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Celebrating Canada’s beautiful flag and the common values it represents

Today we celebrate the 55th anniversary of the Canadian flag. National Flag of Canada Day commemorates the inauguration of the Flag of Canada on 15 February 1965 when Canada’s red and white maple leaf flag was raised for the first time on Parliament Hill.

The Canadian flag unites all Canadians from coast-tocoast-to-coast, and reminds us of our common values » equality, diversity, and inclusion.

More » National Flag of Canada Day

Uzbekistan’s 44-year-old gymnast heads to her 8th Olympics

France24 »

Chusovitina started her career competing for the USSR but after it collapsed she got her first taste of the Olympics at Barcelona in 1992 in a team representing the ex-Soviet states.

There, she scooped team gold but she had to wait another 16 years — and four Games — for an individual Olympic medal.

That came when she won silver on the vault in Beijing in 2008. At that point, Chusovitina was representing Germany, after moving there in 2002 to get her son Alisher treatment for leukaemia that proved successful.

In a bid to reduce single-use plastic waste, Chanel is offering a gold-coloured water bottle with a lambskin ‘flask bag’ at Harrods for £4,400

That’s equivalent to over $7500 Canadian, or about US$5600.

More » The Independent

10 strategies successful people use to make better decisions

Dr. Travis Bradberry, writing for the World Economic Forum »

A study from Columbia University found that we’re bogged down by a good 70 decisions a day.

With so many decisions taking up each day, learning to prioritize them and make them effectively is essential to your success and happiness.

  • They turn small decisions into routines …
  • … and make big decisions in the morning
  • They pay attention to their emotions
  • They evaluate their options objectively
  • They sleep on it …
  • … but not for too long
  • They use exercise to recharge
  • They always go back to their moral compass
  • They seek outside counsel
  • They reflect on previous decisions

Read the whole article to learn more »

 

Dogs prefer to poop on a north-south axis, in alignment with Earth’s magnetic field

PBS »

Dogs use the Earth’s magnetic field when they’re relieving themselves. Not only that, but canines choose to do so in a north-south axis, a new study published in the journal Frontiers in Zoology says.

The study suggests that dogs are sensitive to small variations in Earth’s magnetic field. After examining 70 dogs — made up of 37 breeds — over two years, 1,893 defecations and 5,582 urinations, researchers found that under “calm magnetic field conditions,” dogs preferred to “excrete with the body being aligned along the north-south axis,” avoiding east-west altogether. Dogs were observed in a free-roaming environment, meaning they were not leashed and not influenced by walls or roads that would influence linear movement.

Why do the dogs prefer the north-south axis and avoid east-west? That was unclear, according to the study:

It is still enigmatic why the dogs do align at all, whether they do it “consciously” (i.e., whether the magnetic field is sensorial perceived (the dogs “see”, “hear” or “smell” the compass direction or perceive it as a haptic stimulus) or whether its reception is controlled on the vegetative level (they “feel better/more comfortable or worse/less comfortable” in a certain direction).

Study shows altruism begins in infancy

Even babies share their food when they themselves are hungry.

Sandee LaMotte and Kristen Rogers, CNN »

Picture this: a 19-month-old hungry baby picks up a delicious snack, but instead of gobbling it up gives it to an adult who appears to want it, too.

Now imagine dozens of different babies of the same age doing the same. And that’s exactly what happened during a study published Tuesday that tests the beginnings of altruism in humans.

The babies “looked longingly at the fruit, and then they gave it away!” said Andrew Meltzoff, co-director of the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences at the University of Washington, in a statement. “We think this captures a kind of baby-sized version of altruistic helping.”

More » CTVNews

Self-centred men “are much more likely to own a high-status car such as an Audi, BMW or Mercedes”

A new scientific research published paper has stated that self-centred men “are much more likely to own a high-status car such as an Audi, BMW or Mercedes.”

Those are also the same personality traits that explain why they can be such aggressive and unethical drivers.

The paper, entitled “Not only assholes drive Mercedes. Besides disagreeable men, also conscientious people drive high‐status cars,” was published in the International Journal of Psychology by the Swedish School of Social Science at the University of Helsinki.

Jan-Erik Lönnqvist, professor of social psychology, has concluded that owners of German luxury cars are more likely to drive recklessly and ignore traffic laws.

“I had noticed that the ones most likely to run a red light, not give way to pedestrians, and generally drive recklessly and too fast were often the ones driving fast German cars.”

Lönnqvist authored the report after studying 1,892 car owners to measure openness, conscientiousness, neuroticism, extraversion, agreeableness, and to determine whether wealth and personality traits affect driving habits.

His conclusions »

Self-centred men who are argumentative, stubborn, disagreeable and unempathetic are much more likely to own a high-status car such as an Audi, BMW, or Mercedes. … These personality traits explain the desire to own high-status products, and the same traits also explain why such people break traffic regulations more frequently than others.

Yle News »

However, Lönnqvist said he was surprised his research also found that other types of personalities are drawn to high-end vehicles – the conscientious. He described this group as talented, reliable, well-organised people who are thriving at their careers.

“The link is presumably explained by the importance they attach to high quality. All makes of car have a specific image, and by driving a reliable car they are sending out the message that they themselves are reliable,” the professor reasoned.

Another notable finding in the study was that the conscientious personality type who drove top shelf vehicles included both men and women, while the drivers of fancy cars who had self-centred personality traits were exclusively male.

More » Press ReleaseToronto Star (paywall), FastCompany

How to make the perfect cup of coffee – with a little help from science

Jamie Foster, University of Portsmouth and Christopher H. Hendon, University of Oregon

Have you ever wondered why the coffee you make at home tastes different from the drinks you buy in cafes? Or why coffee from the same place can taste different throughout the week? You may be quick to blame the barista for changing the recipe, but our recent study, published in Matter, suggests that this variation is down to an inherent inconsistency of common brewing methods.

Luckily, we believe to have discovered a path to making a great espresso – to your taste – every time.

The quality of a cup of coffee depends on the coffee’s variety and origin, its roast and the water chemistry. The brewing method also plays a critical role in determining the overall flavor. Espresso is certainly the most complicated brewing method because it requires precise measurements. However, espresso also happens to underpin all coffee menus, as it is the basis for lattes and cappuccinos. Continue reading

100 seconds to midnight » Doomsday Clock moves closest ever to midnight

I long been fascinated, and just a little terrified, by the Doomsday Clock that is updated every January by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

It had last been set at two minutes to midnight. However, the symbolic countdown that represents the likelihood of a man-made global catastrophe was reduced by 20 seconds, and now sits at 100 seconds to midnight thanks to the “existential danger” from nuclear war and climate change.

Civilization-ending nuclear war—whether started by design, blunder, or simple miscommunication—is a genuine possibility. Climate change that could devastate the planet is undeniably happening. And for a variety of reasons that include a corrupted and manipulated media environment, democratic governments and other institutions that should be working to address these threats have failed to rise to the challenge.

The Doomsday Clock, created at the University of Chicago by the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists in 1947, is intended to metaphorically alert mankind to our march toward nuclear Armageddon.

Originally set at seven minutes to midnight, it retreated as far away as 17 minutes from global catastrophe following the signing of the first Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty between the US and the Soviet Union along with the break-up of the Soviet Union. It had reached just two minutes to midnight in 1953 at the height of the Cold War.

“The former President of Ireland, Mary Robinson, said »

We are 100 seconds from midnight and the planet needs to wake up.

In a statement on the change, Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists President and CEO Rachel Bronson said:

As far as the Bulletin and the Doomsday Clock are concerned, the world has entered into the realm of the two-minute warning, a period when danger is high and the margin for error low. The moment demands attention and new, creative responses. If decision makers continue to fail to act—pretending that being inside two minutes is no more urgent than the preceding period—citizens around the world should rightfully echo the words of climate activist Greta Thunberg and ask: “How dare you?”

More » Wikipedia, Ars Technica, BBC

Belgian criminal sends ‘greetings from Thailand’ postcard back to the prison in Antwerp he escaped from

That’s brazen.

Jon Stone, The Independent »

A man who escaped from a Belgian prison last month has taunted his former jailers by sending them a postcard with the message “Greetings from Thailand”.

Oualid Sekkaki was one of five convicts to escape from Turnhout prison in Antwerp province on 19 December by climbing over the prison wall to a getaway car parked nearby.

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