Sailing ever northward in search of wildlife, culture and history

Venturing to rarely-visited sites along the Newfoundland and Labrador coast on the way north

Sailing ever northward in search of wildlife, culture and historyI get to travel to some great places as an expedition guide. A few months ago (pre-COVID-19), I travelled to parts of Canada I had never seen before and filled in gaps on my lifelong adventures in Canada’s remotest reaches. I thought I’d share some insights about Canada’s northern regions as we celebrate Canada’s 150-plus…

Crickets, grasshoppers, songs and heatwaves

Grasshoppers existed long before dinosaurs. And crickets are eaten, reviled and revered around the world

Crickets, grasshoppers, songs and heatwavesFolklore widely claims that you can tell the temperature simply by listening to how fast crickets ‘sing.’ Is that really true? Read on and I’ll share the truth by the end of this column. But first, let’s learn something about these little guys and their buddies. Crickets are related to grasshoppers and resemble them a…

Ebola outbreak provides public health lessons for COVID-19

Mistrust, fear and rumours helped the virus spread in 2018, but training trusted local leaders helped stop it, U of A researchers find

Ebola outbreak provides public health lessons for COVID-19Multiple factors led people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to resist public health messages during the 2018 outbreak of Ebola virus. University of Alberta researchers fear the situation could be repeated with COVID-19 unless lessons are learned from the earlier epidemic. “Mistrust, fear and rumours were complete obstacles to the efforts of the…

The legend of Davy Crockett

Disney’s 1950s version of the life of King of the Wild Frontier was, well, mostly historically correct

The legend of Davy CrockettIf you were a child in the 1950s, the chances are that Davy Crockett was briefly a part of your life. On December 15, 1954, the ABC television network broadcast the first episode of a new Disney mini-series loosely based on his exploits, two more episodes followed in January and February 1955, and a concluding…

Oklahoma’s reality even weirder, more traumatic than Tiger King

Oklahoma has a long, sordid history of scoundrels who have found its red dirt fertile for all manner of dubious schemes

Oklahoma’s reality even weirder, more traumatic than Tiger KingThe small town of Wynnewood, Okla., might seem like an unlikely setting for a magical realist tale involving tigers, polygamy and blood feuds. But the bizarre reality of Oklahoma has never matched up to its homogeneous image in popular culture. You could be forgiven if the state conjures up images of the musical Oklahoma! and…

A place of reconciliation and pride

The process can include something as simple as discovering and using the ancient name for where you live

A place of reconciliation and prideAs we continue to hunker down in our Sunshine Coast house to avoid COVID-19, and come to emotional grips with the pandemic, it’s wonderful to have good news. We got some today. I just saw a new road sign go up in what has been called Saltery Bay since the early 1900s. Fair enough, you…

Calling Elvis: When the King came home from the army

Calling Elvis: When the King came home from the armyElvis Presley was no more immune to the draft than other young American men of his era. Having reached eligible age, he was medically examined, declared physically fit and duly called up. Apart from his training period, his entire two-year army stint was spent in what was then West Germany. And the lead up to…

Is happiness the point of human life?

Rather than asking if you are a happy, ask whether you are good

Is happiness the point of human life?It was 2,400 years ago that Aristotle identified happiness as the goal all people seek – the end of all “why” questions. But is happiness really the point of human life? I ask this question because when we look at history (or even the news today), it is apparent that there are a lot of…

Wet’suwet’en protests throw us all into chaos

While the project is a win for the province, the country, the environment and B.C.’s First Nations, these hereditary chiefs don’t see it that way

Wet’suwet’en protests throw us all into chaosSupport continues for the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation blocking authorized construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia. In spite of court injunctions and government pronouncements telling them to desist, they seem prepared for a long and protracted struggle, “having no intention of allowing Wet’suwet’en sovereignty to be violated.” This…

Bending pipe to fit the Dene culture

Selecting a pipeline route through Aboriginal title lands requires care, consultation and attention to detail

Bending pipe to fit the Dene cultureI remember waking up in the small log cabin I had been given as lodgings on my first trip to Fort Good Hope to explain the route selection process of the Polar Gas Pipeline. There was a small stove close to my bed, and a stack of dry wood and kindling for heat. Outside it…
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