Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Weather Network Internship: Top 5 videos

In April 2015 I started a two month internship at the Weather Network. During my time there I assisted in helping the Content Producers responsible for the Top 5 and Force of Nature segments. In the morning I would help look for recent weather videos that could be used in Force of Nature. Along with researching and creating an weather and events database in Excel, to be used to develop future shows and segments, I came up with new Top 5 ideas.

At the start I was assigned to come up with 10 new Top 5 segment ideas, and my supervisor and I went over the list and picked the best and most relevant five.

At the time Tornado season was upon us, so I discussed with our Storm Chasers before they left for Tornado Alley, as well as researched, what the top five signs would be to tell people that a tornado was likely to happen.

And the Top 5 Signs of a Tornado was born

Before my internship began, my interest in Volcanoes resurfaced after I watched a documentary on Supervolcanoes on Netflix. Yellowstone is the most well known supervolcano and but there are other supervolcanoes just as deadly and dormant as Yellowstone. This was the first Top 5 I started working on, and I refer to this one as "my pride and joy" of my Top 5 videos that were made.

Top 5 Most Dangerous Volcanoes

In the two months of my internship, Nepal was hit twice by earthquakes within three weeks. It was discussed and decided to work on a Top 5 for Earthquakes as it was a topic of interest in the news. So I researched and developed the script for Top 5 Strongest Earthquakes.

Top 5 Strongest Earthquakes

So here are my three Top 5 videos. I am very proud of the work I put into researching information, videos and developing the first scripts for these.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Hung up on finding the right hangover cure


This article was featured in the Sheridan Sun on Dec. 11, 2014.

 You remember hanging out at the bar and drinking the night away, never once thinking about the dizziness and headache you will experience in the morning.

“A hangover is an indication of over-consumption of alcohol,” said Mary Anne Vanos, a coordinator and instructor in the Practical Nursing program at Davis Campus, in an email.

“The best way to cure a hangover is to avoid over-consumption of alcohol.”

However, asking students to avoid over-consuming alcohol is like asking bees to produce vinegar. It’s never going to happen. The best that can be done is to warn them of the risks and tell them what they can do to help cure a hangover.

“When you’re hungover, you’re dehydrated, so you need to rehydrate,” said Eric Cheng, a former bouncer at Failte Irish Pub, in Mississauga across from Square One, in a phone interview.

“When you get home, take two Tylenol and drink an entire bottle of water or Gatorade before you go to sleep. You want to restore your electrolytes.”

While rehydration and avoiding over-consumption are good tips for curing or avoiding hangovers, students who responded via a Facebook survey, have their own interesting cures and preventions.

“This sounds weird, but wear a mosquito repellent patch before you go drinking,” said Ben Callaghan, a second-year student in the university profile of General Arts and Science at Trafalgar Campus.

“Some brands have B12 in them, which is apparently is a great hangover preventive. It’s always worked for me. Why cure a hangover when you can prevent it in the first place, is what I say.”

A vitamin B complex or B12 tablet should work just fine if you don’t like the idea of using a mosquito patch.

“This is an old English trick. Crush up four beef OXO cubes into a bowl, add boiling water and at least two slices of bread and mix it together,” said Edward Smith, a first-year student in the Mechanical Techniques Plumbing program at STC.
“Eat it while sitting in a cold bath and your hangover will be gone in an hour.”

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Cutting the nerve on Carpal Tunnel Syndrome


You’re sitting at your computer, playing a game or typing several essays due at the end of the weekend, when your hand and wrist suddenly feel painful.

That is just one cause and one symptom of carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS), which occurs when a nerve in the carpal tunnel, a long narrow passage that houses nerves and tendons from your arm to your hand, is irritated.

“It’s important to get it assessed, as carpal tunnel syndrome is one of the most misdiagnosed conditions,” said Justin Guy, a chiropractor at Mobility Plus Chiropractic on Argus Rd. in Oakville.

Symptoms of CTS are pain, tingling or numbness in the thumb and/or fingers. They may feel swollen and the pain can extend from your hand all the way up to your elbow. You may also experience weakness in the hand, mostly when doing activities that require the use of the thumb, such as pinching or grasping. CTS can be caused by a variety of things.

“It can be a combination of trauma to the hand or wrist, repetitive strain, posture and genetics,” said Guy. “Genetics can determine the size of the carpal tunnel, which can make you more or less likely to develop the condition.”

Posture plays a key role in helping prevent CTS, as those who are at high risk of developing the condition are people who constantly use computers.

“You need to set up your desk properly and apply the use of ergonomics,” said Guy.

According to Guy’s blog on the Mobility Plus Chiropractic website, your computer should be set up at an arm’s length away for viewing distance, while the keyboard should be flat with the back tabs back in the keyboard. You should also keep your wrists in a flat, neutral position when using the mouse and keyboard and use palm supports.
A diagram on how CTS affects you 
 “Take frequent breaks, every 20 to 25 minutes. Stretch your wrists and get the joints moving,” said Guy.

Richard Elder is a gamer and first-year student in Sheridan’s Internet Communications Technology program, and has lived with CTS in both hands for 12 years.

“I used to be on a Starcraft video game team,” said Elder.

“We had a doctor for the team and after getting sharp pains in my hands, I said something and they knew.”

Elder says it wasn’t just video games that made his condition worse, but also his work.

“I was a full-time chef in several different restaurants. Holding a knife every day, doing the same thing all day, didn’t help with my condition.”

There are a few treatment options, including surgery. Elder has used several treatments.

“I used to wear a brace at night, but then I got used to sleeping with my wrist straight. I do wrist curls with free weights and I practice my flexibility to help with blood flow. It seems to be working.”

These treatments are recommended when diagnosed with CTS, and only when these treatments fail is surgery an option.

“The surgery has a 90 per cent success rate, but you are in a splint for up to two months and there is a 15 to 20 per cent recurrence rate,” said Guy.

Elder has been fortunate that his treatments are working and that he doesn’t have to have surgery.

“It’s never gotten to that point thankfully, because I don’t want to be out of commission for awhile for recovery.”

Both Guy and Elder recommend getting checked if you suspect you have CTS and to invest in ergonomic aids and furniture to help prevent and treat the condition.

“Ergonomics are a bit expensive,” said Elder.
“But if you don’t take care of yourself now, later on you will feel it and it will hurt.”

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Preparing your dog for winter


 Humans are prepared for winter with coats, hats and boots, and so is Fido!
“A lot of dogs get cold too,” said Mel Metrycki, an employee at Pet Valu and owner of a terrier-pug mix. Pet stores have a variety of winter attire for dogs.
Paddington sports his winter coat
“We sell coats and boots for dogs, because some people do have to walk their dogs in winter.
“Some of our coats, leashes and collars have reflectors or lights on them for people who do have to walk their dogs at night and during snowfall,” said Metrycki.
Being seen while you walk is just one concern for winter pet care, another concern is salt, which can be irritating on their paws. Dog boots are helpful for this, but what do you do if you have a dog that won’t let you put on boots?
“We have Fou Stick. It’s a wax that you can put on your dog’s paws before you go out with them,” said Metrycki.
“It creates a barrier to keep salt from getting in their paws and irritating them.”
Fou Stick pet balm is made from coconut oil and beeswax, which help form a protective barrier that helps pets in harsh winter conditions and it can also be used to protect them from hot pavement in summer. 
Fido can rest assured that he’s got a variety of attire to protect him in winter, so he can enjoy those walks with you.
Paddington in his spring coat

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Op-Ed: The new 'yes' means 'Yes' law


This op-ed article was featured in the Sheridan Sun's 'Head-to-head'. It is apart of a debate about the new law that was passed in California about young adults giving verbal and very clear non-verbal consent to sexual activity. Universities in California are to teach students the importance of a 'Yes' and what non-verbal consent looks like. Those under the influence of drugs or alcohol are not not eligible to give consent to sexual activity and police are to ask at what consent was established.

My hope for this new law is that it will make people (not just men) think twice before spiking someone’s drink or trying to get someone so drunk that they will say ‘yes’ to sex.
When I first read that consent could be something as simple as “leaning in” to the other person, I immediately thought “Um, won’t that be taken out of context?” but after reading more about it, it’s explained that each person must consent at every stage of an encounter. A ‘yes’ to a kiss does not count as a ‘yes’ to sexual intercourse.
Officials reporting to the scene of a rape incident must now ask whether both parties had a conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity, as opposed to asking a victim how forcefully they said “no.”
Another great thing about this law is that universities now HAVE to talk about how consent is mandatory and what proper non-verbal consent looks like, to all students, both male and female. I really hope this will help young adults want to talk about sex and what they actually like in bed. Aaah communication: the sex and dating world will greatly benefit from that simple act of looking into another person’s eyes and talking about what makes them happy… in the way of physical intimacy, but that’s always a big scare for a lot of people.
Think of where this could lead, not just in safe sex in college, but relationships in general. I can’t tell you how many couples I know who NEVER talk about their problems in the relationship or in the bedroom. Then they get into a huge fight, they say things they don’t mean and they break up and lose a great person in their life, all because of lack of COMMUNICATION!
But that’s not what’s important about this law, it’s just a happy bonus prize. The important thing is that now people will talk about sex, what they actually want and don’t want and hopefully there will be fewer sexual assaults and rapes at the college parties we all love to go to.
I’m glad this law is in effect, and I hope more states, and eventually Canada, will soon establish a law like this, not just to better our fun with hooking up with a random person and having an awesome one-night fling, but also to make our relationships healthier

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Gluten: Living with Celiac Disease


You’re out for dinner with your family at a nice restaurant. You order the chicken Caesar salad with a side of garlic bread. You take a few bites of bread and then dig into your salad, wanting to save the rest of the garlic bread for later. But after a few bites of the salad, you start to feel stomach cramps and nausea. You can’t eat anymore so you go home, feeling sick for maybe an hour, maybe a couple of days. 
An infographic on the difference between celiac and gluten intolerance
This has been happening every time you have eaten something with gluten in it, for three weeks. You suddenly think of your friend who has the same problem when eating bread products. You’ve had your suspicions for a while, so you get tested. One month later, is it confirmed, you have celiac disease, a condition where the small intestine is damaged by eating gluten, which is found in bread and other products. Now you can’t eat anything with wheat in it.
“I was in a bit of disbelief, then I cried,” says Valerie Smith, who was diagnosed in May 2014 with celiac disease.
“I called my sister and then I had my last Big Mac for lunch and Wendy’s crispy chicken burger for dinner, before cutting gluten out for good.”
Gluten free bagels and hamburger buns
Her older sister, Andrea, reacted the same way after she was confirmed to have celiac disease in April 2008.
“Before I called anyone, I ate a Double Big Mac meal,” says Andrea.
“I sat in the car and ate everything, then I called my mom and told her the news, and I have been gluten free ever since.”
According to Health Canada, closely related family members are more likely to develop celiac if one family member already has the disease, so it’s not unheard of for two sisters to be diagnosed with celiac. Andrea had her first baby in December, a son Braydan.
Andrea Smith with son Braydan
“It’s up in the air if it has been passed down to your child. The best thing to do is to be aware. If your child complains of a stomachache, that’s not necessarily a reason to get them tested. They could just have a stomachache, but it’s a good idea to monitor it. The testing is very invasive, so you may want to wait till your child is a little older to do the test.”
The most accurate way to test celiac is through an endoscope biopsy, according to the University of Chicago’s website,
Under an anesthetic, doctors will insert an endoscope down your throat to your stomach, and from there to the lower intestine and take a tissue sample, which will be tested under a microscope. The tissue will show if the lower intestines are damaged from ingesting gluten.
For Brooke Eby, waiting till she was older was not an option. In 1983, at the age of 17 months, Brooke was diagnosed with celiac while being treated at Sick Kids.
“My mom saw I wasn’t thriving. I was constantly sick, lethargic and my stomach was horribly distended constantly, while I had these very thin legs and arms.” Says Eby.
The doctor treating Eby didn’t know what was wrong with her; so he wanted to wait till she was stronger and then operate to remove her lower intestine, attach a colostomy bag and a permanent feeding tube.
“Thank goodness my mother kept fighting. It was an intern who figured out what was wrong with me by asking my mother the same questions she had been asked numerous times before. The intern went to the doctor and told them they knew what was wrong with me. The doctor and the intern bet a beer on it, because the doctor thought, ‘You’re an intern, what do you know?’ A biopsy on my intestine confirmed I had celiac disease and off to the gluten-free races I went.” 
Gluen free snacks in the bakery section at a grocery store
Eby plans to have her future children tested as early as possible before she introduces anything gluten. And the biopsy is her preferred choice.
“I had a scratch test done a couple of years ago for other foods and gluten was one of the foods they tested me for and nothing showed up. That shows the only proper way to diagnose someone with celiac disease is through a biopsy.”
Eby doesn’t recall the test because she was so young, but Andrea and Valerie remember.
“The biopsy scope was not fun, it was kind of scary,” says Valeria. “Knowing they were going to put me under and stick a tube with camera down my throat into my stomach was not easy to swallow,”
“It was scary. I really didn’t know what to expect,” says Andrea.
“I had a consultation first where they explained the whole procedure to me, then I booked the appointment for the biopsy. When I went in, they hooked me up to an I.V. to put me to sleep and I woke up in the recovery room where the doctor told me it was possible I have celiac, but he wasn’t sure.” A month later Andrea’s diagnosis confirmed she had celiac.
Gluten free snacks and bread
The Smith sisters have similarities in their experience, but different reasons led them to be tested for celiac. Andrea was sick for a year and a half from eating gluten in her diet, unaware that she was celiac.
“I’m hypersensitive, so I feel it once it starts digesting. I get nauseous and bloated and feel a lot of pain.”
Valerie began seeing a new family doctor, who asked about her family history.
“I’m asymptomatic, so I had no idea. After telling the doctor my sister had celiac going on seven years, he tested me just to cross it off and I came back positive. I had been ingesting gluten on a daily basis and never noticed a problem.”
Valerie does show mild symptoms now if she ingests gluten, but she still is unsure if it is a gluten attack at times. She will experience cramps, nausea and a headache.
Eby’s symptoms affect her differently.
“Within 20 minutes, I know something is wrong. My muscles in my back, shoulder and abs tense up and then I become physically ill for hours. It subsides to nausea and fatigue, which can last for days.”
If you live with someone who isn’t celiac, there are two options. If they are willing, they can go gluten free at home, which is the case for Valerie and Andrea. Or you can make sure your partner, or the person you are living with, understands what you have and keep your foods separate. It has become easier to shop gluten free, as many grocery stores are stocking gluten free items and stocking them in their own sections.
“I have my own toaster, butter, margarine, jam, anything that you could put on bread or put bread in. This is to ensure no cross contamination. All of my condiments are in a squeeze bottle so that no one can put a knife with crumbs in it,” says Eby.
“When going out, I only eat at restaurants I trust. I go and speak to the chef the first time and explain how sensitive I am with gluten. I ask them to prepare everything in a clean area, with new gloves and cleaned utensils. I build a rapport with the restaurants I visit, so I know they will do everything properly. I always remind the server ‘Can you please ask them to prepare in a clean area with clean utensils and gloves’ and I make sure to tip well. I have my go-to restaurants so it has worked so far.”

Gluten free baking items

The Canadian Celiac Association provides further information on how to maintain a safe and gluten free lifestyle for people who suspect or are diagnosed with celiac or gluten intolerance.