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By Desirae Warkentin and Toban Dyck
Keystone XL fails to launch
The controversial Keystone XL bill that was all but certain to pass through the various levels of government has failed. The Senate voted 59-41 in favour, one vote shy of the needed 60. The Keystone XL project is a proposed 1,897-kilometre pipeline that would connect tar sands oil from Alberta to Nebraska to Texas. Republicans, since gaining ground in the last midterms, have promised to get the necessary approvals to start construction, but many Democrats and environmental groups are digging in their heels, saying the pipeline will mean a net gain in carbon emissions and contribute to global warning. The Republicans recently gained control of the U.S. Senate, but until January the previous Democratic-led Senate presides. [Source: BBC]
“Vape” earns word of the year designation
In what is perhaps the most uninteresting development in a typically interesting field, the Oxford English Dictionary has chosen “vape” as the word of the year: “to inhale and exhale the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.” Gross. Who cares? “Selfie” is at least more fun to say, despite its obvious shortcomings. “A gap emerged in the lexicon, as a word was needed to describe this activity, and distinguish it from ‘smoking,’” read the statement made by the esteemed dictionary. “The word vape arose to fill this gap, and it has proliferated along with the habit.” [Source: The Atlantic]
Anonymous hacks KKK
Early this week, Anonymous began its offensive against the KKK’s distribution of flyers telling activists protesting ahead of the Darren Wilson ruling in Ferguson, Missouri to stand down or face “lethal action.” The hacktivist group responded by taking over social media accounts of local klansmen and releasing their names and faces to the public. Darren Wilson gunned down an unarmed, black man by the name of Michael Brown on August 9 of this year. Yesterday, Anonymous stepped things up by releasing more names of group members, this time with phone numbers. They also took down some hate sites, and released a statement explaining their involvement in the case: “We are not attacking you because of what you believe in as we fight for freedom of speech… We are attacking you because of what you did to our brothers and sisters at the Ferguson protest on the 12th of November. Due to your actions we have started Operation KKK. The aim of our operation is nothing more than Cyber Warfare. Anything you upload will be taken down, anything you use to promote the KKK will be shut down. DDos attacks have already been sent and have infiltrated your servers over the past 2 days… d0x’s have also been launched on leaders of the KKK. All information retrieved will be given to the public.
You messed with our family and now we will mess with yours…“[Source: Death and Taxes]
Thomas King takes home Governor General’s Award for satirical eco-novel
It was third time’s a charm for Thomas King. After being a Governor General’s Award finalist twice before, the Guelph-based author finally won in the English fiction category for his satirical eco-novel “The Back of the Turtle,” which addresses timely environmental issues, as the controversy surrounding Keystone XL and Alberta’s oil sands continues. “I have always been a minor voice for planetary sanity,” King told the Waterloo Record, after receiving the $25,000 award. “I’ve watched for a while as we have teetered toward the idea of profit at any cost. It’s been with us for the last century, but has come to the forefront in the last couple of decades. It seems large corporations have taken over control of everything.” [Source: Waterloo Record]
Rare, time-lapse glimpse of life in North Korea
I thought there would be fewer people. Filmmakers Rob Whitworth and JT Singh explored the North Korean capital city Pyongyang in the following video. There were limitations, as you can imagine, on what they were allowed to film. But what they did manage to capture is quite interesting. [Source: National Geographic]
Follow Toban Dyck at @tobandyck.
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