Jan. 2nd, 2010

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CBC News - Ottawa - Canada's airlines fear violating privacy under new U.S. rules

Canadian airline companies are in a bind regarding passengers in flights that pass through US airspace, even if the plane never lands on US soil. The US Secure Flight program requires that they provide the name, gender, and birth date of all passengers so that they can be vetted against a security watch lists; however, doing so violates Canada's Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act. The US has agreed to drop the requirement to disclose passenger information if an equivalent system were created in Canada. The airline companies favour this approach but don't want to have to pay for it.
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Uranium Is So Last Century — Enter Thorium, the New Green Nuke | Magazine

The most recent Wired magazine discusses the use of thorium, rather than uranium, as a nuclear fuel. Thorium could either be combined with uranium to form pellets or combined with liquid fluoride, and the waste products are cannot be processed into weapon's grade material. Canada's CANDU reactors are considered capable of using thorium-uranium pellets and, in July, signed an agreement with China to develop and demonstrate thorium-based fuel use in CANDU reactors. In fact, Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) has been interested in developing thorium-based fuels for use in CANDU reactors since the late 1970s. Australia and the United States produce most of the world's available thorium, but research on thorium-based reactors has languished because of the availability and proven technology of uranium-based reactors.
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What Happened to the Hominids Who Were Smarter Than Us? | Human Evolution | DISCOVER Magazine

The most recent Brain special issue of discover discusses the 1913 discovery of a hominid species that co-existed with humans more than 10,000 years ago before mysteriously going extinct. These humans had a cranial capacity 30% larger than humans with a prefrontal cortex theorized to be more than 50% larger than our own, and small, child-like faces. In short, they resembled our modern image of an alien and may have had an intelligence well in excess of their human contemporaries.

January 2010

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