Tuesday, January 16, 2007

  • Saturday could see some classes
  • Curator moves art beyond gallery
  • E&CE students show their projects
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • credmond@uwaterloo.ca

Link of the day

An institution that opened 50 years ago

[Blood]When and where

Blood donor clinic continues through Friday, Student Life Centre, make appointments at turnkey desk.

[Leave the Pack Behind logo]Leave the Pack Behind registration for stop-smoking competition, 9:30 to 11:30 and 2:30 to 4:30 (also varying hours Wednesday through Friday), Student Life Centre, details online.

Classical studies three-part lecture series on classical Greece begins with Riemer Faber, "The Architecture of the Acropolis", 12 noon, Kitchener Public Library main branch. Future lectures: January 23 and February 13, same time.

Housing information sessions about second-year life in residence: tonight 10 p.m. at Ron Eydt Village south quad lounge, Village I great hall, Mackenzie King Village East 4 floor lounge, and Beck Hall community centre at UW Place. Other sessions Wednesday and Thursday nights.

Montréal artists Héloise Audy and Julie Faubert, "The Hive Dress", Wednesday 7 p.m., Architecture lecture hall, as part of the Render Lecture/ Performance Series on contemporary art; details online.

Graduate studies in mathematics: information session for third and fourth-year students, Thursday 4:30, Math and Computer room 5136.

Know Your Workplace sessions for staff on "Delivering Performance Appraisals", January 22 at 11:30 and 12:30, January 24 at 11:30 and 12:30, all in Davis Centre room 1302, no preregistration required.

Master of Business, Education and Technology program information session January 24, 4:00 p.m., Needles Hall room 1001, reservations ext. 3-7167.

Nobel Prize winner Tony Leggett, professor of physics, "Does the Everyday World Really Obey Quantum Mechanics?" January 26, 2 p.m., CEIT room 1015, reception to follow; for free reservations e-mail ljhowe@uwaterloo.ca

Saturday could see some classes

Classes on Saturdays aren't a regular part of UW's calendar, but they could happen this week, as individual professors have the authority to call a Saturday class session to make up for the time lost to yesterday's storm day.

It's the first time a regulation adopted two years ago might be put into effect, registrar Ken Lavigne noted in an e-mail message to associate deans yesterday. What's not clear is how many faculty members will actually hold a Saturday class. The rule, as approved by UW's senate, notes that "From time to time classes are cancelled because of a campus-wide emergency closure. In these cases, instructors have the authority to reschedule the missed class on the next day on which classes are not scheduled (normally Saturday) at the same time as the missed class without the agreement of the class."

The university closed yesterday, following the lead of the local school boards, when the early morning brought a storm of ice pellets leading to ugly driving conditions across central Ontario. The forecast was for freezing rain and then snow as they day went on, but not much more precipitation fell and the day's worst hour was certainly at breakfast time.

It's the fifth time the "storm closing" procedure has been used since UW adopted it in 1994: four times for winter storms, once for the August 2003 hydro blackout.

"How are you spending your free time?" one student asked on the LiveJournal chat site, and got mostly (but not all) academic answers: "Getting a head start on the next Graphics assignment . . . Flight Simulator! And while flying, reading the Math 245 course notes (600 pages) . . . I could write the essay needed for my Master's application to McGill . . . Reading Environmental Politics in Canada, watching some Smallville, and doing some sexy web development work . . . Catchup time on reading! . . . I'm gonna play Zelda all day."

Speaking of computer games, I notice that there's a presentation today in the Tatham Centre (11:00) about the master's program in games technology that's offered at Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie. (Who knew?) And speaking of information sessions in Tatham, I'm told that at least one group of employer representatives from the west coast were scheduled to be on campus yesterday to give a briefing in advance of interview season; they were able to get in touch with the co-op education and career services department to reschedule.

The Federation of Students is looking for a non-voting undergraduate student member of the University Tenure and Promotions Committee, which does its work in an annual one-day burst in February. • The UW Recreation Committee has discount tickets for the Total Woman Show scheduled for February 10-11 in Kitchener. • Nominations for this year's Distinguished Teacher Awards and Exceptional Teaching by a Student Awards will be due in early February.

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Curator moves art beyond gallery

[Render logo]

The UW Art Gallery is introducing “a new identity and a new programme focus” this month, says its curator, Andrew Hunter, who’s been working on new directions since he came to the gallery eight months ago.

The new name is Render, or rather RENDER, which Hunter calls “a multi-faceted programming entity. . . . It builds on the University of Waterloo Art Gallery’s history of innovative arts programming by expanding the focus beyond exhibitions. While the UW Art Gallery remains as a primary programming venue in East Campus Hall (room 1239), the RENDER program reaches out across campus and into the Waterloo community.”

He elaborates in a news release announcing the new identity and a series of programs that are getting rolling right now: “The focus of Render is the production and dissemination of contemporary art projects (exhibitions, residencies, screenings, performances, publications, lectures, think-tanks, research labs, test runs, samples, multiples, fanciful ideas, challenging thoughts, odd things, etc.) that emphasize innovation, critically engage the use of new technologies, address current social and cultural concerns and contribute to a dynamic learning environment at the various campuses and facilities of the University of Waterloo and throughout the Waterloo Region.

“The program places a particular emphasis on cross-disciplinary activity and collaboration and is concerned with expanding the platform for artistic presentation and engagement. Render looks to consistently question accepted models of museum/gallery activity and to take advantage of its home within an institution of progressive research and learning to push boundaries, support the work of innovative artists and disseminate ideas to a wider community, regionally, nationally and internationally.

“Render operates based on the principles of change, experimentation and play.”

A “performance/lecture series” based at the Architecture building in Cambridge got started last week, and continues on Wednesday evenings until mid-March. This week's speakers (Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Architecture lecture hall) are Héloïse Audy and Julie Faubert of Montréal, talking about their textile installation, "The Hive Dress" (La Robe-ruche), which will be on display in the East Campus Hall gallery from this week until February 24.

Also opening at ECH this week are "Somalia Yellow Vignettes", wall drawings by Allan Harding MacKay, and "Death to Everyone", wall paintings by Chris Down. An opening reception for the three shows is scheduled for Thursday from 5 to 8 p.m.

In another new departure, according to the news release, "Render regularly commissions artists and designers to produce site projects and multiples. New this month: Barbara Hobot’s Fetish, a site-specific fabric sculpture at the entrance to the main exhibition space; Neil Donaghy’s Wing, a unique sculpture/architectural element that also functions as work surface; Gregory Perkins and Farid Noufaily’s RENDER Condom."

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E&CE students show their projects

from the UW media relations office

Students graduating from the electrical and computer engineering program this year will exhibit innovative projects at the seventh annual design project symposium on Wednesday. They will present projects covering technological developments in such diverse areas as entertainment, personal computing, communications, information technology, medical systems, power systems, robotics and transportation systems.

The event will be held in the Davis Centre from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Visitors are welcome to browse the interactive displays and meet with students during the symposium.

"This is an exceptional opportunity for interested parties to see these exciting projects first-hand and speak with our students," says Bill Bishop, fourth-year design project coordinator and a lecturer in the department. "The symposium showcases the talent and innovation of our outstanding students in the electrical and computer engineering program."

The more than 260 students participating in the event will present 64 projects in seminar format at the symposium to guests from industry and the academic community. They will also display design project prototypes at a poster presentation session running the entire day. Among the design projects:

• Voice-Controlled Personal Music Device. The project develops a prototype voice-controlled system allowing users to communicate with personal music devices, such as an iPod, without operating a keypad-based control interface. The application receives input commands through the microphone, using a voice recognition engine to decode the verbal data. The prototype provides an alternative method of operation for personal music devices by increasing their usability as well as making them more available for people with physical impairments.

• Wireless Remote Access Pacemaker. Pacemakers are implanted inside the bodies of patients with cardiac conditions to monitor and facilitate heart functions. The project presents the design of a wireless interface for the pacemaker to communicate to a wireless-capable external device, such as a personal digital assistant. The design, when integrated with a network infrastructure, will enable real-time streaming of vital health information from the patient's pacemaker to a monitoring agency.

• Efficient Driveway Snow Melting System. The project offers a convenient alternative to the task of shoveling snow. A network of resistive coils is used to melt snow accumulated during a storm. To conserve excessive energy usually consumed in the winter months, the snow melting system will use a combination of alternating current and solar energy. It will also automatically activate and deactivate according to environmental conditions.

Bishop says the students have completed an intensive design project course sequence, which challenges them in their final year of study to work in groups to identify and address specific design problems.


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