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EDITORIAL: Cheers & Jeers June 3

A publicity photo supplied by DFO. Unfortunately, the names of crewmembers were not provided. — DFO photo
A publicity photo supplied by DFO. Unfortunately, the names of crewmembers were not provided. — DFO photo

Jeers: to being the backdrop. Here’s the photo cutline supplied by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans for the above photograph: “Assistant Commissioner Gary Ivany, MP Ken McDonald and Minister Jonathan Wilkinson and the Inshore Rescue Boat crew at Long Pond.” The crewmembers all have names, folks, and it’s only polite to identify them. Unless they’re just interchangeable widgets for the public relations effort…

Jeers: to not feeling completely comfortable with this… The city’s Bike St. John’s Master Plan is out, and you might be wondering who the city expects to be using the newly proposed widened, asphalt-topped walking trails  — the Kelly’s Brook, Rennie’s River and Virginia River trails. Here’s who the city’s thinking of — “Good bicycle network routes and facilities are designed to be appropriate for all types of bicycles, including people riding tricycles, cargo bikes, recumbent bikes, and adaptive bikes. Network connections are intended to facilitate a wide variety of bicycling purposes including: transporting children to school, picking up groceries, riding to work, pulling trailers, and training for a triathlon.” The first three sound safe enough, but watch out for that last one! Oh, and by the way, the new trails that are being proposed are three metres wide, with a half a metre of shoulder on either side. How wide is that, in total? This newspaper, unfolded, is about 57 centimetres long. Put seven of them on the floor, top to bottom. For those who aren’t metrically inclined, a four-metre wide trail would be just over 13 feet. There you go. They’re planning a highway.

Cheers: to science, and your mother being right. Here’s one of the winners from last year’s IgNoble prizes for improbable research: you actually can clean things by rubbing them with spit. The abstract? “The use of human saliva to clean dirty surfaces has been an intuitive practice for many generations. The authors have established the scientific basis for this practice by means of qualitative tests and chromatographic techniques. α-amylase was found to be the main constituent responsible for the cleaning power of saliva and therefore amylasic preparations obtained from bread or from microorganisms were tested as saliva substitutes.”

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