Once a watery world

Astronomers Brendan Quine and Paul Delaney, of York University’s Faculty of Pure & Applied Science, were contacted by television reporters March 2 to react to the news that NASA’s Mars Rover has found evidence of water on Mars. Quine spoke to CBC Newsworld, while Delaney told CTV: “Now we have solid geological evidence from a robotic explorer on Mars that’s digging into the ground saying, yes it was habitably wet. It was a really wet place here in the past. That’s pretty significant stuff.”

Let’s try democracy when choosing top judges

“As Paul Martin and his advisers resolve who will replace Louise Arbour on the court, they’ll also be looking at the process by which future appointments (and perhaps even this one) will be made,” wrote Allan Hutchinson, professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, in the Globe and Mail March 3. “Currently as a gift of the Prime Minister’s Office, such appointments surely require a broader, more democratic process.

“Whether this happens will be a crucial litmus test of the government’s commitment to reform. Canada’s Supreme Court plays an increasingly potent role in Canadian politics; that’s why those committed to democratic change should go the whole nine yards in democratizing the courts through the appointment of judges,” wrote Hutchinson.

Studies armed Pavlo for fight over music sampling

It’s not the way he wanted to get rich and famous, but when Toronto guitarist-composer Pavlo Simtikidis inadvertently stumbled on a local hiphop-rap station on his car radio and heard an all-too familiar guitar phrase looped into a song by Chicago R&B star R. Kelly, he knew he’d hit pay dirt, wrote music reporter Greg Quill in the Toronto Star March 3. “I’d studied music at York University (from 1988 to 1991) and music business at the Harris Institute For The Arts in Toronto,” said the 34-year-old musician, who has spent most of his past 20 anonymous years flogging his self-financed CDs out of his car trunk at craft shows and ethnic music events from Alberta to Florida. “And I’d interned for a while in BMG Canada’s music publishing division and at Metalworks Studios in Brampton – anywhere I could learn about marketing music. I knew you couldn’t sample anyone’s recorded work without permission.” As it turns out, Kelly had sampled the key motif from Pavlo’s composition “Fantasia” and looped it 27 times into his giant 2000 hit single “Fiesta”, which had reached No. 7 on Billboard’s chart, selling 5.5 million copies, and was the featured track on the album, TP-2.com, with sales exceeding $4 million. For Pavlo it’s the payoff at the end of a long, hard trail.

Retired justice appointed chancellor at York University

Retired Supreme Court of Canada justice Peter deCarteret Cory has been appointed chancellor of York University, reported Canadian Press March 2. Cory retired from the Supreme Court in 1999 and received the Order of Canada two years ago. He was appointed by York’s board of governors to succeed Avie Bennett, chairman of the board of McClelland and Stewart Ltd. and chairman of the Historica Foundation of Canada. Cory will officially become chancellor this spring. The news was also carried on CKLW-AM in Windsor, where Cory is from, and Toronto’s CP24-TV news programs.

On air

  • Filmmakers Sudz Sutherland, who studied film at York, and Jennifer Holness (BA ’92), whose film Love, Sex and Eating the Bones comes out March 5, discussed attending York University and the music they like, on CBC Radio’s “Here and Now” March 2.