Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today

1. No big surprises at the 2013 Juno Awards

To the astonishment of absolutely no one, Carly Rae Jepsen snagged several of the main prizes at this year’s Juno Awards held in Regina. Jepsen won both Album of the Year and Pop Album of the Year for Kiss, as well as taking home Single of the Year for the somewhat brainless yet inexplicably catchy “Call Me Maybe”. Other winners include Marianas Trench (that pop punk band with the “Stutter” song) for Group of the Year and Monster Truck (who basically do soundtrack music for EA Sports games) for Breakthrough Group of the Year. Regarding people who don’t make terrible music, Grimes won for Electronic Album of the Year, The Weeknd won for Breakthrough Artist of the Year and R&B/Soul Recording of the Year, and Leonard Cohen won both Artist and Songwriter of the Year. [CBC Music]

2. Boston bombings suspect answering questions

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the only living suspect of the Boston bombings, has regained consciousness, but is still unable to speak due to the (potentially self-inflicted) gunshot wound on his throat. Last night, Tsarnaev began answering written questions from police, who are hoping to discover if there are more unexploded bombs or other members of a terrorist cell who may have been working in alliance with the Tsarnaev brothers. You should be able to expect another week of wild speculation from 24-hour news networks before the actual truth about the bombings begins to emerge. [New York Times, Atlantic]

3. Guantanamo prisoners go on hunger strike

Following a New York Times op-ed piece by Samir Naji al Hasan Moqbel, a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay who has been there for 11 years and has yet to see a trial, 84 of the 166 inmates at the prison are now on a hunger strike. Though, for most of the prisoners, a hunger strike is probably a lot like everyday life, Guantanamo guards have allegedly resorted to putting prisoners on IVs and inserting feeding tubes into their noses to keep them alive. President Obama’s just hoping everyone will just forget about that promise he made to close the prison. [Atlantic, New York Times]

4. UK scientists hope to ‘harpoon’ space junk

Throughout the coming week, a group of UK scientists will be in Germany unveiling their new plan for cleaning up space debris: a huge space harpoon. Though the plan sounds suspiciously like something my roommates and I might come up with after downing a case of Lucky Lager, the scientists believe that if they can harpoon some of the 6,000 tons of space junk surrounding Earth, they can drag it into Earth’s atmosphere where it will burn up upon re-entry. If the plan works, it should free up enough room around the Earth for a few more satellite TV services, so you shouldn’t have to worry about missing a single episode of Here Comes Honey Boo-Boo. [BBC, ESA]

5. Durex invents smartphone-controlled vibrating underwear

In another story involving junk and too much space (you like that?), condom manufacturer Durex has invented a pair of vibrating underwear that can be controlled via a smartphone from anywhere in the world. Though the underwear is not yet in production, this teaser advertisement suggests Durex is pushing the product toward the ‘long-distance relationship’ demographic. The verdict is still out as to whether the awesomeness of this product will be enough to counter the almost inevitable wave of bizarre court cases that are bound to follow in the wake of its release. [TechRadar]

Mark Schram grew up on a ranch in southwestern Manitoba and now writes out of Winnipeg. If you would like to offer him a job or ask him about how to pull a calf, you can contact him at