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Macleans

Melatonin Banned

This article was originally published in Maclean’s magazine on December 18, 1995. Partner content is not updated.

That frustration is fuelled not only by melatonin's proven ability to counter insomnia and jet lag, but also by an array of experts touting it as a wonder drug that can extend life and help to combat a wide variety of illnesses, including AIDS, cancer and epilepsy.

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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.

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Natural Gas in Canada

Natural gas ranks among the fastest-growing energy sources in Canada and is seen by many in the energy industry as a game-changer, a comparatively clean, low-cost and versatile fuel. It can directly generate power and heat and can be chemically altered to produce a wide range of useful commodity chemicals. It burns cleaner and more efficiently than other fossil fuels, releasing significantly fewer harmful pollutants into the atmosphere. Natural gas is colorless, odourless, shapeless, lighter than air and contains a mixture of several hydrocarbon gases, which are organic compounds consisting of some combination of hydrogen and carbon molecules.

The primary consumers of natural gas are the industrial (54.1 per cent), residential (26.6 per cent) and commercial sectors (19.3 per cent). Canada is the fifth largest natural gas producer after the United States, Russia, Iran and Qatar. Currently, all of Canada’s natural gas exports go to the United States through a network of pipelines, making Canada the largest foreign source of US natural gas imports. At the end of 2016, Canada had 76.7 trillion cubic feet of proven natural gas reserves and had produced 152 billion cubic metres of natural gas that year. It is forecasted that global natural gas consumption will double by 2035.

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Lighting

From earliest times it has been recognized that artificial light prolongs daytime activities. Relaxation and social interaction necessarily occurred after the day's work was done; therefore, indoor lighting has always had a special association with this aspect of living.

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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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Heart Disease

In industrial countries more people die from diseases of the heart and blood vessels than from any other single cause.

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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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Crops

Crops are plant species grown for human or animal consumption or for special purposes (e.g., flax, tobacco). In Canada, most major crops grown are used for food and feed.

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Electric Power

Electricity is a property of the atomic structure of matter, and is manifested as attraction between 2 oppositely charged bodies or repulsion between 2 similarly charged bodies.

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Grain Elevators

Grain elevators, which have been variously referred to as prairie icons, prairie cathedrals or prairie sentinels, are a visual symbol of western Canada. Numbering as many as 5,758 in 1933, elevators have dominated the prairie landscape for more than a century with every hamlet, village and town boasting its row of them, a declaration of a community's economic viability and a region's agricultural strength.

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Biotechnology

Biotechnology was defined by the 1981 Federal Task Force on Biotechnology (Brossard Committee) as the "utilization of biological processes, be they microbial, plant, animal cells or their constituents, for the provision of goods and services.

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The Lost Villages

The Lost Villages are nine Canadian communities that were destroyed through the unprecedented land expropriation and construction of the St. Lawrence Seaway and Power Project in the 1950s.

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Science

Science is the rational study of nature, rose to prominence in European civilization at almost the same time as the first European exploration of what is now Canada and was, from the beginning, an element in those explorations.

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The Internet and Music

The Internet began in the early 1970s as a "network of networks" involving several different US university and government computer systems. It quickly expanded to incorporate computer networks in other countries, including Canada.