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Canadian Government Trucking Generations of Scientific Data To the Dump

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the just-look-on-wikipedia dept.

Canada 209

sandbagger writes "Canada's science documents are literally being taken to the dump. The northern nation's scientific community has been up in arms over the holidays as local scientific libraries and records offices were closed and their shelves — some of which contained century old data — emptied into dumpsters. Stephen Harper's Tory government is claiming that the documents have been digitized. The scientists say, 'The people who use this research don’t have any say in what is being saved or tossed aside.'"

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209 comments

This is goddamned appalling (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961029)

No. Seriously.

Anonymous Coward (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961173)

I know. What an ootrage.

Throwing it away makes good sense! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961439)

It actually makes a whole lot of sense. The reason why this is happening is not only to make room and lower storage costs but mainly that those records and other data have the potential to undermine the findings of future research. That is why it is important to have everything in digital form. That way in future data can be corrected long after it has been obtained in cases where it does not aligh with research, or discarded altogether. Every morning you wake up to a brave new world.

Re:Throwing it away makes good sense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961731)

+5 Have_always_been_at war_with_Eurasia.

Re:Throwing it away makes good sense! (1)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | about 3 months ago | (#45961831)

Wrong book.

Re: Throwing it away makes good sense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961983)

Right book.. you will not be banging all those wonderful women high on soma, but instead rejoice over an increased chocolate ration (or else)

Re:Throwing it away makes good sense! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961797)

It actually makes a whole lot of sense. The reason why this is happening is not only to make room and lower storage costs but mainly that those records and other data have the potential to undermine the findings of future research. That is why it is important to have everything in digital form. That way in future data can be corrected long after it has been obtained in cases where it does not aligh with research, or discarded altogether. Every morning you wake up to a brave new world.

Senator Al Gore introduced us to "An Inconvenient Truth" but Prime Minister Stephen Harper prefers to bury "Any Inconvenient Truths." Sadly the so-called scientists employed by the Government of Canada allow themselves to be muffled by the politicians and bureaucrats. Any real scientist is only interested in the truth and will not be silenced or exploited by those with an agenda. In Canada, where have all the real scientists gone?

Re:This is goddamned appalling (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961451)

All hail supreme leader Kim Jong-Un-Harper.

Re:This is goddamned appalling (1, Insightful)

icebike (68054) | about 3 months ago | (#45961485)

Meh.

If the documents have in fact been digitized then they have gone to a better place. Someplace where they can be used, in stead of moldering away. Some place they can't walk away to never be seen again.

Just make them prove that they are available, in more than one location, from a computer connected to the web, and call it a day.
Maybe these aren't in the public domain and you won't find them on line, but they should be asked to prove the still exist.

Go visit the dump, and do some random dumpster diving. Google a passage or phrase from random documents and see if they
appear.

Lets not get too sentimental about paper.

Re:This is goddamned appalling (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 3 months ago | (#45961661)

If the documents have in fact been digitized then they have gone to a better place.

Only if they are quality checked after being digitised. Scans showing nothing but the holes in fan fold paper are common when scanning faint dot matrix printouts.

Re:This is goddamned appalling (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961663)

The claim that the Canadian government is "just" digitizing them appears to be false. Instead they are burning and throwing them in the dumpster: Ref 1 [boingboing.net] . Ref 2 [thetyee.ca] Also, these documents are about the natural environment or climate science which the Conservatives (big C) have attacked, in part by muzzling scientists [www.cbc.ca] . These documents are going to a murky bottom at the bottom of a lake so to speak. Maybe somebody should be properly digitizing them though, in which case I would agree with your "Meh." statement.

Re:This is goddamned appalling (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961867)

You fucking idiot, NOTHING has been digitized. They are CLAIMING they are digitized, they have not actually BEEN digitized.

It's a cover story to allow the destruction of records that will allow drilling/mining/fracking companies to have completely uncontested applications for operating in the Canadian wilderness, because there will be no environmental records in which to make a negative assessment about the impact of such operations. That's the whole point. Erase the past to clear the way for the future.

Please use what's left of your pot-addled brain and actually THINK, for once in your life. If you read the facts on this story you'd know NOTHING IS BEING PRESERVED.

Re:This is goddamned appalling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45962093)

Do you know what the word "If" means? It is the second word of the post you replied to and rather important to understanding the post, or in your case, missing the point.

Re:This is goddamned appalling (3, Insightful)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 months ago | (#45961943)

No, but it's symbolic of what the Harper government has been doing (from my understanding anyway.) Canadian scientists would be smart to make a big deal of it even if it's not. I mean, making a big deal of "You're writing laws to favor your special interests when we're telling you it's causing huge problems with the climate" didn't resonate with voters evidently. Maybe this will, and they can use it to help stuff that does matter.

Re:This is goddamned appalling (2)

dryeo (100693) | about 3 months ago | (#45962097)

There's a reason that they're dong it over the Christmas holidays and it isn't to get more publicity to brag about the digitizing.

Re:This is goddamned appalling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45962253)

Lets not get too sentimental about paper.

While that makes a catchy punchline, it's certainly not what the article is about. The problem is the current lack of access. And if the material was not digitized, its a permanent effect.

Re:This is goddamned appalling (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961729)

Every dictatorial government in recent history has practised the art of "book burning". The current Conservative government is on a quest to stamp out science that doesn't match their policies. The environment, the poor, seniors, veterans and many are paying the price to "balance" the 2015 budget. Conveniently an election year.

Re:This is goddamned appalling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961837)

Time for Harper and his cronies to go.

Cute. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961035)

Lay people are left out of the equation, as usual.

Why dump'em? (0)

oldhack (1037484) | about 3 months ago | (#45961047)

Ran out of igloos?

It costs money to store them (3)

rsilvergun (571051) | about 3 months ago | (#45961407)

And we're all Taxed to the Max. At the risk of being modded troll I'll point out that this is what happens when "Fiscal Con conservatives" get in power. You didn't think they were going to cut their own pet projects, did you? As the saying goes, this is why we can't have nice things...

Sounds like Rainbows End. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961079)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbows_End

He who fails to learn from history... (5, Insightful)

HellCatF6 (1824178) | about 3 months ago | (#45961099)

... is doomed to repeat it.

Does anyone else get the impression that we're on the downside of civilization?

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (1)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 3 months ago | (#45961135)

It's quebec, they have been marching steadily backwards for decades now.

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961209)

wtf this is about the Conservatives, they have a tiny minority in Quebec and they do not exist provincially...

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961585)

It's quebec, they have been marching steadily backwards for decades now.

free Quebec bashing once agin ......

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45962049)

Just so you know, there's a difference between Federal (Conservative currently in power) and provincial (PQ in power). Just because this happened in Quebec, doesn't mean it's what we wanted, this is the Federal's (Canada as a whole) decision, not Quebec.
The one who's backwards here is Harper(Federal) who has done nothing good for Canada. (He's letting our national postal service discontinue home postal delivery, seriously he's completely bonkers.)

Will Slashdot learn from the Digg v4 diaster? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961167)

You bring up an excellent point. Scientific documents like these are invaluable due to the history and knowledge that they contain. We, as a society, must learn from them.

But I need to ask, will Slashdot learn anything from the Digg v4 disaster? I sure hope so, but I also have my doubts, because the Slashdot beta is so thoroughly awful.

Being as awful as it is, and having heard so, so many complaints here, I still have the gut-wrenching feeling that it will replace the current site. It feels like Digg v4 all over again.

I fear that we loyal Slashdot users will be shit upon by the beta going live. We will not be able to use the new site, it is just that bad. We will be forced to flee. We will be forced to find online sanctuary elsewhere.

Slashdot could very well be ruined, just like these documents. Slashdot may itself become a case study, much like Digg v4. But will those who are making the real decisions be aware of the history that came before? Will they learn anything from the misfortune of others? They should, of course, but I fear they will not.

Re:Will the slashdot beta die? (0)

hendrikboom (1001110) | about 3 months ago | (#45961281)

Is there any substantial support for the slashdot beta?

-- hendrik

Re:Will the slashdot beta die? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961517)

From the community, you mean? I sure haven't seen much at all. Just about every comment I've seen (must be well over 50 at this point), with the exception of maybe one or two, has not been in favor of it. Many comments have been outright hostile toward it. The couple that weren't completely against it weren't exactly for it, either. I remember one of the claims, which basically amounted to it "not being as shitty on mobile devices". That's not really what I'd consider a supportive comment.

It's a mystery why the Slashdot beta hasn't been canceled. It's a failed software project by every metric. The users hate it, it's technologically inferior, it has been in the works for a long time without any real improvements, and it'll likely be forced on us even though it is worse than what we've currently got. We've seen this play out before, and it's a disaster each and every time.

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961203)

Who cares, Canada's Next Top Model is on. I need to see more ball kicking, ball smashing, ball crushing, EXTREME!!!!!!!! action!!!!!! Fuk yeah!

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (1)

Maalstrom Aran (889627) | about 3 months ago | (#45961217)

History? What's that? The world didn't exist before me! But honestly, I think we have to form a true civilization before we can degrade from one, and from what I can tell people have just been making stuff up as they go. Our 'civilization' seems like a patchwork that is wearing thin at the seams (institution on top of institution), I think it's time to design a suit(systemic approach) to present ourselves in, you know, all respectable and stuff. You never know when we'll have visitors. Hell, who cares about the visitors, I just don't want my backyard to be diseased and radioactive, damnit.

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961223)

>Does anyone else get the impression that we're on the downside of civilization?

Anyone who thinks two data points form a perpetual straight line might.

It's so much more than "two points". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961293)

You say it's just "two points", but there are many, many more on this line. And, yes, the trend among these many points is indeed a downward sloping one.

We have these documents being made far harder to access, assuming they're not completely lost. We have "free trade" with third-world shitholes destroying the economies of all Western nations. We have rampant and unchecked immigration destroying Western nations, the most successful nations to have ever existed. We have political correctness running wild, preventing real discussion about the significant problems facing Western society today, thus preventing any sort of positive action to remedy these issues.

For some closer-to-home examples, just look at the Slashdot beta site, for crying out loud. Look at the hipsters who have done their best to destroy major open source projects like GNOME. Look at the crap we call JavaScript and Ruby on Rails. Look at Windows 8.

There are far, far more negative points in our graph than there are positive ones. The trend slopes downward at an ever-increasing rate. What was one great has been sullied. What was sullied has become soaked in the feces of a thousand cows. The trend is a downward one, and the data points are many.

Re:It's so much more than "two points". (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961329)

Look at Windows 8.

No, I won't! Go away, Microsoft! You can't make me!

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961333)

The quote is:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it
-- George Santayana

.

Does anyone else get the impression that we're on the downside of civilization?

Well yes, when people feel compelled to rephrase famous quotes in gender-specific language --rather than the other way around --one does rather get the feeling that we are devolving.

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 3 months ago | (#45961783)

The quote is:

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it -- George Santayana

Ah! But the real question is which song was it from: She's Not There, Oye Como Va, or Black Magic Woman?

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45962161)

Ah! But the real question is which song was it from: She's Not There ...

She's Not There is an old song by The Zombies, not Santayana or Santana ... if that narrow it down any.

History teaches! But she has no pupils.
--Gramsci

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961391)

We cannot have a catastrophic collapse of human knowledge if we don't put all of our gathered knowledge into a form which will be easily destroyed by a major solar event.

Feel free to substitute any of the other possibilities for "major solar event".

Plus, worst case scenario, it's an excuse to kill a bunch of trees again to put it ll back on paper.

Put the stupids in charge, get stupid.

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 3 months ago | (#45961403)

Does anyone else get the impression that we're on the downside of civilization?

Sadly, for some number of years now.

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | about 3 months ago | (#45961429)

... is doomed to repeat it.

Does anyone else get the impression that we're on the downside of civilization?

I know, right. First Dr. Who, and now this.

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (4, Funny)

godel_56 (1287256) | about 3 months ago | (#45961465)

... is doomed to repeat it.

Does anyone else get the impression that we're on the downside of civilization?

It's hard to learn from history when the records of it have been shredded.

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45962195)

It's hard to learn from history when the records of it have been shredded.

Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.
-- George Orwell (1984)

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (2)

compro01 (777531) | about 3 months ago | (#45961935)

Yup. We didn't learn from electing conservatives last time (Lyin' Brian), so we gave them a majority again. Maybe it'll stick this time.

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 3 months ago | (#45961963)

I think many people have, throughout the history of civilization, gotten that impression, yes.

Re:He who fails to learn from history... (1)

Capsaicin (412918) | about 3 months ago | (#45962215)

I think many people have, throughout the history of civilization, gotten that impression, yes.

And, one imagines, most especially when their particular civilisations were in decline. Not that we would know what that feels like.

Take heed, Slashdot. The same happens here. (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961111)

Slashdot itself is very much in the same situation at the moment. Its original heritage is in the process of being thrown out, for absolutely no good reason at all.

The current Slashdot site, while not perfect by any means, has many benefits above and beyond the new beta site that so many of us have been subjected to against our will. It is faster. It doesn't waste screen space. The fonts are legible. The list of stories is easy to read, and without useless large images. The discussion is much easier to read and participate in.

Just as original scientific documents may be thrown into a dumpster, I fear that we'll see the existing Slashdot site thrown in alongside them. The "digitized" scientific documents will never be the same as the originals, just like the beta Slashdot site will never be as good as the existing site. The current site contains the essence of what Slashdot was and is. The Slashdot beta site is a sad hipster-inspired parody; a Web 2.0 monstrosity that comes five years after the Web 2.0 hype blew over.

Once the originals are gone, it is quite unlikely that they'll ever be recovered. The damage, once done, is done for all eternity. I weep for these scientific documents, and I weep for what will become of Slashdot once the beta site replaces the current one. I weep, and I weep.

Re:Take heed, Slashdot. The same happens here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961775)

I was going to print out a hardcopy of this thread and put it in the bin, but I got Shazbotted.

Wouldn't be an issue.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961131)

If it weren't for the Tory government trying to trump Science with Politics then this wouldn't be a story... I always see Libraries recycling books etc. and this will save a lot of money.

It does seem sad that digitizing books leads to destruction of physical copies. I hope they are earnestly being offered to other libraries beforehand.

But they haven't digitized the material (4, Informative)

sandbagger (654585) | about 3 months ago | (#45961211)

They've only said that they have. I realize that it's considered poor form around here to read the article before commenting but...

Re:But they haven't digitized the material (3, Funny)

PPH (736903) | about 3 months ago | (#45961375)

I'm sure they digitized it. Now was that face up or down on the flatbed scanner? I can never remember.

Re:Wouldn't be an issue.. (5, Informative)

Minwee (522556) | about 3 months ago | (#45961315)

It does seem sad that digitizing books leads to destruction of physical copies. I hope they are earnestly being offered to other libraries beforehand.

The point here is that the books are _not_ being digitized, and it is the _only_ copies which are being destroyed [thetyee.ca] . This isn't the public library getting rid of their extra copies of "Fifty Shades of Gray", it's decades of scientific data being sent to dumpsters or outright burned. In many cases the destruction has been done without any attempt at identifying or recording the books being destroyed, so we may not even be able to know exactly what has been affected.

Re:Wouldn't be an issue.. (5, Insightful)

i_ate_god (899684) | about 3 months ago | (#45961371)

not to mention the fact that a lot of this research was paid for by the tax payer. This is knowledge that Canadian citizens have a right to access

Re:Wouldn't be an issue.. (1)

icebike (68054) | about 3 months ago | (#45961537)

The point here is that the books are _not_ being digitized,

Make them prove that it has been digitized, and/or that copies exist elsewhere. In the US, any Tom Dick or Harry can get a restraining order, I'm sure there must be similar capabilities in Canada.

But the point is we only have some hand wringing allegations from one source that claims they are not digitized. Lets sort that out factually before we get all maudlin about it.

Re:Wouldn't be an issue.. (-1, Flamebait)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 3 months ago | (#45961539)

Typical uninformed, illiterate Canadian liberal response. Quebec has nothing to do with the Federal government dumbass. Now go back to smoking your doobie...

The best way to settle this dispute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961153)

Stephen Harper's Tory government is claiming that the documents have been digitized. The scientists say, 'The people who use this research don’t have any say in what is being saved or tossed aside.'

Clearly, someone should do a study.

Lots of smoke, little fire? (3, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 3 months ago | (#45961157)

Clearly there is a lot of smoke and hot air being generated, not sure if there is really much of a fire.

That’s no way to treat a library, scientists say [thestar.com]

Their internationally renowned collections have been transferred to the two federal aquatic libraries that remain, in Sidney, B.C., and in Dartmouth, N.S. ...

Gail Shea, minister of fisheries and oceans, accuses critics of spreading “serious misinformation.” Her department insists there will be “no changes to the size or scope of the collection.”

In a statement emailed to the Star by her spokesperson, Shea said no more than a dozen nonemployees visited each library annually. And more than 95 per cent of documents provided to users were done so over the Internet.

“It’s not fair to taxpayers to make them pay for libraries that so few people actually used,” Shea says, explaining the government’s main reason for consolidating the collections. The closings will save $443,000 in 2014-2015, according to government estimates. .....

The research, Ayles argues, “is effectively lost because it’s no longer accessible. It’s like stuff in your grandfather’s basement.”

So the data hasn't disappeared, it's now in another library where it is less convenient to access.

Lost in a dump. Lost in Dartmouth. No difference! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961215)

To researchers, academics, students and even everyday folk in Canada's most populous areas (Alberta, Ontario and Quebec), it really makes no difference if the material is in a dump somewhere, or if it's in obscure, out-of-the-way towns or cities like Sidney and Dartmouth. It's just about as inaccessible either way.

Re:Lost in a dump. Lost in Dartmouth. No differenc (1)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | about 3 months ago | (#45961307)

To researchers, academics, students and even everyday folk in Canada's most populous areas (Alberta, Ontario and Quebec), it really makes no difference if the material is in a dump somewhere, or if it's in obscure, out-of-the-way towns or cities like Sidney and Dartmouth. It's just about as inaccessible either way.

Inaccessible? Because they suddenly don't have the Internet in Canada, which according to the article, is how 95% of the documents in that library were being requested anyway? Seems to me they've made it accessible not just to Canada's most populous areas, but to anyone anywhere in the world.

Re:Lost in a dump. Lost in Dartmouth. No differenc (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961337)

So what are the URLs of these documents, then? How can I access these documents at this very minute? I'm on the Internet, and I know you are, too. So provide us some URLs. I'm serious. Provide them now. We're waiting. You said they're more easily accessible now, so you should be able to immediately provide us with the URLs to access each and every one of these documents that has been digitized. What's that you say, you can't?

Re:Lost in a dump. Lost in Dartmouth. No differenc (0)

icebike (68054) | about 3 months ago | (#45961669)

Google works for you to fella. Do your own damn homework.

Without looking in google, can you find the street address of even one of these 9 libraries?
No? I thought not.

Re:Lost in a dump. Lost in Dartmouth. No differenc (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961823)

What the fuck good does knowing the addresses of the libraries do if the documents are no longer there? NOT A WHOLE LOT OF GOOD, DICKWAD!

And what the fuck good does Google do if the "digitized" documents really aren't accessible? NOT A WHOLE LOT OF GOOD, DICKWAD!

The GGP and you have both claimed that these documents are now easily accessible to anyone on the Internet now that they've allegedly been digitized. Yet neither you nor him can provide even a single goddamn link to any of them. PROVDE THE LINKS, DICKWAD, OR SHUT THE HELL UP!

Not 95% of documents (5, Informative)

Namarrgon (105036) | about 3 months ago | (#45961535)

95% of requests were over the Internet, rather than in person - no surprise there, it's more accessible. We have no idea how many of the documents were available to be accessed this way, though.

No wait, we do. FTFA:

In late December, as outrage over the library closings grew, her department posted answers to 19 questions online [dfo-mpo.gc.ca] . It gave the total size of the print collection as 660,000 items. Some 30,000 departmental publications are available online and more documents are being digitized. But many books can’t be digitized due to copyright laws.

So only 4.5% of documents are available online (assuming departmental publications == print collection, which I'm not sure about). Too soon to start throwing out entire collections, it seems - if ever.

Re:Not 95% of documents (1)

shugah (881805) | about 3 months ago | (#45961701)

Even the 5% that are/have been/may be digitized, if they are not properly indexed and tagged they are essentially lost. Digitizing an academic archive is not simply stuffing pages in a scanner.

Re:Lost in a dump. Lost in Dartmouth. No differenc (1)

Cattrance (1537577) | about 3 months ago | (#45961623)

There is a difference between "inaccessible" and "in a dump somewhere". The difference being it is retrievable if it's sitting in a dusty library somewhere but not if rotting in landfill. There have been many times where I have been searching for a long lost article where the only version of it is in hard copy in the library and there is no current study that would take its place. If you are desperate and far away you can call a colleague to find the paper but you cannot find lost papers in a tip.

Throwing out these old papers would only make a skerrick of sense, and I mean a only a skerrick, if it had been directly verified that there was a digital copy. I have found that digital copies exist mainly for new papers not for old ones such as these. There is a high risk that information will be and has been irretrievably lost because of actions such as these.

Dumping of historical studies and data on this scale saddens me, who knows what we have lost?

Re:Lots of smoke, little fire? (5, Informative)

dryeo (100693) | about 3 months ago | (#45961273)

Bullshit. Even the former Torie Minister of Fisheries says this is nuts along with most every other decision this government has made when it comes to the fisheries. This government has exactly one aim, to sell tar, I mean oil, gotta be politically correct.
They've pissed away the budget surplus while claiming to be conservative and much better fiscal managers. They've sold or allowed to be sold much of the tar, whoops I mean bitumen sands to China. They import foreign workers at a never before seen rate, not to do IT as they don't believe in it but to work at McDonalds and Tim Hortons and force wages even lower while Chinese investors drive the cost of living up. They treat a 38% win as an overwhelming mandate and cry about how it is undemocratic for the majority to vote against them and prorogue Parliament whenever they feel like it because, you know, democracy.
Sorry I don't have any assistants to help me get links, I'm in Canada so only have a dial-up connection.

Re:Lots of smoke, little fire? (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 3 months ago | (#45962151)

They've sold or allowed to be sold much of the tar, whoops I mean bitumen sands to China.

So?
Do you have a preference as to where Canada sells its petroleum products?

Keystone XL was mostly about getting Canadian oil to the Gulf of Mexico for easier shipment to China.
Canada is also looking at making deals with India for oil sales.
I imagine you have and opinion on that as well?

Re:Lots of smoke, little fire? (1)

khallow (566160) | about 3 months ago | (#45962229)

Keystone XL was mostly about getting Canadian oil to the Gulf of Mexico for easier shipment to China.

No. It was for easier shipment to high volume refineries. Now afterward, I suppose they could sell it in China or they could sell it in the largest oil market in the world which these refineries happen to be in the middle of.

Re:Lots of smoke, little fire? (1)

NIK282000 (737852) | about 3 months ago | (#45961345)

And how much do you trust electronic storage? In my 15 years of computer use I have had a hell of a lot more hard drives fail than books. Put them in shipping crates and leave them some where dry. Even if they sit there for a thousand years they may still be useful to some one else after we are all gone. No one thinks about the REALLY long game.

Re:Lots of smoke, little fire? (2)

vux984 (928602) | about 3 months ago | (#45961393)

Even if they sit there for a thousand years they may still be useful to some one else after we are all gone. No one thinks about the REALLY long game.

I've read quite a bit of reasearch that suggests dumps packed so tight that nothing in them decomposes...

So a dump might well be the best place for them.

Re:Lots of smoke, little fire? (3, Interesting)

jamesmhiebert . (2949915) | about 3 months ago | (#45961357)

In a statement emailed to the Star by her spokesperson...

OK, who do you trust? The spokesperson for a minister with no scientific background and who has no idea what actually happens on the ground, or the scientists who have spent their entire careers working for below-market pay just because they love the pursuit of knowledge?

And come on, a savings of $443k a year for a federal library with over a hundred years of data? That paltry savings is just a drop in the bucket for the federal budget. That's the cost of around five people per year, when it probably cost hundreds of millions of dollars to do the research and collect the data of the course of the decades.

Re:Lots of smoke, little fire? (0)

sandbagger (654585) | about 3 months ago | (#45961447)

>OK, who do you trust?

Whom. WHOM, damn it!

Re:Lots of smoke, little fire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961571)

Whom the fuck cares?

Re:Lots of smoke, little fire? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961671)

You mean, "Whom the Canuck cares?"

Smoke & mirrors on user statistics (4, Interesting)

ancarett (221103) | about 3 months ago | (#45961373)

Don't believe Shea's claims about the usage numbers. Those stats reflect people who requested help in using the libraries - relatively rare with specialized research collections where a host of users just get to work in what used to be showpiece collections. Many of these users came from the DFO institutions but also from outside, including academics, people in industry and other government employees. The provision of materials over the internet? Largely had to be digitized from library collections. Now we'll have neither the collections nor the librarians to do so.

The hasty closures and haphazard deaccessioning of these collections that represent substantial investments of taxpayer money over decades? Entirely the opposite of what conservatives claim to value - careful custody of a nation's heritage and citizen investment. (Canada's federal government is in the control of the Progressive Conservative party, hard at work muzzling the scientists [thetyee.ca] supported by our tax dollars.)

From The Tyee [thetyee.ca] 's December 23 story on the topic, "What Driving Chaotic Dismantling of Canada's Science Libraries" [thetyee.ca] : Moreover records on library usage were overtly biased and based on who asked for help, said Burton Ayles, a retired director general for DFO who lives in Winnipeg and has used the Freshwater Institute library frequently.

"Most people that come in to the library don't have to request help. They just use the material. Just look at any regular library."

Re:Smoke & mirrors on user statistics (1)

cold fjord (826450) | about 3 months ago | (#45961589)

The Tyee article [thetyee.ca] you link to does paint a very different picture, but I also have to wonder how even handed it is given some bits like the passage below:

Many scientists, including Hutchings and world famous water ecologist David Schindler, compared the government's concerted attacks on environmental science to the rise of fascism and the total alignment of state and corporate interests in 1930s Europe.

"You look at the rise of certain political parties in the 1930s," noted Hutchings, "and have to ask how could that happen and how did they adopt such extreme ideologies so quickly, and how could that happen in a democracy today?"

Fascists? Really?

Re:Lots of smoke, little fire? - Yes, fire indeed. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961459)

Actually this is a BIG deal.
The purpose of these department of fisheries and oceans (DFO) libraries was not for the general public to access them - they were for government scientists in these research centres be able able to proper research and be able to do studies on climate/fish-habitat change over time, which includes looking up past materials and reports. For a "non-employee" to access, these government libraries actually requires a fairly lengthy application process.

In the past, governments have relied on these scientists to give them accurate reports on what is happening in the environment, so the government could make informed policy decisions based on facts. Without good research materials this is very hard to do. (or maybe that's the point...)

One of the greatest losses will be "grey materials" - reports that are hard to find because they were never "officially published", and may not exist in any other library. Or they may exist elsewhere, but it requires a lengthy wait to locate the materials and have them shipped assuming the other library will lend them out. Reports are now coming in that very few of the materials are actually being scanned, and most are just being thrown out.

The move is especially disappointing because the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (a politician) is saying this move will save "$443,000" over one year. This is the same federal government that spent $9 million dollars last year on advertising to make people feel better about their cell phone bills.

And, yes I'm Canadian. It's not a good situation.
(name withheld)

Re: Lots of smoke, little fire? - Yes, fire indeed (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961771)

fucking alarmist bullshit.

just admit you hate Harper irrationally and will spin anything to try and hurt them politically.

Our leader (1)

Maalstrom Aran (889627) | about 3 months ago | (#45961159)

Harper's doing a great job of dumping anything related to science into the trash. It's a sad thing to see something so fundamental pushed aside like rotten food in favour of short term economic gains. So much power with less than 40% of the vote... how about some proportional representation up here, maybe? It seems somewhat disingenuous to ignore thousands of votes and still claim to be a healthy democracy.

Should have called Google first! (2)

AndyMcL (65518) | about 3 months ago | (#45961161)

Google could have archived all that data like no one else on the planet. Canadian universities and libraries should have called them in before the obviously incompetent people showed up (or maybe save places not visited yet). Reminds me of the phrase: "We are from the government and we are here to help you."

Re:Should have called Google first! (3, Interesting)

dryeo (100693) | about 3 months ago | (#45961319)

As if the government would give any warning, there's a reason it was done over the holidays. The PMO (Prime Ministers Office) has an iron grip on the government and nothing is said or done without their say so. This from a government that ran on being open and transparent and more democratic and yet make Obama look very open and non-authoritarian.

Human Global Warming Orthodoxy Kristallnacht (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961187)

"Hide the decline" becomes "Kill the Jews."

The IPCC Fourth Riech At Castle Wolfenstein World Meteorological Organization has spoken.

The new "Purga" ... roles like the Blitzkrieg to vanquish ... memory.

A war. (5, Interesting)

hendrikboom (1001110) | about 3 months ago | (#45961239)

There's a war on science in this country. It's a disaster. And it'll continue at least until the next election, which may be years away. I'm ashamed of what's happening to my country.

-- hendrik, a Canadian.

Re:A war. (1)

diodeus (96408) | about 3 months ago | (#45962013)

The single-minded focus on the (tar sands) economy has demonstrated that the current Canadian Government has lost touch with what's important to the Canadian people.

Re:A war. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45962185)

Wow. I never though I'd be saying to an ol' five digit:
Stop reading headlines.

I'm a liberal socialist, About as far as any Canadian from the conservative party that decided to do this. Yet I fully support them.

The idea here is:

There's a half dozen libraries across Canada containing research data dating back to ~1909. You have to physically travel there, and sort through it all to find some useful data that you may not even have known was there. If you wanted some data from any of these "publicly funded research efforts" you had to KNOW the scientists involved in performing the research, and MAYBE they can tell you what district they worked in. IF you can trace down which library the data is being kept in, then you need to physically attend the site (they had nothing to digitize the material for the last ~100 years) and then start sorting through an entire library of poorly kept information.

IF you manage to find the information you need, you had to copy it (some sites had photocopiers, most did not. You were not allowed to remove the material from the site, so crack out the old pencil!) and go do with it as you please.

Under the new plan, the Gov't is going to digitize and host the material on gc.ca. It's going to be poorly indexed at first, and will LIKELY remain that way until someone that cares about it does something about it. BUT: it will still be searchable and people can now GET the information.

Canada has been bad about cutting funding to research programs for the duration of the last three governments. I don't dispute that we SHOULD have been publishing tax-payer data in a better organized format for a long time (in fact I firmly believe we should have!) and that we need to do a better job about being transparent to the public.

This is a step in the right direction. Saving $500K/year AND getting people better access to information is a good thing.

NOW: If we could just get the Senate and House of Commons to get all their meeting minutes published online, we'll be further ahead yet. (Still to this date, things like senate attendance records are kept on paper in Canada. Why this is still not digitally available is beyond me)

"digitized" (1)

Swampash (1131503) | about 3 months ago | (#45961267)

Stephen Harper's Tory government is claiming that the documents have been digitized

320x200 jpegs stored on 5 1/4" floppies is good enough for anyone!

Re:"digitized" (1)

Nyder (754090) | about 3 months ago | (#45961513)

Stephen Harper's Tory government is claiming that the documents have been digitized

320x200 jpegs stored on 5 1/4" floppies is good enough for anyone!

Single sided or Double sided? I still have my C64 disk notcher for the single sided drives...

I don't normally bitch about headlines but, (-1, Troll)

Adult film producer (866485) | about 3 months ago | (#45961501)

what does this mean, "Trucking Generations of Scientific Data To the Dump" ? Is trucking something to somewhere meant to be a pejorative because trucking useful goods is an vital part of our economy. This shouldn't be made fun of or disparaged just because it's what many people consider 'manual labor'... Who decided that on that language? It's very troublesome.

Re:I don't normally bitch about headlines but, (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about 3 months ago | (#45961575)

"Is trucking something to somewhere meant to be a pejorative because trucking useful goods is an vital part of our economy. This shouldn't be made fun of or disparaged just because it's what many people consider 'manual labor'... Who decided that on that language? It's very troublesome."

I agree, the idea of the summary titling is offensive. And not just to trucking! Notice the use of the "dumps"?

What is wrong with dumps? I take dumps all the time! Probably about one per day, but sometimes a bit more than that!

I find the summary offensie in a great many ways.

Re:I don't normally bitch about headlines but, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961683)

Jesus, grow some skin. It's offensive because the vital goods being moved to the dump are being *destroyed* with a thin assurance (and no proof) that they've been digitized. Truck drivers and garbage disposal workers aren't bad; people who destroy irreplaceable books are.

we've lost a lot (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961857)

I've been a government scientist in the USA, which may be a similar job and work culture in Canada.

I worked in a building with a disorganized library visited by a handful of people a year. There were very few people under 50 who visited. It's more than just libraries, there are entire scientific fields which are dying or dead. To carry on the work based on the material in that library, the scientists funded and advised one PhD student. They found a professor studying something close to their field, but he didn't know any of the real background or modern work. Because this was a field which the government walled off from academia (ie classified), there were very few public papers and no grants funding students.

So we had a library consisting of decades of research data taken by a team of professional scientists as well as designs and logs for the (very important) equipment the government uses based on that research. There was a small team of scientists nearing retirement and one young scientist to keep things running until the whole infrastructure falls apart.

Hard to take conservatives seriously (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45961909)

As I posted in another thread today, conservatives want to be taken seriously but who can take people who are "anti-science" seriously? Anti-fact? Anti-knowledge? I mean, what is the point, other than to lie to people or to ignore the facts? Who is stupid enough to advocate that?

Conservatism, in the US, Canada, and elsewhere, has become a joke. They've gotten away with acting crazy to intimidate people, and no surprise -- all they have to offer is more crazy.

it's old record no data - union scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#45962219)

they closed some record areas and laid off union people - books from the 60's etc all the reports are in other areas etc - just back water - sit on your ass jobs that are not needed - fake story

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