• Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags flutter as thick cloud and fog roll over the area above Tengboche in Nepal. (AP)Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags flutter as thick cloud and fog roll over the area above Tengboche in Nepal. (AP)

    As images of the devastation in Nepal become more prevalent in the wake of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake, one brightly-coloured symbol flies in stark contrast to the rubble: Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags.

    According to a 2011 census, approximately 2.4 million people identify as Buddhist in Nepal. Despite only being about a tenth of the country’s population, the community has had an outsized impact on the world’s vision of Nepal, thanks in part to the prevalence of prayer flags at the base camp of Annapurna and Mount Everest, as many of the mountaining climbers' guides are Buddhist.

    Despite their ubiquity, they remain somewhat of a mystery to many who are not as familiar with Buddhism.

    “The parts of Buddhism that everyone knows about are mediation and karma, and trying to reach nirvana… through good karma,” says Todd Lewis, professor of world religions at College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts.

    “What is less known are the Buddhist words that were taught by [Buddha] to make the world

    Read More »from Prayer flags a symbol of faith amidst Nepal earthquake's destruction
  • Vancouver's medical pot problem

    Buds are removed from a container at the "Oregon's Finest" medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregonin this April 8, 2014 file photo. The Oregon city of Medford, where officials say residents have long grumbled about the odor of marijuana growing operations, is considering a regulation that would fine pot growers if their marijuana is too smelly, city officials said on March 11, 2015.  REUTERS/Steve Dipaola/Files  (UNITED STATES - Tags: DRUGS SOCIETY HEALTH POLITICS BUSINESS)Buds are removed from a container at the "Oregon's Finest" medical marijuana dispensary in Portland, Oregonin this April 8, 2014 file photo. The Oregon city of Medford, where officials say residents have long grumbled about the odor of marijuana growing operations, is considering a regulation that would fine pot growers if their marijuana is too smelly, city officials said on March 11, 2015. REUTERS/Steve Dipaola/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: DRUGS SOCIETY HEALTH POLITICS BUSINESS)


    A couple of years ago, there were a dozen marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver. Today, there are more than 80.

    While the city of Vancouver and the federal health minister trade barbs over the laws and regulations that should or could reign in the city’s proliferating pot trade, Vancouver police say they don’t have the resources to deal with the burgeoning business.

    “With 80 stores, the capacity is to focus on those that are using violence to sell drugs in the city of Vancouver and that’s where we’re putting our resources and our finances – to protect people,” says Sgt. Randy Fincham, spokesman for the Vancouver Police Department.

    “Basically, what we have to do is take a priority based approach to them. Every other week a new one is popping up in Vancouver, so we then have to look at those.”

    On Tuesday, Vancouver city council is expected to discuss a report that recommends the city regulate the burgeoning industry, with a $30,000 fee for business licences and limits on where dispensaries

    Read More »from Vancouver's medical pot problem
  • North Charleston police officer Michael Slager (R) is seen allegedly shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back as he runs away, in this still image from video in North Charleston, South Carolina taken April 4, 2015. REUTERS/HANDOUT via ReutersNorth Charleston police officer Michael Slager (R) is seen allegedly shooting 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back as he runs away, in this still image from video in North Charleston, South Carolina taken April 4, 2015. REUTERS/HANDOUT via Reuters


    In the 24 years since the videotape showing Rodney King’s vicious beating by police officers became public, the debate about the use of taped evidence seems to be far from resolved.

    There are unresolved questions about the value of videotaped evidence of police activities and also tapes taken by police themselves through dash and body cameras.

    King was an American taxi driver who became nationally known after being beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers following a high-speed car chase on March 3, 1991.

    Polls at the time suggested 90 per cent of L.A. residents believed the tape showed police used excessive force, but a jury concluded the video alone wasn’t enough to convict the officers, resulting in rioting and dozens of deaths.  A second trial would see two officers convicted and sent to prison.

    Fast forward to present day and debates continue to rage about the use of video, especially with the volumes of materials on social media. One question is context – can you tell the

    Read More »from Caught on tape: Recent footage of police activities ignites debate over use of video
  • When it came to nominating their prom queen this year, graduating students at John Paul II Catholic Secondary School in London, Ont., stacked the vote in favour of one special student.

    Of the 250 votes, 230 were for 17-year-old Samantha Sands.

    Social butterfly” Sands has cerebral palsy. And while she has physical limitations — she requires a special wheelchair to get to class, uses a feeding tube and is unable to speak — she’s also one of the school’s most popular prom queens ever.

    “She’s beautiful inside and out,” educational assistant Diana Pageot told the London Free Press. ”We’ve watched her grow from a little girl into a lovely woman.“

    Last year, Sands was put in palliative care after experiencing some medical complications. Despite an initially bleak prognosis, she recovered and returned to school, inspiring her fellow students to celebrate her at this year’s prom.

    "I think when the students heard she was so close to death, it really affected them,” said teacher and prom staff

    Read More »from Student with cerebral palsy surprised with prom queen nod by London, Ont., high school
  • Cast member Robert Downey Jr.  poses at the European premiere of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" at Westfield shopping centre, Shepherds Bush, London April 21, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan WermuthCast member Robert Downey Jr. poses at the European premiere of "Avengers: Age of Ultron" at Westfield shopping centre, Shepherds Bush, London April 21, 2015. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth
    Sometimes you just need your favourite action star to turn a bad day around.

    Last week, we shared the story of how Chris Pratt helped raise $92,000 for a 12-year-old boy with brain cancer, just by tweeting his story and retweeting his supporters.

    Now Robert Downey Jr., is in the headlines for making a young fan’s day, just by giving the kid some attention on a rough day

    Last Wednesday did not start off well for Aidan Ellis. The youngster had been racing with his brother when he was accidentally pushed into an outdoor wall of his house, scratching up his face.

    Aiden’s mother took a photo of the injury and posted it on Twitter, asking Iron Man star Downey Jr., if he could spare a moment or two to cheer up her son.

    He did. “Tell me everything,” he tweeted.

    Read More »from 'Tell me everything': Robert Downey Jr., cheers up fan who’s had a bad day
  • New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair (L) and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau attend a regimental funeral for three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers who were killed last week in Moncton, New Brunswick, June 10, 2014.  REUTERS/Christinne Muschi New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair (L) and Liberal leader Justin Trudeau attend a regimental funeral for three Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers who were killed last week in Moncton, New Brunswick, June 10, 2014. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

    The Conservatives under Stephen Harper are hanging on in the polls with a narrow lead over opposition leaders Tom Mulcair and Justin Trudeau, who just haven’t been able to steal the podium from the prime minister so far.

    A recent poll from EKOS research has federal voting intention with the Conservatives on top, with about 32 per cent. The Liberals follow at almost 28 per cent and the NDP at about 24 per cent.

    And according EKOS, the “faux horse race” to the next election has really only just begun, and not even in earnest. The public may start engaging more in federal issues now that the budget has been tabled in the House of Commons, a signal that the unofficial race to the election, expected Oct. 19, is on.

    EKOS CEO Frank Graves tells Yahoo Canada News last week that the Conservatives, with their PR skills and funds for government advertising, are winning the framing war.

    Last week’s budget, too, serves as a positive for getting the public’s attention.

    “I think it does deal with a

    Read More »from Mulcair and Trudeau unable to steal Harper's spotlight: poll
  • Via Sploid.gizmodo.comVia Sploid.gizmodo.com

    Got a case of the Monday blues? At least you’re not being hunted by sharks.

    A GIF of a parrotfish hiding from a swarm of sharks is going viral today.

    The clip, which originated from Yann Arthus-Bertrand’s 2012 award-winning film Planet Ocean, shows the bright blue fish hiding motionless against coral as sharks swim overhead.

    While other species blend into their surroundings using camouflage, the brilliant-hued parrotfish manages to go undetected simply by not moving — and, in some cases, by hiding its scent.

    “Parrotfish have the ability to form a forcefield of sorts by excreting a mucus cocoon to hide its scent,” wrote Sploid’s Casey Chan.

    (Here’s a photo of a parrotfish sleeping in its mucus bubble.)

    Scientists believe the cocoon also acts as a warning system, allowing the parrotfish time to flee predators after the membrane is disturbed by lurking predators.

    Want more? (Mondays are for procrastinating, after all.) Watch the entire film below. Or just check out the hiding-parrotfish

    Read More »from Terrified parrotfish hides from swarm of hunting sharks
  • Nepal Earthquake: How you can help and donate to relief efforts

    The death toll following a 7.8 magnitude earthquake hitting scant miles from Nepal's capital of Kathmandu has soared past 3,700, and is expected to grow, as rescue workers are still trying to reach remote mountain villages in the region.

    Saturday's quake was the worst to hit the South Asian nation in more than 80 years. It was strong enough to be felt all across parts of India, Bangladesh, China's region of Tibet and Pakistan.

    As people continue to search for their loved ones and belongings, thoughts are turning to how to help those who have been affected by the disaster, as shelter, fuel, food, medicine and workers are all in short supply in the region now.

    Several Canadian charities have taken action to help support the recovery effort.

    Here are Canadian charities where you can donate to help support the relief effort:

    Read More »from Nepal Earthquake: How you can help and donate to relief efforts
  • Supposedly I’m a natural born leader, a budding CEO, an ENTJ – Extravert, intuitive, Thinking, Judging – according to the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), a personality test designed by mother-daughter duo Katharine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers in 1942.

    You may not have taken the test, but you’ve surely heard about it… and may soon hear much more when interviewing for your next job. “Personality tests are becoming increasingly common – and increasingly sophisticated,” says Peter Harris, chief editor at Workopolis.

    The granddaddy of them all, the 73-year-old MBTI – which features 72 true or false statements like “You know how to put every minute of your time to good purpose” or “You feel at ease in a crowd” – continues to dominate the landscape. According to CPP, the publishers of the MBTI, 89 of the Fortune 100 companies use the test, which has been translated into 24 languages.

    But there are myriad tests just like it.

    International recruitment behemoth Hays Canada – which

    Read More »from Personality tests in the hiring process: Are you the right fit?
  • Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during a news conference Winnipeg April 23 2015. (Reuters)Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during a news conference Winnipeg April 23 2015. (Reuters)

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper has an existential problem.

    Upwards of 60 per cent of the Canadian electorate doesn’t support him. This lack of support ranges from glum tolerance of the consequences of the democratic process that has made him prime minister since 2006 to active distain, even hatred regarding his very existence in Canadian politics by some Canadians. It is difficult to determine why an intelligent, honest, family values-espousing, moral man generates such animus, but he does, and this attitude is a basic element of current Canadian politics.

    Such circumstances put it between difficult and very difficult for Harper to win the forthcoming October election. But hardly impossible.

    To emerge victorious for a fourth consecutive—minority or majority—government, Harper must rally all Tory supporters, assure they vote, hold as many of his existing ridings as possible, and maximize his opportunities in the 30 new seats added to the National Assembly.  

    He has strong cards: An

    Read More »from Canada's election: Harper lacking full support, but still likely to triumph

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David vs. David