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Behind the Scenes at a Press Run

Before ‘Dinosaurs’ of the Deep was in its current hardcover form, I scored a thrill by watching the book roll off the presses at the Friesens plant in Altona, Manitoba.

The Friesen plant is a huge place.
The Friesens plant is a huge place.
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Stacks of paper…stacks of covers…. all set to go

I had never seen this end of the publishing operation before, and I was amazed at the complexity of the process. Then again the pros at Friesens made it all seem easy.

The Man Roland machine cranks out full panels at an amazing rate. Check out the video below...memorizing!
The Man Roland machine cranks out full panels at an amazing rate. Check out the video below…memorizing!
One panel = 24 pages on one side
One side from a sheet off the Man Roland equals 24 pages in the book or 48 pages when you count the 24 pages printed on the back sideI

Each panel is checked for colour and accuracy, and then signed off by the publisher before the run continues.

Turnstone's publisher Jamis Paulson signs the first panel giving approval for the run to continue.
Turnstone’s publisher, Jamis Paulson, signs the first panel giving approval for the run to continue.
Now we're good to go!
Now we’re good to go!

The cover looks amazing, thanks to the vivid illustration by Julius Cstonyi, a world renowned paleoartist.

Aaron, our Friesen guide, discusses the finer points of the cover with Jamis Paulson, Turnstone's publisher.
Aaron, our Friesens’ guide, discusses the finer points of the cover with Jamis.
One side from a sheet off the Manover machine equals 24 pages in the book or 48 pages when you count the 24 pages printed on the back side.
I get to sign off on the cover, too.

DSC08814(1)-1There’s something to see at every turn in the plant.  Here’s the trimmer.  It slices through a stack of pages like a knife going through butter.  Watch your fingers!

What a great day this was!

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5 Weird Weather Bonanzas

A hotter than average summer brought an unexpected discovery recently. In the melt of a retreating glacier, Italian officials found the remains of 24 year-old Canadian Gregory Barnes who had gone missing in 1980 while skiing in the Italian and Swiss Alps.

For his family who had wondered about his fate, this brought long overdue closure.  For me, it was a reminder that strange, beyond-our-control circumstances have often been sources of unexpected discoveries.  Here are 5 accidental finds that owe their existence not so much to normal logic as they do to unpredictable weather conditions.

1974 – Ethiopia, Africa

When paleoanthropologist Donald Johanson awoke on the morning of November 30, 1974, he had a hunch “something terrific might happen.”  In a region he’d searched before, he walked along a gully recently created by a flash flood.  Among the churned stones and debris, he spotted a fossilized arm bone and several other bone fragments, all of them human-like and very old. They proved to be the remains of an adult female who lived millions of years ago.  Named Lucy after a popular Beatles song, it was the oldest and most complete human discovered up until that time.

1986 – Sea of Galilee, Israel

After a severe drought, the water level in the Sea of Galilee dropped, exposing areas of sea floor never seen before.  Two brothers, Yuval and Moshe Lufan, spotted a murky outline in the mud along that shoreline.  It turned out to be a fishing boat built 2000 years ago that had been preserved in the mud. Composed of twelve different kinds of wood, including sycamore, laurel, oak and cedar, the  vessel matched descriptions of fishing vessels given in the Bible, and was likely the kind of craft used to sail the sea during the time of Jesus.

1991 – Italian Alps

Following a summer of unusual heat, two German hikers – Helmut Simon and his wife, Erika- discovered a body embedded in a slowly melting glacier. Thinking it was an unfortunate hiker who had slipped and fallen to his death, Helmut took a photo of the body before continuing down the mountain to alert authorities. What the Simon’s found instead was a 5000 year old mummy, one of the oldest and best preserved ever discovered.  Nicknamed Otzi the Iceman, the mummy is now on display in the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy.

 

1994 – St. Lawrence River

After a strong storm swept through the area near his cottage along the St Lawrence River, Marc Tremblay spotted pots, rifles, axes, bottles and the timbers of a ship half-buried in the sand.  Called to investigate, archaeologists discovered the wreck of the Elizabeth and Mary, one of 32 English ships that led an attack on Quebec City in 1690 and then sank in a wild storm while making a hasty retreat.

 

 

2004 – Florida
After Hurricane Jeanne slammed the Atlantic coast, scraping away sand and relocating dunes, archaeologist Joel Ruth used a metal detector to comb the shoreline. He spotted a Spanish silver coin on the beach.  “I grabbed it and then every foot it was – bam, bam – another hit,” he reported.  After 4 hours of searching, the batteries of his metal detector died, but not before Ruth had found more than 180 silver coins worth more than $40,000.

 

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