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Interior Health finishes 2020 with 83 more COVID-19 cases, no new deaths – Nelson Star

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In their final update of 2020, Interior Health (IH) is reporting 83 new cases of COVID-19 in the region, in the past 24 hours.

Of the total 3,889 since testing began, 677 are active and on isolation. Of these, 38 people are in hospital, five of whom in intensive care.

There have been no new deaths in the region. The total remains at 28.

READ MORE: B.C. finished 2020 with 683 more COVID-19 cases, eight deaths

IH has provided an update on current outbreaks:

  • An outbreak has been declared at Williams Lake Seniors Village with one resident testing positive.
  • Noric House long-term care in Vernon remains at six cases: five residents and one staff.
  • Heritage Square long-term care in Vernon has 21 cases: 13 residents and eight staff.
  • Heritage Retirement Residence in West Kelowna has 36 cases: 31 residents and five staff, with one death connected to this outbreak. (On Dec. 30 IH reported 30 cases; 25 residents and five staff.)
  • Teck mining operations remains at 16 IH cases linked to the outbreak.
  • McKinney Place long-term care in Oliver remains at 75 cases: 54 residents and 21 staff, with 12 deaths connected to this outbreak.
  • Village by the Station long-term care in Penticton remains at nine cases: five residents and four staff with one death connected to this outbreak.
  • Mountainview Village long-term care in Kelowna remains at 16 cases: eight residents and eight staff, with two deaths connected to this outbreak.

READ MORE: New COVID-19 weekly case-count in the Central Okanagan decreases slightly

READ MORE: COVID-19: Petition calls on B.C. to extend students’ winter break

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: phil.mclachlan@kelownacapnews.com


 

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Giant worms terrorized the ancient seafloor from hidden death traps – Livescience.com

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Gigantic predatory marine worms that lived about 20 million years ago ambushed their prey by leaping at them from underground tunnels in the sea bottom, new fossils from Taiwan reveal. 

These monster worms may have been ancestors of trap-jawed modern Bobbit worms (Eunice aphroditois), which also hide in burrows under the ocean floor and can grow to be 10 feet (3 meters) long. Based on fossil evidence from Taiwan, the ancient worms’ burrows were L-shaped and measured about 7 feet (2 m) long and 0.8 to 1.2 inches (2 to 3 centimeters) in diameter, researchers recently reported in a new study.

The soft bodies of such ancient worms are rarely preserved in the fossil record. But scientists found fossilized imprints, also known as trace fossils, left behind by the worms; some of these marks were likely made as they dragged prey to their doom. The researchers collected hundreds of these impressions to reconstruct the worm’s tunnel, the earliest known trace fossil of an ambush predator, according to the study.

Related: These bizarre sea monsters once ruled the ocean 

Bobbit worms are polychaetes, or bristle worms, which have been around since the early Cambrian period (about 543 million to 490 million years ago), and their hunting habits were swift and “spectacular,” the scientists wrote. Modern Bobbit worms build long tunnels to accommodate their bodies; they hide inside and then lunge out to snap prey between their jaws, hauling the struggling creature into the subterranean lair for eating. This “terror from below” grasps and pierces its prey with sharp pincers — sometimes slicing them in half — then injects toxins to make prey easier to digest, according to Smithsonian Ocean

Researchers examined 319 fossilized tunnel traces in northeastern Taiwan; from these traces, they reconstructed long, narrow burrows that resembled those made by long-bodied modern Bobbit worms. And preserved details in the rock further hinted at how ancient predatory worms might have used these lairs, according to the study.

“We hypothesize that about 20 million years ago, at the southeastern border of the Eurasian continent, ancient Bobbit worms colonized the seafloor waiting in ambush for a passing meal,” the study authors reported. Worms “exploded” from their burrows when prey came close, “grabbing and dragging the prey down into the sediment. Beneath the seafloor, the desperate prey floundered to escape, leading to further disturbance of the sediment around the burrow opening,” the scientists wrote.

Schematic three-dimensional model of the feeding behavior of Bobbit worms and the proposed formation of Pennichnus formosae.  (Image credit: Pan, YY., Nara, M., Löwemark, L. et al./Sci Rep 11, 1174 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-79311-0)

As the ancient worms retreated deeper into their tunnel with the thrashing prey, the struggle agitated the sediment, forming “distinct feather-like collapse structures” that were preserved in the trace fossils. The researchers also detected iron-rich pockets in disturbed areas near the tops of the tunnels; these likely appeared after worms reinforced the damaged walls with layers of sticky mucus.

Though no fossilized remains of the worms were found, the scientists identified a new genus and species, Pennichnus formosae, to describe the ancient animals, based on their burrows’ distinctive forms.

The likely behavior that created the tunnels “records a life and death struggle between predator and prey, and indirectly preserves evidence of [a] more diverse and robust paleo-ecosystem than can be interpreted from the fossil and trace fossil record alone,” the study authors reported.

The findings were published online Jan. 21 in the journal Scientific Reports.

Originally published on Live Science.

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COVID-19 outbreak declared over at Coastal Gas Link work sites – CKPGToday.ca

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Starlink satellite internet grants instant sign-up for eligible Canadians – IT World Canada

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Depending on where they live, some Canadians can now sign up for Starlink’s satellite internet service.

Starlink, the new high-speed internet service provided by Elon Musk’s U.S.-based SpaceX firm, recently expanded its first public testing stage to Canada in these coordinates:

Province Latitudes (°N)
Alberta 49.0 – 51.5
British Columbia 48.4 – 51.7
Manitoba 49.0 – 51.1
New Brunswick 45.3 – 47.6
Nova Scotia 45.0 – 46.0
Ontario 43.1 – 51.0
Saskatchewan 49.6 – 50.7

But as Tesla North reported with notes from a Reddit thread, the updated Starlink registration website now asks users for their exact location as part of the invite process. Users within certain zones can sign up immediately. Currently, users in the following areas have seen the most success:

Province Latitudes (°N)
Ontario 44.52; 45.3; 44.1; 43.1
Manitoba 50.01
Alberta 50.71

Once approved, the eligible users can purchase the necessary Starlink hardware, which includes a satellite dish. The Satellite dish costs CA$649, and the service is CA$129 per month.

In a CBC article, some Starlink subscribers have reported service speeds of up to 150Mbps.

The Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunication Commission (CRTC) granted Starlink’s operator, SpaceX, a Basic International Telecommunications Service (BITS) license in October 2020. The license allows SpaceX to provide telecommunication services in Canada but does not allow it to operate as an internet service provider within the issuing nation.

Related:

SpaceX granted basic telecom license in Canada

Starlink says it aims to establish a global network by using a massive constellation of satellites. The satellites float at low earth orbit, which both cuts down on signal latency and can more easily return to earth once they’re decommissioned. But stargazers are worried that the massive amount of satellites could obscure the view of the night sky.

The company has expressed a keen interest in providing internet service to rural and underserved areas in Canada and the United States. It’s currently extending beta testing offers in Canada, U.S. and U.K.

Starlink says it has launched 955 satellites so far.

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