Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Are ice and snow slippery? Edmonton study to find out

Cars and people navigate Edmonton’s snowy streets yesterday? Is this stuff slippery? We may soon know!

The City of Edmonton will commission a major study of the impact of ice and snow on driving conditions, says Edmonton Mayor Don Iveson.

“Specifically, we’re hoping to determine once and for all if ice and snow are slippery,” Mayor Iveson said today, as snow fell throughout the region.

“If it turns out they are, we’re for sure going to pass that information on to Edmonton’s drivers,” the mayor said. “There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that there might be something to this.”

Iveson said that if Edmonton drivers are made aware ice and snow are slippery, it may reduce the number of fall, winter and spring traffic accidents in Edmonton, and possibly even throughout the rest of Alberta and during the rest of the year.

“We might even eventually see lower insurance rates as a result,” he added.

Experts, however, are not so sure Edmonton drivers would change their habits even if they were given convincing evidence such conditions are slippery.

“It’s one thing to give people evidence, it’s quite another to get them to actually believe it,” said one expert, who cannot be identified because it’s too cold outside.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Canada, Alberta, oil industry to erect huge ‘Mother Oil’ statue near Fort McMurray

An artist’s rendering of the planned “Mother Oil” statue near Fort McMurray. The statue will be built in an oilsands sludge pond by a consortium of the Alberta government, the federal government and several energy companies.

The governments of Canada and Alberta, along with a consortium of energy companies, say they will erect a huge 40-metre statue to “Mother Oil” in an oil sands sludge pond near Fort McMurray.

“It was a rare moment of agreement for our two governments,” said a spokesperson for the Alberta Ministry of Petroleum Development and Environmental Considerations, who could not be identified because the entire provincial cabinet was in a secret meeting trying to figure out what to do about Premier Alison Redford.

“Even the premier was on board before she was put on the ‘work plan’ last week, and what she thinks now isn’t really that important,” said the Alberta spokesperson. “Anyway, Danielle Smith, the Opposition leader, is on board too, so we can be confident the project will move forward.”

A spokesperson for the federal government, who could not be identified because spokespeople for the federal government may not be identified, said: “Prime Minister Stephen Harper, leader of the Harper Government, was particularly pleased that this 50-metre statue will be even larger than the Mother Canada statue planned for Cape Breton.”

Mother Canada is big, but Mother Oil is even bigger, because it’s even more important that Canadians never forget just how important petroleum products are to our national economy. “As a matter of fact,” the gender-nonspecific spokesperson said, “hydrocarbons are about the only thing we have left. We don’t do manufacturing in Canada any more.

“Mother Oil is going to be so big we think she’ll be visible from the Space Shuttle, a user of Canadian hydrocarbon resources,” one of the spokespeople said.

Insiders in both governments indicated the inspiration for the giant 60-metre statue actually came from Rex Murphy.

“Wow! CAPP needs to hire Rex Murphy as a spokesperson for our energy industry: telling the crowd we should be proud of what we do,” Smith said in a Tweet. “Thank you, Rex,” she said in another.

The 70-metre-tall statue will hold a torch fuelled by natural gas, a waste product of petroleum extraction that is normally just burned off in Alberta. The statue is meant to humble spectators.