International News Desk – At Home: North Poll

At Home: North Poll

Think you know Canada’s North? If so, you may be in for a surprise. Although the North accounts for much of Canada’s geographical area, and although modern technology has bridged the distance and remoteness that previously cut it off from the rest of Canada, misconceptions abound among southern Canadians.

As the CBC reports, Yellowknife-based magazine Up Here recently conducted a poll to determine the extent of this knowledge?or lack of it. The results: sadly, many ?Canadians are clueless when it comes to? understanding the vast northern expanse of the country.

For example, one ?third of Canadians didn’t know Nunavut was the newest territory,? with equal numbers unaware that ?the word Inuit [had] replaced Eskimo.? Incredibly, ?74 per cent of Canadians think that penguins might live in the Arctic.?

Why the knowledge gaps? It could be ignorance, but one Yellowknife resident has a different theory. Brent Reaney formerly lived in southern Ontario but has lived in both Nunavut and the NWT and now resides in Yellowknife. As he told reporters, ?To understand this place, I think you do have to experience it, and only so many people have experienced it.?

Around the World: Wand of Darkness

Move over, Harry Potter: science is catching up, as new technological advances bring us closer than ever to the wizarding world. The latest research offers the possibility of an electric wand which extinguishes fire with only a flick of the wrist?no incantation required.

As National Geographic‘s Daily News site reports, recent research has ?has shown that electric fields can snuff out fires too.?

In experiments, the high-voltage wand put out 20-inch flames ?almost instantly.? But there’s science behind the magic: ?the wand in the experiments essentially uses electricity to push the flame away from the burner, ?detaching it from the fuel source, so it goes out.?

The technology is believed to be safe, with electrical frequencies, voltage, and current insufficient to ?create health issues in a healthy person.?

Additionally, the wand system would ?reduc[e] water damage? to buildings and structures and, importantly, minimize the ?environmental threats posed by fire retardants.?

In the future, scientists plan to investigate the possibility of ?suppressing fires both farther away and wider in scope by experimenting with the shape of the electrode and altering the current, frequency, and voltage involved.?