York tops Toronto-area eBay users

Andrew Sloss, eBay Canada’s country manager, says over 10 million Canadians visited the site in February, wrote The Toronto Sun March 28, in a story about the eBay Canada "Community Counts" census released March 27. Toronto’s closest postal code – M3J 1P3, at York University – came in at 429th place, with 171 active eBay users.

Prof’s book gave blackjack players a lift

The odds of winning at blackjack by counting cards swung in the players’ favour in the mid-seventies when Igor Kusyszyn, psychology professor emeritus in York’s Faculty of Health, working under the pen name Lancelot Humble, started selling copies of a slim volume touting a computer-based strategy called Hi-Opt 1 for $200 (Canadian) each, wrote The Globe and Mail March 28 in a story prompted by the recent release of the film 21. In it, he outlined a relatively simple yet effective card-counting strategy – where players track dealt cards to calculate the value of cards still remaining.

Hurricane Carter remembers his story in the third person

"You feel like you’ve been contaminated, that you have a vile disease that has to be eliminated." Rubin ‘Hurricane’ Carter (LLD ’05) pauses, on the phone from his home in Toronto, while recalling how it feels to sit in a courtroom being called a racist triple-murderer, wrote North Vancouver, BC’s North Shore Outlook March 27.

"He feels he’s in a strange place," the affable 71-year-old continues, speaking from a studied, existential distance, referring to himself as the young, black pro boxer he was in 1967 – accused by the prosecutor of walking into the Lafayette Bar and Grill in Paterson, New Jersey, and callously blowing away three white people with a shotgun. "He doesn’t understand because they are speaking legalese. It’s almost a relief to get out of there."

Carter, who was eventually released, moved to Toronto, where he was awarded an honorary law degree from York University, and started the advocacy group Innocence International to fight wrongful convictions. In 1999 his story was immortalized in The Hurricane, a Hollywood film with Denzel Washington starring as Carter.

York alum pianist blends jazz, funk and hip-hop

Some musicians are satisfied to simply find a good groove. But for others, that’s only the start of a larger, intuitive process, wrote the Edmonton Journal March 28. When keyboardist Andy Milne (BFA ’90) heads up his Dapp Theory band, pulling together elements of jazz, funk and hip- hop is just part of a bigger picture.

"I think of this music as coming from jazz," says Toronto-born, Pennsylvania-based Milne, "but it’s an organic process. I have to sit with something for awhile before I can draw your ear to the sense of beauty that lies there."

Milne took piano as a kid, got serious about a musical career in high school and entered the jazz program at Toronto’s York University in the mid-1980s. Now, after 10 years, several recordings and a few personnel changes, Dapp Theory is an intriguing quintet that balances compelling ideas and interaction, jazz improvisation and infectious grooves, electric and acoustic instruments, and some serious words with the music. You can hear all that on the group’s heady new album Layers of Chance.

York student schools the Sun on jurisprudence

I have a problem with the March 27 front-page headline, wrote York law & society student Vito Polera in a letter to The Toronto Sun March 28. We live in a free and democratic environment; one where accused persons are "innocent until proven guilty." The headline "Busted" assumes and gives the impression that Councillor Rob Ford is guilty when, in fact, this assessment can only be made after a court of law decides. Have we not learned that our history has seen numerous accounts of miscarriages of justice originating from a lack of recognition and respect for this timeless legal doctrine?

On air

  • Alex Bilyk, York’s director of media relations, and York student Faria Kamal spoke about protests organized by York students angry with the federal government over a deportation order against former York student Sarah Leonty, on Global TV News March 26.