• <span style=color: #333333; font-family: helvetica, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 11px; line-height: normal;>A jogger runs through a frosty landscape in Calgary, Monday, Feb. 8, 2010. Temperatures dropped overnight and an icy fog descended on the city making it look like a winter wonderland. The forecast is for above average temperatures and sun the rest of the week.</span>

    Winter is coming, Canadians, but we’re on track for one of the warmest ever.

    That’s according to AccuWeather Global Weather Center, which says El Niño once again is to blame.

    “We’re thinking this is going to be the second strongest El Niño on record,” senior meteorologist Brett Anderson told Yahoo Canada by phone from AccuWeather’s headquarters near State College, Pennsylvania.  “It’s definitely one of the top two, with the one in 1997/98 being the strongest on record. That has a lot of influence on the weather right across Canada, in the winter especially. This will be one of the warmer winters on record, definitely in the top five.”

    So all of the hopeful skiers in Vancouver who purchased ski passes for Grouse, Cypress or Seymour mountains—those hills that are a short drive from the city centre—may well be out of luck.

    Western Canadians should expect above- to well above-normal temperatures as a prevailing westerly flow delivers milder Pacific air across the region for the 2015-16

    Read More »from Canada's winter forecast may turn out to be one of the warmest ever
  • Así luce SETI@home en tu computadoraAsí luce SETI@home en tu computadora

    For three intriguing decades, SETI (the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) has been scanning the skies, looking for tell-tale radio signals that would herald the existence of intelligent life, proving we are not alone in the universe.

    They haven’t found them.

    But they’ve been far from alone in their search.

    Back in 1999, SETI found a way to involve huge numbers of space fans, linking their home computers to create a data-crunching web known as SETI@Home.

    “One of the problems we have with SETI – and we still have this problem – is that the capability to collect large amounts of data has always outstripped our ability to analyze the data,” said Eric Korpela, director of SETI@Home, from the Berkeley-SETI Research Centre at the University of California.

    “In the late nineties, a smart guy by the name of David Gedye came up with the idea of using internet-connected computers to analyze SETI data that we were then collecting at the Arecibo Radio Observatory in Puerto Rico. His idea

    Read More »from Did SETI@Home ever find aliens using your old computer?
  • A stunning celestial treat awaits skywatchers who are up at the crack of dawn over the next week as three of the brightest planets dance in the morning sky.

    High in the east just before sunrise, planets Jupiter, Venus and Mars huddle together appearing as bright star-like objects that will pass each other in the sky over the course of the next few days.

    On October 29 through 30, the three planets will cluster within 5 degrees of each other – so close that you can easily cover all three planets with just your fist held at arm’s length. Venus, Jupiter and Mars have not appeared this close together in Earth’s skies since 1991 and won’t again until the year 2111.

    But keen onlookers who keep tabs on the morning planetary show will notice that Venus is slowly sinking in the sky every day, and closing in on Mars. In fact starting on Sunday November 1, and over the following three mornings, Venus will be having an especially close encounter with the Red Planet. The two worlds will be at

    Read More »from Dance of the dawn planets: see Venus, Mars and Jupiter with the naked eye this week
  • Laura Bantock’s daughter was 15 months old and toddling past her brother who had just eaten a peanut butter sandwich when she picked up a piece of crust. That was enough to almost kill her. Rebecca Laurin’s friend, who had eaten a piece of strawberry shortcake hours before, gave her a kiss on the cheek. That, too, was enough to almost kill her.

    Severe, life-threatening food allergies, known as anaphylaxis, are on the rise.

    Over the last seven years visits to the emergency department for anaphylaxis nearly doubled. In the same time frame, there was also a 64 per cent increase in the number of Canadians using a prescription epinephrine auto-injector (more commonly known under the trademarked name EpiPen).

    The rise in both figures indicates a growing awareness of the potentially fatal consequences of anaphylaxis, a serious allergic reaction that is rapid in onset and may cause death.

    “Some people when they hear the word allergy, they assume I’ll get sick or have a rash. I’m anaphylactic,

    Read More »from Life-threatening food allergies on the rise, along with the need to take precautions
  • It turns out that beavers and all the pesky dam things they do (get it…dam) in rivers and streams serve a hugely important purpose in helping our planet maintain its delicate and ever important balance.

    Scientists at the University of Rhode Island have discovered that their habitats and all the organic matter the critters carry with them along the way can reduce the amount of nitrogen gas found in rivers and streams by as much as 45 per cent.

    Why is this important, you ask? Well, although we humans require precious oxygen in order to keep on ticking, 78 per cent of the Earth’s atmosphere is made up of nitrogen. It’s an ultra-thin gas that works in coordination with other gases found on the periodic table of elements to protect our planet and all its ecosystems, and it’s also used by farmers to grow crops.

    Here’s the thin: although nitrogen is a necessity in the atmosphere and in agriculture, it actually promotes the growth of algae once too much of the gas finds its way into rivers

    Read More »from Can beavers really save the world? Scientists think so
  • A man at a blood donation clinic is seen giving blood. (Thinkstock)A man at a blood donation clinic is seen giving blood. (Thinkstock)

    Do you suffer from fear of phlebotomy?

    If the idea of getting a needle stuck in your arm to draw a little blood for a medical test, or a lot more for a donation is already making you feel faint or squeamish, then that’s you.

    But you’re far from alone.

    Phlebotomists, those friendly needle-wielding medical personnel, are so used to seeing anxious patients go pale, get dizzy, feel sick or simply pass right out before, during or after blood-drawing procedures that they are trained to assess for the likelihood of it happening and to be at the ready if it does.

    “It’s very frequent,” says Shelly Andrews, a former full-time phlebotomist and now Ontario manager of process improvement for Lifelabs, a company providing medical lab testing services in its own clinics and other healthcare facilities in British Columbia and Ontario.

    Fear and anxiety are the most common complaints, but more extreme reactions can and do occur, she says. In one case Andrews handled, a patient suffered extreme nausea

    Read More »from Reason for feeling faint when blood taken still a mystery, but incredibly prevalent
  • Toronto model Winnie Harlow has been described as the fashion industry’s next It Girl: she has appeared in Vogue magazine and on the runways during this year’s London Fashion Week, and was featured in Diesel’s spring/summer 2015 campaign. It’s remarkable stuff for a woman who was bullied relentlessly and cruelly labelled things like “cow” growing up because of having the same skin condition that Michael Jackson brought into the public eye.

    That condition is called vitiligo (pronounced vittle-EYE-go) and it occurs when cells that produce melanin, the pigment that determines the colour of skin, die or stop functioning. It results in the loss of skin colour in patches. While Harlow is being celebrated for her distinctive look, it’s been a long road to success.

    “Bullying on any level can cause a person of any age to feel many negative emotions toward themselves, and in my case, it was so bad I was forced to decide to drop out of school,” Harlow tells Yahoo Canada in an email from Europe,

    Read More »from What is vitiligo, and who is likely to develop it?
  • Scientists who study addiction know its prevalence is getting worse and extending beyond alcohol and drugs.

    In our society, the whole concept of compulsive behaviour is explained—sometimes, too easily—as an addiction. Buy too many things you don’t need? Call it a shopping addiction. Play video games all the time? That’s an addiction too.

    Dr. Shimi Kang, an addictions specialists in the department of psychiatry at the University of B.C., says one of the reasons for the growing spread of addiction is the things we’re addicted to are part of our culture and even promoted, like caffeine, sugar, alcohol, smoking.

    “For many years, treating addiction wasn’t part of the medical system. There were AA programs but we lacked the competency to understand addiction and its prevalence. For anyone who has experienced it, or know someone who has, they know how truly devastating addiction can be," she said.

    Scientists have made tremendous new discoveries over the last two decades in understanding how

    Read More »from Scientists find a new target in the treatment of addiction
  • Millennials may be able to reproduce this styling moustache, but not necessarily the svelte figure. (Flickr)Millennials may be able to reproduce this styling moustache, but not necessarily the svelte figure. (Flickr)

    On the popular Tumblr blog Dads Are the Original Hipsters, men of the Baby Boomer generation are shown in their heyday rocking long tresses, moustaches and big sunglasses. There’s also an uncanny number of tight T-shirts and short shorts showing off their taut tummies and lean legs.

    Millennials have ripped off the aesthetic of their dads (and moms), but tend to be less taut and lean than the Baby Boomers were back in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

    But, before you start ranting and raving about how ‘kids today’ are fatter than ever because they eat too much and move too little a new study has found it’s more complicated than that.

    Life’s not fair, kiddos

    According to a study by York University and University of Alberta researchers, the offspring of the Boomers have to work out harder and eat less to maintain the same figure as their parents did at their age.

    The study, published in Obesity Research & Clinical Practice, analyzed dietary data of nearly 36,400 American adults collected between 1971

    Read More »from Millennials have harder time stopping weight gain than their parents did: study
  • (Photo: Thinkstock)(Photo: Thinkstock)

    Physicians and researchers all over the world are keen to discover a root cause for Alzheimer’s disease.

    Nearly 44 million people worldwide have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and that number is expected to grow exponentially as the global population ages. More than 747,000 Canadians are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, about the same number who will die of Alzheimer’s each year in the United States.

    The growing elderly population has also seen some substantial changes to dental health, too. Severe systemic fungal infections in the mouth have increased dramatically for seniors over the last three decades.

    Now a link may have been found between oral infections and Alzheimer’s disease.

    University of Oslo professor Ingar Olsen has spent his career studying how oral micro-organisms invade local tissue. Their invasion wrecks havoc systemically as they spread.

    Working with another senior researcher, Sim K. Singhrao at the University of Lancashire’s Oral & Dental Sciences Research

    Read More »from Possible link found between Alzheimer's disease and oral infections


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