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    Have you ever been “irked” by a sign at the laundromat? “Annoyed” by a restaurant menu? Were some errant quotation marks to “blame?”

    A seafood sign that reads “Fresh” Fish may seem more comical than appealing to the everyday diner, but are those quotation marks really as incorrectly used as they seem? Not necessarily.

    Quotation marks have had a long and confusing life. From the margins of text they’ve moved into the limelight helping us decipher direct quotations and highlighting words for emphasis, but their usage is still in question as they continually evolve.

    “From the beginning there hasn’t been an agreement on exactly what they do,” says Colette Moore, Director of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor of English at the University of Washington. “Its not that they’ve done only one thing, they’ve shifted from use to use. We first start seeing them in the 16th century. They were called inverted commas because if you take that

    Read More »from What’s old is “new” again: the unusual evolution of the quotation mark
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    The Nature Conservancy of Canada has secured land for a wilderness corridor between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.The Nature Conservancy of Canada has secured land for a wilderness corridor between New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

    The Nature Conservancy of Canada is hoping to encourage some inter-provincial affairs between moose in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia by securing a wilderness “love” corridor between the two provinces.

    So far, the Moose Sex Project has obtained approximately 1,000 hectares of private land on both sides of the region, known as the Chignecto Isthmus. It’s a natural land bridge that connects Nova Scotia to the rest of continental North America. Without it, the area would essentially be an island, isolating wildlife and ecology and putting it at risk.

    Although the region is home to many different species, like lynx and bobcat, the Conservancy chose to focus on the moose, which have declined in numbers over the years.

     “We built the project around an iconic Canadian species, the moose, which is actually endangered in Nova Scotia,” Craig Smith, the program’s director in Nova Scotia, told Yahoo Canada News.

    The province is home to only about 1,000 of them, compared to New Brunswick’s

    Read More »from Nature Conservancy’s wilderness corridor paves way for ‘moose sex’
  • A man throws Barilla spaghetti into boiling water as he cooks at his home in Rome, Italy in this September 27, 2013 file photo. Pasta maker Barilla is expected to release 2014 results this week.  REUTERS/Max Rossi/Files   GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD PACKAGE - SEARCH "BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD MAY 18" FOR ALL IMAGESA man throws Barilla spaghetti into boiling water as he cooks at his home in Rome, Italy in this September 27, 2013 file photo. Pasta maker Barilla is expected to release 2014 results this week. REUTERS/Max Rossi/Files GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD PACKAGE - SEARCH "BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD MAY 18" FOR ALL IMAGES

    For Sylvain Charlebois, touring pasta-maker Barilla’s plant in Parma, Italy was a suitable primer on the muddled world of country of origin labeling.

    “Barilla is a very well known brand and it’s a high quality brand and they, of course, buy wheat from Canada to produce their pasta,” says Charlebois, a professor at the University of Guelph’s Food Institute. He points out that importing wheat from Canada is very much a part of the Italian company’s business model. “But it’s not recognized, unless you actually talk to people in the plant about how they make the product.”

    The Italian company imports the wheat, processes it in Parma or wherever the factory happens to be (they have production facilities in Norway, France and the U.S. among other countries), stamps it Made in Italy and ships it back across the Atlantic for Canadians to enjoy a “taste of Italy.”

    It’s an endless loop, one you’d find in array of other products – like mustard for example, says Charlebois.

    “Canada is the largest

    Read More »from Are you getting duped on your authentic imported products?
  • WestJet bomb threats likely a 'hoax or a vendetta' against airline, expert saysWestJet bomb threats likely a 'hoax or a vendetta' against airline, expert says

    Airline threats can be crippling affairs – grounded planes, sifting through baggage, poring over passenger manifestos, in depth investigations by the local authorities, passenger vouchers and free flights, lost business – it all adds up, costing tens of thousands of dollars.

    Now multiply that by five.

    Since June 27, WestJet has received four bomb threats and one unspecified threat.

    “I’m sure in these cases, the airline probably figures there’s a really low probability of them being legitimate,” says Fred Lazar, an aviation analyst and professor at the Schulich School of Business. “However, what if you’re wrong and you end up with catastrophic consequences?”

    Which is why it doesn’t matter if it’s the first threat or the fiftieth.

    “They’re going to take all these threats seriously and do whatever is necessary,” says Lazar.

    He points out that logically from a bomb threat standpoint, terrorists are unlikely to call ahead and someone committing suicide wouldn’t really tip an airline off,

    Read More »from Why airlines won’t tell you about threats against flights
  • Osheaga bans attendees from wearing headdressesOsheaga bans attendees from wearing headdresses

    The trend of wearing native-style headdresses as fashion accessories at music festivals appears to be coming to an end as organizers rush to ban the ceremonial items.

    Feather headdresses have become hugely popular in recent years at music festivals around the world, especially Coachella in Southern California.

    But they’re quickly falling out of fashion amongst festival organizers who have faced widespread backlash for permitting the cultural appropriation of First Nations symbols.

    Three Quebec festivals — Osheaga, Heavy Montréal and ÎleSoniq — banned them this week.

    This follows similar moves last year by the Bass Coast festival in Merritt, B.C., the Tall Tree Festival on Vancouver Island and the Glastonbury Festival in the United Kingdom.

    "First Nations Headdresses have a spiritual and cultural meaning in the native communities and to respect and honour their people, Osheaga asks fans and artists attending the festival to not use this symbol as a fashion accessory,” reads a post on

    Read More »from Why music festivals are banning First Nations headdresses
  • Chicken rentals are a growing business nationwide as people seek to live more sustainably through local food sources. Poultry leases allow customers to get eggs from hens without the commitment of ownership. (April 28)Chicken rentals are a growing business nationwide as people seek to live more sustainably through local food sources. Poultry leases allow customers to get eggs from hens without the commitment of ownership. (April 28)

    A simple desire to keep a few chickens in one man’s backyard in Liverpool , N.S., has ruffled the feathers of a lot of people in this picturesque community.

    It all began when Edward Whynot tried to raise a few chickens on his property last summer, but he had to get rid of them after a complaint from a neighbour was relayed to him by the municipality.

    He tried keeping chickens again this April when he had the opportunity to get seven young hens. And since then he has been dealing with bylaw officials, meetings with politicians, planning committee meetings and full sessions of council.   

    “They supply food for me and the region is actually taking food off my table by taking these hens from me,” Whynot told Yahoo Canada News on Wednesday.

    “This is my lifestyle, They’re my pets — just like a dog or cat would be for anybody else,” he said, after spending most of the day picketing with a large sign by Liverpool’s main intersection.

    “I think it’s a shame and I told the councillors yesterday

    Read More »from Backyard hens ruffle feathers in picturesque N.S. community
  • Having little or no education as dangerous and deadly as smoking.

    An alarming new study – from New York University, University of Colorado, and University of North Carolina – says there are widening education gaps and mortality rates in the United States.

    Simply put: Americans who didn’t complete high school are dying off at the same rate as smokers.

    Patrick Krueger, study co-author and assistant professor of Health and Behavioral Sciences at University of Colorado, told Yahoo Canada there are many reasons for this – and a clear pattern that links them all.

    “Basically, more-educated folks are likelier to have healthier behaviours, and better self-control when it comes to limiting risky behaviours,” Krueger explained.

    “Research suggests that when a new medical technology becomes available, it’s the most-educated individuals that are likely to seek it out, and to benefit from it. The same if there’s new knowledge about what constitutes a healthy diet or an appropriate amount of

    Read More »from Lack of education is as deadly as smoking
  • A Quebec landlords association launched a photo contest, challenging landlords to submit photos of their trashed and filthy rental properties.A Quebec landlords association launched a photo contest, challenging landlords to submit photos of their trashed and filthy rental properties.

    By Aviva West

    An association of Quebec landlords has announced a winner in their "July 1st Horror Stories” competition, held to highlight the sorry state some apartments are left in when tenants depart.

    Throughout the province of Quebec, July 1 is Moving Day, otherwise known as the fête du déménagement. A tradition stemming from when the colonial government of New France mandated when farmers could be evicted from their rental properties, Moving Day was held on May 1 until the 1970s when it was moved to July 1 by the provincial government to allow children to complete a full year at the same school.

    The practice of starting and ending leases on July 1 has persisted in Quebec despite the inconvenience and chaos of a large chunk of the population all moving on the same day.

    To add to the chaos, the province of Quebec does not allow landlords to charge a security deposit, leaving those with hellish tenants on the hook for expensive repairs and cleanup.

    With this in mind, the Association

    Read More »from Quebec landlords’ association names winner of province’s grossest apartment contest
  • A good way to fix a political slip-up is to be honest and move on. A better way is to own it and make it something unique. Give Toronto mayor John Tory credit for making lemonade out of a big pile of lemons.

    Tory found himself widely mocked on Wednesday after he said he thought Kanye West was Canadian. At a press conference after Kanye West was announced as a performer for the closing ceremony of the Pan Am Games, Tory tried to soft-step the uproar over West’s selection.

    “I won’t say that I spend every single night at home listening to his music but you know what, I’m smart enough to know that a lot of people do, and I’m smart enough to know that he’s a proud product of our music industry here, as are a number of others,” Tory said.

    According to the National Post, Tory later admitted he didn’t really know anything about Kanye, adding “you can’t know everything.”

    It could have ended there, with the image of the old, white, out of touch mayor not understanding much about the rap game

    Read More »from John Tory discovers Kanye West's music, ogles Kim Kardashian
  • Is B.C. ready for the Big One?

    View from Granville Street bridge in Vancouver.View from Granville Street bridge in Vancouver.

    When will the Big One hit British Columbia?

    An article in this week’s New Yorker magazine has renewed the ever-present fears about just what will happen in the event of the inevitable massive earthquake along the Pacific coast.

    But it’s not really the Big One that B.C. has to worry about, says John Clague, the Canada Research Chair in Natural Hazards Research and a professor of earth sciences at Simon Fraser University.

    “People think of these magnitude-9 as the worst that Mother Nature can throw at us,” Clague tells Yahoo Canada News. “But those earthquakes are rare — they only occur every 500 years or so.”

    The last one to strike the Pacific coast occurred in 1700, setting off a tsunami that devastated the entire West Coast. Nine hours later, it struck Japan.

    Such a megathrust earthquake — around a magnitude of 9 – would come from the Cascadia subduction zone that runs from northern Vancouver Island down to northern California.

    But the fault is located on the floor of the Pacific

    Read More »from Is B.C. ready for the Big One?

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