Failed Federalism in a Pandemic (The Harbinger Spotlight)

In this preview of a new Harbinger Society Presents the panel buries Federalism as writer Nora Loreto (Sandy and Nora Talk Politics), chemistry researcher Ada McVean and podcaster extraordinaire Aliya Pabani (We Are Not the Virus) join host Andre Goulet to discuss what the colliding crises in long-term care, homelessness and academia tell us about the limitations of government in an increasingly fake country after almost a year of pandemic trauma.

Listen to the episode here: https://www.spreaker.com/user/8993462/xhsp-ep9-preview

Copycat Suicides Are A Real Phenomenon. We Need To Work Hard To Prevent Them, Especially During COVID-19. (Skeptical Inquirer)

12 minute read

The season one finale of 13 reasons why (13RW) aired on March 31st, 2017 and featured the graphic suicide of the main character Hannah Baker. In response to criticisms, Netflix later removed this scene from the episode. Critics argued that the vivid depiction of Hannah slitting her wrists would lead to copycat suicides, particularly due to the vulnerable nature of the show’s target audience of teens and preteens.  While any depiction of suicide in the media, fictional or real, has the potential to inspire imitations, 13RW’s plot has been described as “the ultimate fantasy of teen suicidal ideation.” The show presents suicide as not only a reasonable solution to Hannah’s bullying but the only solution. It depicts mental health professionals as incompetent and unhelpful and offers no commentary on mental illnesses like depression or anxiety that can be managed and treated in non-fatal ways. Worst of all, it portrays suicide as a way of exacting revenge on those who have hurt you, an idea that is likely to be quite appealing to those who have been harmed by abusers.

However, this is not a column for critiquing television shows. It is a column for science, for questioning the beliefs we have taken for granted and for realizing which of our assumed truths should not have been assumed as such. Before 13RW, it never occurred to me to question whether copycat suicides are a real phenomenon. But the fervent discourse around this show has led me to the body of evidence regarding suicide contagion, so, let’s dig on in and see if copycat suicides truly are the risk they are made out to be.

Read the entire article here: https://skepticalinquirer.org/exclusive/copycat-suicides-are-a-real-phenomenon-we-need-to-work-hard-to-prevent-them-especially-during-covid-19/

What’s the science behind Montreal’s recent vibrant sunsets? (CBC Montreal)

1 minute read

Montreal’s summer sunsets have been particularly glorious of late.

Images of bright orange and pink skies have been cropping up on social media and online, but is it really different from what we’ve seen in previous summers?

Ada McVean, a science communicator for the McGill Office for Science and Society, says yes.

Read the whole article here: https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/what-s-the-science-behind-montreal-s-recent-vibrant-sunsets-1.5667591?cmp=rss

The Science of Sourdough and How a Jar of Microbes Could Help Keep Your Bread Fresher Longer (McGill OSS)

7 minute read

Its catapult to popularity may have been triggered by the pandemic-induced yeast shortages, but even months later, when instant yeast is once again available at most grocery stores, sourdough’s contemporary stardom is barely starting to fade. Sure, many of us turned to making a sourdough starter to simultaneously combat yeast scarcity and our newfound fear of going to the grocery store. But lots of us have kept up with our strange new hobby of mixing water with flour and leaving it on the counter for reasons beyond just the practical.

Read the entire article here: https://mcgill.ca/oss/article/nutrition-technology/science-sourdough-and-how-jar-microbes-could-help-keep-your-bread-fresher-longer

Your Pets May Be Susceptible to COVID-19, Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Panic (McGill OSS)

7 minute read

While it seems that cats, and in rare circumstances, dogs, can become infected with SARS-CoV-2, there is no need to panic. Pets tend to exhibit very mild symptoms and make full recoveries. There’s no evidence at this time that COVID-19 can be spread from animals to humans, and although the same cannot be said for humans to animals, the transmission rates seem very low.

Read the full article here: https://www.mcgill.ca/oss/article/covid-19/your-pets-may-be-susceptible-covid-19-heres-why-you-shouldnt-panic