Airline stocks take dive amid bird flu worries

York University business Professor Fred Lazar said external factors like a flu pandemic or soaring fuel prices are risks that the airlines cannot control. Lazar added details on the bird flu outbreak remain sketchy, but if it appears to be contained, then airlines would likely see a return to higher bookings and stock price recovery. As well, the dismal jobs numbers from the U.S. released on Friday are another factor. “As much as airlines want to control capacity, if demand starts falling, there is little they can do,” Lazar said in the Toronto Star April 5. Read full story.

‘We drink. We swear. We don’t f—ing smoke’: Firm’s ban on hiring smokers leaves people asking ‘Who’s next?’
In the U.S., 29 states have adopted smokers-rights policies restricting such hiring practices, but Canadian courts have yet to establish a clear precedent on such policies. Smoking may be legal, but it is yet to be found to be a right in Canada….“Nicotine addiction might be treated as a disability under human rights legislation, as is alcohol or drug addiction. If that is the case, then a rule banning smoking during leisure time would probably amount to unlawful disability discrimination, as would asking questions during recruitment about whether the employee smokes,” said David Doorey, professor of employment and labour law at York University, in the National Post April 5. Read full story.

Lulu for him?
Less than two years ago, men’s clothing sales made up just 8 per cent of Lululemon’s revenues. In the next several years, the company hopes to more than double that, to around 20 per cent….To meet expectations, Lululemon also needs to drive new revenues from the stores it already operates. And for that to happen, it needs new customers – customers like, for example, men. “They’re going to be looking for growth from within their existing assets,” said Alan Middleton, a professor of marketing at York’s Schulich School of Business, in Canadian Business April 8. Read full story.

Arena.xlsm: How an accountant made an RPG in Microsoft Excel
Cary Walkin, a chartered accountant and an MBA candidate at York’s Schulich School of Business, released Arena.xlsm earlier this year. It’s a full role-playing game (RPG) that is playable within Excel. It features more than 2,000 random enemies, 1,000 random items and eight boss encounters. Arena also has four different endings depending on how players tackle the adventure….“I was taking a course for my MBA in advanced spreadsheet modelling,” he said in VentureBeat April 5. “Making a game seemed like a much better use of my time than option pricing valuation models.” Read full story.

Jamaica roots trip
“In late January 2013, all four of my siblings and I travelled to Jamaica to visit our ancestral home, the birthplace of our father, Herbert McLean Bell,” wrote David Bell, professor emeritus in environmental studies at York University, in The Gleaner April 6. “Many of my childhood memories flooded back to me as our van drove along the coast to Port Maria, which turned out to be much more scenic and beautiful than I remember.” Read full story.