Lesson on outer space

Steve MacLean, Canadian astronaut and York University grad, told students at a Sudbury school that one doesn’t need to be a genius to be an astronaut, reported CP Wire Oct. 18. “When I was growing up, I thought you had to be Einstein to work in space…. Most guys I’ve worked with in space are smart guys, but they’re no Einstein. … The guys who are at the top are the guys who work hard. Working hard makes all the difference in the world.”

Foundation welcomes leaders

The York University Foundation welcomed in The Globe and Mail Oct. 19 Paul Marcus as first president and CEO of the foundation, and vice-president development for York University; Jacline Nyman as foundation vice-president, fundraising and donor relations, and Cathy Yanosik, as foundation vice-president, operations. Marcus was senior vice-president of the Mount Sinai Hospital Foundation, director of development at UJA Federation and practiced law at Goodman and Carr LLP. Nyman was director, development and external relations at the Haskayne School of Business, University of Calgary and director, advancement services and manager, student recruitment at the University of Ottawa. Yanosik was Associate Director (Advancement Services and Stategic Planning) in the Alumni and Development Office of the University of Toronto.

Women a minority in computing

For Sandra Polifroni, a computer science student at York University, the recent focus on women in computing had a negative effect, The Toronto Star reported Oct. 19 in a story on why efforts to lure women into computer careers are falling short. Polifroni says some women left her program because, upon recognizing their minority status, they felt extra pressure to succeed.

Justice different for blacks and whites

In an analysis of police crime data published Oct. 19, The Toronto Star mentioned a study by criminologist Scot Wortley and York University co-author Gail Kellough of the treatment of people in two Toronto bail courts. After examining court records involving 1,800 criminal cases and looking at confidential crown briefings, including notes from arresting officers about the accused, they found that blacks were 1.5 times more likely to be detained than whites.

Cowboy junkie

“A member of parliament gets paid to represent constituents. I’m hard-pressed to understand how (Mississauga West MPP John Snobelen) can represent them if he’s on his farm,” Robert MacDermid, a York University political science professor, said in a Toronto Star Oct. 19 story about Snobelen at his Oklahoma ranch. MacDiarmid’s remarks were carried by CP and The Globe and Mail in the same story Oct. 19.

On overhauling Criminal Code

“The reality is that for serious criminal offences there are many ambiguities contained in the Criminal Code,” says Alan Young, professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, in an Edmonton Journal story Oct. 20 about retooling the law. Young agrees that change is long overdue. “Every time they talk about pruning the Criminal Code, I find they simply rearrange it, and the only consequence is that lawyers have to memorize new numbers.”

Call to arms

“We make the same mistakes over and over and over again,” Jack Granatstein, historian and professor emeritus, said during an interview with The Edmonton Journal books editor printed Oct. 20 on a cross-country tour promoting his book Canada’s Army: Waging War and Keeping the Peace. “We keep forgetting, and whatever military success we have had in the past is paid for in dead bodies.”

It’s lonely in space

It’s a big deal for me. Just being there to watch the Earth go by is going to be fabulous,” Canadian astronaut Steve MacLean told students from Marc Garneau Collegiate and the Ontario Science Centre School at the IMAX theatre last week, reported The North York Mirror Oct. 18. MacLean, a board member on the North York Chamber of Commerce and graduate of York University, will be on the space shuttle Endeavour when it takes off May 23 for the International Space Station (ISS). “There’s loneliness in the fact that you know you’ve got these wonderful kids on the ground and you’re up there having this great adventure. When you realize that you can’t share it, you kind of wish they were there with you to see it.”

Who’s influencing health-care policy

Scholars like York University political scientist Robert MacDermid … have long pored over the public records to find the explanation [about why public health care is in such a mess], reported The Toronto Star Oct. 20. MacDermid, it said, pointed out last year, in an interview with CBC’s Marketplace, that one big long-term care company, CPL REIT gave more than $22,000 to the Tories and received contracts to build 1,667 beds, with a potential of $1.3 billion in government subsidies over 20 years.