Saturday, March 31, 2012

Chicago, Illinois: Yerkes Observatories (Observatories around the World) Yerkes Observatory is an astronomical observatory operated by the University of Chicago in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. The observatory, which calls itself "the birthplace of modern astrophysics," was founded in 1897 by George Ellery Hale and financed by Charles T. Yerkes. It represented a shift in the thinking about observatories, from their being mere housing for telescopes and observers, to the modern concept of observation equipment integrated with laboratory space for physics and chemistry.

The Observatory has the largest refracting telescope successfully used for astronomy and has a collection of over 100,000 photographic plates. The present (2010) director of the observatory is Dr. Kyle M. Cudworth.

Yerkes Observatory is most famous for its 102 cm (40 inch) refracting telescope built by the master optician Alvan Clark. This is the largest refracting telescope used for scientific research (a larger demonstration refractor, the Great Paris Exhibition Telescope of 1900, was exhibited at the Paris Universal Exhibition of 1900). The 40-inch telescope was exhibited at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago before being installed in the observatory.

In addition to the Yerkes refractor, the observatory also houses 102 cm (40 inch, referred to as the "41 inch" to prevent confusion) and 61 cm (24 inch) reflecting telescopes. Several smaller telescopes are used for educational outreach purposes.

Current Research
Present research activity includes work on the interstellar medium, globular cluster formation, infrared astronomy, and near-Earth objects. Additionally, the University of Chicago maintains an engineering center in the observatory, dedicated to making and maintaining scientific instruments. As of 2011, the engineers are working on the High-resolution Airborne Wideband Camera (HAWC), which will be an integral part of Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA). Research is also done utilizing Yerkes' collection of over 150,000 archival photographic plates that date back to the 1890's.

Development and preservation plans In March 2005, the University of Chicago announced plans to sell the observatory and its land on the shore of Geneva Lake. Initial reports had two purchasers interested, Mirbeau, an east coast developer who wanted to build luxury homes, and Aurora University, which has a campus straddling the Williams Bay property.

The Geneva Lake Conservancy, a regional conservation and land trust organization, took the position that it was critical to save the historic Yerkes Observatory structures and telescopes for education and research, as well as to conserve the rare undeveloped, wooded lakefront and deep forest sections of the 77-acre (310,000 m2) site.

On June 7, 2006, the University announced it would sell the facility to Mirbeau for US$8 million with stipulations to preserve the observatory, the surrounding 30 acres (120,000 m2), and the entire shoreline of the site. Under the Mirbeau plan, a 100-room resort with a large spa operation and attendant parking and support facilities was to be located on the 9-acre (36,000 m2) virgin wooded Yerkes land on the lakeshore -- the last such undeveloped, natural site on Geneva Lake's 21-mile (34 km) shoreline.

About seventy homes were to be developed on the upper Yerkes property, surrounding the historic observatory. These grounds were designed more than 100 years ago by John Olmsted, the brother of famed landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, designer of New York's Central Park.

In view of the public controversy surrounding the development proposals, the university suspended these plans in January 2007. The university's department of astronomy and astrophysics then formed a study group, including representatives from the faculty and observatory and a wide range of other involved parties, to plan for the operation of a regional center for science education at the observatory. The study group began its work in February 2007 and its final report was issued November 30, 2007. Ultimately, Williams Bay's refusal to change the zoning from education to residential caused Mirbeau to abandon its development plans.

Popular culture
Yerkes Observatory is the setting for about seven minutes of the 1996 movie Chain Reaction. One of the principal characters, Maggie McDermott, is first seen looking through the big refractor. The movie features a gunfight on the roof of Yerkes Observatory and an airboat chase across frozen Geneva Lake.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Geography candidates to speak March 29 through April 9 at MSU

From Montana State University: Geography candidates to speak March 29 through April 9 at MSU
BOZEMAN -- Four candidates for the position of assistant professor of geography at Montana State University are scheduled to give seminar talks from March 29 through April 9.

Tim Baird from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will speak on "Conservation as Disturbance: Economic Diversification and Social Networks in Northern Tanzania" at noon Thursday, March 29, in Cheever 214.

Ryan Bergstrom from Kansas State University will speak on "Sustainability in Amenity-based Communities of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem" at noon Monday, April 2, in Gaines Hall 243.

Molly Boaka-Cannon from University of Nebraska, Lincoln will speak at noon Wednesday, April 4, in Cheever 212. The topic will be announced later.

John All from Western Kentucky University will speak on "People, Mountains, and Climate Change - Buildings Bridges through the AAC Climber Science Program" at noon Monday, April 9, in Gaines Hall.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Capital Cities of the World: Mexico CIty part 1

Mexico City, also known as México D.F., or simply D.F.) is the Federal District (Distrito Federal), capital of Mexico and seat of the federal powers of the Mexican Union. It is a federal entity within Mexico which is not part of any one of the 31 Mexican states but belongs to the federation as a whole. Mexico City is the country's largest city as well as its most important political, cultural, educational and financial center.

As an "alpha" global city, Mexico City is one of the most important financial centers in North America. It is located in the Valley of Mexico (Valle de México), a large valley in the high plateaus at the center of Mexico, at an altitude of 2,240 metres (7,350 ft). The city consists of sixteen boroughs.

The 2009 estimated population for the city proper was around 8.84 million people, and has a land area of 1,485 square kilometres (573 sq mi). According to the most recent definition agreed upon by the federal and state governments, the Mexico City metropolitan area population is 21.2 million people, making it the largest metropolitan area in the western hemisphere and the fifth largest agglomeration in the world.

Mexico City has a gross domestic product (GDP) of $390 billion US$ in 2008, making Mexico City the eighth richest city in the world. The city was responsible for generating 21% of Mexico's Gross Domestic Product and the metropolitan area accounted for 34% of total national GDP.

The city was originally built on an island of Lake Texcoco by the Aztecs in 1325 as Tenochtitlan, which was almost completely destroyed in the 1521 siege of Tenochtitlan, and subsequently redesigned and rebuilt in accordance with the Spanish urban standards. In 1524, the municipality of Mexico City was established, known as México Tenochtitlán, and as of 1585 it was officially known as La Ciudad de México (Mexico City). Mexico City served as the political, administrative and financial center of a major part of the Spanish colonial empire. After independence from Spain was achieved, the Federal District was created in 1824.

After years of demanding greater political autonomy, residents were given the right to directly elect the Head of Government and the representatives of the unicameral Legislative Assembly by popular vote in 1997. Ever since, the left-wing Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD) has controlled both of them. In recent years, the local government has passed a wave of liberal policies, such as abortion on request to any woman up to 12 weeks into a pregnancy, a limited form of euthanasia, no-fault divorce and same-sex marriage.

History of Mexico City
Aztec period

The city now known as Mexico City was founded by the Mexica people, later known as the Aztecs, in 1325. The old Mexica city is now referred to as Tenochtitlan. The Mexica were one of the last of the Nahuatl-speaking peoples who migrated to this part of the Valley of Mexico after the fall of the Toltec Empire. Their presence was resisted by the peoples who were already in the valley, but the Mexica were able to establish a city on a small island on the western side of Lake Texcoco.

The Mexica themselves had a story about how their city was founded, after being led to the island by their principal god, Huitzilopochtli. According to the story, the god indicated the site where they were to build their home with a sign - an eagle perched on a nopal cactus with a snake in its beak. Between 1325 and 1521, Tenochtitlan grew in size and strength, eventually dominating the other city-states around Lake Texcoco, and in the Valley of Mexico. When the Spaniards arrived, the Aztec Empire reached much of Mesoamerica, touching both the Gulf of Mexico and the Pacific Ocean. Scholars estimate that between 200,000 and 250,000 people lived in Tenochtitlan in 1500, more than four times the population of London at that time.

Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán
After landing in Veracruz, Hernán Cortés heard about the great city and the long-standing rivalries and grievances against it. Although Cortés came to Mexico with a very small army, he was able to persuade many of the other native peoples to help him destroy Tenochtitlan. Cortés first saw Tenochtitlán on November 8, 1519 Upon viewing it for the first time, Cortés and his men were stunned by its beauty and size. The Spaniards marched along the causeway leading into the city from Iztapalapa. Although Montezuma came out from the center of Tenochtitlán to greet them and exchange gifts, the camaraderie did not last long.

Cortés put Montezuma under house arrest, hoping to rule through him. Tensions increased until, on the night of June 30, 1520 – during a struggle commonly known as "La Noche Triste" – the Aztec revolted against the Spanish intrusion and managed to capture or drive out the Europeans and their Tlaxcalan allies. Cortés regrouped at Tlaxcala. The Aztecs thought the Spaniards were permanently gone. They elected a new king, Cuitláhuac, but he died after a few months due to smallpox; the next king was Cuauhtémoc.

Cortés decided to lay siege to Tenochtitlán in May 1521. For three months, the city suffered from the lack of food and water as well as the spread of smallpox brought by the Europeans. Cortés and his allies landed their forces in the south of the island and fought their way through the city, street by street, and house by house.[26] Finally, Cuauhtémoc had to surrender in August 1521.

The rebuilding of the city as Mexico City
The Spaniards practically razed Tenochtitlán. Cortés first settled in Coyoacán, but decided to rebuild the Aztec site to erase all traces of the old order.[21] Cortés did not establish an independent, conquered territory under his own personal rule, but remained loyal to the Spanish crown. The first viceroy of the new domain arrived in Mexico City fourteen years later. By that time, the city had again become a city-state, having power that extended far beyond the city's established borders. Although the Spanish preserved Tenochtitlán's basic layout, they built Catholic churches over the old Aztec temples and claimed the imperial palaces for themselves. Tenochtitlán was renamed "Mexico", its alternative form name, only because the Spanish found this easier to say.

The future geography of breakthrough innovation

From The Guardian (UK): The future geography of breakthrough innovation
What do rankings of the most admired and most innovative companies tell us about the future of breakthrough innovation? John Elkington predicts spikes in some unlikely places

In preparation for a work session on Breakthrough Capitalism, I read three things on a flight to Barcelona this week: Fortune's annual list of the world's most admired companies; Fast Company's ranking of the world's 50 most innovative companies; and several chapters of a new book from the Economist, Megachange: The World in 2050.

Fortune's survey, the 15th in the series, polled 3,855 US executives, directors and analysts. Tech companies lead this year, with Apple taking the No 1 spot. Since the survey began, only three companies – GE, Berkshire Hathaway and Proctor & Gamble – have ranked first in their industry every year. More striking still, a record 30 companies supplanted last year's industry leaders at the top of their categories. The previous record was 2011, when 23 companies elbowed their way into the top slots. Fortune's conclusion? "The tumult in the business world continues."

No question. So, given the critical role of innovation in all of this, let's flip to Fast Company. Here four tech companies compete for the top spot: Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. "Yet each company has fallen victim to hubris," the editors note, "causing public relations firestorms and some sloppy products." Apple wins the top slot here, too, despite its supply chain headaches. And the magazine warns that: "In a month or two, one of these firms will surely disrupt everything again."

But what really grabbed my interest was the bubbling-under world. Ranked seventh is the Occupy movement. "Disruptive. Small-d democratic. Transparent. Tech savvy. Design savvy. Local and global. Nimble. Values driven." Indeed, many of the characteristics marking out some of the most innovative companies. A key principle, as Occupy Wall Street's philosopher-in-residence Shen Tong puts it, is "managed chaos."

But for a deeper sense of where breakthrough innovation is headed, move down the rankings a bit. To electric carmaker Tesla at 13, or Airbnb at 19, which turns people's spare rooms into the world's "hottest hotel chain." Then push deeper still and you turn up some of the heavyweights-in-transition that may well have the biggest impact, including Germany's "mammoth" Siemens at 21, developing scalable solutions in such areas as energy, transportation and health care.

Then there are beginning-to-pulse-on-the-radar-screen players, including Liquid Robotics at 31 (which aims to radically cut the cost of ocean acidification monitoring, for example), Bug Agentes Biologicos at 33 (working on ways to spray predatory wasp larvae, rather than insecticides, over large-scale crops), Narayana Hrudayalaya Hospitals at 36 (combining Wal-Mart with Mother Teresa, providing low-cost, high-quality health care to the masses) and Recyclebank at 37 (evolving ways to incentivise behaviour change at scale: interest declared, I am on their advisory board).

Two other organisations, both of which I already knew of, resonated powerfully. One was SoundCloud at 42 ("for giving the Internet a voice," and raising the question how we give the future a stronger voice), and Y Combinator at 50 (which co-founder Jessica Livingston describes as "a supercondensed version of Silicon Valley"). It's hard not to feel impact-envy in relation to all of Fast Company's stars, but Y Combinator is probably the one I most want to emulate.

And then there's Megachange. When I attended the Nesta launch event for the book, co-author John Andrews signed a copy for me, saying: "Happy reading for the next four decades!" I'm sure he says that to all the girls – and I'm also sure people will read the book in 2050 with amazement (the things it gets broadly right) and disbelief (the things it failed to see).

My question for the panel would have been this: given the Delphi Oracle survived for 800-900 years, what future do the Megachange team foresee for forecasting itself? I know what Will Self thinks regarding Megachange, having read his scathing piece in The Observer. Panglossian was one of the kinder adjectives.

In these twittery days, it's harder to read non-fiction books cover-to-cover, so I settled for the introduction (Daniel Franklin) and essays on war (Matthew Symonds), the economist Joseph Schumpeter (Adrian Wooldridge) and more for less (the last essay, by Matt Ridley, that Panglossian of Panglossians). Although I'm sure Ridley would see me as part of what he derides as "the Armageddon industry," on certain assumptions (which we will probe at our 17 April event) I can see a real possibility that 2050 will, as Franklin sums it up, "be richer, healthier, more connected, more sustainable, more productive, more innovative, better educated, with less inequality between rich and poor and between men and women, and with more opportunity for billions of people."

But it's a humongous leap of faith to believe that there is anything inevitable about Wooldridge's last line: "The storms of creative destruction are blowing us to a better place." As a fan of Schumpeter's thinking for almost 50 years, I agree with those who argue that Schumpeter (who died in 1950) could be this century's most important economist.

The future geography of breakthrough innovation will spike in some unlikely places – a point the Economist's Schumpeter column routinely hammers home. In a world where the Megachangers tell us that wine glasses will tell us when we have had too much to drink, Wooldridge sees truly breakthrough innovation increasingly coming from the emerging economies. And by God (sorry Anthony Gottlieb, who believes the world will have more believers in 2050, but that the secular will eventually inherit Earth) we will need it.

The phrase that sticks in my mind came from Oliver Morton, who wrote the provocative climate chapter. At the Nesta launch last week he noted that if you turn up the gas under a saucepan not a lot happens, thanks to thermal inertia, but then it begins to bubble and then boil. Our atmosphere, he concludes, is moving beyond the thermal inertia stage. Yes, a boiling planet will be a great opportunity to sell air-conditioners, but I wonder just how many systemic black swans are shuffling in the wings, just beyond the view of the Megachangers' self-confessedly rose-tinted crystal balls?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

GEOQUIZ: Which U.S. state has the most national parks?

With eight each, the honors are shared by Alaska (Denali, Gates of the Arctic, Glacier Bay, Katmai, Kenai Fjords, Kobuk Valley, Lake Clark, Wrangell-St. Elias,) and California (Channel Islands, Death Valley, Joshua Tree, Kings Canyon, Lassen Volcanic, Redwood, Sequoia, Yosemite).

Monday, March 26, 2012

Maine students travel around the world in 33 feet

From Kennebec Journal: Maine students travel around the world in 33 feet
READFIELD -- The students started in the Horn of Africa, the region identified as the birthplace of humanity.

Maranacook Community High School freshman cross a giant map of Asia at the Readfield school.

From East Africa, they traveled through the Middle East and across Asia, with detours into Europe and Australia, until they reached the site of the land bridge that once connected Russia and Alaska.

It took the earliest humans tens of thousands of years to complete the journey of many, many miles. For Maranacook Community Middle School students, it was a matter of a few minutes and dozens of steps to traverse a 26-by-33-foot vinyl map of Asia.

Students traced the path of human migration for Mary Ellen Tracy's core class on immigration, culture and food. Her class was one of several to use the map for activities during its two weeks at the school.

One of Tracy's students, eighth grader Zack Godbout, admitted he didn't know a lot about Asia's geography before walking across a map of Earth's largest continent.

"It's a lot easier to see how far it is from one point to another," he said.

That sort of connection between spatial experience and greater understanding of geography is just what social studies teacher Carrie Emmerson had in mind when she asked for one of National Geographic's traveling maps to come to Regional School Unit 38.

The National Geographic map cost $480 for two weeks, and students in every school in the district -- Manchester, Mount Vernon, Readfield and Wayne -- came for activities.

The sophomores in Emmerson's AP world history course used it to inform essays they wrote about trade patterns in the Indian Ocean and on the silk roads crossing Asia.

"They were able to actually walk the trade routes that people have been traveling for thousands of years, carrying placards for the different goods," Emmerson said. "One carried the plague across Asia to Europe. I have to think that is going to stick in their heads."

A science teacher at Maranacook Community High School used the map to talk about the plate tectonics, the scientific theory that describes the movement of the plates that make up Earth's surface.

Other classes took tours of Asia's major sights, examined population density and distribution or played games such as an exploration game modeled after Simon Says.

"We encourage them to physically move a lot on the map and to play games on the map and to interact, either competitively or collaboratively," said Dan Beaupré, director of education partnerships for National Geographic. "But we want them to really interact with geography in a way that's immersive and fun. It's meaningful and memorable."

National Geographic has 17 maps, which also include Africa, South America, North America and the Pacific Ocean. They travel to about 900 schools a year, reaching about 450,000 students, Beaupré said. People also bring them to libraries, resorts, state fairs and festivals.

Education is one of the major missions of the National Geographic Society. Dan Beaupré said geographic literacy is more important than ever in an interconnected world.

In 2006, a National Geographic survey of Americans ages 18 to 24 revealed that only 12 percent could locate Afghanistan on a map of Asia, and only 37 percent could find Iraq on a Middle East map.

Those respondents fared poorly even on domestic geography -- only 43 percent could locate New York on a U.S. map.

Many standardized tests, including the Maine High School Assessment and the New England Common Assessment Program used in Maine, do not include geography or other social studies topics.

Geography goes beyond capitals and boundaries on a map; it also includes culture, religion, economics and climate.

Emmerson said a knowledge of geography will help students understand history, politics and current events, and that it's critical to developing a competitive workforce.

"Geography is interwoven into everything we do, in particular global geography," she said. "When I think about the world we live in today -- the skills the kids need in terms of who we're going to be interacting with or any kind of business they're doing -- I think it's crucial for kids to know where things are in the world and how things interact."

Ottawa pt 3

Navigable waterways
Ottawa sits at the confluence of three major rivers: the Ottawa River, the Gatineau River and the Rideau River. The Ottawa and Gatineau rivers were historically important in the logging and lumber industries and the Rideau as part of the Rideau Canal system for military, commercial and, subsequently, recreational purposes. The Rideau Canal, connecting the Ottawa River and the Saint Lawrence River at Kingston, Ontario, by-passes unnavigable sections of the Rideau River as it winds its way through the city. Rideau is a French word that means 'Curtain' in English, and the Rideau Falls resemble a curtain, thusly named by the early French canoeists. During part of the winter season the frozen waters of the canal form the world's largest skating rink thereby providing both a recreational venue and a 7.8 kilometres (4.8 mi) transportation path to downtown for ice skaters (from Carleton University and Dow's Lake to the Rideau Centre and National Arts Centre).

In 2006, the populations of the City of Ottawa and the Ottawa-Gatineau census metropolitan area (CMA) were 812,129 and 1,130,761 respectively, while the Ottawa-Gatineau urban area had a population of 860,928. The city had a population density of 1,680.5 persons per km2 in 2006, while the CMA had a population density of 197.8 persons per km2. The estimated population of the National Capital Region is 1,451,415. The pre-amalgamated city population was 337,031 in 2001.

Ottawa's median age of 36.7, as well as its percentage of seniors are both below the provincial average and the national average, while those under 15 exceed Canadian percentages.

The vast majority of the population growth is attributable to relocations to the city, and over 20 percent of the city's population is foreign-born. Around 75% describe themselves as Christian, with Catholics accounting for 43.3% of the population and members of Protestant churches was 27.6%.

Bilingualism became official policy for the conduct of municipal business in 2002, and 37% of the population can speak both languages, making it the largest city in Canada with both English and French as co-official languages.Mother tongue was listed as 62.8% English, 14.9% French and 21.6% list languages other than English and French as their mother tongue.

Local government and politics
Ottawa is a single-tier municipality, meaning it is in itself a census division and has no county or regional municipality government above it. As a single tier municipality, Ottawa has responsibility for all municipal services, including fire, ambulatory, police, parks, roads, sidewalks, public transit, drinking water, stormwater, sanitary sewage and solid waste. Ottawa is governed by the 24-member Ottawa City Council consisting of 23 councillors each representing one ward and the mayor, currently Jim Watson, elected in a citywide vote.

Along with being the capital of Canada, Ottawa is politically diverse in local politics. Most of the city has traditionally supported the Liberal Party. Perhaps the safest areas for the Liberals are the ones dominated by Francophones, especially in Vanier and central Gloucester. Central Ottawa is usually more left-leaning, and the New Democratic Party can win ridings there as government unions and activist groups are fairly strong. Some of Ottawa's suburbs are swing areas, notably central Nepean and, despite its Francophone population, Orléans. The southern and western parts of the old city of Ottawa are generally moderate and swing to the Conservative Party. The farther one goes outside the city centre like to Kanata and Barrhaven and rural areas, the voters tend to be increasingly conservative, both fiscally and socially. This is especially true in the former Townships of West Carleton, Goulbourn, Rideau and Osgoode, which are more in line with the conservative areas in the surrounding counties. However not all rural areas support the Conservative Party. Rural parts of the former township of Cumberland, with a large number of Francophones, traditionally support the Liberal Party, though their support has recently weakened.

Ottawa is known as one of the most educated cities in Canada, with over half the population having graduated from College and/or university.Ottawa has the highest per capita concentration of engineers, scientists, and residents with PhDs in Canada.

The city has two main public universities Carleton University and University of Ottawa, and two main public colleges Algonquin College and La Cité collégiale. It also has two Christian universities Dominican University College and Saint Paul University. There is also the University of Quebec en Outaouais, Cégep de l'Outaouais, and Heritage College in the neighbouring City of Gatineau.

There are four main public school boards in Ottawa: English, English-Catholic, French, and French-Catholic. The Ottawa-Carleton District School Board (OCDSB) is the largest board with 147 schools, followed by the Ottawa Catholic School Board with 85 schools. The two French language boards are the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est with 49 schools, and the Conseil des écoles publiques de l'Est de l'Ontario with 37 schools. The Ottawa Public Library was created in 1906 as part of the famed Carnegie library system. The library system had 2.3 million items as of 2008.

Ottawa's primary employers are the Public Service of Canada and the high-tech industry. The city has a high standard of living and low unemployment. Ottawa had the fourth highest growth rate among major Canadian cities in 2007 with a 2.7% GDP growth rate, which exceeded the Canadian average of 2.4%. It is estimated that the National Capital Region attracts around seven million tourists annually who spend about 1.3 billion dollars.

The region of Ottawa-Gatineau has the third highest income of all major Canadian cities. The average gross income in the region amounted to $40,078, an increase of 4.9% compared to the previous year. The annual cost of living rate in 2007 was 1.9%.

Developed in the early 1950s, Tunney's Pasture is an area that is exclusively reserved for various federal government buildings.

The Federal government is the city's largest employer, employing over 110,000 individuals from the National Capital region. Ottawa is also an important technology centre; its 1800 companies employ approximately 80,000 people. The concentration of companies in this industry earned the city the nickname of "Silicon Valley North." Most of these companies specialize in telecommunications, software development and environmental technology. Large technology companies such as Nortel, Corel, Mitel, Cognos and JDS Uniphase were founded in the city. Ottawa also has regional locations for 3M, Adobe Systems, Bell Canada, IBM, Alcatel-Lucent and Hewlett-Packard. Many of the telecommunications and new technology are located in the western part of the city (formerly Kanata).

Another major employer is the health sector, which employs over 18,000 people. Nordion, i-Stat as well as the National Research Council of Canada and OHRI are part of the growing life science sector. Business, finance, administration, and sales and service occupations rank high among types of occupations. Approximately ten percent of Ottawa's GDP is derived from finance, insurance, real estate whereas employment is in goods-producing industries is only half the national average. The City of Ottawa is the second largest employer with over 15,000 employees.

In 2006, Ottawa experienced an increase of 40,000 jobs over 2001 with a five-year average growth that was relative slower than in the late 1990s. While the number of employees in the federal government stagnated, the high-technology industry grew by 2.4%. The overall growth of jobs in Ottawa-Gatineau was 1.3% compared to the previous year, down to sixth place among Canada's largest cities. The unemployment rate in Ottawa-Gatineau was 5.2% (only in Ottawa: 5.1%), which was below the national average of 6.0%. The economic downturn resulted in an increase in the unemployment rate between April 2008 and April 2009 from 4.7 to 6.3%. In the province, however, this rate increased over the same period from 6.4 to 9.1%.

Traditionally the ByWard Market (in Lower Town), Parliament Hill and the Golden Triangle (both in Centretown - Downtown) have been the focal points of the cultural scenes in Ottawa. Modern thoroughfares such as Wellington Street, Rideau Street, Sussex Drive, Elgin Street, Bank Street, Somerset Street, Preston Street and Sparks Street; are home to many boutiques, museums, theaters, galleries, landmarks and memorials, while dominated by eating establishments, cafes, bars and nightclubs.

Ottawa's hosts a variety of annual seasonal activities — such as Winterlude, the largest festival in Canada, and Canada Day celebrations on Parliament Hill and surrounding downtown area, as well as Bluesfest, Canadian Tulip Festival, Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival, Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Fringe Festival and Folk Music Festival, that have grown to become some of the largest festivals of their kind in the world. In 2010, Ottawa's Festival industry received the IFEA "World Festival and Event City Award" for the category of North American cities with a population between 500,000 and 1,000,000.

As Canada's capital, Ottawa has played host to a number of significant cultural events in Canadian history, including the first visit of the reigning Canadian sovereign—King George VI, with his consort, Queen Elizabeth—to his parliament, on 19 May 1939. VE Day was marked with a large celebration on 8 May 1945, the first raising of the country's new national flag took place on 15 February 1965, and the centennial of Confederation was celebrated on 1 July 1967. Elizabeth II was in Ottawa on 17 April 1982, to issue a royal proclamation of the enactment of the Constitution Act. In 1983, Prince Charles and Diana Princess of Wales came to Ottawa for a state dinner hosted by then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In 2011, Ottawa was selected as the first city to receive Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge during their Royal tour of Canada.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Ocean One: Jacques Cousteau Bio part 3

In 1980, Cousteau traveled to Canada to make two films on the Saint Lawrence River and the Great Lakes, Cries from the Deep and St. Lawrence: Stairway to the Sea.

In 1985, he received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Ronald Reagan.

On 24 November 1988, he was elected to the French Academy, chair 17, succeeding Jean Delay. His official reception under the Cupola took place on 22 June 1989, the response to his speech of reception being given by Bertrand Poirot-Delpech. After his death, he was replaced under the Cupola by Érik Orsenna on 28 May 1998.

In June 1990, the composer Jean Michel Jarre paid homage to the commander by entitling his new album Waiting for Cousteau. He also composed the music for Cousteau's documentary "Palawan, the last refuge".

On 2 December 1990, his wife Simone Cousteau died of cancer.

In June 1991, in Paris, Jacques-Yves Cousteau remarried, to Francine Triplet, with whom he had (before this marriage) two children, Diane and Pierre-Yves. Francine Cousteau currently continues her husband's work as the head of the Cousteau Foundation and Cousteau Society.

From that point, the relations between Jacques-Yves and his elder son worsened.

In November 1991, Cousteau gave an interview to the UNESCO courier, in which he stated that he was in favour of human population control and population decrease. The full article text can be found online.

In 1992, he was invited to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, for the United Nations' International Conference on Environment and Development, and then he became a regular consultant for the UN and the World Bank.

In 1996, he sued his son who wished to open a holiday center named "Cousteau" in the Fiji Islands.

On 11 January 1996, Calypso was rammed and sunk in Singapore harbor by a barge. The Calypso was re-floated and towed home to France.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau died on 25 June 1997 in Paris, aged 87. Despite persistent rumors, encouraged by some Islamic publications and websites, Cousteau did not convert to Islam, and when he died he was buried in a Roman Catholic Christian funeral. He was buried in the family vault at Saint-André-de-Cubzac in France. An homage was paid to him by the city by the inauguration of a "rue du Commandant Cousteau", a street which runs out to his native house, where a commemorative plaque was affixed.

During his lifetime, Jacques-Yves Cousteau received these distinctions:
* Commandeur de la Légion d'Honneur
* Grand-Croix de l'Ordre national du Mérite
* Croix de guerre 1939–1945
* Officier de l'Ordre du Mérite Maritime
* Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres
* Honorary Companion of the Order of Australia (26 January 1990)
* National Geographic Society's Special Gold Medal in 1961

Cousteau's legacy includes more than 120 television documentaries, more than 50 books, and an environmental protection foundation with 300,000 members.

Cousteau liked to call himself an "oceanographic technician." He was, in reality, a sophisticated showman, teacher, and lover of nature. His work permitted many people to explore the resources of the oceans.

His work also created a new kind of scientific communication, criticised at the time by some academics. The so-called "divulgationism", a simple way of sharing scientific concepts, was soon employed in other disciplines and became one of the most important characteristics of modern television broadcasting.

Cousteau died on 25 June 1997. The Cousteau Society and its French counterpart, l'Équipe Cousteau, both of which Jacques-Yves Cousteau founded, are still active today. The Society is currently attempting to turn the original Calypso into a museum and it is raising funds to build a successor vessel, the Calypso II.

In his last years, after marrying again, Cousteau became involved in a legal battle with his son Jean-Michel over Jean-Michel licensing the Cousteau name for a South Pacific resort, resulting in Jean-Michel Cousteau being ordered by the court not to encourage confusion between his for-profit business and his father's non-profit endeavours.

In 2007, the International Watch Company introduced the IWC Aquatimer Chronograph "Cousteau Divers" Special Edition. The timepiece incorporated a sliver of wood from the interior of Cousteau's Calypso research vessel. Having developed the diver's watch, IWC offered support to The Cousteau Society. The proceeds from the timepieces' sales were partially donated to the non-profit organization involved into conservation of marine life and preservation of tropical coral reefs.


* The Silent World (1956) * World Without Sun (1964)
* Journey to the End of the World (1976)
* Cries from the Deep (1981) (Jacques Gagné, director)
* St. Lawrence: Stairway to the Sea (1982) (co-director)
Television series
* 1966–68 The World of Jacques-Yves Cousteau
* 1968–76 The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau
* 1977–77 Oasis in Space
* 1977–81 Cousteau's Odyssey Series
* 1982–84 Cousteau's Amazon Series
* 1985–91 Cousteau's Rediscovery of the World I
* 1992–94 Cousteau's Rediscovery of the World II

Ottawa pt 2

Ottawa has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) with four distinct seasons. The average July maximum temperature is 26 °C (79 °F). The average January minimum temperature is −15.3 °C (4.5 °F).

Summers are warm and humid in Ottawa. Daytime temperatures of 30 °C (86 °F) or higher are commonplace. Ottawa averages many days with humidex (combined temperature & humidity index) between 30 °C (86 °F) and 40 °C (104 °F) annually.

Snow and ice are dominant during the winter season. Ottawa receives about 235 centimetres (93 in) of snowfall annually. Days well above freezing and nights below −30 °C (−22 °F) both occur in the winter. High wind chills are common, with annual averages 14 days with wind chills below −30 °C (−22 °F).

Spring and fall are variable, prone to extremes in temperature and unpredictable swings in conditions. Hot days above 30 °C (86 °F) have occurred as early as April (as in 2002) or as late as September, as well as snow well into May and early in October (although such events are extremely unusual and brief).

Average annual precipitation averages around 940 millimetres (37 in). Ottawa receives an average of 915 mm (36.0 in) of total precipitation a year. There are about 2,060 hours of average sunshine annually (47% of possible)

Neighbourhoods and outlying communities
Ottawa is bounded on the east by the United Counties of Prescott and Russell; by Renfrew County and Lanark County in the west; on the south by the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville and the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry; and on the north by the Regional County Municipality of Les Collines-de-l'Outaouais and the City of Gatineau. Modern Ottawa is made up of eleven historic townships, ten of which are from Carleton County and one from Russell.

The city has a main urban area but there are many other urban, suburban and rural areas within the modern city's limits. The main suburban area extends a considerable distance to the east, west and south of the centre,and includes the former cities of Gloucester, Nepean and Vanier, the former village of Rockcliffe Park and the community of Blackburn Hamlet, the community of Orléans. The Kanata suburban area consists of Kanata and the former village of Stittsville. Nepean is another major suburb which also includes Barrhaven and the former village of Manotick. There are also the communities of Riverside South on the other side of the Rideau River, and Greely, southeast of Riverside South.

There are a number of rural communities (villages and hamlets) that lie beyond the greenbelt but are administratively part of the Ottawa municipality. Some of these communities are Burritts Rapids; Ashton; Fallowfield; Kars; Fitzroy Harbour; Munster; Carp; North Gower; Metcalfe; Constance Bay and Osgoode and Richmond. There are also a number of towns located within the federally-defined National Capital Region but outside the city of Ottawa municipal boundaries, these include the urban communities of Almonte, Carleton Place, Embrun, Kemptville, Rockland, and Russell.

Cityscape and infrastructure

Influenced by government structures, much of the city's architecture tends to be formalistic and functional. However, the city is also marked by Romantic and Picturesque styles of architecture such as the Parliament Building's gothic revival architecture. Ottawa's domestic architecture is dominated by single family homes. There are also smaller numbers of semi-detached, rowhouses, and apartment buildings. Most domestic buildings are clad in brick, with small numbers covered in wood or stone. The Ottawa skyline has remained conservative in skyscraper height throughout the years due to a skyscraper height restriction. The restrictions were originally implemented to keep Parliament Hill and the Peace Tower at 92.2 metres (302 ft) visible from most parts of the City. Today, several buildings are slightly taller than the Peace Tower, with the tallest located on Albert Street being the 29-storey Place de Ville (Tower C) at 112 metres (367 ft). Federal buildings in the National Capital Region are managed by Public Works Canada, while most of the federal land in the region is managed by the National Capital Commission; its control of much undeveloped land gives the NCC a great deal of influence over the city's development.

Public transit
The current public transit system is operated by OC Transpo, a department of the city. An integrated hub-and-spoke system of services is available consisting of: regular buses travelling on fixed routes in mixed traffic, typical of most urban transit systems; a bus rapid transit (BRT) system — a high frequency bus service operating on the transitway — a network of mostly grade-separated dedicated bus lanes within their own right-of-way and having full stations with Park & Ride facilities further supported by on-road reserved bus lanes and priority traffic signal controls; a light rail transit (LRT) system known as the O-Train operating on one north-south route; and a door-to-door bus service for the disabled known as ParaTranspo. Both OC Transpo and the Quebec-based Société de transport de l'Outaouais (STO) operate bus services between Ottawa and Gatineau. Currently, Ottawa has a 12.5 km light-rail metro up for tender while Gatineau is building its own BRT called the Rapibus.

Inter-city services
Ottawa is served by a number of airlines that fly into the Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport, as well as two main regional airports Gatineau-Ottawa Executive Airport, and Ottawa/Carp Airport. The city is also served by inter-city passenger rail service at the Ottawa Train Station by Via Rail, and inter-city bus service operating out of the Ottawa Bus Central Station.

Highways, streets and roads
The capital city of Canada is also served by a network of freeways, the main one being provincial Highway 417 (called The Queensway), Ottawa-Carleton Regional Road 174 (formerly Provincial Highway 17), and Highway 416 (Veterans' Memorial Highway), connecting Ottawa to the rest of the 400-Series Highway network in Ontario. Highway 417 is also the Ottawa portion of the Trans-Canada Highway. The city also has several scenic parkways (promenades), such as Colonel By Drive, Queen Elizabeth Driveway, the Ottawa River Parkway, Rockcliffe Parkway and the Aviation Parkway and has a freeway connection to Autoroute 5 and Autoroute 50, in Gatineau. In 2006, the National Capital Commission completed work on the long-discussed Confederation Boulevard, a ceremonial route linking key attractions in National Capital Region on both sides of the Ottawa River, in Ottawa as well as Gatineau, Quebec.

Bicycle and pedestrian pathways
There are numerous paved multi-use trails that wind their way through much of the city, including along the Ottawa River, Rideau River, and Rideau Canal. These pathways are used for transportation, tourism, and recreation. Because most streets either have wide curb lanes or bicycle lanes, cycling is a popular mode of transportation in the region throughout the year. There are over 220 kilometeres of paths located throughout the Ottawa-Gatineau region. A downtown street that is restricted to pedestrians only, Sparks Street was turned into a pedestrian mall in 1966. On July 10, 2011 Ottawa saw its first dedicated, segregated bike lanes in the down town core. The lane is separated from car traffic by a low concrete barrier with many gaps to allow for loading and unloading of people and goods. Ottawa's cycling advocacy group, Citizens for Safe Cycling, has been actively promoting safer cycling infrastructure in the community since 1984. On Sundays (since 1960) and selected holidays and events additional avenues and streets are reserved for pedestrian and/or bicycle uses only. In May 2011, The NCC introduced the Bixi Bike rental program.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ocean One: Jacques Coustea Bio part 2

Late 1940s: GERS and Élie Monnier
In 1946, Cousteau and Tailliez showed the film Épaves to Admiral Lemonnier, and the admiral gave them the responsibility of setting up the Groupement de Recherches Sous-marines (GRS) (Underwater Research Group) of the French Navy in Toulon.

A little later it became the GERS (Groupe d'Études et de Recherches Sous-Marines, = Underwater Studies and Research Group), then the COMISMER ("COMmandement des Interventions Sous la MER", = "Undersea Interventions Command"), and finally more recently the CEPHISMER. In 1947, Chief Petty Officer Maurice Fargues became the first diver to die using an aqualung while attempting a new depth record with the GERS near Toulon.

In 1948, between missions of mine clearance, underwater exploration and technological and physiological tests, Cousteau undertook a first campaign in the Mediterranean on board the sloop Élie Monnier, with Philippe Tailliez, Frédéric Dumas, Jean Alinat and the scenario writer Marcel Ichac. The small team also undertook the exploration of the Roman wreck of Mahdia (Tunisia). It was the first underwater archaeology operation using autonomous diving, opening the way for scientific underwater archaeology. Cousteau and Marcel Ichac brought back from there the Carnets diving film (presented and preceded with the Cannes Film Festival 1951).

Cousteau and the Élie Monnier then took part in the rescue of Professor Jacques Piccard's bathyscaphe, the FNRS-2, during the 1949 expedition to Dakar. Thanks to this rescue, the French Navy was able to reuse the sphere of the bathyscaphe to construct the FNRS-3.

The adventures of this period are told in the two books The Silent World (1953, by Cousteau and Dumas) and Plongées sans câble (1954, by Philippe Tailliez). 1950–1970s
In 1949, Cousteau left the French Navy.

In 1950, he founded the French Oceanographic Campaigns (FOC), and leased a ship called Calypso from Thomas Loel Guinness for a symbolic one franc a year. Cousteau refitted the Calypso as a mobile laboratory for field research and as his principal vessel for diving and filming. He also carried out underwater archaeological excavations in the Mediterranean, in particular at Grand-Congloué (1952).

With the publication of his first book in 1953, The Silent World, he correctly predicted the existence of the echolocation abilities of porpoises. He reported that his research vessel, the Élie Monier, was heading to the Straits of Gibraltar and noticed a group of porpoises following them. Cousteau changed course a few degrees off the optimal course to the center of the strait, and the porpoises followed for a few minutes, then diverged toward mid-channel again. It was evident that they knew where the optimal course lay, even if the humans did not. Cousteau concluded that the cetaceans had something like sonar, which was a relatively new feature on submarines.

Cousteau won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1956 for The Silent World co-produced with Louis Malle. With the assistance of Jean Mollard, he made a "diving saucer" SP-350, an experimental underwater vehicle which could reach a depth of 350 meters. The successful experiment was quickly repeated in 1965 with two vehicles which reached 500 meters.

In 1957, he was elected as director of the Oceanographical Museum of Monaco. He directed Précontinent, about the experiments of diving in saturation (long-duration immersion, houses under the sea), and was admitted to the United States National Academy of Sciences.

In October 1960, a large amount of radioactive waste was going to be discarded in the Mediterranean Sea by the Commissariat à l'énergie atomique (CEA). The CEA argued that the dumps were experimental in nature, and that French oceanographers such as Vsevelod Romanovsky had recommended it.

Romanovsky and other French scientists, including Louis Fage and Jacques Cousteau, repudiated the claim, saying that Romanovsky had in mind a much smaller amount. The CEA claimed that there was little circulation (and hence little need for concern) at the dump site between Nice and Corsica, but French public opinion sided with the oceanographers rather than with the CEA atomic energy scientists. The CEA chief, Francis Perrin, decided to postpone the dump.

Cousteau organized a publicity campaign which in less than two weeks gained wide popular support. The train carrying the waste was stopped by women and children sitting on the railway tracks, and it was sent back to its origin.

A meeting with American television companies (ABC, Métromédia, NBC) created the series The Underwater Odyssey of Commander Cousteau, with the character of the commander in the red bonnet inherited from standard diving dress) intended to give the films a "personalized adventure" style.

In 1970, he wrote the book The Shark: Splendid Savage of the Sea with Philippe, his son. In this book, Costeau described the oceanic whitetip shark as "the most dangerous of all sharks".

In 1973, along with his two sons and Frederick Hyman, he created the Cousteau Society for the Protection of Ocean Life, Frederick Hyman being its first President; it now has more than 300,000 members.

Three years after the volcano's last eruption, on 19 December 1973, the Cousteau team was filming on Deception Island, Antarctica when Michel Laval, Calypso's second in command, was struck and killed by a propeller of the helicopter that was ferrying between Calypso and the island.

In 1976, Cousteau uncovered the wreck of HMHS Britannic. He also found the wreck of La Therese in Crete island

In 1977, together with Peter Scott, he received the UN International Environment prize.

On 28 June 1979, while the Calypso was on an expedition to Portugal, his second son, Philippe, his preferred and designated successor and with whom he had co-produced all his films since 1969, died in a PBY Catalina flying boat crash in the Tagus river near Lisbon. Cousteau was deeply affected. He called his then eldest son, the architect Jean-Michel Cousteau, to his side. This collaboration lasted 14 years.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Soldiers say they have seized power in Mali

From Wikipedia:
Mali is a landlocked country in Western Africa. Mali borders Algeria on the north, Niger on the east, Burkina Faso and the Côte d'Ivoire on the south, Guinea on the south-west, and Senegal and Mauritania on the west. Its size is just over 1,240,000 km² with a population of 14.5 million. Its capital is Bamako. Mali consists of eight regions and its borders on the north reach deep into the middle of the Sahara, while the country's southern region, where the majority of inhabitants live, features the Niger and Sénégal rivers. The country's economic structure centers around agriculture and fishing. Some of Mali's natural resources are gold, uranium, livestock, and salt. About half the population live below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day. Present-day Mali was once part of three West African empires that controlled trans-Saharan trade: the Ghana Empire, the Mali Empire (from which Mali is named), and the Songhai Empire. In the late 19th century, during the Scramble for Africa, France seized control of Mali making it a part of French Sudan. French Sudan (then known as the Sudanese Republic) joined with Senegal in 1959, achieving independence in 1960 as the Mali Federation. Shortly thereafter, following Senegal's withdrawal from the federation, the Sudanese Republic declared itself the independent Republic of Mali. After a long period of one-party rule, a 1991 coup led to the writing of a new constitution and the establishment of Mali as a democratic, multi-party state. On March 22, 2012, a group of junior soldiers seized control of the country's presidential palace and declared the government dissolved and its constitution suspended.
From Yahoo News: Soldiers say they have seized power in Mali
BAMAKO (Reuters) - Renegade soldiers said they seized power in Mali on Thursday and ordered its borders closed, threatening to reignite instability in a Saharan region shaken by the conflict in Libya.

The overnight coup bid was led by low-ranking soldiers angry at the government's failure to stamp out a two-month-old separatist rebellion in the north of the west African state.

Heavy weapons fire rang out throughout the night as the presidential palace came under attack. The whereabouts of President Amadou Toumani Toure, who oversaw a decade of relative stability, are unknown.

Mali's neighbors, the United Nations and world powers from Paris to Washington called for a return to constitutional rule.

The 7,000-strong army has for weeks sought better weapons to fight northern Tuareg rebels bolstered by heavily armed ethnic allies who fled Libya after fighting for ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Members of the newly formed National Committee for the Return of Democracy and the Restoration of the State (CNRDR) read a statement on state television saying they had taken over.

"The CNRDR ... has decided to assume its responsibilities by putting an end to the incompetent regime of Amadou Toumani Toure," said Lieutenant Amadou Konare, spokesman for the CNRDR.

"We promise to hand power back to a democratically elected president as soon as the country is reunified and its integrity is no longer threatened," said Konare, flanked by about two dozen soldiers, in a statement marred by sound problems.

Government and military sources told Reuters the mutineers entered the presidential palace overnight after it was vacated by Toure and his entourage.

A loyalist military source and two diplomats told Reuters they believed Toure was sheltering in a military camp run by soldiers still loyal to him. The 63-year-old was due to stand down at an election set for April.

The CNRDR declared all land and air borders shut and a subsequent statement by Captain Amadou Sanogo - described as president of the CNRDR - called for an immediate curfew that was widely flouted in the capital Bamako. Little is known about Sanogo except that he is an instructor at a military college.

While no deaths were reported, an official at the Gabriel Toure hospital in central Bamako said around 20 people had been admitted with bullet wounds, with some in a serious condition. Locals complained of soldiers pillaging gas stations for fuel.

"They came, they starting shooting live bullets to make people leave so they can refill their tanks with unleaded and diesel. There, look, the concrete proof," said airport worker Ibrahima Konte, pointing to bullet wounds in his hand.

The northern rebels vowed to exploit the confusion in the capital to make new advances in its bid to carve out a desert homeland twice the size of France.

"The situation (in Bamako) will allow us to take advantage of the chaos to gain more ground," Moussa Ag Acharatoumane, a Paris-based spokesman for the MNLA rebellion said by telephone.

Asked when they would seek to advance on key northern towns such as Kidal, Timbuktu and Gao, he said: "I don't think it will be long. We are preparing this."

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for calm and for grievances to be settled democratically. The African Union said it was "deeply concerned by the reprehensible acts currently being perpetrated by some elements of the Malian army".

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in a statement that Paris was suspending some security cooperation with Mali while the United States called on the army to place itself under civilian rule.

France and the United States have encouraged efforts by regional governments to combat local al Qaeda agents who have carried out a spate of kidnappings of Westerners.

Investor nerves over Mali's gold sector - a key export earner for the country - sent shares in London-listed miner Randgold Resources down 15 percent, despite a company statement that its operations there were not affected.

Heavy weapons and tracer fire rang out in Bamako through the night. As day broke, a Reuters correspondent saw soldiers still shooting in the air on the streets of Bamako where, despite the curfew, there were a number of motorists and motorcyclists.

"The people are with the (mutinous) soldiers," said one Bamako resident, Adama Tiarra. "We want a government that can sort things out." Others, however, said they were firmly against the attempt to unseat Toure's government.

In a sign of the breadth of the army mutiny, two military sources in the northern town of Gao confirmed the arrests of several senior officers in the town, a regional operations centre for the military.

A military source said an initial trigger for the mutiny was a visit on Wednesday by the defence minister to a barracks in the town of Kati about 20 km (13 miles) north of Bamako.

"The minister went to speak to troops but the talks went badly," the source said.

World Capitals: Ottawa pt 1

Ottawa is the capital of Canada. It is the second largest city in the Province of Ontario and the fourth largest city in the country. The city is located on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of Southern Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau, Quebec, located on the north bank of the Ottawa River; together they form the National Capital Region (NCR).

The 2011 census had the city's population as 883,391, and the metropolitan population as 1,236,324.Mercer ranks Ottawa with the second highest quality of living of any large city in the Americas, and 14th highest in the world. It is also rated the second cleanest city in Canada, and third cleanest city in the world.

Founded in 1826 as Bytown and incorporated as "Ottawa" in 1855, the city has evolved into a political and technological center of Canada. Its original boundaries were expanded through numerous minor annexations and ultimately replaced by a new city incorporation and major amalgamation in 2001 which significantly increased its land area.

The name "Ottawa" is derived from the Algonquin word adawe, meaning "to trade". Ottawa and the Ottawa Valley was home to the Algonquin people prior to the arrival of Europeans during the fur and subsequent lumber trade eras. Initially an Irish and French Christian settlement, Ottawa has become a multicultural - bilingual city with a diverse population

Étienne Brûlé, the first European to travel up the Ottawa River, passed by Ottawa in 1610 on his way to the Great Lakes. Samuel de Champlain three years later on his trip wrote about the waterfalls of the area, and about his encounters with the Algonquins, a people who have been using the Ottawa River for centuries. They called the river Kichi Sibi or Kichissippi' meaning "Great River" or "Grand River". These early explorers were later followed by many missionaries.

Philemon Wright, a New Englander, created the first settlement in the area on March 7, 1800, on the north side of the river, across from Ottawa in Hull. He, with five other families and twenty-five labourers, set about to create an agricultural community called Wrightsville and Wright pioneered the Ottawa Valley timber trade (soon to be the most significant economic activity) by transporting timber by river from the Ottawa Valley to Quebec City.

Bytown (Ottawa's early name) came about because of the Rideau Canal, on which preliminary work began in 1826, the year of Bytown's founding. Its construction was overseen by Colonel John By, and was intended to provide a secure route between Montreal and Kingston on Lake Ontario, bypassing the stretch of the St. Lawrence River bordering New York State.Colonel By set up a military barracks on the site of today's Parliament Hill. He also laid out the streets of town with its "Upper Town" and "Lower Town" separated by the canal. Bytown's population grew to 1,000 as the Rideau Canal was being completed in 1832. Bytown was renamed Ottawa in 1855, when it was incorporated as a city.

On December 31, 1857, Queen Victoria was asked to choose a common capital for the Province of Canada and chose Ottawa.The Queen's advisers suggested she pick Ottawa for several reasons: Ottawa's position in the back country made it more defensible, while still allowing easy transportation over the Ottawa River. Ottawa was at a point nearly exactly midway between Toronto and Quebec City (500 kilometres (310 mi)),and that the smaller size of the town made it less likely that politically motivated mobs could go on a rampage and destroy government buildings, as had happened in the previous Canadian capitals.

Starting in the 1850s large sawmills began to be erected by entrepreneurs, known as lumber barons, and would become some of the largest in the world. Rail lines erected in 1854 connected Ottawa to areas south, and to the transcontinental rail network via Hull and Lachute, Quebec in 1886. Between 1910 and 1912, the Chateau Laurier, and a downtown Union Station would be constructed. Public transportation began in 1870 with a horsecar system., overtaken in the 1890s by a vast electric streetcar system that would last until 1959. The Hull-Ottawa fire of 1900 destroyed two thirds of Hull, including 40 per cent of its residential buildings and most of its largest employers along the waterfront. The fire also spread across the Ottawa River and destroyed about one fifth of Ottawa from the Lebreton Flats south to Booth Street and down to Dow's Lake.The Centre Block of the Parliament buildings were destroyed by fire on February 3, 1916. The House of Commons and Senate were temporarily relocated to the recently constructed Victoria Memorial Museum, now the Canadian Museum of Nature until the completion of the new Centre Block in 1922, the centrepiece of which is a dominant Gothic revival styled structure known as the Peace Tower.

Urban planner Jacques Greber was hired in the 1940s to work on a master plan for the National Capital Region (the Greber Plan). Jacques Greber was the creator of the National Capital Greenbelt, the Parkway System, as well as many other projects throughout the NCR. He was also responsible for the removal of the streetcar system and closing down historic downtown Union Station (now Government Conference Centre) in favour of a suburban station several kilometres to the east. In the 1960s through 1980s, the National Capital Region experienced a building boom. This was followed by large growth in the high-tech industry during the 1990s and 2000s. In 2001, in an amalgamation legislated by the Province, all twelve existing municipalities in the area were terminated and replaced by a new incorporation of the City of Ottawa.

Ottawa is situated on the south bank of the Ottawa River, and contains the mouths of the Rideau River and Rideau Canal. The older part of the city (including what remains of Bytown) is known as Lower Town, and occupies an area between the canal and the rivers. Across the canal to the west lies Centretown and Downtown Ottawa, which is the city's financial and commercial hub. As of June 29, 2007, the Rideau Canal, which stretches 202 km (126 mi) to Kingston, Fort Henry and four Martello towers in the Kingston area was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Located on a major, yet mostly dormant fault line, Ottawa is occasionally struck by earthquakes. Examples include a magnitude 5.2 earthquake on January 1, 2000, a magnitude 4.5 earthquake on February 24, 2006, a magnitude 5.0 earthquake on June 23, 2010.

Across the Ottawa River, which forms the border between Ontario and Quebec, lies the city of Gatineau, itself the result of amalgamation of the former Quebec cities of Hull and Aylmer together with Gatineau. Although formally and administratively separate cities in two separate provinces, Ottawa and Gatineau (along with a number of nearby municipalities) collectively constitute the National Capital Region, with a combined population exceeding one million residents, which is considered a single metropolitan area. One federal crown corporation (the National Capital Commission, or NCC) has significant land holdings in both cities, including sites of historical and touristic importance. The NCC, through its responsibility for planning and development of these lands, is an important contributor to both cities. Around the main urban area is an extensive greenbelt, administered by the National Capital Commission for conservation and leisure, and comprising mostly forest, farmland and marshland.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Ocean One: Jaques Cousteau Bio part 1

From Wikipedia:
Jacques-Yves Cousteau, commonly known in English as Jacques Cousteau; 11 June 1910 – 25 June 1997) was a French naval officer, explorer, ecologist, filmmaker, innovator, scientist, photographer, author and researcher who studied the sea and all forms of life in water. He co-developed the Aqua-Lung, pioneered marine conservation and was a member of the Académie française. He was also known as "le Commandant Cousteau" or "Captain Cousteau".

Early life
Cousteau was born on 11 June 1910, in Saint-André-de-Cubzac, Gironde, France to Daniel and Élisabeth Cousteau. He had one brother, Pierre-Antoine. Cousteau completed his preparatory studies at the prestigious Collège Stanislas in Paris. In 1930, he entered the École Navale and graduated as a gunnery officer. After an automobile accident cut short his career in naval aviation, Cousteau indulged his interest in the sea.

In Toulon, where he was serving on the Condorcet, Cousteau carried out his first underwater experiments, thanks to his friend Philippe Tailliez who in 1936 lent him some Fernez underwater goggles, predecessors of modern diving masks. Cousteau also belonged to the information service of the French Navy, and was sent on missions to Shanghai and Japan (1935–1938) and in the USSR (1939).

On 12 July 1937 he married Simone Melchior, with whom he had two sons, Jean-Michel (born 1938) and Philippe (1940–1979). His sons took part in the adventures of the Calypso.

In 1991, one year after his wife Simone's death from cancer, he married Francine Triplet. They already had a daughter Diane Cousteau (born 1980) and a son Pierre-Yves Cousteau (born 1982), born during Cousteau's marriage to his first wife.

Early 1940s: Innovation of modern underwater diving The years of World War II were decisive for the history of diving. After the armistice of 1940, the family of Simone and Jacques-Yves Cousteau took refuge in Megève, where he became a friend of the Ichac family who also lived there.

Jacques-Yves Cousteau and Marcel Ichac shared the same desire to reveal to the general public unknown and inaccessible places — for Cousteau the underwater world and for Ichac the high mountains. The two neighbors took the first ex-aequo prize of the Congress of Documentary Film in 1943, for the first French underwater film: Par dix-huit mètres de fond (18 meters deep), made without breathing apparatus the previous year in the Embiez islands (Var) with Philippe Tailliez and Frédéric Dumas, using a depth-pressure-proof camera case developed by mechanical engineer Léon Vèche (engineer of Arts and Métiers and the Naval College).

In 1943, they made the film Épaves (Shipwrecks), in which they used two of the very first Aqua-Lung prototypes. These prototypes were made in Boulogne-Billancourt by the Air Liquide company, following instructions from Cousteau and Émile Gagnan. When making Épaves, Cousteau could not find the necessary blank reels of movie film, but had to buy hundreds of small still camera film reels the same width, intended for a make of child's camera, and cemented them together to make long reels.

Having kept bonds with the English speakers (he spent part of his childhood in the United States and usually spoke English) and with French soldiers in North Africa (under Admiral Lemonnier), Jacques-Yves Cousteau (whose villa "Baobab" at Sanary (Var) was opposite Admiral Darlan's villa "Reine"), helped the French Navy to join again with the Allies; he assembled a commando operation against the Italian espionage services in France, and received several military decorations for his deeds.

At that time, he kept his distance from his brother Pierre-Antoine Cousteau, a "pen anti-semite" who wrote the collaborationist newspaper Je suis partout (I am everywhere) and who received the death sentence in 1946. However this was later commuted to a life sentence, and Pierre-Antoine was released in 1954.

During the 1940s, Cousteau is credited with improving the aqua-lung design which gave birth to the open-circuit scuba technology used today.

According to his first book, The Silent World: A Story of Undersea Discovery and Adventure (1953), Cousteau started diving with Fernez goggles in 1936, and in 1939 used the self contained underwater breathing apparatus invented in 1926 by Commander Yves le Prieur.

Cousteau was not satisfied with the length of time he could spend underwater with the Le Prieur apparatus so he improved it to extend underwater duration by adding a demand regulator, invented in 1942 by Émile Gagnan. In 1943 Cousteau tried out the first prototype aqua-lung which finally made extended underwater exploration possible.

Washington DC Part 6

Article One, Section Eight of the United States Constitution grants the U.S. Congress "exclusive jurisdiction" over the city. The District did not have an elected municipal government until the passage of the 1973 Home Rule Act. The Act devolved certain Congressional powers to a local government administered by an elected mayor, currently Vincent C. Gray, and the thirteen-member Council of the District of Columbia. However, Congress retains the right to review and overturn laws created by the council and intervene in local affairs.

Each of the city's eight wards elects a single member of the council and four at-large members represent the District as a whole. The council chair is also elected at-large. There are 37 Advisory Neighborhood Commissions (ANCs) elected by small neighborhood districts. ANCs traditionally wield a great deal of influence and the city government routinely takes their suggestions into careful consideration.

The mayor and council set local taxes and a budget, which must be approved by Congress. The Home Rule Act prohibits the District from imposing a commuter tax on non-residents who make up over 60% of the city's workforce. In addition, over 50% of property in the District is also exempt from taxation. The Government Accountability Office and other organizations have estimated that these revenue restrictions create a structural deficit in the city's budget of anywhere between $470 million and over $1 billion per year. While Congress typically provides larger grants to the District for federal programs such as Medicaid and the local justice system, analysts claim that the payments do not resolve the imbalance.

The District's local justice system is centered on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, whose judges are appointed by the President. The District's local courts, though operated by the federal government, are separate from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia and the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, which only hear cases regarding federal law. The United States Attorney for the District of Columbia is also appointed by the President and is responsible for prosecuting both federal and local crimes. In addition to the District's own Metropolitan Police Department, many federal law enforcement agencies have jurisdiction in the city as well; most visibly the U.S. Park Police, founded in 1791.

The city's local government, particularly during the mayoralty of Marion Barry, was criticized for mismanagement and waste. During his administration in 1989, The Washington Monthly magazine claimed that the District had "the worst city government in America."Barry was elected mayor in 1978, serving three successive four-year terms, followed by a fourth term starting in 1995. That year, Congress created the District of Columbia Financial Control Board to oversee all municipal spending and rehabilitate the city government. Mayor Anthony Williams won election in 1998. His administration oversaw a period of greater prosperity, urban renewal, and budget surpluses. The District regained control over its finances in 2001 and the oversight board's operations were suspended.

Washington, D.C., observes all federal holidays. The District also celebrates Emancipation Day on April 16, which commemorates the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862.

Federal representation and taxation
Residents of the District of Columbia have no voting representation in Congress. They are represented in the House of Representatives by a non-voting delegate, currently Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C. At-Large), who may sit on committees, participate in debate, and introduce legislation, but cannot vote on the House floor. The District has no representation in the United States Senate. Unlike residents of U.S. territories such as Puerto Rico or Guam, which also have non-voting delegates, D.C. residents are subject to all U.S. federal taxes. In the financial year 2007, D.C. residents and businesses paid $20.4 billion in federal taxes; more than the taxes collected from 19 states and the highest federal taxes per capita.

A 2005 poll found that 78% of Americans did not know that residents of the District of Columbia have less representation in Congress than residents of the 50 states. Efforts to raise awareness about the issue have included campaigns by grassroots organizations and the featuring of the city's unofficial motto, "Taxation Without Representation", on D.C. vehicle license plates. There is evidence of nationwide approval for DC voting rights; various polls indicate that 61 to 82% of Americans believe that D.C. should have voting representation in Congress. Despite public support, attempts to grant the District voting representation, including the D.C. statehood movement and the proposed District of Columbia Voting Rights Amendment, have been unsuccessful.

Opponents of D.C. voting rights propose that the Founding Fathers never intended for District residents to have a vote in Congress since the Constitution makes clear that representation must come from the states. Those opposed to making D.C. a state claim that such a move would destroy the notion of a separate national capital and that statehood would unfairly grant Senate representation to a single city.

District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) operates the city's 123 public schools.The number of students in DCPS steadily decreased for 39 years until 2009. In the 2010–11 school year, 46,191 students were enrolled in the public school system. DCPS has one of the highest-cost yet lowest-performing school systems in the country, both in terms of infrastructure and student achievement.Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration made sweeping changes to the system by closing schools, replacing teachers, firing principals, and using private education firms to aid curriculum development.

The District of Columbia Public Charter School Board monitors the 52 public charter schools in the city.[185] Due to the perceived problems with the traditional public school system, enrollment in public charter schools has steadily increased. As of fall 2010, D.C. charter schools had a total enrollment of about 32,000, a 9% increase from the prior year. The District is also home to 92 private schools, which enrolled approximately 18,000 students in 2008. The District of Columbia Public Library operates 25 neighborhood locations including the landmark Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

Private universities include American University (AU), the Catholic University of America (CUA), Gallaudet University, George Washington University (GW), Georgetown University (GU), Howard University, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). The Corcoran College of Art and Design provides specialized arts instruction and other higher-education institutions offer continuing, distance and adult education. The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) is a public university providing undergraduate and graduate education. The District is known for its medical research institutions such as Washington Hospital Center and the Children's National Medical Center, as well as the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. In addition, the city is home to three medical schools and associated teaching hospitals at George Washington, Georgetown, and Howard universities.

Transportation According to a 2010 study, Washington-area commuters spent 70 hours a year in traffic delays, which tied with Chicago for having the nation's worst road congestion. However, 37% of Washington-area commuters take public transportation to work, the second-highest rate in the country. An additional 12% of D.C. commuters walked to work, 6% carpooled, and 3% traveled by bicycle in 2010. A 2011 study by Walk Score found that Washington was the seventh-most walkable city in the country with 80% of residents living in neighborhoods that are not car dependent.

An extensive network of streets, parkways, and arterial avenues forms the core of the District's surface transportation infrastructure. Due to protests by local residents during the freeway revolts of the 1960s, much of the proposed interstate highway system through the middle of Washington was never built. Interstate 95, the nation's major east coast highway, therefore bends around the District to form the eastern portion of the Capital Beltway. The funds that had been dedicated for additional highway construction were instead redirected to the region's public transportation infrastructure. The interstate highways that do continue into Washington, including Interstate 66 and Interstate 395, both terminate shortly after entering the city.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) operates the Washington Metro, the city's rapid transit system, as well as Metrobus. Both systems serve the District and its suburbs. Metro opened on March 27, 1976 and presently consists of 86 stations and 106.3 miles (171.1 km) of track. With an average of about one million trips each weekday, Metro is the second-busiest rapid transit system in the country. Metrobus serves over 400,000 riders each weekday, making it the nation's sixth-largest bus system. The city also operates its own DC Circulator bus system, which connects commercial areas within central Washington.

Union Station is the main train station in Washington, D.C., and handles approximately 70,000 people each day. It is Amtrak's second-busiest station with 4.6 million passengers annually and serves as the southern terminus for the Northeast Corridor and Acela Express routes. Maryland's MARC and Virginia's VRE commuter trains and the Metrorail Red Line also provide service into Union Station. Expansion plans announced in 2011 will make Union Station the city's primary intercity bus transit center.

Three major airports serve the District. Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is located across from downtown Washington in Arlington, Virginia and has its own Metrorail station. Given its proximity to the city, Reagan National has extra security precautions required by the Washington Air Defense Identification Zone. Major international flights arrive and depart from Washington Dulles International Airport, located 26.3 miles (42.3 km) west of the District in Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia. Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport is located 31.7 miles (51.0 km) northeast of the District in Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

An expected 32% increase in transit usage within the District by 2030 has spurred construction of a new DC Streetcar system to interconnect the city's neighborhoods. Construction has also started on an additional Metro line that will connect Washington to Dulles airport. The District and adjacent Arlington County launched Capital Bikeshare in September 2010; it is currently one of the largest bicycle sharing systems in the country with over 1,100 bicycles and 110 stations. Marked bicycle lanes currently exist on 48 miles (77 km) of streets and the city plans to further expand the network.

American State Governors: Maine

From Wikipedia
Paul Richard LePage (born October 9, 1948) is an American businessman and politician who has been the 74th Governor of Maine since 2011. A Republican, he was previously mayor of Waterville from 2003 to 2011, and was a city councilor before that. He worked from 1996 to 2011 in the private sector as general manager of the 14-store discount chain Marden's Surplus and Salvage.

Early life and education
LePage was born in Lewiston, Maine, the eldest son of eighteen children of Theresa B. (née Gagnon) and Gerard A. LePage, both of whom were of French-Canadian descent.

He grew up speaking French in an impoverished home with an abusive father who was a mill worker. His father drank heavily and terrorized the children; and his mother, though a loving parent, was too intimidated to stop him. At age eleven, after his father beat him and broke his nose, he ran away from home and lived on the streets of Lewiston, seeking shelter wherever he could find it, including in horse stables and at a "strip joint".

After spending roughly two years homeless, he began to earn a living shining shoes, washing dishes at a café and hauling boxes for a truck driver. He later worked at a rubber company, a meat-packing plant, and was a short order cook, and bartender.

LePage applied to Husson College in Bangor, but was initially rejected due to a poor verbal score on the SAT, a result of English being his second language. LePage has said that Peter Snowe – the first husband of current U.S. Senator from Maine Olympia Snowe – persuaded Husson to give LePage a written exam in French, which allowed LePage to show his comprehension and be admitted.

At Husson, LePage improved his English skills and became editor of the college newspaper. He graduated with a B.S. in Business Administration in Finance and Accounting, and later earned a M.B.A. from the University of Maine.

Business career
LePage worked for a lumber company in New Brunswick, Canada, from 1972 to 1979, then Scott Paper in Winslow, Maine. A few years later, he founded his own business consulting firm, LePage & Kasevich Inc., specializing in aiding foundering companies. In 1996, LePage became general manager of Marden's Surplus and Salvage, a Maine-based discount store chain

Local politics
LePage served two terms as a Waterville city councilor before becoming mayor in 2003, retaining that post until resigning in January 2011. During his time as mayor, LePage reorganized city hall, lowered taxes, and increased the city's rainy day fund balance from $1 million to $10 million.

2010 Maine Gubernatorial Campaign On September 22, 2009, LePage announced that he would be seeking the 2010 Republican nomination for Governor of Maine. LePage won 38% of the vote in a seven-way primary, despite being outspent ten to one by the closest challenger.

In the general election, LePage, who was backed by local Tea Party activists, faced off against Democrat state Senator Libby Mitchell, and independents Eliot Cutler, Shawn Moody, and Kevin Scott. With 94% of precincts reporting on the day after the election, the Bangor Daily News declared LePage the winner, carrying 38.1% of the votes. Cutler was in second place with 36.7% of the votes (fewer than 7,500 votes behind LePage), while Mitchell was a distant third with 19%. Moody and Scott had 5% and 1%, respectively.

LePage is the first popularly-elected Franco-American governor of Maine, and the first Republican since John R. McKernan, Jr., was re-elected in 1990. In his victory speech, LePage promised he would shrink government, lower taxes, decrease business regulation, and put "Maine people ahead of politics."

Positions on specific issues Economy
LePage has said that the permitting process to start a business in Maine is too cumbersome and expensive and he will look for ways to make it cheaper and easier.

LePage opposes raising any taxes during his term as governor and supports the creation of a 5% flat tax on all households earning more than $30,000. During the gubernatorial campaign, he also wanted to reduce the auto registration tax by 20% and use the actual sale price rather than MSRP as the tax basis.

LePage supports a school voucher system and structuring pay to reward teachers for performance. He has stated that curriculum should be determined by local school boards, but that he does not object to teaching creationism in public schools.

Energy and environment LePage supports not only the development of hydroelectric, nuclear, wind, solar, and tidal power within Maine, but also tax incentives for energy conservation initiatives. He has said he would support shallow-water offshore drilling in Maine waters, but not deep-water drilling, which he considers more hazardous. He believes that government policies should consider the effect of greenhouse gases, but opposes regulation, saying he is not convinced that greenhouse gases from human activities are a significant contributor to climate change.

He has stated that some requirements for environmental impact studies should be reduced or weakened because they frequently impose undue burden on economic activity

In February 2011, LePage drew criticism from environmentalists when he proposed zoning 10 million acres (40,000 km2) of northern Maine for development, repealing laws that require manufacturers to take back recyclable goods for disposal, and other sweeping changes to environmental laws. In a statement LePage said, "Job creation and investment opportunities are being lost because we do not have a fair balance between our economic interests and the need to protect the environment."

Lisa Pohlmann, executive director of the Maine Natural Resources Council — one of the state's largest and oldest environmental advocacy groups — replied to his proposed changes saying, "We are shocked and stunned." Maureen Drouin, executive director of the Maine Conservation Voters Education Fund, said, "A dirty environment is no way to bring new jobs to Maine."

Government reform
LePage expressed an intent to reform welfare eligibility requirements, though he did not specify how he would do so. He also supports lifetime limits on welfare support, requiring recipients to perform work in the community, and a tiered payment system that gradually removes benefits as recipients earn more money working, rather than cutting them off entirely at a certain income level. He has stated that the size of state government is likely too large and that he would probably seek to reduce the number of state employees.

Health care
He has called for repeal of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, saying he believes it is unconstitutional, and — as planned — has encouraged Maine's attorney general to join the federal lawsuit by other state attorneys general challenging the bill. He has said that coverage mandates for Maine insurance policies should be pared back because they make insurance policies too expensive. He believes that MaineCare, the state Medicaid program, has too many enrollees and is too easy to qualify for.

LGBT issues
LePage opposes allowing same-sex couples to marry; however, in a 2009 interview with right-of-center Maine political blog Pine Tree Politics, he voiced support for civil unions, saying, "if you're going to get married by the State, it's a civil union, period. Whether you're a homosexual, lesbian, heterosexual. Everybody. That way everybody gets the same legal standing."

On the topic of transgender students in grades K-12, he said he did not understand "how people, at least sane people, would want to allow transgender in our primary schools and our high schools." LePage then pledged to oppose legislation for transgendered students, saying, "I think it's gone too far and we have to push back. As governor, I would never allow that to be signed into law."

Governor of Maine
Renaming conference rooms and removing murals

On March 23, 2011, Governor LePage sparked protests when he announced that he planned to remove a large mural depicting the history of the state's labor movement from the lobby of the Maine Department of Labor offices. LePage said that he had received a written complaint signed by a "secret admirer", and "some complaints" from business owners.

The mural includes depictions of Rosie the Riveter at Bath Iron Works, a 1937 shoe worker’s strike, and a 1986 paper mill strike. The artist, Judy Taylor, stated, “There was never any intention to be pro-labor or anti-labor, it was a pure depiction of the facts.”LePage also announced that he plans to rename conference rooms that have carried the names of historic leaders of American labor, as well as former Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins, the first woman cabinet member in American history. The Governor’s spokesman explained that the mural and the conference-room names were “not in keeping with the department’s pro-business goals".

Despite protests, on March 28 it was disclosed that the murals had been removed over the weekend. In a statement, LePage's press secretary said, "The mural has been removed and is in storage awaiting relocation to a more appropriate venue."

On March 30 the Portland Museum of Art issued a statement that said LePage's decision has tarnished the state's reputation as a haven for artists: "The historical role of Maine as muse and refuge for generations of Americans is called into question by this single action."

The Maine Curators' Forum, a consortium of curators and directors from museums, colleges and universities, art centers and galleries throughout the state, also issued a statement that called LePage's action a "direct affront to our values as arts professionals."

On April 1 it was disclosed that a federal lawsuit had been filed in U.S. District Court seeking "to confirm the mural's current location, ensure that the artwork is adequately preserved, and ultimately to restore it to the Department of Labor's lobby in Augusta".

In April 2011, LePage Cabinet member Philip Congdon was criticized for statements he made at a speaking engagement in Northern Maine. Congdon was quoted as saying affirmative action programs have contributed to a decline in higher education, that people of northern Maine were lacking in parenting skills, that Maine's potato farmers were wasting their potatoes by selling them for french fries rather than vodka and that it was time for them to "get off the reservation and get to work" if they wanted to succeed.

Congdon denied making some of the comments and said some were misunderstood. "I thought I was talking to people who were sufficiently intelligent enough to understand my real meaning. I was mistaken."

In a joint statement, the Maine branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Penobscot Indian Nation called Congdon's statements "reprehensible and inherently untrue". Upon hearing of Congdon's comments, LePage removed him from his cabinet stating, "I do not condone or tolerate the appearance of this type of behavior and I will not accept distractions from my jobs-creation agenda."

Welfare reform
Welfare reform was a centerpiece of LePage's gubernatorial campaign. In December 2011, citing a budget shortfall, LePage proposed sweeping changes to MaineCare (Maine's Medicaid program).

Those changes include dropping 5,000 to 6,000 low-income senior citizens with disabilities from the Drugs for the Elderly program (which provides low-cost prescription drugs to low-income elderly patients), and ending Medicaid coverage for up to 65,000 recipients, including many who are disabled or elderly.

Reimbursement to hospitals and other medical providers would be reduced by up to 10 percent, which could trigger the elimination of up to 4,400 health care jobs. The changes could also result in higher premiums and higher co-pays for people with private health insurance.

Statements by LePage

LePage has been criticized for statements that supporters have viewed as being part of LePage's plainspoken style.

During the campaign, he told an audience that when he became governor, they could expect to see newspaper headlines stating, "LePage Tells Obama To Go to Hell." At the beginning of his term as governor, he was criticized for refusing either to attend Martin Luther King, Jr. Day events or to meet with Maine representatives of the NAACP. When questioned, LePage said he would not be "held hostage" by special interest groups including the NAACP, and laughingly told a local news reporter, "Tell them they can kiss my butt."

The remarks were reported in national media, with The Portland Press Herald saying that the comments "sparked outrage... among civil rights group leaders who called his remarks 'astonishing and troubling'".

A LePage spokesperson responded, "He's got a directness about him that a lot of people find appealing". LePage's office later indicated that he would meet with NAACP representatives, but only to discuss matters of concern to "all Maine's people".

In February 2011, LePage again gained national attention when he spoke on a local TV news program saying he hoped to repeal the Maine ban of Bisphenol A, voted for unanimously by the Maine Board of Environmental Protection, because "There hasn’t been any science that identifies that there is a problem” and added: “The only thing that I’ve heard is if you take a plastic bottle and put it in the microwave and you heat it up, it gives off a chemical similar to estrogen. So the worst case is some women may have little beards....and we don't want that.”

Maine women responded with "Little Beard Day", a Facebook organized protest that drew a response of more than 1,400. The Facebook page described the event as "...a response to (and attempt to match the absurdity of) the much-reported recent statements by our governor about the safety issues surrounding BPA." Women were invited to don “little beards" and post pictures at the Facebook site.

On March 28, it was reported that the LePage administration had dropped its opposition to the new BPA regulations. After a unanimous vote in the Senate and only three opposing votes in the House of Representatives, on April 22, the Maine legislature passed a bill to ban the use of BPA in baby bottles, sippy cups and other reusable food and beverage containers, effective January 1, 2012. Governor LePage refused to sign the bill but it became law without his signature.

Homestead exemption
In September 2010, the media reported that Ann LePage, wife of Paul LePage, had received permanent-resident tax exemptions on homes in both Maine and Florida, beginning in 2008, which was thought to be a violation of the laws of both states.

Several weeks after being ordered to pay back taxes and penalties by Volusia County authorities, it was determined that Florida law allowed Ann LePage to claim a permanent-resident exemption. She then corrected her Florida filing but lost the Maine tax exemptions for 2008 and 2009, and subsequently paid back taxes due on the property.

Hiring of daughter LePage appointed his 22-year-old daughter Lauren as assistant to his chief of staff—an entry-level position with an annual salary of approximately $41,000—and employee benefits estimated to be worth an additional $15,000. While residing in the governor's mansion, she also receives a housing benefit with an estimated value of $10,000 per year. (Maine's rules against nepotism did not apply to this and other political positions.)

Critics noted that entry-level salaries for teachers and police officers in Maine are only $30,000 and $36,000, respectively, after specialized training, and that Lauren LePage has a limited work history.

Awards and honors
In 2006, LePage was voted the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce’s businessman of the year. In 2007, he was named "Maine Business Champion" by the National Federation of Independent Business.

Personal life
LePage is married to Ann LePage and has four children—two from his first marriage, who live in Canada; and two with his second wife Ann. Since 2002, his household has also included a young man from Jamaica, Devon Raymond, Jr. (born 1985). LePage calls Raymond his adopted son, although adoption paperwork has never been filed. LePage met Raymond in Jamaica through Raymond's father, who caddied for LePage during a vacation there.