Highlights

Fish on! Fishing season opens

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Larry Shortt season opening 2011, doing what he loves, spending time in nature while fishing

“ They are stayed neither by snow nor rain nor heat nor darkness from accomplishing their appointed course..” wrote Herodotus about mail delivery in ancient Persia. 

Although that thought was written thousands of years ago, something very similar could be said about fishermen at the beginning of the season today. That certainly holds true for Larry Shortt, a devoted fly fisherman in the east coast province of Nova Scotia.

The regular fishing season opened this weekend in most parts of Nova Scotia, and several other areas across the country as well, and if it wasn’t for his part-time job at a Halifax fishing store, Mr Shortt would be out on the Sackville river casting his self-tied flies over the water.

RCI’s Marc Montgomery spoke to him at the The Fishing Fever Fly and Tackle Shop in Halifax about the joys of fly fishing in Canada
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True fame comes and doesn’t go after fifteen minutes, study

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(John Shearer/Invision/AP)
Actress Naomi Watts fame has endured the test of time, a new study says.

People who achieve real celebrity don’t fade away after their “fifteen minutes of fame” are over, a new study shows.

Even if they are not as famous as Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt or Angelina Jolie, their names will keep turning up in newspapers and other printed media for years.

“It turns out that it’s much more than fifteen minutes of fame … If you do get famous, you’re likely to stay famous”, says Eran Shor, McGill associate professor of sociology and co-author of the study.

Eran Shore, McGill associate professor of sociology and co-author of the study spoke with Gilda Salomone about fame and its enduring power.
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Blue Jays begin quest for AL East title on Tuesday

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THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Jays' pitching ace R.A. Dickey, aquired in a trade with the New York Mets during the off-season, has his eyes on leading Toronto to the AL East championship. Toronto begins the regular season on Tuesday.

It's that time of year when a lot of things intersect in Canada: spring and winter, rain and snow, baseball and hockey.

April, to borrow a thought from Mr. Eliot, can be a very cruel month. But April it is, at least as of midnight Sunday. That means National Hockey League teams kick their drives to make the playoffs into overdrive.  It also means baseball teams begin their long six-month journey seeking a spot in their playoffs.

On Tuesday the Toronto Blue Jays open their season against against Cleveland. Normally, a Jays season is viewed with trepidation at its inception and bittersweet sadness when it all comes to no good. It's been 20 years since the Blue Jays won the World Series in back-to-back years in 1992 and 1993 and stood at the top of the baseball world, about to pass the torch to the Montreal Expos.


Terry Haig asked the Toronto Star's Rich Griffin to share his thoughts on the upcoming season.
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New intermittent fasting diet not best way to achieve long-term weight loss, dietitian

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(CBC)
Maintaining optimal body weight is an ongoing process of commitment.

The intermittent fasting diet or 5:2 diet, which asks people to fast for two days and eat whatever they want for five, is gaining popularity in Canada, but dietitians are not as impressed as people who want to lose weight.

“Basically, I don’t see any advantages to it for lifelong health”, says Susan Watson, a registered dietician with A Little Nutrition, in Winnipeg, Manitoba. “I think that it definitely could set somebody up for overeating, binging, feeling guilty about it and then feeling like you need to fast or starve for a day.”

Susan Watson, a registered dietician with A Little Nutrition, in Winnipeg, Man., spoke with Gilda Salomone about the intermittent fasting diet and healthy eating habits.
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Toronto brothers up the level of athlete testing

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THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Ulan
Street hockey (above) used to be a way to develop your hockey skills, and it likely still is. But a new approach developed by a pair of Toronto brothers offers a more sophisticated way to get a clear read on your skills.

Developing and scouting athletes--a small percentage of whom might go on to the pros--is no simple matter. The kid who looks like a comer at 15 can be a bust at 18. Professional teams spend a lot of money trying to get it right. So do the parents of a lot of those young athletes who may never be quite sure how their child really compares with others his or her age.

Stepping into the picture are a pair of Toronto entrepreneurs--sports fans both. Jamie and Jonathon Hollins say they have developed the world's most accurate equipment to assess the fitness of athletes and their sports-specific skills without bias.

Jamie, who studied kinesiology, owned gyms and trained elite athletes, and Jonathon, who was in the computer software business, formed their company, Sports Testing Inc., three years ago.

They believe they are changing the way an athlete's talent is identified and developed.

Terry Haig spoke by phone with Jamie Hollins in Toronto.
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University of Guelph: Cambodian "iron fish" update

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(luckyironfish.com)
Small fish shaped piece of iron releases iron nutrients when placed in cooking pot

It was an incredibly simple and low-cost solution to a challenging health problem.  As a recent grad student a few years ago, Christopher Charles went to Cambodia to study the issue of anemia in villagers in rural Cambodia. Anemia can lead to a number of health problems including major issues for child-bearing women and their fetuses, higher child death rates, and slower learning in young children.

In his study, Charles found the anemia levels to be almost double what the government had though, with almost 90% of the rural population experiencing some degree of anemia. A simple solution is iron supplement pills, but these are too expensive for villagers, and also often simply not available.  Another known solution is iron cooking pots which release iron nutrients during cooking, but they are heavy, and also expensive.

Christopher Charles came up with a novel low-cost idea, which has worked very well, and now a couple of years later his research has shown that his solution has dramatically reduced anemia in the rural population.

Now as a research associate at the University of Guelph’s Department of Biomedical Science, he has returned from Cambodia this month to continue working on other aspects of the project. RCI’s Marc Montgomery reached him at his university office in southwestern Ontario for an update on the project.
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Sustainability at McGill University starts from the ground up

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(McGill University)
Half of McGill sustainability projects are led by students, half by staff.

McGill University's efforts to implement sustainability programs on campus have been decades in the making and are gaining impetus.

“There have been dozens of individuals who have been taking the cause forward, as well as high level commitments”, says Lilith Wyatt, Sustainability Projects Fund Administrator at McGill University.

Her office works as a facilitator and provides the funds for a variety of initiatives, as well as the know-how to implement changes in the organization. It is also responsible for building a network of connections within the community on campus of people who care about sustainability issues.

Lilith Wyatt, Sustainability Projects Fund Administrator at McGill University spoke with Gilda Salomone about the institution’s efforts toward sustainability on campus.
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Re-creating extinct species; We might see woolly mammoths soon

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(Royal BC Museum)
De-extinction: Thanks to advances in ancient genome technologies, the mapping of the woolly mammoth genome is almost complete, raising the possibility of recreating such a creature.

Hamilton scientist says recreating mammoths technologically possible in just a few decades, the passenger pigeon perhaps sooner

Who hasn’t heard of the 1993 hit film Jurassic Park? 

At the time, scientists considered it to be mostly a complete fantasy, that is, extracting ancient DNA from prehistoric creatures, filling in the damaged bits of coding with modern relatives, and then recreating the species.

But that was 20 years ago and since then technology has advanced to the point where that is almost exactly what can happen, and what several sceintists around the world are attempting right now. 

However, not with dinosaurs, but rather with extinct species such as the passenger pigeon.

Along with a host of technical issues, the idea of “de-extinction” as its called,  raises some ethical questions as well

Hendrik Poinar of McMaster University is a Canada Research Chair in paleogenetics. He recently spoke at a gathering of scientists interested in “de-extinction”. In fact he has a direct connection to “jurassic park”. RCI’s Marc Montgomery reached him at his office in Hamilton, Ontario
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Surplus of dentists brings changes to the profession in Canada

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(AFP/Didier Pallage)
The Canadian Dental Association is concerned about the surplus of dentists in large cities.

A recent report on the practice of dentistry suggests that “the average dentist may be closer to the edge of a [cliff] than the average Canadian.”

According to the “doom and gloom” study done by consultants R.K. House and Associates for the Ontario Dental Association (ODA), a surplus of dentists combined with declining demand will make it harder for professionals to open and maintain their practices.

Dr. Benoit Soucy, Director of Clinical and Scientific Affairs for the Canadian Dental Association, talks to Gilda Salomone about some of the recent changes in dentistry in Canada.
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Caution urged on high-potency anti-cholesterol drugs

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(Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press)
New research shows high-potency statin users might want to take a look at the risks vs. the benefits.

Taking strong statins to lower your cholesterol? Maybe it's time to take a closer look at the risks and benefits.  New Canadian research shows that patients who started with high-strength statins were 34 per cent more likely to be hospitalized for acute kidney injury than those who started on low-strength versions of the drugs in the first 120 days of treatment.

The research was conducted by the Canadian Network for Observational Drug Effect Studies (CNODES) and published in the latest edition of the British Medical Journal. Researchers examined the health records of two million patients in Canada, the US and Britain.

Higher-dose statins, including Lipitor and Crestor, have become the world's most widely prescribed drugs with some researchers arguing anyone over 50 should be taking them.

Lead investigator Colin Dormuth, assistant professor of anesthesiology, pharmacology and therapeutics at the University of British Columbia, says the results of the study throw doubt the common practice of using higher doses of drugs to cut cholesterol levels lower and lower.

Terry Haig spoke by phone with Colin Dormuth in Vancouver.
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