting William Visser’s farm, found farm hands had ...
12:57 Changes coming to rules for P.E.I. College of Physicians and Surgeons »The Guardian - Local News
Changes to the rules governing the province’s College of Physicians and Surgeons will help ensure more oversight and allow changes to rules on language tests for doctors with foreign credentials. Amendments to the Medical Act introduced Tuesday in the legislature will give the minister the ...
12:43 [LINK] "What If Trump Wins?" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
Thanks to Facebook's Alex for sharing Jeet Heer's article in The New Republic looking at the consequences of Donald Trump winning the Republican Party nomination. His conclusion, that the precedent of Goldwater's 1964 nomination suggests the Republican Party will be permanently altered, is frightening to me.

Barry Goldwater’s nomination tore the party in half because he was the avatar of a wider conservative insurgency that displaced the moderate Republicanism of President Eisenhower’s crowd. For the moderates, Goldwater was a frightening figure not only because he adopted extreme positions (opposition to the Civil Rights Act, an unwillingness to disavow the conspiracy-obsessed John Birch Society), but also for his habit of making reckless remarks, like suggesting the Pentagon “lob one into the men’s room at the Kremlin.”

Before Goldwater got the nomination, GOP notables and his rivals had attacked him in the fiercest possible terms. Richard Nixon, who was in between presidential runs that year, described Goldwater’s opposition to civil rights as a “tragedy.” New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, who was a candidate, said, “Barry Goldwater’s positions can spell disaster for the party and the country.” Pennsylvania Governor William Scranton, another presidential hopeful, called Goldwaterism a “crazy quilt collection of absurd and dangerous propositions.”

The hostilities played out on national television during the convention in which Goldwater was selected in San Francisco. Rockefeller and Scranton tried to exert a moderating influence on the platform, only to be met with heckling and catcalls. Eisenhower said the ruckus of the convention was “unpardonable—and a complete negation of the spirit of democracy. I was bitterly ashamed.” The former president also said that during the convention his young niece had been “molested” by Goldwater-supporting hooligans. The disarray of that convention anticipated some of the rowdiness of Trump events, as in the recent roughing up of a black protester in Birmingham, Alabama, which Trump himself egged on and justified.

Goldwater’s campaign had a profound impact on the racial composition of the Republican coalition. As historian Geoffrey Kabaservice notes in his 2012 book Rule and Ruin: The Downfall of Moderation and the Destruction of the Republican Party, “Many progressives and moderate Republicans did not want to participate in the Goldwater campaign in any way, shape, or form. The party’s African-American supporters were a special case in point. … African-Americans comprised only one percent of delegates and alternatives at the convention, a record low. Even so, there were some ugly incidents when Southern whites baited the blacks with insults and racial epithets and, in one case, deliberately burned a black delegate’s suit jacket with cigarettes.” Baseball star Jackie Robinson, then the most famous black Republican, said, “I now believe I know how it felt to be a Jew in Hitler’s Germany.”

[. . .]

Goldwater’s hard-right stance on civil rights alienated African American voters from the Republican Party in an enduring way. In 1956, 39 percent of the African American vote went to the Republicans, in 1960 it was 32 percent, and in 1964 it plummeted to 6 percent. Since Goldwater, the Republican presidential candidate has never gotten more than 15 percent of the black vote, and usually far less. A Trump nomination could have a similar effect by alienating Latinos, and perhaps all non-whites, thereby making the Republican Party even more monochromatic going forward than it already is.
12:41 [URBAN NOTE] "LCBO should have pot monopoly, too: union boss" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
While I approve of the idea of marijuana legalization, and even think that government licensing is a good idea, I am not at all sure about the suggestion, as reported by Sarah-Joyce Battersby, that the LCBO should be given a monopoly over marijuana sales in Ontario. I am pretty sure the users I know would not approve of the disruption of their links with their existing suppliers.

Stocking weed alongside wine at the LCBO is the best way to protect public health, say addiction experts. But for marijuana advocates it’s more of the same prohibition.

In a statement released Monday, the union representing LCBO workers said the provincially owned stores are the ideal place to sell marijuana, should the federal government legalize it.

“If they do legalize it, then it’s a drug,” Warren (Smokey) Thomas told the Star. “So we think that, like alcohol, it should be controlled.”

Thomas, president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, said secure warehouses and staff trained to check ages are some of the reasons the LCBO should be the sole source of legal pot in the province, as it is with most alcohol.

The scheme would also generate revenue for the government to combat the potential social costs. But marijuana advocates say those social costs and the spectre of public danger are overblown, and government-run sales would continue a prohibitionist regulatory approach.
12:36 P.E.I. government starting new agricultural environment officers unit »The Guardian - Local News
The days of environmental cops packing pistols and wearing vests are over as the provincial government has announced changes to the way it deals with land and farm infractions. A new unit will be developed employing agriculture environment officers. It will be established in the new year and ...
12:36 [URBAN NOTE] "Eglinton West station to become ‘Cedarvale’ because of Crosstown LRT" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
I approve of the proposal, as reported by the Toronto Star's Tess Kalinowski, to give the TTC's Eglinton West station a more locally meaningful name.

The TTC has opted for Cedarvale as the new name of Eglinton West station where the Crosstown LRT will intersect with the subway.

But the Eglinton (at Yonge St.) and Kennedy stops, the other two interchange stations on the LRT, will retain their utilitarian handles.

The TTC has naming jurisdiction on only those three of the 25 Crosstown stations. The light rail line is being funded by the province and built by its agency Metrolinx.

Councillor and TTC board member Joe Mihevc put out the call in his ward for station name preferences at Eglinton West. Of 43 responses 22 supported Cedarvale and 21 wanted Allen Rd. The latter group, however, tended to be from a broader area, whereas the Cedarvale supporters were more local, he said.

Cedarvale, lends some local charm to the stop.
12:34 [ISL] "Sinking into Paradise: Climate Change Worsening Coastal Erosion in Trinidad" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
The Inter Press Service's Rajiv Jalim notes how rising sea levels and climate change are combining to accelerate erosion in Trinidad.

As unusually heavy rainfall battered Trinidad’s east coast a year ago, a lagoon here was overwhelmed, flooding a major access road to the island’s south-eastern communities. As the flood waters poured over Manzanilla beach, they washed sand away, caved in sections of road and collapsed a seawall at a tourist beach facility. Further damages were also incurred with the flooding of homes and agricultural plots.

The coastline of Trinidad is under threat as seas rise, storms grow heavier, and as sand is washed away. As iconic coconut trees are lapped by an encroaching sea, some of the dangers of climate change are becoming clear.

Seas in the region have been rising by more than 2 millimeters every year — though scientists are still trying to pinpoint the role of climate change in accelerating local beach erosion.

“On Manzanilla beach the sea is definitely getting closer to the land, but the primary reason may not be land deformation or sea level rise,” said Keith Miller, a senior lecturer and researcher at the University of West Indies.

“The Atlantic swell causes longshore drift and beach sediments move southward,” Miller said. “Research has been done to suggest that the sediment source has dried up to some extent, so material is being moved along the beach, but there is less material available to replace it.”

In addition to the problems on the east coast, Trinidad’s south-western peninsula is experiencing rapid erosion. Despite being sheltered from the open ocean, satellite images have shown large portions of it being lost to the Gulf of Paria.
12:31 [ISL] "Sable Island horses, walruses to be discussed at meeting" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
CBC News' Jennifer Henderson reports on the latest studies into the biological history of Nova Scotia's Sable Island. Apparently, before the famous horses appeared, the island hosted a large and genetically distinctive walrus population exterminated by hunters.

Brenna McLeod Frasier, a biologist and research associate with the Nova Scotia Museum, says accounts from early explorers suggest there were as many as 100,000 walrus in the Maritimes, including in the Bay of Fundy, Sable and Magdalen Islands.

The walruses disappeared by the end of the 1700s.

"People were hunting them for their tusks which were almost like an ivory similar to an elephant ivory," says McLeod Frasier, who is also an educator with the Canadian Whale Institute.

"They also wanted the hide and their blubber. The walrus had a lot of blubber which could be rendered down to an oil which could be used for various products," she said.

McLeod Frasier has taken DNA, tusks and jawbones from 278 specimens found on Sable Island in recent decades to conclude the mammal here was different from the walrus found today in the North.

"Our Maritime walrus, as we have 'tagged' them, were larger and more robust animals. They were also genetically distinctive," she said.</blcokquote>
12:28 [ISL] "Woodleigh Replicas sale pushed with $10K cash incentive on Facebook" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
Yet another tourist attraction of the Prince Edward Island of my childhood, Woodleigh Replicas in Burlington, is on the market still, seven years after it closed.

P.E.I. real estate agent has turned to social media — and a hefty cash reward — in the hopes of finding a buyer for the former popular tourist attraction Woodleigh Replicas.

Allan Weeks posted an offer of $10,000 cash for anyone who helps him sell the property, which he co-owns with his brother, to Facebook last week. It's since been shared more than 2,000 times.

"This is a pretty high promotion of $10,000," Weeks said.

A cash-deal between brokers usually runs between $1,000 and 5,000, he said.

Woodleigh Replicas, located in Burlington near Kensington, featured small-scale stone replicas of famous British castles and landmarks. Many of the buildings are still located on the 19-acre property.

The site, the CBC notes, has been pre-approved for building lots.
12:25 [URBAN NOTE] "Why New York Subway Lines Are Missing Countdown Clocks" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
CityLab's James Somers reports on why New York City's subway system lacks the countdown clocks of Toronto's network. The answer? The technology behind it is almost astonishingly primitive.

The reason there are no realtime countdown clocks on the F line is that even the tower operators don’t know which train is where. All they can see is that a certain section is occupied by a certain anonymous hunk of steel. It’s anonymous because no one has a view of the whole system. A hunk comes into one section of track from somewhere else; the tower’s job is to get it through their section efficiently. The next tower they pass it to will likewise not know whether it’s an F, say, or a G. When there are incidents, trains are located by deduction.

This complex—of towers, signals, switches, and track sections—is responsible for a disproportionate share of the costs and foibles in the operation and maintenance of New York’s subway system.

The equipment is old and breaks all the time. In fact it’s so old that the MTA can no longer buy replacement parts from the manufacturer; it has to refurbish them itself. Some of the controls for the interlockings are originals from the 30s. Much of the wiring is still insulated with cloth, instead of rubber; ten years ago the entire Chambers Street interlocking caught fire. Salt water from Hurricane Sandy did damage to trackside switches and signals that is still being repaired.

Inside the Signal School there is equipment from every major era, since it’s all still active in various parts of the system. As a demo, Habersham at one point flips an old-style switch on the big replica track. It lets out a giant pneumatic wheeze, as though the tired station itself were sighing. Even the little toy train that he used to demonstrate signaling basics is falling apart; there was so much rust and dust on the tracks that at several points another MTA employee had to help it along with his hand.</blcokquote>
11:56 IRAC, Maritime Electric at loggerheads over energy plan »The Guardian - Opinion
Usually, it’s a simple matter of Maritime Electric submitting its energy conservation plan and the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission rubber-stamping it. For the first time in years, the utility failed to get that approval.Except for one minor portion, the plan — filed in early June — ...
11:54 QEH parking fees a thorn in side »The Guardian - Opinion
Parking fees at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital are once again under fire, this time from a slightly unexpected source- a government MLA (“Another half hour would be nice”, today’s Guardian). Liberal MLA Bush Dumville is trying to convince Health Minister Doug Currie to remove parking fees at the ...
11:50 Research funding a key component to establish first-class university »The Guardian - Opinion
I have read in the Guardian that the University of Prince Edward Island has dropped on the list of Canada’s top 50 research universities due to the lack of funding recently. I was confused when I read this article because I could not figure out why there was an obvious fall in federal and ...
11:48 ‘Well-Being’ Act on what we value »The Guardian - Opinion
Re: The Well-Being Measurement Act (Bill 101). Picture a government that sees Island life through the eyes of Islanders and acts from those impressions. Such a democratic boost could result from the Well-Being Measurement Act (Bill 101), which Peter Bevan-Baker tabled in the Legislature on ...
11:47 Mailbox locks frozen solid »The Guardian - Opinion
I was, and remain, opposed to the new mail boxes forced upon us by the brain trust at Canada Post. This morning I was provided even more ammunition as to why these tin boxes, adorning our streets have to go. I am certain that I am not the only one who discovered that the lock to my assigned ...
11:39 Irene Novaczek applauds Well Being Measurement Act »The Guardian - Opinion
A guide for community leaders to protect and conserve features that people value
11:30 Fresh herbs play important role in Vietnamese dishes »The Guardian - Living
Nancie McDermott’s “Simply Vietnamese Cooking” (Robert Rose Inc., 2015) provides an introduction to Vietnamese cooking for novices. It contains the recipes that I’d expect to find in it, such as pho, rice paper rolls and banh mi. However, the majority of the content in the book showed me how ...
11:00 Fire destroys home in Mount Pleasant »The Guardian - Local News
MOUNT PLEASANT - Tyne Valley firefighters could see the flames from the Ellerslie Road as they made their way to a house fire on the Diversion Road in Mt. Pleasant Friday night. The call was received around 10 p.m., fire chief William Bishop said. The bungalow was fully engulfed when the ...
10:52 LIVESTREAM: Syrian refugee plans for P.E.I. announced »The Guardian - Local News
Live streaming video by Ustream
10:52 Syrian refugee plans for P.E.I. announced »The Guardian - Local News
Live streaming video by Ustream
10:39 Catholic Family Services Bureau honoured for care of children »The Guardian - Local News
Dr. J.H. O’Hanley, the late, iconic P.E.I. pediatrician, left an indelible mark on the Catholic Family Services Bureau, says the organization’s executive director. “Dr. O’Hanley played a huge part in the bureau,’’ says Peter Mutch. “His standards that he set for the dedication of working with ...
10:33 Charlottetown police make arrest in assault case »The Guardian - Local News
Charlottetown police have arrested a 36-year-old man in connection with an assault at an apartment building on Euston Street. Officers spent much of Tuesday at the scene where a 42-year-old man was assaulted before being airlifted to Halifax. RELATED: Charlottetown police spend all day ...
10:24 Men's hockey Panthers look to end 2015 schedule on a high note »The Guardian - Sports
The UPEI Panthers look to pick up where they left off Saturday in a rare Wednesday game in Fredericton, N.B. The men's hockey Panthers play their final road game of 2015 tonight against the St. Thomas Tommies at 7 p.m. after winning 2-1 at St. F.X. on Saturday. Panthers head coach Forbes ...
10:04 Why We Love Poetry Tea Time + Our Current Favourite Poetry Books »Life on a Canadian Island
10:00 Police pepper spray shirtless man yelling at cars near Fortune Bridge »The Guardian - Local News
GEORGETOWN - A shirtless man pepper sprayed after running down a dark, rainy highway and yelling at passing cars appeared before Judge Nancy Orr in provincial court. It took a 911 call before police found Gordon Junior Gregory, 24, running half naked at a dangerous highway turn near Fortune ...
09:45 [WRITING] "The entire board of the Organization for Transformative Works has resigned" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
This is noteworthy. From the Daily Dot's Cynthia McKelvey:

Following a controversy around its most recent board election, the non-profit group that runs the fanfiction hub Archive Of Our Own (AO3) announced on Sunday its entire board had resigned.

Now the leadership of the Organization for Transformative Works is up in the air.

Andrea Horbinski, a current member of the seven-member board, was up for re-election to two open board seats, but she came in last in the members election. The membership, made up of roughly 8,000 fans who paid a $10 membership fee, voted for Matty Bowers, Atiya Hakeem, Alex Tischer, Katarina Harju, Aline Carrão, and Horbinski in that order.

During a public board meeting on Sunday, the OTW board appointed Horbinski back onto the board to fill an unfinished term on a third open seat not included in the election. Horbinski voted in favor of the motion to re-appoint herself to the open seat, rather than abstaining from the vote. The board meeting came to an abrupt halt after several OTW members voiced their opposition to the decision, pointing out that other candidates got more votes than Horbinski in the election.

OTW board members work on a volunteer-basis only. In addition to running AO3, OTW also runs a legal committee, a fandom wiki site, the fansite preservation project Open Doors, and an academic journal.
09:29 P.E.I. plan to accept 100 Syrian refugees unchanged »The Guardian - Local News
Premier Wade MacLauchlan says the federal government’s decision to push back its deadline to bring 25,000 refugees to Canada only firms up Prince Edward Island’s commitment to welcome 100 Syrian refugees to the Island. The federal government announced Tuesday it will not meet its Dec. 31 ...
09:15 Aggravated Assault - Man In Custody »Charlottetown Police Police Reports
Charlottetown Police Services are investigating an aggravated assault occurring at 177 Euston St., Charlottetown, on Tuesday November 24th. As a result of assault a 42 year old Charlottetown area male was transported to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, and later airlifted to Halifax NS. Police investigation continued throughout the day resulting in the apprehension and incarceration of a 36 year old Charlottetown area male early this Wednesday morning. Police do not view this assault as a random act, and believe no danger exits to the citizens of Charlottetown; police investigation is continuing.
08:18 P.E.I. immigration minister disappointed in phone call about immigrants »Journal-Pioneer Local
Prince Edward Island’s minister responsible for immigration says he was disappointed to receive a telephone call from an Islander Tuesday urging government to stop bringing refugees and immigrants to P.E.I. Workforce Development Minister Richard Brown says it’s the first telephone call he has ...
07:31 Charlottetown man denied release while appealing drug conviction »The Guardian - Local News
The P.E.I. Court of Appeal has denied an application bySebastian Ayangma in which the 23-year-old Charlottetown man sought release pending appeal of his conviction for drug trafficking. Ayangma, who was convicted earlier this year of four counts of trafficking in cocaine, was sentenced last ...
07:24 P.E.I. immigration minister disappointed in phone call about immigrants »The Guardian - Local News
Prince Edward Island’s minister responsible for immigration says he was disappointed to receive a telephone call from an Islander Tuesday urging government to stop bringing refugees and immigrants to P.E.I. Workforce Development Minister Richard Brown says it’s the first telephone call he has ...
06:36 Goulet hoping to get back in Islanders lineup, step up his game »The Guardian - Sports
Alexandre Goulet is hoping to be back in the Charlottetown Islanders lineup tonight after missing the past two games with an ankle injury. The 19-year-old forward sustained the injury during an off-ice workout last week and missed both games in Sydney, N.S., against the Cape Breton Screaming ...
00:59 [DM] "Some notes on the Turkmen, Turkey, and this diaspora's future" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
I've a followup at Demography Matters to this afternoon's post in the Syrian Turkmen, predicting the imminent mass migration of ethnic Turks from Syria and Iraq to (for starters) Turkey.
00:12 Canada Post caught without spray as mail box locks freeze on P.E.I. »The Guardian - Local News
Mail corporation apologizes formaintenance slip to prevent ice from locking down mail box locks

Tuesday November 24, 2015

23:47 P.E.I. women 3-0 at Travelers Curling ch’ships »Journal-Pioneer Sports
23:27 Panthers make top-10 list for the first time in Kendrick's tenure »The Guardian - Sports
The UPEI Panthers men's basketball team's perfect start to the regular season has caught the attention of coaches across the country. The Atlantic University Sport-leading Panthers (5-0) were ranked ninth Tuesday in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport top-10 list. It is the first time the team ...
23:22 Wooldridge to serve on Hockey Canada's board of directors »The Guardian - Sports
Milton Station native Goops Wooldridge was elected for a one-year term as a director of Hockey Canada's board of directors during the weekend in Toronto. Wooldridge has been a longtime member of the Hockey P.E.I. board of directors and served as the association's president from 2012 to ...
23:20 Charlottetown police spend all day investigating violent incident »The Guardian - Local News
Police forensic unit at downtown Charlottetown apartment house at 177 Euston Street as victim taken to Halifax
23:19 Tignish lottery to end Dec. 18 or sooner »Journal-Pioneer Local
23:16 Preparing P.E.I. students for college, university goal of school board »The Guardian - Local News
The English Language School Board wants more high school graduates to have college or university as an option. The board held a meeting in Stratford on Tuesday night in which it listed three goals as part of a strategic plan. The first goal was that by June 30, 2017 the board will have ...
22:43 [URBAN NOTE] "City unveils designs for $19.7 million Fort York pedestrian bridge" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
blogTO let me know that the proposal for a pedestrian bridge at Fort York cancelled by Rob Ford in 2011 is on again, courtesy CP24's Chris Fox.

The city has unveiled the design for two new pedestrian bridges that will traverse a pair of rail tracks in the west end, connecting Stanley Park with the Fort York historic grounds and the nearby waterfront.

The $19.7 million Fort York Pedestrian and Cycle bridge will actually consist of two separate stainless steel spans, one that will run above the Georgetown rail corridor near Strachan Avenue and another that will run above the Lakeshore rail corridor further south.

The project will also see the areas surrounding either bridge developed into parkland.

Construction will begin in the spring with a targeted completion date of spring 2017
22:00 Feeling Appreciated »justpictureit
photo - Feeling Appreciated

Milk cows love people. I had visited them, petting noses and feeding grass and was walking away. I turned around when one cow mooing kept calling me back.

21:55 P.E.I. women 3-0, men 1-1 at Travels curling championships »The Guardian - Sports
Team P.E.I. women share the top of the leaderboard with Ontario after two days of play at the Travelers Canadian Curling Club Championships in Ottawa. The Lisa Jackson rink from the Cornwall Curling Club soared to 3-0 with a 7-2 win over Quebec’s Sonia Simard rink in the fifth draw of the ...
21:38 [LINK] On the latest from KIC 8462852 »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
KIC 8462852 has been the subject of extensive speculation and research since the discovery of the mysterious debris disk in orbit. The latest NASA press release on the subject suggests

A new study using data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope addresses the mystery, finding more evidence for the scenario involving a swarm of comets. The study, led by Massimo Marengo of Iowa State University, Ames, is accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

One way to learn more about the star is to study it in infrared light. Kepler had observed it in visible light. If a planetary impact, or a collision amongst asteroids, were behind the mystery of KIC 8462852, then there should be an excess of infrared light around the star. Dusty, ground-up bits of rock would be at the right temperature to glow at infrared wavelengths.

At first, researchers tried to look for infrared light using NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, and found none. But those observations were taken in 2010, before the strange events seen by Kepler -- and before any collisions would have kicked up dust.

To search for infrared light that might have been generated after the oddball events, researchers turned to Spitzer, which, like WISE, also detects infrared light. Spitzer just happened to observe KIC 8462852 more recently in 2015.

"Spitzer has observed all of the hundreds of thousands of stars where Kepler hunted for planets, in the hope of finding infrared emission from circumstellar dust," said Michael Werner, the Spitzer project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the lead investigator of that particular Spitzer/Kepler observing program.

But, like WISE, Spitzer did not find any significant excess of infrared light from warm dust. That makes theories of rocky smashups very unlikely, and favors the idea that cold comets are responsible. It's possible that a family of comets is traveling on a very long, eccentric orbit around the star. At the head of the pack would be a very large comet, which would have blocked the star's light in 2011, as noted by Kepler. Later, in 2013, the rest of the comet family, a band of varied fragments lagging behind, would have passed in front of the star and again blocked its light.

The paper, "KIC 8462852: The Infrared Flux", is available here.
19:53 Metros go 5-for-5 on the power play in junior C victory »The Guardian - Sports
The Sherwood Metros scored five of its six second-period goals on the power play en route to an 8-2 win over the Tignish Perry's Construction Aces in Razzy's P.E.I. Junior C hockey League action Monday at Cody Banks Arena. Zack MacDonald (1-1), Tanner Jamieson (1-1), Chad Wilson, Zac Mella and ...
19:29 Two-month extension given for bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada »Journal-Pioneer Local
‘…helping our neighbor in need’
18:54 Gray, Koughan propel Pownal to victory »The Guardian - Sports
Two goals by Connor Gray and a goal and an assist by Grant Koughan paced the Pownal Taco Boyz Red Devils to a 3-0 win over the Charlottetown Brighton Construction Abbies in P.E.I. Midget AAA Hockey League action Monday in Pownal. Devils goalie Colby Landrigan upped his record 5-1 and earned his ...
18:53 Cyber bullying expert offers help to Kensington family »Journal-Pioneer Local
The mother of a Kensington student whose social media post about bullying went viral says her son is going back to school after getting some high-profile help.
18:12 New Caring Cupboard depot in New Year »Journal-Pioneer Local
Coming to Tyne Valley Presbyterian Hall
17:33 [BRIEF NOTE] On the Turkmen of Syria, Turkey, Russia, and ongoing complexities »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
Friend of the blog Jussi Jalonen recently noted on Facebook that the Turkish shootdown of a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 on the Turkish-Syrian border, the pilots successfully escaping in parachutes only to be shot dead by Syrian Turkmen Brigades in Syria, underlines the complexities.

The Syrian Turkmen are a substantial ethnic minority, apparently concentrated near the Turkish border, amounting to the hundreds of thousands. How many hundreds of thousands? Might it even be millions? There's no firm data, it seems, much as there is no firm data on the numbers of Iraqi Turkmen. What is known is that these Turkmen minorities are numerous, that their zones of inhabitation overlap at least in part with that of ethnic Kurds, and that they are politically close to Turkey. As Vox's Zack Beauchamp noted, in the particular case of Syria the Turkmen are opposed to Russia.

he Turkmen arrived in what's now Syria centuries ago, as various different Turkic empires — first the Seljuks, then the Ottomans — encouraged Turkish migration into the territory to counterbalance the local Arab majority. Under Bashar al-Assad's rule, the mostly Sunni Muslim Turkmen in Syria were an oppressed minority, denied even the right to teach their own children in their own language (a Turkish dialect).

However, the Turkmen didn't immediately join the anti-Assad uprising in 2011. Instead, they were goaded into it by both sides. Assad persecuted them, treating them as a potential conduit for Turkish involvement in the Syrian civil war. Turkey, a longtime enemy of Assad, encouraged the Turkmen to oppose him with force. Pushed in the same direction by two major powers, the Turkmen officially joined the armed opposition in 2012.

Since then, they've gotten deeply involved in the civil war, receiving significant amounts of military aid from Ankara. Their location has brought them into conflict with the Assad regime, ISIS, and even the Western-backed Kurdish rebels (whom Turkey sees as a threat given its longstanding struggle with its own Kurdish population). Today, the Syrian Turkmen Brigades — the dominant Turkmen military faction — boast as many as 10,000 fighters, per the BBC, though the real number could be much lower.

The Turkmen role in the conflict has put them directly in Russia's crosshairs. The Russians, contrary to their stated goal of fighting ISIS, have directed most of their military efforts to helping Assad's forces fight rebels. The Turkmen have clashed repeatedly with Assad and his allies in the north — which led to Russian planes targeting Turkmen militants last week.

Turkey was not happy, and called in the Russian ambassador to register its disapproval. "It was stressed that the Russian side's actions were not a fight against terror, but they bombed civilian Turkmen villages and this could lead to serious consequences," the Turkish foreign ministry said in a description of the meeting provided to Reuters.

Could, as Beauchamp suggests, the Turkish attack have been a warning to Russia to avoid attacking Turkey's ethnic kin? It's imaginable, at least.

All I can add is that there's a tragic irony here. At least in part in an effort to diminish the negative consequences from Russia's support of armed ethnic kin against their parent state in Ukraine, Russia has now come into conflict with Turkey's armed ethnic kin as they fight against their parent state.
17:30 Dean, Adams receive Hurricanes athletes of the week awards »The Guardian - Sports
Basketball players Marvia Dean and Travis Adams are the Holland College Hurricanes athletes of the week after helping their teams sweepthe Crandall Chargers during the weekend. Dean, a second-year sport and leisure management student from Nassau, Bahamas, had 17 points and23 rebounds on ...
17:20 Remaining seasonably cold tonight/tomorrow across PEI.. »peistormchaser
Tuesday November 24th 5:15pm.. The low pressure system that gave all the rain to the region yesterday is now located east of Newfoundland, meanwhile an area of high pressure is approaching from the west. This feature should pass just south … Continue reading
17:10 P.E.I. Opposition seeks free vote on potato disinfection motion »The Guardian - Local News
The Opposition Progressive Conservatives are calling for Premier Wade MacLauchlan to allow his Liberal caucus to vote freely on a motion seeking a compromise on cuts to potato disinfection services.The Opposition motion calls for a temporary pause to government’s plan to cut funding to this ...
17:07 Fraser even at Travelers »Journal-Pioneer Sports
Big final end steal sinks Island team
17:00 Prince Edward Island to ensure a coordinated response to welcome Syrian refugees »Government of Prince Edward top news stories
Islanders are responding with their usual generosity as the province prepares to welcome 250 Syrian refugees.'The province is working with partners to do all we can to settle the refugees displaced due to the situation in Syria,' said Workforce and Advanced Learning Minister Richard Brown. 'We are more than pleased to be part of this nation-wide humanitarian effort to help these people who have had to leave their homes and their country. I have every...
16:55 Anne with a tea »The Guardian - Living
Anne & Gilbert actors help warm up Ottawa commuters
16:43 Santa's chair from Holman’s Toy Land returns to the downtown building »Journal-Pioneer Local
A piece of Christmas nostalgia is returning, home, to the Holman Building.
16:38 Bolo retires after 39 years of coaching high school volleyball »Journal-Pioneer Sports
Soaks up experience in final game
16:35 Making threat lands young man back in court »The Guardian - Local News
A 16-year-old youth who was told he can't go home during a court appearance Monday was back in court Tuesday after he was heard making threats outside the courthouse. The youth became upset Monday when Provincial Court Judge Nancy Orr declined to vary an undertaking that would have allowed him ...
16:18 'Internet Black Widow' to finish out sentence in prison »The Guardian - Local News
The woman known as the "Internet Black Widow" will be staying in prison after the National Parole Board ordered she be kept in custody. Melissa Ann Shephard, who is originally from Montague, is serving two years, nine months and 10 days in prison for administering a noxious substance to her ...
15:31 [LINK] "The tawdry fall of the Postmedia newspaper empire" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
The National Observer's Bruce Livesay describes the continuing decline of Conrad Black's lost Postmedia empire.

Postmedia is a national media giant with nearly 200 papers, magazines and websites. Its dailies reach 6.3 million Canadian readers every week, with some of its best-known papers including the National Post, Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald, Edmonton Journal, Regina Leader-Post, Winnipeg Sun, The London Free Press, Ottawa Citizen and Montreal Gazette.

But Postmedia is also a ship taking on water, due to both self-inflicted and industry-wide wounds.

Of the self-inflicted variety, Postmedia was pilloried last month in the run-up to the federal election after its Toronto executives ordered 16 of its major daily newspapers to run editorials endorsing Stephen Harper. (Postmedia did the same thing last spring during Alberta’s provincial election, forcing its papers there to back Jim Prentice’s Tories).

In a surprising move, John Honderich, chair of Torstar Corp., which publishes Canada’s largest daily paper, The Toronto Star, devoted an entire op-ed page article two weeks ago heaping scorn on Postmedia’s decision, decrying “the negative impact this affair is having on the newspaper industry in general. At a time when the relevance and impact of newspapers are under attack, this doesn’t help.”

Then there was the stunning resignation of Andrew Coyne as the National Post’s editorials and comments editor. Coyne quit on the eve of the election – although he remains a columnist with the paper – when his superiors told him he was not allowed to publish a column dissenting with their endorsement of Harper. Coyne, who declines to discuss the matter, tweeted his disapproval of the censoring, saying “I don’t see public disagreement as confusing. I see it as honest.”
15:29 [LINK] Dennis Perkins at Vox on the decline of the video store »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
In his thoughtful essay at Vox, "I worked in a video store for 25 years. Here’s what I learned as my industry died.", Dennis Perkins shares interesting insights.

The independent video store where I've worked for 15 years is finally dead. After 28 years in business, we succumbed to the "disruption" of Netflix and Hulu, bled to death by the long, slow defection of our customer base. Once we announced our closing, the few who remained mourned — then we locked the doors. Our permanent collection is gone: boxed up and shipped off to the local library.

Videoport, of Portland, Maine, lasted longer than most. It was better than most. It owed its longevity to a single, engaged owner, to strong ties to the local film scene and a collection that put others to shame. I was proud to work there, alongside a staff that paired film knowledge and exceptional customer service skills like few other places I've known. We were a fixture in town, until we weren't.

It hasn't been so long since independent rental joints had the opposite problem. Before Videoport, I spent 10 years working at Matt & Dave's Video Venture. In retrospect, it's hard to believe that our downfall came at the hands of a buyout by a major rental chain. Suspiciously well-dressed guys with clipboards started dropping in; soon enough, we were gone, one of the estimated 30,000 video stores in America gobbled up by Blockbuster or Movie Gallery or Hollywood Video, each eager to dominate the booming VHS rental racket. If only those chains knew that within a decade, they'd be goners too.

I spent 25 years of my life in an industry that no longer exists. Maybe I'm not the most ambitious guy. But that time has provided me with an up-close look at not just how the industry is changing but how people's tastes, and the culture those tastes create, have changed with it.
15:28 [LINK] "Google Strips Down Google Plus" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
The Wall Street Journal's Alistair Barr writes about the controversial changes to Google Plus. As only an occasional user, mainly via my phone or other Android devices, I do note the reduced complexity of this social networking service. Was it necessary to do this?

Google Plus began in 2011 as the company’s answer to Facebook FB -1.00%: a social network that could help hundreds of millions of people stay in touch — and help Google, a division of Alphabet Inc.GOOGL -0.88%, collect valuable identity and interest-based data about them. But the result was a complex, confusing service that tried to act as a central hub for many other Google products. Ultimately, few people spent much time on it.

The new Google Plus is about connecting around common interests rather than people. It focuses on just two features, Google said: Collections, which let users follow streams of content on topics like surfing or niche types of photography, and Communities, which let groups of people with the same interests join up and discuss topics like Game of Thrones or painting.

A key difference between the new Google Plus and its earlier incarnations is that it’s now possible to follow a member’s posts about a specific subject without receiving that person’s posts on other topics.

Gone from Google Plus, or on the way out, are the Hangouts messaging service,a tool for organizing events, and the ability to share your location. Photo uploading still works, but the ability to tag people by name is limited. These features mostly survive as standalone products, some of which are successful, such as the new Google Photos storage service.
15:25 [LINK] "Refugee hails Halifax: ‘Like a dream to me’" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
The Halifax Chronicle-Herald's Fraqnces Willick writes about a lesbian refugee from Gambia, happily resettled in Halifax.

One month ago, Jahu Camara’s life changed forever.

The young woman stepped off a plane at Halifax Stanfield International Airport, and in an instant, everything was different.

She was free.

“I was feeling like I was in a different world. Everything was like a dream to me,” said Camara, 20.

“If I remember where I am from and where I am, it’s just like a dream.”

Camara is originally from Gambia, in northwest Africa, but she fled to neighbouring Senegal in October 2014. As a lesbian, Camara knew that remaining in Gambia meant not only hiding her sexuality but also living under the constant threat of imprisonment and torture.

“Being a homosexual in Gambia is a deadly act,” she said, sitting at a kitchen table in Dartmouth.
15:22 Man from P.E.I. spells out marriage proposal with potatoes »The Guardian - Local News
Proposal in July suddenly flooding social media after Olivia Harris of Springfield West said yes to Brodie MacDonald
15:22 [LINK] The Toronto Star on possible Ontario connections to Québec organized crime »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
Multiple people have linked to Peter Edwards' Toronto Star article "Corruption in Quebec construction industry ‘far more widespread than we originally believed’". This has implications for Québec, but also for Ontario, too.

The commission heard an Ontario mafia expert from York Regional Police saying that his force may be investigating government contracts that have been awarded to organized crime groups.

York Regional Police Det. Mike Amato declined to talk about any instances he knew of in which mafia groups he had been speaking about were able to win a contract by being the lowest bidder.

“That question there is too close to something that we are working on right now,” Amato told the commission.

“The question that he asked brings something to mind in terms of a link that may exist. I’m not saying it does exist, but it’s a possible theory.”

His testimony came a week after a joint investigation by the Toronto Star and Radio-Canada highlighted the recent rise of the ’Ndrangheta, or the Calabrian mafia, which the RCMP has listed as one of its “Tier 1” threats in the GTA.

There's much more at the Star.
15:19 [URBAN NOTE] "Have Toronto police learned anything at all about de-escalation?" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
Spacing's John Lorinc is decidedly unimpressed by the Toronto police's promise to make sure more of its officers can deescalate conflicts.

In mid-September, when absolutely no one was paying attention, senior police officials presented two lengthy reports (here and here) to the Toronto Police Services Board, outlining how the force has responded to the detailed recommendations of an unprecedented coroner’s inquiry into three police killings (Reyal Jardine-Douglas, Sylvia Klibingaitis, and Michael Eligon), as well as an exhaustive review of lethal force on emotionally distressed individuals, by former Supreme Court justice Frank Iacobucci.

These exhaustive external critiques focused on de-escalation and specialized training in how to deal with people suspected to be in distress (e.g., someone suffering from schizophrenia who is off their meds and acting in a menacing way). “[T]he importance of de-escalation in police encounters can not be over-emphasized,” Iacobucci wrote.

While both Iacobucci’s report and the coroner’s inquest received extensive media coverage, the police response, presented publicly after more than a year of deliberation, generated little news. Canadian Press ran a short item that began, “Toronto police have undergone a ‘cultural change’ in dealing with those in crisis in the wake of two reports that scrutinized the force’s policies, Chief Mark Saunders said Thursday.” Both CP and The Toronto Star noted the box score, saying the vast majority of the recommendations – 140 between the two – had been implemented.

15:17 NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Canada begins massive “climate rebrand' »Journal-Pioneer Opinion
It was a gracious gesture, but also politically shrewd.
15:16 [URBAN NOTE] "Metrolinx to move ahead with giant Davenport rail bridge" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
Here's another Tess Kalinowski Toronto Star article, this one describing controversy over a new rail bridge at Davenport. In my humble opinion, NIMBYism is a bad idea, especially when it comes to transit improvements we need.

Residents along the train tracks may have lost the fight to stop Metrolinx from building a three-storey rail overpass near Davenport Rd. north of Bloor St.

But that doesn’t resolve the broader issue of reconciling the tight deadlines of the province’s massive GO expansion with Toronto’s city-building agenda, says the local councillor.

Metrolinx will move ahead with the approvals process for the 1.5-km rail bridge in January, rather than the spring as the city had expected. The provincial agency says its schedule for the electrified regional express rail program won’t permit further delay.

The bridge — which has been referred to as a Gardiner Expressway for GO trains — will allow all-day, two-way service on the Barrie line by eliminating the Davenport diamond where those tracks intersect with the CP freight corridor.

Even if CP and CN agree to move freight off the corridor in favour of a new freight line north of the city, Metrolinx says the Davenport rail-to-rail crossing needs to be eliminated to make way for more commuter trains.
15:12 [URBAN NOTE] "TTC wants to get out of ‘hellhole’ headquarters" »A bit more detail (Randy MacDonald)
I pass under the TTC headquarters daily as I commute to work. I can easily believe that, as Tess Kalinowski describes in the Toronto Star, this elderly building might well be unpleasant.

The CEO of the TTC describes the transit system’s Davisville headquarters as a “Stygian hellhole” with some employees working in spaces akin to “veal crates.”

His boss, TTC chair Josh Colle, agrees that some of the working conditions are “deplorable.” He wants the transit board to take the politically perilous step of recommending the transit agency move out of the 1958 McBrien building into a modern space large enough to accommodate the system’s 3,000 office staff under one roof.

It doesn’t have to be glitzy. It doesn’t even need to be a new building. But having staff scattered among Davisville, which accommodates only about 400, and a half-dozen leased offices around the city doesn’t make sense and costs the TTC more than $8.4 million a year, he said.

“We need to find a new home for the TTC. There’s some existing buildings around we could move into. That’s the best possibility. But just to have different leases and spaces, some owned, some in terrible condition, is just so inefficient and costly,” said Colle.

It’s not clear what the TTC would have to spend for new digs, but Colle thinks it would ultimately save the agency money.
15:04 Core Island values »Journal-Pioneer Opinion
As the former director of the Institute of Island Studies and a former board member of the Quality of Island Life Co-op, I applaud the proposal of MLA Dr. Peter Bevan Baker that the province adopt a Well Being Measurement Act.
14:53 Festival of Charming Churches show in Palmer Road cancelled »The Guardian - Living
The Festival in Charming Churches show in P.E.I.’s oldest wooden Catholic church located in Palmer Road, West Prince County has been cancelled. Originally scheduled for this coming Friday in Immaculate Conception Church, the event was to feature Kings County artist Eddy Quinn with home-town ...


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