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Does the wind chill have value? No, say some northerners

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“Nothing rustles my jimmies more than wind chill,” says Wade Thoraug, a new transplant to Nunavut who describes himself as a defender of weather science.

“I think the wind chill is only applicable when you’re outside, buck naked.”

Wind chill is a subject of debate for some Nunavummiut, who say the number shouldn’t be used to assess the temperature.

It is a calculated number that uses research from human volunteers and advanced computer technology to understand how the body loses heat in the cold. The number is calculated for uncovered human skin, and uses the temperature and wind to come up with a number that describes what the weather feels like.

Bert Rose says he doesn’t believe in using the wind chill. (Travis Burke/CBC)

“My biggest beef with it is that it’s unscientific, it’s inaccurate, especially to an environment where it’s consistently –30 C or colder,” said Thoraug.

He said rather than look at the wind chill, people should see what the wind conditions are that day and dress accordingly. He said they are different concepts and should be treated as such.

Wade Thoraug says the wind chill should not be taken into account when prepping to go outside. (David Gunn/CBC)

Wind chill is ‘fairly accurate’

Brian Proctor, a meteorologist with Environment Canada, said the wind chill is a way to assess how the body’s skin reacts to the temperature in the air, combined with the wind, on exposed skin.

He said this is important because typically people have a layer of heated air against their skin, and when the wind is strong that boundary is breached and you feel colder.

That’s why Environment Canada has different temperatures for what warrants an extreme weather warning across the country. In Nunavik, Que., residents will get the warning at –48 C, while in southern Ontario residents will get the same warning at –30 C.

He said the science backing wind chill is “fairly accurate.” It’s calculated by looking at the data on how bodies are cooled. In studies, people were put in a wind chamber while the temperature dropped, then scientists calculated how fast their bodies cooled.

“If it’s –20 C without wind, people are wandering around with their jackets open, but if you add wind onto that, it’s going to get much colder, much faster,” he said.

Bert Rose says his decision about what to wear is dependent only on the temperature. (Travis Burke/CBC)

Some not convinced

But for Nunavummiut like Bert Rose, that’s not cutting it. “I don’t believe in it,” said Rose. “The problem for me is that I don’t go outside without clothing on when it’s cold.”

He said he dresses based on the temperature, and won’t take the wind chill into account.

“Do we really need scientific data brought to us every day to know that it’s 20 below, the wind’s at 40 [km/h], it’s going to get cooler faster? I don’t think you do.”

Rose said this type of thinking can also hit the electricity bill, because people worry that their car won’t start in these temperatures, so they’ll plug their car in when perhaps they don’t need to.

“I think it’s completely invalid.”

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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