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McGill Reporter
January 22, 2004 - Volume 36 Number 09
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Mars Attracts!

What with the bounding Beagle and rolling Rover, Mars has been getting more headlines since Orson Welles had Americans convinced of alien attack in the '30s.

Even though the red planet defeats many attempts to unlock its secrets, earthlings are learning more and more about our celestial neighbour every day.

Earth and Planetary Sciences Professor Jafar Arkani-Hamed will be sharing a bit of what we know now.

Mars is far from a sterile hunk of rock occupying space between here and Jupiter. It has water — possibly a lot. It once had active volcanoes, and may well have hosted some kind of life. In fact, said Arkani-Hamed, it may still.

"It depends on what kind of life — there may well be bacterial life, perhaps under the surface," he said.

Arkani-Hamed will deliver a lecture on January 28 that will introduce audiences to the latest on the red planet. Liberally illustrated with photos from NASA, he will take us on a guided tour of Mars's topography, surface layering and other factors that explain the continuing evolution of Mars.

Jafar Arkani-Hamed, "Martian surface properties, internal structure and evolution." Wednesday, January 28, at 7:00 pm, Leacock 132. A reception of invited guests will follow.

The Cirque du Soleil scene

There won't be fire-breathers or acrobats, but the circus is coming to town. Luc Plamondon, v.p. production, and his assistant, Gabriel Pinkstone from the famed Montreal troupe Cirque du Soleil, will be speaking about architecture and scenography at McGill on February 3.

Caption follows
Luc Plamondon

The circus is not normally associated with architecture — unless you consider giant tents architecture. The Cirque du Soleil is a different beast from your average carnival — with permanent shows in specially designed theatres in Las Vegas and Disney World, the Cirque is renowned for building a total entertainment experience from the ground up.

"We thought it would be interesting to see what they would have to say to a group of architecture students as producers of these pieces," said Brian Scott, a recent M.Arch graduate who invited Plamondon and Pinkstone to McGill.

Scott acknowledged the transitory world of performance and the more concrete one of architecture don't, on the surface, have a lot in common. However, the design challenges behind specialized performance spaces that the Cirque people have commissioned for their shows, such as the water-themed "O," are of definite interest to architecture professionals.

"Architecture et scénographie: Une relation à développer." Luc Plamondon and Gabriel Pinkstone, February 3, 6 pm, Macdonald-Harrington G10.

Sauvé scholars speak out: Cambodia

The Sauvé Scholars have a pretty idyllic life — sharing a house with fascinating and talented people from around the world, being able to pursue any course of study that appeals to them. 'Tis not in their nature to just receive, however. The scholars — each of whom has a journalism background — have been at McGill since September. They've decided it is time to give back.

Sauvé Scholars Speak Out is a series of talks that will occur for the rest of the semester. Ten of the 14 scholars will address topics from their home countries.

"We felt we needed a way to reach out to the community and to McGill," said series organizer and scholar Yael Hartmann.

"Everybody has a very specific journalistic background and are fairly well known in their home countries, so we thought we should let people know what we do."

The talks cover a wide variety of topics — terrorism in Peru, Hartmann's own perspective on the Israeli Defense Forces (for which she was a spokesperson) and sexuality in Taiwan.

"The people who are giving lectures decided that there was a contemporary issue in their country that they thought was of importance to the community," said Hartmann.

The first talk is "Will there be a fair Khmer Rouge Tribunal?" Panel discussion led by Ana Nov, from Cambodia. January 22, 5pm, 1514 Dr Penfield Ave. Consult the McGill Calendar at www.mcgill.ca/calendar for future lectures.

Students with axes to grind

Who says you can't have brains and brawn? About 250 students will demonstrate that they have more than just high IQs when they battle it out on January 31, during McGill's 50th Annual Canadian Intercollegiate Lumberjack Championships at the Macdonald Campus.

Caption follows
Lumberjack Championships, 2003
Owen Egan

For nearly eight hours, college students from across Eastern Canada and New England will forgo the cold to compete in an array of timbersports: the axe throw, the standing block chop, log decking and the cross-cut saw. Wood chips will fly, logs will roll and lumberjacks and lumberjills will most likely leave with some scrapes and bruises.

It may seem unusual, but timbersports are quickly gaining popularity among college students across North America. What began as a friendly competition between McGill's downtown and West Island campuses nearly 50 years ago has since turned into an international event with more than 40 U.S. and Canadian schools participating.

"I didn't know how to chop a piece of wood before joining the woodsmen team," says Hugues Fillion, a senior at Macdonald and captain of the men's team. "Now I use all my spare time to practice, running into the bush to chop wood. My parents think I am crazy, but I love it."

The axes come out as the Canadian Intercollegiate Lumberjack Championships unfold January 31, from 8 am to 4 pm, at Watson Field, at McGill's Macdonald Campus, 21,111 Lakeshore Rd., Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. Admission and parking are free. Everyone is welcome. Information: 398-7789.

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