• Coral reefs are beautiful to behold, and essential for maintaining the natural balance of life in the world’s oceans.

    And all over the world, they are slowly starving to death.

    Under stress from climate change and rising levels of carbon dioxide, coral in nature is continually struggling to find nutrition.

    It's a common problem for humans too; it's one of the reasons why the dietary supplement market is booming.

    So – why not develop special nutritional supplements, and feed them to the coral?

    Researchers from the University of Miami are doing exactly that, and the results are encouraging.

    “For many years we have known the some types of symbiotic algae can convey climate change resilience to corals,” Chris Langdon, UM Rosenstiel School professor and chair of marine biology and ecology, told ScienceDaily.com.

    Staghorn coral, a species once common around Florida and throughout the Caribbean, is now critically endangered. The research suggests that two supplemental feedings of dried

    Read More »from Human diet trick could save coral reefs
  • This week a Bowmanville, Ont. couple found out the hard way that just having a valid passport isn’t enough to get you out of the country. Dallas Hill and Evan Bouckley were prevented from boarding a flight to Italy because Hill's passport was set to expire in July; Canadians who are travelling to the Shengen area of European states need passports that will be valid for at least three months after they leave the region they're visiting. Some countries have even stricter passport authentication requirements.

    Validity requirements aren’t the only things some Canadians don't know about their passports. Here are five more.

    Royal prerogative


    Technically, your passport is granted by the Queen of Canada (which is different from the Queen of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, even though they’re the same person). A passport application can be denied simply by "royal prerogative," which was invoked famously when Omar Khadr applied for a passport in 2006. Fortunately, Charter rights mean such a

    Read More »from Five things you didn't know about the Canadian passport
  • There's no lemon law in Canada, meaning dealers don't have to take back dud cars. (Thinkstock)There's no lemon law in Canada, meaning dealers don't have to take back dud cars. (Thinkstock)

    You have to feel for Danielle Champagne, who’s living every car owner’s nightmare.

    The Winnipeg mother paid top dollar for a new 2011 Chevrolet Cruze sedan but told CBC News it’s been nothing but trouble, apparently subject to 15 manufacturer’s safety recalls and another 15 warranty-related problems.

    Canada has no U.S.-style lemon laws, which give owners the right to demand a refund or replacement vehicle if it’s suffering from chronic mechanical problems. Customers here have to go through an auto industry-sanctioned arbitration process to deal with complaints.

    It’s not clear whether Champagne is involved in that process. She could not be reached and calls by Yahoo Canada News to the service manager at Vickar Community Chevrolet, which sold her the car for $34,000 (current base asking price for a Cruze is about $17,000), were not returned.

    Champagne’s problems highlight the fact Canadian consumers are largely on their own when it comes to dealing with defective vehicles. Even if you

    Read More »from Auto recalls and lemon cars: It’s still a case of buyer beware in Canada
  • A man looks at his cellphone, which, if he is Canadian, doesn't have access to MVNO service. (Thinkstock)A man looks at his cellphone, which, if he is Canadian, doesn't have access to MVNO service. (Thinkstock)

    Looking for an affordable, yet comprehensive, smartphone plan in Canada can be quite the exercise in futility. A look at the packages offered by the major Canadian wireless providers, namely Rogers, Bell and Telus, basic plans with a few hundred megabytes of data and 100-200 minutes start at an average cost of $50. Compare that to the plans our neighbours down south have access to and it's no wonder Canadians continue to push for cheaper plans, innovative alternatives and, ultimately, more competition.

    Therein lies the problem: Canadians don't have options.

    In the United States, consumers have the choice between brand names like Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile but can also opt for a no-contract route with a smaller Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that provides a cheaper alternative without sacrificing call and data quality. Because MVNOs don't have or can't afford their own cell towers, they piggyback off established infrastructure from the big boys. So what's stopping

    Read More »from No room for low-cost MVNO smartphone plan providers in Canada
  • Ontario sex ed supporters turn to social media

    Demonstrators gather in front of Queen's Park to protest against Ontario's new sex education curriculum in Toronto on Tuesday, February 24, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren CalabreseDemonstrators gather in front of Queen's Park to protest against Ontario's new sex education curriculum in Toronto on Tuesday, February 24, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese


    Ontario parents who support the province’s new sex education program are taking to social media to counter curriculum objectors.

    A petition urging Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne to stick to her guns on the plan has garned more than 23,000 signatures in little more than 48 hours.

    The Facebook page People for Ontario’s Sex Ed Curriculum has nearly 10,000 followers and another, Muslims for Ontario’s Health and Physical Education Curriculum, nearly 400.

    “There was so much negative stuff out there,” says Sam Mansour, who posted the petition on Change.org.

    Earlier this week, tens of thousands of students were absent from school to protest the new program. That prompted the 27-year-old to act.

    “These protests really pushed a lot of people to be negative: ‘What’s wrong with these parents?’ Zenophobic comments, sometimes. I thought, whoa, this is not true of the entire community,” Mansour tells Yahoo Canada News.

    “I think it’s a misrepresentation of Ontarians. I think it’s a misrepresentation

    Read More »from Ontario sex ed supporters turn to social media
  • Tackling Canada’s gender pay gap

    Office workers walk through a green lit foyer of an office building in Melbourne May 5, 2009. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas/FilesOffice workers walk through a green lit foyer of an office building in Melbourne May 5, 2009. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas/Files

    Canada ranks 11th out of 17 of the world’s wealthiest countries when it comes to the gender income gap.

    Women are less likely to ascend the career ladder and more likely to work part-time, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

    “We’ve come a long way and it’s fantastic but there’s still a lot more work to be done,” says Jill Earthy, a successful entrepreneur, founder of the advocacy group WEB Alliance and co-author of an action plan released Wednesday on women in leadership.

    The report, released at an economic forum organized by the alliance and the Vancouver Board of Trade, says the gender gap is persistent.

    Despite making up 47 per cent of the Canadian labour force, females account for just 5.3 per cent of CEOs and hold just 20.8 per cent of board seats on the country’s 60 largest, publicly-traded companies. Forty per cent of companies have no women on their boards of directors.

    But studies show there are economic benefits to a little more estrogen

    Read More »from Tackling Canada’s gender pay gap
  • There’s a cost for having money in Canada, as consumers are about to discover. By June, all of the country’s five biggest banks will have pumped up their monthly fees.  

    CIBC and Scotiabank were the first of the bunch to adjust their terms, followed by TD Bank on April 1, BMO at the start of May and RBC in June.

    While the banks are ecstatic about adding millions to their bottom lines, the slew of changes, mostly targeted at value-geared basic accounts, are less than thrilling for consumers.

    Even the NDP joined the scrum, with Andrew Cash, an NDP MP and critic for consumer protection, calling on the Feds to move from a voluntary code of conduct to something set in stone.

    “Offering the banks a voluntary code of conduct is like telling a cat to regulate its consumption of catnip,” said Cash. “You shouldn’t have to pay money to pay your bill; you shouldn’t have to pay money to pay your mortgage; you shouldn’t have to pay money to pay your student loan.”

    But fees have been a lingering issue

    Read More »from Which of the Big 5 is the cheapest to bank with in Canada?
  • Lottery balls (Thinkstock)Lottery balls (Thinkstock)

    Everyone has their own version of the scenario stored away in the mind’s eye, an image of where you are, who you’re with, and what you’re doing when you win the jackpot of your dreams. But let’s say the moment actually materializes, and you win the lottery. What comes next?

     The answer depends on how much you’ve won. If it’s under $1,000 in Ontario, for example, the retailer where you bought the ticket can dole out the cash. (Lotteries across the country have only slight variations in their methods for processing winning tickets.) Over a grand and you’re asked to travel to Toronto—to the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG) Prize Center —with your signed ticket and two pieces of government I.D. Residents in far-flung towns can claim a prize at a satellite center if the cost of travel would eat up most of their lotto spoils.

     The ticket will be checked out, your signature and identity verified. The sometimes stickier procedure happens next, when the gaming authority determines

    Read More »from Lotto drama: What happens before winners take home a jackpot?
  •  

    Ask the Torontonians most affected by it to define “carding” and they’ll tell you it’s a new name for a decades-old problem: random police checks that target young African-Canadian men.

    The practice was once called “intervention” and before that “street checks.” The police now label it community “engagement.” The name everyone else tends to use—carding—is a reference to the contact cards police have been using for about 10 years to collect information about those who are stopped and questioned.

    According to a series of investigative reports by the Toronto Star, people stopped for the sake of engagement between 2008 and 2013 were more likely to be African-Canadian than white and the vast majority of encounters did not involve an arrest or charges. Nevertheless, details about each individual—including one’s name, age, perceived skin colour, estimated height, and weight, and often the names of one’s friends—were recorded and entered into a massive database. The Star reporters found that

    Read More »from Toronto Police controversy: What is 'carding' and is it legal?
  • Demonstrators gather in front of Queen's Park to protest against Ontario's new sex education curriculum in Toronto on Tuesday, February 24, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren CalabreseDemonstrators gather in front of Queen's Park to protest against Ontario's new sex education curriculum in Toronto on Tuesday, February 24, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darren Calabrese

    Some time around 2010, stories began circulating on the Internet about a sexually transmitted disease called “Blue Waffle.” Use your imagination.

    For five years now, sexual health educators throughout Canada and the United States have been fielding questions about the disease which, according to web wisdom, is only passed from women to men and may be the result of poor hygiene or an overactive sex life. It does not exist.

    That may seem laughable, except that it’s a sexual myth that persists among tweens and teens and even people old enough to vote and buy beer. And it’s just one of many.

    Lyba Spring spent nearly 30 years as a sexual health educator for Toronto Public Health. Now retired, she is a private sexual health educator and consultant and a blogger on sexual health issues.

    Over the years, she’s fielded many questions from teens that convinced her that Ontario needed a relevant, updated sex education curriculum: Can masturbation make you a non-virgin? Can you get an infection

    Read More »from Sex ed vs. the Internet in Ontario curriculum debate

Pagination

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