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Monday, March 24, 2003

  • Water symposium is under way
  • Some advice about facing exams
  • Truck vs. truck vs. truck on Columbia
  • Some follow-ups and corrections
  • Events of today and the week
Chris Redmond

Today is World Tuberculosis Day

[Sgouros and Judy]

Robot talks philosophy on stage tonight

The Cognitive Science Club will present Tom Sgouros's newest work, entitled "Judy, or What Is It Like To Be A Robot?", tonight at 8:00 in the Humanities Theatre. Admission is $5.

Dubbed "Rhode Island's leading performance artist" by the Providence Journal, Tom Sgouros has been lauded for his sharp wit and his forte for creating intriguing theatre from unlikely subjects. Adding new dimension to the term "solo performer", "Judy, or What Is It Like To Be A Robot?" features Sgouros joined by his trusty robot Judy for a live "solo dialogue". Described as "My Dinner With Android", Sgouros and his robotic friend explore such themes as free will, stage magic, imagination, and how you explain a chair to someone who can't sit down.

Over the past 10 years, Sgouros's innovative work has been flooring critics across the East Coast. He began his solo performance career in a very different venue as a tight rope-walker and silent clown. In 1990, drawing on experience as a writer and producer of documentary films, he began performing a series of solo theater pieces -- monologues accompanied by video, sound, animated machines and props. Since then he has written and performed seven solo shows. All of these shows have premiered at Providence's Perishable Theatre. He and his shows have toured all over the Eastern US, including limited runs in New York and Boston. Tonight's performance is his Canadian premiere.

Water symposium is under way -- from the UW media relations office

The Canadian Water Network, headquartered at UW, is hosting a national symposium this week to bring together top Canadian researchers, private industry, non-governmental organizations and government departments to address critical water issues.

The event in Saint John, New Brunswick, will be held from Sunday through Thursday. Called "Connecting Water Resources 2003," it's the first national forum for CWN. Participants will include many of the leaders on the front lines of research, water-related industry sectors, government representatives from municipal to federal levels (including five different federal departments), and non-governmental organizations.

"This symposium provides an exciting chance to bring together in one forum many important and relevant viewpoints on addressing Canada's water concerns," said CWN board chair Bill Borland.

Grahame Farquhar, associate director of the CWN and a UW civil engineering professor, added: "The symposium will provide a unique opportunity to experience first-hand what is happening in water-related research across Canada."

Keynote speakers today are Jim Irving, president of J.D. Irving, who will talk about Forest Management and Aquatic Habitat Conservation; Kim Jardine, New Brunswick minister of the environment and local government; and Bob McDonald, science journalist and host of CBC Radio's Quirks and Quarks.

Co-sponsors of the event are Environment Canada; Health Canada, Natural Resources Canada; Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada; Fisheries and Oceans Canada; the National Water Research Institute; New Brunswick Environment and Local Government; City of Saint John, N.B., J.D. Irving, Limited; and the BC Centre for Disease Control. Contributing partners are Zenon; Trojan Technologies; MWH Soft, Inc.; and John Meunier/USFilter.

CWN involves more than 100 top investigators and collaborators from 30 research institutions across Canada along with partners from both the private and public sector and several international organizations. Research is underway on 28 projects within seven key theme areas: policy and governance; water resources management; wastewater management; water and public health; safe drinking water; infrastructure; and groundwater and sediment: protection and redemption.

The network was established through the Canadian government's Networks of Centres of Excellence program.


Engineering student Shaz Rahman is getting ready to take part in the Weekend to End Breast Cancer, scheduled for September: "Participants are required to walk 60 kilometres over a two-day period. also, all participants are required to raise a minimum of $2,000 in order to participate." She'd like sponsors, who can sign up through the project's web site.

Some advice about facing exams

What should I actually be doing when I'm studying?

How do I study for multiple choice exams?

How am I going to find 24 hours of study time for five exams? . . . How can I cram efficiently? . . . How can I cover all the material and not forget it all before the exam? . . . What if I'm so anxious I can't study at all?

Those are the kinds of questions students have, exactly two weeks before the beginning of winter term exams on April 7. They're also the kinds of questions that study skills counsellors in UW's counselling services answer all the time.

"As soon as the final exam schedule is available," says Jeanette Gascho in counselling, "we're available to meet with students for half an hour and help them create a final exam study schedule. An individually tailored schedule can take into account other assignments due and the particular challenges unique to each student.

"Once students work through the process once, they're usually able to do this themselves next time around. The emphasis is on breaking the material into chunks, scheduling review time, and planning ahead. It's a huge anxiety-reducer to know that you have a plan that's realistic for you."

Now, here's her answer to one of those key questions: what should a student actually be doing in the hours that are labelled "studying"?

"Practice taking the information out of your head in the same way you'll be asked to do this on an exam. Use the same skill when studying: if the exam format is calculations, don't spend your study time reading theory -- spend it doing calculations. If it's an essay exam, spend your study time making essay outlines, etc. For multiple choice exams, there's a recommended approach for studying which helps you practice working with the material and a test-taking approach that cuts down on rationalizing."

Truck vs. truck vs. truck on Columbia

A green pickup truck belonging to UW's plant operations department is "probably a writeoff" after a Friday morning collision, says Tom Galloway, director of custodial and grounds services.

He said a member of the grounds crew was making a left turn from the main campus onto Columbia Street about 6:45 a.m. and was "broadsided" by another truck that was coming east on Columbia and apparently ran a red light. The UW vehicle was knocked into two more trucks that were waiting at the red in the westbound lanes.

"The driver is fine," Galloway said after the man was checked out at K-W Hospital. Ironically, he was within minutes of finishing the last night shift of this winter -- the grounds crew is back on a daytime-only schedule as of today.

All four vehicles were towed away from the incident. Sergeant Wayne Shortt of the UW police said the driver of the eastbound truck was taken into custody by Waterloo Regional Police.

Some follow-ups and corrections

In Friday's Daily Bulletin I referred to the recently created Park Reilly Fund, "an endowment in memory of one of UW's first chemical engineering faculty members". The words unfortunately -- but [Reilly] wrongly -- implied that Park M. Reilly (right) was a name out of the past, which is very much not the case. They also gave the impression that he had been an earlier arrival at UW than he actually was. "I came only in 1967," he reminded me on Friday. And although he retired ("nominally") in 1988, he's frequently on campus and is still supervising a graduate student. As for the endowment, not in memory but in honour, Reilly says he feels "a great deal of satisfaction . . . I consider it a very great compliment that the thing is set up during my lifetime!"

Also in Friday's Daily Bulletin, many readers will have seen the wrong web link (URL) for the Canadian Innovation Centre, which is actually to be found at innovationcentre.ca. The centre -- originally a UW project, but independent for some years now -- does assessments of the commercial potential of new inventions.

Earlier in the week, describing UW's proposed budget for the coming year, I referred to "top-up" money for two categories of scholarship for graduate students. What I said was accurate as it concerns scholarships from the federal granting councils: UW will be providing extra funds to make it more attractive for the winners of those scholarships, some of the country's top grad students, to choose Waterloo. But it was less accurate as regards Ontario Graduate Scholarships. What's happening there is not so much "top-up" as the provision of funds from UW's central budget to make the compulsory "matching" of government funds. "If an OGS holder's award is not matched by the university, the student is not eligible for the Ministry portion of the award," explains Sue Bray of the graduate studies office. Currently that matching money has to be scratched up from faculty and department budgets, and some units have been finding it tough to raise the money. To make sure UW doesn't miss out on any OGS awards, the funding will now be provided from the central budget.

[Against a taupe wall]

Up against the wall: An exhibition of work by Marc Bauer-Maison -- "Harbingers of Spring: Watercolours and Prints" -- continues through April 4 in the Renison College chapel lounge gallery. The exhibition features 30 original watercolours and prints. Most of them feature botanical and floral subjects and birds, with some landscapes. Bauer-Maison, educated in France and with recent exhibitions in Paris and in Canada, draws upon a rich experience of architectural drawing, painting and photography. His current work suggests influences as diverse as European and Chinese landscape painting, "the latter reflected," a critic says, "in the delicacy of the fleeting object, the transparency of watercolour, the calming presence of the unpainted surface and the grace of the calligraphic flourish." His photographic impressions of Ontario lakes and watercolours of botanical and floral subjects were shown at earlier exhibitions at Renison in 1996 and 1998.

Events of today and the week

The UW senate will meet today (4:30, Needles Hall room 3004) and will be asked to approve the aforesaid university budget for 2003-04. Also on the agenda: an update on last summer's famous agreement with Microsoft Canada, an announcement of this year's Distinguished Teacher Award winners, and approval of admission requirements for September 2004.

"It's TechWeek at TechWorx in the Student Life Centre," writes Noemia Fernandes of the retail services department. "Company reps from will be on hand from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily to answer customer questions and showcase new products from their company's product line. Today, get more information about networking your home. Our D-Link representative will be on hand to discuss both wired and wireless options available from TechWorx."

And here's a note from arts student Felix Yip: "On March 24-26, a fellow student photographer, Chris Inch and myself will be hosting a photo exhibition call HOLGA Mania. The exhibition deals with the theme of student life and we are using Holga, a plastic medium format toy camera." The show will run from 10 to 6 today through Thursday, with an opening event today at 5 p.m., all in the multipurpose room of the Student Life Centre.

Marita Chidichimo of the department of applied mathematics is the noon-hour speaker today at the Kitchener Public Library main branch downtown. Her topic: "Quantum Theory".

Several end-of-term concerts by UW music ensembles are scheduled for this week, starting with a performance tonight by the instrumental chamber ensembles. They'll play starting at 7 p.m. in the Conrad Grebel University College chapel; admission is free.

Doug Payne of the information systems and technology department announces that tomorrow morning and Thursday morning, "we will be changing our external network connections for general Internet and CA*net, respectively. These changes will occur between 07:00 and 08:00 in the morning. Outages are expected to be short, but could be as long as 15 to 20 minutes if problems occur. We'll make every effort to keep them as short as possible. Once the changes are complete, our Internet circuit will be increased to 40MBps from approximately 29Mbps, and our CA*net circuit will also be increased to 40Mbps from approximately 6Mbps. Both circuits will move from an ATM connection provided by ONet to an Ethernet connection via FibreTech and Hydro One Telecom. These changes are interim measures to bridge the time between the demise of ONet at the end of April and our pending connection to the new provincial ORION network that's still under construction."

An information meeting about UW's new Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program will be held tomorrow at 4:30 in Davis Centre room 1304.

The UW bookstore will be closed this Friday, Saturday and Monday for renovations.


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