The walking dead

Moments after Deborah Davidson gave birth, her premature babies – both of whom died post-delivery in the mid-1970s – were brusquely taken away. She never got to see them, to hold them, or even to say goodbye. Today, the York University sociologist honours their brief lives with two butterfly tattoos on her leg, and is fascinated by the vast number of Canadians who have inked similar tributes on their own flesh. To that end, Davidson is developing what she believes will be the world’s first comprehensive digital archive of memorial tattoos, envisioned as a “cultural heritage site” for the various remembrances – lost loves, deceased pets, and even expired relationships – that literally left their mark on those left behind, reported the Vancouver Sun and others Aug. 14. Read full story.

Program gives edge to students entering Grade 9
Mohamed Ahmed has seen first-hand how young people living in the Jane Street and Finch Avenue area have benefited from the Success Beyond Limits program, reported the North York Mirror Aug. 13. The free, six-week summer program gives students entering Grade 9 an early high-school credit. Some 100 Grade 8 students from Oakdale Park Middle School and Brookview Middle School participated in the program this year, held at York University, focusing on English and math, with field trips in the afternoons. York University’s Faculty of Education is one of the program’s sponsors. Those who complete the program a high school credit in General Learning Strategies. Read full story.

From fascination to space exploration
Anybody wondering if the man in the moon really is a Newfoundlander, as Stompin’ Tom Connors sang, can direct their question to York University space engineering Professor John Moores. He’s got the roots to pick up on the accent and the work experience to help get a spacecraft out there, reported The Telegram Aug. 14. Moores has worked missions that have sent unmanned spacecraft to Mars and to Titan, the largest of Saturn’s moons. Read full story.

Communitech project aims to create businesses from big data
In the era of “big data”, Communitech is launching a project that will help people turn information into new products and services….Communitech is partnering with exactEarth Ltd. and a number of other businesses and academic partners in Ontario, including the Centre for Research in Earth and Space Science at York University….They will contribute expertise and in-kind services while taking part in projects in areas such as information security, water management and carbon monitoring, reported the Waterloo Region Record Aug. 14. Read full story.

People have been barred for transgressions less serious than sexual exploitation of a minor, legal scholar says
The Law Society of Upper Canada – under fire for allowing an ex-teacher to become a lawyer, after he sexually exploited a pupil – also has a unique opportunity amid the controversy. That’s the view of a legal scholar who says the case of Londoner James Melnick – granted a law licence in late July – should prompt the governing body for Ontario lawyers to review and clarify its “good character” guidelines, reported the London Free Press Aug. 12. “These are tough cases,” said Trevor Farrow, whose work at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School focuses on ethics. “We’ve seen people barred from practising law for things less and greater than what [Melnick] has done. Read full story.

Baristas unite: The coffee economy and the future of jobs
Just Us Coffee Roasters Co-op in Nova Scotia isn’t the kind of business that seems ripe for an employee revolt. Yet earlier this year, the company found itself at the centre of a growing protest movement among baristas in Halifax….Labour laws haven’t kept pace with the dramatic shift toward a service-based economy, said York University labour and employment law expert David Doorey in Maclean’s Aug. 11. Where once unions could sign up hundreds of workers just by standing outside the doors of a factory, they’re now chasing part-time employees with erratic schedules. And while a strike at a single auto plant employing thousands of workers could bring a company to its knees, a café can likely weather an extended walkout by bringing in a few extra managers to work overtime. Read full story.

A diversified approach to recruitment strategy
Earlier this year, the Research Universities’ Council of B.C. (RUCBC) released a labour-market report that showed the labour woes that have beset its neighbours to the east would soon hit B.C. equally as hard, reported the Financial Post Aug. 12….Unlike Alberta and Ontario where labour shortages tended to be greatest in skilled trades, the RUBC study identified jobs requiring university education as being highest in demand….In response, some B.C.-based companies have begun taking a proactive approach to recruitment, ensuring they not only target “traditional” talent pools, but also ones that are more diverse in nature, which recent research has shown to be a plus for the bottom line….Earlier this year, HSBC announced the establishment of the HSBC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Student Awards at four of Canada’s top business schools, including York University’s Schulich School of Business. Read full story.

The dirt: Advising buyers about development charges key to standard of care for real estate lawyers
John Mascarin teaches development charges as a component of his planning law course at Osgoode Hall Law School, reported the Law Times Aug. 12. Mascarin explains that development charges might be better understood for what they’re not. Contrary to popular opinion, development charges don’t need to be tied to or limited to the services required by a specific development. In fact, development charges aren’t a payment for specific services needed to facilitate the development of specific lands. Accordingly, even if a developer can prove unequivocally that its proposed project requires no new municipal infrastructure at all, development charges may still be imposed. Read full story.

The stakes in (no) change: The AHA and academic careers
“Recently, the American Historical Association posted a policy statement that caused some controversy among academics, because of its recommendation that universities should allow junior scholars the option of a six-year embargo on electronic publication of their dissertations,” wrote York University PhD candidate Melonie Fullick in University Affairs Aug. 12. “While this policy is only about ensuring that grad students can have their dissertation embargoed if they want, rather than telling them they have to, what’s revealing is not only the argument that’s been provided but also that there’s been such a strong reaction and an intense debate generated by the issues involved.” Read full story.

More storage for expanding collection at Royal Saskatchewan Museum
With an influx of new specimens expected by the end of the month, the Royal Saskatchewan Museum is preparing to expand its space with new, expensive cabinets, reported the Leader-Post Aug. 14. To accommodate, 27 of the older wooden cabinets will be replaced with 15-20 larger and better sealed metal cabinets by March. The cost of the cabinets and the labour for installation is estimated at $89,000 – half of which is provided by the Museum Assistance Program, a federal grant. Other funding sources include the Agriculture Council of Saskatchewan ($20,000), the University of Guelph ($2,000), York University ($3,000) and the RSM ($20,000). Read full story.