The 2009 flu pandemic or swine flu was an influenza pandemic that lasted from January 2009 to August 2010, and the second of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus (the first being the 1918–1920 Spanish flu pandemic), albeit a new strain. First described in April 2009, the virus appeared to be a new strain of H1N1, which resulted from a previous triple reassortment of bird, swine, and human flu viruses further combined with a Eurasian pig flu virus, leading to the term "swine flu". According to WHO, the laboratory confirmed death toll is more than 18,036. Meanwhile, some studies estimated that 11 to 21 percent of the global population at the time – or around 700 million to 1.4 billion people (out of a total of 6.8 billion) – contracted the illness. This was more than the number of people infected by the Spanish flu pandemic, but only resulted in about 150,000 to 575,000 fatalities for the 2009 pandemic. A follow-up study done in September 2010 showed that the risk of serious illness resulting from the 2009 H1N1 flu was no higher than that of the yearly seasonal flu. For comparison, the WHO estimates that 250,000 to 500,000 people die of seasonal flu annually.
Unlike most strains of influenza, the Pandemic H1N1/09 virus does not disproportionately infect adults older than 60 years; this was an unusual and characteristic feature of the H1N1 pandemic. Even in the case of previously very healthy people, a small percentage develop pneumonia or acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). This manifests itself as increased breathing difficulty and typically occurs three to six days after initial onset of flu symptoms. The pneumonia caused by flu can be either direct viral pneumonia or a secondary bacterial pneumonia. A November 2009 New England Journal of Medicine article recommended that flu patients whose chest X-ray indicates pneumonia receive both antivirals and antibiotics. In particular, it is a warning sign if a child (and presumably an adult) seems to be getting better and then relapses with high fever, as this relapse may be bacterial pneumonia.
- "Wikipedia: The 2009 H1N1 flu outbreak" | 2009-04-25 | 57 Upvotes 42 Comments
Anvil firing (also known as anvil launching or anvil shooting) is the practice of firing an anvil into the air with gunpowder.
In the UK, the term refers to a method of testing anvils. Black powder was poured onto the top of the anvil and ignited. If the anvil did not shatter it was deemed safe to use.
- "Anvil Firing" | 2019-04-06 | 174 Upvotes 89 Comments
Balloon Experiments with Amateur Radio (BEAR) is a series of Canadian-based amateur radio high-altitude balloon experiments by a group of amateur radio operators and experimenters from Sherwood Park and Edmonton, Alberta. The experiments started in the year 2000 and continued with BEAR-9 in 2012 reaching 36,010 metres (118,140 ft).
The balloons are made of latex filled with either helium or hydrogen. All of the BEAR payloads carry a tracking system comprising a GPS receiver, an APRS encoder, and a radio transmitter module. Other experimental payload modules include an Amateur Radio crossband repeater, and a digital camera all of which is contained within an insulated foam box suspended below the balloon. A parachute recovery system is automatically deployed when the balloon bursts at altitude.
- "Balloon Experiments with Amateur Radio" | 2020-01-27 | 65 Upvotes 25 Comments
Donna Theo Strickland, (born 27 May 1959) is a Canadian optical physicist and pioneer in the field of pulsed lasers. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2018, together with Gérard Mourou, for the invention of chirped pulse amplification. She is a professor at the University of Waterloo.
She served as fellow, vice president, and president of The Optical Society, and is currently chair of their Presidential Advisory Committee. In 2018, she was listed as one of BBC's 100 Women.
- "Donna Strickland won her Nobel prize in Physics before she got a wikipedia page" | 2018-10-02 | 41 Upvotes 24 Comments
"Fruit machine" is a term for a device developed in Canada by Frank Robert Wake that was supposed to be able to identify gay men (derogatorily referred to as "fruits"). The subjects were made to view pornography; the device then measured the diameter of the pupils of the eyes (pupillary response test), perspiration, and pulse for a supposed erotic response.
The "fruit machine" was employed in Canada in the 1950s and 1960s during a campaign to eliminate all gay men from the civil service, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), and the military. A substantial number of workers did lose their jobs. Although funding for the "fruit machine" project was cut off in the late 1960s, the investigations continued, and the RCMP collected files on over 9,000 "suspected" gay people.
The chair employed resembled that used by dentists. It had a pulley with a camera going towards the pupils, with a black box located in front of it that displayed pictures. The pictures ranged from the mundane to sexually explicit photos of men and women. It had previously been determined that the pupils would dilate in relation to the amount of interest in the picture per the technique termed 'the pupillary response test'.
People were first led to believe that the machine's purpose was to rate stress. After knowledge of its real purpose became widespread, few people volunteered for it.
- "Fruit machine (homosexuality test)" | 2019-06-27 | 40 Upvotes 35 Comments
Air Canada Flight 143 was a Canadian scheduled domestic passenger flight between Montreal and Edmonton that ran out of fuel on July 23, 1983, at an altitude of 41,000 feet (12,000 m), midway through the flight. The crew was able to glide the Boeing 767 aircraft safely to an emergency landing at a former Royal Canadian Air Force base in Gimli, Manitoba, that had been turned into a motor racing track. This unusual aviation incident earned the aircraft the nickname "Gimli Glider".
The subsequent investigation revealed that a combination of company failures, human errors and confusion over unit measures had led to the aircraft being refuelled with insufficient fuel for the planned flight.
The High Arctic relocation (French: La délocalisation du Haut-Arctique, Inuktitut syllabics: ᖁᑦᑎᒃᑐᒥᐅᑦᑕ ᓅᑕᐅᓂᖏᑦ Inuktitut: Quttiktumut nuutauningit) took place during the Cold War in the 1950s, when 92 Inuit were moved by the Government of Canada to the High Arctic.
The relocation has been a source of controversy: on one hand being described as a humanitarian gesture to save the lives of starving indigenous people and enable them to continue a subsistence lifestyle; and on the other hand, said to be a forced migration instigated by the federal government to assert its sovereignty in the Far North by the use of "human flagpoles", in light of both the Cold War and the disputed territorial claims to the Canadian Arctic Archipelago. Both sides acknowledge that the relocated Inuit were not given sufficient support to prevent extreme privation during their first years after the move. The story was the subject of a book called The Long Exile, published by Melanie McGrath in 2006.
- "High Arctic relocation" | 2017-11-11 | 68 Upvotes 7 Comments
Ioannis Phokas (Greek: Ἰωάννης Φωκᾶς), better known by the Spanish translation of his name, Juan de Fuca (born 1536 on the Ionian island of Cefalonia; died there 1602), was a Greek maritime pilot in the service of the King of Spain, Philip II. He is best known for his claim to have explored the Strait of Anián, now known as the Strait of Juan de Fuca, between Vancouver Island (now part of British Columbia, Canada) and the Olympic Peninsula (northwestern Washington state, United States).
- "Juan de Fuca" | 2018-06-29 | 50 Upvotes 23 Comments
A screw drive is a system used to turn a screw. At a minimum, it is a set of shaped cavities and protrusions on the screw head that allows torque to be applied to it. Usually, it also involves a mating tool, such as a screwdriver, that is used to turn it. The following heads are categorized based on commonality, with some of the less-common drives being classified as "tamper-resistant".
Most heads come in a range of sizes, typically distinguished by a number, such as "Phillips #00". These sizes do not necessarily describe a particular dimension of the drive shape, but rather are arbitrary designations.
- "List of screw drives" | 2018-05-07 | 303 Upvotes 255 Comments