Space shuttle disaster

Paul Delaney, physics and astronomy professor in York’s Faculty of Pure and Applied Science, called the Columbia space shuttle disaster a “horrifying repeat of history”, reports the Toronto Star Feb. 2. “Seventeen years ago, almost to the day, that we lost Challenger and here we are again losing another seven astronauts and another space shuttle.” Delaney also told CBC “News and Current Affairs” Feb. 1 that because there’s no on-board engine anymore, [the space shuttle] is like a huge glider. It’s a big rock which is falling out of orbit.”

Can space be safe?

“Because of the experimental nature of discovery, NASA does not know itself just how safe it needs to be…The hard truth is that space flight, as is true of any new endeavour, is largely a trial-and-error venture,” writes Daniel J. Denis, graduate research assistant in the Psychology Department, Faculty of Arts, in a letter to the Toronto Star Feb. 3.

US suing frenzy infecting Canada

“If Canada goes down the path of the American litigation feeding frenzy, few people will benefit other than lawyers and the television producers who have diminished the majesty of law by turning the law into formulaic entertainment,” writes Alan Young, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School in his Toronto Star column Feb. 2.

Canadians favour adoptee access: York study

Last year, Canadians told York University’s Institute for Social Research they overwhelmingly favoured permitting adult adoptees to have access to medically germane genetic information from their birth parents; as well as their names, if the parents, too, agreed to it. Such disclosures seem sensible, but only after adopted children have reached age 18 and are capable of deciding the matter as adults, says a National Post editorial Feb. 1.

Bowman a ‘real psychedelic man’

Rebecca Ecker profiles Rob Bowman, York’s “rock ’n roll” professor, as one of the celebrity professors at Toronto-area universities, in a National Post column Feb. 1. Bowman is “a multiple Grammy award-nominated musician and popular-music expert (he won in 1996 for Best Album Notes for the four CD box set of the Stax Story, which he also co-produced). He knows everything about country, R&B, gospel, reggae, rap and funk, and plays a bunch of instruments as well,” she writes. “As you’d expect, he’s a real psychedelic man, a throwback to the ’60s.”

The drive for custom goods

“It’s a profound human drive to demonstrate that you are different from others, that you are in some way unique,” notes Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, reports the National Post Feb. 1 in a story about the increasing demand for custom goods. “Dating back to the earliest civilizations, custom goods were used to clearly establish that difference.”

Bosses just don’t get IT

According to a cross-Canada survey of IT executives, fewer and fewer senior managers are able to make strategic use of technology in their businesses, reports Computing Canada Jan. 31. Ric Irving, professor at York’s Schulich School of Business, was a co-author of the study, now in its third year.