I'm back - here's what I missed over the last 10 days

Hopefully you've noticed that I have been quiet the last 10 days or so. I was off on a family vacation and boy did it feel good! And while I didn't miss the political crap, I did miss the Canadian science. So here is a quick summary of some of the stuff I missed - hopefully you will find it useful.

Giant Goldfish Alarming Canadian Wildlife Officials


"Wildlife agencies have been alarmed by the size of wild goldfish that have been turning up in local waterways, writes Stuff.

According to the Alberta Environment and Parks agency, some of the specimens they had picked up were the size of dinner plates. "

SNC-Lavalin consortium named preferred bidder for Canadian Nuclear Laboratories contract


The Canadian Nuclear Energy Alliance consortium, made up of SNC-Lavalin, CH2M, Fluor, EnergySolutions, and Rolls-Royce in a supporting role, has been named the preferred bidder for the management of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, which is a subsidiary of Atomic Energy of Canada.

Federal scientists call for integrity clause


They include clauses relating to the public release and public discussion of scientific work, the right to participate in professional development and the protection of scientists from political or ideological interference.

As a package, the proposals are meant to
embed "scientific integrity" in government. Similar deals have been struck in the U.S. and in Europe, according to PIPSC.

Tamper-resistant opioids will not solve opioid addiction problem


"Misuse and diversion of opioids is a complex problem that requires a comprehensive solution; simply substituting one formulation for another will not work," writes Dr. Pamela Leece, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, with coauthors.

Money for Laurentian researchers


Seven Laurentian University faculty members and three graduate students have won new research grants and scholarships awarded by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

$35M program brings together Canadian, Israeli research teams


A partnership between these organizations, the joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program is a seven-year program that draws on the scientific strengths of Canadian and Israeli researchers in the broad field of biomedicine. The program will fund up to 30 research projects involving researchers from Canada and Israel with an initial focus on the neurosciences.

Let’s Talk Science President Dr. Bonnie Schmidt receives one of Canada’s highest honours


The Order of Canada is one of the country's highest honours, which "recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation." Dr. Schmidt is being recognized "for her leadership in fostering science literacy among primary and secondary school students across Canada, notably as the founder of Let's Talk Science."

Advocates in Sarnia calling for ban on asbestos use in Canada


"For decades, we've been advocating that Health Canada follow what essentially has been the scientific consensus everywhere in the world, except in those countries that were producing and exporting asbestos, like Canada," said Jim Brophy, formerly of Sarnia's Occupational Health Clinic for Ontario Workers, and currently an adjunct professor at the University of Windsor.

"What I really think what Health Canada should be doing is issuing an apology to the Canadian public for failing to enact public health policies that would have protected thousands and thousands of workers and their families."

Old school or new? Math teachers debate best methods as scores fall


There are generally two camps: those in favour of the old-school method to lecture kids with a "drill-and-kill" format that preaches practice, and another, ever-growing group that believes a more creative approach is needed to engage students.

At a recent event in Toronto, dozens of teachers waited in line to take selfies with math-teaching celebrity Dan Meyer, delaying his keynote talk at the Ontario Association for Mathematics Education conference. He is part of the new-school camp.

Canada’s latest oil extraction methods put new pressures on environment


Grandbois once worked on the oil sites as a technician, monitoring the flow of steam and tar from the vast network of pipes. But five years ago he quit over what he saw. The land, which he recalled from his childhood as “beautiful, wild and free,” had been transformed. “It was terrible. Roads all over the place, oil and gas facilities all over the place,” he said. “It’s ruining the land. I don’t want to be part of the destruction of the planet.”

Canada's Enviro Minister to skip Climate Summit of the Americas


Instead, Aglukkaq will attend a Nunavut Day festival in her Arctic riding far away from the international dignitaries arriving in Toronto, despite an upcoming federal election where global warming is becoming a hot issue.

“Our government is working with the provinces and territories while respecting their jurisdiction – unlike Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and Thomas Mulcair’s NDP who would force the provinces into carbon-pricing schemes and impose carbon taxes that will kill jobs, damage our economy and raise the cost of everything, including: gas, groceries and electricity,” her office said in a statement Friday.

Science funding for UBC-O


As a top priority of the federal government, science and research funding was again front and center when our Minister of State for Science and Technology, the Honourable Ed Holder announced that UBC Okanagan researchers were the recipients of more than $2.6 million in financial grants, fellowships, and scholarships via the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Top Canadian scientist leaving country for UK over 'worrisome' research cuts


According to the radio station Dr Brownstone was given a research grant of $1.7 million last year, but he said the Canadian government’s decision in 2013 to reset the National Research Council to a model that favours practical applications for industries has had a “huge” impact.

Regarding the future of scientific research in Canada, Dr Brownstone said: "I'm concerned we're going to lose the culture of knowledge and the culture of the importance of knowledge."

He added: "Discovery science is essential in order to further not only our knowledge about what's happening out there, but it makes the world a better place.