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Soil Science

Soil science is the science that deals with soils as a natural resource. Studies focus on soil formation, classification and mapping, and the physical, chemical and biological properties and fertility of soils as such and in relation to their management for crop production.

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Hydroelectricity in Canada

Hydroelectricity is energy produced from flowing water. The amount of energy produced depends on volume and speed: the more water moving at a fast rate, the more energy produced. For this reason, many hydroelectric stations are built near waterfalls. To produce energy, water is directed toward turbines — sometimes with the help of a dam — causing them to spin. In turn, the turbines make electrical generators spin and electricity is produced. It is a renewable, comparatively nonpolluting energy source and Canada’s largest source of electric-power generation.

Macleans

Mackenzie Valley Pipeline: Maclean's

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on July 17, 2000. Partner content is not updated.

Along with many other young native activists in the 1970s, Northwest Territories Premier Stephen Kakfwi cut his political teeth fighting against a proposed megaproject to build a northern pipeline through the Mackenzie Valley to the Beaufort Sea.

Macleans

Viagra Hits Canada

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on March 22, 1999. Partner content is not updated.

Bill Smith, a 55-year-old heavy-machine operator from Fredericton, knows these are his salad days revisited. As one of 500 Canadian men participating in the clinical trials of the impotency drug Viagra, he has been getting samples for two years. "They're free, so why not use them?" he says.

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Oil Sands

The Canadian oil sands (or tar sands) are a large area of petroleum extraction from bitumen, located primarily along the Athabasca River with its centre of activity close to Fort McMurray in Alberta, approximately 400 km northeast of the provincial capital, Edmonton. Increased global energy demand, high petroleum dependency and geopolitical conflict in key oil producing regions has driven the exploration of unconventional oil sources since the 1970s which, paired with advances in the field of petroleum engineering, has continued to make bitumen extraction economically profitable at a time of rising oil prices. Oil sands are called “unconventional” oil because the extraction process is more difficult than extracting from liquid (“conventional”) oil reserves, causing higher costs of production and increased environmental concerns.

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Computers and Canadian Society

Canadians use computers in many aspects of their daily lives. Eighty-four per cent of Canadian families have a computer in the home, and many people rely on these devices for work and education. Nearly everyone under the age of 45 uses a computer every day, including mobile phones that are as capable as a laptop or tablet computer. With the widespread use of networked computers facilitated by the Internet, Canadians can purchase products, do their banking, make reservations, share and consume media, communicate and perform many other tasks online. Advancements in computer technologies such as cloud computing, social media, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things are having a significant impact on Canadian society. While these and other uses of computers offer many benefits, they also present societal challenges related to Internet connectivity, the digital divide, privacy and crime.

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Energy in Society

Energy plays a unique and critical role in the world; no activity of any kind (no "work") can take place without the movement or conversion of energy.

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Glaciation

Glaciation is the formation, movement and recession of glaciers. Glaciation was much more extensive in the past, when much of the world was covered in large, continental ice sheets. Currently, glaciers cover about 10 per cent of the world's land area (14.9 million km2).

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Bomarc Missile Crisis

The CIM-10B Bomarc was the world’s first long-range, nuclear capable, ground-to-air anti-aircraft missile. Two squadrons of the missile were purchased and deployed by the Canadian government in 1958. This was part of Canada’s role during the Cold War to defend North America against an attack from the Soviet Union. Prime Minister John Diefenbaker’s refusal to equip the missiles with nuclear warheads led to a souring of Canada’s relationship with the United States, especially once the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the issue to the fore. The issue split Diefenbaker’s Cabinet and contributed to his party losing the 1963 election.

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Canadian Space Agency

Established in 1990, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) promotes the peaceful use and development of space for the social and economic benefit of Canadians. It also coordinates federal government contributions to the CSA’s various partners in Canada and abroad. The agency’s current mandate includes the Canadian astronaut program, satellite development, space science and technology programs, space stations and robotics.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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Franklin Search

The disappearance in 1845 of Sir John Franklin and his crew in the Canadian Arctic set off the greatest rescue operation in the history of exploration.

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Disability

Disability is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the temporary, prolonged or permanent reduction or absence of the ability to perform certain commonplace activities or roles, sometimes referred to as activities of daily living.

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UFOs in Canada

For 45 years, the Canadian government investigated unidentified flying objects (UFOs). Several of its departments and agencies collected sighting reports of UFOs in Canadian airspace from 1950 to 1995. These investigations started during the Cold War, spurred by fears of Soviet incursions. What began as a military question eventually became a scientific one. From the start, however, the government was reluctant to study this topic. It devoted few resources to it, believing UFOs to be natural phenomena or the products of “delusional” minds. By contrast, many Canadian citizens were eager for information about UFOs. Citizens started their own investigations and petitioned the government for action. In 1995, due to budget cuts, the government stopped collecting reports altogether. For their part, citizen enthusiasts have continued to investigate UFOs.