From textbook

ANIMAL RESEARCH: THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE ALTERNATIVES

Animal research is a very controversial topic that has been generating heated arguments and debates all around the world over the past few decades. Recently, there appears to be an overwhelming growth in animal right groups all over the world. Most of these groups don’t just support animal welfare, but they demand a ban on any kind of use of animals in research. At the same time, more and more pro-testing groups that support the humane use of animals in research have been forming – these proponents argue and recognize the essential role that animal research has played in medical…

DISCOVERING THE WORLD BENEATH OUR FEET: THE SOIL MICROBIAL ECOLOGIST’S TOOLBOX IN THE AGE OF THE METAGENOME

It is seven in the morning and your alarm is chirping away, or maybe it’s the morning sun, or the screech of a parent pressed for time. Regardless of the method from which you awake from your slumber, you crawl out of bed and feel that familiar morning growl emanating from your hungry gut. Some might grab a snack and quickly rush out the door, others might ruminate over an elaborate breakfast, and some are content with a simple bowl of oatmeal. This often first and necessary act of the day is repeated by billions of humans around the globe…

SEEING GRAVITY AND THE (INVISIBLE) UNIVERSE

The prediction of gravitational waves, which are the ripples of space and time, is a major theory that many scientists are working hard to confirm. Emmanuel Fonseca talks about how the detection of these waves would uncover previously invisible objects such as black holes and cosmic strings, and may have further important implications. Emmanuel, a 2nd year PhD student in Physics and Astronomy, gives an informative introduction to gravity, gravitational waves, and what research into this concept could mean for the world. In his talk he also speaks to the importance of communicating scientific research and science education.

ON PIPELINES, OIL, AND RISK: AN FAQ

Note that this was written in April 2013, with an emphasis on the activities around the Northern Gateway pipeline. In late December 2013, the joint review panel recommended that the Federal government approve the pipeline, “with conditions.” See this link for more information. THE GLOBAL Q: What is a pipeline? A pipeline is a means of transporting products from one point to another via a piping system. Oil pipelines run crude oil and petroleum products from the oil source to the communities that require the gas, or to an alternate point from which the oil can be shipped or transported…

JUST ANOTHER DAY AT THE LAKE

Think of the last time you went swimming. It is summertime at the lake; the little fishes are nibbling your toes and your brother is leisurely floating next to you. The cool, fresh water, having descended from the untouched purity of the frozen Canadian mountain peaks, is your oasis from the summer heat. You are playfully splashing in the shallows, and maybe your brother challenges you to a game every kid knows, and every fretful parent fears: the who-can-hold-their-breath-the-longest. Ready? You both count down together; three, two, one, you take a deeeeep breath, and under you go. You decide to…

Oil Tanker Spills: An FAQ

GLOBAL SIGNIFICANCE OF THE ISSUE What are oil tankers? Oil tankers are ocean vessels that transport petroleum oil (10). Petroleum is a liquid mixture composed of hydrocarbons and is mainly used to produce gasoline (10). Tankers can transport crude oil from oil extraction sites, such as tar sands, to refineries (11). Alternatively, they can transport refined oil from refineries to consumers (11). How do oil tanker spills happen? Oil spills from tankers in the ocean occur mainly from loading and discharging oil, equipment and hull failures, collisions, fires, or explosions (12). Since the 1970’s, there have been significant improvements in…

PIECE OF MINE: A CONFLICT MINERALS FAQ

What are conflict minerals? Conflict minerals are natural resources whose illegal exploitation and trade in a context of war make millions in revenue for armed groups who in turn use these funds to purchase weapons that fuel violence and perpetuate human rights abuses. The UN General Assembly first officially discussed the concept in relation to “blood diamonds,” the first conflict mineral to gain notoriety [ii]. Between 1992 and 1998, the main rebel group in diamond-rich Angola, UNITA, is said to have profited up to $4 billion USD from diamonds [iii]. – – – What are the most common conflict minerals…