The Origin of Basketball

VERSION 1: According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Ollamalitzli was a 16th century Aztec precursor of basketball played in Mexico. If the rubber ball was put through a fixed stone ring on one side of the stadium, the player was entitled to the clothing of all the spectators. The captain of the losing team often lost his head (by execution). VERSION 2: Modern basketball was devised by the Canadian-born Dr. James A. Naismith (1861-1939) at the YMCA at Springfield, Massachusetts, in December, 1891, and first played on January 20, 1892. The first public contest was on March 11, 1892. VERSION 3: According to recent scientific evidence, the precursor of basketball dates back 3,400 years. American and Canadian anthropologists have unearthed a ball court of pre-Columbian Mesoamerica in Chiapas, Mexico, that dates back to approximately 1400 BC -- at least five centuries earlier than any other excavated court. Warren Hill and Michael Blake of the University of British Columbia and

Room Air

At the  University of Alberta,  graduate students were required to act as laboratory demonstrators in the Physiology courses given to medical, science, and nursing students. One of the laboratory sessions was about "respiration," and experiments involved measuring such things as tidal volumes, functional residual capacities, vital capacities, etc. The students had to obtain samples of oxygen and carbon dioxide from the gases they exhaled, as well as samples of room air, to make a comparison. On many occassions, nursing students, our future health care professionals, would ask demonstrators where they can get samples of room air. Tired of being repeatedly asked the same question, one demonstrator thoughtfully and carefully labeled a large gas-sample bag "ROOM AIR." Enthusiastic nursing students, continuing to ask where they could find room air samples, but now were being directed to the large air bag in the center of the laboratory. Everyone seemed happier. Glen Whe

Fitness Centers

The other day, I was thinking about all the fitness centers popping up all over the place, and the large numbers of cycling machines, treadmills, rowing machines, etc. Why hasn’t some green-conscious, techo-entrepreneur figured out a way to hook them up to generate electricity for the lights and heat? Most of the machines already have a built-in generator that shows the kw/hour being produced by the user. Glen Wheeler

Mr. Banks

In Vancouver, the weather was particularly nasty one day. A bit of rain and very high winds were blowing the people all over the place as they walked on the sidewalks. Almost everyone was having trouble holding onto their umbrellas. I walked into my local credit union, folded up my battered umbrella and made my way up to the front teller. I opened with, "Good Mary Poppins weather, eh?" The teller immediately smiled and said that the movie was his all-time favorite. As I did my banking task, we spoke about the actors and the characters in the film; Dick van Dyke, Julie Andrews, the kids, and the parents. I asked if he could recall what the father did for an occupation, and we chuckled there at the front counter since almost everyone knows that the father was a British banker. Not only that, but his name was Mr. Banks. GDW.