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On the origin of freebies

Cool stuff from the AAAS exhibit hall.

By Margaret Harris

Human beings may have originated in Africa, but the best freebies on offer in the AAAS exhibit hall have a distinctly colder origin: Canada. Not only does the silver luggage tag (bottom left) from the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council look classy, their knit cap really scores on the usefulness front — it’s a bit chilly in Chicago this week! And as for the maple sugar candies…well, I’m planning to bring this one back for editor (and native Canadian) Hamish Johnston, but there’s a chance it might get lost in transit.

The prize for most frustrating freebie, on the other hand, goes to the yellow rubber ball from ITER. It’s got a mechanism inside — probably piezoelectrical — that theoretically ought to make it light up when you bounce it. However, it only seems to work when I don’t want it to — like in a seminar when they’ve just dimmed the lights.

I’m sure there’s an experimental fusion metaphor in there somewhere, but at the moment I’m more worried about getting it past airport security. If they had to confiscate my contact solution because the bottle was 18 mL too big, who knows what they’ll make of a mysteriously flashing yellow ball with “fusion” written all over it?

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  1. Ender

    I just hope the designer of your ITER ball isn’t involved in the design of ITER itself :-)

  2. Glad to hear you like our tuque. Check out our Web site at
    Marie-Christine Boucher
    Manager, Creative Services
    External Relations and Communications Directorate
    Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council
    Ottawa, Canada


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