• A meteoroid streaking through the sky is always a spectacular sight, and it's rare to capture one on video. Yet, according to a story on Norway's NRK.no, skydiver Anders Helstrup managed to do the next-to-impossible: he caught one on video in broad daylight, after it had burned out.

    When a meteoroid enters Earth's atmosphere, it's travelling so fast that it compresses the air in front of it, heating the air until it glows in the bright streak of light that we call a meteor. The friction with the atmosphere causes the meteoroid to slow down, so that it eventually enters its 'dark flight' — the point where it's still falling through the sky, but it's not moving fast enough to produce the meteor trail. Essentially, it just becomes a rock that's free-falling towards the ground, going about 300 kilometres per hour, tops. Also, the rock itself is so cold to its core from being in the depths of space that, although the outer layers can heat up as the air around it heats up, as soon as it

    Read More »from Skydiver records incredibly rare event as falling meteoroid nearly hits him
  • We endow police officers with a lot of power over us, including life and death, so we tend to hold them to a higher standard of behaviour than the rest of our fellow citizens.

    But they are all too human, as we repeatedly discover.

    The B.C. Office of the Police Complaint Commission's latest annual review offers a picture of the kinds of wrongdoing cops get up to.

    As the Vancouver Province put it, the result looks like a composite sketch of Harvey Keitel's character in Bad Lieutenant: drunk driving, cocaine snorting, sex with prostitutes and hanging with drug dealers.

    The complaint commission office opened 1,091 files in 2013, though some of the complaints date from the previous year. Complaints against police must be filed within a year of the alleged transgression.

    Of those, 36 per cent found no evidence of misconduct, while 49 per cent were deemed admissible for investigation. Not surprisingly, more than half the complaints stemmed from the province's biggest municipal departments —

    Read More »from Review details B.C. police caught on wrong side of law
  • Canada comes off pretty well in a new report measuring countries' social progress.

    The Social Progress Index, compiled by the U.S.-based Social Progress Imperative, ranks Canada seventh in the world based on 12 categories grouped under basic human needs, foundations of well-being and opportunity.

    New Zealand tops the list of 132 countries (up from 50 in the first-ever index issued last year), followed by Switzerland, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Canada.

    The United States is all the way down in 16th, behind Ireland and ahead of Belgium, while the United Kingdom is 13th, just behind Germany but ahead of Japan.

    If you're wondering who's at the bottom of the index, it's Chad.

    The Social Progress Imperative says the index provides a strong measurement tool to help countries make choices to advance social progress.

    [ Related: Canada among top three best places to live in new quality of life ranking ]

    “The Social Progress Index is a complimentary measure to GDP," Michael

    Read More »from Canada scores well ahead of U.S., U.K. on Social Progress Index
  • Time may be real or illusory, and it's certainly relative, but regardless of any of that, thanks to scientists working at the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Time (NIST), we now know how to measure it more accurately than we ever have before.

    The new atomic clock produced by the NIST scientists, called NIST-F2, which is now the official time standard for the United States, is so accurate that you could run it for 300 million years before it either lost or gained a second. That translates to an accuracy of 10 trillionths of a second per day, or three times more accurate than the atomic clock that's been setting the U.S. time standard since 1999.

    That may seem pretty excessive, but measuring time that accurately is actually pretty important to our daily lives.

    "Most people don't realize it, but we all rely on the exquisite precision of atomic clocks for much of the technology we use every day," Tom O'Brian, the chief of the Time and Frequency Division at NIST, said during a

    Read More »from New atomic clock is accurate out to 300 million years
  • An ongoing criminal investigation involving Toronto Mayor Rob Ford that has been hanging over the city for months is taking a back seat to other events, suggesting the case is either being dropped or at least set aside for the time being.

    Reports suggested on Thursday that Ontario Provincial Police officers providing oversight to Toronto police’s Project Brazen 2 investigation had decided there was nothing for them to do at this time and had taken a step back from the process.

    "I just knew all along, I didn't miss a day of work, I just kept coming in because I know I did nothing wrong," Ford told reporters at city hall. "I knew the day was going to come that I would be cleared and I guess today's the day."

    While Ford has taken the news as evidence that he has been "cleared" in the investigation, Toronto police have said the probe is ongoing. Still, the revelation seems to have ended one chapter and started another, leaving sever significant questions unanswered.

    Has Ford actually been

    Read More »from Rob Ford investigation in purgatory - What comes next for Toronto’s controversial mayor?
  • This week's must-see videos capture some lucky, unbelievable and record-breaking moments. See a great white shark's desperate attempt to eat pesky tourists, a once-in-a-lifetime photo captured by a busy mom and a few stories of record-breaking feats on sea and land. But first, watch this 30-year-old man snack on bricks, gravel and mud.

    Pakkirappa Hunagundi has been consuming non-edible objects since the age of 10. His eating disorder, that some suspect to be Pica, compels him to rid the streets of one brick and up to two kilos of mud and gravel daily. He’s even hoping to make some money from this.

    [ Last week's must-see videos: Baby gorilla in mom's arms for first time ]

    A great white shark in the video below has a heartier meal in mind. See it bite through a metal cage in an attempt to reach those meaty tourists inside.

    It may not be a great white shark, but this massive 411-kilogram tuna is a monster. Donna Pascoe, who reeled in the fish with the help of four people, is still

    Read More »from Must-see videos of the week: March 30-April 5
  • Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau taking questions from reporters.

    Two new opinion polls this week provide the Harper Conservatives with some good news and some bad news.

    Let's start with the good news.

    According to Nanos Research's weekly brand rankings, more and more Canadians are picking Stephen Harper as their number one choice for prime minister.

    "For the fourth week in succession, the percentage of Canadians that rank Harper as their first choice for Prime Minister has risen. For the first time since January 18, 2014, Harper has numerically surpassed Trudeau on this measure although the numbers remain tight on the preferred PM tracking," pollster Nik Nanos wrote as part of an email release.

    "Thirty percent of Canadians said that Harper was their first choice as PM, compared to 28 percent for Trudeau and 18 percent for Mulcair. Harper on the PM tracking is up five points in the last four weeks. While Trudeau has been trending downward on this measure over the same period."

    Perhaps Harper's leadership on the Ukraine file has something to do with

    Read More »from Harper first choice for Canadians as PM, but Tories drop 10 points behind Liberals in new poll
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin has done what he was warned against — incorporating Crimea into Russia. This land grab occurred with barely more than a “Trudeau salute” to chattering, dithering, fulminating critics in Kiev, the EU, NATO, UN, and Washington. Crimea is now as Russian as Moscow; this egg will not be unscrambled.

    The best way to punish Putin is to strengthen Ukraine politically, economically, and militarily.

    The Measure of the Man. In assessing Russian President Vladimir Putin, one needs examine some baselines. He was not a career politician, businessman, or military officer, but rather a senior KGB intelligence/control bureaucrat. He was never a reformer in the Gorbachev-Yeltsin camp. He has described the collapse of the USSR as “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the [20th] century.” Consequently, his objective is to restore as much as possible the pre-1991 Soviet empire.

    And, at age 61, Putin can play a “long game.” He need not move immediately; rather he can

    Read More »from Vladimir Putin: The best way to stop him is to empower Ukraine
  • Apart from Catherine II and Peter I (“the Greats”), Alexander II (“the Liberator”) and Mikhail Gorbachev, few Russian leaders appear to be respected today by both Russians and the world. Boris Yeltsin demonstrated courage and democratic instincts as the twice freely-elected president of Russia in the 1990s. Most of the world’s democrats would probably say his most serious mistake was resigning his position in 2000 to Vladimir Putin, who would assert five years later that the “collapse of the Soviet Union was a major geopolitical disaster of the century.”

    Russians have demonstrated for centuries that despotic governance can be transcended by a determined and talented population. In science, music, sports, literature, ballet and other fields, Russians continue to excel.

    Unfortunately, prosperity continues to elude most Russians, partly because from 1917 until the 1990s ideologues banned the manufacture of virtually any consumer product foreigners might wish to buy. The Organization for

    Read More »from Vladimir Putin: Driven by Russian nationalism
  • Divers nurse dying tiger shark back to health in Australia

    Earlier this week, shark conservationists dove to the rescue of a dying shark, swimming beside it until it had enough strength to survive on its own.

    To prevent shark attacks off the Western Australian coast, a new (and controversial) shark-culling program has been implemented.

    [ Related: See sweet reaction of dog rescued from Romania’s icy canal ]

    Sharks over three metres long caught on a baited drum line off of Perth's beaches are shot. Shorter sharks are tagged and released — often, in poor shape or near death.

    On April 1, fishery officials released a 2.4-metre tiger shark near Trigg Beach. Observers on three nearby boats reported seeing it floating just beneath the water's surface. It began turning upside down, a sign that the shark was near death.

    Divers from Sea Shepherd and Animal Amnesty boats came to the rescue, taking turns swimming alongside the tiger shark for about 90 minutes to keep it upright and help it get enough oxygen into its gills.

    Eventually the shark "kicked"

    Read More »from Divers nurse dying tiger shark back to health in Australia


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