Crime, Bugs and the Physics of Fire Ants


We all know bugs are important in the function of ecosystems but did you know about their importance in the world of forensics, or in the study of physics? This week on Terra Informa, we go to Chris Chang-Yen Phillips to discuss a murder investigation with a forensic entomologist. And after we hear about the physics of fire ants from our partners over at Science Faction.

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Investigating with Bugs

Piecing together a crime can be a messy business. Police can run up against unreliable witnesses, or destroyed evidence. But what if the animals around a body could tell you a story about what happened? Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has this story from forensic entomologist and Simon Fraser University professor Gail Anderson in Vancouver.

Science Faction

Here is a link to Science Faction’s website. This was the first episode in an 8-part miniseries.

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Photo by: AV Design

Piecing Together a Murder with Bugs and Ecology of Caribou

This week on the show, we’re figuring out what bugs can help solve murders, and how boreal caribou are doing. Forensic entomologist Dr. Gail Anderson in Vancouver tells us about her work helping police solve crimes with insects. Then University of Alberta professor Fiona Schmiegelow helps us understand the mysteries of caribou population swings.

Gail Anderson holds up the issue of Time magazine she was featured in

Dr. Gail Anderson’s forensic entomology work has been featured in Time (Photo credit: SFU Media & Public Relations)

Piecing Together a Murder with Bugs
Piecing together a crime can be a messy business. Police can run up against unreliable witnesses, or destroyed evidence. But what if the animals around a body could tell you a story about what happened? Chris Chang-Yen Phillips has this story from forensic entomologist and Simon Fraser University professor Gail Anderson in Vancouver.
Ecology of Caribou
Although in recent years it seems like they’ll put anything on the back of a quarter, the caribou remains one of Canada’s most recognized national symbols, right up there with Mounties and beavers. Sadly, they are a national symbol in decline. From our archives, Terra Informa correspondent Rebekah Rooney helps us understand a little bit about their ecology. Featuring an interview with  University of Alberta professor Fiona Schmiegelow.


Alberta First Nation challenges Shell expansion
The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation is filing a groundbreaking constitutional challenge to the proposed expansion of the tar sands by Shell Oil, a proposal based in the territories of the First Nation. Shell’s proposed Jackpine Mine project would mean 100,000 barrels of oil per day being taken out of Treaty 8 territories.
No European moratorium on Arctic drilling
European union lawmakers have decided not to impose strict regulations or a moratorium on offshore oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. Instead, a new motion proposed that companies must have “adequate financial security” in case of any accidents and to submit safety hazard and emergency response reports to national authorities.
More on this story: Nunatsiaq, The Guardian, Alaska Dispatch
West coast communities fight Coast Guard closures
A union representing the Canadian Coast Guard’s marine communications officers is putting forth another plea to the government to reconsider the closing of three communications offices on the west coast. The federal government has decided to close offices in Vancouver, Comox and Tofino on Coast Salish First Nations’ territories, in the next three years.
More on this story: Metro News, The Province, CKNW AM 980
What’s Happening

Grub @ West Kootenay EcoSociety

If you’re looking for food and friends in Nelson, you might be interested in Grub, on October 19. Grub is a little mix and mingle event hosted by the West Kootenay EcoSociety. Celebrate local food and farms with locally-sourced munchies, and sample some beers and wines.  $10 at the door or become an EcoSociety member and get in free. October 19, from 5-7 pm, at the Anglican Church Hall in Nelson.

More information: West Kootenay EcoSociety

Disc Brake workshop in Winnipeg

If you’re like me and you have a bike but you wish you knew more about how to take care of it, there’s a workshop coming up in Winnipeg you might want to check out. The Bike Dump – that’s a community bike shop in Winnipeg – they’re hosting a disc brake workshop on Wednesday, October 24. Learn a little bit about how disc brakes work. Like all their workshops, it’s free, and it runs from 6 to 8 pm. No prior registration needed!

More information: The Bike Dump

Food Secure Canada Conference in Edmonton

Registration is open now for Food Secure Canada’s Annual Assembly in Edmonton. Taking place November 1st to 4th at NAIT in Edmonton. The theme this year is Powering Up! Food for the Future. Learn about Canada’s food movement, and find ways to get involved in a citizen-owned food policy for Canada. Terra Informa’s own Kathryn Lennon will be speaking! So are Eriel Deranger, Michael Lewis, and other farmers, and researchers, and foodies from Yukon, Guinea-Bissau, and Guatemala.

More information: Register for the Food Secure Canada Conference

Edmonton Food and Agriculture Public Hearing

If you haven’t heard about the October 26th public hearing on Edmonton’s draft food and agriculture strategy, consider heading down to City Hall that day. This will be the only public hearing on the draft City-Wide Food and Agriculture Strategy. It’s a Friday, but you don’t have to stay for the whole thing. If you’re passionate about how we grow food in and around Edmonton, what kind of land is going to be available for it, consider going down. October 26, from 9:30 am til 5:30 pm.

More information: Facebook