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Woman eats 4.5lb steak in less than 3 min

Hats off to Canadian Molly Schuyler, who undertook a record-breaking 72-oz steak consumption on a whim at Sayler's of Portland, OR. Schuyler polished off the 4.5lb slab of meat in less than three minutes. The world record time this feat stood at 6:48. It's not clear whether Schuyler's record has official standing, though: record-setting conditions appear to stipulate that challengers use a knife and fork, not their hands. Nevertheless, Schuyler has done something amazing.

Molly Schuyler Vs. Sayler's 72 oz Steak Record - New World Record (via Neatorama)

Canadian spy agency admits to illegally spying on Canadians

The Communication Security Establishment of Canada -- a secretive spy agency that's already been caught lying to a judge and illegally spying on diplomats at the Toronto G20 -- has admitted that it illegally spied on Canadians as well.

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Chronology of Canadian Tories' war on science libraries

As I've written, the Canadian Harper government's purge of environmental and scientific libraries has been a horrific shambles, as priceless and irreplaceable books and documents going back centuries were thrown away or even burned. Science librarian John Dupuis has assembled a comprehensive timeline of the disaster, with links to news stories and first-hand accounts that should have warned us something was amiss. Cory 15

Portrait of a failing state: Canadian government's worst moments of 2013


Dave writes, "You were kind enough to post my round-up of Canadian politics' dumbest moments last year. Well, this year it seems things have gotten even crazier as we head towards Banana Republic status. Senators taking the country for a financial ride. A government spending millions on self-serving advertising campaigns. We even have some good old fashioned book-burnings!"

Read below for just the War on Science bit. But get a tissue first, as it's enough to make you cry.

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Canadian libricide: Tories torch and dump centuries of priceless, irreplaceable environmental archives


Back in 2012, when Canada's Harper government announced that it would close down national archive sites around the country, they promised that anything that was discarded or sold would be digitized first. But only an insignificant fraction of the archives got scanned, and much of it was simply sent to landfill or burned.

Unsurprisingly, given the Canadian Conservatives' war on the environment, the worst-faring archives were those that related to climate research. The legendary environmental research resources of the St. Andrews Biological Station in St. Andrews, New Brunswick are gone. The Freshwater Institute library in Winnipeg and the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Centre in St. John's, Newfoundland: gone. Both collections were world-class.

An irreplaceable, 50-volume collection of logs from HMS Challenger's 19th century expedition went to the landfill, taking with them the crucial observations of marine life, fish stocks and fisheries of the age. Update: a copy of these logs survives overseas.

The destruction of these publicly owned collections was undertaken in haste. No records were kept of what was thrown away, what was sold, and what was simply lost. Some of the books were burned.

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Hanes's threat to Hanes Hummus: people might mistake chickpeas for underwear!

Canada's Hanes Hummus has received a legal threat from Hanesbrands, Inc, who make underwear and other textiles, demanding that the four-person company change its name lest the public begin to tragically confuse chickpea paste with undergarments. Hanes Hummus's lawyer wrote a spirited and funny letter explaining why Hanesbrands shouldn't be worried about a separate Hanes trademark over dips and spreads, but given the relative size of the two parties, it seems likely that Hanes Hummus will lose its fight if Hanesbrands continues to play the bully.

"Hanes" is short for Yohannes. Hanes Hummus's founder is named Yohannes Petros. He filed for a trademark on "Hanes Hummus" in Canada and the US.

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Canadian spies lied to judge to obtain surveillance warrants


Spies from the Canadian Security Intelligence Service and the Communication Security Establishment of Canada lied to a judge in order to obtain a warrant to spy on Canadians while they were abroad. The warrants they obtained allowed them to spy on these Canadians; but they deliberately misinterpreted the law and asked other countries' intelligence services to conduct the spying for them -- something forbidden under Canadian law. The judge is not impressed.

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Jaunty, Xmassy steampunk assemblage clock sculpture


The latest piece from Roger Wood's Klockwerks studio is this brave, fire-engine-red number that's just put me over the edge into a full-on bout of Christmas cheer.

Oklahoma City cops charge Keystone XL protesters with "terrorism hoax" because their banner shed some glitter


Two protesters who held up an anti-Keystone-XL-pipeline banner at the Oklahoma City headquarters of Devon Energy have been charged with perpetrating a "terrorism hoax" because some of the glitter on their banner fell on the floor and was characterized by OKC cops as a "hazardous substance."

The arrest is an extreme example, but it's not an isolated one. Indeed, leaked documents show that TransCanada has an army of spies assembling dossiers on protesters, and has been briefing the FBI and local law on techniques for prosecuting anti-pipeline protesters as terrorists.

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Harper government wants lifetime gag agreements from Canadian parliamentary staffers

Robbo sez, "In order to receive their negotiated raises and any holiday bonus, Parliament Hill staffers are being required to sign a lifetime confidentiality agreement, with hefty penalties for any breach, designed to thwart whistleblowers. So much for transparency in government."

(Not?) Coincidentally, the Harper government is embroiled in a potentially fatal scandal involving the Prime Minister's Office conspiring to cover up hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of expenses fraud by prominent Tory senators, and the only reason the PM is still in office is that none of his staffers have directly fingered him (yet?).

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Rob Ford implies journalist is a pedophile

Just when you thought Toronto Mayor Rob Ford couldn't sink any lower, he implied that a Toronto Star reporter was a pedophile. The reporter he targeted is a particular thorn in the mayor's side, having gone to the mayor's house to investigate an adjacent property that he'd pulled strings to buy. Cory 32

Canada's spooks were NSA bagmen, established spy-posts in 20+ countries and "transnational targets"


The CBC is reporting on a four-page, top-secret, "hyper-sensitive" Snowden leak that shows that the Communications Security Establishment Canada was used as a kind of innocent-faced bagman by the NSA, going to places where the Americans were not well-liked or trusted in order to install surveillance stations for the NSA's use. Canada established spy-posts in "approximately 20 countries" for the NSA, as well as "transnational targets." The CBC quotes an expert who predicts that the revelation will undermine Canada's diplomatic standing and relations around the world (duh), and who speculates that the Prime Minister himself may have signed off on the arrangement.

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Rob Ford police document: allegations of heroin use and more


Another tranche of police documents on Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has been released [474 page (!) PDF]. Despite the mayor's insistence that all of his secrets were now out in the open and he had nothing more to hide, the new materials contain several bombshells, including allegations of heroin use, bribing crooks with marijuana, and lying about the infamous crack video.

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Assemblage sculpture raygun


The latest confection from mad steampunk sculptor and clockmaker Roger Wood is this spiffing assemblage raygun. Want.

ACTA about to be quietly written into Canadian law


Widespread, global protests killed ACTA, the secretive, over-reaching "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement," which imposed brutal copyright rules on its signatories. But now, the Canadian Conservatives have introduced Bill C-8, which turns ACTA's provisions into Canadian law, and they're fast-tracking it through with little debate or public input.

If passed, C-8 will further criminalize infringement (that is, put Canadians in jail for watching TV or listening to the radio the wrong way), turn the police into private copyright enforcers for the American entertainment industry, and interfere with the trade in legal generic drugs and other products.

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