From Gettysburg to Confederation

“On July 1, 1863, 150 years ago Monday, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, 70,000 strong, Robert E. Lee commanding, encountered Union forces on the outskirts of Gettysburg in the rolling hills of southern Pennsylvania.[…]The clash that commenced on July 1 endured for three days. It was the fiercest single battle in a war that took the lives of 600,000 men,” wrote York University political science Professor James Laxer in the Toronto Star June 30. “Four years to the day after fighting at Gettysburg erupted, Canadian Confederation came into being. The battle and the new country were intimately linked.” Read full story.

Immigrant poverty a ‘tinderbox’, study warns
More than 36 per cent of immigrants who have been in the country for less than five years live in poverty, according to the latest Canadian Labour Market Report. That compares to 25 per cent in the 1980s, reported the Vancouver Sun June 28. “Increasing [immigrant] poverty is a tinderbox that can ultimately [descend] into social discontent,” wrote Peter Dungan of the University of Toronto, Tony Fang of York University and Morley Gunderson of the University of Toronto. Read full story.

Nuclear’s costs
“Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from nuclear may be low (depending on assumptions about plant construction, fuel cycles and decommissioning) relative to conventional fossil-fuel powered energy sources, but they are certainly not zero,” wrote York University environmental studies Professor Mark Winfield in The Globe and Mail July 1. “Moreover, the nuclear option carries with it a range of other costs and risks that must be weighed against whatever advantage it might claim in terms of GHG emissions.” Read full story.

Could democracy help India beat China in internationalization?
“Both India and China have among the largest educational systems in the world. But what makes the comparison between the two countries particularly interesting is that both offer a common baseline ‘year’ for comparison: the 1940s, when both countries were formed and began developing their respective educational systems,” wrote York University education Professor Roopa Desai Trilokekar in University World News June 29. “Thereafter, each country took quite a different approach, with China by the 1990s outperforming India at all levels of education.” Read full story.

Five byelections on the horizon in Ontario: analysis
Robert Drummond, professor emeritus in political science at York University, told 680News on June 28 that there’s not really that much riding on the byelections. “As long as they manage to count on the support of one or the other, the opposition parties – likely the NDP at this point – then they’re not likely to be defeated,” Drummond said, adding that he believes the Liberals will play it safe. “I think they’re hoping that they give Premier Wynne a little time to identify herself and make the public well aware of her before they have a general election.” Read full story.

What Barack Obama’s climate-change strategy means for Canada: Walkom
When US President Barack Obama spelled out his plans to fight climate change this week, most Canadian attention focused on a proposed Alberta-to-Texas pipeline, reported the Toronto Star June 27….None of what Obama is proposing will solve the global climate-change problem…. But clamping down further on coal-fired electrical generating will have a discernible effect, particularly for those Ontarians who must suffer the smog that wafts across the Great Lakes each summer from the US. As York University Professor Mark Winfield points out, the fact that America is doing anything at all to battle climate change will also highlight the Harper’s government’s failings on this file. Read full story.

Mark Carney not only played goal for the Oxford Blues hockey team, he also managed it
When Mark Carney takes over as the Governor of the Bank of England on Monday, his every move will be carefully scrutinized and many Britons will still be wondering about this wonder boy from the Northwest Territories who has suddenly become one of the country’s most powerful people, reported The Globe and Mail June 28…. Outside of academia, hockey was Mr. Carney’s passion….According to former teammate, former Oxford Blues forward Trevor Farrow, now a law professor at York University: Carney “wasn’t one of these quirky goalies who had all these funky pregame ceremonies or whatever. He just went and played.” Read full story.

Recognizing literature’s miracle
It is suggested that readers of fiction have better social skills, which was verified by psychologist Raymond Mar at York University and cognitive psychologist Keith Oatley at the University of Toronto, reported Taipei Times July 1. In two separate research projects, after ruling out all possible influencing variables, the researchers found that heavy readers of fiction score higher in tests of social and empathic ability than serious readers of nonfiction. Read full story.

Five annuity trends to watch out for
John Olsen, president at Olsen Financial Group, had advice for those contract owners (and advisers to contract owners) who believe that they’re ahead of the game by sticking with the contract and waiting to allow the “roll-up” rate on the benefit base to increase. They may want to read “Optimal Initiation of a GLWB in a Variable Annuity: No Arbitration Approach” by Moshe Milevsky, Huang Huaxiong and Tom Salisbury, all of York University, reported MarketWatch June 29. Read full story.

Integrity risks and accountability in collaborations
Universities must address risks to their integrity when embarking on overseas branch campuses and collaborations…York University linguistics Professor Sheila Embleton shared experiences from her involvement in York’s two-year MBA program, with one year currently delivered in Hyderabad, India. “The first lesson is to be very clear on why you are doing it at all. That will keep you thinking about accountability and integrity all the time,” she said in University World News June 29. “You have to know your goal, which will also help you know the compromises which you will make and the compromises you won’t make – for example, around quality – and the various lines you won’t cross.” Read full story.