Thursday, September 5, 2013
Work by researchers based at the U of A has challenged many basic assumptions about dinosaurs while greatly expanding the number of known species
On an afternoon in May, drivers zip down Anthony Henday Drive in Edmonton and children race home from school, all unaware that, in a wooded creek bed just a few hundred metres away, U of A paleontologists and about a dozen students are busy unearthing treasures buried nearly 73 million years ago.
This site, just a few minutes’ drive from campus and not far from the Century Park LRT station, is one of the university’s best-kept secrets: a graveyard containing the remains of at least a dozen dinosaurs.
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Meet four researchers at the U of A who are changing the way we think about dinosaurs
Unearthing a Pack of Albertosaurus
When Phil Currie floated down the Red Deer River in the summer of 1996, he wasn’t intending to change our very ideas about the makeup of dinosaur social networks. He was just on the trail of a good mystery.
His research in the archives at the American Museum of Natural History in New York had turned up important evidence from a 1910 field expedition in southern Alberta led by the famous bone collector Barnum Brown. On that one outing, Brown had uncovered a bonebed with bones from nine different Albertosaurus, a type of tyrannosaur, making it one of the biggest finds in paleontological history.
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Sunday, September 1, 2013
Question Period with Natasha Staniszewski
The TSN anchor and reporter talks about on-air goofs, locker-room interviews and being a woman in a male-dominated field
You started your career in business. What made you switch to broadcasting?
When I was in high school, I had always thought about sports broadcasting, but at the time it seemed like such a crazy thing to try. There weren’t a lot of women in it. Then one day I was in Calgary at a work conference and I was sitting in the lobby — unhappy to be at the conference — and I was watching a sports channel. There was a female anchor on, and I thought, “Why don’t I try that? If she’s doing it, why can’t I?”
Sunday, May 5, 2013
The Keys to Life
Why Randy Marsden is the most important inventor you've never heard of
On February 5, 2012, Gil Allan, ’82 BEd, visited his father in the recovery ward of an Edmonton hospital. Allan was relieved to see his dad, Bud Dahlseide, looking in such good colour and spirits after a month-long hospital stay to remove the defibrillator in his chest and replace it with a pacemaker. They went down to the food court for ice cream, where Dahlseide joked with the staff. “Everyone’s expectation was that he was fine and real soon would be going home,” remembers Allan. “But when I was putting him to bed, he said, ‘You know, I feel funny. I feel like I have the flu coming on.’ ”
Somewhere in the hospital’s corridors, Dahlseide had come into contact with Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile, one of the strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as “superbugs.” Once the bacteria entered Dahlseide’s body, they found their way to his colon, multiplying and releasing toxins that caused severe diarrhea and bloating. Within four days, his kidneys had shut down. “On Feb. 5, he was my dad, he was completely himself,” remembers Allan. “Four days later he was dead.”
What happened to Bud Dahlseide is tragic but increasingly common. Hospital-acquired infections, including C. difficile, are the No. 4 cause of death in North America, behind cancer, heart disease and stroke. Every year, more than 220,000 Canadians will acquire an infection while in hospital, and at least 8,000 of them will die. The numbers are even more staggering in the United States, where 1.7 million people will become infected and nearly 99,000 will die.
“That is the equivalent to the audience at this year’s Super Bowl — and that many will die every year,” says Randy Marsden, ’89 BSc(ElecEng), an Edmonton entrepreneur who is working to drastically lower that figure. “It should be completely preventable.”
Marsden is one of the rare individuals who can claim “inventor” as his occupation. He is in his late 40s, with a thick build, thin-frame glasses and a neatly trimmed beard. His well-kempt appearance belies the popular image of the dishevelled, eccentric genius. It is easier to imagine him the clean-cut Mormon kid from southern Alberta who, at 19, undertook a two-year mission to Japan and became fluent in the language.
Even today, 25 years later, he is as full of certitude as any proselytizer, but his mission now is to save lives by preventing hospital-acquired infections. His target is the keyboard on which this story was typed.
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Saturday, January 5, 2013
Christmas on the Lake
A couple's hideaway brings together family, friends and the occasional moose for the holidays
Lindie and Gerd Fleissner were all set to relocate to the West Coast five years ago when they got a call that upended their plans for life by the ocean. A property up the road from their weekend cabin on Lac Sainte Anne had suddenly come on the market.
“We said 15 years ago that if that lot ever became available, we would have to live there,” says Lindie. So, the Edmonton property managers decided the nearby home was an even better choice than any they could find in the Pacific.
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