The top 10 folio stories of 2019

A big question on hockey parents’ minds, expert advice on food safety and lawn care, and a prediction about the federal minority government were among our most-read stories this year.


A master's study by a longtime WHL scout who looked at what hockey scouts want to see —in both players and parents—was our most-read story of 2019. (Photo: Getty Images)

1. What scouts look for-and watch out for-in hockey prospects

On the eve of the NHL draft, a U of A master's student and longtime WHL scout said the intangible indicators of character-including how parents behave in the stands-often outweigh talent and skill in the eyes of scouts.

2. How to prevent food poisoning

It's almost entirely preventable, but if you're among the one in eight Canadians who get food poisoning every year, you'll appreciate these expert tips on what causes it, how to prevent it and how to deal with it.

3. How to keep your lawn green and healthy

A horticulturalist offers practical tips on how to win the perennial battle to keep your lawn looking its best, and when you should call in a professional.

4. Why Trudeau's minority government is unlikely to fall anytime soon

The day after the 2019 federal election, a legal expert predicted that constitutional convention would help Justin Trudeau sidestep the kind of parliamentary drama that tends to topple minority governments-at least in the short term.

5. Should you feed wild birds in winter?

Backyard bird feeders often do more harm than good-especially when cats are around, said an ecologist who offered four tips for putting out food without putting birds in harm's way.

6. COMMENTARY || Is it safe to drink alcohol while breastfeeding?

Three clinical experts surveyed the evidence on drinking and breastfeeding to help parents make an informed choice and minimize potential risks.

7. Dinosaur skull turns paleontology assumptions on their head

A paleontologist discovers a well-preserved dinosaur skull in 2015, names it after his dog Hannah, and later finds out the skull's odd lack of symmetry could change how dinosaur fossils are identified. What's not to love about this story?

8. New website helps people avoid swimmer's itch

Anyone itching to head out to Alberta lakes in the summer would do well to check out this website created by U of A researchers, which helps people learn more about the common skin rash, report their own cases and assist research to pinpoint when and where the parasites that cause it are most prevalent.

9. Canadians told to stop taking aspirin to prevent first heart attack, stroke

The health risks of taking an aspirin a day outweigh the preventive benefits, according to two Alberta researchers who reviewed three recent, high-quality studies to provide new evidence for family doctors to pass along to their patients.

10. COMMENTARY || Do we really need to take 10,000 steps a day?

It's easy to remember and easy to measure, but getting in those 10,000 steps a day isn't for everyone-and isn't as important as getting at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity a week, according to a health promotion expert.