Fame will catch up with the ‘father’ of home computers, says Stachniak

If you’re reading this story online, you can thank Mers Kutt of Toronto, a little-known but widely influential force in the computing world, wrote the Toronto Star July 8. “Fame will eventually catch up with him,” predicted Zbigniew Stachniak, a professor in York’s Department of Computer Science & Engineering and author of an upcoming book on computer history. Despite his lack of fame outside computing circles, it’s no exaggeration to call Kutt the father of home computers, Stachniak said. “To be a father, you have to have offspring, and certainly there were some,” Stachniak said, referring to the countless number of home computers around the globe. Kutt pioneered what’s widely believed to be the first personal home computer in the world – MCM-70 Microcomputer, unveiled by Micro Computer Machines of Ruden Crescent in Don Mills, Ont. in September 1973. At the time, his team’s MCM-70, with two to eight kilobytes of random access memory and 14 kilobytes of read-only memory, was so advanced that few people knew what to make of it.

York roof aflame as hot tar applied

A roof fire sent smoke billowing over York University’s Keele campus Saturday morning, reported the Toronto Star July 9. The blaze broke out atop the University’s Atkinson building around 10:30am when workers were resealing the roof with hot tar. University security evacuated student residences. No one was injured, police said.

  • The incident was also reported on CITY-TV, Global TV, CKVR-TV (Barrie) and CFRB Radio (Toronto) July 8.

Warhol celebrated the ordinary

Andy Warhol’s art is all around us, as common as a can of soup, saturating pop culture, wrote the Toronto Star July 9 about a new exhibition of his work at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The style is so well known, we may not even process it as art that was once original.  “His work was always meant to be popular and throw the idea of the ordinary world in your face,” said Seth Feldman, director of the Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies at York University. “He celebrated the fact that ordinary things and familiar images could be isolated and made into art.”

Promote Toronto with the world’s largest Festival of Light, suggests Joshi

When people make holiday plans, is cultural diversity a real selling point?, asked the Toronto Star in a July 9 feature about tourism strategy. The Toronto International Film Festival, Caribana and the Pride parade are three things we do better, says Ashwin Joshi, marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business. What’s common in each is they target a specific market segment. Toronto should have one event of this magnitude every month and target it to 12 different groups. Yes, others will come, but one event won’t cannibalize tourists from another. “How about the world’s largest Diwali Mela in October – we can pull it off given that there is a base of over 500,000 South Asians,” says Joshi. “Same goes for Eid. This would pull in South Asians from all across the northern US, and there are tons there.”

Star tags alumna Hall Findlay as leadership hopeful to watch

There’s something about an underdog, wrote the Toronto Star July 9 and, above all else, this is the story of an underdog. An underdog on a political journey. Our protagonist is Martha Hall Findlay (LLB ‘87), who jumped into the race to lead the Liberal party without a seat in Parliament, a political base, organization, money, name recognition or even a credible plan. Instead, with the leadership vote five months away, she’s largely relying on touring the country in a big, red bus with her son Everett, 23, at the wheel.

Born in Toronto 46 years ago, the fifth of six children (three girls, three boys), Hall Findlay lived comfortably in York Mills, attending Toronto French School until Grade 8 when she was 13 and her parents separated. She moved with her mother in vastly reduced circumstances to Thornbury, at the base of the Blue Mountains, northwest of Toronto. She skipped three grades (9, 10 and 11) to enter Grade 12 at nearby Meaford High School, juggling extracurricular activities – she was a competitive downhill racer and a star on Canada’s National Training Squad – with classes. She graduated from high school at 15.

Later, when she was at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said the Star, her other son Patrick was born the day after her final exams. “I was like a house. I waddled in and my prof was so, ‘Oh my God, hang on for another three hours.'”

Vaughan’s urban dream will be helped by Spadina subway extension

York Region is counting on its new rapid-transit system, Viva, to provide a catalyst for urbanization, wrote the National Post July 8. The system is being used as a spine for mini-downtowns, “Transit Villages,” where people can work, play and live. Last year, the region passed Official Plan Amendment 43. Its goal is so simple it’s hard to believe it hasn’t been basic urban-planning theory for a century: Have populations live as close to where they work as possible. Then build a transit system that takes people where they want to go. And create dense centres around that transit system so there are riders. New plans to extend the TTC subway to Steeles Avenue and York University will be the keystone for fulfilling Vaughan’s dream of creating a downtown that extends clear to the border with Toronto.

Learning from the experts en pointe

Students at the Quinte Ballet School of Canada are getting some special help from from special guests, reported the Belleville Intelligencer July 8. Through July 28, four guest teachers are leading classes at the school. Among them is Michael Greyeyes, professor in York’s Department of Theatre, Faculty of Fine Arts, who specializes in movement training for actors and has recently taught a movement improvisation class in Toronto, plus a master class at the Canada Dance Festival.

Former York theatre student returns to the Charlottetown Festival

Charlotte Moore is thrilled to be returning to the land of Anne to perform as Avonlea’s feisty busybody Mrs. Rachel Lynde in the Charlottetown Festival’s Anne of Green Gables – The Musical, wrote the Journal Pioneer (Summerside, PEI) July 8. As the daughter of Mavor Moore, the original producer of Anne and the first CEO of the Confederation Centre of the Arts, and the granddaughter of Dora Moore of the Dora Mavor Moore Awards, Moore got used to the world of show business at a very young age. In fact, she was born on the opening night of The Ottawa Man, written by her father. “I didn’t always appreciate all that stuff. I took it for granted when I was young,” says Moore. It wasn’t until she was seven years old that the stage took on a different meaning in Moore’s life.

“One summer Mom had to drag me to see Anne, but as soon as the show started, I was in awe. There was this woman singing about opening a window. It was then that I turned to my mother and said ‘THAT! My mother said ‘that what, dear?’ And I repeated it ‘THAT MOM. I’m going to do that.’ My mother quickly looked at me and said ‘oh no you’re not!'” Fortunately, Moore didn’t take her mother’s advice and studied acting at York’s Faculty of Fine Arts for three years.

York science graduate marries his Miss World

For former Miss World contestant Christine Cho and York graduate Jamie Park (BSc ‘97), a platonic test cruise soon had their transmissions in overdrive, wrote The Globe and Mail’s Hatch Match Dispatch columnist July 8. They met at church, where she played softball on a co-ed team that he coached. Eventually they became part of a group that explored the Toronto scene. On Valentine’s Day, 2002, their paradigm tilted. “About four of us were all single at the time and decided that we’d hang out, have a nice dinner and enjoy each other’s company,” recalls Cho. A financial planner at Scotia McLeod, born in Korea and with a bachelor’s degree in science from York University, Park, 35, says, “I knew Christine before and after she ran for the pageants. It was an accomplishment for her, her family and the Korean community, but never a deciding issue as to why I was attracted to her.” Their philosophical interconnectedness includes respect for their Korean heritage, faith as their bedrock and volunteering at Mil Al Church and the Woodgreen Red Door Shelter.

CUPE resolution on Israel still causing controversy

The issue was settled in less than five minutes at its annual convention – and six weeks later, the union is still reeling from the repercussions, reported The Globe and Mail July 8. On May 27, delegates from the Ontario division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees voted overwhelmingly in favour of Resolution 50, which supports an “international campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people’s inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law, including the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN Resolution 194.”

It was a move that has been attacked by editorial writers, Jewish groups and even some of the union’s own members. The groundwork for the May convention was laid in January, when a call was issued for draft resolutions the delegates could consider. Resolution 50 was submitted by the union’s Toronto council and three locals representing employees who work at York University in Toronto, Carleton University in Ottawa and the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

The Globe said CUPE’s national office has since issued a statement that, while it “respects the right of its chartered organizations to take a stand,” the union’s national leaders have no intention of taking up the call for a boycott. “Debates focused on the Middle East,” the union’s national office said in an attempt to defuse some of the tension, “should respect the legitimate aspirations of both the Palestinian and Israeli people.”

On air

  • Donald Rickerd, senior research associate, Asia Business Management Programs with the York Centre for Asian Research, discussed North Korea’s missile launch tests on OMNI-TV’s South Asian edition July 7.