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Ecology

12 Days of Christmasy Citizen Science

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scistarter-12-days-christmas-citizen-scienceOur editors found 12 projects related to the 12 Days of Christmas jingle. Ok, some are a stretch, but we hope you enjoy our holiday edition!

We have some exciting developments on the horizon. Will you please take a moment to update your dashboard settings so you can really make the most of the new features in the new year? Thank you.

Cheers!
The SciStarter Team


On the 1st Day of Christmas, Trees Please gave to me:

A partridge in a pear tree when measuring air quality and tree health in Hamilton, Ontario.

Location: Ontario, Canada


On the 2nd Day of Christmas, the Wisconsin Turtle Conservation Program gave to me:

Two turtle doves to help turtles safely cross roadways.

Location: Wisconsin, USA


On the 3rd Day of Christmas, the Christmas Bird Count gave to me:

Three French hens to be counted during the 119th year of this project!

Location: North America


On the 4th Day of Christmas, Lingscape gave to me:

Four calling birds perched on the street signs being photographed for this linguistic study.

Location: Global


On the 5th Day of Christmas, the Golden Eagle Survey Project gave to me:

Five gold rings as bright as the feathers on these beautiful birds!

Location: Global


On the 6th Day of Christmas, Air Visual gave to me:

Six geese a-laying as I monitored air quality in my local park.

Location: Global


On the 7th Day of Christmas, Lake Observer gave to me:

Seven swans a-swimming in a lake while I monitored the health of its waters.

Location: Global


On the 8th Day of Christmas, the Milky Way Project gave to me:

Eight maids a milking in a beautiful images of faraway space.

Location: Global


On the 9th Day of Christmas, Project Implicit gave to me:

Nine ladies dancing with glee as they participated in this fun project on attitudes and beliefs.

Location: Online Only


On the 10th Day of Christmas, Colony B gave to me:

Ten lords a-leaping with joy at the chance to study microbes by playing a mobile game.

Location: Online Only


On the 11th Day of Christmas, Open Street Maps gave to me:

Eleven pipers piping in a parade as I mapped the streets in my city.

Location: Global


On the 12th Day of Christmas, Cyanomonitoring gave to me:

Twelve drummers drumming up support for protecting water quality by monitoring for cyanobacteria blooms.

Location: Global


Your SciStarter dashboard helps you track your contributions to projects. Complete your profile to access this and other free tools. It’s also how we match you with the best projects near you.

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Ecology

Today’s letters: ‘Visionary’ plans don’t always work in Ottawa

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The opinion piece written by Tobi Nussbaum, CEO of the NCC, declares that a “bold, visionary transit plan” would showcase the capital.

As a long-term resident of Ottawa, I’ve had it with visionary plans. In the 1950s, the streetcars serving Ottawa so well were sent to the scrapyards. In the early ’60s, Queensway construction bulldozed established neighbourhoods and ripped the city apart. Later in the decade, the downtown railway station, which could have formed the hub of a commuter network, was relocated to the suburbs. These actions, in the name of “progress,” were undertaken with the “vision” to make Ottawa a car-reliant city.

Now we have an LRT, built just in time for most people to realize that they do not have to go downtown as they can work from home.

Current thinking is pushing a new “link” between Ottawa and Gatineau, with yet more expensive and disruptive infrastructure projects being touted, including a tramway or another tunnel under the downtown core.

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Ecology

That was then: Biggest earthquake since 1653 rocked Ottawa in 1925

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A regular weekly look-back at some offbeat or interesting stories that have appeared in the Ottawa Citizen over its 175-year history. Today: The big one hits.

The Ottawa Senators were playing a Saturday night game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Auditorium, the score tied 0-0 halfway through the second period. Sens’ rookie Ed Gorman and the Habs’ Billy Boucher had just served penalties for a dustup when the building began to make “ominous creaking sounds.” A window crashed to the ground.

Nearby, at Lisgar Collegiate, all eyes were on teenager Roxie Carrier, in the role of Donna Cyrilla in the musical comedy El Bandido. She had the stage to herself and was singing “Sometime” when the building rocked, the spotlight went out, and someone in the audience yelled “Fire!”

At a home on Carey Avenue, one woman’s normally relaxed cat suddenly arched its back, rushed around the room two or three times, spitting angrily, and climbed up the front-window curtains.

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Ecology

Ottawa delays small nuclear reactor plan as critics decry push for new reactors

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TORONTO — Canadians will have to wait a little while longer to see the federal government’s plan for the development of small nuclear reactors, seen by proponents as critical to the country’s fight against global warming.

Speaking at the opening of a two-day virtual international conference on Wednesday, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of natural resources said the plan will lay out key actions regarding the reactors. Its launch, Paul Lefebvre said, would come in the next few weeks.

“We’re still putting the finishing touches on it,” Lefebvre said. “The action plan is too important to be rushed.”

Small modular reactors — SMRs — are smaller in size and energy output than traditional nuclear power units, and more flexible in their deployment. While conventional reactors produce around 800 megawatts of power, SMRs can deliver up to 300 megawatts.

Proponents consider them ideal as both part of the regular electricity grid as well as for use in remote locations, including industrial sites and isolated northern communities. They could also play a role in the production of hydrogen and local heating.

“SMRs will allow us to take a bold step of meeting our goal of net-zero (emissions) by 2050 while creating good, middle class jobs and strengthening our competitive advantage,” said Lefebvre.

Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan had been scheduled to speak at the conference but did not due to a family emergency.

Industry critics were quick to pounce on the government’s expected SMR announcement. They called on Ottawa to halt its plans to fund the experimental technology.

While nuclear power generation produces no greenhouse gas emissions, a major problem facing the industry is its growing mound of radioactive waste. This week, the government embarked on a round of consultations about what do with the dangerous material.

Dozens of groups, including the NDP, Bloc Quebecois, Green Party and some Indigenous organizations, oppose the plan for developing small modular reactors. They want the government to fight climate change by investing more in renewable energy and energy efficiency.

“We have options that are cheaper and safer and will be available quicker,” Richard Cannings, the NDP natural resources critic, said in a statement.

Lefebvre, however, said the global market for SMRs is expected to be worth between $150 billion and $300 billion a year by 2040. As one of the world’s largest producers of uranium, Canada has to be part of the wave both for economic and environmental reasons, he said.

“There’s a growing demand for smaller, simpler and affordable nuclear technology energy,” Lefebvre said.

Joe McBrearty, head of Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, told the conference the company had signed a host agreement this week with Ottawa-based Global First Power for a demonstration SMR at its Chalk River campus in eastern Ontario. A demonstration reactor will allow for the assessment of the technology’s overall viability, he said.

“When talking about deploying a new technology like an SMR, building a demonstration unit is vital to the success of that process,” McBrearty said. “Most importantly, it allows the public to see the reactor, to kick the tires so to speak, and to have confidence in the safety of its operation.”

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