Pillars of Creation may be no more

The “Pillars of Creation", gas clouds that are the subject of the Hubble Space Telescope’s most famous picture, appear to have been destroyed by an exploding star 7,000 years ago, reported CanWest News Jan. 11. The evidence for the event is invisible infra-red radiation picked up by NASA’s newer Spitzer telescope. But it will take another 1,000 years for us to see the change. Any supernova, or exploding star, “is a titanic release of energy. A supernova can outshine the combined luminosity of an entire galaxy (100 billion stars or more) for several days, perhaps several weeks,” said Paul Delaney, an astronomer in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering. After that flash, a shockwave ripples outwards at 3,000 to 5,000 kilometres per second. “There is going to be a lot of action in that area for astronomers to watch for the next few thousand years,” he said.

Schulich business strategist says he’s ‘no fortune teller’

If 2006 was the year of the extremes, what’s in store for the business environment this year, asked the Toronto Star Jan. 1. The Star interviewed a panel of experts to assess the business outlook for 2007, including Theo Peridis, professor of strategic management at York’s Schulich School of Business. Merger and acquisition activity in 2006 surpassed the record highs in the 1990s dot-com era, says one observer. "This time it was for substantive companies; back then (the Internet boom) companies were paying millions of dollars for the promise (of a substantive company)," says Peridis…. As for energy, the open markets will lead to a slowdown in the price escalation. "The energy sector is going to be more subdued," says Peridis. But he reminds us he’s not a fortune teller and adds, "unless there is a big world event."

‘Mozartballs’ offers offbeat charm

CBC Television’s arts showcase “Opening Night” raises the curtain on its new season in auspicious fashion, with Toronto filmmaker Larry Weinstein‘s whimsical, witty film Mozartballs, an irreverent look at Mozart’s enduring legacy through the eyes of five characters whose lives have been shaped by the composer’s music, wrote CanWest News columnist Alex Strachan Jan. 11. For the past 20 years, Weinstein (BFA ’80), an honours graduate of York’s Faculty of Fine Arts, has made films about music, even though he claims to have no classical training or background in music. Weinstein’s film portraits have focused on such conventional classical composers as Maurice Ravel, Dmitri Shostakovich and Arnold Schoenberg but there is nothing conventional about his filmmaking style: In tone, voice and musical palette, Weinstein’s style recalls The Red Violin more than it does “Biography” or “Life & Times”.

Apple’s still new to content biz, says marketing prof

About 24 hours since one of the biggest announcements in consumer electronics history, Apple lovers in Canada are already venting their frustration at the lack of video content on iTunes, wrote the Toronto Star, Jan. 11. At the MacWorld conference in San Francisco Jan. 9, Steve Jobs, chief executive of Apple Inc. announced the launch of the iPhone and Apple TV – a set-top box that enables wireless transfer of downloaded content from iTunes, including music videos, TV shows and movies to a TV set. But the Canadian iTunes store does not offer downloads of TV shows and movies, which limits Apple TV functions in Canada. "The whole problem is that Apple is new to the content businesses," said Markus Giesler, professor of marketing in York’s Schulich School of Business. "It will remain a shelf warmer if integration with the iTunes store is not there."

Alumna plays dysfunctional mom in theatre production

York University grad Catherine Fitzgerald (BA, BEd ‘92) plays the mother in a dysfunctional family in 1920s Oklahoma in the latest Burl-Oak Theatre Group production: The Pulitzer Prize-winning drama, The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, wrote The Oakville Beaver Jan. 10.