Constellation Kardashian

A giant ball on the road, it's surface covered with television screens showing different channels.

Star phenomena? People aren’t looking up at the sky – they’re tracking celebrities

• by Geoff Olson

There’s a great jpeg floating around the Internet that shows the star systems within range of Earth’s radio and television broadcasts. Aldebaran, a red giant, located about 65 light years away, is in the range of President Roosevelt’s first televised speech. Mu Arae, a main sequence G-type star like our Sun, is about 50 light years away and would now be getting The Twilight Zone, Bonanza and Leave it to Beaver.

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Who’s eating who in organic food?

A chart showing the ownership of companies in the organics industry

by Phil Howard, Michigan State University

• I started studying consolidation in food industries when I was a graduate student at the University of Missouri. When I moved to California where this trend was rapidly occurring – despite the fact that many of the pioneering companies set out to be alternatives to the mainstream food system – people asked me to look into organic brands. In 2003, I put together a chart to visualize buyouts made by the largest food processors, many of which are hidden. Due to widespread interest, I’ve updated it every few years. Interestingly, some companies cited on this chart have told me that they loved it. They showed it to big retailers like Walmart, Costco and Target to convince them that organic was becoming mainstream. – Phil Howard

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The Power of Poetry

In a leaf-strewn forest a girl in a black overcoat leans against a tree and writes in her journal

How a few choice words can change worlds within and without

• by Geoff Olson

• The world appears to be on a knife-edge again, with leaders from Tel Aviv to Tehran playing out idiotic games of brinkmanship better suited to pre-war Europe than the whistle-blowing world of WikiLeaks and Anonymous. To write about poetry in this context may seem faintly ridiculous. And with the planet threatening to blossom into a final exchange of nuclear weapons – or at least a global explosion of resistance to the banksters and robber barons – poetry seems like a pretty insipid thing. What are Wordsworth’s daffodils or Rumi’s singing reed next to a ballistic missile with multiple warheads, or even a riot cop’s truncheon? Not much, it seems.

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Gateway Pipeline pros and cons

A pipeline stretches into the far distance

An interview with retired economist Reimar Kroecher

by Joseph Roberts

• At press time on February 24, the Calgary Herald published an article by Rebecca Penty entitled “Transport Canada approves Enbridge’s supertanker routes.” Penty notes: “The federal department determined three shipping routes proposed by Enbridge are ‘appropriate’ and contain no obstructions for the 250 oil tankers the company expects would frequent the terminal each year, to take away some 30 million tonnes of crude annually. A quarter of those tankers would weigh 320,000 tonnes, three times larger than any vessels to have visited Kitimat Harbour since the 1950s.”

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When greed meets green

a spiral lightbulb looks like it's growing out of the grass

by Ken Peters

• Just so we are clear, I love the planet and believe we are fast destroying it. I believe that debating global warming is a brilliant piece of sleight-of-hand by business. We used to just call it pollution and it was clearly bad; now they’ve got us debating global warming while we continue to rape the land and foul the oceans worse than ever. But when the government decides to tell you what you can and can’t do, based on what is best for you, we have entered into what the British call the “nanny state.” Those in favour of this approach to governing will cite tobacco regulations as an example of this being a reasonable approach (though smokers might disagree).

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Time for change at the Federal Reserve

How Wall Street & the Fed fleeced the U.S.

by Senator Bernie Sanders

• As a result of the greed, recklessness and illegal behaviour on Wall Street, the American people have experienced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Millions of Americans, through no fault of their own, have lost their jobs, homes, life savings and the ability to send their kids to college. Small businesses have been unable to get the credit they need to expand their businesses and credit is still extremely tight. Wages, as a share of national income, are now at the lowest level since the Great Depression and the number of Americans living in poverty is at an all-time high.

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Our oceans need help

SCIENCE MATTERS by David Suzuki

• It’s been 20 years since Canada’s East Coast cod fishery collapsed and we still have no recovery target or timeline for rebuilding populations. That’s just one finding in a damning report from a panel of eminent Royal Society of Canada marine scientists. “Sustaining Canada’s Marine Biodiversity” notes Canada has “failed to meet most of our national and international commitments to protect marine biodiversity” and “lags behind other modernized nations in almost every aspect of fisheries management.”

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Putting the love in revolution

FILMS WORTH WATCHING by Robert Alstead

• On March 17, it will be six months since the beginning of Occupy Wall Street and the subsequent cascade of grassroots occupations that followed across the Western world. Two local filmmakers who have been documenting the Occupy movement – from the Arab Spring, through Zuccotti Park to the Vancouver Art Gallery – are philosopher-filmmaker Velcrow Ripper and Port Moody-based Ian MacKenzie. Their online series of inspirational thought pieces and vignettes captures the diversity and idealism of the Occupy movement in its most intoxicating form. The pieces are just the appetizers for the main course, Occupy Love, which is the third documentary feature in a trilogy. It started with the award-winning Scared Sacred, in which Velcrow Ripper tried to find hope in the ground zeros of the world; subsequently, in Fierce Light he recognized the awesome potency of non-violent protest and Occupy Love, he says, will answer the question “How are the economic and ecological crises we are facing today a great love story?”

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