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University of Waterloo | Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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Wednesday, June 23, 1999

  • Bad air, slavery and car trouble
  • Farewell to the Red Room
  • Forest rolls onto campus
  • Marsden day care marks 10 years
  • Other events and news today

Bad air, slavery and car trouble

First of all, the air quality advisory in southern Ontario continues. The high temperature today will be 28, says the Environment Canada forecast, the UV index (sunburn risk) is "high", and the humidity sits heavy on us. A thunderstorm tonight should clear the air, the forecast adds. Meanwhile, smog precautions are the order of the day.

Now what's this about slavery? I quote from the Iron Warrior: "Once in a while, the chance comes along to both do something nice, and utterly humiliate one of your friends. That chance is coming June 23. Engineering students of all shapes, sizes, and talents are selling themselves as slaves-for-a-day, and you could be the one to buy them. Come to the Engineering Slave Auction, Wednesday, June 23, at 11:30 or 12:30 in POETS."

And, finally, car trouble? The official standings from Sunrayce '99 show UW's Midnight Sun V solar car sitting tied for last place in yesterday's run from Raleigh to Charlotte, and 16th place overall after three days of the ten-day race. There are 29 vehicles taking part. I don't have a report on just what happened yesterday in the hills of North Carolina, but the "penalties" of 4 hours 31 minutes suffered by Midnight Sun V and several other cars suggest that Waterloo's vehicle didn't make it all the way under its own power. Details can be expected later today.

Farewell to the Red Room

It's the end of an era: today they're officially closing the "Red Room" in the Math and Computer building, where UW's central computers have been housed since MC was built.

Simon the Troll, in Water Under the Bridge, tells about the room's beginnings in 1967: "The original target date for occupancy, at least for the giant 'red room' that houses central computers, was August 15, but it became clear that there was no way such a goal could be met. Instead, the new IBM 360/75 was assembled and put into operation on the third floor of Physics. A mighty computer it was, too, boasting '500,000 characters' of core memory -- the biggest, fastest computer in Canada until someone bought a bigger one four months later."

The 360/75 made it into MC later in 1967, and since then countless visitors have admired the Red Room through the second-floor windows that look down on central processing units, memory banks, consoles and operators. As technology has advanced, more and more computing power has been packed into the same space, and a few souvenirs of the old-time machines are now mounted on the walls for old time's sake.

[Console panel] For the sake of new times, though, the Red Room is being closed this summer. In a new era of computing, the central computers need far less space, and in an era of enrolment expansion, classrooms need far more space on the first and second floors of MC. The work is about to start.

The IBM 1620 console (pictured at right) and other such artifacts are being saved, of course, and a new display is planned when the dust has settled.

At 11:30 today, a brief ceremony presided over by Jay Black, associate provost (information systems and technology), will mark the end of the way things have always been. Wes Graham, known as "the father of computing at Waterloo", is expected to say a few words of reminiscence. Judi Silvestri of IST says those who were invited to the ceremony will have a light lunch afterwards, and no doubt talk a little more about the olden days of computing at Waterloo.

Forest rolls onto campus

A rainforest on wheels will visit UW today as part of cross-country tour to spread the message about rainforest ecology, the threats to Canada's rainforest, and how the destruction can be stopped.

[Bus graphic] The 40-foot school bus has been transformed by the British Columbia Sierra Club "into a live, lush forest interior, complete with Bella the grizzly bear fishing in a salmon stream". Visitors will be greeted by "hands-on displays of rainforest wildlife, rare forest plants growing on moss covered logs, small forest critters, and all the smells and sounds of a real temperate rainforest".

To ensure the survival of the rainforest, the bus offers examples of ecoforestry, and alternatives to consuming ancient forest products. Choices individuals make in their purchases and lifestyles "can protect the world's remaining forests," organizers say.

The rainforest bus will be parked at the Student Life Centre today, and at Kitchener City Hall tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. The visit is sponsored by the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group (WPIRG) and Alternatives journal at UW.

Marsden day care marks 10 years

The Hildegard Marsden Co-operative Day Nursery on UW's north campus is marking ten years of operation and will celebrate with a potluck barbecue this afternoon.

"The centre was named," says a brochure, "in commemoration of the late Hildegard Marsden, a former graduate student, MA graduate, lecturer, and Dean of Women. Hildegard had special interest in 'mature' students and those who were supporting children. She encouraged further education and her enthusiasm encouraged the provision of infant and toddler care on campus. Hildegard passed away in 1988 but her goodwill and commitment to families and children has carried on through all of us.

"Hundreds of children have given Hildegard Marsden Day Nursery the opportunity to provide them with excellent care and teaching while maintaining the highest standards to positively shape and support them. The Nursery has grown since the early days by adding a pre-school class, gymnasium, summer day camp, school-age care, as well as a host of other new programs. You have all been a vital part of these wonderful accomplishments -- parents and staff have always partnered over the years to create programs that combine learning and child care.

"Looking back over the years, we see our success as a real partnership. The commitment of every staff member and the invaluable assistance of our parents make celebrating our anniversary a real community affair! Even the little tasks like scrubbing up on clean-up day, sewing curtains, cutting grass and shoveling snow, to field trip volunteers and Board of Director commitments have all ensured that our Nursery is a safe and happy place for our children.

"Hildegard Marsden remains a non-profit child care centre after ten years of serving the community."

Today's potluck will be starting at 5:30 at the day care centre north of Columbia Street.

Other events and news today

Some of UW's biggest financial supporters are breakfasting in South Campus Hall this morning. The "President's Circle" of heavy-hitting donors holds an occasional "breakfast seminar, featuring innovative ideas from the University of Waterloo", and greeting them today is David Johnston, the university's president. His topic: "Of Mud and Dreams: A New Era?" The "mud and dreams" phrase echoes the title of the first book about UW's history, published in 1967, and has been used ever since to say something about the university's origins and the kind of place it is. "In the late 1950s a brand new kind of Canadian university sprang directly from the Kitchener-Waterloo community," says Johnston, "thanks to the foresight and energy of local business leaders. Since that time, the university has been transformed into a major centre for teaching and research. The community, too, has grown and prospered, becoming one of the most vital and productive areas in the province and the country. It's been a great partnership -- but where do we go from here?"

Co-op students know where they're going from here: out to work term jobs, starting the first of September. Interviews wind up today in most co-op programs; today brings the one-and-only regular listing of fall jobs for architecture students, which will be posted by 12 noon. Ranking forms for fall jobs will be available Friday morning at 10:00.

And the Co-op Student Advisory Group will meet today at 4:40 p.m. in Needles Hall room 1020, with Keith Kenning, associate director of field services for the co-op department, as guest.

A pair of UW researchers got national publicity yesterday for their study of Canadian tourism. David Wilton and Tony Wirjanto, both of the economics department, told a conference that for every one degree that summer temperatures rise above the average, tourists spend an extra $405 million in Canada. Less surprisingly, their study found that the majority of Canadian tourism spending happens during the summer months.

May Yan, the director of retail services, says she's had quite a few phone calls expressing interest in UW licence plates, which were mentioned in this Bulletin last Friday. People have been asking just how much the special plates would cost, she says. The basic answer: $52.10 -- but full information is available on the government's licence plate web page. Anybody who would like to be on the list for UW plates, when they're available, can call the UW Shop at ext. 3914.

The housing and residences department has called a meeting Friday for people from departments across campus who want to know more about the planned expansion of residences. (As reported last month, a 300-bed residence building is planned for what's now a parking lot, and much of the UW Apartment complex is to be turned into single-student residences.) The information meeting will be held Friday from 10 a.m. to noon in Needles Hall room 3001, says Cheryl Skingley, assistant to the director of housing.

And . . . the local Volunteer Action Centre has plenty of opportunities for people to help the community. "Hospice of Waterloo Region needs men and women who will offer emotional support, companionship and practical assistance. . . . K-W Special Olympics is looking for a track and field coach. A soccer coach position is also available. . . . Female volunteers who are at least 30 years of age will work with other volunteers and federally sentenced women to create a circle which supports the woman as she re-enters the community from prison." More information about these necessarily brief snippets: call 742-8610.


Editor of the Daily Bulletin: Chris Redmond
Information and Public Affairs, University of Waterloo
credmond@uwaterloo.ca | (519) 888-4567 ext. 3004
http://www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca | Yesterday's Bulletin
Copyright © 1999 University of Waterloo