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Monday, June 7, 1999

  • Biotelemetry chair launched today
  • Exhibit's a mere bagatelle
  • A great weight on your shoulders
  • Senate executive; other news


Biotelemetry chair launched today

A $2.3 million industrial research chair being launched today at UW seeks to monitor and evaluate the health of fish as well as address environmental problems facing the fishing industry in Canada.

[Man with fish]
Steven Cooke, one of McKinley's graduate students, with a new friend he met through biotelemetry
Biology professor Scott McKinley will be the holder of the Industrial Research Chair in Biotelemetry, funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada), Lotek Engineering Inc. of Newmarket, Ontario, and UW. Over a five-year period, the biotelemetry chair will receive $768,219 in funding from NSERC, $735,000 (including $60,000 for the assistance of a design engineer) from Lotek Engineering and $881,666 from UW-derived sources (new faculty appointment, grad student teaching assistants, startup costs and secretarial support), according to a UW news release.

The launch celebration starts at 2:00 today in the Laurel Room, South Campus Hall. A tour of McKinley's laboratory will follow.

McKinley's research interests include the development of techniques to measure the nutritional and reproductive condition of fish; development of physiological telemetry procedures to assess fish performance and activity levels in the wild; and the use of physiological telemetry to evaluate chronic exposure of fish to industrial effluents.

McKinley is also the director of the recently formed Waterloo Biotelemetry Institute, which conducts work on the design and development of wireless communication devices for monitoring the movement and behaviour of free-ranging animals, particularly fish. Other biology faculty members involved are Geoff Power and George Dixon.

Among the problems the institute has explored are swimming performance relative to fish bypass design and environmental factors; migratory behaviour of fish as a result of hydroelectric development, mining and forestry practices; and the effects of hydroelectric peaking on nutritional condition in fish.

The institute is researching effective ways of monitoring animals in their actual surroundings. Biotelemetry allows scientists to validate laboratory-based predictions using the latest technical system designs and engineering solutions to address problems in terrestrial and aquatic ecology.

Exhibit's a mere bagatelle

If you believe what you find on the Web, or at least if you believe what I found with a few minutes' searching this morning, you'll end up believing that "Bagatelle" is a restaurant someplace in the Netherlands, a rock band, a French bakery in London, and a line of designer dresses with "special glamour". That kind of scrambled-egg results is enough to make some of us long for the card catalogues of olden days, especially when we know perfectly well that bagatelle is a game.

To be specific, it's a relative of croquet, pool, shuffleboard and pinball. And guess what organization does have, almost unbeknownst to the web search engines, a highly informative web page about the game of bagatelle? Right: the University of Waterloo's Museum and Archive of Games.

"A World of Bagatelle and Pinball Machines" is the new exhibition in the museum, which is located on the main floor of Matthews Hall; it opens today and runs through October. The museum is open Monday and Thursday noon to 5, Tuesday 1 to 6, Wednesday 2 to 7. Admission is free.

Many of the games in the exhibit are on permanent loan from a collector in the United States, an announcement says, while some are from the UW museum's permanent collection. On show will be some 25 bagatelle and pinball machines.

Beyond bagatelle, the museum collection includes approximately 5,000 objects, many of which have been on display in the public gallery from time to time since the museum opened in 1971. A few hundred of the objects are documented on the museum's web site, including -- how could you miss this one? -- Lindstrom's Gold Star bagatelle game, made in Connecticut about 1934.

A great weight on your shoulders -- from a University of Michigan news release

Up to 60 percent of young people will have back pain by the time they reach age 18. It's a discomfort they'll likely have again as adults, to the point of missing work or having to visit a doctor.

And talking of pain . . .

"Would you like to get rid of that pain in the neck?" asks chiropractor Jeff Tuling of the UW-CMCC Chiropractic Research Clinic. "Long hours in front of the computer may contribute to achy shoulders, neck and arm pain and headaches," he notes. At a talk today, to be repeated next Monday, Tuling will present "spinal health techniques to reduce those aches and pains . . . he will also offer suggestions on who to contact for more information regarding assistance with your workstation." Today's session runs from 12 to 1 in room 1633 of the Lyle Hallman Institute, which is now the proper name for the new wing of Matthews Hall. Interested in attending? You should register in advance at ext. 5301, as there's limited room.
There is no single cause of back pain, be it in teens or adults. Culprits include inactivity, overexertion, improper or heavy lifting, certain athletic activities, cigarette smoking and being overweight.

For teens, another cause may be backpacks overloaded with textbooks, notebooks, cosmetics, clothes and the like. Add to the heavy load the improper wearing of the backpack -- often slung over one shoulder -- and young people may be feeling a bit sore.

"In children we just don't know if those kinds of heavy loads cause problems or not. But expect that wearing a heavy, heavy backpack, when your muscles and your bones aren't ready for that, is not a good thing," says Andrew Haig, M.D., director of the University of Michigan Spine Program. "I could imagine that kids, when they start out wearing that kind of stuff, really can complain of some backaches. As they get more in shape they have fewer problems. In general, if it's not necessary to carry that much, they really should back off," Dr. Haig says.

Back pain is an all too common problem in Michigan and around the country. The American College of Rheumatology reports low back pain sidelines 5.4 million Americans every year at a cost of $16 billion. Up to 90 percent of people will have had some type of back problem by the time they retire.

"Now teen-agers think they're not going to have back pain; they think they're fairly invincible and they don't think about health care very much," Dr. Haig says. "But, in fact, the teen-age years are when people begin to get backaches."

Suggestions for correctly carrying a backpack: § Use a backpack with wide, padded shoulder straps. § Place the heaviest items in the pack closest to your back. § Carry the pack on both shoulders, not slung over only one shoulder. § Pull the pack close to your body so it it rides on the back and not the shoulders. § Don't carry more than 10-15 percent of your body weight.

Senate executive; other news

The executive committee of the UW senate will meet today at 3:30 in Needles Hall room 3001. On the agenda are business items for the full senate to consider on June 21.

Renovations will be done this week in the Engineering Copy Centre. The centre won't close down, management says, "but we will have to close off the entrance and arrange an alternate customer area in the mailroom area. There should not be any other inconvenience."

The Institute for Computer Research presents a seminar today by Timothy Trick of the University of Illinois: "Enhancing Problem Solving in a Freshman Course with an Interactive Electronic Textbook". He's been involved in developing a first-year electronic textbook for electrical and computer engineering, and will describe the project, its success and some unresolved issues. The talk starts at 2:00 in Davis Centre room 1304.

A career development seminar titled "Create Your Own Future: The Enterprising Edge", which was postponed from last Tuesday, will be offered today at 2:30 in Needles Hall room 1020.

Tempting message from the UW Shop in South Campus Hall: "Save 25 per cent off select graduation gifts from now until June 19."

Two UW faculty members have been involved in an "international forum" on "The Challenges of Globalization", being held in Sherbrooke and Lennoxville as part of the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities. Vinko Grubisic of the Germanic and Slavic department was a panelist Saturday morning on "Culture and Freedom among the South Slav Nations Today", a timely topic as the Balkan war continues. Peter Woolstencroft of political science speaks this morning as part of a panel on "The Progressive Conservative Party and Leadership Selection".

And while we're talking politics, here's a correction for a mistake I made on Friday. It wasn't Gerry Caplan who defeated education minister Dave Johnson in Don Valley East in last week's election; Gerry Caplan is a noted NDP policymaker. The Liberal candidate who unseated Johnson was David Caplan.

CAR


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
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