York prof to analyze what we talk about when we talk online

York University Professor Nick Cercone is leading a research team that has received $294,000 from the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to study the expression of sentiment, affect, influence and emotions in social media, blogs and e-mails, which are provided by the organizations the researchers are partnering with, reported Metro Feb. 17. Read full story.

York U researchers confirm ice thinning in Arctic Sea
A satellite monitoring Arctic and Antarctic ice cover changes has produced its first validated Arctic ice thickness maps showing widespread sea ice thinning, according to a new study co-authored by York University researchers….“Data are urgently required to better understand the causes of Arctic Ocean change and to better predict the ice’s future fate,” said York Professor and study co-author Christian Haas in the North York Mirror Feb. 15. Read full story.

Asteroid mining: The next frontier
On Friday, asteroid 2012 DA14 came within a celestial blink of smashing into the Earth. But for a growing group of prospectors with an intense and entrepreneurial interest in such orbiting space rocks, this relatively tiny traveller – around 45 m in diameter – wasn’t worth a passing glance.…“You start digging into a 50-m rock and before you know it, you’re out the other side,” said York University Astronomer Paul Delaney in the Toronto Star Feb. 15. “To mine (asteroids) profitably, I think you’ve got to be talking hundreds of metres in diameter to have enough raw materials once you’ve established yourself on the surface.” Read full story.

Making a high-stakes research career work with family
Dr. Romina Mizrahi, research scientist and psychiatrist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Toronto, cited three factors that dissuade many women from pursuing research careers: Timing, the nature of academic evaluation, and, eventually, burnout if a scientist is a parent too….Lorna Marsden, president emerita of York University and the chair of the Council of Canadian Academies expert panel, said women scientists shouldn’t be given the task of solving this dilemma. “My response is: ‘It’s not your obligation,’” Marsden said in The Globe and Mail Feb. 18. “It’s the obligation of large organizations[…]to think about how you can get there. Not: ‘You have to fix it.’” Read full story.

Hiring should favour male, minority teachers: Toronto school board
A Toronto District School Board memo to staff that included gender and race among qualifications that could win a candidate an interview for a teaching position has outraged some female teachers….But experts on discrimination said the memo met proper hiring practices. “Giving preference to designated groups who are underrepresented in the TDSB teacher complement could not only be non-discriminatory and legal but could also be part of an effort to stay within the law in terms of their staffing and hiring,” said Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Sonia Lawrence in The Globe and Mail Feb. 19. Read full story.

Oscars 2013: Adele not the first celebrity to battle stage fright
Multiple Grammy winner Adele has admitted to anxiety about performing the Oscar-nominated James Bond theme “Skyfall” at the Feb. 24 ceremony….Sports psychologist and York University Professor Paul Dennis says there’s no difference between stage fright and what’s clinically known as pre-competitive performance anxiety….“It could strike a seasoned performer with no previous exposure to it and quite often it’s a result of them overthinking the situation,” said Dennis in the Toronto Star Feb. 15….Pianist and York music Professor Christina Petrowska Quilico says performance anxieties are multiplied thanks to social media. Read full story.

Hapless BlackBerry board let Jim Balsillie get away easy
Jim Balsillie, the hard-driving former co-chief executive and major shareholder of BlackBerry Ltd. liquidated his substantial ownership stake in the struggling smartphone maker within 12 months of his departure last year after a radical management overhaul.…The Canadian Coalition on Good Governance doesn’t prescribe precisely how much time should elapse before a senior executive like Balsillie could unload shares, but the principle is predicated on keeping some skin in the game. “You shouldn’t be allowed to just quit and cash out,” said York Professor Richard Leblanc in the Financial Post Feb. 15. “The board let him jettison all his shares rather than have a staggered period of containment for the sake of the company.” Read full story.

Responsible capitalism: A license to lead
“Over the past two days, we’ve had the good fortune to hear up close what Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, has to say about responsible capitalism and the role of Unilever in making the world a better place. Polman has been in Toronto speaking in the Bata Lecture Series on Responsible Capitalism hosted by the Schulich School of Business,” co-wrote Schulich Professors Andrew Crane and Dirk Matten in the Sustainable Business Forum Feb. 16. “And from what we’ve heard, Polman is in a different league to most of the other identi-kit CEOs out there. He really gets that business has to do things differently if it is to succeed and prosper in the future.” Read full story.

York youth homelessness issue under review
York Region’s front-line social service workers and school board administrators launched the first of seven learning sessions focused on youth homelessness Tuesday, reported the Newmarket Era Feb. 15. Hosted by United Way York Region and York University at the Markham Convergence Centre, the series seeks to develop an integrated response to the growing number of young people dropping off the social radar. The programs feature far-flung keynote speakers sharing their strategies and successes. Read full story.