Sci Station Canada

Sunday, August 29, 2004

Canada's Stake on the Very Small Frontier

An article in the Toronto Star - Focusing on the nanorealm - has drawn public attention on the National Institute for Nanotechnology - click here for the official site and
This expansion is mirrored on the commercial front as can be seen from the Montreal based
Canadian NanoBusiness Alliance. Which states that "there are over 130 organizations currently involved in nanotechnology in Canada. Virtually all activities are conducted in the vicinity of 5 nanotechnology hubs. The distribution of organizations and principle industrial nanotechnology clusters are as follows and are further detailed in the following sections:

Montreal (40%) with nanotech clusters developing in information technology & communications, chemicals & materials, aerospace & defence, and medical

Toronto (25%) with nanotech clusters developing in medical, and chemicals & materials

Ottawa (15%) with a nanotech cluster developing in information technology & communications

Edmonton (10%) with a nanotech cluster developing in information technology & communications

Vancouver (10%) with a nanotech cluster developing in energy"

Canada certainly has it's foot in the door but can it make a grand entrance?

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

If you can put up with the Wise-Cracks ...

Slashdot has a forum with some gems buried amongst the dross. Canadian Team To Launch X-Prize Attempt Oct. 2 There is even an interesting comment on Canadian Arrow

This would seem to be about the latest photo I've seen of Wild Fire.

Monday, August 09, 2004

The X Prize ships in Paper

With the X Prize competition hotting up it would be great to have a model of the X Prize ships, right? Well there is one of SpaceShipOne already on Currell Graphics where you will find a model of Burt Rutan's graceful spaceship to 1:48 scale (approx. 7 inches long). Ralph Currell also has a model of the WWII V2 to 1:32 which could perhaps be built as the Canadian Arrow - I've seen plans on the Net for it somewhere!

A big hello to all my friends on the PaperModels SmartGroup!

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Canadian Arrow is still in the race

Unlike da Vinci, Canadian Arrow has not been lucky enough yet to acquire a major sponsor. According to the London Free Press, Geoff Sheerin, head of the London-based Canadian Arrow , said ...

"... while Toronto's da Vinci Project may be among the first rockets to the launching pad, that doesn't mean it will win. If you look in the history books, all aviation races had some really well-funded groups ahead of the ultimate winners, You can be the fastest to the finish line and still trip and fall."

... the report states that four months of unmanned test flights will start within the next two weeks at an as yet undisclosed location off one of the Great Lakes, although Sheerin is on record as saying that the plan is for their competitive flights to launch from a barge in Lake Huron, near Sarnia. However unless they get local funding, Canadian Arrow might not be in London at that time.

"The London-area response to the project has not been as high as expected, The wealth is here, it's just not really waking up,' Sheerin said. The Fanshawe Park Road East site where the Canadian Arrow team is based has been sold to Hudson Boat Works, which will take over the site in September.

"Unfortunately for London it may mean they lose their space program, which in the long run is a serious blow. Unless someone steps up to take on the bulk of sponsorship, the Canadian Arrow team may find a new home in Windsor, Barrie or Sarnia." he said.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Entrepreneurs in space!

Online casino, which came to the rescue of da Vinci obviously sees the Ansari X Prize attempt as a way of expanding it's flamboyant on-line style into space! They are reported to be planning to send the infamous Beckham penalty outrage ball into space!

The ball David Beckham infamously booted over the bar during England's crucial Euro 2004 shoot-out with Portugal is supposedly going into space - for real.

Online casino, which bought the ball for 28,050 Euros (18,500 UK pounds) in an online auction last month, has announced plans to store the sporting relic onboard a Canadian spacecraft entry in the $10m X-prize race. is sponsoring the da Vinci Project's Wild Fire, which is due to blast off from the central Canadian province of Saskatchewan on 2 October, taking Beckham's ball with it.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

It is a good day to Grade!

Those of you who know that my fictional ater-ego is Kirok of L'Stok - a Klingon raised by Vulcans - will know that I have Taoist leanings in that I believe a complete person should develop themselves physically as well as mentally. Many who read my ramblings in the "Space Family Anderton" column in Tricorder will know that I train in Tae Kwon Do.

Well today might be the end of that era. I have been finding it increasingly hard to handle physically and think it is time to go on to something else. Gimme a break willya - I'm 50 years old! I feel that I have neither the flexibility nor stamina to do justice to what is needed.

Kirok went out in a blaze of glory though!

I made some small mistakes in my first form, Sem Jang, but I did well in Sah Jang and Yuk Jang - you can download short mpeg's of these from here, here and here. Bag kicking went well on the right leg (Jumping Roundhouse is a strong point) and although as ussual I had little power on my left, my technique was right. I fluffed some of the instructions in Korean but again showed reasonable technique in my 3 step sparring ... and then we got into the serious stuff ...

Tae Kwon Do is a contact sport ... if you are wearing helmets and guards etc on chest and shins. Without them we are told to watch our contact and stop kicks and blocks short of serious damage. However when we grade we are expected to show fighting spirit and have a bit of "slap and tap": Blocks connect and if your block doesn't catch a kick, hope your opponent doesn't hurt you too much!

I was ok with my training buddy, Brenton, but for my second match they paired me with a young 16-18 year old blue belt who had plenty of fire in his belly but didn't seem to have picked up the concept of control! Luckily, as the old saying goes, experience and cunning beat youth and speed as my conditioned reflexes kicked in - all my blocks worked - and I counterattacked by forcing him back against a wall.

Hah! Taught you, ya young whippersnapper! One of the young club members caught it as a movie for me but I'm having trouble uploading it to the Internet so if you are interested, drop me a line.

Tonight I'm a happy man. I can retire with honour! Red belt is just short of Black belt but it is still an achievement, I have achieved my goal. From this point on it takes serious commitment to training and the sparring gets pretty tough, so i think it might not be an appropriate risk for me to continue.

Besides my other training buddy - Cadet Ensign Christopher Anderton - wants to take up weight training and that might help me regain enough edge to go back to Tae Kwon Do!

You never know, I might get that Black belt yet before I turn 60!

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Cyber-tourism in Montréal

This years Commerce Design Montréal competition is featured in an online article in ArchitectureWeek. The main site for the competition can be found here

ArchitectureWeek is linked to Great Buildings Online an amazing free repository of articles, graphics and 3D models of buildings from all over the world and throughout history! For example a search of "Places" from their main page gives the following buildings that they have ...
  • CN Tower, by John Andrews, at Toronto, Canada, 1976.

  • German Pavilion, Expo '67, by Frei Otto, at Montreal, Canada, 1967.

  • Graham House, by Arthur C. Erickson, at West Vancouver, BC, Canada, 1963.

  • Habitat '67, by Moshe Safdie, at Montreal, Canada, 1967.

  • National Gallery of Canada, by Moshe Safdie, at Ottawa, Canada, 1986 to 1988.

  • US Pavilion at Expo '67, by Buckminster Fuller and Shoji Sadao, at Montreal, Canada, 1967.

... With the olympics soon to open in Athens, perhaps you might like to take a virtual stroll through the Parthenon? Or perhaps Angkor Wat in Cambodia or Solomon's Temple in Jerusalem? The possibilities are endless!

Monday, August 02, 2004

Da Vinci images

In the wake of the recent announcement of Feeney's attampt, there is a nice series of graphics, most of which I haven't seen before at the Image Gallery Viewer

Evidently Nutco a BC firm that specialises in Deep sea diving suits, is looking at developing one of their suits as a space suit for Da Vinci.

Doing a bit of navigating, it looks like the graphics have come from the Gallery on the Da Vinci Web Site.