All posts by Jeff

811 Celebrating Third Year – of harm

More than 130,000 Nova Scotians received health care advice from registered nurses by dialing 811 this past year.

As part of Nova Scotia’s Better Care Sooner plan, 811 is helping to ease pressure at emergency rooms around the province. Nearly half of all callers received instructions on how to treat their symptoms or illnesses at home and were provided with self-care advice. Around 30 per cent of callers were advised to make an appointment with a primary care provider within 48 hours.

Trusted Health Resource 811 Celebrating Third Year

Nova Scotia may be celebrating 811, their dial in health advisory. Unfortunately, I question the quality of advice given to the 130,000 people served. My wife and I recently had reason to call the 811 service and were disturbed by the advice given.

A bat had been in our house and woke us. After chasing the bat out, we started doing some casual online reading and were startled to see several US States recommending immediate treatment for rabies. Unfortunately, bats carry rabies, and you may not be aware you were bitten.

We called the 811 service to determine if rabies is a problem in Nova Scotia; and if so, how we should proceed to be tested and treated. The 811 nurse’s response shocked us: “I don’t think bats carry rabies”; “you would know if you were bitten”. Upon telling her of resources that stated otherwise she instructed us to “not go to the hospital unless you develop symptoms”.

One of the things, both my wife and I remember from our days as nursing students is that rabies is a bad condition. Early treatment is necessary, by the time you develop symptoms, it is too late to save your life. That a medical “professional” would suggest waiting, in a suspected rabies case, told us to seek our advice elsewhere.

While talking to the nurse, my wife became suspicious that the woman was not even located in Nova Scotia. The nurse kept asking if we were located in Nova Scotia, or to contact the forestry department in “Nova Scotia”. Why would an employee in NS, offering an NS service, to people in NS, keep mentioning NS? Nor could she offer us contact information for the government departments she was referring us to? In fact she suggest talking to the “forestry department”, not knowing it is called the Department of Natural Resources.

In the end, the 811 service gave us dangerously inacurate advice, and then directed us to go seek help elsewhere… not really specify where. Nova Scotians are not being well served by the 811 service. In fact, if our case is any example, the service is putting people in danger.

I suppose dying at home would “ease pressure at emergency rooms around the province”.

Politicizing Temporary Foreign Workers

The government cannot in good conscience continue to admit temporary foreign workers to work in businesses in sectors where there are reasonable grounds to suspect a risk of sexual exploitation They’re destroying the industry by creating a labor shortage
– Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism – Adult Entertainment Association of Canada

Canada Bans Foreign Strippers

… and I’m fairly certain neither of them are giving a straight answer.

Continue reading Politicizing Temporary Foreign Workers

Genetic Modification in the News

Preliminary tests revealed the Tifton 85 grass, which has been here for years, had suddenly started producing cyanide gas, poisoning the cattle.
GM Grass Linked to Texas Cattle Deaths

I am generally a proponent for Genetically Modified produce. I believe that modern technology has been responsible for a boom in population (modern medicine) and technology is our only hope for producing sufficient food to feed those masses. Having said that, there are risks associated with this technology. In this case, a product with 15 years of field usage, suddenly started producing cyanide.

I continue to stand by GM research. This scenario does not require GM to have occured. One of the grasses from which genetics were taken is a known cyanide producer. A careful program of breeding would have produced a product that delivered all of the benefits of a hardy grass without the side effect of cyanide production. GM technology was simply used to jump-start the process. That the plant would revert to its old cyanide producing ways could have happened no matter how the plant was produced.

This is not a problem with GM. This plant would have been produced through selective breeding if GM technology were not available. This appears to be a two-fold problem: an unexpected throw-back to an earlier generation of plant, triggered by inappropriate field rotation.

Please take the time to read a brief abstract describing the production of cyanide (cyanogenesis) in African grasses due to overgrazing: Cyanogenesis in savanna grasses

My Email to Peggy Nash

I just sent the following email

To:   Peggy Nash
CC:   Jim Flaherty
Subject: Statements to Flaherty

I recently read an article on CBC regarding a debate between yourself and Flaherty, in which you stated:

If you are a computer software developer, will you be working at Tim Hortons? If you are an unemployed teacher or nurse, will you be working in the agricultural sector picking fruit?

Ironically, my personal life has taken on many elements of the examples used in this debate. I am an experienced Software Developer that has moved across the country to find work. , I am currently employed as a farm labourer, because Tim Hortons would not return my calls after my second interview.

Continue reading My Email to Peggy Nash

Sam Harris is a Scary Man

Sam Harris is a Neuroscientist who actively advocates for a scientific approach to Morality.

I recently watched a presentation by Mr. Harris that he gave at TED entitled “Science Can Answer Moral Questions”. While I agree with his overall point, I am somewhat disturbed by the techniques and examples used to sell his ideologie to the audience.

Mr. Harris is one of those individuals to whom the end justifies the means, or perhaps truth is not allowed to get in the way of The Truth (aka His Truth).

Continue reading Sam Harris is a Scary Man

Global Warming: And Nothing Happened

I’ve been reading a lot of Global Warming articles over the last few days, and suddenly a few events over the last few years coalesced for me:

  • Woman goes hysterical at a town hall meeting. The meeting is regarding what regulations the town should enact around Windmills. The woman get’s up and literally says, “We are all going to drown, but that’s no reason to stop trying”.
  • I read an article1 pointing to the inaccuracy of the Global Warming climate models that people are panicking about
  • I recently moved to a coastal region, I began to sarcastically wonder if I would ever get an ocean view
  • The Government of Nova Scotia recently announced more programs to determine how its going to adapt to rising waters.

This got me thinking. Surely someone has used Google Earth to plot this out. It would be a simple matter of activating terrain, and putting a blue surface at whatever the future sea level was predicted to be. Sure enough someone has.

Continue reading Global Warming: And Nothing Happened


  1. I thought it was Jeffrey Tucker, but I can’t find the reference anymore. I swear it was about two weeks ago, and it discussed the feedback mechanisms involved. This one references the same data

Response to Bill C-10 Video

A friend of mine recently posted this video on Facebook. As I am currently boycotting Facebook, I have to bitch about it here:

I’m no fan of minimum sentencing, I think it is a terrible idea. But, that video had some pretty seriously flawed arguments. If people are basing their decision, that Bill C-10 is a bad idea, on the consumption of media such as this video; I’m thinking its time to start looking for a nice place in the mountains to hide until the madness blows over.

Continue reading Response to Bill C-10 Video

Is Alberta Leaving Your Personal Information Insecure?

The Government of Alberta, Alberta Health Services (AHS) does not take your privacy or security seriously.

Oh, they say they do:

At AHS, everyone, including our staff, physicians, students, volunteers and contracted affiliates, is responsible for protecting the confidential health and personal information of our patients, co-workers, the public and AHS business information.

Information & Privacy and IT Security & Compliance

But the truth is, they can’t really be bothered.

Continue reading Is Alberta Leaving Your Personal Information Insecure?