Welcome to Aboriginal Access to Engineering, Queen's University
Welcome to Aboriginal Access to Engineering, Queen's University
The Native peoples of the southwestern United States were outstanding construction engineers! Using the local adobe soil they built multi-storey, multi-family "apartment" complexes called Pueblos.
A day is a measure of how long it takes a planet to make one full rotation around its axis. One day on Earth is 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.091 seconds.
Other planets have different lengths of day:
We measure a day beginning at midnight. The Ancient Babylonians measured the day from sunrise and the ancient Jews measured it from sunset.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
You've probably heard of "Buzz" Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and John Glenn. Do you know what they have in common with Robert Thirsk, Dave Williams and Bjarni Tryggvason? The answer is that they've all orbited around the Earth in a spaceship. Thirsk, Williams and Tryggvason are three of the 7 Canadians who have left Terra Firma to travel into space. The others are: Marc Garneau, the first Canadian in Space; Roberta Bondar, the first Canadian woman in space; Julie Payette, the youngest Canadian in space and the first to work on the International Space Station; Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to space walk! (No, not like Michael Jackson!)
In Canada in 2001, there were:
The chalk your teacher uses on the blackboard used to be alive. It is made from limestone, a rock composed of tiny vegetable and animal fossils.
The Iroquois were accomplished farmers and agricultural engineers. They cultivated more than 15 species of corn, including 61 varieties of sweet corn and 25 varieties of popping corn. They also grew more than 60 varieties of beans, including over 8 varieties each of bread beans and soup beans.
These remarkable strands of glass - each thinner than a human hair, yet stronger, length for length, than steel - were designed to carry vast amounts of data.
Oxygen, iron and silicon are the most abundant elements on Earth. Aluminum, calcium, magnesium, nickel and sulfur make up most of the remaining 20%. The other 100+ elements account for only about 1% of everything on Earth!
Each year close to 6 billion eggs are laid by the 22 million chickens on Canadian farms. That's more than 270 eggs per chicken!
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
All over the world agricultural and chemical engineers are working together to convert animal fats and vegetable oils into bio-diesels, a type of biodegradable fuel. THEIR CHALLENGE: to make this environmentally friendly fuel cheap enough so that it can compete with fossil fuels.
To grow a kilogram of wood, a tree consumes 1.47 kilograms of carbon dioxide and gives off 1.07 kilograms of oxygen.
You're taller in the morning than you are at night. During the night your spine stretches to its full length so when you get up in the morning you're at your tallest. During the day gravity acts to compress your spine, so you get shorter as the day progresses. An average adult shrinks by 16 millimeters between getting up and going to bed.
Helicopters are the most versatile flying machine in existence!! Cars can move forward, backward, right and left, and planes can only move forward, left, right, up and down. A helicopter can do all of that AND fly backwards, rotate in the air, and hover.
They use anti-freeze!
Well, actually they eat lots and lots of moss, which contains chemicals that help them keep their body fluids warm. When the weather gets really cold these chemicals prevent the reindeer from freezing solid.
The first snowshoes were made by simply strapping fir boughs onto the feet!
Some microchips are so small they can fit through the eye of a needle, and a single fibre optic cable thinner than the dots at the beginning of this line can carry 2000 two-way conversations at the same time.
Native Elders and scientists have been working together to protect caribou from dangers at mine sites? In the Northwest Territories many new mines are opening on and around the Bathhurst caribou herd's calving and feeding grounds. The caribou seem to be attracted to mine sites, possibly because they are very open and leave no hiding places for predators. Unfortunately, the sites can be dangerous to the animals. Scientists working with Elders determined that by building fences based on traditional Dogrib design - wood and rope fences with plastic flutters - they can keep the caribou away from any dangerous sites.
Some animals are natural construction engineers and build amazing things. Their construction methods are often so good that humans copy them!
A web is a spider's home. It's also its version of a trapline. Using a part of its body called spinnerets (most spiders have 6), a spider spins out liquid silk which quickly hardens into strong, sticky webbing. Building a web takes a lot of work. Some of them are damaged quickly by the thrashing of trapped bugs, so spiders are constantly repairing and reconstructing their webs. Take a look at the similarities between a spider's web and a hockey net!
Bees construct hexagonal (6-sided) cells from beeswax to make their hives. The shape of the cell is very efficient, it makes the hive strong, but lightweight - an important consideration when 40,000 to 60,000 bees might be living there. The hexagon honeycomb is a shape which appears in other places in nature like in plant stems and the cornea in the human eye. Because of its high strength-to-weight ratio, the hexagon is used by human designers in things like cardboard boxes.
The structures that ants build to live are called nests, but they're actually a lot more like cities! There are lots of different rooms called chambers in an ant's nest. Each chamber has a specific function. Some are used for storing food, others as garbage dumps, there are even special chambers like nurseries which are used for raising ant larvae. All of these chambers are connected by tunnels, which look a lot like highway interchanges.
Another city-builder is the prairie dog. Prairie dogs live in dry grasslands and they are very small which makes them easy targets for predators, so they spend a lot of their time underground where it's both cooler and safer. Prairie dog towns, as they are called, can be huge - up to the size of a city block! Within each town there may be many families, each with its own burrow which is connected to others by tunnels. The towns have lots of entrances; when predators appear the prairie dogs can escape to safety quickly.
Perhaps the most famous construction engineer in the animal world is the beaver. Beavers build dams, lodges, food stashes and even canals and logging trails. Their homes provide them with everything they need while keeping them incredibly safe from predators. Beavers build dams only in places where the water in shallow, in this way they make sure the water will be deep enough during the winter so that the entrance to the dam is not covered in ice. Where water is deeper, beavers build lodges which they cover in mud (except around the air intake near the top). When the cold weather begins the mud cements the outer twigs and wood of the lodge together so that no predators can get in. In order to get trees to their lodges or dams more easily, beavers often clear logging trails (routes which they clear of trees) or excavate canals. Canals can be 1.5m wide and 1m deep; sometimes beavers divert nearby streams through them to maintain the water level near their lodge or dam.
What other animals are construction engineers?
The Aboriginal people of the Americas cultivated and processed many crops which were unknown to Europeans before contact. These crops included:
Counting is one of the first things we learn as children. But did you know there are different ways of counting? The number system we use everyday is called the decimal, or base-10, system. In it there are ten symbols - 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0 - that can be use to represent any number no matter how big or how small.
Another way of counting was used by the Mayan people of central America. They developed a base-20, or vigesimal system. In it there are twenty symbols, each representing a number from zero to nineteen. A dot represents ones, a line represents fives, and a special symbol represents zero. A dot or dots over a zero indicate that a cycle is starting again, so 20 is one dot over a zero and 40 is two dots over a zero.
Computers use yet another way of counting. It is a binary, or base-2, system. It uses two symbols, 0 and 1. Each 0 or 1 is called a bit. While we see normal looking numbers and letters on our computer monitors, they are each actually stored in the computer as a series of 8 bits, also called a byte. Although computers are really modern machines, the binary system was developed by European mathematicians in the 1700s.
Get more information on Mayan numbers
What ROM and RAM mean
Every day products such as paper grocery bags, and corrugated boxes are often made from the recycled sawdust and wood shavings left over from manufacturing wood products like tables and chairs.
The space shuttle is an aircraft when it is in the Earth's atmosphere and a spacecraft only when it is in orbit.
When cars started driving on the streets of New York City in 1900 they were hailed as pollution relieving devices. At the time there were 120,000 horses in the city; they produced more than a million kilograms of manure each day!
The bald eagle is an inspiring symbol of power and grace. In Native spiritual teachings, the eagle is revered because it is considered the highest flying creature of the skies and carries prayers to the Creator.
Did you know that when man first journeyed to the Moon in July 1969, the Lunar Module that landed was named the "Eagle"? When it touched the Moon's surface, the famous words uttered were, "the Eagle has landed"
Native prophecies foresaw the time when the eagle would circle the moon and land upon it. They say that this would be the start of a new time and power for Native people.
Water stays in Lake Superior for an average of 191 years, in Lake Michigan for an average of 99 years, in Lake Huron for an average of 22 years, in Lake Ontario for an average of 6 years and in Lake Erie for an average of only 2.6 years.
The human heart is one of the most efficient pumps ever designed. It beats on average 100,000 times a day. That means by the time most people are 20 it has beat about 730,500,000 times! How old would the average person be by the time it has beat 1 billion times?
Construction has begun on the International Space Station, the most challenging and ambitious construction project ever thought up!
The Canadian Forest Service has a most wanted list. It's a list of foreign insects that have either arrived in Canada accidentally by airplane or cargo ship or on purpose through importation. Because these bugs are not native to North America, they have few or no natural predators and can cause huge amounts of damage to forests crops and grasslands.
Most-wanted insects include the Asian Long-horned Beetle which kills hardwoods, especially sugar maples and the European Gypsy Moth which kills oaks and other broad-leaf trees.
The best way to avoid trouble is to make sure the insects never have a chance to establish significant populations. When they do, the populations must be contained quickly in order to avoid their spread. In the summer of 2000, the city of Halifax considered cutting down 10,000 trees in city parks to halt an infestation of the Brown Spruce Longhorn Beetle.
Bit The smallest unit of computer data; either 0 or 1.
HTML The language used to create Web pages; it stands for Hyper Text Markup Language.
Internet The huge collection of inter-connected networks and computers all over the world. The World Wide Web is only a part of the Internet.
Modem A device which connects your computer to a phone line and allows access to other computers.