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Sunday Newsletter 2000-15Su.

October 8, 2000.

I changed the question of the week a bit this time by altering it into a puzzle. Try it for a bit before peeking below for the answer. If you like this alternative or would like to see more versions in this feature please let me know by sending a message to john@factscanada.com.



Descramble the following letters and you will reveal the name of a Canadian community:



- Letters from one side of the hyphen can be used on the other side.
- There are as many letters on either side of the hyphen as there are in the actual name.
- One of the words is the surname of a former Canadian Prime Minister.



Sir John William Dawson.

Geology was Dawson's main vocation, although his life was certainly full of variation. Born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, on October 13, 1820, Dawson was the first Canadian-born scientist of world-wide reputation. Educated first at Pictou Academy, he furthered his thirst for knowledge by moving to Scotland and studying the science of geology at the University of Edinburgh. Upon his return he became Superintendent of Education for the province of Nova Scotia, holding this position for five years until 1855. Dawson then became principal of McGill University in Montreal.

During the next 38 years he built McGill into one of the world's leading universities, while becoming known as a modernist for his then-radical policy of admitting women to McGill. During this period he managed to find the time to teach 20 hours a week while still maintaining geological research in what spare time he could afford. He was also somehow able to pen some 20 books and numerous essays. Dawson helped form The Royal Society of Canada (the senior national organization for the promotion of learning and research in Canada) in 1882 with the Governor General of the time, the Marquis of Lorne (John Douglas Sutherland Campbell). The Royal Society now honours him with the Sir John William Dawson Medal, which is presented every second year. This silver medal brings with it a cash award and great prestige for the recipient.

Dawson also became the only individual ever to preside over both the American and British Associations for the Advancement of Science. He was knighted in 1884 in recognition of his public services in this regard. Another achievement that is worthy of mention was his establishment of the school of Civil Engineering at McGill in 1858. He also received an honourary Doctorate of Laws degree and a Master of Arts from the University of Edinburgh. He was a member of both the Natural History Society of Montreal and the Botany Society of Canada.

Sir Dawson died in Montreal on November 19, 1899. His son, George Mercer Dawson, became famous in his own right. Because he was one of the founding members of The Royal Society and due to his importance to the Geological Survey of Canada, George Dawson exerted strong influence on government decisions of the day. His biography will also be featured in an upcoming issue.



Did you know that every athlete who attended the recent Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, was given an allotment of 51 condoms? Over the 17 days of the Olympics, this would enable each participant to "perform" three times a day, in addition to their regular task of competing for medals!

This may not be the far-fetched notion it appears to be. After all, Hollywood sex symbol, Mae West, once said, "Sex is an emotion in motion".




One of the more peculiar sporting terms is the command, "Mush!" I have always used this term to refer to porridge, although I am also aware of the "let's gets things rolling" connotation.

So, why do dog sled drivers yell, "Mush" to their group of dogs when they want to start moving? Why not a simple order like, "Let's go!" or "Run now!"? In actuality, the term comes from French-Canadian sled drivers who are really yelling, "Marchins!" which means, "Let's march!" in French. When the English speaking lead drivers tried to copy their French-Canadian instructors, they tended to pronounce the term as, "Mushon!" which over the years became shortened to, "Mush!"



Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, it seem appropriate to include the following tip about safely cooking poultry.

Partially cooking poultry is never wise. Undercooking your bird increases the chances of food poisoning substantially, as it provides an environment for the growth of the salmonella bacteria which is often carried on poultry.

Micro-organisms (bacteria, viruses, fungi, etc.) multiply rapidly between the temperatures of 5 degrees Celsius (40 degrees Fahrenheit) and 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit), a temperature range referred to in the restaurant business as the "danger zone". Poultry is exceptionally predisposed to the growth of the salmonella bacteria if only partially cooked. Although the surface may look adequately done, the uncooked centre often registers a "danger zone" temperature as, for example, the turkey breast you are cooking heats and then cools unevenly. Bacteria will reproduce and spread alarmingly in these warm moist environments. Even though it's later held at lower refrigerated temperatures, this only slows the rate at which the bacteria multiply -- it does not kill them.

A dose of food poisoning (called salmonellosis in this case) can be a nasty experience. The key is to make sure that susceptible foods are kept either cold (below 5 degrees Celsius ) or hot (above 60 degrees Celsius). For turkey meat, that means either cook and serve it hot, or chill the fully-cooked meat in the refrigerator and serve it cold, consuming it fairly quickly in one sitting. Alternatively, you can reheat the item in a microwave thereby ensuring it is thoroughly cooked. This can be done by using lower temperatures (medium-high or medium) and for a longer duration. This will also help prevent the microwave from drying out the fowl.



Montreal native and inaugural hero of the Star Trek phenomenon, William Shatner, recently spoke with "TV Guide" about his grief over the death of his third wife last year. Shatner's wife, Nerine, drowned in their swimming pool in August of 1999. He spent a long time mourning her passing before dealing with her loss by writing "Star Trek Preserver", a best-selling novel released last July. In the book his character, Captain James T. Kirk (by the way, the "T" is for Tiberius, the Roman emperor), struggles to save his dying wife. "When someone dies, for a while you want to make some meaning out of your life," Shatner told "TV Guide". "You go on a spiritual journey. And hopefully you don't stop."



"The loss of someone you love is horrible enough. But to do it with the public, with the media at your heels, is almost unendurable!" --William Shatner.



Did you know, that resting your mouse pointer over the clock in the Windows '98 (and '95, NT4 and 2000) taskbar will result in a "tool tip" that displays your computer's current date? The taskbar is the bar (usually along the bottom of the screen) that contains the "Start" button. A tool tip is a small window that often pops-up under your pointer, telling you of the function or some other information about the area of the screen on which the pointer is resting. If the taskbar is along the bottom of your screen, the clock is in the bottom, right-hand corner of the screen, in a small area called the "system tray" (where some programs tend to add small icons).

This information can be useful for those times when you can't remember the date and you don't have a calendar in front of you. Of course, if you don't have the correct date set, then it's not very helpful. Setting the correct date and time on your computer is very easy. All you need to do is double-click on the clock, and this will bring up a window containing the controls needed for setting the year, month, day, time and time zone. Make the necessary corrections and then click the "OK" button to save your changes and you will have your computer set correctly.



This week's pet peeve comes to us from Craig, and is related to his computer tip above. He is peeved at people who don't have the correct date and time set on their computers.

"Why should I bother setting the correct date, time and time zone on my computer, when I have a watch and there's a calendar on my wall?" is an oft repeated refrain he hears people asking. Well, in today's networked world the settings on your computer can affect other people. In the "old days" when a modem was an optional feature that nobody except computer geeks used, it didn't really matter. In fact, it wasn't unusual back then to see a computer stuck on 1980, especially if the battery that kept the clock running when the power was off was dead. Now computers are more sophisticated and keep track of many things with the system clock. A good example is your e-mail. Your e-mail program uses your computer's clock to time and date stamp your outgoing e-mail. If your clock is set to the wrong date and time, people will have a difficult time figuring out just when you really sent your message, not to mention that fact that the recipient's e-mail program may well sort your message into possible oblivion if your date is so far out of sync with the rest of the universe! Wondering why Aunty Jane hasn't replied to your e-mail? Maybe it's because she hasn't read the e-mail that's dated 2001!



SUALRRN-IOTAETI descrambled is Laurier-Station, Quebec.



Laurier-Station, Quebec.

This village, located 40 kilometres south-west of Quebec City, was incorporated in 1951. Its post office, however, was named in 1900 to honour the then-current prime minister, Sir Wilfred Laurier, who held office from 1896-1911. Laurier-Station is situated along highway 20 between Drummondville and Quebec City.


The three of us wish all of you a happy Thanksgiving. It seems an appropriate time for us to thank you for your support in our endeavour so far this year, and we hope to be able to celebrate many more Thanksgivings with you.



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