We need clarity to conquer COVID-19

The mere act of informing the public and mandating certain actions seems to still bedevil politicians and public-policy practitioners

We need clarity to conquer COVID-19By Derek Ng, Deborah Prabhu and Allan Bonner Contributors “Pandemics are a magnifying glass that sheds light on social conditions,” says May-Brith Ohman Nielsen, professor of history at the University of Agder in Norway. Pandemics lay bare the failures of a country’s organization and capacity that went unnoticed during uneventful times. Conflicting policies, staff vacancies,…

Communication mistakes undermine the credibility of scientists

Communication mistakes undermine the credibility of scientists at a time when trust is necessary to effectively combat the pandemic

Communication mistakes undermine the credibility of scientistsBy Derek Ng, Deborah Prabhu and Allan Bonner Contributors Crises make for strange bedfellows. It took the COVID-19 pandemic to forge a bond between journalists and epidemiologists. These two occupations have little in common. Journalist detest jargon and are admonished by editors for wordy prose. Epidemiologists publish in medical and scientific journals using the jargon…

Memo to Joe Biden on how to win U.S. election

You have to run as if you’re fighting for your life. You need a resounding victory to garner public support and confidence

Memo to Joe Biden on how to win U.S. electionM E M O R A N D U M To: U.S. President Joe Biden (if you take my advice) From: Allan Bonner Re: Your strategy Your recent media interviews and commentary about you is the catalyst for this memo. What follows are principles and advice you must recognize and adhere to in order to…

The economic case for tearing down dams

Spending lots of money on hydroelectric projects in the hopes we’ll need the power in the future is a mug’s game, even for big projects

The economic case for tearing down damsLocal journalists are always looking for ways to blow a hometown story into something that might interest the networks, big city dailies or syndication services. For me, it was trying to feed stories to the Canadian Press wire service in Halifax while working in local radio and TV in Fredericton and Saint John. They paid…

Get science out of the lab and onto the street to save lives

We know good safety practices from our grandmother – but are we courageous and persistent enough to follow them?

Get science out of the lab and onto the street to save livesBy Derek Ng, Deborah Prabhu and Allan Bonner Contributors It seems as if everyone is an epidemiologist these days. So it’s worth considering epidemiology’s history and the role it should be playing in public policy, preventing disease and promoting health. When U.S. President Donald Trump and reporters get into arguments about infections, testing and death…

History’s industrial strategy haunts us today

First came 50 years of progress. Then came 50 years of dead fish, stagnant water, methylmercury poisoning, silt buildup and dams collapsing

History’s industrial strategy haunts us todayWhat goes around comes around, they say. The oblique turn of a phrase may apply to the news that a 100-year-old dam will be demolished in Fredericton, N.B. Things fall down and are torn down all the time, so why would this story be of interest? I was a reporter in New Brunswick when the…

Fake news? Every era had its perpetrators

Early newspapers were often more interested in expressing the opinions of the owners than the facts

Fake news? Every era had its perpetratorsFake news is a popular term these days. It’s hard to imagine why. Much more inflammatory and even manufactured ‘news’ has been with us all through history. Pamphleteers of the French and American revolutions may be the most famous. Among the best was Thomas Paine. But the average person with an axe to grind and…

Dam dynamics often fail fish

It seems strange how little we know about fish, their habits and whether the help we’re trying to give them is actually helpful

Dam dynamics often fail fishMany of us who received our education on fish migration via TV nature programs have missed a few important things. All I remember is that salmon can leap several feet in the air over cascades to get upstream to spawn. Somewhere in these documentaries I recall an industrialist taking full credit for installing a fishway…

Is dam removal the wave of the future?

Research suggests it makes more ecological and economic sense to dismantle dams than to restore or maintain them

Is dam removal the wave of the future?Urban studies researcher Richard Florida has made a reputation with a lot of interesting ideas, many of which are controversial. One of his ideas is that people like to live near water, and that leads to prosperity in cities located on rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. My perspective on this theory is that settlers to…

Pierre would not be pleased with Justin’s folly

Judging by the amount of money at stake, and cabinet and family involvement, this may be the largest scandal in Canadian history

Pierre would not be pleased with Justin’s follyYou learn a lot about people’s ethics when money is involved. Even really rich people can take the wrong route for money. The current Trudeau family scandal may be a litmus test. Mother, brother and wife received fees from a charity that received federal government funds. This may be how Justin Trudeau will be remembered,…