• Grab a tissue and get ready to call a loved one. This sweet video packs an emotional punch. 

    In October, Joe Fraley uploaded a video of himself singing a song to his mother, Judy, who is in the late stages of Alzheimer’s disease. He set it to “private,” sharing it only with friends and family. 

    This week, he re-watched the video and decided he wanted other people to see it, too. It quickly went viral on Reddit

    “I recently stopped bringing my guitar to my Mom’s home because she no longer recognizes me and doesn’t respond to it anymore,” Fraley wrote on Reddit. 

    “I wish I would have a played a lot more to her when she did. This was when she lived with my Dad and I at home.”

    Farley moved back in with his parents about a year and a half ago to help his dad take care of his mom. Eventually they had to move his mother to assisted living. She no longer responds to his music or recognizes her family.  

    “For the past week and a half my mom hasn’t recognized me or my Dad,” he told BuzzFeed

    Read More »from Man sings sweet song to his mother who has Alzheimer's
  • It took him 7.5 hours, but he did it.

    Kenneth Brandon (known as RedKB on YouTube) solved the world’s largest — and likely most challenging — Rubik’s Cube: A 17x17x17 block designed by “puzzle legendOskar Van Deventer

    Watch a time-lapse of his accomplishment above. 

    According to Gizmodo's Andrew Liszewski:

    “To put things in perspective, there are 66.9 quinquagintatrecentillion possible ways to scramble a 17x17x17 Rubik’s Cube. That’s 6.69 * 10^1054, written out there would be over a thousand zeroes!”

    (Translation: Those of us who fumble aimlessly with a simple 3x3x3 block probably shouldn’t bother to go to battle with this one.)

    Brandon, however, makes it sound easy — but very time-consuming.

    RedKB shares a progress photo of the massive puzzle. (Facebook)RedKB shares a progress photo of the massive puzzle. (Facebook)

    He worked on the puzzle over five days, starting by solving the cube’s centre and working his way out. 

    "The way you solve a 17 by 17 is just like you would a seven by seven, or a five by five. If you can solve one of those then the 17 by 17 isn’t that hard, but it is very, very tedious,"

    Read More »from Time-lapse video shows man solving world's largest Rubik's Cube
  • Comet Lovejoy should soon be visible without binoculars. Comet Lovejoy should soon be visible without binoculars.

    Just in time for the New Year, a fast-paced comet appears to be heading our way from deep space to skywatchers’ delight.

    Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2), discovered by its namesake Australian astronomer this past August, has been slowly brightening from a target only visible through giant telescopes to one easily seen through binoculars. Now it’s becoming visible to unaided eyes from dark locations.

    And if predictions hold true the icy visitor from the dark outer reaches of the solar system will continue to brighten the next few weeks as it gets closer to Earth — passing about 70 million kilometres away from us on Jan. 7. That’s about as close as planet Mars can ever get to us. When Lovejoy does zip by us, it should be faintly visible without any telescope or binoculars — even from brightly light suburban skies.

    And for the newbie skywatcher, finding the comet is made easier thanks to it running through the landmark, bright constellations Orion, the Hunter, and Taurus the Bull, now rising

    Read More »from Comet Lovejoy promises to become visible to the unaided eye
  • Photo: ThinkstockPhoto: Thinkstock
    Following a year highlighted by Ebola scares and measles outbreaks, it is the common flu that is causing Canadian health officials much consternation.

    Significant increases in flu cases have been reported across the country in recent weeks, with many healthcare centres urging the ill to visit overburdened emergency departments only when necessary.

    The flu is hitting Canada hard this winter, with heavy doses of the virus being reported across the country.

    Flu Watch, a site operated by the Public Health Agency of Canada, notes that the laboratory detection of influenza has increased sharply over the past five weeks ending on Dec. 20 the most recently published time frame.

    Between Dec. 14 and 20, Health Canada reports there were 2,740 positive influenza cases reported across the country. One week earlier, there were 1,920 – significantly higher than the previous year.

    Alberta has seen 2,006 cases of flu in the first 51 weeks of 2014, compared to 731 in the entire year of 2013; Ontario

    Read More »from Canadian emergency rooms battle holiday spike in flu-like symptoms
  • Just in time for the New Year, a fast-paced comet appears to be heading our way from deep space to skywatchers’ delight.

    Comet Lovejoy (C/2014 Q2), discovered by its namesake Australian astronomer this past August, has been slowly brightening from a target only visible through giant telescopes to one easily seen through binoculars. Now it’s becoming visible to unaided eyes from dark locations.

    And if predictions hold true the icy visitor from the dark outer reaches of the solar system will continue to brighten the next few weeks as it gets closer to Earth passing about 70 million kilometres away from us on Jan. 7. That’s about as close as planet Mars can ever get to us. When Lovejoy does zip by us, it should be faintly visible without any telescope or binoculars even from brightly light suburban skies.

    And for the newbie skywatcher, finding the comet is made easier thanks to it running through the landmark, bright constellations Orion, the Hunter, and Taurus the Bull, now rising in

    Read More »from Comet Lovejoy promises to become visible to the unaided eyes soon
  • Militant Islamist fighters hold the flag of Islamic State while taking part in a military parade. (Reuters)Militant Islamist fighters hold the flag of Islamic State while taking part in a military parade. (Reuters)

    The world will feel the impact of four international issues in the coming year:

    Oil. The current price war, caused mostly by the Saudi Arabian king’s drive for market share from rising non-traditional producers, has roughly halved the international price of oil from early 2014. Low oil prices will benefit most Canadians, providing vehicle owners and manufacturers with the equivalent of a sizeable tax cut. Our oil and gas sectors, including the oil sands, will suffer in the short run, but some in the industry think both oil and gas do best when international prices are ‘reasonable but stable’.

    Consequences of the oil/gas glut and collapsed prices are already emerging. Ironically, while the U.S. hydrocarbon-fracking sector is a major Saudi target, the U.S. is clearly the biggest national winner. The three per cent real U.S. economic growth expected in 2015 should help Canadian exporters significantly. Africa, the Americas, Asia, and most of Europe will also benefit from low prices.

    Read More »from The world in 2015: Tough times are ahead for all citizens
  • Revelers celebrate during New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square. (Reuters)Revelers celebrate during New Year's Eve celebrations in Times Square. (Reuters)

    Having finished our New Year’s celebrations, we have now soberly taken our first steps into the second half of the second decade of the 21st century.

    Many – indeed, most of us – leave 2014 with relief, and view 2015 with trepidation at best.

    But that should not deter us. This forthcoming year is replete with positives. While it would not qualify as “the best of times,” all too often we obsess over the capillaries of the leaves on the trees and ignore the forest. Just think for a moment:

    We are at peace internationally. We have been noting the centennial of the beginning of World War I, but 100 years ago, we were just entering the meat-grinder of ghastly casualties. And 75 years ago, World War II was beginning to warm up slaughterhouses even more massive than in WWI. And 40 years ago, the United States had just extracted itself from the sanguinary frustration of Vietnam. To be sure, there is fighting in the Middle East, but not on the level of Desert Shield/Storm or Iraqi Freedom.

    Read More »from The world in 2015: Entering the new year in peace and prosperity
  • Sony's security failure has been devastating, but the company is turning to technology in an attempt to halt downloads of its confidential data.Sony's security failure has been devastating, but the company is turning to technology in an attempt to halt downloads of its confidential data.
    If you haven’t illegally downloaded something off of the Internet, you are probably a saint. Or you didn’t know it was possible; or you didn’t know until right now what the internet was.

    But those illegal downloading habits got a bit more precarious in the New Year.

    Canada’s new anti-piracy laws went into effect this week, giving copyright holders an avenue to confront illegal downloaders. It is unlikely, however, that piracy will end overnight.

    The U.S. and Britain currently have similar laws, or stronger ones, in place and illegal downloading is still rampant in those countries.

    The issue of internet piracy has been a growing concern, as media trends toward an online existence faster and more emphatically. What was popularized in the 1990s by Napster – the now-defunct peer-to-peer music exchange site – has since become a massive, unending web of access points.

    Pirate Bay is perhaps the best-known torrent site, where Internet users share content such as movies and television programs.

    Read More »from Canada's new online copyright protection laws allow holders to confront downloaders
  • (Photo: Thinkstock)(Photo: Thinkstock)

    A recent Symantec survey shows that a majority of Canadians often worry about their mobile privacy, but have no problem trading it in for a free smartphone app.

    James Nguyen, a Symantec mobile security expert warns Android users to think twice before they download free apps from Google Play because while they may not be paying with their bank accounts, they could be offering up personal information in exchange, instead.

    "There are a lot of free apps out there and they rarely come without a cost," Nguyen said. "Your personal data is used as a sense of currency. It's a trade off."

    The survey results show that 54 per cent of Canadians are willing to make that trade.


    Related stories:

    Sony hack got your worried? Here are some cyber safety tips

    Top 10 tech stories of 2014

    Uber takes heat for customer privacy settings


    When Android apps are downloaded, users are immediately prompted with a message alerting them of what information the app requires in order to be installed. Some apps require

    Read More »from Fair trade? Canadians willingly give up mobile privacy for free apps
  • (CBC Photo)(CBC Photo)

    Eastern Ontario police forces could have a familiar fight on their hands in the New Year, when snow begins lying thick and snowmobilers take to the tracks.

    There could be booby traps.

    Law enforcement officials say that the threat of booby traps persists along popular paths through the region’s lesser populated areas, suggesting that criminal elements in the region could be seeking to cover their tracks.

    "The skidoo season has started again and we the police agencies will be back on the trail again," RCMP Const. Jean Juneau recently told Yahoo Canada News. He further urged snowmobilers in the area to remain vigilant and pay attention while on their machines.

    The issue of booby traps came to light last winter, when the Cornwall Regional Task Force discovered a thick rope suspended at neck height near an area bridge. A press release said officers narrowly missed being caught in trap.

    "[I]t is clear that the rope was intentionally positioned in such a fashion that any snowmobile operator

    Read More »from RCMP warn of potential booby traps on snowmobile routes

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