Archive for: ‘March 2019’

Reality check: Does hitting the ‘close’ button on an elevator make the door close faster?

24/03/2019 Posted by admin

If you visit New York City, don’t expect to get across the street any faster if you hit the pedestrian button at a crosswalk.

A recent article in the New York Times found that most buttons installed at Manhattan crosswalks do nothing at all. Traffic lights are controlled by a computer, and almost all of the buttons that remain are non-functional. They cost too much to remove, so the city left them there.

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    Similarly, hitting the “close door” button on an American elevator usually won’t have any effect.

    But if you’re impatient, it’s good to be Canadian.

    It turns out that most Canadian crosswalk and elevator buttons actually work.

    According to Wilson Lee, spokesperson for the Technical Standards and Safety Authority, which inspects and licenses Ontario elevators, hitting the “close door” button does just that: closes the door.

    Or more precisely, it starts the door closing. If the doors were already closing, repeatedly hammering the button won’t make them move any faster, as much as you might sometimes wish.

    Crossing the street

    Crosswalks are a bit more complicated. Phil Landry, director of traffic services for the City of Ottawa, says that pedestrian buttons in Ottawa fit into two broad categories: those that only trigger the “audible signal” to help people cross the road, and those that actually make the light change.

    For that second type, mostly found outside of the city core, pedestrians must press the button in order to get a ‘walk’ signal, he said.

    “The way it works is you’ve got your main street green phase. And then at the end of that sequence, just before it would go into flash ‘don’t walk’, it checks to see if there’s demand. Either someone’s pressed the push button or there’s a vehicle there or a bicycle. If there isn’t then the light stays green and waits for that whole cycle to begin again. If there is demand then the light will flash ‘don’t walk’, go to amber and red. If someone presses the push button then the light on the side street will come up as ‘walk’.”

    If there’s only a car and no one pushes the button, then there won’t be a ‘walk’ signal in that direction.

    Most of the intersections in downtown Ottawa though are on a fixed timed schedule. So, a walk sign will appear for a given amount of time, whether or not anyone pushes the button.

    In that case, the push button isn’t so that people can cross, it’s just to trigger the chime for people who are visually-impaired. In Ottawa at least, you have to hold the button for three seconds to trigger the audible cue. That’s so that people living nearby aren’t constantly annoyed by the noisy beep of the intersection, said Landry.

    “When those buttons get stuck, we do get complaints from residents in terms of the noise it emits, especially during the middle of the night when they’re trying to sleep and it’s summer and the windows are open.”

    Landry believes that most cities in Canada operate their pedestrian traffic signals in a similar way.

    So go ahead – push the button. In Canada anyway, it actually could help you get moving faster.

Halloween by the numbers: How much are you spending?

24/03/2019 Posted by admin

The scariest thing about Halloween might be how much money Canadians fork over for it.

Close to $400 million was spent across the country a couple of years ago — on Halloween candy alone. The figure may be less surprising when you consider how many trick-or-treaters there are.

Last year, Statistics Canada estimated roughly 3,816,018 kids aged five to 14 knocked on doors.

Costumes tend to be the priciest part of Halloween, according to a RetailMeNot survey, which broke down our spending last year:

$52 for costumes$43 for decorations$42 for  candy

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    “Halloween can be an expensive time of year for many Canadians, especially if you are trying to play catch up with your summer time credit card bills,” warned Jeffrey Schwartz, executive director of Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.

    “It can put you in debt if you are not careful.”

    READ MORE: 6 tips for making your own Halloween costume

    Aside from resurrecting old accessories and costumes, hit up a consignment shop if you still need a last-minute creation.

    A trip to the dollar store, where you can finds loads of Halloween stuff including makeup, can also help.

    READ MORE: 5 things you should buy at the dollar store

    Or do what one Global News employee (who wishes to remain anonymous) plans to:

    “I’ll be in my house drawing the blinds and trying to cook in the dark so I don’t get any trick-or-treaters.”

    Let us know how much Halloween has cost you this year in the comments section below.

Is this Ottawa’s most spooktacular Halloween house?

24/03/2019 Posted by admin

It’s a Halloween display two decades in the making.

Tucked away on a leafy street in Ottawa’s Glebe neighbourhood, Lisa Sullivan’s home can be seen from two blocks away at night. There are multicoloured lights, ghoulish faces, strange noises and all the other trappings of a modern haunted house.

READ MORE: Mysterious and spooky Halloween houses part of a new urban trend

Just getting the lights on takes several minutes each night, but Sullivan doesn’t seem to mind. She started her collection more than 20 years ago and it’s only grown since then. She normally starts putting the decorations out in early October.

“I start around Thanksgiving and do a little bit at a time,” she said.

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    There was a theft a few years back, and the family lost several of their decorations including one of the first skeletons in the collection.

    READ MORE: Hilary Duff apologizes on 桑拿会所 for offensive Halloween costume

    But Sullivan told Global News that she has no immediate plans to scale back the annual tradition — although her husband wouldn’t mind regaining the storage space taken up by the witches and warlocks that live in their garage for most of the year.

    Several pieces with significance are hidden amid the collection, including an “old, mouldy” trio of ghosts tucked away at the back. For Sullivan, they have come to represent her three children, all of whom were born after she started her Halloween tradition.

    Nowadays, the kids and their friends dress up and “haunt” the display at night, popping out to scare unsuspecting passers by.

    Another special item for Sullivan is a tombstone and spooky mask that have pride of place near the front of the lawn. Sullivan’s father, who worked as a stonemason, crafted them for her before he passed away.

    Sullivan confirmed that Halloween trends have changed over time. One of her most recent acquisitions is a zombie, similar to the ones seen on AMC’s hit The Walking Dead, which hangs from a tree and is motion activated.

    On Halloween night itself, hundreds of kids will climb the steps to the house — if they dare. But the lead-up to Halloween night will likely be just as busy.

    A few days after her house was featured in the Ottawa Citizen, a steady stream of visitors were making their way to Fourth Avenue to see the display for themselves.

    “It’s beautiful!” exclaimed one man as he rolled down his car window to get a better look.

Winnipeg man shot 10 times protecting Manitoba students in D.R. given Star of Courage

24/03/2019 Posted by admin

Lester Lehmann was shot and severely beaten in the Dominican Republic while protecting a group of Manitoba high school students from armed intruders in 2014.

But he doesn’t like being called a hero.

The 67-year-old Winnipeg man was among 44 Canadians presented with the Star of Courage by Governor General David Johnson on Friday at a ceremony in Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

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“It’s quite humbling really,” Lehmann told Global News. “First responders, [firefighters], [police officers], put their lives on the line daily. Mine just happened to be caught on camera.”

READ MORE: Winnipeg man recounts being shot, beaten in Dominican Republic

Lehmann’s story garnered national headlines in January 2014 after he was shot 10 times while defending 26 Manitoba students who were in Puerto Plata volunteering at an orphanage.

The attack was captured on surveillance video and showed two men kicking open a door to his residence and one entering.

In the video, Lehmann is seen chasing an intruder with a baseball bat and striking him. The second man emerges with a handgun. There is a brief struggle in which Lehmann tries to swing the bat at the armed man, who shoots several times. Lehmann falls and starts bleeding, the two men run off before help arrives several minutes later.

Where some people might have frozen, Lehmann said he had to do something.

“Most of them were 16-, 17-year-old girls,” he said. “Some who had never been away from home before. I was responsible for them.”

WATCH: Lester Lehmann speaks out for the first time (2014)

Looking back on the attack he admits his actions might not seem rational.

“There was two guns pointed at me and I thought I’ll just go crazy and be totally irrational,” he said. “I thought they wouldn’t shoot at me because I didn’t have a gun, or a weapon, so my logic was they won’t shoot me.”

“It’s something that happened. It’s ten minutes of my life that it occurred,” he said. “First responders run into danger all the time and don’t get thanked for it nearly enough … I just reacted in an irrational way and got away with it. I’m a lucky person.”

READ MORE: Tighter security could be coming to Parliament Hill: RCMP

Lehmann’s family was in Ottawa to watch their father and grandfather receive the award.

“He doesn’t feel what did was heroic, he felt what he did, he had to do, and that anyone in that situation would do the same thing,” said his son Sean.

And granddaughter Montana said she was  “honoured” to see her grandfather being recognized.

“He always sort of plays it down so it was nice to see him accept the award,” she said.

RCMP constable Curtis Barrett – who helped stop an armed shooter on Parliament Hill – also accepted the Star of Courage.

On Oct. 22, 2014, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was killed in a shoot out with Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers and six RCMP officers in Centre Block after fatally shooting Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who was standing guard at the National War Memorial.

Michael Lumahang and Jesse Haw received a Medal for Bravery for helping rescue a young boy who nearly drowned in the Ottawa River in 2014.

Lumahang first attempted to save the boy by jumping in the river, before Haw dove in after both of them.

Unfortunately during the rescue Lumahang drowned. His mother, Mrs. Aquilina Conulibang Tremblay, accepted the award on his behalf.

“I’m glad that Michael got it alongside me because he helped me get [the boy] back,” Haw told Global News. “The thought that really helped me put the event was knowing that [the boy] was going to start Grade 8 that September and that is enough for me to sleep easy at night.”

*With a file from the Canadian Press

Donald Trump says political system not ‘as rigged as I thought’ after news of FBI probe

24/03/2019 Posted by admin

Donald Trump says the political system “might not be as rigged as I thought” now that the FBI has decided to investigate new emails found in the probe of Hillary Clinton‘s private server.

At a rally Friday in Manchester, New Hampshire, Trump praised the FBI, saying “I think they are going to right the ship, folks.”

READ MORE: FBI probing new emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server

That’s a new tune for Trump, who has repeatedly complained that the Washington establishment has rigged the political system against him.

The FBI closed the criminal investigation into Clinton’s use of the email server in July. But on Friday officials told congress they were investigating whether newly found emails contained classified information.

WATCH: Trump has ‘great respect’ for FBI’s decision to reopen investigation into Clinton’s email server

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The disclosure raises the possibility of the FBI reopening the criminal investigation involving the Democratic presidential nominee just days before the election, although it is not clear if that will happen.

Trump added that he was “very proud” of the FBI, an about-face after weeks of being critical of the bureau’s decision not to recommend charges against Clinton.

The Republican nominee, who began his remarks discussing the FBI decision, then joked that the rest of the speech was “so boring.”

READ MORE: Leaked emails show how Hillary Clinton’s campaign team dealt with email scandal

Mike Pence also applauded the decision. Trump’s vice-presidential candidate told a rally at a building materials manufacturer in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, that he and Trump “commend the FBI for having the courage to reopen the case.”

He also called on the FBI “to immediately release all the emails pertinent to the investigation” adding, “The American people have a right to know.”

Chants of “Lock her up!” came even before Pence referenced the FBI investigation. When he mentioned it being reopened, that drew a roar from the crowd.

Clinton’s campaign hasn’t yet responded to request for comment.