September 2020

Toronto’s Flood Protection Project Officially Underway

first_imgToronto Mayor John Tory together with other government officials and local residents yesterday attended a ground-breaking ceremony in the city, to mark the start of excavation on a new river valley as part of the Port Lands Flood Protection project.Over a decade in planning, the project is implementing a comprehensive strategy for flood protection of the Port Lands, which are at risk of flooding under a significant storm event.“For years the Port Lands have sat waiting for flood protection work to be done – now we’re finally doing it because we worked with the Ontario & federal governments to fund this project with funding totaling $1.25 billion,” Mayor John Tory said.According to the officials, the project will remediate contaminated lands and unlock new land for development, provide critical flood protection through the creation of a naturalized mouth for the Don River, and establish new wetlands and aquatic habitats to support native species of fish.“Naturalizing the mouth of the Don River protects the Port Lands and homes in our community from flooding. We are committed to helping build vibrant and sustainable and prosperous communities along our waterfront. This is a very exciting time for the city!” commented Julie Dabrusin, Member of Parliament for Toronto–Danforth.The scheme, set for completion by 2025, will among other things include extensive earth work, construction of new bridges and extension of the Lake Shore Boulevard bridge, as well as creation of a new, naturalized area in the river valley.Once completed, this project provide flood protection for 240 hectares of land through the creation of a naturalized mouth for the Don River.last_img read more

SMEC lands 700 kW tidal demo permit in Canada

first_imgNova Scotia Energy and Mines has issued a tidal energy demonstration permit to Sustainable Marine Energy Canada (SMEC) for a 700 kW project in the Bay of Fundy. In July 2019, Nova Scotia issued another licence to Sustainable Marine Energy (SME) Canada. This feature allows rapid, cost-effective access to the turbines at site for routine inspection and maintenance. The PLAT-I 4.63 unit has four 6.3m-diameter turbines, and a PLAT-I 6.40 unit comes with six 4.0m-diameter turbines. The second SMEC device will be similar in size to PLAT-I 4.63 with 6 tidal turbines and a larger generating capacity. The proposed demonstration will be the first electrical grid-connection of the PLAT-I technology in the world. The project will begin with the connection of the PLAT-I 4.63 tidal energy platform to the Nova Scotia electrical grid. The 1.26-megawatt marine renewable energy licence allowed the company to further develop its project at FORCE. The PLAT-I system consists of a single, slender hull with a perpendicular bridge located near the stern and supported by two outriggers. The installation of the second PLAT-I device will also follow near the current location of PLAT-I 4.63. To that end, they will utilise SME’s PLAT-I floating in-stream tidal energy technology to deliver up to 9MW of tidal energy to the Nova Scotia grid. Furthermore, SME and Minas Tidal have agreed to co-develop their adjacent berths at FORCE. Subsea cables will connect both devices to the electrical grid. The permit is valid for a period of five years. The turbines are located along the bridge, mounted on retractable turbine support structures. last_img read more

The Mindfulness Backlash, and should it be pushed in NZ schools?

first_imgThe Mindfulness BacklashNew York Times 30 June 2014Mindfulness has reached such a level of hipness that it is now suggested as a cure for essentially every ailment. Anxious? Broke? Sneezing? Definitely try meditating.This vogue is in part due to the real benefits of mindfulness, a form of attention and awareness often (but not always) achieved through meditation or yoga. It’s a trend for a reason. But its increasing application to every situation under the sun has some people concerned.In The Atlantic, Tomas Rocha writes about the little-discussed possibility that, for some people, meditation could actually be dangerous. He talks to Dr. Willoughby Britton, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior who works with people who feel they’ve been harmed by meditation — one man described going through “psychological hell” as a result of his practice, while another worried he was “permanently ruined.” Dr. Britton has tracked “dark nights of the soul” — spiritual experiences that are frightening rather than calming — across a variety of religious texts, and she believes that meditation’s potential ill effects have been under-studied. Mr. Rocha writes:“Many people think of meditation only from the perspective of reducing stress and enhancing executive skills such as emotion regulation, attention, and so on.“For Britton, this widespread assumption — that meditation exists only for stress reduction and labor productivity, ‘because that’s what Americans value’ — narrows the scope of the scientific lens. When the time comes to develop hypotheses around the effects of meditation, the only acceptable — and fundable — research questions are the ones that promise to deliver the answers we want to hear.” up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.Mindfulness backlash: Could meditation be bad for your health?The Telegraph 24 October 2015Convinced by studies (such as that by Oxford University in 2014, which found the technique can reduce depression relapses by 44 per cent), the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) now recommends mindfulness-based cognitive therapy for depression.The Mental Health Foundation estimates that 30 per cent of GPs refer patients with mental health issues for mindfulness-based treatment.Persuaded by claims of stress reduction and increased mental clarity, mindfulness has been eagerly adopted by huge companies including Google, Apple, Sony, Ikea and the Department of Health. Mindfulness-based anger management is offered to inmates in prison, and there are calls for mindfulness training to become mandatory in schools.“A good teacher will help you make sense of what emerges through meditation.”Dr Tamara Russell, founder of The Mindfulness Centre of Excellence. “Beneficial findings are overstated in some media reports, whereas studies without the expected results go under the radar. This leads to a skewed picture, wherein the enthusiasm may be ahead of the evidence. Currently, with mindfulness, the evidence is not necessarily consistent or conclusive.”  When Farias and Wikholm began researching The Buddha Pill, they were astonished at the paucity of solid studies on the benefits. Then their own research threw up surprising evidence that mindfulness has a range of outcomes – not all positive.“To some, this will be blissful relaxation, but for others the outcome will be emotional distress, hallucinations or perhaps even ending up in a psychiatric ward,” says Farias. “David Shapiro of the University of California, Irvine, found that seven per cent of people on meditation retreats experienced profoundly adverse effects, including panic and depression.”Psychologists Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm, co-authors of The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You? “Mindfulness and meditation are bad for people. People should be thinking… Life is about going out there and meeting people and hearing their thoughts.”Oxford University professor Theodore Zeldin Dark Knight of the SoulThe Atlantic 24 June 2014In late January this year, Time magazine featured a cover story on “the mindful revolution,” an account of the extent to which mindfulness meditation has diffused into the largest sectors of modern society. Used by “Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Fortune 500 titans, Pentagon chiefs, and more,” mindfulness meditation is promoted as a means to help Americans work mindfully, eat mindfully, parent mindfully, teach mindfully, take standardized tests mindfully, spend money mindfully, and go to war mindfully. What the cover story did not address are what might be called the revolution’s “dirty laundry.”“We’re not being thorough or honest in our study of contemplative practice,” says Britton. READING: Parental Rights in NZ Regarding “Mindfulness” read more

Promising young rugby player escapes conviction over bar assault

first_imgNZ Herald 11 January 2016A promising young rugby player with a “glittering career” ahead of him has avoided a conviction for punching a man who was at a bar with the sportsman’s ex-girlfriend.Teariki Ben-Nicholas, 20, made his debut for the New Zealand under-20 team at the Oceania junior champs on the Gold Coast last year. He plays senior club rugby in Wellington, where he is studying law and commerce, and for the Hurricanes under-20 team.Ben-Nicholas admitted a charge of common assault stemming from an incident in October 2014. He was out drinking “after a rugby success” when he learned his ex was at a Wellington bar with her new boyfriend, according to court documents released to NZME.A “slightly intoxicated” Ben-Nicholas went there, approached the other man in the toilets and punched him in the head. He later made a “full and genuine apology” at a restorative justice meeting.At sentencing in the Wellington District Court, Judge Peter Rollo granted an application for a discharge without conviction, saying the consequences of a conviction would be out of proportion to the seriousness of the offence.Police opposed the application for a discharge, arguing that the assault was serious and any effects on travel plans and work as a professional rugby player were not certain. up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

When is a life a life? That’s what abortion comes down to

first_imgStuff 30 May 2018Family First Comment: Well presented argument..“It’s strange, but when a woman wants to have a baby, the moment she finds out she is pregnant she often sees that embryo inside her as a life, sometimes as part of the family, and may even have names lined up. And if she miscarries, she mourns as one having lost her baby. Yet if she doesn’t want it, she may see it as a clump of cells.” used to believe abortion was a woman’s right, and that it must be legally available to anyone who wants one. But after 25 years of nursing, some of that in gynaecology and obstetrics, and having worked with women who have miscarried or had an abortion, I’ve changed my mind.I’m not a hard core ‘anti-abortionist’, I don’t feel emotionally charged against it, and I would never accuse or judge a woman who has had an abortion, but I’m logically against it.It’s strange, but when a woman wants to have a baby, the moment she finds out she is pregnant she often sees that embryo inside her as a life, sometimes as part of the family, and may even have names lined up. And if she miscarries, she mourns as one having lost her baby.Yet if she doesn’t want it, she may see it as a clump of cells.Judging by the infamous ‘Shout your abortion‘ movement and various celebrities that say they would be ‘proud’ to have an abortion, I’m left wondering by what standard we judge human life to be life.Any biologist will tell you that an embryo is life, human life, and the combined DNA from each parent has set in motion everything that life can possibly become.Does a human life only have value in the eye of the beholder?READ MORE: up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.last_img read more

Snacking clue to obesity epidemic

first_img 12 Views   no discussions Share Tweet Share Sharecenter_img By Helen BriggsHealth editor, BBC News websiteFoods like pizza are energy denseSnacking and super sizing are two of the dieter’s worst enemies, research suggests.The average daily calorie intake in the US has increased by almost a third in 30 years, reaching 2,374 kilocalories.The influence of bigger portion sizes and excessive snacking outweighs the shift towards high-calorie foods, say experts.Focussing on reducing how much and how often people eat could help tackle obesity, they report in PLoS Medicine.Obesity levels have risen sharply in many western countries since the 1970s. In the US, where the study was carried out, a third of all adults – more than 72 million people – are now categorised as obese.A team from the University of North Carolina analysed data from food surveys carried out in the seventies, eighties, nineties and the last decade.The surveys record all food and drink a person consumes over a 24-hour period.The average daily energy intake of a US citizen increased from 1,803 kcal in 1977-78 to 2,374 kcal in 2003-06.In the last decade of the study alone, the average daily calorie intake went up by 229 kcal.Several factors are involved in energy intake – the number of calories (energy) in a specific amount of food (energy density), portion size and how many meals and snacks a day eaten.The researchers say that while all of these have gone up, increases in the number of eating occasions and portion size seem to account for most of the change.They suggest efforts to prevent obesity should focus on reducing the number of snacks and meals a day as well as portion size.“These findings suggest a new focus for efforts to reduce energy imbalances in US adults,” write Kiyah Duffey and Barry Popkin of the University of North Carolina in the journal PloS Medicine.Commenting on the paper, Dr Áine O’Connor, a scientist at the British Nutrition Foundation said: “Many factors influence total energy intake that can lead to [being] overweight and obesity but it is possible that having more eating occasions through the day, for example by frequent snacking, would increase calorie consumption and so lead to weight gain.“This study also looked at portion size and studies have shown that having larger portions of food leads to an increased intake.“The researchers were based in the US, but many of the factors causing the obesity epidemic there are mirrored in the UK and, for those trying to control their weight, it is important to manage both how much and how often they eat.” HealthLifestyle Snacking clue to obesity epidemic by: – June 29, 2011 Sharing is caring!last_img read more

Doubting Thomas

first_img Tweet Photo credit: foodforthespiritualsoul.wordpress.comTwo thousand years of Catholic sermons, paintings, and articles on religious subjects have fixed Thomas in ourminds as ‘doubting Thomas.’ A recent cartoon I saw has him crying out, “All I’m saying is we don’t call Peter ‘denying Peter.’” Why we became so comfortable in labelling Thomas that way is hard to fathom. He made a perfectly reasonable request in a unique situation. A man whom everyone saw brutally killed, reportedly came back from the dead,and was appearing to people. How could anyone give instant credibility to what was obviouslythe height of fantasy and wishful thinking?And there’s more. When the prophetic literature in the Bible spoke of the dead rising again, reference was either to the general resurrection at the end of time or to national renaissance, i.e., a rebirth of Israel, the nation. No one – and no disciple – imagined that such traditional expectations referred to the dead pre-emptively, so to speak, rising from the grave, still less of death being overcome. The disciples were perfectly in line with Jewish feeling on the matter, and so was Thomas. What dominated their consciousness after the crucifixion was disappointment over their hopes, and the fear of retaliation from the Jews.Labelling Thomas as doubtful Thomas did more than target him unfairly; it made us smug and complacent, and did a great disservice to faith itself. It implied that no shadow of doubt ever threatenedourcertainty and that the light of faith was as lucid as the light of day. But a moment’s reflection shows us what a false pictureof faith this is.The world of faith, as S. Paul wrote, is not a world of sight. We do not see what we believe, though quite often we act as if we did, as if the divine order were visually continuous with the natural order. This is inevitable, of course. We have no eyesight or mental apparatus capable of beholding divine realities. This why our greatest mystics, who themselves saw more than we do,remind us repeatedly not to pay too much attention to things like visions and locutions. It’s why the Church speaks so reticently about miracles, even while it validates them. Walk by faith, it all says to us, not by sight. But walking by faith means consenting to walk amid the difficulties of not seeing. Difficulties and doubts may not strictly mean the same thing, as Newman once said: “Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt.” Except that when one is in the throes of difficulty, the distinction seems purely academic. Many of us can remember the kind of internal trauma we suffered when it began to get around that the first pages of the Bible were not history. We’re beyond that now because we have come to see that the real issue was never about the mechanics of creation. It was more fundamentally about whether we live in a meaningless environment or a meaningful cosmos. Genesis says no, the cosmos is not meaningless, because God created it. It is good and can realize all God’s intended purposes. Many people are yet to accept the centrality of metaphor in the infancy narratives (the account of the birth of Christ). The internal trauma, one can be sure, is or will be much the same. It may not cause them to disbelieve in the actuality of the birth – but a similar tension will exist between difficulty and doubt.To walk by faith means to acknowledge the fact that faith develops, and that no development, whether personal or social, takes place without internal difficulty and therefore without having to make internal adjustments.Faith today faces other kinds of challenges, involving difficulty in a more generalized sense. Difficulty and doubt that the whole edifice of belief, the language, imagery, the total content seems bypassed, belonging to an age when such things were once believable but now seemincredulous.This means that we are all subject to the influence of the surrounding culture. The atmosphere we live in today and breathe is scientific and technological. Whatever is not congruent with itspresumptions is inevitably felt to be quaint and beneath the attention of serious people.What this also means is that vulnerability is an essential dimension of faith today. Sometimes there’s nothing one can say. On the other hand, we can’t be just defensive. We may have to consent to be considered foolish, to be mocked or be smiled at tolerantly, in the way one smiles at a child.Every age of faith has signature challenges. This is ours, I think. Certainly one of them. It makes Thomas, at a remove of two thousand years, our brother. In a different sense. Nothing may make us disbelieve, but Easter makes us hope that the Lord may visits us nonetheless and confirm us in belief. By: Henry Charles PhD FaithLifestyleLocalNews Doubting Thomas by: – April 14, 2012 Share Sharecenter_img Share 76 Views   one comment Sharing is caring!last_img read more

Venezuela’s Chavez to welcome Iranian president

first_img Sharing is caring! Share Share Tweet NewsRegional Venezuela’s Chavez to welcome Iranian president by: – January 9, 2012center_img 35 Views   no discussions Share President Chavez and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad embracng each other. Photo credit:, Venezuela — Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was due to arrive in Venezuela on Sunday at the start of a Caribbean tour to shore up support from the region’s leftist leaders, as new Western sanctions aim to isolate Iran and target its oil exports.As he prepared to welcome Ahmadinejad on Sunday, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez dismissed a US warning to avoid close ties with Iran.Washington has said that Ahmadinejad’s planned tour of Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua and Ecuador showed Iran was “desperate” for friends.“We are making absolutely clear to countries around the world that now is not the time to be deepening ties, not security ties, not economic ties, with Iran,” a US State Department spokesperson said on Friday.“A spokesman or spokeswoman in Washington from the State Department or the White House said it was not convenient for any country to get close to Iran. Well, the truth is, it made you laugh,” Chavez responded on national television.“We are free. The people of Latin America will never again kneel, dominated by the Imperial Yankee. Never again,” he said.The increasingly warm relations between Iran and Venezuela are a growing source of concern for the United States.Ahmadinejad will also visit Nicaragua to attend the swearing-in ceremony for Daniel Ortega, following which he will visit Cuba and Ecuador.By Caribbean News Now contributorlast_img read more

Regional leaders to discuss review report of regional integration movement

first_img Sharing is caring! Share Tweet GEORGETOWN, Guyana, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders, who gather in Suriname later this week for their Inter-sessional summit, will discuss a number of issues including a report on the future direction of the regional integration grouping.A CARICOM Secretariat statement said the “crisp agenda” for the March 8-9 summit “has among its priorities, the Landell Mills review of the CARICOM Secretariat and the strategic direction of the 15-member Community.The report titled, “Turning around CARICOM: Proposals to restructure the Secretariat” had been commissioned by regional leaders at their summit in Jamaica in 2010.The CARICOM Secretariat said that the Inter-sessional summit, which will be chaired by President Desi Bouterse, will also discuss recommendations contained to restructure the grouping’s principal administrative body, the Guyana-based Secretariat.“To facilitate a robust discussion, the Community Council of Ministers will meet on Wednesday prior to the Heads of Government Conference to discuss the Report in detail and make recommendations for the Conference to consider.”The statement said that the restructuring of the CARICOM Secretariat will be done within the context of the Community’s vision, strategic direction and priorities.“The ongoing discussions on this issue began at last year’s Inter-sessional meeting in Grenada and continued at a special retreat last May in Guyana as well as at the 32nd Regular Meeting of the Conference in St Kitts and Nevis last July. “Among the other issues for discussions during the two-day summit include the high crime and violence rates in the region.The thorny issue of the governance of cricket at the national, regional and international levels is another agenda item. Discussions will be conducted against the backdrop of a continuous public debate on the matter.“Issues of sustainable development, including climate change, joint economic ventures for the establishment of CARICOM enterprises; regional air transportation and matters affecting Community relations, particularly CARICOM support to Haiti will also occupy the attention of the Community’s leaders,” the Secretariat said.It noted that a special guest at the summit will be Chile’s President, Sebastián Piñera Echenique, the Pro tempore President of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC).Chile will host the next summit of the European Union and Latin American and Caribbean (EU-LAC) countries early next year.Antigua Observer Sharecenter_img Share NewsRegional Regional leaders to discuss review report of regional integration movement by: – March 5, 2012 6 Views   no discussionslast_img read more