Sunday, April 20, 2014

Things I learned lately - 20 April

  • The oil sands represent about 2% of Canada's economy.
  • Of the 90 cent boost to Canada's GDP per dollar of investment in the oil sands, 82 cents goes directly to Alberta. Where is all of this money? 
  • A 79 year old high school substitute teacher who has been an inspiration to her students was dismissed after refusing to unfriend her students on Facebook.
  • In the future, flying drones may be able to 'perch' on hydro lines to recharge themselves.
  • University of Edinburgh scientists have for the first time used regenerative medicine to fully restore an organ in a living animal. The team rebuilt the thymus, an organ central to the immune system, of very old mice by reactivating a natural mechanism that gets shut down with age. The regenerated thymus began to make more T-cells - a type of white blood cell key to fighting infections.
  • Using bone conduction audio technology, advertisers may soon start transmitting advertising right into your head when you rest your head against the window glass on a train or bus.
  • When Twitter first launched in 2006, the word "tweet" didn't exist. The site referred to tweeting as "Twittering" and those who used Twitter as "Twitter-ers." A Twitter employee wasn't happy with the wordy "Post a Twitter Update". At first, the posts were called "twits." One developer suggested changing "twit" to "tweet."
  • Most natural diamonds are formed at high temperature and pressure at depths of 140 to 190 kilometres (87 to 120 mi) in the Earth's mantle. Carbon-containing minerals (not coal) provide the carbon source, and the growth occurs over periods from 1 billion to 3.3 billion years (25% to 75% of the age of the Earth). Diamonds are brought close to the Earth′s surface through deep volcanic eruptions by a magma, which cools into igneous rocks known as kimberlites and lamproites.
  • In Japan, it's perfectly OK to crack open a beer in a public park, on the street or even on a train.
  • In 1975, a dentistry student would have had to work just over 7 weeks (40 hours/week) to pay for one year of tuition, at the time only $664. In 2013, that same student would have had to work for almost 43 weeks to pay for the tuition of the same education, now $17,324.
  • Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, would let the winning candidate of the previous election — the member of Parliament — choose some of the workers at polling stations. The candidate would select the deputy returning officers, central poll supervisors and poll clerks.
  • Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, would let political parties spend as much as they want on election fundraising from people who have contributed $20 or more in the last five years. Right now, if a party hires a company to solicit money during an election, that counts as an election expense.
  • Bill C-23, the Fair Elections Act, would no longer allow the Chief Electoral Officer, the head of Elections Canada, to alert the public to problems during an election or even to work with programs that teach students about civic affairs and how elections work.

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