By Michelle McQuigge, The Canadian Press - Sunday, December 23, 2012 - 0 Comments
TORONTO – When Asad Muhammad and Mathew Ho mapped out a route for the…
TORONTO – When Asad Muhammad and Mathew Ho mapped out a route for the lego man they hoped to send into space last January, they little imagined they’d be changing the course of their own lives as well.
The voyage they planned for the toy figure was originally conceived as a fun project for two high school friends who shared a love of science. By attaching cameras to a weather balloon and styrofoam container, the 18-year-olds from Toronto hoped only to capture pictures of the earth’s curvature.
But the lego figure they included in their makeshift craft on a whim catapulted the test flight to greater heights than Ho and Muhammad ever imagined. Footage of the plastic figure soaring 24 kilometres above the earth garnered instant praise once it had been posted to Youtube, and the teens found themselves dead centre on the public radar.
“It’s still overwhelming,” Muhammad said in a telephone interview. “We thought no one was going to be interested in listening to what we did, but when the story got out, it was amazing.”
The changes began in the hallways of the teens’ former high school, where students who once warned Muhammad that the project was doomed to flop greeted him with applause.
As the internet footage gained traction, Ho and Mohammad’s reputations captured the attention of other educational institutions as well. Several universities contacted the pair to offer up tours of their facilities and court them as prospective science students, Muhammad said. At least two followed up the invitations with offers of acceptance.
But the exposure had its downsides too. Ho and Muhammad spent at least four months wading through everything from media requests to lecture invitations, and Muhammad said the hectic pace made them reconsider their future paths.
In the end, neither teen opted to pursue post-secondary education in the scientific fields that seemed such a natural match at first.
Ho is now studying commerce at the University of British Columbia, Muhammad said, adding he himself has enrolled in the aircraft maintenance program at Toronto’s Centennial College.
“I guess you’ve got to lose something to gain something,” Muhammad said of his academic direction, adding he enjoys the practical challenges of fixing airplanes rather than designing them.
That’s not to say, however, that Ho and Muhammad won’t let their experimental fancies take flight once again.
The two are currently debating the merits of trying to launch a full-fledged Lego star ship, which weighs six times more than their original homemade craft and poses a host of logistical challenges.
Ho is all for it, but Muhammad said his first college term has made him much more gun-shy about a more ambitious launch.
“I’m taking this aircraft maintenance program and I know the things that happen,” he said. “It can come in the flight path of an airplane, which I’m really afraid of. We’re still debating whether to do it or not.”
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, June 13, 2012 at 4:41 PM - 0 Comments
Welcome to live coverage of tonight’s C-38 votes. It was expected that voting would begin around 5:30pm, but some procedural fussing about by the Liberals seems to have delayed those votes by a few hours. Stay tuned throughout the evening (and morning?) as we follow the parliamentary festivities.
4:43pm. If you’re only now tuning in, you just missed a fascinating series of points of order, during which Liberal MP Kevin Lamoureux twice asked the Speaker to clarify the rules of the House (Speaker Devolin invited Mr. Lamoureux to read the standing orders) and Bob Rae objected to the Defence Minister’s earlier use of the word “mendaciousness” (Peter MacKay duly stood and withdrew the remark). The House is now at the time reserved each day for the presenting of petitions and will soon move to the final period of report stage debate on C-38.
4:51pm. The New Democrats held a photo op this afternoon to demonstrate how they were preparing for tonight’s votes. Mostly this seems to have involved Nathan Cullen removing his jacket and writing “C-38″ on a giant white pad of paper.
5:04pm. The Liberals have chosen now to discuss Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege. And now there is some discussion between the Speaker, Elizabeth May and Denis Coderre about how long one can speak when responding to a question of privilege.
5:15pm. With Mr. Lamoureux still responding to Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege, Conservative MP Bob Zimmer rises on a point of order to question Mr. Lamoureux’s point of privilege. The Speaker stands and reads the rules pertaining to questions of privilege, specifically that such interventions should be “brief and concise” and that the Speaker has the right to “terminate” the discussion. Liberal MP Massimo Pacetti rises on a point of order to object to Mr. Zimmer’s point of order. Mr. Lamoureux attempts a point of order to respond to Mr. Zimmer, but the Speaker suggests he carry on with his point of privilege, but then Mr. Coderre rises on a point of order to complain about the Speaker’s desire to move things along. The Speaker asserts his impartiality and attempts to straighten this all out, but Mr. Coderre rises on another point of order to clarify his respect for the Speaker, but also to express his desire that Mr. Lamoureux be allowed to give a full response to Mr. Cullen’s point of privilege. Mr. Pacetti rises on a point of order to add his concern that Mr. Lamoureux be allowed to speak fully. The Speaker says he was merely reminding everyone of the rules and gives Mr. Lamoureux five minutes to finish and, finally, we’re now back to Mr. Lamoruex’s point of privilege.
5:30pm. The Speaker stands and calls an end to Mr. Lamoureux’s remarks and attempts to move to the last hour of report stage debate on C-38, but now Mauril Belanger is up on a separate point of privilege.
5:32pm. The Speaker cuts off Mr. Belanger to move to deferred votes on two opposition motions and one private member’s bill. MPs have 30 minutes to report to the chamber.
By Scott Feschuk - Friday, May 11, 2012 at 1:29 PM - 0 Comments
The media’s fixation with sex and titillation is deplorable and, frankly, threatening
Did you read our magazine’s recent feature on the growing popularity of “breastaurants?” It described a new generation of Hooters-like “mammary-centric casual dining chains” at which female servers wear the skimpiest of attire. I’m sure the article said other things, too, but I got distracted by the photo.
These restaurants have names like the Tilted Kilt and Twin Peaks—decent monikers, I suppose, but perhaps a tad subtle when your eatery aims to be renowned not for rack of lamb but for rack of waitress. You may as well be bold about it. I’m just brainstorming here but how about Dr. McKnockers’ Funtime Boobery? Kids gawk for free.
Anyway, the article about “breastaurants” did very well on our website. VERY WELL INDEED. It seems that discerning readers like to devote time to a penetrating analysis of emerging trends in the food-service industry assuming there’s a load of boob mentions.
By Emma Teitel - Friday, January 27, 2012 at 4:06 PM - 0 Comments
A number of so-called “feminist” and “health” groups are speaking out against Lego for launching an allegedly sexist line of building blocks and action figures specifically designed for girls. Said groups believe that the new pink and pastel-y Lego line gives young girls the impression that “being pretty is more important than who you are or what you can do.” But Lego says it created the line after getting requests from female customers (“moms and girls”) to make toys with brighter colours and domestic themes: i.e. girls want to play house, not just build one.
And why shouldn’t they be able to? Continue…
By Brian Bethune - Thursday, September 23, 2010 at 10:20 AM - 0 Comments
Before James May could climb his Lego stairs, take his Lego shower, pat his Lego cat and sleep in his Lego bed, there were a few obstacles
Opinions may differ on what it takes to think of constructing a full-sized Lego house. On a spectrum running from “genius” to “arrested childhood,” observers might reasonably locate the idea just about anywhere. But as British TV host James May—a man who inspires the same gamut of responses from viewers—demonstrates in his new book, James May’s Lego House, it takes real ingenuity to actually build one. For starters, no planning department in its right bureaucratic mind would give the go-ahead for a dwelling made entirely of the ubiquitous (300 billion worldwide and counting) Danish children’s building blocks. The insurance premiums were not, as might be expected, brutally high, but that’s only because no insurer was willing to take it on at any price. Then there’s the matter of the necessary components: 3.3 million pieces, mostly the standard eight-stud, 32-mm-long brick model, put a strain on the supply chain, not to mention the labour force. And don’t even start on the issue of fashioning a functioning Lego toilet. In short, there were miles to go and endless questions to answer before May could open his Lego door, climb his Lego stairs and go to sleep in his Lego bed, albeit without wearing Lego pyjamas.
The genesis of the project came from the fertile imagination of the 47-year-old May, co-host of the BBC automotive show Top Gear, victor over chef Gordon Ramsay in an infamous animal penis eating contest during a 2007 episode of the foul-mouthed Ramsay’s F-Word TV series, and all-round champion of toys-for-grown-boys. In 2009, May, a passionate evangelist for what he considers “real” toys—the ones from his childhood, as opposed to the virtual toys and games of the video era—created a six-part series called James May’s Toy Stories. After crafting a plastic model of a Second World War Spitfire fighter plane, a Plasticine garden, a Meccano footbridge and a plastic slot-car racing track—all constructed from traditional children’s play kits but made fully life-sized—it was on to the Lego project. (The final episode saw the construction of a 16-km railway from model train materials.)