Blog Posts by Tori Floyd

  • Viral handprint photo shows the beauty of bacteria on us

    Photo of Tasha Sturm's son's handprint and the bacteria found in it. (Tasha Sturm/Microbe World)Photo of Tasha Sturm's son's handprint and the bacteria found in it. (Tasha Sturm/Microbe World)

    When microbiologist Tasha Sturm performed a simple experiment with her eight-year-old son, she had no idea it would get so much attention online.

    "I have been doing things like this for so long that it's normal to me... and my kids!" Sturm, a microbiology technician at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, told Yahoo Canada News.

    Sturm asked her son to press his hand into a TSA plate after he came in from playing outside, which was filled with agar, a substance that contains the nutrients ideal for bacterial growth. It was then incubated for a week  at 37°C, then another several days at room temperature, which is the perfect for bacteria to flourish, and the result was an almost floral-looking design.

    When she posted the photo to the website ASM Microbeworld, the stunning patterns attracted attention across the web, as people marvelled at the beauty of bacteria. But Sturm says it's pretty typical stuff for her line of work.

    "The first [thing] lab students do is swab something in the

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  • Queens Zoo welcomed a baby pudu in May. (Queens Zoo/Facebook)Queens Zoo welcomed a baby pudu in May. (Queens Zoo/Facebook)

    For such a small little guy, he's sure going to elicit a big bunch of "awwww"s!

    Queens Zoo in Flushing, N.Y. debuted their newest addition, and he's a tiny one. He's an as-yet-to-be-named pudu, the world's smallest species of deer.

    The pudu was born May 12, but the zoo only just posted a photo of the little guy yesterday, encouraging people to come and see him in person.

    At birth, he was about six inches tall and six inches long, Barbara Russo of the Wildlife Conservation Society told ABC News.

    When full grown, he'll stand about 12 to 14 inches measured to his shoulder (meaning they may never need more than a standard foot-long ruler to measure him). The southern pudu is native to South America, and is classified as an endangered species.

    Once the fawn is weaned, he'll move on to a diet of grains, greens, carrots, and hay, according to the Wall Street Journal.

    After all, you can't survive on cute alone!

    Read More »from Petite Pudu: Fawn of world's smallest deer species born at Queens Zoo
  • Christian, pre and post-haircut. (Deeanna Thomas/Facebook)Christian, pre and post-haircut. (Deeanna Thomas/Facebook)

    Eight-year-old Christian McPhilamy is the centre of attention for his selfless act today, but his last two years haven’t always been quite as easy.

    The boy from Melbourne, Florida saw a TV commercial about pediatric cancer two years ago, his mother Deeanna Thomas told Florida Today, where he heard about St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and the challenges faced by kids dealing with cancer. It inspired Christian to grow his hair and, on May 20, he cut off one 12-inch and three 11-inch ponytails to be mailed to the Michigan-based charity Children with Hair Loss.

    Christian's hair in ponytails, ready to be chopped off. (Deeanna Thomas/Facebook)Christian's hair in ponytails, ready to be chopped off. (Deeanna Thomas/Facebook)

    While Christian’s intentions were entirely noble, his peers didn’t always see the good that he was doing and Thomas says Christian was bullied for having his long hair.

    “Some people tried to call me a girl,” Christian told Florida Today. He says he didn’t feel good about the comments, but wanted to keep working towards his goal.

    “I just wanted to give a wig away.”

    Scott Norris buzzing off the last of Christian's long hair. (Deeanna Thomas/Facebook)Scott Norris buzzing off the last of Christian's long hair. (Deeanna Thomas/Facebook)

    In a Facebook post, Thomas shared Christian’s story:


    Read More »from Boy endures years of bullying to donate hair to children's charity
  • General view of the PC gaming area at Enthusiast Gaming Live (Farah Syed)General view of the PC gaming area at Enthusiast Gaming Live (Farah Syed)

    Looking down from the second floor of the International Centre in Mississauga, the noise is overwhelming. People are cheering, laughing, and it’s drowning out the subtler sounds of games beeping and keyboards clattering. Suddenly, it crescendos and the power goes out. As the organizers of Enthusiast Gaming Live (EGL) whip out their phones and begin calling around to find the source of the problem, the crowd gathered below is illuminated by the televisions being run by back-up generators and they begin chanting “MVG! MVG! MVG!”

    The same thing happened this past April in Arizona at MVG Sandstorm and since the esports world is so closely knit, the people here at EGL know all about it. There’s more laughter and chanting, but everyone stays put. After all, they’re here to support the first esports tournament of this scale in Canada, and they plan to be here to the end.

    Meet the new face of gaming. Historically, gaming has been seen as the domain of teenage boys, playing at home in their

    Read More »from Esports mean big bucks: inside the rich, new world of video games
  • Guess what guys? It's time to go home! (Thinkstock)Guess what guys? It's time to go home! (Thinkstock)

    Are you still in your chair at work, typing away on your keyboard? (Or, if you’re reading this, surreptitiously checking Yahoo on your phone while taking a quick break? Don’t worry, we won’t tell.) And do you find yourself pining for the hours to fly by faster, so you can start the rush-hour trek home?

    This is the one day a year (at least unofficially) you don’t need to wait until 5 PM for take your leave.

    Today is National Leave The Office Early Day, an American "holiday" that has gained some interest abroad, too (and let’s be honest, we celebrated Cinco de Mayo last month, what’s to stop us from adopting another foreign holiday?). You’re not likely to see this printed on any calendar, and it might require some convincing to get your boss to go along with it, but there’s actually good reason why he or she should be game to let you make an early departure every once in a while.

    The day was created by Employee Productivity Specialist Laura Stack, an American public speaker who

    Read More »from Celebrating National Leave the Office Early Day the right way
  • Escaped peacock becomes social media darling in Toronto

  • What it's like to play Street Fighter for a living

    Justin Wong playing during Stunfest 2014. (Flickr/Edouard Hue)Justin Wong playing during Stunfest 2014. (Flickr/Edouard Hue)

    For most people, playing video games is nothing more than a hobby, and the adage of “do what you love” just doesn’t seem to apply to gaming for a living.

    Unless you’re someone like Justin Wong.

    Wong has spent the last 15 years traveling the world playing Street Fighter and other fighting video games professionally, competing in tournaments and becoming one of the most well-known figures in the fighting game community.

    Wong will be in Canada this weekend for the Enthusiast Gaming Live event in Toronto, where competitive gamers from across the country and the world will be competing for prize money. Tournaments range from games like League of Legends and Counter Strike, to fighting games (Wong’s specialty) like the latest Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat games,. There are a dozen different fighting games to pick from in total.

    While the prize money will certainly draw some, for a lot of players, the real appeal is playing in front of the crowds and showcasing your gaming prowess to the

    Read More »from What it's like to play Street Fighter for a living
  • Who needs birthday presents when you collect gifts all year long? Since becoming prime minister in 2006, Stephen Harper has given and received plenty of gifts, both when foreign dignitaries come to visit, and when he travels abroad, not to mention visiting the various regions of Canada.

    Harper isn’t allowed to keep all of the gifts he’s sent, though. In 2006, the Conservative government passed the Conflict of Interest Act, which led to the creation of a public registry for all gifts, that someone in public office receives, CBC reported.

    All gifts over $200 are required to be declared to the conflict of interest and ethics commissioner. And all presents over $1,000 can’t be kept by public office holders at all.

    Because it’s now a matter of public record, anyone can check out what gifts Stephen Harper has received through the public registry at the Office of the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner website. This is just a sampling of some of the things Harper has received in his

    Read More »from Forget his birthday, Stephen Harper gets plenty of gifts all year
  • Photos of birthday card for Stephen Harper via Tumblr user richardlazarusisgo.Photos of birthday card for Stephen Harper via Tumblr user richardlazarusisgo.

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper is celebrating his 56th birthday today, April 30, and he'll be receiving well-wishes from many of his party supporters thanks to his wife, Laureen.

    Members of the Conservative Party of Canada received a letter last week from Laureen Harper, asking for donations ahead of the October 19 election. The mailout also included a card for the prime minister's birthday, which was shared on Tumblr. It reads, "Happy Birthday, Prime Minister! Wishing you another Happy Birthday on April 30th... and another Conservative Majority victory for Canada this October!"

    Stephen Harper birthday card, via richardlazarusisgo/TumblrStephen Harper birthday card, via richardlazarusisgo/Tumblr

    The Tumblr post showing the card was reblogged hundreds of times, and was spotted by leftist political news site Press Progress, who didn't think much of the gesture:

    "While it's not uncommon for political parties to use the birthdays of leaders as an opportunity to collect information from supporters, in this case, it's hard not to wonder if the Conservatives are worried no one will wish the Prime Minister

    Read More »from Stephen Harper celebrates birthday with cards sent to, mailed back from party supporters


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