Waiting for the boomers to retire

Today in New York City, an invitation-only two-day "Boomertirement" summit explores solutions to "the pending Baby Boomer retirement crisis," wrote the National Post April 24. Among the draws are Canada’s reigning personal finance academic, Moshe Milevsky, a professor in York’s Schulich School of Business; Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Chair; and author Lee Eisenberg.

Some may question whether the withdrawal of 90 million Baby Boomers from the workforce constitutes a crisis for the rest of society. For younger folk still in the workforce, this is an opportunity, as ageing Boomers vacate their spots in upper management. Milevsky agrees. "Perhaps the word ‘crisis’ is a misnomer," he says. Climate change, global warming, religious extremism and gun violence all may merit the descriptor "crisis." But "somebody living in a $400,000 house with not enough savings to retire at 62 – when they are expected to live 25 more healthy years – is not!"

Sexual assault reported near York residence

A woman was sexually assaulted while walking to her York University residence around 9:30pm on Sunday, April 22, wrote the Toronto Star April 24. The suspect is described as 5-foot-8, in his early 20s with a medium build and a shaved head. He was wearing a white Adidas soccer shirt with a black logo, police said.  The report of the assault was also broadcast on 680News radio April 23.

Google’s rise and rise

A decade after its launch, Google has overtaken General Electric as the world’s most valuable brand, wrote The Globe and Mail April 24. The marque is worth US$66.4 billion, according to a study by global market research company Millward Brown Optimor. "It’s been coming for a while, if you look at the growth in stock market value relative to all the other technology companies out there," said Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York’s Schulich School of Business. Google’s rise to the top is remarkable for a company begun in 1996 as a research project in a college dorm room.

Do you know who your doctor’s ‘friends’ are?

Pharmaceutical salespeople use carefully honed psychological techniques in their efforts to sell more pills by wooing doctors, according to a paper co-authored by an ex-US drug representative and a Georgetown University professor and physician, wrote The Globe and Mail April 24. "The drugs that are promoted the most heavily are the newest ones," commented Dr. Joel Lexchin, a professor in York’s School of Health Policy & Management, who has studied pharmaceutical policy for 25 years.

Some blockbuster and highly promoted medicines, such as the pain-reliever Vioxx, are only found to have dangerous side effects years after they go to market. "One of the things we know about new drugs is we really don’t know an awful lot about their safety," Lexchin told the Globe. Canada’s pharmaceutical industry generated $17.8 billion in sales last year and spent an estimated $2.67 billion – 15 per cent – on promotions, Lexchin said.

Deep Thoughts: What makes a successful mommyblog

May Friedman, a third-year PhD student in York’s School of Women’s Studies, is doing her thesis on feminism and the art of the mommyblog, wrote The Toronto Star in its Deep Thoughts column, April 24.

Friedman is examining blogs written by mothers to try to understand why they’ve become so popular. She hopes to examine both the negative and positive attention people give Mommyblogs and those who write them. Although a new mommy can find blogs on just about any topic, those that get the most hits tend to be penned by white, suburban, middle-class women. Friedman hopes to discover why. As more people get lifestyle information from the Net, she says, "we have a real incentive to look at these blogs seriously."

Despite pleas, council trims $150,000 from department’s plan to boost protection

Toronto needs greater security at city parks and recreational facilities to curb disturbing incidents of violence, some councillors say in the face of a decision to cut $150,000 from a security item in the budget, wrote the Toronto Star April 24. Toronto City Councillor Maria Augimeri said heightened vigilance might have helped prevent last year’s fatal shooting of York University student Chantel Dunn, 19, who had been picking up her boyfriend at Northwood Community Centre, near Jane Street and Sheppard Avenue West.

After oil, what will we do?

The concern one should have over Environment Minister John Baird’s comments on the Kyoto Protocol is not so much the cost of implementation but the complete absence of any new ideas, wrote Steven Pinter, social science & business history instructor in York’s Faculty of Arts and Glendon, in a letter to the National Post April 24, responding to an April 23 editorial.

Canada‘s problem is that worldwide demand for our oil and gas commodities will inevitably shrink, as environmental impacts increase, and we are totally unprepared for this. It would have been refreshing to hear what the government plans to do to deal with the twin challenges Canada now faces: an inevitable decline in international demand for our energy resources coupled with a total lack of innovation in alternative business models here at home.

The Dion Liberals seem to be more clearly looking at the future with their agreement with Elizabeth May of the Green Party, wrote Pinter. Let’s hope that Canada’s next government will actually be a "new government" in more than just name.

On air

  • Bridget Stutchbury, biology professor in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering, spoke about her new book on dangers to the song bird population on Ottawa’s A-Channel TV, April 23.