Monday, 10 February 2020


     In today’s troubled and dangerous world we need to pause to appreciate and support widespread world co-operation. How gratifying to see so many research groups freely sharing their findings, implying humanity is one. Far too many for one blog, so let us start with Canada’s 37,610,646 people - 0.48% of the world total.
     Back in 1972 Canada and Russia faced off in the world’s hockey summit. Vladislav Tretyak, the famed Russian goalie who propelled his team to one goal shy of a tie and is now a member of the Duma, and is co-chair of the Canada-Russia Parliamentary Friendship Group. His partnerships in Canada and the USA are many and valuable.
      The largest Canadian science outlet, The Canadian Science Publishing, produces annually some 2,300 research articles in 24 journals distributed to 125 countries.
     In 2013 a study ranked Canada 4th after the USA, UK. and Germany in science research but a laggard in exploiting its achievements. Since 2016 the Canadian government has invested $10 billion in assisting science research, yet in 2018 it slipped to 7th place mainly by being outspent. The rise in university science students from the USA and Europe due to the anti-science stance of the Trump administration and Bexit will take years to make an impact. But, progress is well underway, yet still inadequate to defeat climate change:
Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics: We do need to take notice and admire the amazing leap from embryo to a science research powerhouse in 20 years. Perimeter Institute (PI) was founded in 1999 in Waterloo, Ontario, with a $100 million grant by Mike Lazaridis, founder of Research in Motion that made the Blackberry wireless handheld devices. In 2005 the province of Ontario’s Ministry of Research and Innovation initiated a $50 million commitment, then in 2008 Lazaridis added $50 million.
PI’s mission is to do pure physics research with few restraints in buildings designed by physicists for physicists. Research areas include: Condensed Matter, Cosmology, Mathematical Physics, Particle Physics, Quantum Fields, Strings, Quantum Foundations, Quantum Gravity, Quantum Information, and Strong Gravity.
Directors: The first director, Howard Burton, 1999-2007, initiated a popular monthly public lecture series, an international summer school, a teachers’ workshop, and numerous student and teacher seminars. After leaving PI he created Ideas Roadshow.
     To replace him, Lazaridis lured a high profile Cambridge professor, Neil Turok, director of their Centre for Theoretical Cosmology. In 2003 he founded The African Institute for Mathematical Sciences that has spread from South Africa to Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana, Tanzania, and Rwanda.
Stephan Hawking and Turok were friends who worked together. Excited at the promise of PI, Hawking endorsed Turok’s move. He visited PI twice, was joyfully involved, and gave his name to a new building, The Stephen Hawking Centre. Hawking and Turok believed that the universe cries out for simple, principled explanations and that PI was the ideal setting to pursue answers.
Turok led PI to become a research powerhouse in physics with over 150 resident researchers and 1,000 visiting scholars. In June 2018 he was appointed to The Order of Canada. He resigned the directorship in February 2018 to concentrate on research at PI.
     A worldwide search for a successor chose Robert Myers, a Canadian already a PI researcher who was world renowned for his work on Black Holes, String Theory, and Quantum Entanglements. Myers argues it is vitally important that we do daring research into uncharted places., such as:
The PI Quantum Intelligence Lab (PIQuIL) (pronounced pickle) integrates academic and industry research while focusing on pure science. They use Artificial Intelligence to help design the next generation of quantum materials and computers.
Canadian Hydrogen Intensity Mapping Experiment (CHIME) In 2007 astronomers found a faint pulse from a distant galaxy that emitted more energy in milliseconds as our Sun does in 80 years. The hunt for more Fast Radio Bursts (FRB) detected 25 in 10 years. The new Chime, located in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia with some 50 scientists from PI, the Universities of British Columbia, Toronto, and McGill, and the National Research Council became involved in 2017. Chime has 4 fixed half cylinder wide-angle telescopes that sweep the skies as the earth turns. They collect daily a million gigabytes of data, far too much to save to disk. Researcher Kevin Smith’s team developed algorithms that ran a hundred times faster than believed possible. The FRB search went from a crawl to a gallop that made the cover of Nature in 2019 with 13 FRB discoveries followed by another larger batch including 8 repeaters,
TRIUMF, a joint venture of 7 universities, is Canada’s national lab for nuclear and particle physics and related sciences. It is located on the campus of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. Founded in 1968, it attained the world’s largest cyclotron in 1976 and included nuclear medical research. It has a staff of 500 with 1,000 annual international researchers.
Women: PI continues to advance the participation of women in advanced science. It invites annually some 30 women holding masters degrees to attend a month-long course exploring PI opportunities and offering supervised PhD courses. In March it hosts 200 high school girls to describe careers in science. It explains the difficulties and rewards, emphasizing that failures can be expected but are tools for learning and successes. In fact one of the women advising these students was a straight A student when she ventured into science, believing herself a failure when her efforts earned only Ds. Persevering, she is now a top scientist.
The International Summer School for Young Physicists (ISSYP) started in 2003 with 20 Canadian students, later adding 20 international ones. Field trips have included SNOLAB in Sudbury, Ontario.
The Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, 2 km down in an arm of the working Creighton nickle mine is the world’s deepest science research lab. It’s staff of over 100 concentrates on neutrino and dark matter research. It is a 10-hour day for 8 hours of science research. First the ultra clean room must be checked for air quality, then workers take a 5-minute elevator ride down to the arm, to walk 1.5 km to the room, scrubbing mine dust from their clothing before showering and dressing in clean coveralls before entering the work room.
     A new $30 million dark matter research facility is planned in the next 2 years and a $150 million one in 4 years with the United States collaborating.
Marine Research: With long coastlines bordering the Atlantic, Arctic, and Pacific oceans, Canada provides data on a wide variety of oceanography research topics. In 2007 The University of Victoria initiated Ocean Networks Canada that runs the NEPTUNE and VENUS undersea projects as well as smaller offshore observatories at Cambridge Bay, Campbell River, Kitamaat, and Digby Island. NEPTUNE (Northeast Pacific Undersea Networked Experiment), based in Barkley Sound on the west coast of Vancouver Island, covers the small 250,000 sqkm Juan de Fuca tectonic plate that is plunging under the huge North Atlantic plate at 3 inches a year. VENUS (Victoria Experimental Network Undersea) is based at 3 locations along the Salish Sea (SW BC and NW Washington State). Over 850 km of seafloor cables send over 200 gigabytes of data daily from over 2,000 sensors. This is freely available to researchers.
The Institute of Ocean Services, Sydney, BC, is one of nine major research centres operated by Oceans and Fisheries Canada.
14 Canadian Arctic Research Stations (showing the startup year):
     Canadian High Arctic Research Station (CHARS): Designed and built with Inuit participation has a modern 4,800 sqmetre main building in Cambridge Bay, Victoria Island, 2019. Churchill Northern Studies, Churchill, Manitoba, 1976, Atmosphere Watch Observatory, Alert, NE Ellesemere Island. 1986, Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station, Devon Island, Nunavut, 2001, Igloolik Research Centre, Igloolik, Nunavut, 1975, Iqualuit Research Centre, Iqaluit, 1978, Kluane Lake Research, Kluane Lake, Yukon, 1961, McGill Arctic Research Station, Axel Heiberg Island, Nunavut, 1960, Polar Environment Atmospheric Research Laboratory (PEARL), Eureka, Nunavut, 1993, Resolute Nunavut Station, Resolute, Nunavut, 1947, Tundra Ecosystem Research Station, (TERS). Darling Lake, NWT, 1994, Ward Hunt Island Observatory Research, Ward Island, Nunavut, 1957, Western Arctic Research Centre, Inuvik, NWT, 1964, Whapmagoostui, Quebec, 1971,
And also a disgrace:
     Mould Bay, Prince Patrick Island, weather station in 1948 was one of a network of high Arctic weather stations built by Canada and the United States. The US ended its participation in 1972. It was abandoned in 1997 and the decision to close it came in 2002. $8 million was allocated to a clean up that met delays. By 2008 most of the clean-up money was missing. In 2017 the 2-storey building was assessed unrepairable.
But, then, we have Alert on the NE coast of Ellesmere Island:
     The world’s most northern inhabited community, closer to Moscow than Ottawa by 80 miles or 150 km. First settled in April 1950 as a weather station, the RCAF moved in to build a wireless station in 1957 to enjoy Russian broadcasts. In 1958 control was transferred to the Army. With the addition of RCN the name became in 1968 Canadian Forces Station Alert. After the 11 Sep 2001 attacks funding was increased and the RCAF resumed command. In 2008 maintenance was given to private contractors.
     The first woman arrived in 1980, the first female commanding officer was Major Cowan in 1996, the first female station warrant officer in 2017.
    The peak population was about 250. The 2016 census reported 62. Automation and budget cuts reduced human residents.
Universities: Worldwide, universities are great at sharing students, faculty, and data.
Canadian Universities: Of the world’s 1,250 research universities, Canada has 96 with 1.8 million students. Four rank in the top 100 and 9 in the top 300. Among the 36 nations of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Canada ranks first in the percentage of people holding university degrees. Canada actively encourages worldwide university students, both to study in Canada and to stay after graduation. In 2018, 10,950 did stay The Federal government has contributed $148 million over 5 years to help fund recruitment that provides 170,000 jobs. In 2018 there were 572,415 (8%) of the student total. 2019 welcomed 700,000.
     About 84% of foreign students select universities in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec while other provinces have earned strong adherents. For instance: In 2017 Dalhousie in Halifax, Nova Scotia had 3,000 from 115 countries, Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland with 4 satellite campuses ranks first in Canada for student satisfaction, attracting in 2019 3,200 students from over 90 countries who account for one third of its graduates.
Climate Change and Energy:
     Canada is blessed with reliable and diverse sources of energy: oil, natural gas, hydroelectricity, coal, nuclear (uranium), solar, wind, tidal and biomass. Canada is the world’s 5th largest energy producer and the 8th largest consumer. Frictions are present as areas like Alberta and Newfoundland who rely on fossil fuel profits have to contend with regulations imposed by environmentalists eager to speed climate remedies. Both sides are using science to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
     The Bank of Canada has inaugurated long-term studies on how to meet economic and environmental goals and stay within the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of limiting climate increases to the 1.5 - 2.0 Celsius range. World temperature has already increased 1 degree caused by greenhouse gases released mainly by the industrialized world with great harm to the non-industrial world.
     Canada has committed $2.65 billion for 2020-21 to help poorer nations fight it and has combined this with enhancing the role of women in agriculture, in reforestation, in designing and making cooking utensils that reduce greenhouse emissions, and in business ventures.
     Canada has benefited in that its growing season has increased 2 weeks and moved 80 miles north in 50 years, permitting agriculture to increase, but costs have so far outweighed benefits. For instance fossil fuels that were trucked in over ice roads over frozen permafrost to remote locations have to be flown in at great expense. Devastating fires, floods, soil erosion, refugee increases are all due to melting permafrost with its huge methane release. Land use must adapt quickly.
Wind Farms: Some 300 wind farms provide 6% of Canada’s energy. The first one was built in Alberta in 1993. Now every province has them. Only Nunavut and Northwest Territories do not. They require batteries to store power, kill over 300,000 birds annually, are noisy and to many unsightly. So, research is ongoing.
The Struggle:
     Life on this planet has always been a mix of heaven, hell, and purgatory with much of the latter two of our own making, mainly from those who worship the God of Greed. This time survival for all dictates co-operation. Make it so!

                                                                           Ye Olde Scribe, George

Saturday, 11 January 2020



Impeachment, Iran, and Aftermaths  

  Billions of us, led by concerned youth groups, continue to scream that time is running out to join the climate change and other actions vital to the survival of our life style, our species, and our unique and only world. Many of those who created the problems resist, are ignorant of, continue to worship the God of Greed, or kick remedies into the future that could easily fail us all. Too many have given up, ignore politics, and live only to enhance their few remaining days.
    A seemingly impossible hurdle is to uncover, understand, and eliminate the forces that are thought to control us that include: New Masons, Illuminati, Rothchilds, the banking system, highly profitable businesses, the Military-Industrial complex, and self-serving politicians.
    One of the politicians failing us commands a large impact. We do need to control Donald Trump and the millions who tolerate what others consider his selfishness. Recently his actions have run afoul of the US Constitution so opponents have succeeded in voting for impeachment using violations that can be effective even if not as serious as others he owns.
    By a vote of 230 to 197 the government of the USA impeached its president, 20 December 2019. Support for impeachment breaks sharply among party lines. Among Democrats, 85% approve of the House of Representative’s action, and only 12% disapprove. Approval among Republicans is only 16%, compared with 81% who disapprove. Among independents, 48% approve of the House passing articles of impeachment and 41% disapprove.
    After the House vote the impeachment fight will move — eventually — to the GOP-controlled Senate, where Republicans are confident they can stop the charges in their tracks. Public opinion on whether to actually remove Trump from office is 52% for and 42% against.
    The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, conducted Dec. 19-20, is the first national survey to measure public opinion on the impeachment vote. Prior to the vote, POLITICO/Morning Consult polls showed slightly greater support for impeaching Trump than other public polls.
    In December 2019 Trump paid $2 million divided among 8 charities to settle a New York State fine for misusing funds donated to his Donald J. Trump Foundation. He is accused of using Foundation funds to:
    Buy a 6-foot portrait of himself for $20,000, to funnel millions into his 2016 election campaign, to pay $250,000 to settle lawsuits against his for-profit businesses, and even to pay $7 for Donald junior’s Boy Scout dues.
    Trump followers shrugged all this off.
   Now we have a truly great Trump diversion! But is it not also a great setback for the USA and the world? Ignoring Congress and saner heads, Trump, on 03 January 2020, became a terrorist by ordering a drone strike on a motorcade near Bagdad airport that killed ten people including Iranian Major-General Qassem Soleimani, 62, head of the elite Quds Force and the spearhead of Iran's spreading military influence in the Middle East. Also killed were Abu Mahdi al-Muhhandis, Iraq’s deputy commander of it’s Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF or PMU), a lifelong friend of Iran and critic of the USA, four senior Iranian officers, and four Iraqi officers.
    The U.S. strike followed a sharp increase in U.S.-Iranian hostilities in Iraq when pro-Iranian militia attacked the U.S. embassy after a deadly U.S. air raid on the Kataib Hezbollah militia, founded by Muhandis. that killed 25. They were demanding that US troops and diplomats leave Iraq.
    Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Soleimani’s death would intensify Tehran’s resistance to the USA and Israel. Abuhamzeh, the Revolutionary Guards commander in Kerman province, mentioned a series of possible targets for reprisals including the Gulf waterway through which about a third of the world’s shipborne oil is exported to global markets. The Strait of Hormuz is a vital point for the West and a large number of American destroyers and warships cross there.
    Bill Bonner, chairman of Bonner & Partners, commented: “At the beginning of the 21st century America looked divine. Then, when George W. Bush launched his War on Terror in 2001, three thousand generations of dead humans must have all laughed at once.
    There was America – so rich, so sophisticated… making a damned fool of herself. The gods must have laughed too… and no one louder than Ares himself, the god of war.
    This was the kind of endless, expensive, and unwinnable wars that Ares knew well. It was the kind of war that was easy to get into… and hard to get out of. It was the kind of war that corrupted the military… and the government that supported it. It was the kind of war that could only be lost.
    And there she was, the USA stooping for the bait like every empire before it.”
    Selecting Ares is a good choice for today’s world. He is one of 12 Olympians, son of Zeus and Hera, well known as the lover of Aphrodite, goddess of love who was married to Hephaestus, god of craftsmanship.
    Diego Garcia, the largest of 60 small islands in the Chagos Archipelago, just south of the equator in the Indian Ocean, is yet another example of man’s disregard of the rights of weaker associations. Discovered and named “Thank God” by the Portuguese, then settled by the French in the 1790s it was taken by the British on winning the Napoleonic wars in 1815. From 1968 to 1973 the settlers were forcibly evacuated to lease land to the USA to build a joint US-UK military base. Ignoring a 2019 UN demand to remove colonial status and return the area to Mauritius, the US and UK announced intentions to retain the current agreement until at least 2036. On 6 Jan 2020 Trump ordered B-52 bombers to be stationed there, out of reach of Iranian missiles.
    Our world desperately needs this insanity to cease. We have done far more harm to Iran than it has done to us. I outlined this in Blog 132 of 04 August 2015 that also refers back to 3 earlier blogs (033,068, 073, June 2010, Feb 2012, April 2012). In 1935 Persia had the world change its name to Iran, the old Persian name for a country that can, for the most part, be proud of its history. It borders 15 countries and has no strategic depth so living in peace is vital.
   In September 1980 Iraq under Saddam Hussein bombed 10 Iranian airfields then invaded with 6 divisions on a 400-mile (644 km) front, capturing 15,000 square km by December. This led to 8 years of war and 500,000 casualties. Saddam’s goal was to thwart Iran’s Ruhollah Khomeini from exporting his islamic Shi’ite revolution to Iraq. Annexing oil-rich Khuzestan would overthrow Khomeini and enhance Saddam’s standing among Arabs. However, the majority of Iranian Arabs chose to fight alongside Iranian forces.
     The People’s Mujahedin of Iran sided with Iraq while the Iraqi KDP and PUK Kurdish militias sided with Iran. The USA, UK, USSR, France, and most Arab countries helped Iraq. Iraq used chemical weapons of mass destruction which Iran refused to do.
     The war had WWI features: trench warfare, barbed wire, and mass bayonet attacks. Iran enhanced the cult of the martyr. The war cost 500,000 casualties. It ended with a UN brokered cease fire in 1988. There were no reparations or border changes.
    Iran has endured the world’s most crippling sanctions, Harm to Iran goes back to WW1 and Churchill’s conversion of the Royal Navy from coal to oil followed by the development of Persian oil fields by UK and US companies who allowed Persia only a pittance of the profits thus creating a long series of political and economic upheavals.
     Iran has good reason to feel resentful and united in a desire to retaliate. It has now fired 22 missiles at two Iraqi bases housing US personnel thus violating Iraqi sovereignty as did the US strike. All missiles reached their targets in spite of US shields thus warning us of Iran’s ability to do great harm.
     Iran did warn of the attack so only concussion casualties needed medical help. This implies that Iran carefully and humanely chose targets so deserves high praise not sanctions. Yet it did make a terrible error, mistaking a Ukrainian Boeing passenger jet that had just taken off for a hostile drone, firing two missiles at it killing all 176 aboard including 57 Canadians, 11 Ukrainians, 7 Afghans, 10 Swedes, and 3 Britons. The Canadian-Iranian dead were all Iranians graduates or students of Canadian universities who had spent Christmas break in Iran.
     Trump has quickly increased the crippling sanctions, another huge mistake that will only divert Iranian groups that have been agitating for human rights denied by the current regime into neglecting their movements in order to embrace  national pride.
     It has been puzzling to see large Iranian protesting groups exhibiting solid and passionate anti-USA
fervour on the murder of Major-General Qassem Soleimani, then changing to criticizing their own government, calling for resignations, over shooting down the commercial jet.
     In a very troubled and dangerous world, we are fortunate in having millions, if not billions, of humans dedicated to salvation tactics but we still need strong leaders capable of unifying them and enforcing essential actions. It is essential that the United States, Israel, NATO, and EU realize they have the power to alleviate many of the woes that beset us. Many groups have already embarked on this unselfish crusade. Let us join, support, and unite them.
     We could benefit from a few victories for common sense and human empathy.

                                                                Ye Olde Scribe

Ye Olde Scribe

Surprisingly, there are no casualties. This implies that Iran carefully and humanely chose targets so deserves high praise not sanctions.
    Regretfully, the US acts as the bully on the block when it dictates with whom Iran may trade. Threatening sanctions on any country that dares to trade with Iran is an unacceptable and humiliating insult.
    Now, Iraq’s Shia leader, Moqtada al-Sadr, joins the chorus urging the US to depart and leave the Middle East to solve its own problems.
    In a very troubled and dangerous world, it is essential that the United States, Israel, NATO, and EU realize they have the power to alleviate many of the woes that beset us. Many groups have already embarked on this unselfish crusade. Let us join and support them.
   We now endure the terrible tragedy of an Iranian missile accidentally shooting down an Ukrainian Boeing killing all 176 aboard including 57 Canadians. Trump has quickly increased the crippling sanctions, another huge mistake that will only divert Iranian groups that have been agitating for human rights denied by the current regime into neglecting their movements in order to embrace national pride.
    We could benefit from a few victories for common sense and human empathy.
   What an amazing and pleasant surprise to see thousands of Iranians agitatiCustomizeng against their political leaders and calling for resignations over the shootdown of the Ukrainian jet.

             Ye Olde Scribe