Ebola outbreak provides public health lessons for COVID-19

Mistrust, fear and rumours helped the virus spread in 2018, but training trusted local leaders helped stop it, U of A researchers find

Ebola outbreak provides public health lessons for COVID-19Multiple factors led people in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to resist public health messages during the 2018 outbreak of Ebola virus. University of Alberta researchers fear the situation could be repeated with COVID-19 unless lessons are learned from the earlier epidemic. “Mistrust, fear and rumours were complete obstacles to the efforts of the…

The legend of Davy Crockett

Disney’s 1950s version of the life of King of the Wild Frontier was, well, mostly historically correct

The legend of Davy CrockettIf you were a child in the 1950s, the chances are that Davy Crockett was briefly a part of your life. On December 15, 1954, the ABC television network broadcast the first episode of a new Disney mini-series loosely based on his exploits, two more episodes followed in January and February 1955, and a concluding…

Oklahoma’s reality even weirder, more traumatic than Tiger King

Oklahoma has a long, sordid history of scoundrels who have found its red dirt fertile for all manner of dubious schemes

Oklahoma’s reality even weirder, more traumatic than Tiger KingThe small town of Wynnewood, Okla., might seem like an unlikely setting for a magical realist tale involving tigers, polygamy and blood feuds. But the bizarre reality of Oklahoma has never matched up to its homogeneous image in popular culture. You could be forgiven if the state conjures up images of the musical Oklahoma! and…

A place of reconciliation and pride

The process can include something as simple as discovering and using the ancient name for where you live

A place of reconciliation and prideAs we continue to hunker down in our Sunshine Coast house to avoid COVID-19, and come to emotional grips with the pandemic, it’s wonderful to have good news. We got some today. I just saw a new road sign go up in what has been called Saltery Bay since the early 1900s. Fair enough, you…

Calling Elvis: When the King came home from the army

Calling Elvis: When the King came home from the armyElvis Presley was no more immune to the draft than other young American men of his era. Having reached eligible age, he was medically examined, declared physically fit and duly called up. Apart from his training period, his entire two-year army stint was spent in what was then West Germany. And the lead up to…

Is happiness the point of human life?

Rather than asking if you are a happy, ask whether you are good

Is happiness the point of human life?It was 2,400 years ago that Aristotle identified happiness as the goal all people seek – the end of all “why” questions. But is happiness really the point of human life? I ask this question because when we look at history (or even the news today), it is apparent that there are a lot of…

Wet’suwet’en protests throw us all into chaos

While the project is a win for the province, the country, the environment and B.C.’s First Nations, these hereditary chiefs don’t see it that way

Wet’suwet’en protests throw us all into chaosSupport continues for the hereditary chiefs of the Wet’suwet’en First Nation blocking authorized construction of a natural gas pipeline in northern British Columbia. In spite of court injunctions and government pronouncements telling them to desist, they seem prepared for a long and protracted struggle, “having no intention of allowing Wet’suwet’en sovereignty to be violated.” This…

Bending pipe to fit the Dene culture

Selecting a pipeline route through Aboriginal title lands requires care, consultation and attention to detail

Bending pipe to fit the Dene cultureI remember waking up in the small log cabin I had been given as lodgings on my first trip to Fort Good Hope to explain the route selection process of the Polar Gas Pipeline. There was a small stove close to my bed, and a stack of dry wood and kindling for heat. Outside it…

Keith Richards was wrong – the message does matter

There are many great teachers who instruct us on how to achieve true happiness and success. You're just not likely to find them in popular culture

Keith Richards was wrong – the message does matterI often reflect on where my beliefs come from. I can see they’ve changed significantly over time. As I’ve altered who I listen to, my thoughts and beliefs have changed, and I’ve changed for the better. In my teen years I was strongly influenced by popular culture. I loved the Who, the Rolling Stones, the…

Cats turns literary genius into lumpy kitty litter

The movie offers a fun-house-mirror examination of our souls and why we've allowed this kind of cultural plundering to go on for years

Cats turns literary genius into lumpy kitty litterCats the movie is worse than bad. It is offal. Its director, Tom Hooper, utterly guts the gentle soul of T.S. Eliot’s classic Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, from which the film is drawn. What’s been dropped at the paying public’s shoes is a cinematic blood sample so horrifying it could make Old Possum’s…

Domestic violence perpetrators, and victims, know no gender

Domestic violence, no matter the gender of the victim, is wrong

Domestic violence perpetrators, and victims, know no genderI remember being 12 years old when my stepfather scarred my face for the first time. He had graduated to his fists from his belt some time before, and while he usually confined himself to battering me between the waist and the shoulder blades, the non-visible portions of my anatomy, occasionally he lost control. This…

Truth always leads to healing

Though the story of Frozen 2 is a fairy tale, it contains many deep truths

Truth always leads to healingI have to admit I’m not a big fan of fiction and less a fan of blockbuster films. I prefer to know what actually happened and is happening in the world. Still, great fiction is great because it reveals deeper truths about humanity. My intention in seeing Frozen 2 during the opening weekend of its…

Travels and hikes in Italy’s mini Canada

The shared borders with France and Switzerland have clearly contributed to a multilingual society in this very northern and beautiful corner of Italy

Travels and hikes in Italy’s mini CanadaNewly retired and eager to explore some new territory, I admit I knew nothing of the Italian Alps. We flew into Switzerland, and then drove south through the 11-plus km of the Mont Blanc Tunnel into northern Italy. We were with old friends who know the area well because they have a son who lives…

YouTube knocking down Canada’s protective cultural wall

Canada’s creative lobby may have turned its back on the world but that doesn’t mean Canadians are joining them in their quest to hide

YouTube knocking down Canada’s protective cultural wallCanada’s creative lobby may have turned its back on the world but that doesn’t mean Canadians are joining them in their quest to hide behind a big wall of regulations aimed at protecting them from foreigners. A recent study by Ryerson University’s Faculty of Communication and Design, entitled  Watchtime Canada: How YouTube Connects Creators and…

What can we learn from one another today?

Each of us is worthy of dignity and respect. The more we embrace this truth about ourselves, the more we can see it in our neighbours.

What can we learn from one another today?In his book Horton Hears A Who, Dr. Seuss reminds us, “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Being mindful of this is one of the keys to finding joy and fulfilment in life. Everyone we meet, above all else, is a person. Each of us is worthy of dignity and respect. The more…
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