Geography Trips to Study the French Alps

Geography trips to the French Alps are an opportunity for students to improve their understanding of glaciated landscapes and the associated landforms by seeing and studying them for themselves. From dry ski slopes to rivers and gorge formations, the French Alps offer a wealth of options for youngsters seeking to expand their knowledge. Students can also examine the human uses of glaciated areas, and how the lifestyles of people living there are affected by their surroundings. Some potential highlights of geography trips to the French Alps are outlined below.

Gorges du Fier

Considered one of the natural wonders of the Alps, the Gorges du Fier is a stunning gorge carved by the River Fier. Youngsters can walk along a footbridge attached to the side of the gorge, giving excellent views of its features: stacked boulders, the play of light on the gorge walls, the circular ‘Giants’ Kettles’ eroded into the rock by the action of water bearing stones over extended periods of time, and the river running at the gorge’s base.

Gorges du pont du Diable

Another stunning gorge in the French Alps is Gorges du pont du Diable, gouged into grey marble amid a beautiful forest. It creates a link between the Leman’s Lake area and the Chablais Massifs. It can be admired from a footbridge over the rushing river.

Mer de Glace

The Mer de Glace (‘Sea of Ice’) is France’s longest glacier, at seven kilometres long and 200 metres deep, and is an excellent destination for geography trips in the Alps. Easily reachable by the Montenvers Train, it is located in the Chamonix Valley. It originates high in the mountains at an elevation of 2,400 metres and is fed by the confluence of three glaciers. It is renewed by accumulation and ablation, creating crevasses and seracs as it progresses downslope. It is also used for electricity generation, with tunnels bored under the ice to collect water from the glacier’s base and channel it to a hydropower plant downriver: a classic case of human use of the glacial landscape. Students visiting the glacier can also take a cable car to explore an ice grotto.

Barrage d’Emosson

Further evidence of people in the mountains using their landscape can be seen at Barrage d’Emosson, an impressive dam used for hydropower. The dam became operational in 1975. Water collected from the Mont Blanc massif is channelled into a reservoir lake at an altitude of 1,930 metres, which is controlled by the dam. This water is then used to power Vallorcine Power Station and La Bâtiaz Power Station. Visiting the dam on geography trips gives students a good sense of the scale of hydropower operations, as well as the stunning Alpine views around the reservoir.

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Understanding Mandatory Fees and Dealer Fees

Buying a new car can be stressful, especially if you haven’t done it in over five years. There’s the issue of choosing a colour, make, extra features (if you want them), and of course the messy business of negotiating a price. If you don’t do the research before heading to the dealership, you could fall into a trap many buyers before you have succumbed to and leave the dealership with much more than you bargained for, and not in a good way.

Before you even start talking to a salesperson, arm yourself with enough knowledge about the car to reduce the likelihood of you getting taken for a ride (no pun intended). The first thing you need to do is the research on the car cost. Canada dealers get their units at wholesale prices. You can find out more about this via invoice price reports. Companies like Car Cost Canada offer invoice price reports at $39.95 while Unhaggle.com lets you access it for free. Once you get the factory price of the car, factor in what the dealer needs to make in profit and you can start benchmarking your price for negotiation.

Next, it is also important to understand which fees are mandatory and which fees are optional dealer fees that can be negotiated out of your purchase. The more information you have, the better your chances are of getting a reasonable price, and one that you can be happy with.

Here’s a quick rundown of the mandatory fees you’ll need to pay when purchasing a car according to the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry:

1. HST or Harmonized Sales Tax – 13% on car price
2. Air tax – Air conditioner excise tax of $100 for cars with air-conditioning
3. OTS tax or Ontario Tire Stewardship fee – For passenger vehicles and light trucks the fee is $5.84 per tire
4. OMVIC fee – A transaction fee to support OMVIC’s (Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council) dispute resolution activities
5. PPSA fee – If you finance/lease a car, the bank/leasing company will charge a fee for setting up the loan and registering the lien $50 to $75.
6. Licensing – Most dealerships will take care of this for you and will charge an admin fee of $50 to $75.

If it’s not listed above, consider it a dealer fee. An important thing to remember is that mandatory fees should not be added to the car’s price after you’ve negotiated it, it must already be included. The same goes for advertisements that include the price of a car – whatever is advertised should be the all-in price.

Don’t be pressured into buying additional products or features you don’t believe have value. If you’re being made to believe that a certain add-on is compulsory because it’s already been installed, you have the right to report them to the OMVIC for deliberately misleading you.

Dealer fees and add-ons like security packages which include a police traceable code in case of theft could already be part of your insurance coverage so make sure you do the due diligence and read your contracts before signing them.

A great way to avoid paying for more than the car is worth is to do extensive research online and see what other people are paying for the same car. Find out also if there are any on-going Canadian dealer incentives that you could take advantage of.

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Dr. Oz talks extreme weight loss ‘thigh gap’ diets and magnesium energy boosters

For several years, girls, teens and young women have been obsessed with achieving the newest slim sensation: Thigh Gaps. But their extreme weight loss plans can pose dangers, according to Dr. Mehmet Oz. On his Feb. 25 talk show, Dr. Oz explored thigh gap diets. Plus: Find out how to boost your energy with magnesium.

As an example of how these diets can become obsessive, Dr. Oz talked with Camille Hugh, author of “The Thigh Gap Hack: The Shortcut to Slimmer, Feminine Thighs Every Woman Secretly Desires” (click for details). Camille feels that her book does a service in offering tricks such as overcoming hunger, exercises and focusing primarily on very low calorie foods. She defended her desire to achieve the thigh gap look.

However, Dr. Oz is concerned that books and views such as Camille’s can lead to eating disorders. He asked eating disorder specialist Dr. Jennifer Thomas to offer her insights.

Author of “Almost Anorexic: Is My (or My Loved One’s) Relationship with Food a Problem? (The Almost Effect),” Dr. Thomas notes that Camille’s emphasis on extreme weight loss and low body fat parallels the development of anorexia. By obsessing on those goals, young girls are at risk of developing eating disorders.

In addition to the emotional aspects of anorexia, girls focused on developing thigh gaps put their health at risk, warned Dr. Oz. They may lose muscle, which impacts the metabolism and even can affect the heart.

Note: This week is National Eating Disorders Week, designed to spread awareness: Learn more by clicking here. And find out about resources on eating disorders, from memoirs to DVDs to self-help guides, by clicking here.

Also on the show, Dr. Oz discussed magnesium for energy and health. Symptoms of insufficient magnesium include constipation, anxiety, fatigue and muscle spasms. Studies show that up to 75 percent of American adults lack enough magnesium.

To boost your magnesium levels, eat these foods:

  • kidney beans
  • black beans
  • brown rice
  • quinoa
  • bran cereal
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