Would we grant Osama bin Laden refugee status?

“Leave it to Canada to deal with the al-Qaeda affiliates in its midst by assigning the file to the Children’s Aid,” wrote Eric Lawee, humanities professor with York University’s Faculty of Arts, in an April 21 letter to the National Post. “I assume if Osama bin Laden were to land on our shores, we would grant him refugee status (since he might be subject to capital punishment in his native Saudi Arabia or the United States) and, at taxpayers’ expense, offer him the psychological counselling he so clearly and desperately needs. Alternatively, we might put the screws to him and charge him for failing to register his AK-47.”

Aqua: a new breed of robot

Fish darting through the shallows of Barbados last January must have freaked at the sight of the three-eyed, six-legged beast – a $450,000 swimming robot called Aqua on its maiden ocean dive, reported Popular Science in its May issue. Developed by a Canadian team led by York University computer scientist Michael Jenkin to carry out a variety of scientific missions, the watertight bot could someday do everything from monitoring coral reefs to hunting for sunken wrecks, said the magazine. While other autonomous water bots already ply the seas, inspecting ship hulls and oil platforms, Aqua is in a league of its own, said Jenkin. For starters, the robot sports six flippered appendages, controlled by onboard Pentium microprocessors and inertial sensors, to waddle across the sea floor or paddle through swells. Others rely on propellers or powerful thrusters, both too rough for fish surveys and other delicate scientific missions, Jenkin told Popular Science. The researchers are also equipping Aqua with three digital cameras, with which it will navigate by sight – no small feat in cloudy currents – and construct 3-D maps of its surroundings. For now, Aqua’s vision and navigation systems are controlled from shore through a fibre-optic tether, but full autonomy, said Jenkin, is just one year off.

Bilingualism opens doors, high school students told

Growing up in Toronto’s French school system, Jelena Madunic remembers being called “French fry” by students in neighbouring English schools, reported the Toronto Star April 21. But the graduate of College Français, at Carlton and Jarvis, also recalled the days when she could have secret talks with francophone friends in an English crowd and travel to Europe with little language barrier. Madunic was one of the speakers at the annual French for the Future forum for high school students at York University’s bilingual Glendon campus.

Job fair targets Ontario nurses

Laura Swain, a fourth-year nursing student at York University who attended the Nurses4Ontario Student Nursing Career Fair in January says the last few months before the fair were frustrating, reported the Toronto Sun April 21. Graduation was quickly approaching and the reality of finding full-time work in her chosen career was upon her. “I had spent the last few months at numerous nursing job fairs, with no luck,” she said. “Frankly, it has been frustrating because most of the recruiters at these fairs are from the United States – an option that is not my first choice.”

A jubilant fan hits Yonge Street

Toronto fans, including York University first-year student Mike Leahy, celebrated the Maple Leafs’ 4-1 win over the Ottawa Senators Wednesday night, reported the Toronto Star April 21. “I’m a die-hard Leaf fan. Been one since I was in my mother’s womb,” Leahy yelled, dressed in blue and white and waving a large Leaf flag at the corner of Yonge and Dundas streets.

Winning law students from St. John’s

Christopher Hickey of Torbay and Fiona Hickman from St. John’s, are among a team of students from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School who recently won a major international legal competition in Vienna which featured 136 entries from 42 countries, reported the the Telegram in St. John’s April 20.

York grad a judge at arts festival

A York grad among the judges at Port Colborne Festival of the Arts this year, reported the Tribune in Welland April 21. June Lawrence founded the June Lawrence School of Dance in 1985. As director and teacher of the Mississauga school, June has been instrumental in designing specialized dance programs for preschool students, adults and children. June received an honours Bachelor of Fine Art, majoring in dance, in 1980 from York University.

Stick with short-term mortgages

Studies by York University finance Prof. Moshe Milevsky show people sticking with short-term mortgage rates are better off 85 per cent of the time, reported the Edmonton Journal April 21 in a story about when to lock in. The caveat is that you have to monitor the rates.