Thursday, March 26, 2009

Kelowna, B.C. crook needs lessons in subterfuge and footwear

Published: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | 6:33 PM ET

Canadian Press NewsItem/NewsComponent/NewsLines/ByLine

KELOWNA, B.C. - Most criminals try to keep their nefarious deeds under wraps - and a Kelowna, B.C., suspect is finding out why.

The 27-year-old is accused of breaking into a home in the Okanagan city and stealing electronics, a pair of shoes and a van. That was his first mistake.

His second was parking the van outside a known drug house and setting the vehicle on fire.

It didn't take long for police to show up and a search of the home revealed a man hiding in the basement.

Investigators are fairly certain they have their man, since he was wearing the stolen shoes at the time.
Parrot hailed as a hero for warning owner about little girl choking

Published: Tuesday, March 24, 2009 | 9:33 AM ET

Canadian Press NewsItem/NewsComponent/NewsLines/ByLine

DENVER - A parrot whose cries of alarm alerted his owner when a little girl in Denver, Col., choked on her breakfast has been honoured as a hero.

Willie, a Quaker parrot, has been given the local Red Cross chapter's Animal Lifesaver Award. In November, Willie's owner, Megan Howard, was babysitting a toddler.

Howard left the room and the little girl, Hannah, started to choke on her breakfast.
Willie repeatedly yelled "Mama, baby" and flapped his wings, and Howard returned in time to find the girl already turning blue.

Howard saved Hannah by performing the Heimlich manoeuvre but says Willie "is the real hero."

"The part where she turned blue is always when my heart drops no matter how many times I've heard it," Hannah's mother, Samantha Kuusk, told KCNC-TV. "My heart drops in my stomach and I get all teary eyed."

Willie got his award during a "Breakfast of Champions" event Friday attended by Gov. Bill Ritter and Mayor John Hickenlooper.
Attempt by inmate to heat sausages in his stainless steel toilet goes up in smoke

Published: Thursday, March 26, 2009 | 4:02 PM ET

Canadian Press NewsItem/NewsComponent/NewsLines/ByLine

CLALLAM BAY, Wash. - An attempt by an inmate at a Washington state prison to heat up sausages in his stainless steel toilet went up in smoke when the cooking fire forced the evacuation of dozens of other convicts.

Clallam Bay Corrections Center spokeswoman Denise Larson says 130 inmates were evacuated to a dining hall when smoke was spotted coming from a sewer vent pipe Wednesday evening.

She says the smoke was traced to the inmate's cell and he admitted to trying to heat up snack sausages bought from a prison store in the toilet.

The toilet chef has been placed in segregation pending discipline at the prison on Washington's Olympic Peninsula.

His name was not disclosed.
Iconic Obama Poster:

AP Answers Shepard Fairey Lawsuit, Accuses Artist of Infringement
March 11, 2009

Updated 6:20 p.m. ET with a statement from Fairey.


The Associated Press paints Shepard Fairey as a hypocrite who acted in bad faith in a counterclaim accusing the artist of copyright infringement.

On Wednesday the AP filed its answer to a lawsuit brought last month by Fairey’s attorneys. The AP and Fairey are locked in a dispute over the graphic artist’s famous Barack Obama posters, which feature an illustration based on a 2006 AP photograph by Mannie Garcia.

Fairey says his use of the photograph falls under the Fair Use Doctrine of the copyright law. The AP says Fairey infringed on its copyright and the news organization is entitled to licensing fees and damages.

The AP’s counterclaim accuses Fairey of copyright infringement, violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and filing a fraudulent registration with the Copyright Office. The AP seeks the dismissal of Fairey’s lawsuit and unspecified damages, including any profits Fairey and his company, Obey Giant Art, made from the image.

Through a spokesperson, Fairey said Wednesday that he is "disappointed the Associated Press is persisting in its misguided accusations of copyright infringement," and added that he had created the poster to support Obama, not to make money.

The dueling lawsuits are specifically about copyright law, but also concern the nature of newsgathering, political speech, commercialism and art.

“News photography is an art form that requires skill, artistic judgment, dedication, countless hours of preparation and imagination,” the AP counterclaim says.

The AP says Fairey processed the AP photo on his computer, but his creation is “virtually identical” and retains “the heart and essence of the AP’s photo, including but not limited to its patriotic theme.”

The AP approached Fairey in January, after a group of bloggers identified the source image for Fairey’s poster as a photo by Garcia. The negotiation between the two camps' lawyers quickly broke down, and on February 9 Fairey filed a preemptive lawsuit seeking a decision that his design is protected under Fair Use.

The AP’s counterclaim tries to show that the artist has made money off the works of others while acting “hypocritically and aggressively” in protecting his own intellectual property.

The lawsuit shows another Obama poster design that the AP says Fairey created based on a photograph by David Turnley. For that design, according to the AP, Fairey obtained Turnley’s permission and did not use the design on merchandise. The AP says this shows Fairey recognized that “he was required to obtain permission and give appropriate credit” to the copyright holder.

Elsewhere in the countersuit, the AP emphasizes that asking AP for permission would have been “easy and relatively inexpensive.”

Much of Fairey’s work borrows work from other artists, the countersuit says. But it cites a series of letters Fairey sent to fellow artist Baxter Orr last year asking Orr to stop using a design that copied one of Fairey’s well-known “Obey” images. “Fairey is hardly a champion of the First Amendment,” the AP says.

The AP claims that Fairey and Obey Giant Art “have attempted to cloak their actions in the guise of politics and art,” while profiting from their work. The AP believes Fairey and his company have made more than $400,000 in profits from Obama design and related merchandise.

Addressing Fairey’s February lawsuit, the AP says Fairey deliberately cited the wrong AP photo as his source image. The Fairey lawsuit cited a Garcia photo that included both then-Senator Obama and actor George Clooney. That photo is not as close of a match to the poster as a different Garcia photograph from the same event that shows only Obama. The AP says this misidentification “can only be understood as a deliberate attempt to obscure the Obama Photo as the true source material for the Infringing Works and to minimize the nature and extent of Fairey’s unauthorized copying of the Obama Photo.”

Seeking to win goodwill, the AP’s countersuit talks up the importance of the news cooperative and its right to collect licensing revenue, "particularly in these difficult times.” The AP suit also cites Fairey’s arrest record for “graffiti, vandalism and related crimes,” as evidence of his disregard for property rights.

Garcia previously told PDN he’s not sure the Associated Press owns the copyright to his photograph. However, the AP says it registered the photograph with the Copyright Office and Fairey has not contested the AP’s ownership of the photograph.

The AP’s 61-page counterclaim was prepared by attorneys from the firm of Kirkland & Ellis and was filed in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York.

Fairey's complete statement Thursday said: "I am disappointed the Associated Press is persisting in its misguided accusations of copyright infringement. I believe that my use of the Mannie Garcia photo as a reference, which I acknowledged off the bat as an AP photograph, falls under “fair use” provisions laid out in the law. I am even more disappointed the AP is now trying to distort the facts surrounding my work. They suggest my purpose in creating the poster was to merchandise it and make money. It wasn't. My entire purpose in creating the poster was to support Obama and help get him elected. Money was never the point. The proceeds that were generated from the poster were used to create more posters and donated to charity. I look forward to disproving the AP's accusations once and for all and upholding the free expression rights at stake here."
cover portfolio

young photographers explore Vietnam

by Laura Stanley

Go to the website to view the photos:


With Nikon cameras in our hands and our bags filled with more photography equipment than the clothing we would need for two and a half weeks, 22 graduating and alumni students from Humber College's Creative Photography program embarked on a Bike Hike Adventure to Vietnam.
Takamine announces Glenn Frey Signature Model


Country rock pioneer and classic rock icon, Glenn Frey has influenced generations of aspiring musicians with his stirring lyrics, unforgettable melodies and legendary guitar riffs in a career that has spanned nearly 40 years. As a Singer/songwriter, guitarist and founding member of one of the most enduring bands in popular music – The Eagles, Glenn relies on Takamine as the voice to deliver his music. Today, players around the world have the chance to own a replica of the guitar that helped Glenn write classic rock history.

Takamine’s EF360GF is a direct reproduction of Glenn’s #1 Takamine – the guitar heard around the world by millions of fans on countless concert tours. Made from the finest tonewoods and featuring state of the art electronics, the EG360GF is equipped to inspire great performances from singers and songwriters alike. Built to Glenn’s exact specifications, the EF360GF features a dreadnought body with solid spruce top and solid rosewood back. Other noteworthy specs include a concentric ring rosette, slim profile neck, black pickguard, rosewood pin bridge, bone saddle, GF inlay on rosewood peghead face, CT4B preamp and Gloss Natural finish. Retail: $1999.00 including hardshell case.

For more information, please visit

This is a Press Release
Asteroid tracked from space to Earth for 1st time

Last Updated: Wednesday, March 25, 2009 | 2:59 PM ET

CBC News

Scientists for the first time have recovered meteorite pieces from an asteroid first observed in space — a stroke of luck that could prove valuable when tracking space rocks heading on a collision course toward Earth.

The asteroid, called 2008 TC3, was first observed on Oct. 6 by astronomers in Arizona and was subsequently tracked as it entered the atmosphere and became a shooting star, the first time astronomers have managed that feat.

The space rock broke up in the atmosphere about 35 to 40 km above Sudan, giving astronomers little hope that they might recover fragments.

But SETI Institute astronomer Peter Jenniskens worked with colleagues at the University of Khartoum in the Sudan and, in December, they made an expedition to the Nubian Desert in northern Sudan.

Desert treasure trove

A flat, open and dry region with little vegetation, the desert turned up a treasure trove of pieces: 47 fragments with a total mass of 3.95 kg.

The findings were reported in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

For astronomers who have long clamoured for funding to send a robot probe to an asteroid to analyze the material, the finding was like a gift from the heavens, said University of Western Ontario astronomer Peter Brown, one of the authors of the report.

Being able to match lab analysis of meteorite composition to the data from asteroids — mostly in the form of light reflected from the space rocks — represents the "Holy Grail" for asteroid researchers, said Brown.

"This is really the first end-to-end sample recovery," he said. "This allows us to extend the concept of large-scale interplanetary prospecting."

The recovered meteorites were part of a group called ureilites, known for their dark colouring and porous structure and for containing microscopic nano-diamonds, while the asteroid seen in space was an F-class asteroid, defined for its dark and reflectionless surface.

Brown said the combined data from the asteroid observation and recovery of fragments means scientists can for the first time describe the material of F-class asteroids.
Astronomers believe asteroids are the remnants of material from the early days of the solar system, fragments that were never able to collide and merge to form into planets because of the disruptive influence of gravity from giant planets like Jupiter.

As a result, they are like a time capsule from the early days of the solar system, making them of intense interest to astronomers.

Tracking asteroids is also a priority for astronomers because of the potential threat of collision with Earth, although because of their fragility, F-class asteroids are more likely to break up in the atmosphere than hit the Earth.

The Canadian Space Agency is planning to launch a satellite in 2010 called the Near Earth Object Surveillance Satellite, or NEOSSat, capable of spotting asteroids whose path lies within Earth's orbit of the sun, which Brown says will aid in the tracking of future asteroids.

But even with more sophisticated methods, he says the odds of being able to track an asteroid, see it enter the atmosphere and recover the fragments is likely to be a rare trifecta.

"I think it will take another decade before we get another chance like this," he said. "This was an unusual event."
Martin Guitar announces the return of the 1 Series


Martin Guitars have announced the return of the highly popular "1 Series" acoustic guitars. Initially introduced in 1993, the "1 Series" is an affordable traditional solid wood guitar in the spirit of the Style 15 and Style 17 models that Martin introduced during The Great Depression. Addressing the concerns of consumers across the U.S. and abroad, Martin is making every concerted effort to provide players with an affordable, solid wood bodied guitar, backed by a heritage of over 175 years in skilled building excellence and a Limited Lifetime Warranty.

Constructed from solid tonewoods including a Sitka spruce top, bookmatched Sapele back and sides, as well as an East Indian Rosewood fingerboard and bridge, the "1 Series" creates the legendary rich and commanding Martin sound that has defined the acoustic guitar for generations. All four models being introduced feature Martin's modified hybrid scalloped top bracing. Two are purely acoustic guitars: a Dreadnought size D-1 and an Orchestra Model OM-1, and two add to the current selection of acoustic-electric models. The Dreadnought DC-1E and the Orchestra Model OMC-1E are each equipped with a state-of-the-art Fishman(R) sound reinforcement system featuring full volume and tone control and an onboard digital chromatic tuner. Whether you are choosing a purely acoustic or stage-ready acoustic-electric guitar, the new Martin "1 Series" models are designed and built to provide the best tone at the lowest price.

The Dreadnought, originally developed and manufactured by Martin Guitar in the early-1900s was first produced in 1931 bearing the Martin name, during hard economic times. The first two legendary models were named the D-1 and D-2 that soon became the now legendary D-18 and D-28. During the depression, Martin would continue to innovate and introduce several new style models, including the all mahogany Style 15 and Style 17 models, which provided an extraordinary value during that period. Those guitars became favorites of blues players in the post-depression era. More than any other acoustic guitar brand, Martin instruments have typically held or dramatically increased in value, and continue to be prized by collectors, players and guitar aficionados around the world.

All "1 Series" models purchased from dealers in the U.S and Canada are covered by a Limited Lifetime Warranty. Every "1 Series" guitar comes equipped with Martin SP strings for great long-lasting tone and sustain, as well as a hard-shell case to provide protection and security.

For more information, please visit

This is a Press Release
Whale and dolphin strandings and beachings

Last Updated: Tuesday, February 24, 2009 | 6:36 PM ET

By Emily Chung, CBC News

Whales and dolphins are creatures of the water, but as mammals, they also rely on air to breathe, and they face death if they become stranded away from either element.
The plight of three dolphins trapped in the ice off the northeast coast of Newfoundland last week captured the hearts of local residents.

After listening to their cries during the night, a group of fisherman from Seal Cove cut a path through the ice in the bay for the dolphins and even towed one of the animals to safety with a rope. Their rescue efforts drew criticism from at least one whale-rescue expert who said they might have done the dolphins more harm than good.

Is it rare for whales and dolphins to get trapped in the ice along Canada's coasts?

Most whales and dolphins do move farther south or away from the coast during the winter, but there have been a few cases of whales getting trapped in the ice along coasts in the northern part of the country in the past few years.

Earlier this winter, hundreds of narwhals became trapped in the ice near Pond Inlet, Nunavut. The whales were killed on the advice of local elders, who said it would spare them from further suffering and death by drowning as the ice thickened.

A number of other examples have made the news in recent years. In May 2008, 15 to 20 beluga whales were trapped in the sea near Grise Fiord, Nunavut.

In November 2006, 100 to 200 beluga whales became trapped in the Husky Lakes, a string of saltwater lakes and inlets east of Tuktoyaktuk, N.W.T., after a channel connecting the lakes to the Beaufort Sea froze. They, too, could not be freed and were instead culled.

What causes the animals to become trapped in the ice?

Most often, whales and dolphins are stranded in the ice when winds or currents shift suddenly, says Laurie Murison, executive director of the Grand Manan Whale and Seabird Research Station in New Brunswick.

However, human activity that causes a lot of underwater noise might also play a role when the animals are near the edge of the ice, Murison said.

"They may panic and end up in an area where the ice can close in on them," she said.
In the case of the whales trapped in the Husky Lakes in 2006, the animals often liked to feed in the lakes during the summer. The local mayor reported that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans used to help chase away the whales but had stopped doing that four or five years earlier.

What types of whales and dolphins are susceptible?

Species that aren't used to a lot of ice, such as grey whales and many dolphins, might have more difficulty getting out, Murison said.

"They just don't have the ability to find those ice leads [channels of open water] as easily as animals that normally are in ice conditions, like bowheads or narwhals or belugas."

Some species can't swim that far underwater before they need to come up for air, she added.

However, even species that are accustomed to the ice can sometimes become trapped.

What should people do if they find a whale or dolphin stranded in the ice?

It might be possible to rescue the animals depending on the circumstances, but it's important to find experts familiar with the best rescue methods, says Andrew Reid, a co-ordinator the Marine Animal Response Society (MARS) in Nova Scotia.

"Dragging the animal by their tail is something you definitely wouldn't want to do," he said. That method could dislocate the animal's spine or pull them underwater.
Reid said involving boats is always risky.

"Anytime you bring boats near animals, there's always the possibility of hitting them," he said.

He added that frozen seas are also a dangerous place for people.

Tonya Wimmer, president of MARS, said rescuers face risks such as dehydration, hypothermia or even being hurt by the animal itself, depending on the conditions.

"People will do some crazy things to save an animal," she said, adding that they sometimes think of the animal before themselves. "Which is lovely, but we have to make sure people's lives aren't in danger while we do these things."

Where do whales become beached or stranded on land?

Canada's southeastern coasts and waters aren't free of traps for whales and dolphins either, as the animals can also become stranded or beached on land. Occasionally, dozens of animals become beached at once.

Including both live and dead animals, about 30 to 40 beachings are reported along Nova Scotia's coast alone each year, Reid estimated.

However, that is likely an underestimate, he said, as some people who have seen beached animals aren't sure whom to call, and some coastal waters are remote areas where a beached animal will never be found.

Similar incidents take place all over Canada's coastline.

Wimmer said there are no readily available Canada-wide statistics, but her group is currently trying to compile information for her region and make sure people know whom to call when they spot a stranded whale or dolphin.

What types of whales and dolphins become beached?

Species that navigate by sonar and travel in groups, such as pilot whales, are more likely to end up beached in large numbers. Such whales are mostly smaller species, and most have teeth.

However, single baleen whales, which are massive filter feeders, can also become beached occasionally.

What can cause them to beach themselves?

Whales and dolphins that are old, sick or injured often come toward the shore. They might be too tired to swim any longer, said Reid.

Healthy whales can become beached because of a navigational error.
Sometimes, the whales are fooled by a natural geographic trap, such as the one that exists at Welfleet, Mass., in Cape Cod, says Murison.

"They think they're going out to sea, and they actually end up in an ever [increasingly] shallow area," Wimmer said.

Sometimes, the animals just get caught up in feeding.

"A lot of the time, we get animals in Bay of Fundy who end up in rivers," Wimmer said. "A lot of that is, literally, they've followed their stomach and get caught on the really fast drop in tide."

Could humans be sometimes responsible?

Toothed whales also use a form of sonar for navigation, listening for the echo of their own, high-pitched voices to determine how far away they are from shore.

Their hearing and their navigational abilities can be damaged by explosions or other loud underwater noises. In fact, some beached whales show signs of damage in their ears, Murison said.

"Hearing is the most critical sense for whales," she added.

Dolphins and whales, including baleen whales, also rely on their voices and their hearing to communicate with one another.

Environmental groups have expressed concerns that noise pollution from commercial shipping, seismic surveys and sonar technology might be causing an increase in beachings.

A paper published in Nature in October 2003 noted mass strandings have taken place near naval exercises that included the use of military sonar.

The beached whales and dolphins showed symptoms of decompression sickness, or the bends, which affects divers who surface too quickly, the paper said. Researchers have suggested that human-generated underwater noise is causing the animals to dive and surface beyond healthy physical limits.

Some environmental groups, led by the Natural Resources Defense Council, have filed lawsuits against the U.S. navy in recent years in an effort to curb the use of mid-frequency sonar, alleging it disturbs and sometimes kills whales and dolphins.

In November 2008, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favour of the navy in one suit. A month later, the navy announced it had reached a deal with the council and other groups to continue research on how sonar affects whales and other marine mammals. However, the navy has not agreed to adopt any additional measures to protect animals when it uses sonar.

What should be done about beached whales and dolphins?

Groups such as MARS have protocols to deal with beached animals but only attempt a rescue if they appear to be healthy.

Wimmer said rescuers check the whale over and look for injuries before attempting a rescue.

"Do they look like they're a nice, fat healthy whale? Do they look like they're skin and bones?" she said.

Baby whales without their mothers aren't usually rescued, as they wouldn't survive on their own, Wimmer said.

If a rescue is attempted, smaller animals, such as dolphins, are placed on a stretcher and carried out to sea. For larger animals such as pilot whales, a tarp is put under the animal and attached to inflatable pontoons used to move the animals away from the shore.

How can whale beachings be prevented?

Reid said efforts have been made to prevent whale and dolphin injuries, which can be caused by getting entangled in fishing gear or collisions with ships. For example, shipping lanes in the Bay of Fundy between Nova Scotia and New Brunswick have been moved to minimize collisions with whales, and different fishing methods are being used to reduce the chance that whales and dolphins will be hurt.

Murison said Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans has some guidelines in place for activities that produce a lot of underwater noise, such as blasting, seismic surveys and naval activity. In particular, the department recommends conducting those activities when the tide is low, to reduce the propagation of the noise. If they must be done at high tide, those involved in the activity are asked to look out for whales in the area.
Glass Show In Venice
Published: Sunday, September 8, 1996


(This event has already happened)

Venice will play host to ''Open Glass,'' the city's first international exhibition of contemporary glass art, from Sept. 12 to Nov. 10. The exhibition will feature the work of more than 100 contemporary glass artists from around the world, including Dale Chihuly from the United States, Stanislav Libensky from the Czech Republic, Bert Frijns from the Netherlands and Antoine Leperlier from France.

Venice has been known for centuries for its tradition of glass blowing, and it is to celebrate this art, passed on from generation to generation of master glass artists, that the municipal government conceived of the event to highlight the work of contemporary artists. The exhibition will become a biannual event alternating with the Biennale of Contemporary Art. An international jury will choose the best four pieces.

Most of the works, ranging from vases and small sculptures to large installations, will be displayed at the Ducal Palace, the Correr Museum and the Vetrario Museum on the island of Murano. Viewers will also be able to admire a number of installations by taking a boat up the Grand Canal.

Among the exhibits will be ''Chihuly Over Venice,'' Dale Chihuly's installation of a series of 15-foot high ''chandeliers'' that will be hung within palaces, courtyards and gardens visible from the Grand Canal. The Seattle-based Chihuly has spent over $1 million on the Venice project, involving over 300 people, including teams of glass blowers from three countries.

The Ducal Palace, Correr Museum and Vetrario Museum are open daily from 9 A.M. to 7 P.M. Tickets cost $9.30 and can be bought until one hour before closing. One ticket will allow admission to all three venues. Most of Mr. Chihuly's works will be visible only from outside the palaces where they will be installed, but some, like the one in the garden of the Guggenheim museum, can be viewed up close from inside. Information: (041) 2707717. ELISABETTA POVOLEDO

Photo: Dale Chihuly and one of the chandeliers of ''Chihuly Over Venice.'' (Russell Johnson)
'Armed' chimps go wild for honey

By Rebecca Morelle

Science reporter, BBC News

Cameras have revealed how "armed" chimpanzees raid beehives to gorge on sweet honey.

Scientists in the Republic of Congo found that the wild primates crafted large clubs from branches to pound the nests until they broke open.

The team said some chimps would also use a "toolkit" of different wooden implements in a bid to access the honey and satisfy their sweet tooth.

The study is published in the International Journal of Primatology.

Crickette Sanz, from the Max Planck Institute of Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, said: "The nutritional returns don't seem to be that great.

"But their excitement when they've succeeded is incredible, you can see how much they are enjoying tasting the honey."

Honey monsters

Chimps' love of honey and their ingenuity at accessing it are well known amongst primatologists - previous studies have revealed how the great apes can fashion sticks to dip into or prise open nests. The chimps will go up there and hang at all sorts of precarious angles to get to the honey

Crickette Sanz

But until now, nobody realised how prevalent the beehive-bashing behaviour was amongst chimpanzees in the Goualougo Triangle in the Congo Basin.

Dr Sanz said: "It seems these chimps in central Africa have developed more sophisticated techniques for getting at the honey than populations in eastern and western Africa - maybe it is some kind of regional feature."

Perhaps for obvious reasons, the chimps avoided bee species that sting, targeting the hives of stingless bees instead.
The chimps can spend hours trying to access the honey

Dr Sanz told the BBC: "But these nests are tough to get into - they can be at the top of the forest canopy, at the end of a branch - and the chimps will go up there and hang at all sorts of precarious angles to get to the honey, using these clubs in any way that they can to access it."

The video footage, which was filmed by the researchers over four years, revealed the chimps' sheer determination to get at the sweet stuff.

Dr Sanz explained: "Nobody knew they would pound over 1,000 times to get to the honey.

"Sometimes it could take several hours - they would start in the morning at around 1000, then take some rests, and then finish up at about 1400 or 1500 in the afternoon.

"It is quite physically challenging - in the videos you can see how large those pounding clubs are - some weigh over a kilogram."

Success at last - the researchers say the chimps have a real sweet tooth

The primatologists also found that the Congo chimps' tool use was more sophisticated than previously thought.

David Morgan, a co-author on the study from the Wildlife Conservation Society and Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo, said: "One of the most exciting aspects is that they are using multiple tools to access the honey that is in these hives.

"They have a tool kit ready when they go for honey.

Chimps craft ultimate fishing rod

"They will have large pounding clubs and they'll use those to hammer the hives.

"And if that doesn't do, if the holes are too small, then they'll access them using smaller, thinner dipping wands. And they are also using smaller sticks for leverage to get better access to the hive."

The researchers also said that once the chimps had spotted and then crafted a suitable club from a branch, by pulling off unwanted twigs and leaves with their teeth or hands, they would set it aside for later use.

Dr Morgan said: "They cache them in the canopy."

Last week, the same team also reported how Goualougo Triangle chimps were crafting fishing rods with a brush-tipped end to fish for termites, and the scientists say there is still much to learn about tool use in these chimps.

However, they told the BBC that the chimps' future was uncertain, as the primates and their habitat were under threat.

Dr Morgan said: "These beehives are found in tree species that are exploited for logging, so this could be a direct affect we have on their behaviour, their feeding and their conservation."
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Helen's aim is high with fashionable leather work
10:00am Monday 24th November 2008

By Mike Pryce »


FASHION isn’t usually the first thing associated with shooting, but for Helen Leedham, the shooting industry is the catwalk for her business.

Because the 27-year-old from Cookley, near Kidderminster, has turned her training as a saddler into making bespoke leather items for high society or the Highlands.

Whether it’s for a day on the grouse moors or Pimms in a polo marquee on Smith’s Lawn, Helen’s work is catching the eye.

So much so, the Worcestershire entrepreneur has been chosen as one of the Countryside Alliance’s Shooting Stars, a national campaign that focuses on young people who have bucked the trend of youth exodus from the countryside because of their passion for the rural life and in particular the employment opportunities offered by the shooting industry.

Clare Rowson, Midlands regional director of the Countryside Alliance (CA), said: “The latest government figures show that 400,000 fewer young people live in the countryside now compared with 20 years ago.

“This worrying trend of rural emigration threatens the future diversity and sustainability of rural communities across England and Wales. But not every young person is leaving for life in the city, because some industries still play an important part in retaining young people in rural areas and shooting is a major one. It contributes £1.6 billion to the UK economy and supports around 70,000 jobs.”

Helen grew up with horses and country sports and decided on a career in saddlery. After completing a fine art degree at Bristol University, she set her sights on creating superior quality products for the saddlery and shooting industries.

She said: “I’ve used saddles and gun equipment all my life but I always thought designs could be improved, which is why I wanted to learn to make my own.”

Helen completed a course in bridle, saddle and harnessmaking at Walsall College, West Midlands. She is now a registered saddler and on her way to becoming a master saddler.

Her introduction to the shooting industry came through a teacher at the college, who was a patternmaker for the famous gun company Purdey.

Helen said: “The company needed hand-stitching completed for cartridge bags and I was one of the students given the chance to demonstrate my skills.”

This experience was the platform from which Helen launched her career. She now works part-time for the prestigious Westley Richards gun company in Birmingham and has also started her own business, Helen Leedham Bespoke Saddlery Products.

She produces a range of standard leather shooting accessories such as gunslips and game bags, but from timeto- time gets unusual requests such as a recent one for a gunslip made from alligator skin. While this is not your average order, clients are still willing to pay up to £5,000 for a custom-made accessory and then there are her stylish handbags, purses and wallets.

Based in a workshop at the back of her father’s house in Cookley, Helen’s typical week involves working on her orders and saddlery repairs in addition to commuting to Birmingham for her work at Westley Richards.

She said: “My working life is quite hectic but I get a huge amount of job satisfaction.

There’s nothing like seeing a customer’s face light-up when they see their new bespoke product.”

Helen’s reputation for quality is spreading, but she admits marketing her business relies on word of mouth because she doesn’t have the resources available to let larger firms know about her work.

She said: “I’ve made good contacts with local shoots, but the best advertising comes from the shooters themselves, who often travel about the country and are asked where they bought their latest purchases.”

Helen is backing the Countryside Alliance in its campaign for more affordable rural housing because she believes cottage industries like her own are often more viable in rural areas.

“House prices are out of reach at the moment but I’m hoping my business success gives me the income to be able to buy one day,” she added.

However, with the shooting season well underway Helen is looking forward to creating more masterpieces for an industry that allows her to live and work where her heart is – in rural Worcestershire.
Thai 'Spider-Man' to the rescue

An unusual disguise has helped a Bangkok fireman rescue an eight-year-old boy who had climbed on to a third-floor window ledge, Thai police say.

The firefighter dressed up as the comic book superhero Spider-Man in order to coax the boy, who is autistic, from his dangerous perch.

Police said teachers had alerted the fire station after the boy began crying and climbed out of a classroom window.

It was reportedly his first day at the special needs school.

Efforts by the teachers to persuade the pupil to come back inside had failed.

But a remark by his mother about his passion for comic superheroes prompted fireman Somchai Yoosabai to rush back to the station, where he kept a Spider-Man costume in his locker.

The sight of Mr Somchai dressed as Spider-Man and holding a glass of juice for him, brought a big smile to the boy's face, and he promptly threw himself into the arms of his "superhero", police said.

Mr Somchai normally uses the costume to liven up fire drills in schools.
Model railway's global uber-view

Rail enthusiasts can now enjoy views of Scandinavian fjords, the Swiss Alps, and even Mount Rushmore - in Germany.

Twin brothers Frederick and Gerrit Braun have built the world's longest model railway in the city of Hamburg.

It has six miles of track, cost £8m to build and its 1,150 square metres (12,380 square feet) take in the US, Scandinavia and the Swiss Alps.

By the time the layout is completed in 2014 it will be twice as long and will take in France, Italy and the UK.

The Braun brothers, 41, began work on the Miniatur Wunderland project in 2000.
Their model railway now comprises 700 trains with 10,000 carriages, 900 signals, 2,800 buildings and 160,000 individually designed figures.

It even includes scale models of the Rocky Mountains, Mount Rushmore, the Swiss Matterhorn, and a Scandinavian fjord complete with 4ft cruise ship.

The scenery took 500,000 hours, 700kg of fake grass and 4,000kg of steel to build.
So large is the layout that 160 staff are employed to show visitors around the railway.

"Our idea was to build a world that men, women, and children can be equally astonished and amazed in," said Gerrit Braun, according to the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"With this attitude we managed to create technology which amazes our visitors."
City of Angles

Photographs by Raymond Meier


Since 1871, when it rose spectacularly after the Great Fire, Chicago has been famous for pioneering architecture — from the steel-frame skyscraper to the flat geometry of the Prairie School to Mies van der Rohe’s clean Minimalism. When it comes to cutting-edge fashion, though, the city rarely registered. Lost between the glamorous coasts, it’s been a no-style zone. Until now.
Chicago has always been a shopping town, with all the blue-chip flagships — Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Burberry — on the luxury thoroughfare known as the Magnificent Mile, along with world-class department stores like Marshall Field’s (now Macy’s), where, in the pre-jet age, women could buy line-for-line copies of French couture. But it took Michelle Obama, a woman who knows how to mix some serious-looking Azzedine Alaïa accessories with her J. Crew staples, to bolster the city’s fashion confidence. If New York is a sleek sophisticate in black and Los Angeles a tanned blonde in a tank top and jewels, then Chicago is the stylish but sensible girl next door. Before the election, Obama was spotted shopping at Lori’s Shoes, a popular discount store on the city’s North Side. ‘‘Michelle doesn’t want to be seen as a diva,’’ says Maria Pinto, the designer who dressed the first lady in her classically feminine sheaths for several key campaign appearances and recently opened a minimalist boutique in the SoHo-like West Loop neighborhood.

It’s there, and in arty Wicker Park and the hip Southport Corridor, that you’ll find a trendy brew of established and new designers showcased in independent boutiques. There are innovators like Kelly Whitesell and Elizabeth Del Castillo of Eskell, which makes youthful clothes using hand-printed fabrics, and Yoko Uozumi and her husband, the techno D.J. Jeff Mills, who own the ‘‘concept’’ shop Gamma Player. ‘‘This spring we’re inspired by Niterói, the seaside town in Brazil,’’ says Uozumi, who builds her collections around town in Brazil,’’ says Uozumi, who builds her collections around different themes, ‘‘so we’re carrying dresses in geometric prints that invoke the sea.’’

Old World elegance reigns supreme at Blake, where Balenciaga hangs with Dries Van Noten in a converted post office. Then there is Ikram Goldman, Obama’s style consigliere, who has famously introduced heartland shoppers to fantasy-inspired pieces by Proenza Schouler, Viktor & Rolf and Rodarte at her avant-garde emporium. Only the city’s harsh weather is a hindrance to fashion savvy. ‘‘We’ll be promoting big handbags forever,’’ says Tricia Tunstall, co-founder of the boutique p.45. ‘‘You’ve got to have a way to carry your high heels, so you can check your snow boots at the door.’’
Complex clues in a kiss

By James Morgan

Science reporter, BBC News, Chicago

When you share a kiss with your lover on Valentine's Day, you may be revealing a lot more than you realise.

Locking lips not only stimulates our senses, it also gives us subtle clues about our suitability as mates, US scientists have found.

A man's saliva has a "cocktail of chemicals" hinting at his fertility and evolutionary fitness, they said at a conference in Chicago.

That may be why the first kiss is often the last - "the kiss of death".

Primitive instinct

"Kissing is a powerful adaptive mechanism - otherwise we wouldn't see it all over the world. Over 90% of human societies practice kissing," said anthropologist Helen Fisher, of Rutgers University in New Jersey, at the annual conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago.

"Chimpanzees and bonobos kiss. Foxes lick each other's faces. Birds tap their bills together and elephants put their trunks in one another's mouths.

"So why do we do it? I think it is a tool for mate assessment. When you kiss, you can touch, see, feel, taste somebody. A huge part of our brain lights up.

"This is a real assessment tool - and can be highly positive or highly negative. In one study, 66% of women and 59% of men had experienced a first kiss which killed the relationship. It was the kiss of death."

Chemical bond

As well as acting as a "screening" mechanism for potential mates, Dr Fisher believes kissing evolved to stimulate what she has described as the three key brain systems for mating and reproduction.

The first of these is sex drive.

"Male saliva has testosterone in it. And men as a group seem to like wet kisses, with an open mouth and more tongue action.

"So it may be that, unconsciously, they are attempting to transfer testosterone - to trigger the sex drive in women and push them into being more sexually receptive."
Men also have a poor sense of smell, she said, so by open mouth kissing "they might be trying to pick up traces of a woman's oestrogen cycle, to figure out the degree of her fertility."

The second mechanism is romantic love.

"Kissing is novel, at least at the beginning of a relationship, and novelty stimulates dopamine - which is associated with romantic love," said Dr Fisher.
Finally, kissing promotes what she referred to as "attachment" or "pair bonding".
It helps us to stay together "at least long enough to have children," she said.
To study the chemistry which underlies kissing and pair bonding, neuroscientist Dr Wendy Hill, of Lafayette College, recruited a group of college students.

The young lovers - 15 couples in all - were then split into two groups. Some were asked to smooch for 15 minutes, to the soundtrack of relaxing music. The others sat holding hands and talking.

Romantic setting?

"Afterwards, we measured the changes in their levels of cortisol - a stress hormone - in their saliva.

"Levels had declined for everyone in the kissing group. And the longer the relationship, the lower the cortisol."

Dr Hill also took blood samples from the couples to measure levels of oxytocin - a messenger molecule associated with trust and sexual intimacy.

After 15 minutes of kissing, the males saw a significant increase in the "pair bonding" chemical.

But in the females, a decrease in oxytocin was observed.

"This was very surprising," Dr Hill admitted. "We are exploring the possibility that the setting - a college health centre - was just not very romantic.

"After all, this is a place where students go when they are ill. That may have had an effect on the females."

Dr Fisher is now running the study again "in a more romantic setting.

"We have a secluded room with a couch, flowers, candles, and a light jazz CD playing."

Interestingly, the females on birth control pills had significantly higher oxytocin levels, even before kissing began.

But with so few couples taking part in the study, which has yet to be published, it was not clear if there was any direct link between the two.
Source: Oneida Ltd.
Oneida Unveils New Design Driven Tableware Ranges That are Emotionally Resonant and Enduring
NEW YORK, March 19, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Oneida, a global leader in designing the dining experience, continues the brand's devotion to design and quality. Flatware and Dinnerware introductions this spring blend form with contour and color with fashion, defining timeless styles that resonate with today's consumer.

This spring at the International Home and Housewares Show, March 22-24, Oneida will be showcasing its new, and current housewares flatware offerings. "We link the consumers' sense of style to three intuitive design categories, modern, classic, and decorative," said Paul Gebhardt, global head of Oneida's design team. "Drawing inspiration from architecture, the culinary arts, nature, and popular culture, our designers capture the imagination of the consumer by connecting with her lifestyle," said Gebhardt.

Oneida also leverages design to build its housewares dinnerware business. "We frame our dinnerware business into three essential categories: solid color, fashion design, and whiteware," said Tim Shine, President of Oneida's consumer division. "We continue to build the Culinaria line of solid color dinnerware with new table items and bake and serve. Our fashion dinnerware introductions this spring are on trend and exciting, and whiteware draws inspiration from casual lifestyles as well as the influence of the professional chef," said Shine.

At this year's show, Oneida is highlighting flatware and dinnerware introductions that embody the brand's devotion to its consumer:

Housewares Flatware

* Ensemble: Soft and curvaceous, Ensemble blends clean, modern,
flowing surfaces with timeless shape. Complementing today's casual
lifestyle, this design brings elegance to a youthful tabletop.
* Physique: A transitional pattern that blends classic and modern,
Physique's shape is clean and toned, and connects with both classic
and modern lifestyles.
* Slide: Smooth and fluid, Slide is pure form. It adds drama to its
rounded two-tone handle with a dramatic plunging transition.
* Optimus: Optimus is a true classic shape. From its jewel like
detail at the bowl, the handle flares outward dramatically to form
a clean trumpet shape.


The essence of color, texture, form, and decoration are translated within the Oneida dinnerware introductions.

* Waldon: Nature holds the key to Waldon's aesthetic with intellectual
cognitive and even spiritual vision. Modern and stylized this
design evolves nature's artistic diversity.
* Adriatic: Soft liquid blue, Adriatic features a textural glaze that
gradually dissolves into softer tones of blue. Unique shapes
define this organic line.
* Windance: Eclectic and illustrative, Windance values nature,
sustainability, and subtle effect.

About Oneida

Incorporated in 1880, Oneida Ltd. is one of the world's largest design, sourcing and distribution companies for stainless steel and silver-plated flatware for both the consumer and foodservice industries. In North America, it is the largest supplier of dinnerware to the foodservice industry. Oneida sells under a number of well recognized brands and trademarks; (R)ONEIDA, (R)SANT'ANDREA, (R)WATERFORD, (R)WEDGWOOD, (R)SCHONWALD, (R)NORITAKE, (R)JUILLIARD, (R)MICHELANGELO, (R)EASTON, (R)WM. A. ROGERS, (R)COMMUNITY, (R)DELCO, and (R)REGO. Additional information about Oneida can be found at

CONTACT: Oneida Ltd.
Andrew G. Church, Chief Operating & Financial Officer
Children's sweet tooth explained

By Victoria Gill
Science reporter, BBC News

A compulsion for sweets is a well-known part of childhood, and research could have now explained why children love sugar quite so much.

The study, carried out in the US, found a direct link between children's growth and their preference for sugary drinks.

It showed that youngsters who preferred the sweetest drinks were the ones that were growing the fastest.

Researchers from the University of Washington and Monell Chemical Senses Center collaborated on the work.

The team used what they described as a "sip and spit" method to test the children's preference for sugary drinks.

''Kids love sweets; they'll put sugar on frosted flakes. But that love seems to decline with age," said Susan Coldwell from the University of Washington, who led the study.

"We wanted to see what was going on as that shift happens - at around the age of 16."

More than 140 11-15 year-olds took part in the test. They were given six drinks to taste, each containing an increasing concentration of sugar.

The researchers asked the children to rate, on a scale of one to five, how much they liked the taste of each drink.

"Based on those taste tests, we divided the kids into a 'high preference' and a 'low preference' group," Professor Coldwell explained.

The scientists then tested urine samples from the children for a chemical associated with bone growth in children and adolescents.

"We tested for a [breakdown product] of bone," said professor Coldwell.
"It's found in the urine either when bones are growing or in older people with osteoporosis, when their bones are being destroyed."

Children with a high preference for sugar also had higher levels of this chemical.
"This gives us the first link between sweet preference and biological need," said Danielle Reed, a researcher from Monell, and one of the study's authors.

"When markers of bone growth decline as children age, so does their preference for highly sweet solutions."

Friday, March 20, 2009

Food, wine and the fine art of sketching

By CATHERINE LANGSTON, Special to the GazetteFebruary 28, 2009


Squinting into the dimly lit foyer, I pressed the door buzzer beside the peel-off label reading Galerie Synesthésie. Seconds later, I was buzzed off the short, edgy stretch of Ste. Catherine St. E. near St. Laurent Blvd., and into the gallery's drawing workshop. It was like flipping the channel from a black-and-white indie documentary on street kids to a reality show in hyper-colour about an artist's loft.

But reality TV had nothing on the gallery's live model workshop when I walked in that Saturday afternoon to try my hand at sketching. A dozen-plus artists were grouped at work stations throughout the airy studio loft, preparing their materials and chatting. The model was stretching before her job under the bright lights. Soft music drifted around the long run of high-ceilinged space. Bowls of juicy grapes, ripe berries, salted nuts and chocolate biscuits surrounded a fresh baguette and cheeses. Red and white wine was on tap.

This was a drawing workshop?

"With sensory stimulus, people draw links between different sources of inspiration," explained owner Anthony Walsh, who's been running Galerie Synesthésie, which holds live model drawing sessions, art classes, and art exhibitions, since 2007.

Stimuli such as music, food or alcohol light up the brain's pleasure zones, he said, making the world, or in this case the drawing workshop, a more magical place.

Except that no one was draining the wine cartons dry. In fact, the artists seemed rooted by the challenge of rapidly sketching their impressions of the model before each 60-second pose dissolved then reformed into another. The short poses "get people into a creative state of flow" where they stop being self-critical, said Walsh, a master's student in Université de Montréal's psychology program.

So forget that Grade 2 teacher's warning not to colour outside the lines. Unlike our artistically suppressed

7-year-old selves, the sketchers at this gallery simply turn the page on their errors. And it works: halfway into the three-hour session, the Nefertiti-like necks and football shoulders of my earlier sketches had shrunk to more realistic shapes and proportions.

Art therapist Thomas Shortliffe agrees that over-rationalizing blocks the creative process, but said self-critiquing can aid growth.

"Through art, we understand about our creative process ... at the end of the process, we feel more secure in the development of our abilities," said Shortliffe, who holds a graduate degree in art therapy from Concordia University.

CÉGEP teacher and workshop regular Jane Petring said her sense of accomplishment is "related to how satisfied I am with what I produce. If I'm not working at developing (my abilities), I don't want to go there."

Walsh agreed, adding that by learning to use artists' tools for measuring angles and distances, for example, participants can start to put what they see on paper.

Sure enough, three hours and countless poses later, my first short, light, careful pencil strokes on newsprint had gradually been worked into firmer, darker, more fluid lines that captured some of the model's form and energy. And when the model stirred from her last long pose, I picked up my wine glass to toast myself for pushing past an ordinary glass door into an exceptional place.

Galerie Synesthésie is at 94 Ste. Catherine St. E., Suite 7. The three-hour sketching sessions with live models are open to everyone. Cost is $15. Sessions are on Saturdays from 4 to 7 p.m. and Sundays from 2:30 to 5:30 pm. For more information, visit or call 514-998-7625
Disney-Pixar’s ‘Up’ to Get Boost at Cannes

Compiled by Dave Itzkoff

Published: March 19, 2009 NY Times

Can you wear 3-D glasses with your micro-bikinis on the ultra-trendy beaches of Cannes? Walt Disney and its Pixar animation unit announced that a 3-D presentation of its coming animated feature “Up” has been selected as the opening-night premiere of this year’s Cannes Film Festival. In a news release the studio said that the film, directed by Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc.”), about a 78-year-old man who embarks on a journey by tying thousands of balloons to his house, above, would be shown at the opening ceremony on May 13. Disney said it was the first time that either an animated feature or a 3-D feature had been selected as the opening-night film, though animated movies including “Dumbo,” “Fritz the Cat” and “Waltz With Bashir” have been shown at Cannes. “Up” is scheduled to open in the United States on May 29.
McCord show traces heritage from Auld Sod to new world

By MIKE BOONE, The GazetteMarch 20, 2009


The parade will be over in a few hours on Sunday, but as befits a community that traces its roots to Nouvelle France, the celebration of the Irish lasts a bit longer.

Being Irish O'Quebec opens today at the McCord Museum. The exhibit runs to April 4.

You've got two weeks to take in 350 years of history, beginning with one Tec Aubry, a coureur des bois who married a fille du roi and became a farmer.

"Historians always hesitate to say 'the first,' " historian Lorraine

O'Donnell said. "But he is the first identifiably Irish person we've found in our research."

Aubry was a Nouvelle France version of O'Brennan. His original given names were Tadhg Cornelius. The spellings evolved, O'Donnell said, from French settlers trying to pronounce Gaelic renderings

O'Donnell is the guest curator of the exhibit. She is a researcher and coordinator of the new Quebec English-speaking communities network at Concordia University's school of extended learning. It is affiliated with the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities, based in Moncton.

O'Donnell, a McGill Ph.D, has spent 10 years studying Quebec's English-speaking communities, with a focus on history and heritage. She was hired in mid-2007 by the

McCord Museum, which is mounting the exhibit in co-operation with the St. Patrick Society, celebrating its 175th anniversary this year, and the Irish Protestant Benevolent Society, which is 150 years old.

In curating the exhibit, O'Donnell worked closely with Pierre Wilson, who runs the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec in St. Laurent. Wilson helped O'Donnell's ideas about the history of the Irish community become "more museological."

That means layman-friendly. You don't have to be a historian - or, indeed, a son or daughter of the auld sod - to find artifacts of interest in Being Irish O'Quebec.

The emphasis is on accessibility. The exhibit presents information to which visitors will be able to relate.

The challenge, O'Donnell says, was to tell a "huge story" about immigrants who became involved in every aspect and level of society in a vast province. Quebec has had rural and urban Irish - farmers, tradesmen, professionals.

Components of the exhibit include biographies, ranging from such well-known Irish Quebecers as Thomas D'Arcy McGee and songstress La Bolduc (née Mary Rose-Anna Travers) to Edmund Bailey O'Callaghan, who was Louis-Joseph Papineau's speechwriter and all-around fixer.

There are also "story stations," which will look at the Irish presence in various regions, from the quarantine sheds of Grosse Île to Griffintown to Gaspé to St. Colomban, the village 100 kilometres northwest of Montreal, which had a large influx of Irish immigrants during the 1820s.

Several hundred objects on display range from what O'Donnell describes as "homely, simple, typical things" to a monstrance, an ornate vessel used to display consecrated hosts, from St. Patrick's Basilica.

O'Donnell is a Montrealer whose paternal family tree includes great-grandparents who immigrated from Ireland in the 19th century. Her mother is Québécoise de souche. "I spend half my time in Quebec City, and they have les francophones verts, people with red hair and freckles who don't speak a word of English."

The Irish influence is detectable in Quebec fiddle music, the oral tradition of great storytelling, the evolution of the trade union movement ... even food.

Potato famine to poutine?

Being Irish O'Quebec runs to April 4 at the McCord Museum, 690 Sherbrooke St. W. Admission is $13, with discount rates for seniors, students and children. On the web:
Banks lead the way with women in top jobs

'We're up from where we started, but we can do better'

By MARY TERESA BITTI, Financial PostMarch 18, 2009


Hillary Clinton, on losing the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, famously said, "There are now 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling," bringing home the reality there is still a glass ceiling for NorthAmerican women trying to climb the corporate ladder, albeit in some sectors, particularly finance, it is easier to do so.

That reality was all too readily confirmed with the release last month of the 2008 Catalyst Census of Women Corporate Officers and Top Earners of the FP 500. While the number of women corporate officers in Canada rose to 16.9%, one-third of FP 500 companies had no female executives.

Another recent study, the Rosenzweig Report onWomen at the Top Levels of Corporate Canada, discovered there are 36 women in executive- suites across Canada, including five chief executive officers. On a percentage basis, that's about 7.2%, which means men still hold 92.8% of the highest paid positions in Canada's largest public companies. More than two-thirds (69%) of Canada's biggest public companies do not have women executives at the top paid ranks.

Still, those 36 women represent a 24% jump from last year. "On the one hand we were happy to see the numbers have gone up steadily," says Jay Rosenzweig,managing partner of senior executive search firm Rosenzweig & Company. "This is our fourth study and we are up 60% from where we started; that's the good news. The bad news is the number is far too low. We believe we can do better." Of course, some areas are doing better. While women were represented in top levels in all industries, finance, particularly the banks are leading the charge. Of the five largest Canadian banks, four made the Rosenzweig list: Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto Dominion Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Bank of Montreal.

"To their credit, [banks] capitalized on an opportunity to improve on their business," Mr. Rosenzweig says.

"They realized the more you invest in diversity the greater your return will be. Diversity spurs creativity in thinking, furthers debate and out of debate comes better results." The American Management Association released a study demonstrating that diversity in ethnicity, age and gender among senior management in 1,000 U.S. companies was linked to better corporate performance. A report from Rutgers University and Iowa State University looked at 112 large U.S. companies for five years in the 1990s and found diversity on corporate boards was linked with better organizational performance.

And a Catalyst survey of Fortune 500 companies found that return on equity was 35% higher for those companies with the greatest gender diversity in the top ranks, compared with those with the fewest female executives.

"The banks realize there is a business case being made to getting women into those top positions," says Sue Calhoun, president of the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, adding, "the more companies start to realize this, the more they will start to be proactive in putting women into those positions." According to the Prime Minister's Task Force on Women Entrepreneurs, for the past 15 years, women in Canada have started businesses at twice the rate of men. "If you think about it, women starting their own businesses need the banks. I would suspect that that is havingamajor impact on their banks, in order to better serve them," Ms. Calhoun says. "At the same time, a great percentage of the banks' workforce is women. Look around. They are seemingly able to attract all these women, now they need to help them work their way up. It is almost the perfect microcosm for shaping a new day for women in the executive suite." Yasmin Meralli, vice-president diversity and workplace equity at BMO Financial Group in Toronto, has experienced this first hand. Born in Tanzania, she has had a diverse career that began with a degree in microbology, and included working at a railway and the largest electricity company in the England, and articling with a Chartered Accountancy firm.

"In banking, there has been a deliberate focus to help women come up the ranks," Ms. Meralli says. "There was also an early recognition of the linkage between diversity and performance." In fact, BMO had its first woman board member in 1967 -- not too long before that, women who worked in banks were expected to leave their jobs when they got married.

In the 1980s, BMO undertook a taskforce to bust some myths about women in the workforce and ended up proving women perform as well if not better than men and had longer tenure with the bank than men. These discoveries led to policies that created a workplace where men and women could do their best work.

Those policies still in place today include flexible work arrangements; formal and informal mentoring and networking opportunities; and looking for ways to give future leaders that all-important line experience that leads to the C-suite.

"This is driven from the top," Ms. Meralli says. "Embracing diversity is built into the way we work as a company. Our performance tracker includes diversity metrics." Her advice to other industries: step up.

"This will not just happen. If you as a company decide this is important then you have to make it happen." That goes for women, too. "We need to make sure we are vocalizing what we want, thinking through what we want and being aggressive about it.

There is a real opportunity for women to work toward change and in getting more organizations working toward change."
Blobs in Photos of Mars Lander Stir a Debate: Are They Water?


Published: March 16, 2009

Several photographs taken by NASA’s Phoenix Mars spacecraft show what look like water droplets clinging to one of its landing struts.

Some of the scientists working on the mission are asserting that that is exactly what they were. They contend that there are pockets of liquid water just under the Martian surface even though the temperatures in the northern plains never warmed above minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit during the six months of Phoenix’s operations last year.

The scientists believe that salts may have lowered the freezing temperature of the Martian water droplets to perhaps minus 90 degrees, or more than 120 degrees colder than the usual freezing temperature of 32 degrees for pure water.

Nilton O. Renno, a professor of atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences at the University of Michigan who proposed the hypothesis, was careful to say, “This is not a proof.”

But he added: “I think the evidence is overwhelming. It’s not circumstantial evidence.”

Dr. Renno will present his data and arguments this month in a talk at the Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in The Woodlands, Texas, and he is the lead author among 22 authors of a scientific paper submitted to The Journal of Geophysical Research.

Others are completely unconvinced. “There are simpler explanations,” said Michael H. Hecht, a scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and a co-investigator of the Phoenix’s wet chemistry instrument. Dr. Hecht, who described himself as the “designated curmudgeon,” said he believed that the process proposed by Dr. Renno to describe the formation and movement of water droplets was “flat-out wrong for these materials.”

Peter H. Smith, the mission’s principal investigator, is left to mediate the disagreement. He wonders whether the material, splashed up and possibly transformed by the heat and spray of chemicals from the thrusters when Phoenix landed, tells much or anything at all about the conditions on Mars.

Because of the lack of consensus, the Phoenix science team never brought up the liquid droplet hypothesis during any of the NASA news conferences.

The core facts are not in dispute. There were blobs on the strut. The blobs changed and moved over time before disappearing later in the mission.

The scientists also agree that the fundamental physics of Dr. Renno’s hypothesis is sound. And it dovetails with the major undisputed finding of the Phoenix mission: the unexpected discovery of chemicals known as perchlorates in the soil.

Perchlorates are salts, and if they were dissolved in high enough concentrations in water, the resulting brine would be a liquid at Martian surface temperatures.

Dr. Renno believes that Phoenix’s thrusters splashed a pocket of brine from just below the surface to the landing strut. He said the salts would have absorbed water vapor from the air, explaining how they appeared to grow in size during the first 44 Martian days before slowly evaporating as the temperatures dropped.

But Dr. Hecht believes that the droplet shape was in part a trick of low-resolution images and lighting. His simpler explanation is that these were just small clumps of frost.

The central scientific disagreement is whether the landing strut was warmer or colder than the ground. Exposed ice seen below the lander was clearly disappearing over time, vanishing into water vapor. Dr. Renno maintains that because of the heating systems on the spacecraft, the landing struts were warmer than the ground, and it is thermodynamically impossible for simple water frost to move from the cold ground to the warmer leg. But perchlorate salt could act as a sponge to absorb water vapor.

Dr. Hecht said that the strut was in the shadow of the lander and that the ground was in sunshine, so the leg was colder.

The Phoenix Mars lander, as expected, froze to death in November with the oncoming winter. But Dr. Renno and collaborators in Spain have been conducting experiments to see if they can replicate the behavior on Earth.

“The initial results,” Dr. Renno said, “are consistent with what we see as liquid water.”
Nations Near Arctic Declare Polar Bears Threatened by Climate Change

Paul J. Richards/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images


Published: March 19, 2009 NY Times

Five countries that created a treaty nearly four decades ago to protect polar bears through limits on hunting issued a joint statement on Thursday identifying climate change as “the most important long-term threat” to the bears.

The statement came at the end of a three-day meeting in Tromso, Norway, of scientists and officials from the United States, Norway, Canada, Russia and Denmark, all with territory abutting the Arctic Ocean that serves as habitat for the bears. (Denmark was represented through Greenland, which is moving toward becoming an independent country.)

Bear experts at the meeting said the treaty parties were committed to collaborating on programs aimed at limiting direct threats to bear populations from increasing tourism, shipping and oil and gas drilling in the warming region.

But they said the countries bound by the 1973 bear agreement would be unable, without worldwide cooperation, to address the looming risk to the species: the prospect that global warming from emissions of greenhouse gases would continue to erode the sheath of Arctic sea ice that the half-ton bears roam in pursuit of seals.
In a telephone interview from Tromso, Rosa Meehan, the division chief in Alaska for marine mammals management of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, said that the agreement — among countries with a range of environmental views — signaled the strength of the science pointing to perils for the bears.

“Polar bears are facing a pretty rough road,” Dr. Meehan said. “The thing we need to do is look to the global community to seriously address and mitigate climate change.” The Norwegian government posted background on the meeting on the Internet at

The species has probably existed across the Arctic for several hundred thousand years, researchers say. The animals are resilient, eating walrus, grasses and even snow goose eggs when they cannot hunt their preferred prey, bearded and ringed seals.

The bears were greatly depleted by unregulated hunting across much of the Arctic until the Soviet Union clamped down in 1956 and other countries followed, with the 1973 treaty one result. The current population across the Arctic has been estimated at 22,000 to 25,000 bears.

But last year the United States Interior Department granted the bears threatened status under the Endangered Species Act, citing the threat from retreating summertime sea ice. Other countries have been ratcheting up protections, although about 700 bears a year are still shot in Canada, Alaska and Greenland, according to Norway’s environment agency.

Not everyone from countries ringing the Arctic agrees that the bears need to be singled out for protection in the face of climate change. Fernando Ugarte, head of mammal and bird science at the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, said the government was concerned that the rising pressure to protect bears, particularly in the face of global warming, might prompt other countries to press Greenland to clamp down on hunting.

“I am not sure there is a scientific reason to appoint polar bears as the main icon of climate change,” he said by telephone in Nuuk, Greenland’s capital. “There’s a long list of animals that will be affected. Why not the walrus, the narwhal, the ringed seal?” Mr. Ugarte said that scientists disagreed over why people around Baffin Bay and elsewhere had reported an increase in polar bear sightings in recent years. One explanation may be that the local bear population is robust. Another — more likely in Mr. Ugarte’s opinion — is that climate change is forcing the bears into new migration patterns.

The Tromso meeting was watched closely by environmental groups, which had warned that some countries might press to exclude strong language about global warming. The bears have been enduring icons in climate campaigns conducted by such groups, with at least three groups seeking contributions through “adopt a polar bear” programs.
But the animals have also become a focal point for some elected officials and scientists who reject the need for cuts in the heat-trapping greenhouse gases, despite broad scientific consensus linking the gases to warming since 1950. Their argument, pointing to studies by American government scientists and other groups, is that hunting restrictions have caused most of the populations of bears around the Arctic to grow in recent decades and that long-term forecasts of ice retreats are flawed.

Walter Gibbs contributed reporting from Oslo.

Photographer, warrior linked by famous news image die on same day

It was an iconic image of the 1990 Oka Crisis: A masked Mohawk warrior raises his rifle in victory as he stands atop an overturned Surete du Quebec squad car.

By Jeff Heinrich, Montreal Gazette; Canwest News ServiceMarch 14, 2009


Now both the warrior and the photographer who took his picture are dead -- both at the same young age, 41, both on the same day, and both in tragic circumstances.

Richard Nicholas was killed Tuesday afternoon in a car crash outside Oka.

Tom Hanson, a Canadian Press photographer, collapsed and died a few hours later, playing hockey in Ottawa.

"It kind of gives people goosebumps," said Nicholas' cousin Sonya Gagnier, a Kanesatake band councillor.

"To think that the very man who took that picture died on the same day at the same age -- how miraculous is it that something like that would happen?" Nicholas and Hanson never met, but the photo is legendary in Kanesatake. "Everybody has copies of that picture -- it's so significant for the people here," said Gagnier.

In another strange twist, the accident that killed Nicholas was on Highway 344 -- the same highway he helped block during the Oka Crisis when the picture was taken.

A photograph similar to this one was shot by Canadian Press photographer Tom Hanson in July of 1990. Here, Mohawk warrior Richard Nicholas stands atop an overturned Surete du Quebec van on Highway 344 on Day 1 of the Oka crisis. The Quebec government eventually called in the Canadian Forces to end the standoff, which lasted 78 days.
Photograph by: John Kenney, Montreal Gazette, Canwest News Service, File, Montreal Gazette; Canwest News Service
Adventures in woodworking

Fearless in the face of a challenge, if Ralph Reichenbach doesn't know how to do something, he teaches himself

By Jennifer Fong, The Edmonton JournalJanuary 3, 2009


Ralph Reichenbach is not one to shy away from a challenge.

Whether it's climbing the highest peak in the Canadian Rockies or building an electric guitar from scratch, the 47-year-old woodworker will take a shot at just about anything.

"I never do anything twice. ... I like the adventure of doing something new," says Reichenbach. "I'm always looking for new designs, new things, new challenges."

The thirst to test himself was what lured Reichenbach into woodworking in the first place.

When he was 12, his father took him to see a friend who specialized in marquetry. In the man's garage, Reichenbach watched as he formed detailed images with veneers from various species of wood, inlaid into a single surface.

"I thought this was such a great concept and so I went home and taught myself how to do it," he says.

While Reichenbach already knew the basics of woodworking -- his father is also a carpenter -- marquetry was completely new. "It's basically like putting together a jigsaw puzzle, but you are making your own pieces," he explains.

"I made a lot of mistakes and worked through the process and kind of developed a little bit of my own system."

A beech, sycamore, and walnut writing desk he crafted for the Tu Gallery is accented by inlays cut to look like paper, an envelope, a fountain pen, and a stamp, complete with tiny perforated edges. Another piece, a beech and poplar panel bearing the image of a woman's face, is even more detailed.

"I did a lot of shading on that face," he says. "When I look back on it, I go, 'Huh, that's pretty crazy.' "

But when Reichenbach is working, he doesn't think about how difficult his ideas might be to realize. He just goes for it.

"I taught design at NAIT and one of the things I tried to instil within my students was don't compromise your design or concept unless you absolutely have to. If you have a vision or idea, develop it and don't right away worry 'how am I going to do this?' or 'how am I going to build this?'

"If you want to pull off a good piece, you have to be committed to integrity. And

I think that's a principle that applies in all areas of life. You can't cheat; you can't cut corners."

Reichenbach is just about finished an electric guitar made from zebra wood and maple, with rich ebony details. He's never made an instrument before, but spent several years teaching himself how by talking to experts.

He estimates he has another 15 hours of work before the guitar will be ready to go to his 18-year-old son. Then, he'll move on to another adventure.

"It's going to be one-of-a-kind. Never to be replicated."

If you or someone you know is a standout local artisan with a unique craft, e-mail details to
WWOOFing it in England's Lake District

By Reb Stevenson, Ottawa Citizen; Canwest News ServiceFebruary 14, 2009


Now this is green living.

Yeah, yeah, it's organic and all -- but that's not what I'm talking about.

It's the moss. The glorious emerald eco-carpet that sneaks its way onto every stone surface and infuses this landscape with a soft hint of neglect.

It's everywhere, anywhere. And it's enchanting.

As my cab navigates through Kendal and into the tiny village of Burneside, Cumbria, the taxi driver silently indulges my blathering.

It is my third week on the WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) program, a global network of farms that allows you to exchange labour for accommodation and food.

You can WWOOF all over the world, but I'm doing it through WWOOF U.K. Sprint Mill Farm jumps out of the handbook because it lists "fun, variety, fulfilment and new experiences" as the work themes. Also, it is located in The Lake District, one of the U.K.'s prime tourist destinations.

A defunct mill, the farmhouse is damp, stony and clings to the bank of a gushing river. The whole place heaves with fertility.

Edward Acland runs Sprint Mill Farm with his doctor wife, Romola Stringer. Accommodation is in Acland's daughter's old bedroom in the main house. In the summer months, WWOOFers can sleep in the adjacent outbuilding.

Acland quickly ushers me into a kitchen that would make any Ikea enthusiast lash out with contempt.

It is furnished with a long wood table, a haphazard collection of glass jars stocked with mysterious contents, and a wood-burning stove most often seen in sepia photographs. This kitchen is truly the heart of the homestead.

And Acland, I soon decide, truly embodies the heart of what WWOOFing is all about.

Sprint Mill Farm is his 15-acre experiment in complete sustainability. He dabbles in coppicing (a traditional method of woodland management), animal-rearing, vegetable and fruit farming and woodcrafts.

None of it is for profit.

"It's about living off the interest and income of Mother Earth, but not using her capital," Acland explains. "We try to avoid using anything that we can't replace.

"It's jolly hard work, but very fulfilling," he says passionately.

As it turns out, WWOOFing at Sprint Mill barely even qualifies as work. After brief morning stints pitching in on the farm, I have the afternoons off.

"You can go for a walk, cycle, write, sleep ... whatever," says Acland. "It's not about exploiting a WWOOFer as a slave or labourer. It's about giving them the opportunity to experience a way of life."

And so Acland dons the mantle of mentor, not shift supervisor. He teaches me how to cut comfrey with a rusty old piece of machinery and how to forage for acorns, and eagerly shares his knowledge of green woodworking. We also have a go at weeding, apple picking and nettle-cutting.

As we trudge through the sopping landscape, Acland explains the cyclical processes that govern Sprint Mill.

For example, willow branches are fed to the goats, who gnaw off the leaves and bark. The stripped wood is used for fuel, and the goats produce milk, cheese and meat.

On the first day, bolstered by the altruistic urge to delve right into this Earth-appeasing lifestyle, I eat the goat cheese, pour goat milk into my tea and lavish my toast with goat butter. But, to borrow from Acland's earlier statement: it's jolly hard work.

By the second day, I'm wincing as I sip the tea, and gagging on the butter. To put it delicately, the flavour is evocative of an unlaundered athletic sock (to be fair, the meat isn't bad). But at least it's not a rodent: once a Moroccan WWOOFer insisted upon making good use of a squirrel that Acland caught.

"But it's a resource! It is organic!" he argued when Acland suggested a basic burial. So the WWOOFer whipped up a casserole and they had it for supper.

"I wouldn't rush at eating squirrel again," Acland laughs. "But there were messages there and I was thankful for that."

After a few days of digesting goat, I figure it's time to milk the situation. Literally.

One morning, Acland's wife leads me out to the shed for my virgin milking. A bit squeamish, I reach into the nether-area and grasp a fleshy protrusion.

"So I just yank?" I ask. "They tend to be fidgety with strangers," says Stringer. "You've just got to be firm."

I squeeze. The goat kicks a bit. But the teat squirts. Actually, it's kind of enjoyable.

Sprint Mill isn't in town, but Acland and Stringer provide wheels for their WWOOFers (bikes of course). I take full advantage of a Brompton; a London-made, folding bike.

I ride into Kendal, a favourite launching-point for hiking the nearby fells, the hills of the Lake District.

A visit to 13th-century Kendal Castle is rewarding -- for a full hour I have the ruins all to myself. Sweet!

Even sweeter: The Famous 1657 Chocolate House, where I self-medicate my goat-stricken palate with a sickening dose of chocolate. The menu consists of 20 chocolate beverages (embellished with spices, violet and the like) and 14 gateaux.

Another day, I venture out to Hill Top, Beatrix Potter's charming little home near Sawrey. The Brompton folds up on the train, bus and ferry and I ride it the rest of the way, passing through adorable towns where it seems feasible to consume clotted cream and scones hourly.

Sprint Mill Farm values symbiotic relationships between man and nature. It also achieves that between host and WWOOFer: I relish my experiences both on the farm and off it.

"I have this ridiculous belief that humankind could actually one day be a benefit to the planet rather than ravaging, pillaging, raping, despoiling," Acland muses.

He doesn't clobber you over the head with his philosophies, but his message grows on you. Like moss.

- - -


Cost: A one-year WWOOF U.K. membership costs $40 Cdn and grants access to a list of participant farms in England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales.


WWOOF Canada:

Visiting Kendal: www.lakelandgateway.inf

Hill Top:

Online: WWOOFing in Action:

Find videos of Reb Stevenson's experiences in England at
Shot of colour for spring is all your family needs

By Joanne Sasvari, Canwest News ServiceMarch 14, 2009


When it comes to fashion, instead of thinking "must-have" this spring, you might be thinking, "Must I?"

Judging by dismal retail reports, you're not alone. Sales are down just about everywhere. Instead of shopping at the mall, we're making do with what's already in our closets, organizing clothes swaps and even learning how to sew a garment.

We are at last starting to pay attention to Gail Vaz-Oxlade, host of Slice TV's Til Debt Do Us Part, when she says, "You have to distinguish between your needs and your wants. You don't need a clothing budget, except for your children."

Still, it is the season of renewal, and it's only natural to want something fresh and fun to wear. Luckily for your shrinking fashion dollar, updating your look has never been easier -- and it needn't be expensive.

It could be as simple as injecting a shot of colour into your wardrobe.

For men, women, teens and children, colour is the big story everywhere. And by colour, we mean every colour on the wheel, especially what Rita Lee, vice-president of merchandising for Melanie Lyne stores, calls "all these beautiful happy colours," including vivid blues, bright pinks and hot citrus hues.

And don't think you have to stick with a single colour; prints are back in almost every conceivable pattern including florals, abstracts, geometrics, stripes and python.

"Colour is going to be a big thing, and the easiest way of achieving that is in a top," Lee says. "Just to add a new top, I don't think it's going to break your budget."

Even hard-to-please, trend-conscious teenagers will love the selection out there right now, which includes everything from T-shirts to cardigans, boyfriend shirts, bow-tied blouses, flowing kimono tops and billowy blousons.

"This is a good season to invest in a few pleated silk or satin novelty tops," says Tara Wickwire, Gap Inc. spokesperson.

"Architectural detailing is a big trend for the season, yet modern at the same time."

The really good news is that, aside from all those bright, trendy tops, fashion for the foreseeable future is all about timeless classics in basic neutrals.

The pieces your family should have include trench coats, safari jackets, blazers, khakis, jeans; and just for the girls, cropped pants, ballet flats, slim skirts and wide-legged trousers. If you're missing any of these pieces, this is a good time to stock up, as they will work for seasons to come -- and chances are they're marked down right now.

As we move into spring, you can keep things up to date by starting with a base of last season's black and charcoal pieces "then transition into the lighter shades of sand, grey and white," Lee says. "It gives you lots of options and you can stretch your fashion dollar a lot more than you can imagine."

For summer, white is the freshest neutral in everything from denim to dresses. And if there is one staple everyone needs, it's a white shirt.

"The white shirt works 24/7," says stylist Adrienne Shoom of Joe Fresh Style. "On its own or under a jacket or cardigan, a crisp white shirt always looks modern."

Another essential classic is the cardigan, especially in the slouchy boyfriend style, for both men and women.

"The cardigan is a spring must-have," Shoom says. "It's the perfect layering piece. Throw it on over a day dress or wear it belted with your favourite pair of jeans."

For girls and women, this spring is all about the dress, whether it's a bright little T-shirt dress, a flowing maxi or a fitted party frock.

"A dress is very easy dressing, especially in hotter weather," Lee says.

These straightforward pieces create the perfect backdrop for the season's stellar selection of accessories.

Here again, it's all about colour, "whether in jewelry, in handbags, scarves or wraps," says Melanie Lyne's accessory buyer, Anita Ormos.

Instant updates include "clutches and satchels in vivid brights and cool neutrals," as well as oversized sunglasses and statement-making jewelry such as large hoops or shoulder duster earrings, bold pendants, bib or chunky bead necklaces, and stacks of bangles and bracelets.

"The more the better," Ormos says.

While obvious excess is out, a really killer signature piece can make any outfit. You might even want to invest a bit more money in a unique work of art, like the gorgeous handmade pieces by Vancouver design company Lemon Park, which incorporates chunky beads and semi-precious stones in their stunning Rocks line.

"You can wear one of the pieces with an elegant evening outfit, which is the obvious choice, but they also make a T-shirt and a pair of favourite old jeans look stunning," says Lemon Park designer Tania Gleave.

A great accessory, a great top, a signature piece of fashion jewelry -- so simple, yet not at all basic.

As style mavens the world over have always known, the only true "must-have" is your own personal sense of style.


If you and your family want to be fashionable without being frivolous, the best way to do that is to build a base of classics, then punch them up with bright colours and dramatic accessories.


- 1. Belted trench coat

- 2. "Cool" neutral basics in black, grey or sand

- 3. Cardigan for layering

- 4. Great-fitting pants in black, grey, khaki or white

- 5. White shirt, jeans, jacket, dress or accessories

- 6. Colourful accessories (scarf, bag, ballet flats for her; ties, sneakers and pocket squares for him)

- 7. Brightly coloured tops


- 8. Top or dress in a fun print

- 9. Oversized square sunglasses

- 10. Fashion jewelry such as giant hoop earrings or chunky necklaces

The Kluane National Park Reserve in the Yukon is home to the highest mountain in the country, Mount Logan. Part of the Mt. St. Elias range, Mount Logan, rising to 5959 metres, is also the second largest mountain in North America and is one of the largest massifs in the world.

In 1890, I.C. Russell of the U.S. Geographical Survey, while studying the Mt. St. Elias Mountains, named the mountain after Sir William Edmond Logan (1798-1875). Logan founded the Geological Survey of Canada in 1842. William Logan was born in Montreal and educated in Scotland, and over the course of his career, he was extremely interested in studying the geological nature of Canada. In 1992, the Geographical Survey of Canada organized an expedition to finally determine the height of Mount Logan. Using the Global Positioning System (GPS), a team of twelve members of the society, resolved the debate about Mount Logan's elevation.

Located west of Whitehorse and less than 100 kilometres from the coast, Mount Logan is subject to extreme weather conditions, meaning its climate is comparable to both the Antarctic and the Himalayas. The mountain is covered mainly by snow and ice, some of which may be thousands of years old, especially where it is in contact with the rock between 200-300 metres below the surface. The cover of ice and snow upon the mountain is permanent, and probably developed on the upper mountain several million years ago.

There are numerous rock outcrops that occur close to its many subsidiary peaks, and the mountain is composed largely of granodiorite, a course-grained plutonic rock containing quartz and plagioclase. The Mt. St. Elias range of mountains is still tectonically active, meaning the mountain is still growing!

Numerous teams from around the world travel to the Yukon to undertake the treacherous climb to Mount Logan's peak. To walk into or from the mountain, one would travel, by foot or skis, over one hundred kilometres of glaciers, taking upwards of two weeks. Therefore, most parties fly into the Icefields from Haines Junction and start their climb from there. The mountain was successfully conquered in 1925 by a team led by Albert A. MacCarthy. MacCarthy was an American mountaineer who spent sixty-five days traveling through the wilderness of both Alaska and the Yukon before reaching the top of the mountain on June 23.

In October 2000, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien announced his recommendation to change the name of Mount Logan to Mount Trudeau, after the late Pierre Elliott Trudeau.

Significant Events

Mount Logan was first surveyed as a result of a National Geographic Society Grant in 1890. In 1938, the Harvard University Alaskan expedition led by Bradford Washburn discovered one of the largest icefields and glacial groups outside of the polar regions by using aerial photography of Mount Logan and its surrounding areas.