BlackBerry’s diminishing cachet

BlackBerry’s challenges continue with the Canadian smartphone maker landing near the bottom of a notable ranking of global brands. International research firm Interbrand rates the company at 93rd in its Top 100 list. That’s down from 56th in 2011, 54th in 2010 and 63rd in 2009 when BlackBerry first appeared on the chart. Markus Giesler, marketing professor at the Schulich School of Business, was quoted in the Toronto Star Oct. 4 about the smartphone maker’s plummeting brand. Read full story

The Chimney Swift’s Swan Song?
York environmental studies Professor Gail Fraser is among a secretive group of volunteers, who watch Toronto’s rooflines in a bid to preserve the Chimney Swift’s dwindling urban habitat, reported the Oct. 2. As a member of the fledgling conservation project called Toronto Swiftwatch, Fraser has been monitoring the birds since 2009. Read full story.

Building the perfect spaceman: inside NASA with Chris Hadfield
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will blast off from Kazakhstan aboard a Soyuz rocket in December, and soon after will become the first Canadian to take command of the ISS, reported Oct. 2. Hadfield will also be a human science experiment. Six months in space (without exercise) is comparable to 50 years of aging on the human body. Astronauts have been known to get lost aboard the ISS, says Laurence Harris, professor of psychology and biology at York University, who studies how the senses adapt to microgravity: “If I turned you upside down in your office, you’d have trouble as well.” Read full story.

Museum plants trees to mark Queen’s Jubilee
As part of the Jubilee celebration, in addition to planting trees, the Ontario Horticultural Association  has awarded three graduate students in the province with $600 each, to assist them with their environmental/horticultural studies in areas that are of interest to area gardeners, reported the Innisfil Scope Oct. 3. The students awarded were chosen by the OHA and university staff, and one is a forestry student from Lakehead University, another is a pollination researcher from York University and lastly, a plant science student from Guelph University. Read full story.