Archive for August 2016

Most of Vancouver’s Heroin Supply Tainted with Fentanyl, Study Says   Leave a comment


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As British Columbia continues to grapple with skyrocketing rates of fentanyl overdoses, a new study confirms that the highly potent opioid has tainted the majority of drugs on the streets of Vancouver.

Insite, the city’s safe injection facility—and the first of its kind in North America—has found that 86 percent of drugs it tested from July to August contained fentanyl, which is more potent than heroin and around 100 times stronger than morphine. Free drug tests were offered for the first time as part of an ongoing pilot study to help inform people about what’s really in their substances.

Addictions specialists say the results, although from a small sample, signal that Canada’s fentanyl crisis is only getting worse, and other provinces across the country are likely to see similar trends in the near future.

Dr. David Juurlink, head of the clinical and pharmacology department at the University of Toronto said:

“People who use these products are playing Russian roulette,” he said. “It’s now a massive addiction problem, and we need to keep our minds open to any measures that will reduce harm in people who have addictions.” He said the importance of safe injection sites and other harm reduction tools.

“The epidemic is such that any intervention is worth considering, whether it’s testing, safe injection site—nothing should be off the table.”

Public health authorities have ramped up their monitoring of overdoses and overdose deaths in the province, releasing new data every few months. So far, 433 drug overdose deaths have been reported during the first six months of this year—a 75 percent jump from 2015—238 of which are said to have involved fentanyl.

There were 274 fentanyl-related overdose deaths in Alberta last year, and 153 so far this year as of June.

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Health Canada has been heavily criticized for its lack of leadership on the opioid crisis, leaving provinces to act on their own.

On Wednesday, the department put out a statement saying it was moving to restrict six chemicals that are used to make illicit fentanyl. Health Canada is expected to host a national opioid summit at some point this fall.

BC overdoses as of March 2016

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Posted August 31, 2016 by markosun in Drugs

The Most Insane Television Sets in History   Leave a comment


Gizmodo

When televisions were still a luxury, high-tech item, designers wanted to make them look as crazily futuristic and beautiful as possible. Here are some of the most bizarre and breathtaking television sets that ever existed.

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Kuba Komet (1957-1962, Wolfenbuttel, West Germany)

 

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The sailboat-like ultra-heavy (it was 289 lb. or 130 kg) home entertainment system of its time had a 23″ black and white television, eight speakers, a Telefunken phonographs and a multi-band radio receiver. The Komet cost more than a year’s average wage.

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Marconiphone Television 702 with a 12-inch screen from 1937, by the British Marconi

 

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A Baird Lyric with a 12-inch screen, 1946

 

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Tele-Tone TV-209 (1949)

 

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A Teleavia Panoramic III, designed by Philippe Charbonneaux, 1957

 

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The 21-inch Philco Tandem Predicta with a 25 ft. cord between the screen and the cabinet, 1958

 

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Philco Safari, the first transistor portable television, 1959

 

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The 15 pound (6.8 kg) set had a 2 inch display and worked with a 7.5V rechargeable battery.

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Panasonic/National Flying Saucer (but also known as The Eyeball, originally TR-005 Orbitel), produced by Panasonic in the late 1960s and early 1970s

 

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It had a five-inch screen, earphone jack, and could rotate 180 degrees on its chrome tripod.

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The Keracolor Sphere, designed by Arthur Bracegirdle, 1968-1977

 

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This English set, an icon of the Space Age, was really expensive because of its small size. It was available in various colors.

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The JVC Videosphere, introduced in 1970, and produced to the early 1980s

 

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Inspired by Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, and appeared in the Conquest of The Planet of the Apes (1972) and in The Matrix (1999).

 

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Sinclair Microvision TV (Model MTV-1), 1977

 

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The first ever miniature television with its 2 inch screen wasn’t a real sales success: it was really expensive, priced like the average models.

 

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Seiko T 001 TV Watch, 1982

 

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Casio TV-70, the portable TV from the early 1980s with “Solar Projection System”, 1986

 

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Behind the cool name it was just a mirror that reflects the picture from the LCD screen. The only 13 mm thin TV worked with 3 AAA-size batteries and had a 2-inch black and white screen.

 

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Not exactly sure what the make and name of this wild TV is. Almost looks like a stove is built into it. But what an enjoyable way to cook dinner, watching Spock and Bones McCoy sparring.

 

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Posted August 31, 2016 by markosun in Technology, Television

The Widest Freeway in the World   Leave a comment


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Where else? Houston, Texas of course.

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When constructed during the 1960s, the I-10 Katy from Houston, known as the Katy Freeway, was built with six to eight lanes wide barring side lanes, being modest by Houston standards because existing traffic demand to the farming area of West Houston was relatively low. As the population and economic activity increased in the area vehicular traffic increased, reaching an annual average daily traffic (AADT) of 238,000 vehicles just west of the West Loop in 2001.

In 2000 increased traffic levels and congestion led to plans being approved for widening of the freeway to 16 lanes with a capacity for 200,000 cars per day. An old railway running along the north side of the freeway was demolished in 2002 in preparation for construction which began in 2004. The interior two lanes in each direction between SH 6 and west I-610, the Katy Freeway Managed Lanes or Katy Tollway, were built as high-occupancy toll lanes and are managed by the Harris County Toll Road Authority. The section just west of SH 6 to the Fort Bend–Harris county line opened in late June 2006. Two intersections were rebuilt (Beltway 8 and I-610), toll booths were added, together with landscaping as part of Houston’s Highway Beautification Project. Most of the section between Beltway 8 and SH 6 had been laid by September 2006 and work was completed in October 2008.

Tolls on the managed lanes vary by vehicle occupancy, axle count and time of day. High occupancy vehicles may travel for free at certain times.

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Interstate 10 (I-10) is the major east–west Interstate Highway in the Southern United States. In the U.S. state of Texas, it runs east from Anthony, at the border with New Mexico, through El Paso, San Antonio and Houston to the border with Louisiana in Orange, Texas. At just under 880 miles (1,420 km), the Texas segment of I-10, maintained by the Texas Department of Transportation, is the longest continuous untolled freeway in North America that is operated by a single authority, a title formerly held by Ontario Highway 401. 

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Posted August 31, 2016 by markosun in Transportation

German Tiger compared to the U.S. Abrams   Leave a comment


The infamous World War II German Tiger tank was a very formidable battle machine. To destroy one, it would take three to four US Sherman tanks to attack it from behind. How would that beast compare with a modern U.S. M1-Abrams main battle tank?

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Abrams left and Tiger

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Tiger

Type Heavy tank
Place of origin Nazi Germany
Service history
In service 1942–45
Wars World War II
Production history
Designer Erwin Aders
Henschel & Son
Designed 1941
Manufacturer Henschel
Unit cost 250,800 RM
Produced 1942–44
Number built 1,347
Specifications (RfRuK VK 4501H Ausf.E, Blatt: G-330)
Weight 54 tonnes (60 short tons)
Length 6.316 m (20 ft 8.7 in)
8.45 m (27 ft 9 in) gun forward
Width 3.56 m (11 ft 8 in)
Height 3.0 m (9 ft 10 in)
Crew 5

Armour 25–120 mm (0.98–4.72 in)
Main
armament
1× 8.8 cm KwK 36 L/56
92 rounds
Secondary
armament
2× 7.92 mm MG 34
4,500 rounds
Engine Maybach HL230 P45 V-12
700 PS (690 hp, 515 kW)
Power/weight 13 PS/t (9.6 kW/t)
Suspension torsion bar
Ground clearance 0.47 m (1 ft 7 in)
Fuel capacity 540 L (140 US gal) including reserve
Operational
range
110–195 km (68–121 mi)
Speed 45.4 km/h (28.2 mph)

Gun range: 1,100 meters

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M1-Abrams

Type Main battle tank
Place of origin United States
Service history
In service 1980–present
Wars Persian Gulf War
War in Afghanistan
Iraq War
War on ISIL
Saudi Arabian–led intervention in Yemen
Production history
Designer Chrysler Defense (now General Dynamics Land Systems)
Designed 1972–79
Manufacturer Lima Army Tank Plant (since 1980)
Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant (1982–1996)
Unit cost US$6.21 million (M1A2 / FY99) Estimated in 2016 as US$8.92 million (with inflation adjustment)
Produced 1979–present
Number built 10,000
Variants See variants
Specifications
Weight M1: 60 short tons (54 t)
M1A1: 63 short tons (57 t)
M1A2: 72 short tons (65 t)
Length Gun forward: 32.04 ft (9.77 m)
Hull length: 26.02 ft (7.93 m)
Width 12 ft (3.66 m)
Height 8 ft (2.44 m)
Crew 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver)

Armor M1, M1A1: Burlington composite armor
M1A1HA, M1A2: depleted uranium mesh-reinforced composite armor

  • M1: Hull & turret –
    350 mm / 470 mm vs APFSDS,
    650 mm / 700 mm vs HEAT
  • M1A1: Hull & turret –
    600 mm vs APFSDS,
    700 mm vs HEAT
  • M1A1HA: Hull –
    600 mm vs APFSDS,
    700 mm vs HEAT,
    Turret –
    600 mm / 800 mm vs APFSDS,
    1,300  mm vs HEAT
Main
armament
M1: 105 mm L/52 M68 rifled gun (55 rounds)
M1A1: 120 mm L/44 M256A1 smoothbore gun (40 rounds)
M1A2: 120 mm L/44 M256A1 smoothbore gun (42 rounds)
Secondary
armament
1 × .50-caliber (12.7 mm) M2HB heavy machine gun with 900 rounds
2 × 7.62 mm (.308 in) M240 machine guns with 10,400 rounds (1 pintle-mounted, 1 coaxial)
Engine Honeywell AGT1500C multi-fuel turbine engine
1,500 shp (1,120 kW)
Power/weight From 26.9 hp/t (20.05 kW/t) to 23.8 hp/t (17.74 kW/t)
Transmission Allison DDA X-1100-3B
Suspension High-hardness-steel torsion bars with rotary shock absorbers
Ground clearance M1, M1A1: 0.48 m (1 ft 7 in)
M1A2: 0.43 m (1 ft 5 in)
Fuel capacity 500 US gallons (1,900 l; 420 imp gal)
Operational
range
M1A2: 426 km (265 mi)
Speed M1A1: Road 45 mph (72 km/h) (governed);
Off-road: 30 mph (48 km/h)
M1A2: Road 42 mph (67 km/h) (governed);
Off-road: 25 mph (40 km/h)

Gun range: 2,500 meters

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Tiger on the right

 

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The Israelis build their own tanks, the Merkava.

 

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Posted August 31, 2016 by markosun in Military, Weapons

A Gigantic Jagged Piece of Rock Towering out of the Tasman Sea   Leave a comment


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Ball’s Pyramid is an erosional remnant of a shield volcano and caldera that formed about 6.4 million years ago. It lies 20 kilometres (12 mi) southeast of Lord Howe Island in the Pacific Ocean. It is 562 metres (1,844 ft) high, while measuring only 1,100 metres (3,600 ft) in length and 300 metres (980 ft) across, making it the tallest volcanic stack in the world. Ball’s Pyramid is part of the Lord Howe Island Marine Park in Australia.

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Like Lord Howe Island and the Lord Howe seamount chain, Ball’s Pyramid is based on the Lord Howe Rise, part of the submerged continent of Zealandia.

Ball’s Pyramid has a few satellite islets. Observatory Rock and Wheatsheaf Islet lie about 800 metres (2,600 ft) west-northwest and west-southwest respectively, of the western extremity of Ball’s Pyramid. Southeast Rock is a pinnacle located about 3.5 kilometres (2.2 mi) southeast of Ball’s Pyramid.

Ball’s Pyramid is positioned in the centre of a submarine shelf. The shelf is 20 kilometres (12 mi) in length and averages 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) in width and lies under an average depth of 50 metres (160 ft) of water. It is separated by a 500 metres (1,600 ft) deep submarine canyon from another shelf on which Lord Howe Island is located. The cliffs of the stack continue under the water surface to the level of the shelf.

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Ball’s Pyramid lies approximately 500 kilometres off the Australian mainland.

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The pyramid at 1,844 feet tall, is higher than the CN Tower which is 1,815 feet high.

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Climbing

In 1964 a Sydney team, which included adventurer Dick Smith and other members of the Scouting movement, attempted to climb to the summit of the pyramid. However, they were forced to turn back on the fifth day as they ran short of food and water.

The first successful climb to the summit was made on 14 February 1965 by a team of climbers from the Sydney Rock Climbing Club, consisting of Bryden Allen, John Davis, Jack Pettigrew and David Witham.

In 1979, Smith returned to the pyramid, together with climbers John Worrall and Hugh Ward. They successfully reached the summit and unfurled a flag of New South Wales provided to them by Premier Neville Wran, declaring the island Australian territory (a formality which it seems had not previously been done).

Climbing was banned in 1982 under amendments to the Lord Howe Island Act, and in 1986, all access to the island was banned by the Lord Howe Island Board. In 1990, the policy was relaxed to allow some climbing under strict conditions, which in recent years has required an application to the relevant state minister.

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Posted August 30, 2016 by markosun in Geography

Huge Cruise Ship Traverses the Northwest Passage in Canadian Arctic   Leave a comment


CBC

Massive cruise ship brings new era of Arctic tourism to Cambridge Bay

Visit was encouraged by artisans who stand to make thousands of dollars in sales in 1 day

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Not an ice floe was in sight as a warming climate and a huge cruise ship combined to usher in a new era of mass tourism in Canada’s Arctic.

After a stop at the community of Ulukhaktok, N.W.T., the 280-metre long Crystal Serenity entered the fabled but dangerous Northwest Passage Sunday and arrived at the hamlet of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut on Monday morning.

It is the largest vessel to ever attempt to go through the passage, the cruise ship company says.

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Cambridge Bay is home to about 1,300 people, with an average daily high temperature in August of about 10 C.

On board are six hundred crew members and 1,000 passengers, each of whom paid between $30,000 and $120,000 for the trip.

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Passengers came ashore on zodiacs, 150 people at a time so as to not overwhelm the community.

In Cambridge Bay, planning to host so many visitors at once has taken almost 2½ years.

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The passengers posed for pictures on the beach, the second time they’ve landed in Canada on their month-long voyage through the Arctic.

The visit was encouraged by local artisans who stand to make thousands of dollars in sales in a single day. The Nunavut Arts Festival also held its annual meeting in the community to coincide with the ship’s arrival.

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Inuit carver Roy Klengenberg created and hoped to sell about 10 pieces of art for between $200 and $300 each to Crystal Serenity passengers.

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Passengers streamed down the streets of Cambridge Bay on foot, purchasing artwork at a special festival and food at local stores.

Smaller cruise ships are not uncommon in Cambridge Bay — the community usually gets about six a year, mostly with Canadians as passengers. The Crystal Serenity’s passengers are 80 per cent American and local organizers say they expected they would be far less familiar with the Arctic way of life.

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The landscape around Cambridge Bay is mainly flat and pocketed by ponds that are only ice-free for a few weeks a year.

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Posted August 30, 2016 by markosun in Geography

Chicago Shootings and Homicides off the charts in 2016   Leave a comment


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Murders have spiked by 49 percent this year compared to last year, and 81 percent over the same time period in 2014.

With more than 450 murders so far in 2016, Chicago is on pace for its highest overall murder count since at least 2012, when 504 were recorded in the entire year.

Overall shooting incidents — at more than 2,200 and counting — have mirrored that rise, with a 48 percent spike so far in 2016.

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CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 23: Pictures of Chicago residents who have died by gunfire are posted next to a Christmas tree outside Saint Sabina Church in the Auburn Gresham neighborhood on the city’s Southside on December 23, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois.

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Police blame gangs for a disproportionate share of the city’s violent crime.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said on Saturday that about 1,400 people — many of them gangs members — are driving 85 percent of the city’s gun violence.

The two suspects in Aldridge’s death are both documented gang members, police said.

Tragically, many of the shooting victims get caught in the crossfire.

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Posted August 30, 2016 by markosun in Crime