War brings back bad memories

CBC News and Current Affairs profiled the Kurdish family of Mohammed Hassan, a York Faculty of Environmental Studies professor, on March 28 in a documentary about the reaction of Iraqis in Canada to the war. Hassan’s family lived through the Gulf war. “We lived in Kurdistan and we are from Kurdistan so we lived all these sad things. So we have very bad memories. We know about 4,500 Kurdish villages were destroyed. So whenever you think about the war or see any scene on TV, you remember all these sad things.”

Firefighters do fitness test at York

Firefighting test standards revolve around the scenarios firefighters face, says Norman Gledhill, a York School of Kinesiology & Health Science professor, Faculty of Arts, who has been putting applicants through their paces at the York University Firefighter Fitness Assessment, reports The Toronto Sun March 31 in a story about a Toronto recruiting blitz.

Blogs – where everybody is a war reporter

In a March 29 story on war coverage and “blogs” – personal Web pages of news and opinion – The Globe and Mail says writer and teacher Darren Wershler-Henry, who teaches communications at York University, frequently checks out a site called Blogdex, which tracks the top stories being read on so-called Web logs (shortened to “blogs”). “This way you know what everyone else on the Web is talking about,” he says, “The more connectivity you can generate, the more powerful are your applications.” Wershler-Henry contributes to three Web logs when he’s not writing poetry or teaching, says the Globe. At http://www.arras.net/circulars, he and New York writer Brian Stefans have brought together a blog group they title “Poets, Artists and Critics Respond to US Policy.” Here, you can learn how to filter out jingoistic spam, read an eye-opening PRWeek magazine article on how the White House spins its public relations, link to a gambling site where you can bet on Saddam Hussein’s future (the odds change rapidly) or follow the diary of an American teaching in Turkey. All of this, Wershler-Henry says, contributes to creating “communities of interest”.

Workload biggest stress after cutbacks

The Schulich School of Business at York University recently found, in a study with Ontario Nurses Association of the impact of healthcare cuts, that workload was the biggest source of stress and was manifesting itself in heightened job dissatisfaction, reports the National Post March 31. The study was cited in a story about employee concerns about the war in Iraq.

Rulings cloud pot charges

Criminal charges for possessing small amounts of pot could be put on hold in provinces across the country following court rulings in Ontario and Prince Edward Island, says prominent legal expert Alan Young, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, reports The Ottawa Sun March 31. Young said judges in other provinces may follow suit out of frustration with the federal government’s sluggishness in dealing with marijuana possession laws.

White collar criminals get off lightly

Studies and literature indicate that “significant disparities exist in conviction rates and sentencing between white-collar criminals and blue-collar criminals,” Poonam Puri, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, concluded in a 2001 report on sentencing. She was quoted in a Toronto Star story March 31 about stockbrokers who fleece investors. And, she told the Star, the judicial system is “often too light on white-collar criminals, especially in comparison to blue-collar criminals.”

English, like Dutch, regulated the oldest profession

The Dutch were not alone in thinking it is better to regulate than ban prostitution, reports The Edmonton Journal March 30 in a story on tolerance in Amsterdam. Under English common law, says Alan Young, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, there were offences related to “bawdy houses” but the “rationale was nuisance, not the regulation of sexuality.”

A book on insurance to the rescue

What consumers don’t know about insurance can hurt them, or at least leave them poorer or more vulnerable to misfortune, and Insurance Logic: Risk Management Strategies for Canadians addresses that ignorance, writes a reviewer in The Brantford Expositor March 29. The authors, Moshe Milevsky and Aron Gottesman, are finance professors at York University’s Schulich School of Business and Concordia University, respectively.

York professor shows off antique bicycle

In a feat rivaling those of today’s extreme athletes, Glen Norcliffe, cruised the lane in front of the Wellington County Museum, his legs and feet stretched forward, dangling over the handlebars of his bicycle, begins a story in the Guelph Mercury March 28 about an exhibit of antique bicycles. He isn’t a stunt man, he’s a geography professor at York’s Faculty of Arts, and he was riding his 1886 Victor high wheeler. “The bigger the [front] wheel, the faster the bicycle,” Norcliffe said.