[University of Waterloo]


Past days


About the DB

Thursday, March 10, 2005

  • Letter warns premier of 'crisis'
  • Research into rubber technology
  • Lecture cancelled; auction tonight
Chris Redmond

National memorial service

[A lot of students and the keyboards]

'Music and Technology' is the course -- offered at Conrad Grebel University College for the first time in eight years, thanks to donors Dale and Cheryl Brubacher-Cressman. They provided funds for synthesizers, other hardware and the necessary software at a 10-station "technological arts lab" on the main campus plus three stations in a lab at Grebel, home of UW's music department. The course covers "electroacoustic music, computer and Midi applications, soundscape and multimedia composition, music and the web, all supplemented with digital studio work", says the department's chair, Ken Hull. "Music technology is so pervasive in today's culture, and the UW campus is an obvious place to encourage conversation between the arts and technology."

Letter warns premier of 'crisis'

Today's Globe and Mail carries an "Open Letter to Premier McGuinty" with some 200 signatures in support of "a major investment" for university funding in the province.

['If you live in Ontario . . . there's something you need to know.]

Cover of a Council of Ontario Universities brochure, which warns that "Ontario lags behind the U.S. at all levels of educational funding. . . . If our universities can't meet the demand for a highly educated and skilled workforce, what then?"

"Some are company presidents, some are local/ regional elected officials, some are University Board members," says Avvey Peters of UW's communications and public affairs office, "but all are sending the same message to the Premier: that Ontario's university system is in need of significant reinvestment."

She explains that the open letter is part of an advocacy campaign currently underway by the Council of Ontario Universities to try to gain support for the recommendations of former premier Bob Rae in his recent report "Ontario: A Leader in Learning". Another part of the advocacy campaign is COU's "ThinkOntario" website, which urges visitors to show support for Ontario's universities by writing their MPP, and invites them to sign up for e-mail updates.

Says today's Globe advertisement: "Those of us who have signed this letter very often bring different perspectives to the table. But we have come together in total agreement and full support of one issue: Ontario's universities are in crisis. Only a major investment of funding will prevent their further decline and secure their leadership for the future of Ontario.

"Premier, in appointing the Rae Commission, you took an important first step. Your support of Ontario's universities now, beginning with the budget expected this spring, can ensure that our schools, our industries, our institutions, our health care system, our infrastructure, our justice system, and our communities can have the educated leaders who can be vital to Ontario's future economic growth, prosperity and harmony.

"We know that funds are limited. We understand that choices must be made. We urge you to choose the right future for our children and grandchildren. You can do that by reinvesting in Ontario's universities."

The signers include Paul Godfrey of the Blue Jays; publisher Anna Porter; the presidents of Cadillac Fairview, Cognos, The Co-operators and BMO Financial; astronauts Roberta Bondar and Marc Garneau; local mayors Herb Epp of Waterloo, Carl Zehr of Kitchener and Doug Craig of Cambridge; Howard Burton of the Perimeter Institute, Tom Jenkins of Open Text and Savvas Chamberlain of Dalsa; Bob Harding, chairman of Brascan and of UW's board of governors; and Mike Lazaridis, president of Research in Motion and UW's chancellor.

Research into rubber technology -- from the research office Spotlight web site

Internationally recognized research into automotive rubber parts manufacturing has entered a new phase at the University of Waterloo. Breakthrough findings by Garry Rempel, a chemical engineering professor who developed heat and oil-resistant hydrogenated nitrile butadiene rubber (HNBR) in the 1980s, led to a multi-million-dollar industry in auto rubber parts.

[Rempel in lab] Rempel (right) heads the Bayer/NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Industrial Research Chair in Advanced Rubber Technology. Research focuses on changing to continuous production of HNBR from batch operation -- an improvement that could trim up to half of the processing cost and lead to the development of new uses and additional markets.

He is also investigating ways to enhance the manufacturing process, using supercritical carbon dioxide to replace organic solvents and designing new catalysts as alternatives to rhodium and ruthenium -- rare metals that are subject to volatile pricing. The goal is to find a process that is more environmentally friendly, less expensive and more reliable.

His collaborative research with industry won him the Canada Gold Award for Business Excellence and a University-Industry Synergy Research and Development Partnership Award from NSERC and the Conference Board of Canada. He has received numerous awards for research contributions and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

This program is an example of how UW researchers are making significant contributions to the automotive sector in automation and electronics, forming, fuels and fuel cells, machining, materials and welding.

International Women's Week sex toys workshop 3:00, Student Life Centre.

Career workshops: "Letter Writing" 3:30, "Resumé Writing" 4:30, Tatham Centre room 1208.

Health informatics and bioengineering career day Thursday 4:30 to 7:30, Davis Centre lounge.

'Women in Prison'. Rosemary Redshaw, chaplain, Grand Valley Institute for Women, Thursday 5 p.m., Student Life Centre multi-purpose room.

Arriscraft lecture: James Wines, New York, "Identity in Density: Dangerous Ideas", Thursday 7 p.m., Architecture lecture room.

West coast alumni events: Victoria pub night, Canoe Brew Pub; Seattle pub night, Rock Bottom Brewery; both 6 to 8 p.m.

Medieval Music Night at the Graduate House -- Heather Dale performs the legends of King Arthur in song.

Biomedical imaging workshop organized by Medical Instrument Analysis and Machine Intelligence group, electrical and computer engineering, all day Friday, Davis Centre room 1304.

Sandford Fleming Foundation Debates finals outside POETS Pub, Carl Pollock Hall, Friday noon.

'Should Abortion Be Legal?' debate sponsored by UW Debating Society, Students for Life, and Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform, Friday 1 p.m., Math and Computer room 2066.

Thirty Hour Famine in support of world hunger programs, Friday 6 p.m. to Saturday midnight, events in Student Life Centre, information e-mail uwfamine@gmail.com.

'From Science to Business' student-organized conference Saturday, Davis Centre, details online.

Persian New Year celebration Saturday 7:30 p.m., Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex, $20 at the door, details online.

Lecture cancelled; auction tonight

An event tonight that would have been of widespread interest has been cancelled at the last minute. It's a talk by Ann Dowsett Johnston, the editor responsible for the "universities" issues of Maclean's magazine each year. "Due to emergency dental surgery, Ann is unable to come," writes Neha Chugh of the Arts Student Union, which was sponsoring the event. Johnston had been expected to talk about the eagerly-watched Maclean's rankings and why Waterloo consistently ranks high in some areas but lower in things related to "student life". She was also going to say something about "Bob Rae's funding proposals . . . as well as the diminishing role of the government in subsidized education", Chugh had said.

[Auction poster] Well, that frees up an audience to swell the crowd at the Bombshelter pub in the Student Life Centre, where a "Student Charity Auction" is taking place tonight starting at 8:00. Fifteen of "UW's hottest and hippest students" will be on the auction block, posters say, including John Andersen (president-elect of the Federation of Students), Karim Lallani of the Engineering Society, Imprint columnist Heramb Ramachandran, and a pair of popular twins, one of them a don. They'll offer various personal services to the winning bidders, and the proceeds go to Unicef for its worldwide emergency fund.`

Earlier tonight, there's a lecture in the new series sponsored by UW's anthropology department. The visiting expert is Roxanne Mykitiuk of York University's Osgoode Hall Law School -- an internationally known authority on disability, new medical technologies and public policy. Her lecture addresses the social and cultural issues raised by the increasing ability of technology to diagnose genetic differences before birth. In particular, she will examine whether reliance on prenatal genetic testing leads to new, more narrowly construed understanding of normal human variation. Her research has important implications for public policy surrounding euthanasia and assisted dying. The general topic of the lecture series is Public Anthropology: The Intersection of Health, Culture and Society. Mykitiuk will speak at 5:00 in Arts Lecture Hall room 124.

Tomorrow morning, the weekly professional development seminar for information systems and technology staff will deal with "malware". Bob Hicks of IST is the speaker, and he explains the topic: "Malware is the term used for any software that is remotely installed and most times unknowingly installed on a computer for the purpose of gathering information and sharing it with third parties. This includes Adware: displays ads when you are surfing the web; Spyware: software that secretly gathers information and transmits it to interested parties. This information could be web sites you visit, browser and system information, and your computer IP address; Browser Hijacking Software: advertising software that modifies your browser settings (e.g. default home page, search bars, toolbars), creates desktop shortcuts, and displays intermittent advertising pop-ups. Once a browser is hijacked, the software may also redirect links to other sites that advertise, or sites that collect Web usage information. It is important to know that just because you have taken the measures to protect your PC from viruses (e.g. using Norton Antivirus), doesn't mean you are protected from malware. This seminar is intended to be interactive, with attendees sharing experiences and expertise." The weekly seminars start at 8:45 in the IST training room.

Also in the IST training room, the March series of short courses is under way. Open to students, staff and faculty this month are sessions on "Database Management Using Access" and "Technical Animations Using Flash", as well as two theses courses, one using LaTeX, the other using Microsoft Word. Details are on the IST web site.


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