Canadian Science News

Canada-Wide Science Fair took place, and one Calgarian adolescent girl wins big
According to the Calgary Sun, there was a Canada-Wide Science Fair, and three Calgary students were highlighted in it. It is the biggest competition in the country for science students. Colette Benko (age 16), a childhood cancer survivor, took two scholarships from the competition.

Benko won the gold medal for special awards as well as the top health senior project and top senior project at the fair. She produced novel research in pediatric cancer therapy. Over 400 students competed, with “intensive, year-long projects investigating STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) problems and developing innovative solutions.”

“I had pediatric cancer awhile back, and got a lot of inspiration from a lot of other patients I saw while I was in treatment, especially really young children,” Benko said. She has been conducting cancer research at the University of Calgary since 2014.

Indigenous students compete in Canada-Wide Science fair
“Indigenous students from across Canada were at the University of Regina all week, and most of them were competing in their first science fair,” CBC News said, “According to organizers, more than 25 Indigenous students from Grades 7 to 12 are in attendance from regions as far away as Chesterfield Inlet, Nunavut for the Canada-Wide Science Fair.”

An 18-year-old, Edwin Aggark, travelled to Nunavut for the national competition. “It’s been pretty awesome meeting new friends,” Aggark said. The science projects emphasize Indigenous culture and land.

One student, Madison Kishayinew, described the newfound appreciation for science. Her encouragement came from her grandmother. Kishayinew’s science partner, Creedance Bird, examined red willow tree and the possible medicinal properties. Many other students participated in Nunavut.

Clarifications on astronomy at Untangling the Cosmos
“If you had questions about the frustrations of using lunchroom microwaves near ultra-sensitive microwave detecting equipment, or about how a huge balloon launched in Antarctica overcame the limitations of ground-based telescopes, then this was the place to be,” the National Post said.

The conference, Untangling the Cosmos, was put together through the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. The conference provided a fresh view of modern astronomy. As reported in the article, there were clarifications on some ideas floating around in astronomy.

The clarifications were that black holes do not suck. The universe’s matter comes from the enriched explosions of exploded stars. The Earth is perpetually bombarded with radio signals without clear decipherment of what they mean or where are from ? all the time.

Ancient armored dinosaur discovered in the Alberta tar sands
The Guardian stated the Alberta tar sands contained an 18-foot dinosaur. It took 7,000 hours to reconstruct the dinosaur, and to have it presentable to the public. It “has been compared to a dinosaur mummy.”

The fossil remains are over 110 million years old, and are the remains of the nodosaur. It has been “hailed as the best-preserved armoured dinosaur in the world.” It is being unveiled at the Alberta Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology.

Postdoctoral research at the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Caleb Brown, said, “Because it was buried so quickly, nothing was able to scavenge the animal and it wasn’t able to decompose very much before it actually got fossilised.”

Supervised injection sites and addicts, amelioration of harm
New York Magazine ran a report on supervised injection sites. There was reference to a story in the Globe and Mail, as reported on by Pierre Saint-Arnaud and Mylene Crete, about supervised injection sites as safe spaces for addicts.

These safe spaces give them “sterile syringes, gauze pads, and the like,” Saint-Arnaud and Crete said. The main goal of the supervised injection sites is to keep the injection-drug users out of harm. By keeping them out of harm, this includes the city’s public health services too.

Evidence supports the reduction of harms associated with drug use in society via the implementation of safe injection sites. The federal government of Canada, recently, supported two supervised-injection sites in the city of Montreal.

Publish or perish culture possibly damaging quality control system of Canadian science
“?the practice of peer-review ? where experts sometimes savagely and usually anonymously critique each others’ work ? is being turned upside down amid a slew of complaints and controversies.
Lengthy publication delays, theft of rivals’ research, allegations of shoddy reviewing, and even the faking of reviews are raising questions?”, the National Post said.

The head of clinical biochemistry at the University of Toronto, Dr. Eleftherios Diamandis, thinks the system of peer-review will be removed, eventually. He questions the contribution to science through peer review.

He sees the slowing down of research in some ways and the helping of science in other ways.
Others, such as Dr. Peter Kavsak, the editor of Clincal Biochemistry, considers science without peer review a “baby without a blanket.” It is less comfortable without peer review.

Scott Douglas Jacobsen is the AUSU VPFA. He works with various organizations, and runs In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, and In-Sight Publishing.