Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
It's been a good week for...
The Higgs boson
One day, you're just a weensy little subatomic particle that is quietly doing the lion's share of the work to ensure matter has mass. The next, you're a global superstar, with evidence of your long-suffering labours finally celebrated by the indigenous sentient species of a small blue planet. What comes next? You're going to Disney World! Oh wait, you're already there, and everywhere. No matter: Even if most people haven't the foggiest clue how you work exactly, your apparent existence brought the farthest frontiers of science back to the top of public imagination, perhaps for the first time since the dawn of the nuclear age.
"There is no hope for mankind," Berlin music producer Cosmin Nicolae tweeted after the apparent Higgs boson discovery -- not because of potential misapplications of the subatomic particle, but because CERN's physicists presented their findings using the much-maligned Comic Sans font. The silly letters unleashed gales of giggles in the nerdosphere, but Comic Sans' good-natured creator, designer Vincent Connare, had the last laugh. Tests have shown the font makes complex information easier to understand. Connare soon fielded a raft of tongue-in-cheek media requests.
Hopeful hearts across Canada split in twain in June, when the charming Quebec diver suffered a concussion after striking his head on a diving board in Spain. At first, it was feared the injury would hold the 27-year-old Despatie out of the upcoming Olympic Games, a major blow to Canada's medal hopes. But on Thursday, the two-time silver medalist announced he was back training in the pool and expects to be ready to make another medal run when the Games kick off in London later this month.
It's been a Bad Week for...
Evidently grown tired of limousine rides, $16 orange juice and swanky British hotels, federal International Co-Operation Minister and Durham MP Bev Oda resigned on Tuesday, reportedly after being told she would not survive a cabinet shuffle. The move was no surprise: Oda's term had been marred by regular gaffes and outcries over lavish spending. The ink on the resignation had barely dried as Hill journos hammered the nail with a series of unflattering portraits, painting Oda as a cantankerous bureaucrat who publicly berated her staff, smoked in her Parliament office and manoeuvred to obscure her expenses. Enjoy your retirement, Ms. Oda.
Just as the NHL's commissioner prepared to go into union negotiations and argue players should receive a smaller share of league revenue, the very owners Bettman represents spent a week flinging cash at NHL free agents as if they had confused it for confetti. (The Minnesota Wild alone committed almost $200 million to two players, Ryan Suter and Zach Parise.) This year's swollen salaries won't help the commish convince the NHL Players' Association that team owners are starving for funds -- and with less to leverage, the possibility of a lockout looms on the horizon.
People who drive on Highway 83
The sudden -- though not particularly shocking -- Tuesday collapse of Highway 83, which runs between the towns of Roblin and Russell, turned a rural artery into a scene from a post-apocalyptic wasteland. OK, maybe that's a little dire, though Rural Municipality of Shellmouth Coun. Rick Goraluk did say the rippled mess of soil and concrete looked like "something you see after a California earthquake." The road has had problems for decades, and it can't be fixed any time soon. The closure forces drivers to divert to other routes and gravel roads.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 7, 2012 J4