Thursday, May 26, 2011
The Canadian War Museum in Ottawa today unveiled its new exhibition – War & Medicine, in collaboration with the Wellcome Collection in London, England and the Deutsches Hygiene Museum in Dresden, Germany.
The exhibition – which has been adapted for a North American audience, contains 300 artifacts, which is the most the Canadian War Museum has ever displayed in one show.
From black and white photographs of legless Crimean War soldiers to the physical and mental injuries suffered by Canadian combat troops in Afghanistan, the exhibition takes viewers on an emotional roller coaster. Expect to see a vast array of surgical instruments, diagnostic equipment, prosthetics and even leeches.
Videotaped interviews with medical personnel and a soldier's diary remind viewers of the terrible emotional toll that combat takes on individuals.
The Canadian War Museum is the only North American stop for this exhibition. It continues until November 13.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Got an old mountain bike or a hybrid your don't use anymore? If so, Bicycles for Humanity (B4H) wants to talk to you.
The NGO's annual drive takes place May 30 – June 4 at nine locations in Ottawa and Gatineau.
This year their goal is to send 400 donated bikes, spare parts and tools to Zomba, Malawi, where they will be distributed to volunteer health care workers in the region.
Since 2007, B4H has sent almost 2,000 bikes to rural communities in Malawi and Namibia.
Even if you don't have a bike to donate, you can still help out. To learn more, please click here.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Ottawa and Gatineau have become the latest cities to launch the BIXI bike sharing service, with 100 bikes currently available to rent at 10 stations.
Despite recent financial setbacks to the Montreal-based Public Bike System Company, stakeholders are confident the service will be a success here in Ottawa.
“The purpose of the program is to provide immediate access to public bikes as an alternative mode of transportation,” said Alain Ayotte, president at the Public Bike System Company. “The BIXI bikes are designed to complement public transit, and as such, they are intended for one-way trips of less than 30 minutes. At the end of the trip, the bike can be dropped off at any of the 10 docking stations. We're convinced local residents and tourists will quickly embrace Capital BIXI.”
Regular users of the service can purchase a monthly pass for $28 or an annual pass for $78. Casual users or tourists can purchase a 24-hour pass for five dollars or a 72-hour pass for $12 directly at the station.
National Capital Commission CEO, Marie Lemay, said the goal is to get 500 bikes and 50 stations.
The name BIXI is a combination of the words bicycle and taxi.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Eight Canadian astronauts were in Ottawa yesterday to help launch the Canada Aviation and Space Museum’s new exhibition – Living in Space.
In front of dozens of grade six school children from a local public school, the astronauts patiently explained in detail how they go to the bathroom in outer space.
Fortunately, the kids wanted to know more than that.
In addition to the porta-potty demonstration, the astronauts walked guests around the many artifacts on display. The astronauts explained how they ate, slept, cut their hair, shaved and entertained themselves in space.
"This is a rare glimpse of what it is like to live in space," said Canadian Space Agency President, Steve MacLean.
According to the exhibit, it's not all fun. Weightlessness affects the human body in a variety of ways. In order to counteract the negative aspects of zero gravity, the astronauts are required to exercise two hours per day and take a variety of nutritional supplements, as well as participate in a post-flight rehabilitation program.
There are other issues that astronauts have to deal with.
Obviously, being away from one's family for extended periods of time has an affect on your well being, but it is more than that.
"I missed the wind in my face," said Robert Thirsk, who spent six months at the international space station in 2009.
When asked by one of the school children what skills are required to become an astronaut, Dave Williams' face lit up like a Christmas tree.
"You need the passion to pursue your dreams," he said. "The one common denominator (among all astronauts) is the passion for the quest for knowledge."
Mr. MacLean said the astronauts aboard the shuttle are very busy with planning and executing space walks, using the robotic Canadarm, and conducting a huge number of scientific and medical experiments.
"There is a bond amongst us that we are doing something important," said Mr. MacLean.
The astronauts hope the exhibit inspires young people to pursue higher education and follow their footsteps into the space program.
For more information, check out the Canadian Space Agency's website at www.asc-csa.gc.ca.
Thursday, May 05, 2011
The Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa today unveiled its new exhibit – a car that can go 110 kilometres per hour and never stop for gas!
The solar-powered Midnight Sun VIII was engineered by students from the University of Waterloo and their efforts resulted in their car finishing fifth in the 2005 American Solar Challenge.
While the single-seater car will not get your family of four to the beach this summer, the research and development that went into it, certainly will someday.
Up to 200 people worked on the car for two years. They are currently working on the 10th edition of this model, which will race in future events.
The car will be on display at the museum until mid-October. The museum's next exhibit will be about bio plastics – what they are and how they are used in cars.