Some Old Short Stories now available online at Calgary Public Library

I wrote these years and years ago; they’re now up on the Calgary Public Library site.

https://calgary.short-edition.com/search?q=darvin

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Elephant Queen

https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/rare-elephant-pictures-kenya/index.html

Incredible pictures capture rare ‘Elephant Queen’ in Kenya
Francesca Street, CNN • Updated 14th March 2019

Incredible photos: Wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas took these striking shots of a rare “big tusker” elephant in Kenya.
Courtesy Will Burrard-Lucas / @willbl
Towering high above the Kenyan landscape, this female elephant is huge, her long tusks curving right down to the ground.
Known as a “big tusker” she’s a rare and extraordinary sight — it’s estimated that fewer than 30 of these animals still exist in Africa.
British photographer Will Burrard-Lucas captured a series of black-and-white photographs of this animal — who he calls the Elephant Queen — roaming in the natural landscape around Kenya’s Tsavo National Park.
He took the images in partnership with the Tsavo Trust, a local not-for-profit group, over a few visits in the hope of raising awareness about the animals.
“It was just incredible,” Burrard-Lucas tells CNN Travel. “Especially in this day and age where these elephants with long tusks are so rare.”

Wildlife photographer Will Burrard-Lucas took these striking shots of a rare “big tusker” elephant in Kenya.
Courtesy Will Burrard-Lucas / @willbl
Burrard-Lucas spent some time living in Tanzania as a child, which sparked his interest in wildlife photography.
“My earliest memories are of safari and wildlife and ever since those days I’ve had this passion for the natural world,” he says.

Burrard-Lucas worked in partnership with the Tsavo Trust to take the pictures
Courtesy Will Burrard-Lucas / @willbl
He took the images of the elephant with a contraption known as the “Beetlecam” which allows him to get close-up photographs of wildlife in its natural habitat.
“Over the years I’ve used it on various projects, and for this project, it’s really to show and emphasize the size of these animals,” he adds.

Burrard-Lucas wants his images to promote wildlife conservation.
Courtesy Will Burrard-Lucas / @willbl
“I hope people are inspired to care about the natural world and, if they want to, to support organizations like the Tsavo Trust who are working so well to keep these animals protected.”

These elephants are increasingly rare, it’s estimated that fewer than 20 remain in Africa.

The photographs will be the subject of a book — conceived by the Tsavo Trust as a means of raising awareness and funds — called “Land of Giants” and featuring 150 shots of the elephants of Tsavo.
The main subject of Burrard-Lucas’ photographs is an elephant known as F_MU1 — shortly after he took his last shot, she died of natural causes.

Burrard-Lucas took the photographs with a contraption he invented called “Beetlecam.”

In a post on his blog, the photographer says F_MU1 had experienced periods of poaching and it’s a miracle she lived through these traumatic experiences.
Still, Burrard-Lucas hopes the photographs carry an uplifting message.
“I find [the photos] inspiring to look at because it’s just very positive and inspiring to think that elephants like this are still out there — they haven’t been hunted or poached,” he says.

The photos will be the subject of a book called “Land of Giants.”

The Tsavo Trust works together with the Kenya Wildlife Service to provide support in conservation efforts — including anti-poaching patrols.
This isn’t the first time Burrard-Lucas’ photos have hit the headlines — he previously took a photograph of a rare black leopard, which was shared widely online.
The photographer says that elephants with tusks like the one are even rarer than the black leopard.

Internet inventor says his invention not what he wanted it to be at 30

At 30, World Wide Web is ‘not the web we wanted,’ inventor says

GENEVA — The inventor of the World Wide Web knows his revolutionary innovation is coming of age, and doesn’t always like what he sees: state-sponsored hacking, online harassment, hate speech and misinformation among the ills of its “digital adolescence.”

Tim Berners-Lee issued a cri-de-coeur letter and spoke to a few reporters Monday on the eve of the 30-year anniversary of his first paper with an outline of what would become the web — a first step toward transforming countless lives and the global economy.

Speaking at a “Web@30” conference, Berners-Lee acknowledged that for those who are online, “the web is not the web we wanted in every respect.”

Late last year, a key threshold was crossed — roughly half the world has gotten online. Today some 2 billion websites exist.

The anniversary offers “an opportunity to reflect on how far we have yet to go,” Berners-Lee said, calling the “fight” for the web “one of the most important causes of our time.”

He is convinced the online population will continue to grow, but says accessibility issues continue to beset much of the world.

“Look at the 50 per cent who are on the web, and it’s not so pretty for them,” he said. “They are all stepping back suddenly horrified after the Trump and Brexit elections realizing that this web thing that they thought was so cool has actually not necessarily been serving humanity very well.”

The anniversary is also a nod to the innovative, collaborative and open-source mindset at the Geneva-based CERN, where physicists smash particles together to unlock secrets of science and the universe.

As a young English software engineer, Berners-Lee came up with the idea for hypertext-transfer protocol — the “http” that adorns web addresses — and other building blocks for the web while working at CERN in March 1989. Some trace the actual start of the web to 1990, when he released the first web browser.

Berners-Lee reminisced about how he was really out to get disparate computer systems to talk to one another, and resolve the “burning frustration” over a “lack of interoperability” of documentation from disparate computing systems used at CERN in the late 1980s.

Now, the hope of his World Wide Web Foundation is to enlist governments, companies, and citizens to take a greater role in shaping the web for good under principles laid out in its “Contract for the Web.”

Under the contract’s sweeping, broad ambition, governments are supposed to make sure everyone can connect to the internet, to keep it available and to respect privacy. Companies are to make the internet affordable, respect privacy and develop technology that will put people — and the “public good” — first. Citizens are to create and to co-operate and respect “civil discourse,” among other things.

To Berners-Lee, the web is a “mirror of humanity” where “you will see good and bad.”

“The Contract for the Web recognizes that whether humanity, in fact, is constructive or not actually depends on the way you write the code of the social network,” he said.

Some tough regulation may be necessary in some places, in others not, Berners-Lee said.

On one issue, he’s insistent: “Net neutrality — strong regulation,” Berners-Lee said, hammering a fist on the table. He was alluding to a principle that anyone with an internet connection should have equal access to video, music, email, photos, social networks, maps and other online material.

Berners-Lee said the web has created opportunity, made lives easier and given the marginalized a voice, but “it has also created opportunity for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crime easier to commit.”

Ultimately, his “Contract” proposal is not about “quick fixes,” but a process for shifting people’s relationship with the online world, he said.

“It’s our journey from digital adolescence to a more mature, responsible and inclusive future,” he wrote.

Special K

https://lethbridgeherald.com/news/world-news/2019/03/05/fda-allows-treatment-of-depression-with-club-drugs-cousin/

FDA allows treatment of depression with club drug’s cousin

BY MATTHEW PERRONE, THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ON MARCH 5, 2019.
Spravato, a mind-altering medication related to the club drug Special K, won U.S. approval Tuesday, March 5, 2019, for patients with hard-to-treat depression, the first in a series of long-overlooked substances being reconsidered for severe forms of mental illness. (Janssen Global Services via AP)
WASHINGTON – A mind-altering medication related to the club drug Special K won U.S. approval Tuesday for patients with hard-to-treat depression, the first in a series of long-overlooked substances being reconsidered for severe forms of mental illness.

The nasal spray from Johnson & Johnson is a chemical cousin of ketamine, which has been used for decades as a powerful anesthetic to prepare patients for surgery. In the 1990s, the medication was adopted as a party drug by the underground rave culture due to its ability to produce psychedelic, out-of-body experiences. More recently, some doctors have given ketamine to people with depression without formal FDA approval.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Spravato as a fast-acting treatment for patients who have failed to find relief with at least two antidepressants. Up to 7.4 million American adults suffer from so-called treatment-resistant depression, which heightens the risk of suicide, hospitalization and other serious harm, according to the FDA.

The drug will cost between $590 and $885 depending on the dosage and before various insurance discounts and rebates.

There have been no major pharmaceutical innovations for depression since the launch of Prozac and related antidepressants in the late 1980s. Those drugs target the feel-good brain chemical serotonin, and can take weeks or months to kick in.

Ketamine and J&J’s version work differently than those drugs, targeting a chemical called glutamate that is thought to restore brain connections that help relieve depression.

When the drug works, its effect is almost immediate. That speed “is a huge thing because depressed patients are very disabled and suffer enormously,” said Dr. John Mann, a psychiatrist and researcher at Columbia University. If the drug doesn’t work, physicians can quickly switch to other options, he noted.

The FDA approved Spravato, known chemically as esketamine, based on study results that showed patients taking the drug experienced a bigger improvement in their depression levels than patients taking a sham treatment, when measured with a psychiatric questionnaire.

The drug is designed to be lower-dose and easier to use than ketamine, which is normally given as an intravenous infusion.

Robin Prothro, 60, began taking antidepressants more than 20 years ago. But she says none of the five medications she tried relieved the depression that has stymied her personal and professional life.

Since enrolling in a Spravato trial two years ago, Prothro says her depression has lifted and she’s returned to hobbies she abandoned years ago, like gardening.

She takes the drug every two weeks at her psychiatrist’s office while reclining in a comfortable chair.

“You can feel it coming on, it’s a strong drug,” she said, describing colours and shapes that drift before her eyes. “I just let the drug work. I close my eyes and my mind is amazingly quiet.”

PSYCHEDELICS RECONSIDERED

The ketamine-like drug is the first of several psychoactive substances making their way through the U.S. regulatory process as physicians search further afield for new therapies. Researchers are conducting late-stage trials of psilocybin, the active ingredient in magic mushrooms, and MDMA, a euphoria-inducing club drug, as potential treatments for depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

“Substantially different agents are only rarely appearing from pharmaceutical companies or other laboratories,” said Dr. Paul Summergrad, a psychiatrist at Tufts University. “That’s prompting people to investigate other compounds.”

Unlike ketamine, psilocybin and MDMA have no legal medical use. Classified in the same category as heroin and LSD, they are tightly restricted by the federal government. But the FDA’s approval of esketamine could smooth their path.

BURDEN OF DEPRESSION

Depression is among the leading causes of disability in the U.S. and is being closely monitored by health authorities amid rising suicides nationwide. In 2017, the U.S. suicide rate rose to 14 deaths per 100,000 people, the highest rate in at least 50 years, according to federal records.

Government officials haven’t suggested an explanation for the trend, though academic researchers point to the nation’s widening income gap, financial struggles and divisive politics.

J&J’s drug will be subject to a number of restrictions due to its abuse potential, side effects and lingering safety questions.

The drug will only be given by accredited specialists who must monitor patients for at least two hours after administration, due to its trippy, disorienting effects. Additionally, all patients will be tracked in a registry to monitor long-term safety and effectiveness.

The immediate impact of ketamine is thought to last just four to seven days and there’s no consensus yet on how long patients can benefit from ongoing treatment.

Still, there are few other options for patients who fail to respond to antidepressants. The most effective treatment in such cases, electroshock therapy, requires patients to be fully sedated and can cause persistent memory loss.

Wall Street has high expectations for J&J’s medication, with analysts predicting more than $600 million in annual sales by 2022. But J&J will face competition in the marketplace.

A decades-old drug, ketamine is already used off-label to treat depression by some doctors. At least 150 clinics around the U.S. provide treatment with various forms of the drug, which is available as a low-cost generic. Patients often pay hundreds or thousands of dollars for intravenous infusions of the drug over several weeks or months. Such therapies are generally not covered by insurance because they haven’t been approved as safe and effective by FDA regulators.

Some doctors plan to offer both ketamine and the new J&J drug.

Dr. Steve Levine says having FDA-approved standards for dosing and administering the new drug should raise standards in the field and drive out some of the bad actors who are not qualified to treat depression.

“This is going to bring in some standards, regulation and it’s going to make it safer and more accessible to patients,” said Levine, who serves as vice-president of the American Society of Ketamine Physicians, a group representing doctors, nurses and others using ketamine for treating depression or other nonapproved uses.

___

AP Medical Writer Lindsey Tanner contributed to this story.

Japan finally tries to fix Valentine’s Day

It’s a start….

https://edition.cnn.com/2019/02/13/asia/japan-valentines-day-pushback-intl/index.html

Hong Kong (CNN)Japanese women are rebelling against a decades-old Valentine’s Day tradition that obliges them to give chocolates to men.

On February 14, the nation’s female workers are expected to give “giri choco,” or obligation chocolates, to their male colleagues. Women are also expected to buy heartfelt chocolates, “honmei choco,” for their crushes or loved one.

“Valentine’s Day (in Japan) got turned upside down to become a symbol of the Japanese patriarchy,” said Jeff Kingston, a Japan expert at Temple University in Tokyo.
But this year, women are calling time on the financially draining practice.

A recent survey by a Tokyo department store found about 60% of women will instead buy chocolates for themselves on Valentine’s Day.
Only 35% planned to offer chocolates to their male colleagues.

A boon for chocolate makers

Japan began celebrating Valentine’s Day in 1958, after Japanese confectionery firm Mary Chocolate ran a campaign suggesting that women give men chocolates.
That upended the West’s version of February 14, when men typically buy their loved ones flowers and chocolates and take them out for dinner.

In the 1980s, chocolate companies attempted to redress the chocolate buying balance. White Day was introduced on March 14 as a date for men to return the favor — although Kingston says that women often ended up gifting more chocolates than they received.
Both dates turned out to be a boon for the chocolate industry.

Valentine’s Day now accounts for a quarter of Japan’s yearly chocolate sales, according to the Nagoya International Center.

And that’s a lot of chocolate. Japan consumed $5.39 billion of the sweet stuff in 2017, according to a report published by Mordor Intelligence — more than far more populous China or India.

Banning giri choco

Last Saturday, the Revolutionary Alliance of Unpopular People (RAUP) staged its 12th annual protest against “romantic capitalism” in Tokyo.
“We’re against companies exploiting events like Valentine’s Day to push excessive consumer culture and guilt-trip people who aren’t in relationships,” said Takeshi Akimoto, a member of the tiny fringe group, comprised of nine students and workers.
One of the group’s complaints is that Valentine’s Day chocolates in the workplace can make some employees feel that their value is determined by how much confectionery they receive.
RAUP gathered to shout anti-Valentine's day slogans in Tokyo, Japan.
RAUP gathered to shout anti-Valentine’s day slogans in Tokyo, Japan.
It’s a sentiment shared by others across Japan. Some companies have now banned the custom of “giri choco,” saying it causes problems if colleagues compare prices of chocolates or highlight those who don’t receive any sweets.

“If the popular men get all the chocolate, the morale of all the other workers would drop,” explains Kukhee Choo, a researcher at Sophia University in Tokyo. “That would affect a company’s atmosphere.”
From ‘giri choco’ to ‘tomo choco’
The number of people without a Valentine in Japan is also growing.
In 2015, a record 23% of men and 14% of women were unmarried by age 50, according to the National Institute of Population and Social Security Research.

As a result, even the practice of giving heartfelt chocolates could take a beating. Erico Mori, a Japanese food writer based in Paris, says that consequently a new trend is emerging: that of giving friendship chocolates, or “tomo choco.”
While Choo says that this trend is in some ways positive, as it moves away from patriarchal practices, for chocolate companies it simply represents a shift in marketing.
“It’s a commercial practice that’s been repackaged so (companies) can still maintain their chocolate sales,” says Choo.

The End of an Era: Tsukuji Fish Market

https://edition.cnn.com/travel/article/tokyo-tsukiji-fish-market-toyosu/index.html

I used to love coming here in the morning…..

End of an era as Tokyo’s Tsukiji fish market closes

Patrick St. Michel, CNN • Updated 6th October 2018
02:50
Tokyo (CNN) — Following years of delays and plenty of controversy, Tokyo’s Tsukiji wholesale fish market, one of the city’s most popular destinations for international visitors, has finally shut its doors.
The October 6 closing marks the end of an era for a structure that has been central to the metropolis since the mid-1930s and was considered the biggest fish and seafood market in the world.
The market is moving to a new facility in eastern Tokyo — the Toyosu Fish Market — and is set to start operating October 16.
The opening stands as one of the biggest developments in Tokyo in 2018, closing one chapter for the city and beginning a new one.

Why Tsukiji means so much to Tokyo

For decades, Tokyo's Tsukiji market has been the beating heart of a world-class culinary capital, supplying Michelin-starred chefs.

For decades, Tokyo’s Tsukiji market has been the beating heart of a world-class culinary capital, supplying Michelin-starred chefs.
KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
The Tsukiji wholesale fish market opened in 1935, though similar venues have existed in the surrounding area since the early 1600s.
It quickly established itself as the biggest fish and seafood market in the world, and one of the largest wholesale markets, period.
According to various reports, vendors sell around five million pounds of seafood from all over the world at Tsukiji daily, which works out to about $28 million.
Besides being a vital business hub for all things aquatic, over the years Tsukiji also became a must-see Tokyo tourist destination.
Walking through the inner market — the area where vendors sell seafood to restaurants and other companies — was a sensory overload.
Most popular of all were the early morning tuna auctions, with visitors eagerly showing up daily to watch people bid on huge hunks of fish.
Just as intriguing was the outer market, an area around the main structure housing dozens of food stalls and restaurants. Visitors could enjoy some of the freshest seafood here — assuming they showed up early enough.

The move itself

Demonstrators protest against the impending move of the Tsukiji fish market to Toyosu on September 29, 2018.

Demonstrators protest against the impending move of the Tsukiji fish market to Toyosu on September 29, 2018.
KARYN NISHIMURA-POUPEE/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Plans to move the fish market to Toyosu have been in motion for decades, but didn’t get serious until the early 2010s.
Why move? Reasons centered around the age of the structure itself — these buildings were constructed in 1935, after all — along with the fact the Tsukiji fish market sits on valuable real estate that could prove useful for and after the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
There were hiccups along the way though.
The Toyosu market was originally supposed to open up in November of 2016, but was delayed for various reasons, including worries over contaminated soil.
The spot where the market was being constructed used to house a gas production plant, and it appeared the ground beneath had absorbed chemicals from this factory.
After a campaign to clean it up, experts declared the area safe for use this past summer. Now the setup is complete, with the new market set to open October 16.
It remains a divisive topic, however.
Many citizens of Tokyo worried a move from Tsukiji would deprive the city of a historical sight at a time when many longstanding destinations are starting to vanish.
Even more vocal were the vendors and workers at Tsukiji, who have held protests against the move at the old market in the days running up to its closure.

Toyosu: What to expect

An aerial photo of Tokyo's new Toyosu fish market.

An aerial photo of Tokyo’s new Toyosu fish market.
STR/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
Like it or not, the Toyosu move is happening.
For visitors coming to Tokyo hoping to experience it, here’s what to know.
The closest subway station to the new Toyosu fish market is Shijo-mae Station, located on the Yurikamome Line (the station actually connects directly to the market, so don’t worry about getting lost).
It’s only two stops from Toyosu Station, which also can be accessed via the Yurakucho Line. The market is the only real draw near this station, though Toyosu has a variety of restaurants and shopping centers worth exploring, while the Yurikamonme Line leads to Odaiba, a man-made island in Tokyo Bay.
For those hoping to get to the Toyosu market before sunrise, find a hotel in Toyosu or Odaiba.

Play Video

As we tour the city’s top sites, locals share what makes Tokyo one of the greatest cities in the world. Video by Black Buddha
Entry into the Toyosu market is free for all visitors, with those hoping to see the space at its liveliest advised to get there before 8 a.m.
The famous early morning tuna auctions will still be happening over at the new location, beginning at 4:30 a.m. daily.
Whereas at Tsukiji you had to get a reservation ticket, all you have to do now is show up and try to get a good spot on the special viewing platform.
All dining options are located in the structure as well now, with around 40 food stalls — most carried over from Tsukiji — set to operate.
Beyond that, visitors can also head up to the grass-carpeted roof to take in nice views of the city. Organizers also plan to move the famous Tsukiji shrine to the venue as well.
Remember — this is still a fish market thus low temperatures are the norm. Bring something warm to wear.
As for future plans, plans are reportedly underway to open a hotel and hot spring catered towards tourists at the market in the next few years.

But what about Tsukiji?

Tsukiji's outer market will continue to serve up incredible plates of sushi.

Tsukiji’s outer market will continue to serve up incredible plates of sushi.
Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images AsiaPac/Getty Images
All tourist-related activities at Tsukiji came to a close in late September, and the inner market shut down for good on October 6. But that doesn’t mean the area around the market is suddenly deserted.
The outer market — the one featuring all the food stalls and restaurants — will still be in operation.
Just go to Tsukiji Shijo station on the Oedo line or Tsukiji station on the Hibiya line to get there and enjoy a taste of what is now a part of Tokyo history.
You can also still join one of the many organized tours running in and around the outer market, to learn about the history of Tsukiji and see how it shaped this part of the city.
While the future has arrived with the Toyosu fish market — a venue that does away with the chaos of Tsukiji in favor of a visitor-friendly vibe — it’s still possible to enjoy a taste of the past, at least for a little while longer.

Just Listening to the Snowflake Generation Gives Me Anxiety

U.K. student union bans applause in favour of ‘jazz hands’ because clapping could ‘trigger anxiety’

U.K. student union bans applause in favour of ‘jazz hands’ because clapping could ‘trigger anxiety’
Sara Khan, Manchester University’s liberation and access officer, argued that traditional applause was not sufficiently ‘accessible.’ Whooping is also discouraged

With jazz hands, no one gets hurt.Getty Images
The Telegraph
C
LONDON — Clapping has been replaced with “jazz hands” at a British student union amid fears that the noise of applause could trigger anxiety among some students.

Whooping is also discouraged at Manchester University student union events on the basis that the loud noise may be a problem for those with sensory issues.

The use of “jazz hands” — where students wave their hands in the air — is the British Sign Language expression for applause and is deemed a more inclusive gesture.

At the union’s first meeting of the year, Sara Khan, who is Manchester University’s liberation and access officer, argued that traditional applause was not sufficiently “accessible.” The union resolved to ban clapping in favour of “jazz hands,” and urged “student groups and societies to do the same.”

The students’ union also plans to make “BSL clapping” part of inclusion training for new students.

The union noted that “loud noises, including whooping and traditional applause, could pose an issue for students with disabilities, such as those with anxiety or sensory issues.” Jazz hands should be favoured at debates, panels and talks as well as at meetings of the student senate, it said.

Students who whoop, cheer and clap should face ‘consequences’

“Jazz hands” were adopted by the National Union of Students (NUS) in 2015 on the basis that clapping “triggers anxiety.” Delegates at last year’s NUS conference said that students who whoop, cheer and clap should face “consequences.”

Audience members were repeatedly warned that they must cease whooping to express support for a speaker because it had a “serious impact” on the accessibility of the conference for disabled students.

Critics of the move say that such behaviour is typical of an over-sensitive “snowflake generation” of students who are quick to take offence. Last year it emerged that Oxford University’s equality and diversity unit had issued guidance to students advising them that those who avoided making eye contact with their peers could be guilty of racism.

The University of Glasgow started issuing “trigger warnings” for theology students studying the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, whereby students would be told in advance that they may see distressing images and would be given the opportunity to leave the room.

Let’s silently hear it for jazz hands! Getty Images
Earlier this year, If, Rudyard Kipling’s poem of paternal advice, was scrubbed off a Manchester University building by university students who claimed he was a racist on the basis that the poem was a tribute to Leander Starr Jameson, the British colonial statesman who led the Jameson Raid against the South African Republic in 1895-6.

Student leaders at the university declared that Kipling stood “for the opposite of liberation, empowerment, and human rights.”

The poem, which had been painted on the wall of the students’ union building by an artist, was removed by students in a bid to reclaim history on behalf of those who had been oppressed by “the likes of Kipling.”

A union spokesman said the hand gesture referred to as “jazz hands” was “designed to support those with disabilities and/or sensory conditions to participate in events.”

They added: “Students’ unions strive to make their events welcoming to all of their students by acknowledging their experiences and responding to their needs.”

A spokesman for Manchester University said: “We consider this a matter for the Students’ Union.”