Tag Archive: applications

Cirque founder arrives at space station

October 7, 2009

cirque1He wore an ear-to-ear grin and his signature clown nose. Guy Laliberté, Canada’s first space tourist, greeted Earth from his orbital outpost early this morning after successfully arriving at the International Space Station. Looking chipper as he floated alongside the station’s astronauts, Mr. Laliberté waved and chatted with his wife and children in a press conference with Russian Mission Control outside Moscow. His Russian spacecraft successfully docked at his home-away-from-home after a two-day trip from Earth. Asked by ground control how he was feeling, Mr. Laliberté responded: “Pretty good, actually.” He joked that he was happy to be there but wouldn’t be staying for months. Mr. Laliberté, a Quebec-born billionaire and self-described first clown in space, docked smoothly at the station, 350 kilometres above Earth. The hatches later opened and he boarded, smiling broadly, with his Russian and American crewmates.

The voyage marks the fulfilment of a personal dream for Mr. Laliberté, a onetime stilt walker who went on to found one of the most successful entertainment enterprises on Earth, the Cirque du Soleil. Mr. Laliberté, who spent five months in training before powering off on the Russian spacecraft with his two co-travellers, will be at the space station for 10 days. He’s using the sojourn to promote his clean-water foundation and orchestrate a live show back on Earth next week. Billed as the “first social and artistic mission to be carried out from space,” the show will be presented in 14 cities around the world and feature notable earthlings such as U2, Peter Gabriel and former U.S. vice-president Al Gore.

Mr. Laliberté isn’t the only Canadian aloft these days. When he enters the space station he will join astronaut Robert Thirsk, who is on his 129th day of a six-month mission at the space station. Mr. Thirsk is conducting experiments as part of Canada’s first long-duration space mission. Not everyone is enamoured with Mr. Laliberté’s trip. Prof. Yves Gingras, who holds the Canada Research Chair in the history and sociology of science, says Mr. Laliberté’s mission underscores the “scientific uselessness” of the space station. The costly outpost has limited room, and the billionaire is taking up a spot that could have been filled by a scientist, he said. “I have nothing against Mr. Laliberté. He can do what he wants with his millions,” said Prof. Gingras, who teaches at the University of Quebec in Montreal. “But we didn’t build the space station so we could say, ‘Great! Let’s send a billionaire up there!’ By taking him there, it just confirms what many critics are saying: That there is no science taking place there. This further undermines its scientific credibility.” But experts say Mr. Laliberté is merely following in the footsteps of other space-bound entrepreneurs – he is the world’s seventh paying space sightseer – in putting his fortune into fulfilling his personal ambitions.

His ticket to ride aboard Russia’s Soyuz rocket cost $35 million. Unlike his space-tourist predecessors, however, he is not a “geek,” said Keith Cowing, editor at NASA Watch web site. “He’s the first person whose sole claim to being there is that he’s a performance artist,” Mr. Cowing said. “He was amazingly successful at it, and that’s what gave him the resources to get there.” Though deep pockets are a prerequisite, it also requires determination and rigorous training, he added. “It’s not like he decided to go on a cruise. You’ve got to have this tenacity to go.” Accompanying Mr. Laliberté for his two-day trip to the space station were astronauts Maxim Surayev of Russia and Jeffrey Williams from the United States. Mr. Lalibertés trip coincides with the 25th anniversary of Canada’s presence in space. On Oct. 5, 1984, Marc Garneau, now a Liberal MP, blasted off on the Space Shuttle Challenger from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and became the first Canadian in space.

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Cirque founder arrives at space station

October 7, 2009

cirque1He wore an ear-to-ear grin and his signature clown nose. Guy Laliberté, Canada’s first space tourist, greeted Earth from his orbital outpost early this morning after successfully arriving at the International Space Station. Looking chipper as he floated alongside the station’s astronauts, Mr. Laliberté waved and chatted with his wife and children in a press conference with Russian Mission Control outside Moscow. His Russian spacecraft successfully docked at his home-away-from-home after a two-day trip from Earth. Asked by ground control how he was feeling, Mr. Laliberté responded: “Pretty good, actually.” He joked that he was happy to be there but wouldn’t be staying for months. Mr. Laliberté, a Quebec-born billionaire and self-described first clown in space, docked smoothly at the station, 350 kilometres above Earth. The hatches later opened and he boarded, smiling broadly, with his Russian and American crewmates.

The voyage marks the fulfilment of a personal dream for Mr. Laliberté, a onetime stilt walker who went on to found one of the most successful entertainment enterprises on Earth, the Cirque du Soleil. Mr. Laliberté, who spent five months in training before powering off on the Russian spacecraft with his two co-travellers, will be at the space station for 10 days. He’s using the sojourn to promote his clean-water foundation and orchestrate a live show back on Earth next week. Billed as the “first social and artistic mission to be carried out from space,” the show will be presented in 14 cities around the world and feature notable earthlings such as U2, Peter Gabriel and former U.S. vice-president Al Gore.

Mr. Laliberté isn’t the only Canadian aloft these days. When he enters the space station he will join astronaut Robert Thirsk, who is on his 129th day of a six-month mission at the space station. Mr. Thirsk is conducting experiments as part of Canada’s first long-duration space mission. Not everyone is enamoured with Mr. Laliberté’s trip. Prof. Yves Gingras, who holds the Canada Research Chair in the history and sociology of science, says Mr. Laliberté’s mission underscores the “scientific uselessness” of the space station. The costly outpost has limited room, and the billionaire is taking up a spot that could have been filled by a scientist, he said. “I have nothing against Mr. Laliberté. He can do what he wants with his millions,” said Prof. Gingras, who teaches at the University of Quebec in Montreal. “But we didn’t build the space station so we could say, ‘Great! Let’s send a billionaire up there!’ By taking him there, it just confirms what many critics are saying: That there is no science taking place there. This further undermines its scientific credibility.” But experts say Mr. Laliberté is merely following in the footsteps of other space-bound entrepreneurs – he is the world’s seventh paying space sightseer – in putting his fortune into fulfilling his personal ambitions.

His ticket to ride aboard Russia’s Soyuz rocket cost $35 million. Unlike his space-tourist predecessors, however, he is not a “geek,” said Keith Cowing, editor at NASA Watch web site. “He’s the first person whose sole claim to being there is that he’s a performance artist,” Mr. Cowing said. “He was amazingly successful at it, and that’s what gave him the resources to get there.” Though deep pockets are a prerequisite, it also requires determination and rigorous training, he added. “It’s not like he decided to go on a cruise. You’ve got to have this tenacity to go.” Accompanying Mr. Laliberté for his two-day trip to the space station were astronauts Maxim Surayev of Russia and Jeffrey Williams from the United States. Mr. Lalibertés trip coincides with the 25th anniversary of Canada’s presence in space. On Oct. 5, 1984, Marc Garneau, now a Liberal MP, blasted off on the Space Shuttle Challenger from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida and became the first Canadian in space.

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Toronto race puts neighbourhoods first

October 1, 2009

marathon

A marathon doesn’t just smell like a convention of old sneakers.

The real treat for the nostrils comes from the communities the marathon winds through – and no city is richer for the nose than Toronto, says Alan Brookes, director of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

“Big-city marathons have to be part of the community, part of what defines the city,” Brookes says.

On Sunday, the 20th renewal of the race defines Canada’s largest city by trekking through the scents and sounds of scores of neighbourhoods and ethnic enclaves, in addition to taking over the water’s edge.

“There will be almost 20,000 people involved in this year’s runs – including the 5K and half marathon,” Brookes said in an interview.

The race is gaining in favour – and flavour – and overcoming the city’s reputation as a town that is not friendly to marathons. Drivers sneer at the inconvenience of road blockages. Little by little, Brookes says, Torontonians are being won over and so are runners.

The big draw is the course, which begins and ends at City Hall and basically follows the Lake Ontario shoreline. It has a reputation for being flat and fast. This year, to alleviate the tedium of the asphalt, there will be bands and cultural performances every two kilometres, from Ukrainian and Cossack dancers, to a Chinese Lion dance, to Indian bhangra to Latin American drummers. There are no fewer than 17 stations for first aid and water – and portable toilet facilities.

The big change this fall is that there will no longer be a lonely stretch out and back across the Leslie Spit, Brookes notes. Instead of that “windblown wasteland” part of the run, there will be more running along Toronto’s eastern beach neighbourhoods, and the marathon course will steer the runners through the Cabbagetown, Distillery and St. Lawrence Market districts.

“What defines T.O.? Our ethnic neighbourhoods, being a Waterfront-Great Lakes city, plus events like Caribana, the international film festival, the arts festival Luminato, and this marathon,” Brookes said. “… We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there as an emerging, small, world-class city. There will be a new course through key neighbourhoods, community challenges, and a charity challenge.”

The field will include runners of both the elite and everyman classes. Defending champion Kenneth Mungara will return to Toronto. He edged fellow Kenyan Peter Kiprotich to take the 2008 title in 2 hours 11 minutes 1 second. He then went on to post a personal best time of 2:10:29 at the Prague Marathon in May.

Mulu Seboka of Ethiopia, women’s defending champion, set a women’s course record last fall at 2:29:06. An aggressive front-runner, Seboka finished second in Prague in May in a time of 2:30:39. She’ll be challenged by Lioudmila Kortchaguina, the 38-year-old three-time winner of the Ottawa Marathon who can reliably break the 2:30 barrier.

Winners get $20,000 in victory earnings but the purse is bonus-oriented – Canadian records, for instance, offer $25,000 for the breaking of Jerome Drayton’s 2:10:09 for men or Silvia Reugger’s 2:28:36 for women. An all-comer’s mark as the fastest time on Canadian soil (below 2:09:30 for men or 2:29.06 for women) offers an additional $20,000. There are also course-record prizes and age group prizes.

Maps are a list of road closures are available at the race’s website, torontowaterfrontmarathon.com. The marathon and half-marathon begin at 7:30 a.m. (EDT) at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square outside City Hall. The five-kilometre race begins at 10:20 a.m. at Exhibition Place. The finish for all the races is at City Hall.

“We’re making a name as the place where runners come to get fast times and their confidence to step up to the big leagues,” Brookes said.

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Toronto race puts neighbourhoods first

October 1, 2009

marathon

A marathon doesn’t just smell like a convention of old sneakers.

The real treat for the nostrils comes from the communities the marathon winds through – and no city is richer for the nose than Toronto, says Alan Brookes, director of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

“Big-city marathons have to be part of the community, part of what defines the city,” Brookes says.

On Sunday, the 20th renewal of the race defines Canada’s largest city by trekking through the scents and sounds of scores of neighbourhoods and ethnic enclaves, in addition to taking over the water’s edge.

“There will be almost 20,000 people involved in this year’s runs – including the 5K and half marathon,” Brookes said in an interview.

The race is gaining in favour – and flavour – and overcoming the city’s reputation as a town that is not friendly to marathons. Drivers sneer at the inconvenience of road blockages. Little by little, Brookes says, Torontonians are being won over and so are runners.

The big draw is the course, which begins and ends at City Hall and basically follows the Lake Ontario shoreline. It has a reputation for being flat and fast. This year, to alleviate the tedium of the asphalt, there will be bands and cultural performances every two kilometres, from Ukrainian and Cossack dancers, to a Chinese Lion dance, to Indian bhangra to Latin American drummers. There are no fewer than 17 stations for first aid and water – and portable toilet facilities.

The big change this fall is that there will no longer be a lonely stretch out and back across the Leslie Spit, Brookes notes. Instead of that “windblown wasteland” part of the run, there will be more running along Toronto’s eastern beach neighbourhoods, and the marathon course will steer the runners through the Cabbagetown, Distillery and St. Lawrence Market districts.

“What defines T.O.? Our ethnic neighbourhoods, being a Waterfront-Great Lakes city, plus events like Caribana, the international film festival, the arts festival Luminato, and this marathon,” Brookes said. “… We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there as an emerging, small, world-class city. There will be a new course through key neighbourhoods, community challenges, and a charity challenge.”

The field will include runners of both the elite and everyman classes. Defending champion Kenneth Mungara will return to Toronto. He edged fellow Kenyan Peter Kiprotich to take the 2008 title in 2 hours 11 minutes 1 second. He then went on to post a personal best time of 2:10:29 at the Prague Marathon in May.

Mulu Seboka of Ethiopia, women’s defending champion, set a women’s course record last fall at 2:29:06. An aggressive front-runner, Seboka finished second in Prague in May in a time of 2:30:39. She’ll be challenged by Lioudmila Kortchaguina, the 38-year-old three-time winner of the Ottawa Marathon who can reliably break the 2:30 barrier.

Winners get $20,000 in victory earnings but the purse is bonus-oriented – Canadian records, for instance, offer $25,000 for the breaking of Jerome Drayton’s 2:10:09 for men or Silvia Reugger’s 2:28:36 for women. An all-comer’s mark as the fastest time on Canadian soil (below 2:09:30 for men or 2:29.06 for women) offers an additional $20,000. There are also course-record prizes and age group prizes.

Maps are a list of road closures are available at the race’s website, torontowaterfrontmarathon.com. The marathon and half-marathon begin at 7:30 a.m. (EDT) at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square outside City Hall. The five-kilometre race begins at 10:20 a.m. at Exhibition Place. The finish for all the races is at City Hall.

“We’re making a name as the place where runners come to get fast times and their confidence to step up to the big leagues,” Brookes said.

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Toronto race puts neighbourhoods first

October 1, 2009

marathon

A marathon doesn’t just smell like a convention of old sneakers.

The real treat for the nostrils comes from the communities the marathon winds through – and no city is richer for the nose than Toronto, says Alan Brookes, director of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

“Big-city marathons have to be part of the community, part of what defines the city,” Brookes says.

On Sunday, the 20th renewal of the race defines Canada’s largest city by trekking through the scents and sounds of scores of neighbourhoods and ethnic enclaves, in addition to taking over the water’s edge.

“There will be almost 20,000 people involved in this year’s runs – including the 5K and half marathon,” Brookes said in an interview.

The race is gaining in favour – and flavour – and overcoming the city’s reputation as a town that is not friendly to marathons. Drivers sneer at the inconvenience of road blockages. Little by little, Brookes says, Torontonians are being won over and so are runners.

The big draw is the course, which begins and ends at City Hall and basically follows the Lake Ontario shoreline. It has a reputation for being flat and fast. This year, to alleviate the tedium of the asphalt, there will be bands and cultural performances every two kilometres, from Ukrainian and Cossack dancers, to a Chinese Lion dance, to Indian bhangra to Latin American drummers. There are no fewer than 17 stations for first aid and water – and portable toilet facilities.

The big change this fall is that there will no longer be a lonely stretch out and back across the Leslie Spit, Brookes notes. Instead of that “windblown wasteland” part of the run, there will be more running along Toronto’s eastern beach neighbourhoods, and the marathon course will steer the runners through the Cabbagetown, Distillery and St. Lawrence Market districts.

“What defines T.O.? Our ethnic neighbourhoods, being a Waterfront-Great Lakes city, plus events like Caribana, the international film festival, the arts festival Luminato, and this marathon,” Brookes said. “… We’re not there yet, but we’re getting there as an emerging, small, world-class city. There will be a new course through key neighbourhoods, community challenges, and a charity challenge.”

The field will include runners of both the elite and everyman classes. Defending champion Kenneth Mungara will return to Toronto. He edged fellow Kenyan Peter Kiprotich to take the 2008 title in 2 hours 11 minutes 1 second. He then went on to post a personal best time of 2:10:29 at the Prague Marathon in May.

Mulu Seboka of Ethiopia, women’s defending champion, set a women’s course record last fall at 2:29:06. An aggressive front-runner, Seboka finished second in Prague in May in a time of 2:30:39. She’ll be challenged by Lioudmila Kortchaguina, the 38-year-old three-time winner of the Ottawa Marathon who can reliably break the 2:30 barrier.

Winners get $20,000 in victory earnings but the purse is bonus-oriented – Canadian records, for instance, offer $25,000 for the breaking of Jerome Drayton’s 2:10:09 for men or Silvia Reugger’s 2:28:36 for women. An all-comer’s mark as the fastest time on Canadian soil (below 2:09:30 for men or 2:29.06 for women) offers an additional $20,000. There are also course-record prizes and age group prizes.

Maps are a list of road closures are available at the race’s website, torontowaterfrontmarathon.com. The marathon and half-marathon begin at 7:30 a.m. (EDT) at Toronto’s Nathan Phillips Square outside City Hall. The five-kilometre race begins at 10:20 a.m. at Exhibition Place. The finish for all the races is at City Hall.

“We’re making a name as the place where runners come to get fast times and their confidence to step up to the big leagues,” Brookes said.

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Expected U.S. ambassador to Canada has Obama's ear

September 29, 2009

obama-Jerusalem

In a possible indication of the easygoing and friendly relationship between Canada and the United States, the nominee for U.S. ambassador to Canada answered questions on Wednesday from a single U.S. senator who turned up at his confirmation hearing in Washington. The hearing room has seating for 21 senators.

U.S. President Barack Obama’s nominee, David Jacobson, told Democratic Senator Ted Kaufman from Delaware in an unusually low-key one-on-one hearing, that after trade and commerce, he expects energy, the environment and border issues to constitute the bulk of his work, should he be confirmed.
Jacobson gave a long list of areas of critical importance to the U.S., noting that contrary to the beliefs of many Americans, Canada is the country’s biggest energy supplier. He also praised Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan, calling the deaths of 127 Canadian soldiers in the war “an amazing commitment.”

Jacobson also spoke about the ability of Canada’s banks to weather the global economic crisis better than their American counterparts because of more conservative lending practices, adding “perhaps it’s something we can learn from.”

The nominee is a married father of two college-aged children, one of whom may consider studying at McGill University in Montreal, he said. Like most of his predecessors, he does not speak French, but said his wife speaks a little.

Jacobson’s experience in Canada comes mostly from vacations. Recently, he’s spent time at a friend’s home at Mt. Tremblant, Que., 130 kilometres northwest of Montreal, and in his opening statement, he spoke fondly of a childhood trip to Niagara Falls.

When asked about how he would handle winters in Ottawa, he said, “Hey, I’m from Chicago,” referring to the Windy City’s icy reputation.

The 57-year-old litigator has been working at the White House since January as a special assistant in the Office of Presidential Personnel.

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