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Month: December 2009


Health File

Practise Safe Text Modern life has plenty of electronic conveniences meant to make our lives easier, but sometimes they’re a pain in the neck—and elbow and fingers and shoulders. BlackBerry thumb, cell phone elbow and texting tendinitis are whimsical names for repetitive strain injuries—serious conditions that can linger for years, or a lifetime if ignored and left untreated. Cell phone overuse can cause cubital tunnel syndrome—numbness, tingling, aching or burning in the forearm and hand. When you bend your arm during long or frequent calls, the elbow’s ulnar nerve is compressed. Leaning on the elbow while talking aggravates the problem by interrupting the blood supply to the nerve and causing swelling. BlackBerry thumb and texting tendinitis affect different digits, but have ...
Air Force

Fighting German Jets: Air Force, Part 36

The original concepts of jet engines go back to 1910, but practical development only began about 1928 when a young Royal Air Force officer, Frank Whittle, began working on one; his first patent was filed in 1930 and his first test-bed engine was run in 1937, although it was too large to fit in any aircraft. Meanwhile, a German engineer, Hans von Ohain, was embarking on a similar project; his first test engine was also run in 1937. The next step was to design an engine suitable for an aircraft and to test fly it. On Aug. 27, 1939, the first jet airplane took to the air—the Heinkel He.176. Whittle’s work led to the flight of a stubby little airplane, the Gloster E.28/39 on May 15, 1941. Both countries then applied the new technology to wartime needs. By war’s end, roughly a dozen jet ...

Cutthroat Careerism: Navy, Part 36

The first months of Newfoundland Escort Force operations were trying. The rapidly expanding Royal Canadian Navy was confronted with the harsh realities of both war and the brutal northwest Atlantic. NEF made the system of trans-Atlantic convoys possible, but it pushed the capabilities and stamina of the burgeoning escort fleet to the limit. British and American sailors—only dimly aware of the larger strategic picture but mindful of the standards of performance which they expected at sea—watched the struggling Canadians with a critical gaze. As a result, the RCN earned a reputation as overzealous, bungling and incompetent that would haunt it for decades. But what no one outside the RCN knew was that operations in late 1941 were also hindered by bitter factionalism within the tiny se...

Piercing The Heart Of The Mountains: Army, Part 85

While 1st Canadian Corps fought through the Gothic Line defences on the eastern side of Italy, 1st Cdn. Armoured Brigade, part of 13th British Corps, was committed to battle in the heart of the Apennine Mountains. The brigade, composed of the Ontario Regt. (11th Cdn. Armd Regt.), the Three Rivers Regt. (12 CAR) and the Calgary Regt. (14 CAR), had been supporting the infantry battalions of 13th British Corps since the Liri Valley operations in May 1944, and had established excellent relations with their British and Indian Army counterparts. Lieutenant-General Sidney Kirkman, the corps commander, regarded Brigadier Bill Murphy and his regimental officers as the experts on infantry-tank co-operation and so he was content to leave the tactical use of armour in their hands. Kirkman h...

Minds At War: Operational Stress Injuries

Sergeant Shawn Clarke knows how far the Canadian Forces has come in handling Operational Stress Injuries. If he’d met himself 10 years ago, as he is today—an Afghanistan war veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder—he’d have said, “‘Suck it up you wimp!’ That’s what I would have said to a guy like me.” But a decade is enough to make major changes, if not complete a revolution. Clarke is among a growing number of CF members and veterans recovering from operational stress injuries, OSIs, and like many he is not afraid to challenge people—even those of higher rank—who are insensitive or disrespectful to those with an OSI. “If I hear a comment, I’ll say, ‘stop it!’ And I don’t care who it is. I say, ‘Listen, I heard what you said. You might not believe it, but this is what the pol...

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