Does Toronto need more wild bees?

What most people would call a nest box, York University doctoral candidate Scott MacIvor likes to call a “bee condo”. It’s MacIvor who placed the foot-long bee home on the roof of the College Street architecture building where U of T maintains its Green Roof Innovation Testing Laboratory. The nest box is just one of many MacIvor has placed around the city. He’s hitched them onto everything from trees in quiet ravines to stop signs downtown, as part of a four-year experiment on wild-bee diversity in Toronto that is now in its final year. “There’s been a flurry of research in the last decade or so suggesting that urban landscapes have a negative impact on wild species in general,” said MacIvor in Torontoist May 21. Read full story.

Sexual violence addressed in student comics
For their Design for Public Awareness class, art students at York University…have made 12 projects using the comic medium to explore the topic of sexual violence….York design Professor Jan Hadlaw said she “had to think about it for a minute” before approving the concept, because she didn’t know if the seemingly light-hearted approach was appropriate. “But it was clearly an inspired idea,” she said in the Toronto Standard May 21. Read full story.

Why Manhattan’s green roofs don’t work – and how to fix them
A 2007 study in the journal BioScience found that green roofs can potentially help manage storm water runoff, reduce urban heat-island effects and regulate building temperature. To deliver these benefits, rooftop vegetation has to be able to survive the high winds, prolonged UV radiation and unpredictable fluctuations in water availability. To resist these harsh environments, a majority of green roofs are planted with sedum, a non-native species that can survive wind and long periods without rainfall. A roof planted with sedum, however, is no greener, from the standpoint of sustainability, than is ordinary tar or asphalt, according to Scott MacIvor, a PhD student in biology at York University in Toronto who co-wrote the city’s new guidelines for biodiverse green roofs….“The problem is that sedum plants aren’t really performing on green roofs,” said MacIvor in Scientific American May 17. “They’re just there.” One of the plant’s biggest failings, it turns out, is that it does not encourage biodiversity of plant species on the roof. Read full story.

Thoughts on introducing the right incentive schemes to reward quality performance in your workplace
“How can you explain US$616 million in individual bonuses coupled with $25 billion of corporate losses in a single year? The role of AIG as a catalyst for the financial crisis has been well documented. Less well known is how its short-term incentive schemes were instrumental in pushing the world’s largest insurance company to the brink of bankruptcy,” co-wrote Theodore Peridis, professor of strategic management and international business at York University’s Schulich School of Business, in the Jakarta Post May 18. “The most important step to good incentive management is to tie rewards directly to a clear set of strategic priorities.” Read full story.

Fashion fundraiser by York University Portuguese Association raises money for SickKids
A group of York University students are donning some fancy threads in support the Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), reported the City Centre Mirror May 21. The York University Portuguese Association will host the Runway to Hope fundraising fashion show at Tartu College, with proceeds going toward the SickKids Foundation….In addition to the funds raised through tickets sales, models will be auctioned off to boost the amount being donated to SickKids. Following the fashion show, participants will go out on a group dinner date. Read full story.

How to fight Alzheimer’s disease: Can vitamin B, playing the piano or eating curry really help?
Can you really beat Alzheimer’s by popping a vitamin pill? That was the claim yesterday from scientists at Oxford University who suggested a daily dose of vitamin B could stave off the condition’s devastating progression, reported the Daily Mirror May 22. It’s an exciting development for sufferers and their families, but it’s not the first everyday remedy that’s been touted as a potential cure…. Researchers at Toronto’s York University found knowing a second language delayed Alzheimer’s diagnoses by 4.3 years on average, compared with people who only speak their native tongue. Read full story.

Mercy Yulien: In her own words
“I recently had the pleasure to discuss research on the perceptions of trauma survivors with York University psychology Professor Erin C. Ross.[…]We both agree disclosure itself might not always be a good thing and the emphasis on the process is to be on whom the victim discloses to. The response can change the disclosing person’s experience entirely,” wrote Mercy Yulien in the Vaughan Citizen May 2. “Ross’s focus in her research is marginalized groups, such as lesbians and gays, the elderly and especially child abuse victims. Her research suggests the societal perceptions of child abuse victims, particularly those who have reached adulthood, are mixed.[…]Disclosure can most definitely benefit victims in the long run, because the more people understand trauma, the less negative stereotypes and misconceptions will be formed of them.” Read full story.