Commentary

Preserving vanishing wetlands could help offset effects of long-term increases in temperature and precipitation, researchers suggest.

07
November
2019

The grasslands of the Canadian Prairies are a hidden gem for bird watchers, with millions of migratory birds passing through the area each year. But they are also one of the most transformed landscapes in the world, vanishing more quickly than the Amazon rainforest, as they are swallowed up for other uses, such as agriculture and industry.

Scientists are concerned that these already stressed grasslands may not be able to cope with rapid and ongoing climate change. Canada’s prairie grasslands are expected to get warmer and wetter over time, but there will also be rapid swings between wet and dry conditions and seasonal variability.

These shifts have strong links to plant growth, seed production, insect emergence and the region’s suitability to plants and animals.

As these changes take hold, there will be winners and losers. A w...

Headlines

06
November
2019
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Making vaccinations easier to get will keep community safer

Focus on anti-vaxxers a missed opportunity for health-care system to better serve people who aren’t getting immunized for other reasons, argues nursing professor.

Anti-vaxxer. It’s a loaded pejorative term that’s gained traction over past decades as vaccination myths continue to plague public health professionals. It’s a label at the heart of pitched battles
05
November
2019
| 13:55 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Alberta must not return to the harrowing, divisive times of 1980

Western alienation may seem like history repeating itself, but there are crucial differences this time around, argues U of A political scientist.

Political memory might be an oxymoron—the equivalent of a deafening silence, a civil war or old news; it is surely a malleable commodity, stretched to serve radically different purposes in a fight;
04
November
2019
| 18:25 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTAIRE || L’Alberta et la fièvre référendaire

On aurait tort de sous-estimer l’état d’esprit des Albertains, et il faudra aux libéraux quelques voix fortes de l’Ouest pour conseiller le premier ministre.

Après le « retour aux sources conservatrices » lors de l’élection provinciale d’avril 2019, personne ne pouvait être vraiment surpris de voir que l’Alberta vote de nouveau massivement pour les
21
October
2019
| 23:04 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Citizen scientists are helping to keep the study of dinosaurs alive

Volunteers have been instrumental in preparing specimens for research that is revealing more about dinosaurs, says renowned U of A paleontologist Philip Currie.

When I moved to Alberta in 1976 to become the curator of paleontology at the Provincial Museum of Alberta (now the Royal Alberta Museum), I was hamstrung by a lack of funding and an attitude that
18
October
2019
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || What a minority government would mean in Canada

Why a House divided may be a good thing for the country, according to a U of A legal expert.

If the polls are right, at least five political parties will elect representatives on Oct. 21 to the House of Commons with no party commanding a majority of seats—meaning Canada appears poised to
16
October
2019
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Microbiome research needs a gut check

Gut bacteria hype is the latest example of good science being exploited to market bunk, says health policy expert Timothy Caulfield.

It happened with stem cell research. Ditto genetics and precision medicine. And now we are seeing it play out with microbiome research. Good science is being exploited to market bunk products and
04
October
2019
| 13:55 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Treat vaping like tobacco with education and regulation

Alberta is the only province without laws preventing minors from owning vaping products. That needs to change, argues U of A teaching professor.

Alberta is the only province without laws preventing minors from owning vaping products, while every day (or so it seems) a new company, province, state or country is taking measures to restrict the
30
September
2019
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Election slogans do little to inform public of party platforms

They aim to resonate with voters, but campaign catchphrases offer few insights into what parties actually plan to do if elected, says U of A political scientist.

As the federal election on Oct. 21 approaches, Canadians will soon be inundated by the campaign slogans of the parties. Slogans embody hours of research with focus groups in an attempt to both sum up
17
September
2019
| 13:55 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || What it takes for Alberta to compete globally

Improving economic productivity needs to be driven by shared desire among sectors to increase Albertans' well-being, argue experts.

Improving Alberta’s economic productivity or competitiveness is not a goal in and of itself. It needs to be driven by a shared desire to increase well-being. So let’s start by clearly defining what’s
16
September
2019
| 23:59 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Using technology to support caregivers of older people with dementia

Technology can support caregivers of people with dementia, but only if developers and designers take caregiver needs into consideration, argues U of A expert.

In June, the government of Canada released its long-awaited Dementia Strategy for Canada: Together We Aspire. As a family caregiving researcher for more than two decades and a former family
30
August
2019
| 14:00 America/Tegucigalpa

COMMENTARY || Diversity is indispensable to excellence in research

Recent increases in diversity of researchers receiving federal grants show there is no conflict between equity and excellence, argues U of A political scientist.

Earlier this year, NASA’s plan to conduct a historic joint spacewalk of two female astronauts outside the International Space Station was thwarted because the station did not have space suits that