From Our Own Borealis Blog

Blue Light: The New Environmental Pollution?

By Lené Gary, General Sciences Co-Editor With each flick of a switch or push of a button, we’re turning up the […]

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Tallying up fish habitat loss in Canada

By: Natalie Sopinka  Where you find a fish, you also find a fish’s habitat.  You can find rockfish among British Columbia’s kelp forests. You can find speckled lake trout cruising in the expansive Laurentian Great Lakes. You can find masses of spawning capelin along Newfoundland’s pebbled shorelines. You can find Arctic grayling in Yukon’s frigid rivers and Arctic cod in the Northwest Passages. If a fish’s habitat is destroyed, will you still find the fish? …

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Chronic Wasting Disease Project Update 3

Genome Alberta's Chronic wasting disease is lead by Debbie McKenzie and David Wishart at the University of Alberta but they are just the tip of a large team of researchers working on new ways to test for CWD in wildlife and in the environment. The fatal, brain destroying disease is found in deer, elk, and moose in North America and has the potential to kill as many as 2 million animals. Not all strains of…

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A new kind of problem

The PhD student and I are analyzing the data from his mapping of H. influenzae's uptake of genomic DNA. The data was generated by Illumina sequencing of genomic DNA samples before and after they had been taken up by competent cells.  Using a rec2 mutant as the competent cells lets us recover the DNA intact after uptake.He has done quite a bit of analysis of the resulting uptake ratios (ratio of 'recovered' coverage to 'input'…

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Toronto Harbour sampling: winter edition

Last summer, Waterkeeper collected 166 samples from the Toronto Harbour. We learned quite a bit about our harbour, including where some of the more polluted spots are and just how high the bacteria levels can get. You can see the full results of those samples here.The main thing we learned was the need to continue sampling. The summer program showed that we don’t have enough information to truly grasp the sewage situation in the harbour.…

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More precise SEG-Y?

The impending SEG-Y Revision 2 release allows the use of double-precision floating point numbers. This news might leave some people thinking: "What?".Integers and floatsIn most computing environments, there are various kinds of number. The main two are integers and floating point numbers. Let's take a quick look at integers, or ints, first.Integers can only represent round numbers: 0, 1, 2, 3, etc. They can have two main flavours: signed and unsigned, and various bit-depths, e.g.…

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Mimicking the architecture of materials like wood and bone

A March 3, 2017 news item on Nanowerk features a new 3D manufacturing technique for creating biolike materials, (Note: A link has been removed) Washington State University nanotechnology researchers have developed a unique, 3-D manufacturing method that for the first time rapidly creates and precisely controls a material’s architecture from the nanoscale to centimeters. The […]

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Interview with Dr. Lee Dugatkin about How to Tame a Fox

Dr. Lee Dugatkin talks about the Russian fox experiment and his new book, How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog).Photo:Irena Pivovarova, The Institute of Cytology and Genetics, NovosibirskThe Russian fox experiment to breed tame foxes has fascinated people for decades. I was very excited to speak to Dr. Lee Alan Dugatkin about his new book with co-author Lydumila Trut, How to Tame a Fox (and Build a Dog): Visionary Scientists and a Siberian…

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March 2017 CommNatural Newsletter: Making connections between art & other disciplines

Happy spring, dear readers! The spring equinox was just a few days ago, and my tulips noticed. While they’re not in full bloom yet, they are several inches tall! Although it’s hard to believe it today, as snow falls and the wind rattles the trees outside. My thesis is due at the end of this … Continue reading March 2017 CommNatural Newsletter: Making connections between art & other disciplines

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