Bits and Bites – Wednesday,June 17th, 2009

A good morning to everyone! Was that actually rain last night? I did hear and see some drops  on the car before heading to bed last night, but no sign this morning. Guess I’m back to watering later, but what the province really needs right now is a good soaking to help out the forest fire fighters who have been busting their humps fighting fires in the interior.

Speaking of putting out fires, Environment Minister Barry Penner will be stamping out fires of a different kind with the information revealed by a FOI request by the Western Wildernness Committee. The 1800 documents show repeated and blatant disregard for following  environmental regulations and guidelines set by the ministry in the construction of the  Upper Harrison Lake project. Among the infractions committed by Kiewit, a frequent government contractor –  Logging in old growth forests, poorly constructed roads leading to numerous landslides,damaged rivers and an illegal road. Nothing new here really, with this story, except more confirmation of what environmentalists have known for some time.  I blogged about the previous reportthat revealed Kiewit has a reputation for failing to comply with regulations, and these new documents confirm the worst. In among the heated pages? Documents that show a conservation officers concerns about Kiewits ” disturbing practices”, as well as the lack of ability  for environment ministry staff to enforce and monitor such projects. With such a dubious reputation for its construction practices, it makes me wonder why the government keeps awarding these guys other projects, and whether or not anyone is checking what goes on at other Kiewit sites.  You can read the PDF copies of those key documents HERE :  Upper_Harrison_FOI_CTV_Gwen1

An environmental concern of another kind has been flying under the media radar for some time, at least in Alberta. A comment left by Salvatore, a frequent commenter on this blog, sparked a little investigating into the problems  with wind turbine energy and bats in Alberta. Sure enough, even a cursory Google search provided numerous links to studies and investigationsthat in some cases, have been going on for years! From what I can see, it looks like this has become such a problem for local bat populations around wind turbines that many of the companies have funded multiple studies in an effort to solve the problem. The bats seem to be dying from two causes: one, they are hit by the blades of the turbine , and two- they are affected by the sudden drop in pressure in the area and suffer massive internal injuries that result in their lings filling up with blood. So who cares right? It’s just a little bat? Bats play an important role in the environment, eating up to their body weight in bugs everyday- think annoying flies and mosquito’s. You can often see them flying around at dusk as they gobble up every little bug they can find. All the same, wind energy is one of the cleanest sources of energy around, so it’s nice to see the companies taking a thing like this seriously and working towards finding a solution. ( Unlike those damn tar sands, or dubious IPP)

Would you buy a camera that could make you look better? Apparently Samsung is banking that you will, with its new digital camera the PL60.In their press release it states that the camera “”improves the way you look in pictures by automatically identifying imperfections and retouching them”. Hmmmm…. would that include a big nose? Ears that stick out? How about my crows-feet? Not likely, but the camera does have the ability to erase zits and brown spots, so at least your skin will look good. Somehow, I see this being a big seller for teenagers….

Where is journalism headed? How do traditional forms of media, such as radio and newspapers, compete with the vast amount of information available for free on the internet? These were some of the questions pondered at a recent summit of media leaders, but the truth is that there are no easy answers or solutions. At risk, some media outlets claim, is the very integrity of journalistic standards that independent on-line writers and bloggers cannot uphold.With no one to answer to, how can one be sure the information presented is accurate or even true? (  To this, I would ask how consumers can be sure they are getting all the information- period- from some media outlets known to ignore many important and news worthy items because of advertiser influence)   And making thing more difficult is the resistance by some of those same media outlets to embrace the new forms of social media that many consumers are very attracted to. This is how I see it. The world is constantly changing, evolving as technology becomes more refined. One has to change and evolve with it if one wants to survive. I think there is room for both, and a recent chat with Globe and Mail writer David Ebner in the comments section of that post, mirrors that sentiment.

What could be a better way to start your day than with a little bluesy soul? Check out this video, of Clarence Bekker and Grandpa Elliot dishing it out live and raw – and if it doesn’t give you goosebumps all over, well, I don’t know what will. Enjoy….because you gotta have hope that “A Change is Gonna Come”

2 Comments on “Bits and Bites – Wednesday,June 17th, 2009

  1. Thanks for the round-up. I’m anxiously awaiting the details of the river otter attack, by the way.

  2. Coming sometime today Daniel! I actually just spent the last hour uploading pics and drafting the story, only to have the baby crawl under my desk and turn off the computer….. when I logged back on, for some freaking reason WordPress did not have an autosave version. ( insert image of me banging my head on desk right now)

    The pics are amazing though. Check back.