NASA buys a second space station toilet for US$19 million

NASA has agreed to buy a Russian space toilet that filters urine into drinkable water – at a price of US$19 million, wrote CanWest News Service July 5. The new toilet will go on the International Space Station, which currently has only one toilet for a crew of three. The crew will expand to six members in 2009, and space bosses don’t want astronauts lining up when they have to go. "If you’re 300 kilometres away, with no chance of getting to the nearest toilet, and you only have one toilet, then there’s reason to be concerned – especially if there were six of you," says Ben Quine, who teaches space engineering in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering. "Psychologically it would be very important…. If we want to put humans in space, we have to provide the facilities that they need."

North Yorker hopes for luck on rare birthday

North Yorker Paul Fiaschetti, a York student, is hoping that the unusual circumstances surrounding his upcoming birthday bring him a little extra luck next weekend, wrote the North York Mirror July 3. Fiaschetti will turn 21 on July 7, which works out to 07-07-07 on the calendar, a date that some particularly superstitious types view as being lucky.

While Fiaschetti is not overly superstitious himself, he said he will alter his routine somewhat in the hopes of cashing in on the coincidence. "I’m not thinking about it too much, but I’m definitely going to buy a lottery ticket that day," he said. "I haven’t heard of anyone else having a birthday like this, so it’s pretty cool."

Fiaschetti’s superstitious nature is usually limited to the sports he plays. Like many athletes, he maintains a specific routine in order to keep streaks alive, especially during hockey season. This year, he has a baseball game on his birthday, and he hopes his coach will accommodate one minor request.

"I’ve asked him to bat me seventh to see if it brings me any luck and helps us win the game," he said. Beyond that, the York University student said he plans on going about his day normally, with friends and family joining him to celebrate his birthday at a barbecue at his family’s home.

Osgoode grads dominate legal roundtable

Paula Todd (BA ’82, LLB ’88), host of CTV News’ legal affairs program “The Verdict”, asked her three guests July 2 whether they, like her, attended Osgoode. "Osgoode, absolutely," said Zahra Dhanani (LLB ‘97), a social justice lawyer specializing in dispute resolution, who works with youth in the justice system, echoed by former Osgoode faculty member James Morton (LLB ‘86), who is now president of the Ontario Bar Association and a well-regarded criminal lawyer. The third panelist attended Ottawa and Temple universities. "Hey," said Todd, "it’s fascinating on this show, every night we have lawyers right across North America, and people don’t hear this, but off the air people are always comparing their law schools, and saying that theirs triumph. We will put it to the test now."

Centennial twin worked at York

Canada’s "Centennial Twins" – the first pair born in Canada after July 1, 1967 – are turning 40, wrote The Calgary Herald July 5. Karen Stasiak and her brother Richard were born July 2, 1967, at Calgary’s General Hospital. After attending university in Calgary, Karen worked at York University allocating funding for disabled students, said the Herald. She married chiropractor Bryan Scriven in 1989 and they live with their four children, ages 12, 10, 8 and 3, in Canmore, Alta.

On air

  • A study about hockey injuries among older, bigger children by Joseph Baker, professor of kinesiology & health science in York’s Faculty of Health and graduate student Nicholas Wattie, was mentioned on CBC Radio’s “Windsor Now” (Windsor) July 4.
  • Another study by Baker, on aging and golf, was mentioned on Toronto’s 680News radio July 4.