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Charlottetown resident named president of Canadian Space Agency

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CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. —

A former high-ranking official with Veterans Affairs Canada is taking over the top job at the country’s space agency.

On Friday, the federal government announced Lisa Campbell has been appointed as president of the Canadian Space Agency, taking over from Sylvain Laporte who has filled that role since 2015.

With the appointment, Campbell leaves her position as associate deputy minister of Veterans Affairs Canada.

She has lived in Charlottetown since 2018.

Prior to that job, Campbell was assistant deputy minister of defence and marine procurement where she led the organization that buys Canada’s military and marine equipment.

She was also appointed by the clerk of the Privy Council of Canada as UPEI’s deputy minister university champion.

Campbell previously worked at Canada’s competition authority as senior deputy commissioner where she reviewed mergers and business conduct.

The Canadian Space Agency is the federal agency responsible for managing all of Canada’s civil space-related activities.

Innovation, Science and Industry Minister Navdeep Bains said Campbell has the experience and abilities to move the space agency forward on future explorations.

“Her experience in defence procurement will hold her in good stead as she takes over some of the most important procurements for the space sector,” he said.

Source: – The Journal Pioneer

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BREAKING | 24 new cases of COVID-19 in Niagara – Newstalk 610 CKTB (iHeartRadio)

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Niagara Region Public Health are reporting 24 new cases of COVID-19 in the region.

This is the highest single day increase of cases since June 3rd, which saw 40 new cases in the region.

Currently, Niagara has 77 active cases of the virus, and five active outbreaks.

To see the full details from Niagara Region Public Health, click here.

Ontario reported 491 new cases today.

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A physicist says new math proves paradox-free time travel is possible – SlashGear

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Time travel has been the staple science fiction books and movies for many years. Most who have read or watched content focusing on time travel knows about the paradox issue. Perhaps the best example is the 80s classic “Back to the Future,” where Marty accidentally prevents his parents from meeting and has to fix his error before he’s wiped out of existence.

Time travel is something that scientists and physicists have considered for many years. A physics student named Germain Tobar from the University of Queensland in Australia says that he has figured out the math that would make time travel viable without paradoxes. According to Tobar, classical dynamics says if you know the state of the system at a particular time, it can tell you the entire history of the system.

His calculations suggest that space-time may be able to adapt itself to avoid paradoxes. One example is a time traveler who journeys into the past to stop a disease from spreading. If the mission were successful, there would’ve been no disease for the time traveler to go back and try and prevent. Tobar suggests that the disease would still spread in some other way, through different route or method, removing the paradox.

He says whatever the time traveler did, the disease wouldn’t be stopped. Tobar’s work is highly complicated but is essentially looking at deterministic processes on an arbitrary number of regions in the space-time continuum. It’s demonstrating how closed timelike curves, which Einstein predicted, can fit in with the rules of free will and classical physics.

Tobar’s research supervisor is physicist Fabio Costa from the University of Queensland. Costa says that the “maths checks out,” further noting that the results are the stuff of science fiction. The new math suggests that time travelers can do what they want, and paradoxes are not possible. Costa says that events will always adjust themselves to avoid any inconsistency.

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We May Finally Know What Life on Earth Breathed Before There Was Oxygen – ScienceAlert

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Billions of years ago, long before oxygen was readily available, the notorious poison arsenic could have been the compound that breathed new life into our planet.

In Chile’s Atacama Desert, in a place called Laguna La Brava, scientists have been studying a purple ribbon of photosynthetic microbes living in a hypersaline lake that’s permanently free of oxygen.

“I have been working with microbial mats for about 35 years or so,” says geoscientist Pieter Visscher from the University of Connecticut.

“This is the only system on Earth where I could find a microbial mat that worked absolutely in the absence of oxygen.”

Microbial mats, which fossilise into stromatolites, have been abundant on Earth for at least 3.5 billion years, and yet for the first billion years of their existence, there was no oxygen for photosynthesis.

How these life forms survived in such extreme conditions is still unknown, but examining stromatolites and extremophiles living today, researchers have figured out a handful of possibilities. 

While iron, sulphur, and hydrogen have long been proposed as possible replacements for oxygen, it wasn’t until the discovery of ‘arsenotrophy‘ in California’s hypersaline Searles Lake and Mono Lake that arsenic also became a contender.

Since then, stromatolites from the Tumbiana Formation in Western Australia have revealed that trapping light and arsenic was once a valid mode of photosynthesis in the Precambrian. The same couldn’t be said of iron or sulphur.

Just last year, researchers discovered an abundant life form in the Pacific Ocean that also breathes arsenic. 

Even the La Brava life forms closely resemble a purple sulphur bacterium called Ectothiorhodospira sp., which was recently found in an arsenic-rich lake in Nevada and which appears to photosynthesise by oxidising the compound arsenite into a different form -arsenate.

While more research needs to verify whether the La Brava microbes also metabolise arsenite, initial research found the rushing water surrounding these mats is heavily laden with hydrogen sulphide and arsenic.

If the authors are right and the La Brava microbes are indeed ‘breathing’ arsenic, these life forms would be the first to do so in a permanently and completely oxygen-free microbial mat, similar to what we would expect in Precambrian environments.

As such, its mats are a great model for understanding some of the possible earliest life forms on our planet. 

While genomic research suggests the La Brava mats have the tools to metabolise arsenic and sulphur, the authors say its arsenate reduction appears to be more effective than its sulfate reduction.

Regardless, they say there’s strong evidence that both pathways exist, and these would have been enough to support extensive microbial mats in the early days of life on Earth.

If the team is right, then we might need to expand our search for life forms elsewhere.

“In looking for evidence of life on Mars, [scientists] will be looking at iron and probably they should be looking at arsenic also,” says Visscher.

It really is so much more than just a poison.

The study was published in Communications Earth and Environment

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