Tracking songbirds’ 10,000-km journey

Forget delaying a trip for bad weather. When it comes to overseas flights, migratory songbirds seem determined to leave as scheduled. Songbirds eager to get to their North American breeding grounds depart Central America at the same time annually, almost to the exact date, according to a York University study published in an online journal this month, reported the Toronto Star and an international cohort of publications July 26. Read full story.

Canadians get serving sizes wrong: Study
Canadians are overestimating the size of a serving of food as recognized by the Canada’s Food Guide, a new study has found. The study, out of York University, concluded while people believe they are being careful with the portion sizes of meals, many are overeating. “What we found was that the way people estimate one serving is essentially how much they would normally eat at one time,” said Professor Jennifer Kuk, of York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, reported the Toronto Sun, The Huffington Post and others, July 31. Read full story.

Jennifer Keesmaat, advocate of density and walkability, appointed Toronto’s new chief planner
Toronto’s new chief planner Jennifer Keesmaat (MES ’99) is an advocate of density and walkable communities. She has touted the benefits of communities that allow people to ride bicycles rather than drive cars, and she has suggested that tax-rate freezes deprive cities of the money to pay for good infrastructure, reported the Toronto Star July 31. Read full story.

Supreme Court decision could strengthen legitimacy of Canada’s electoral system
A group of voters, supported by the Council of Canadians, is asking the Federal Court to overturn the May 2011 general election results in seven federal ridings, contending that purposely misleading phone calls were used to misdirect voters and benefit the Conservative Party. The Conservative Members of Parliament for each of these ridings sought to have the case dismissed on vexatious or frivolous grounds. However, the Supreme Court rejected the MPs’ request, and instead views the issue as holding significant implications for Canada’s democratic integrity, wrote Jennifer Dalton, a professor of public law, in an opinion piece that was published in The Hill Times July 30. Read full story.

Toronto area Porsche dealership parks car near driveways of affluent homes in instant direct marketing
Markus Giesler, marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, was quoted in a Toronto Star article Aug. 1, about a new advertising stunt by Toronto ad agency Lowe Roche that involves  parking a 2013 Porsche 911 Carrera S from Pfaff Porsche in front of high-end homes and then creating an instant customized ad for the homeowner. Read full story.

3 things to know about target-date funds
Moshe Milevsky, a professor of finance at the Schulich School of Business, was quoted in an article about target-date funds published by CNN July 31. Read full story.

Conservatives slam carpenters’ unions over donations
A Progressive Conservative press release slamming political donations made by carpenters’ unions to Ontario’s Liberal Party has been criticized by a campaign finance expert as “one sided”. Robert MacDermid, a politics professor from York University, believes that rather than chastise the unions for giving about $1-million worth of members’ dues throughout the past decade to a political party, the Conservatives need to take a closer look at the $27 million in corporate donations it has received over the past seven years, reported July 31. Read full story.

Canada may face skills deficit: report
A new report by York Professor Emeritus of math Graham Orpwood suggests that Canada is in serious danger of falling behind when it comes to educating a new generation of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians, and warns the trend could impact Canada’s ability to compete in the global economy, reported the Vancouver Sun July 31. Read full story.