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Wednesday, January 11, 2006

  • Student-run conference set to begin
  • Grad student is Green candidate
  • Pay deductions, poker again, and more
Chris Redmond

Birthday of the first prime minister

Keystone leads campus into temptation

[Cookie logo] 60 people across the university -- Keystone Campaign volunteers and selected donors -- will be receiving cookies-on-a-stick today, in a preview of the annual Treat-a-Gram campaign. A flyer announces that orders are being accepted, at $3 apiece, for delivery of the treats on February 8, just before Valentine's Day. Details are also on the Keystone web site.

Student-run conference set to begin

There are five good reasons for students to attend the Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference, which starts tomorrow in Toronto, says Ken Ip, a computer engineering student who's one of the organizers.

He lists them, starting with #5: "Get motivated. Be a part of North America's largest student technology conference -- network and meet with 600 like-minded students who have a driving passion for the creation, education and application of cutting-edge technology.

"#4: Get connected. Link up with technology and industry by attending our special events such as TechExpo, featuring the innovation, research and current product lines of more than 35 companies and research institutions.

"#3: Get educated. Learn from the renowned professors and industry professionals by attending presentations, seminars and workshops with topics ranging from biotech, open computing and nanotechnology to 'Leadership in the Tech World', tech marketing and 'Entrepreneurship of Technology'.

"#2: Get enlightened. Hear what some of the most dynamic leaders and gurus of today have to say about the future of technology through our nine keynotes.

"#1: Get hold of the future. As an intellectual goldmine, CUTC 2006 is an opportunity to be a part of the future -- to enrich your education, diversify your skills and most importantly enlighten your techie mind!"

CUTC, which annually brings together "the brightest young minds our country has to offer", was started at UW in 2000 and now involves undergraduate students from more than 80 post-secondary institutions across Canada. Some 600 delegates are expected as CUTC 2006 begins tomorrow at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North, says CUTC's public relations executive, Aly Masud, a third-year student in systems design engineering. "CUTC is the largest student-organized and student-run conference in North America," he said.

Delegates will participate in many special events including the TechExpo, showcasing the developments of leading firms, academia and student organizations. There are also TechShops designed to further the learning experience with a "hands-on approach," with workshops on a variety of topics hosted at an on-site computer laboratory. TechTours give delegates the opportunity to visit one of several industry and research facilities, while the TechShow is an informal comedy talk-show style event that includes one-on-one interviews with industry leaders, demonstrations of the latest tech gadgets and mini-competitions. And ThinkTank is where delegates work in small groups with industry mentors to discuss and analyze pertinent technological and societal issues.

The annual event is sponsored by numerous leaders in the tech sector, including Research In Motion, Microsoft, ATI, Bell, IBM, GE and Nortel.

Keynote speakers will include Mike Lazaridis of Research In Motion (UW's chancellor), Bradley Horowitz of Yahoo, Brian Arbogast of Yahoo, Craig Young of GE, Werner Vogels of Amazon, and Bryan Karney of the University of Toronto.

On this week's list from the human resources department:

  • Customer service assistant, distance and continuing education, USG 4/5
  • Records coordinator, registrar's office, USG 8
  • Research services accountant, office of research, USG 10
  • Administrative assistant, audio-visual, USG 6
  • Manager, Survey Research Centre, statistics and actuarial science, USG 8
  • Associate director (marketing and communications), communications and public affairs, USG 12

    Longer descriptions are available on the HR web site.

  • Grad student is Green candidate

    One of the local candidates in the January 23 federal election is a UW student: Tony Maas, representing the Green Party in Kitchener Centre riding, which includes much of the city of Kitchener.

    [Maas] "In addition to his work with the Green Party," the party web site says, "he splits his time between his graduate studies in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo and his role as a policy researcher with the University of Victoria's POLIS Project on Ecological Governance. His work in both of these endeavours focuses on sustainable water management."

    Maas (left), 33, grew up in rural Wellington County, near Waterloo, and says he has been "an active supporter of the Green Party and Green politics for about a decade". He has an environmental science degree from Royal Roads University in Victoria, B.C., and a diploma in environmental technology from London's Fanshawe College. He and his wife live in Kitchener.

    Maas writes: "I feel that have the background -- the depth and breadth -- to understand the nature of many of our social and ecological problems, from peaking oil supplies to the health implications of an increasingly toxic environment. I also understand the strategies for addressing these issues and have the initiative to convince citizens and Parliament that we must work now, and keep working, to address these issues and begin the great social transition we all know needs to happen if we are going to get serious about saving our ailing earth.

    Local ridings


    Kitchener Centre


    -- pages from CBC News

    "Why Parliament? Why now? Why Green? Well, I started working in the realm of environmental issues and sustainability as a technical researcher in the water treatment field. I quickly realized that, while what I was doing was offering a more environmentally friendly approach to treating water -- using ultraviolet light rather than chlorine -- it is also energy intensive, the company's first priority was shareholders, not the environment, and it only addresses a small part of the problem. For example, I have recently been working in water conservation and demand management -- for my corporate colleagues working in water treatment, the idea of water conservation is bad for business since using less water means treating less water which means smaller systems to sell which means less profit for shareholders.

    Payroll sign-up for graduate students 10 to 11 a.m., DC 1302.

    Service and Society Day 10:30 to 2:30, Student Life Centre, showing off activities of the Federation of Students and other societies.

    'The Quality of Survey Data:' Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research seminar by Mary Thompson, statistics and actuarial science, 12 noon, Davis Centre room 1304.

    'Video Games as Entertainment', presentation by Denis Dyack, Silicon Knights, 12 noon, Flex lab, Dana Porter Library, registration online.

    Waterloo Public Interest Research Group volunteer meeting 5:30, multipurpose room, Student Life Centre.

    Warrior volleyball tonight, men at Western, women at McMaster.

    Health sciences campus student housing information session, of interest to landlords and developers, 7;30, Laurel Room, South Campus Hall, register by e-mail: housing@uwaterloo.ca.

    Clubs Days Thursday and Friday 10 to 4, Student Life Centre.

    'Touch the Sound': Film about deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie, presented by WPIRG and office for persons with disabilities, Thursday 5:30, Davis Centre room 1302.

    Warrior Weekend with activities in the Student Life Centre both Friday and Saturday nights, details online.

    Volunteer Fair Tuesday, January 24, 11 to 2, Student Life Centre.

    "As I note above, I have since moved on to policy and planning with a focus on sustainable water management. That has been and continues to be hugely rewarding -- but one quickly realizes that there is, and has been, as wealth of innovative policy instruments, planning approaches, and technical solutions to address issues of sustainability -- in water management and many other sectors. But in many cases, politics gets in the way.

    "This, to me, is absurd. In my mind, the purpose of politics -- Parliamentary politics in particular -- is to clear the way and create an enabling institutional environment for society to address the issues that place at risk the public good. It is often described as an issue of political will and integrity and I believe that I have the integrity and will to push, and push hard, to move beyond power politics to truly address the issues that will define my generation and that of my children: climate change, loss of biological diversity, inequitable distribution of wealth, clean water, breathable air and a healthy, secure food supply."

    Pay deductions, poker again, and more

    It's a new year, and that means changes to many people's take-home pay, says Sandie Hurlburt in the human resources department: "Employees are reminded that if they earned more than the maximum insurable earnings in 2005 ($39,000 for Employment Insurance and $41,100 for Canada Pension), deductions for these two government benefits will begin again. EI premiums have gone down in 2006: 1.87 percent of earnings (compared to 1.92 per cent in 2005) with the maximum earnings for EI remaining at $39,000. The rate for CPP will stay at 4.95 percent, but it will now be payable on income up to $42,100, rising from 2005's maximum of $41,100. The 'basic personal amount' not subject to income tax will go up from $8,148 to $9,039 (federal) and $8,196 to $8,377 (provincial) in 2006. This will result in slightly lower income tax, particularly for those at lower earnings levels. Please check your pay information on myHRinfo a few days before payday (January 27) to see how these changes affect you."

    The UW student who was a finalist in the Third Annual PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, as I mentioned in yesterday's Daily Bulletin, walked away the winner last night, with nearly $1.4 million US in cash. "This is the last thing he ever would have expected," Paul-Ambrose's loyal brother, George, told media. "He has very little experience." Paul-Ambrose, who's in the science-and-business program, qualified for the Texas Hold-em tournament, played in the Bahamas, through an online poker site. He also qualifies for a major tournament in Las Vegas in April. This week's Caribbean event will be part of the coming season of televised poker. Photos.

    [Ramaswamy] Shankaran Ramaswamy (right), a PhD student in UW's school of optometry, has been named a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry -- a title also held by many of the faculty members in optometry, but by fewer than a tenth of North American optometrists overall. Ramaswamy received his new title during the Academy's annual meeting in San Diego last month, recognizing success in what he describes as "a rigorous candidacy process" involving written work and oral interviews. Ramaswamy received his optometry degree from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, India, in 2001.

    A brief item in UW's 2004-05 donor report pays tribute to Neville (Monty) Monteith, a civil engineer and supporter of Renison College. It notes that Monteith moved to Kitchener-Waterloo in 1957 and helped establish Monteith-McGrath Ltd. in 1964, until 1981 when operations were moved north to Orillia. "Since then, he has passed the torch to his sons in Orillia and North Carolina, returned to K-W, and become more involved in the local community. Most recently, he has joined the Board of Governors at Renison. As chairman of the Building and Grounds committee, Monty is overseeing the construction of Renison's new academic centre, which includes a library, four classrooms, a multi-media lab, East Asian studies resource centre, the Institute of Ministry, and faculty offices." In Monteith's words, "I want to use my experience and expertise to make a difference. I believe in Renison College at the University of Waterloo and I believe in the education the College provides, particularly in the areas of Social Work and East Asian studies. That's why I support Renison College. It is a community-focused institution within a great university educating people to make a difference in their communities after graduation."

    Books borrowed on term loan from the UW libraries before the beginning of December are due today and should be returned or renewed. . . . Registration for the Leave the Pack Behind stop-smoking contest continues in the UW residences, and will run all next week in the Student Life Centre. . . . Registration continues today in the Physical Activities Complex, and finishes tomorrow, for instructional fitness programs in campus recreation. . . .


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