The Tragically Hip are the most Canadian rock band. They have a new album coming out next month. They're going on tour. And today they announced lead singer Gord Downie has terminal brain cancer.
"Life is so difficult," reads one reply. "It breaks us down, challenges us, pushes us to the very depths of desperation and darkness. These are the times when we need each other the most." Via. [more inside]
What will your last ten years look like? A powerful PSA that will get you off your couch. Another health-related PSA that will make you cry.
There is no minimum safe exposure level for any form of asbestos fibres, according to the World Health Organization.
More Australians have died from asbestos poisoning than died during the First World War so the Australian Government has just announced the creation of the Office of Asbestos Safety following the receipt of the Asbestos Management Review (pdf). Its aim to to complete the removal of all asbestos from Australian buildings by 2030. Asbestos is a global issue, and while Australia is keen to eliminate its use Canada is still mining and exporting the toxic substance which keeps turning up everywhere. [more inside]
A series of emails released through a Freedom of Information Act request shine light on collusion between the United States government and TransCanada, a corporation building a controversial pipeline from the Canadian Athabasca oil sands into its southern neighbor. The controversy extends beyond the currently poor safety record for delivering oil between the two countries, and beyond the environmental and health consequences of the oil extraction process for locals and the cost of climate changes it will contribute to, all the way to legal wrangling between Canadian media and Saudi Arabia over the "death panels"-like term "ethical oil", based upon a conservative group's advertising that argues that the purchase of Canadian-sourced oil is a morally superior act, because of oppression of women and human rights violations by the Saudi kingdom.
"Dr. Evangelos Michelakis, a professor at the U of A Department of Medicine, has shown that dichloroacetate (DCA) causes regression in several cancers, including lung, breast, and brain tumors. " Between rumors that pharmaceutical companies have no interest in this discovery because it can't be patented and quacks jumping on the bandwagon to sell home made DCA to hopeful cancer patients for self medication, things are not exactly going the way Dr. Michelakis would have probably hoped.
An important breast cancer test is now unavailable in British Columbia because of the American company which holds the relevant patent. The B.C. Cancer Agency has been forced to stop the tests after legal threats by Utah-based Myriad Genetics Inc., which has a patent on two genes that can signal whether a woman may develop hereditary breast cancer. I think this is a perfect example of why patenting genes is a terrible idea. Via Slashdot.
Mordecai Richler dead at 70. Noted Canadian man of letters, political commentator, frequent imbiber and author of "The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz," "Solomon Gursky Was Here," "Oh, Canada! Oh, Quebec!," and "Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang." He was undergoing cancer treatment.