Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Become an Expert

Here's a tutorial on telling the difference between the male and female bald eagle.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our Daily Bread

We all know we should be very careful about eating salty foods. The recommended amount of sodium for people aged one year and over in ranges from 1000mg to 1500 mg per day. The actual amount of sodium on average that we consume in Canada is more than twice that amount. Too much sodium can lead to high blood pressure, a major factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease. Sodium intake has also been linked to an increased risk of osteoporosis, stomach cancer and severity of asthma.

In Canada, governments at the federal, provincial and territorial levels are all committed to helping Canadians to reduce sodium intake. One way to accomplish this is by developing guidelines for industry to assist in reducing sodium levels in processed foods.

A federal task force has recently delivered a plan for Canadians to cut their intake of salt to one teaspoon a day, a change that could save thousands of lives every year and some major restaurants and food companies have already made commitments to sodium reduction. Campbells, which has already made changes to many of its products, also plans to cut sodium by 25% in 24 varieties of soup, on top of previous sodium cuts.

While Burger King, Boston Pizza and McDonald's have also announced lower sodium in some menu items, many products, such as McDonald's grilled chicken classic sandwich (reduced from 1010 mg. sodium to 810 mg., still one-third of the total daily recommended amount) are still considered  to be excessively high in sodium.

Now here's the interesting part:
Most of us already know to be moderate in our consumption of fast food, processed foods and salty snacks. But do you know what food is the Number 1 source of salt in our daily diet?


It's not that bread itself is so salty. What makes bread products the biggest culprit is the fact that people tend to eat so much of them and the sodium in these foods adds up over the day, accounting for more than twice as much sodium as snacks like potato chips and pretzels.

So BE AWARE! If we have toast for breakfast, a sandwich for lunch and more bread at dinner, we may be contributing to that salt overload without even realizing it.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Stream videos at Ustream In Decorah, Iowa eagles are incubating their first egg of 2012. There may be another egg today and possibly a third egg in another few days. In approximately 35 to 42 days there will be eaglets.
Tuesday am update: Second egg arrived last night. Mom looks exhausted!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Solar Tornado

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recently released the following video of a tornado on the surface of the sun. The stunning video shows the sun's plasma sliding and spinning around in the star's magnetic fields for 30 hours earlier this month.

Terry Kucera, a solar physicist with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, told Fox News that the tornado might be as large as the Earth itself and have gusts up to 300,000 miles per hour. By comparison, the strongest tornadoes on earth, F5 storms, clock wind speeds at a relatively paltry (though incredibly destructive) 300 mph.

The sun is an extremely active star, regularly spitting radiation and atomic particles into space. This space weather has direct impacts here on Earth, like forcing the rerouting of planes and lighting up the auroras.

(copied from NPR)

The Solar Dynamics Observatory, by the way, has a very interesting web site.

Best of Breed

at the 2012 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show 2012

GCH Winfall Brookwood Styled Dream

"Scarlett" was bred by Winfall Boxers in Canada and her sire is CH Brookwood's Place of Dreams (Vegas) of Brookwood Kennels. Scarlett has four co-owners. Isn't she lovely?


Friday, February 17, 2012


A tiny lizard has recently been discovered in Madegasacar. At only 29 millimeters long, it is barely bigger than a match head and only one of four species of lizards recently found in Madegascar

These newly found species, tiny and camouflaged, live in the underbrush of the forest and were found by biologists using headlamps and flashlights.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

New Yoga Room at San Francisco Airport

Everone knows how tiring and stressful air travel can be. This new Yoga Room at the San Francisco Airport will be welcomed by many who will appreciate the opportunity to get away in a quiet area for some stretching (especially good for that long trip across the ocean or the continent so as to avoid embolisms) and mental preparation for the journey ahead.

Of course, there are always those who think the airport should focus on getting us through in less time instead of devising more ways for us to spend our time while waiting around.

Would I rather wait in a crowded area with other bored people or do some beneficial stretching in
a yoga room? Yoga Room for me! I wonder if so many others will agree with me that it will be necessary to reserve a time there.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

2012 - A Banner Year

200th birthday of Charles Dickens
Dickens' biographer, Claire Tomalin, wonders what Dickens would make of the world on his 200th birthday in this letter to him published in The Guardian.

100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic
One way to memorialize this momentous historical event is to take an Anniversary Cruise. Of course you might have second thoughts about doing so after the recent Costa Concordia disaster.

100th Anniversary of Girl Scouts of America
Juliet Gordon Low gathered 18 girls together in Savannah, Georgia for that historical first meeting in 1912. Girl Guides of Canada had by then already been meeting for 3 years.

100th Anniversary of the Publication of Stephen Leacock's Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town
Leacock's lens focused onto the quirkiness of our humanity. His self-deprecating humour showed us how we can laugh at ourselves, without taking ourselves too seriously and, as a result, set the standard for what is now typical Canadian humour.

Any other Major Anniversaries in 2012 that you know of?

Next day update:

100th Anniversary of the Opening of The Chateau Laurier in Ottawa
Building of the hotel cost $2 million back then and guest rooms were $2. In the intervening years the hotel has seen many famous guests. It remains fabulous, inside and out.

50th Anniversary of the United Church Women
Canada-wide network of women working together to promote truth, justice, peace, caring and sharing with respect for all in the community and wider world.

Queen's Diamond Jubilee
60 Years on the Throne in the UK. More info here.

Feb. 25 Update:

War of 1812
200th Anniversary

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Marshmallow Cannon

We've been thinking about marshmallows recently and how they are made with gelatin, a by-product of the beef industry. Marshmallows are not a choice that a vegan would knowingly make but they are so convenient and so yummy.

Last week at the White House, an eighth-grader from Arizona showed off his air cannon built for a science fair. The ammunition? A marshmallow! His helper? President Obama. The result? Some fun and a few laughs.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Unusual Bridge

This ingenious bridge was built in the Netherlands to allow people to cross the moat at a historical Dutch Fort. More information here.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Losing Our Way?

In a previous post we looked at the possibility that our brains are shriveling as a result of so much screen reading. We are not allowing ourselves as much time as our fore-fathers and -mothers did to dive deeply into books, ideas and thoughts. Our human psyches prefer instant gratification.

Another possible instance of our brains deteriorating is our dependence on GPS systems when we travel. We used to pore over maps and memorize streets and landmarks in order to find our way. Now we are letting a device do that job for us. As a result, our brains are undergoing changes which cause spatial memory to decline. The way to bring it back? Turf the GPS and look at a map.

See this article in the New York Times for more information.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Is Information Sacred?

A group, labeling its members Kopimists, has claimed religious status in Sweden. Followers believe that file sharing is holy and information, sacred. Among its sacred rituals are the keyboard shortcuts for "copy" (Ctrl -C) and "paste" (Ctrl-V)

While some of us may view this new religion as a joke, its believers are quite serious. A Swedish philosophy student, 20-yr. old Isak Gerson, has been appointed to the religion's highest office, Spiritual Leader and official rites, such as marriage, could follow.

Kopimists also exist in North America, where they meet in offices or on-line for worship. Worship involves an exchange of information and privacy is key. This article in the Toronto Star on Feb. 5 suggests that Kopimism may be a cover-up for on-line piracy.

Agni Ortez, a 49-y.r old British Columbia businessman and Kopimist Spiritual Leader for the Americas insists that Kopimism is more than just a philosophy, since members are very heartfelt about it, but David Reed, a Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto and a researcher into new religious movements, states that Kopimism would not fit the definition of religion since there is no spiritual deity involved. Information, while powerful, is still created by humans.

Who, I would ask, created gods?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Rabbit Herding Sheep

This is one energetic bunny in Sweden. Apparently Champis, the grey rabbit, picked up her skill from  the farm's sheep dogs.