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Friday, January 27, 2006

  • Ready for the year of the dog
  • Ontario announces 'pains and strains' plan
  • Pixels in the big picture
Editor:
Chris Redmond
credmond@uwaterloo.ca

Mozart, 250 today


Ready for the year of the dog

Celebrations of the new year will extend over the next several days for the multiple "Chinese" communities at UW and around the world.

In the two main dialects of Chinese, and various other languages of east and south Asia, they'll celebrate the two-week holiday period -- from Sunday's new Moon to the Lantern Festival 15 days later -- that bids farewell to the "year of the rooster" and heralds the "year of the dog".

On-campus observations actually start today with a Chinese luncheon at the University Club, with items on the menu like "lemon chilled shrimp on Savoy cabbage salad" and "steamed grouper with lemongrass and parsley cream". The tariff: $17 a person.

New year festivities continue tomorrow night with a party at Federation Hall featuring Chinese opera and other entertainment. It starts at 7:30 and promises "live music, professional singing, Chinese stand-up comedy and Beijing Opera". Tickets are $10 at the door or from the Waterloo Public Interest Research Group office in the Student Life Centre.

Besides WPIRG, the Saturday night event is sponsored by the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, the Mandarin Students Union, the Taiwanese Students Association -- which means that the dominant language will be Mandarin, the official language of China (based on the dialect of Beijing) and the main tongue of Taiwan as well.

But participants will be speaking mostly Cantonese, the language of Hong Kong and the southern provinces of China, at a pair of events next week that share the title of LunarFest. They're jointly sponsored by such groups as the Chinese Students Association and the Canadian Asian Students Association. Involvement by Konnichiwa Japan, the Korean Students Association, Asian Focus, and the Vietnamese Students Association ensures that Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese and other languages spoken by nations that observe the lunar new year will also be heard.

LunarFest starts Tuesday with Asian food ("delicate food", the CSA web site promises), crafts and activities in the Student Life Centre (10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.). It continues Wednesday night with a party at Federation Hall that includes dragon dancing, a Japanese singer and DJ "Baby Yu". Tickets are $12 in advance, $15 at the door.

The China theme continues next week, when Renison College hosts a Friday morning "Business Breakfast" featuring Maurice Dusseault of UW's earth sciences department. He'll talk about his involvement with the Chinese petroleum industry and field research there. "His travel anecdotes," Renison promises, "highlight various aspects of his experiences in China, while illuminating an ancient, complex and richly layered culture." The breakfast starts at 7 a.m. a week from today; for $10 tickets, call 884-4404 ext. 620.

Ontario announces 'pains and strains' plan

Ontario labour minister Steve Peters came to campus yesterday to talk about reducing workplace injury -- or, as a government news release put it, "The McGuinty government is increasing awareness about ergonomic-related injuries in the workplace by launching a campaign that will focus on education and inspection."

He made the announcement in the Lyle Hallman Institute, home of health researchers including the Centre of Research Expertise for the Prevention of Musculoskeletal Disorders, which is headed by kinesiology professor Richard Wells.

After the announcement, Wells and colleague Mardy Frazer took the minister and other officials on a tour of CRE-MSD labs that included a demonstration of a assisted lifting device. The machine was used in a study aimed at helping workers in the automotive industry move large car parts without risking back injury.

"Injuries like back pains and joint strains are a major concern in Ontario workplaces," Peters pointed out in his official remarks. "They account for 42 per cent of all lost-time injuries. These injuries are unnecessary and we are committed to preventing them." (CRE-MSD says there were more than 210,000 lost-time injuries caused by musculoskeletal disorders in Ontario from 1999 to 2003.)

Peters said the government and its partners are implementing the recommendations of an Ergonomics Advisory Panel with a "Pains and Strains Campaign" involving awareness, education and prevention as well as improved training, more resource materials, increased expertise and better tracking of ergonomic-related inspections.

Starting April 1, the ministry says, inspectors will focus on risk factors during inspections of high-risk workplaces in industrial and health sectors to raise awareness of pains and strains. Each organization's experience with these types of injuries will be reviewed along with the preventive steps they have taken. "By targeting workplace pains and strains, we are protecting Ontario's workers and strengthening our economy," said Peters.

A major partner in pains-and-strains research is the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario, whose chair, Jean-Yves Savoie, has a full-page message in the CRE-MSD annual report for 2005.

"Musculoskeletal disorders are complex entities," he writes, "and CRE-MSD has undertaken an enormous task in studying their aetiology and their prevention. Expectations from workplace partners are high, at times maybe too high. While remaining very close to workplace preoccupations, the Centre is finding a compromise between applied research that more immediately helps workplaces and in-depth research that will eventually guide longer-term solutions."

The report says the centre has 16 core researchers, based at seven universities and some other agencies, as well as collaborating researchers, graduate students and research assistants.

WHEN AND WHERE
Winterfest snowman competition, outdoor skating and other activities, noon to 8 p.m., Student Life Centre and Biology II green. ("Wear your coolest winter wear.") Free show at the Bombshelter tonight, Jeremy Fisher, all ages, doors open 9:00.

'Ecoaction Team', part of UW Sustainability Project encouraging sustainable household resource use, first meeting 1 p.m., UWSP office, Student Life Centre.

Career workshop: "Interview Skills: Selling Your Skills", 2:30, Tatham Centre room 2218, registration online.

Perimeter Institute art talk: Anishinabekwe performance and mixed-media artist Rebecca Belmore, 8 p.m., details online.

Pension and benefit committee to discuss mandatory retirement issues, Monday 8:30, Needles Hall room 3004.

Joint health and safety committee Monday 10 a.m., Commissary room 112D.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Marie Bernard-Meunier, former ambassador to Germany, "Germany's Role in the Integration of Europe", Monday 7 p.m., 57 Erb Street West, free tickets 885-2444.

Pixels in the big picture

The list of candidates is now official, as the Federation of Students approaches the annual election of executive members. When campaigning begins on Tuesday (9 a.m. and not a moment sooner), we'll know more about the platforms and the "tickets" of candidates. Meanwhile, the bare list: Running for president are Kevin Royal (political science), Michelle Zakrison (environment and resource studies), Christopher Ferguson (English), and Stuart Hastings (planning). For vice-president (administration and finance), Tim Foster (physics), Michael Tersigni (computer science), Sarah Beecroft (environment and business), and Renjie Butalid (economics). For vice-president (education), Jesse Ariss (drama) and Jeff Henry (political science), who previously held the post in 2004-05. For vice-president (internal), Mike Kahn (planning), Sai Kit Lo (actuarial science), Sabrina Bowman (environment and resource studies), who was also a candidate a year ago, and Michael Davenport (civil engineering).

[Elmasry] A reception will be held today to honour M. I. (Abe) Elmasry, who retired from the department of electrical and computer engineering on December 31. Although nationally known as the president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, Elmasry is also prominent as an engineer. He held one of the first named research chairs on campus -- the Bell-Northern NSERC Chair for work in integrated circuits -- and in 1983 was in the news as the principal investigator for the biggest grant UW had ever received up to that time. Educated at Cairo University and the University of Ottawa, Elmasry came to UW in 1974 to work in the field of microchips, then in their infancy. He was the long-time director of the Very Large Scale Integration group in E&CE, and is the author of dozens of research papers as well as an early book on integrated circuits. He became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1998 and is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. Today's reception runs from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Davis Centre lounge.

Trefford Simpson is the acting director of UW's school of optometry these days, filling in since William Bobier finished his term last summer, and so he gets to write the front-page message to alumni in the school's latest newsletter. In it, he gives alumni a positive report on progress towards a new building wing for the overcrowded school: "The projected infrastructure budget for the expansion has been approved . . . we have architects beginning the task of developing designs." But there's some negative news on a different front: "Over the last few years," Simpson writes, "there have been a number of burglaries in our building (usually occurring in clusters across the whole campus). The most recent involved a broken window through which burglars gained access to take money out of vending machines. This has precipitated us initiating a process of changing access to the School's facilities that will eventually be more intrusive and, unfortunately, more restricting. There will be much more consultation needed to ensure that we have a reasonable balance of security and access; this is a problem that plagues the whole University."

The UW Stage Band has neither 76 trombones nor 101 cornets, and would like to enlist volunteers who can play both instruments. Anyone is welcome, says a note from conductor Michael Wood, who can be reached at 271-1488. The band rehearses on Monday nights at Conrad Grebel University College.

Heads of academic support departments are meeting with provost Amit Chakma this morning for a briefing and discussion about UW's prospective Sixth Decade plan. . . . While most people considering applying to UW are looking at September as their start date, it's also possible to apply for spring term entry, and the deadline for doing so is March 1. . . . The dean of graduate studies, Ranjana Bird, told UW's senate last week that the proposed Master of Public Health program is now being considered for the necessary approvals from the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies. . . .

Sports this weekend: The women's hockey team hosts Brock at 7:30 tonight at the Icefield, then visits York tomorrow. Men's hockey, Brock at UW, 7:30 Saturday, also at the Icefield. Basketball hosting Guelph tomorrow, women at 1 p.m., men at 3 p.m. in the PAC, both games webcast on CKMS. Women's volleyball vs. Lakehead, Saturday 6:30 in the PAC. Men's volleyball at McMaster tomorrow. Swimming tomorrow at Wilfrid Laurier (12:45 in the WLU pool). Track and field tomorrow at the McGill Invitational.

CAR


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