Thursday, March 6, 2008

  • When the snow lay round about
  • Mentoring relationship survives move
  • Orange day, marketing conference
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Link of the day

Nutrition Month

When and where

International Celebration Week continues: Mediterranean food at noon, Mudie's cafeteria, Village I; free Taoist Tai Chi lessons 12:00, Physical Activities Complex Studio 2; Chinese tea and treats 2:00, Renison College ministry centre.

Career workshop: "Interview Skills, Selling Your Skills" 10:30, Tatham Centre room 2218, registration online.

Apple iMac lunch-and-learn session sponsored by Campus TechShop, 12:00 noon, Math and Computer room 2066, registration closed.

Introduction to Spanish brown-bag language lesson to mark International Celebrations Week, 12:00, Environmental Studies I room 350.

International spouses group: Elisabeth Adrian, UW career services, “Working Effectively in Another Culture”, 12:45, Columbia Lake Village community centre, children welcome, information e-mail

Club for Undergraduate Bioengineers 3rd annual Symposium on
Health Technology, two keynote speakers plus seminars showing "bioengineers in action", 1:00 to 8:30 p.m., South Campus Hall Laurel and Festival Rooms, registration $5, details online.

Self-defence seminar for women, sponsored by Women’s Centre as part of International Women’s Week, 1:00, Physical Activities Complex.

‘Religion and Sex’ with Rev. Megan Collings-Moore, Renison College, sponsored by Women’s Centre for International Women’s Week, 3:00, Student Life Centre room 2134.

Graduate Student Association executive election forum 4:30 to 6:00, Graduate House.

International Women’s Day dinner: “Celebrate women mentoring women,” 5:00, University Club. Speakers are Emerance Baker (aboriginal services coordinator) and Susan Tighe (civil and environmental engineering); tickets $30 at Humanities box office.

Discussions Without Borders weekly group on international development topics, 5:30, Student Life Centre room 3103, sponsored by Engineers Without Borders.

Faculty of Arts presents strategist and entrepreneur David Nostbakken, “The Power of Peace in an Information Age”, 6:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 113.

Rainbow Reels Queer Film Festival continuing through Sunday at King Street Theatre Centre, sponsors include Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, schedule online; concert by Natalia Zuckerman Saturday 7 p.m..

Waterloo Unlimited public lecture by local designer Sunshine Chen on “how the city of Waterloo was transformed”, 7:00, Arts Lecture Hall room 124.

Arriscraft Lecture: Mario Saia, Saia Barbarese Topouzanov, Montréal, “Recent Work”, 7:00, Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge.

Bombshelter Pub, Student Life Centre, presents Chucky Danger tonight, doors open 9:00, $2 at the door.

Canadian Engineering Competition hosted by UW, tonight through Saturday; competitions Friday at Waterloo Inn, Saturday in Davis Centre, details online.

10th annual Financial Econometrics Conference hosted by Institute for Quantitative Finance and Insurance, Friday, details online.

Global Citizenship Conference at Wilfrid Laurier University Friday-Sunday, details online; keynote speaker Lt.-Gen. Roméo Dallaire, Friday 7 p.m., WLU athletic complex, tickets $15.

Information systems and technology professional development seminar: “Datamarts and Data Warehousing” Friday 9:00 a.m., IST seminar room.

‘Love Makes a Family’, photo exhibition “Portraits of Queer Families”, sponsored by Waterloo Public Interest Research Group, Friday 10:00 to 4:00, Student Life Centre.

Earth and environmental sciences Adrian Smith Lecture on Environmental Geochemistry: Lawrence M. Cathles, Cornell University, "Gas Hydrate Accumulation and Dissolution in the Gulf of Mexico" Friday 2:00, CEIT room 1015, reception follows.

Philosophy colloquium: Jack MacIntosh, University of Calgary, “Lying: What Is It and Why Is It (Always?) Wrong?” Friday 3:30, Humanities room 373.

Waterloo Unlimited open house winding up this week’s program on “design” for high schoolers, Friday 7:15 to 8:15 p.m., Festival Room, South Campus Hall.

The New Quarterly and Neruda Productions present Deseo, “an evening of warm words and hot music for a cold night”, Friday 8:00, Waterloo Entertainment Centre, 24 King Street North, tickets $25.

International Celebration Weekend and Warrior Weekend in the Student Life Centre: Friday evening "Fusion: An International Fashion Show", free food, movie "Kite Runner"; Saturday crafts, bingo, "Bee Movie", "3:10 to Yuma", details online.

DaCapo Chamber Choir, based at Conrad Grebel University College, with Guelph Chamber Choir, “Two — A Second Glance”, Saturday 8:00 p.m., St. Aloysius Catholic Church, Kitchener, tickets $20 (students $15).

March break open house for future students (formerly Campus Day) Tuesday, details online.

‘Tartuffe’ drama department major production, March 11 at 7:00 (preview by invitation), March 12-15 at 8:00, March 15 at 2:00, Theatre of the Arts, tickets $12 (students $10) 519-888-4908.

National curling championships for Canadian Interuniversity Sport and Canadian Curling Association, hosted by UW at Guelph and Elora Curling Clubs, March 12-16, details online.

Blood donor clinic March 17-19 (10:00 to 4:00) and March 20 (9:00 to 3:00), Student Life Centre; Canadian Blood Services representative available to answer questions Thursday, March 13, 11:30 to 1:30, or book appointments at turnkey desk any time.

Global climate change public lecture by Edward Parson, University of Michigan, Wednesday, March 19, 12:30 p.m., Math and Computer room 2065, all welcome, reception follows.

Poet Patrick Lane reading scheduled for Wednesday, March 19, at St. Jerome’s University has been cancelled.

Graduate Student Association annual general meeting Wednesday, March 19, 6:00 p.m., Rod Coutts Hall room 302, agenda and background material online.

FIRST Robotics tournament for high school students March 20-22, Physical Activities Complex, information online.

When the snow lay round about

Anything called “warming” might get an avalanche of votes in western Ontario these days, especially after winter clobbered us with another snowstorm yesterday. But global warming, so-called, is less popular under its more sinister name, climate change — and it’s exactly the phenomenon that may be causing this unusually rough winter.

If human-created carbon dioxide is the villain, today’s the day to do something about it, with the launch of a “Zerofootprint” campaign and web site on campus. The deans of the two faculties involved, environmental studies and applied health sciences, will be at the Student Life Centre at 2:00 along along with special guest Ron Dembo, engineering alumnus and president of Zerofootprint.

Patti Cook of ES has been co-ordinating the project and explains that “the Zerofootprint University of Waterloo Calculator will allow UW students, staff, and faculty to determine their carbon footprint — the impact we each make on the environment based on our lifestyle.” Once the calculator has quantified an individual’s footprint, the website offers advice on how to reduce it.

Meanwhile, most of the footprints people are making on this campus are the kind that trample down the snow. “I don't think that it will come as a surprise that there was an awful lot of snow this month,” Frank Seglenieks of the UW weather station observes, in a report written even before this week’s storm.

[Machine standing in the open]In total, he says, the amount of snow that fell in February (77 centimetres) was more than double the average amount for February (30.6 cm). “The only year I could find with more snow in February was way back in 1924 at the Kitchener station when the recorded snowfall was 132.1 cm.

“The total precipitation (snow and rain) of 117.1 mm was also more than twice the average of 52.6 mm — certainly the most we have seen in the 10-year history of the weather station. And again we have to go back to 1924 to find a higher February total precipitation (132.6 mm), although I'm a little suspect of the conversion between snowfall and total precipitation at the Kitchener station.” The customary formula is that each centimeter of snow (10 mm) equals one mm of rain, but that varies considerably with the quality of the snowflakes. (Pictured: the Geonor precipitation gauge at the weather station beside Columbia Lake.)

The temperature for February averaged out to about half a degree below average, “but this is still within the range of the average temperatures. However, looking at the numbers it seems that most of the time the temperature was actually either really way above or way below average.”

Seglenieks observes: “I have a feeling that the temperature swings along with the amount of snow (more salt needed on the road) this month is one of the reasons that there seems to be more potholes around these days.”

The weather station has been marking its 10th anniversary with the traditional annual contest, inviting people to guess when — amid climate change and random chance — the temperature will first hit 20 Celsius this spring.

Says Seglenieks: “I really want to thank all the people over the years that have helped make the station what it is today. From the people who made it possible in the beginning: Barry Goodison, Ric Soulis, Ellsworth LeDrew, Hoyt Graham, and Steven Fassnacht, to the people who helped out along the way including Clint MacDonald, Chris Schumacher, Jayson Innes, and Wayne Jenkinson. But most of all thanks go out to Terry Ridgway, the person who really keeps the station running and actually does the work.” It’s amazing, he says, to look back at the early days, “when I'm sure that the only hits on the webpage were the people in my office”, and realize that the UW weather site now gets more than 5,000 hits a day.

Not quite as heavily used is UW’s other, more technical weather web site, with forecasts provided online by the Waterloo Centre for Atmospheric Sciences. That centre is headed by Jim Sloan of the department of earth and environmental sciences.

The forecasts, created automatically by massive computer modeling of atmospheric conditions, are presented in colour-coded maps that indicate what to expect by way of temperature, wind, precipitation and pressure, every three hours for southern Ontario, the Great Lakes region or all of North America. There’s also a table of numbers forecasting the conditions in detail for Waterloo, including millimeters of precipitation every hour for as much as three days ahead. Hate to tell you this, but it's currently saying that precipitation will start up again at 1600 (that's 4 p.m.) tomorrow.

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Mentoring relationship survives move

one of half a dozen features in UW’s new graduate student recruitment brochure

It takes a certain kind of professor to inspire students to follow him, especially if that means to another city and another university. But that’s exactly what happened when Richard Staines left his former school and took a position as Canada Research Chair in Sensorimotor Control and assistant professor at the University of Waterloo in January 2005.

A few months later, Alison Smith, one of his former undergraduate and master’s students, joined him to continue her own work on the effects of bimanual — or two-handed — training in stroke victims. Now a second-year PhD candidate in the Department of Kinesiology, she’s glad she made the leap.

[A man and a woman]“After so much time working together, there’s a lot of give-and-take in the relationship. I have a lot of input into where my work is going. Meanwhile, he’s making sure I stay on the right path,” she says of Staines’s mentoring and assistance. (The two are pictured together, right.)

Staines, along with other University of Waterloo professors, is a core scientist in the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario’s Centre for Stroke Recovery, a virtual institute affiliated with Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto. They study how the central nervous system network adapts following a brain injury.

“We really want to understand what it is that’s changing the way the brain is representing information,” he says, excitedly describing Smith’s project that uses a videogame-like machine to entice subjects to move their wrists while electrodes record brain activity. “I couldn’t imagine a better job.”

And Smith can’t imagine a better place than the University of Waterloo to finish her studies. In the past five years there has been an exceptional expansion in neurosciences with more hirings, links out to the community, and collaborative groups between kinesiology, core biology, psychology, and clinical disciplines – something rare at other schools.

“I’m learning the broad spectrum of neuroscience instead of just concentrating on my own research,” says Smith. “As a student, I really appreciate that.”

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Orange day, marketing conference

Today's a big day for Engineers Without Borders, as systems design student Ben Best reminds us: "The University of Waterloo chapter of EWB will officially launch the Be Orange campaign. Modeled after the successes of the 'Be Green' movement, the colour orange is associated with three basic ideas: making responsible and ethical consumer choices, taking appropriate civic action, and sharing socially responsible values at home and/or work." Activities start with a pancake breakfast, 8:00 to 10:30 in the Carl Pollock Hall foyer: "Pancakes are back! Three for two dollars. Made with Fair Trade chocolate chips." At noon, at the Student Life Centre, enthusiasts will "Splash on Orange", picking this chilly day to splash Federation of Students leaders and EWB volunteers (in bathing suits) with cold orange water, "in exchange for making specific socially conscious pledges." For most of the afternoon there will be an obstacle course inside the SLC: "Students engaging community members in a hands-on, Fair Trade themed obstacle course in which participants will learn where the products they buy come from and the impacts those consumer choices have on producers in developing countries." The day winds up with a 4:30 p.m. panel discussion in the SLC great hall, presenting "alternative viewpoints from a variety of progressive student groups on campus".

UW will host the UW Distributive Education Clubs of America (UWDECA) spring competition and conference this weekend, and is expecting more than 150 Ontario students interested in business, marketing, management and entrepreneurship. DECA is a non-profit North American organization, engaging secondary and post-secondary students in competitive business events. The local chapter's activities “focus on helping students grow and develop as professional marketing and management leaders”, says co-president Laura Chelaru. "Great ideas are born when talent and opportunity come together. By bringing students together and placing them in a competitive environment overseen by business professionals and industry leaders, our organization creates a brilliant networking opportunity and a lasting experience for all participants." Management and business skills are featured in all of UW’s faculties, and students from all parts of campus are welcome this weekend, Chelaru says. Activities start with a reception Friday night at the University Club, and on Saturday students will compete in simulation and case studies in the Math and Computer and CEIT buildings. "During scheduled breaks, participants will have the opportunity to interact with potential employers and ask questions pertaining to different industries, all in a very informal environment," Chelaru says. Participants can also upload their resumés to a database which can be accessed and viewed by recruiters. As well, event sponsors and partners will hold speaker sessions and set up information booths.

[Good]Conrad Grebel University College is mourning the death of Milton Good (left), who was the first chair of its board of governors and played a large part in the college's creation 45 years ago. An executive of the Royal Bank and later president of H. Boehmer and Company, Good "was a driving force behind the inter-Mennonite initiative that led to the establishment of Conrad Grebel," a news release from the college says this week. "I've made many investments in my life," Good said at a 40th anniversary celebration for Grebel a few years back, "but this is the best one!" He was also involved in the development of Fairview Mennonite Home, Rockway Mennonite Collegiate, the Centre in the Square and other institutions. Family members include his son John, who works in Grebel's library. Milton Good died on Monday, aged 96. The funeral service will be held Saturday morning at Erb Street Mennonite Church.

As many as 50 graduate students were able to register for a workshop on "Dealing with Classroom Disruptions", sponsored by the Centre for Teaching Excellence and held yesterday at noon; another 50 will be taking part in a repeat session today. • The retail services department, bursting with pride at having given Microsoft's Bill Gates a UW sweatshirt that he wore during his visit to campus last month, is now using his photo on the UW Shop web site. • The central stores department sends word that staff member John Dvorachek has moved into the key role of UW Shipper with the retirement of 27-year veteran Peter Tytko.

And . . . the Daily Bulletin recently noted the retirement of long-time staff member Lois Pickoski, and now an official retirement memo has arrived from human resources. In two sentences it not only sums up Pickoski's contributions to UW, but demonstrates the immense changes the university has experienced: "Lois began her employment at UW in April 1967 as a Key Punch Operator in the Department of Systems and Procedures. Most recently, she held the position of Information Systems Analyst in Information Systems and Technology."


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