Stanley Park, the natural wonder of Vancouver, was shaped by humans

One of the biggest misconceptions about Stanley Park is that it was virgin forest until Europeans arrived in the Vancouver area. In fact, First Nations people had been living there for hundreds of years. “There’s 14 archeological sites in Stanley Park registered with the province’s archeological branch,” said York University Professor Sean Kheraj, author of Inventing Stanley Park, An Environmental History (UBC Press), in the Vancouver Sun Aug. 17. “The sites are spread throughout the entirety of the [Stanley Park] peninsula. Every time the park board built something new, they discovered new archeological evidence.[…]The oldest radio-carbon dated artifact found in the archeological middens is 3,200 years before present.” Read full story.

Canadians arrested on road to Gaza caught in Egypt’s chaos
Tarek Loubani, a doctor from London, Ont., and John Greyson, a filmmaker and professor at York University, were en route to Gaza when they were arrested in Cairo by Egyptian police on Friday, said friend Justin Podur, an environmental studies professor at York….“They told the consular staff to tell us that they’re okay. It’s a huge relief. But their families and I are still stressed because we want to know why they’re being held and we want them released,” said Podur in The Globe and Mail Aug. 18. Read full story.

Toronto researchers contribute to new understanding of neutrino oscillations
TRIUMF, a Canadian laboratory for nuclear and particle physics, recently contributed to the discovery of a previously unknown type of neutrino behavior, reported The Varsity Aug. 18.…Researchers from both the University of Toronto and York University were part of the experiment. A major contribution from the two universities was the Optical Transition Radiation device, which increased the experiment’s precision by tracking the proton beam from which the neutrinos were produced. Read full story.

Are they illegal or illegalized?
In April, the Associated Press announced it would no longer use “illegal immigrants”. The term illegal, it said, “should describe only an action.” Instead, the AP suggested wordy alternative phrases, such as “person entering a country illegally” or “without legal permission”….York University linguistics Professor Sheila Embleton says language can frame a debate, solicit different responses and shape opinions and attitudes. “Language is powerful,” said Embleton in the Toronto Star Aug. 17. “Much of bullying, for example, is verbal. Much of it is words, not physical. Language is powerful in a lot of ways.” Read full story.

The sports gene: why the 10,000 hour rule doesn’t always make winners
The crucial question for sports: Does anyone have elite-level aerobic endurance before training? In the late 1990s, Norman Gledhill, a professor of kinesiology at York University in Toronto, his colleague Veronica Jamnik and York researcher Marco Martino set out to see whether they could identify and study such naturally fit people. Part of their work was to administer fitness screenings to young men hoping to become Toronto firefighters. Over two years, the team gave VO2max tests to 1,900 young men. Among them were six men with no history of training whatsoever, who nonetheless had aerobic capacities on a par with collegiate runners….The naturally fit men had a crucial gift, through no discipline or effort of their own: massive helpings of blood, reported The Guardian Aug. 16. Read full story.

Pitfalls of procrastination
The dictionary defines procrastination as the act or habit of delaying things until a later time. Simply put, if we feel that an important chore is difficult or dull, we postpone it and instead do an easier or interesting chore. According to Clarry Lay, a professor at York University, procrastinators pursue their wants instead of their needs, reported the Free Press Journal Aug. 18. But why does one procrastinate? Read full story.

How the Internet makes us overshare
Some of the latest research to directly tackle this issue comes from Professor Russell W. Belk, chair in marketing at York University in Toronto, reported the Pacific Standard Aug. 16. In his most recent paper, “Extended Self in a Digital World”, which will appear in the Journal of Consumer Research this October, Belk argues that our relationship with social media is gradually creating a more complex idea of who we think we are as individuals….“When we’re looking at the screen we’re not face-to-face with someone who can immediately respond to us, so it’s easier to let it all out – it’s almost like we’re invisible,” said Belk. “The irony is that rather than just one person, there’s potentially thousands or hundreds of thousands of people receiving what we put out there.” Read full story.

Building a bridge to Canadian career
Ana Gabriela Garcia Murillo was a trilingual, cultured, well-educated woman when she came to Canada seeking better opportunities….Once in Canada, Murillo found another retail manager job, but was let go when her contract came up for renewal….That’s when, after a recommendation from a friend, she applied to York University’s bridging program for internationally educated professionals (IEPs), which launched as a pilot project in 2009. The innovative 18-month certificate program helps immigrants trained abroad adjust to Canadian business culture, and find employment that matches their credentials and experience, reported the Toronto Star Aug. 15. Read full story.

Townhouse fire displaces York University students
A York University student grabbed her ferret and ran when a two-alarm blaze broke out in a row of townhouses near the school Friday afternoon, reported the Toronto Sun Aug. 16….It is not known when residents will be allowed back in, but York is paying for hotels for those displaced in the meantime. Rivas said the school has promised to the students short-term housing until September and then something else from there if they can’t return to the townhouses. Read full story.

Programs act as springboard to jobs of today
Continuing education programs across the country are launching new courses and certificates directly linked to the changing demands of the workforce – from certificates in project management and social media to courses on conflict resolution.…“If a company wants to downsize, the first it will get rid of are the generalists – the specialists are the last to go,” said Art Noordeh, director of continuing education at York University, in the Toronto Star Aug. 15. The universities and colleges recognize this, said Noordeh, and have taken to creating courses to fill the gaps. Read full story.

Wake up, Canada: It’s okay to fail
Linebacker Jason Pottinger just began his fifth season with the Toronto Argonauts. The two-time Grey Cup winner is also an MBA student at York University’s Schulich School of Business, where he’s focusing on international business and marketing….“I often look back on my first start as a linebacker, in 2007 with the B.C. Lions.[…]I had a horrible game. I played very poorly,” said Pottinger in The Globe and Mail Aug. 15. “I’ve taken that lesson from my first start with me into the classroom. I bombed a presentation early in my MBA studies and I took the same approach, asking, ‘What did I do wrong, and how can I do better?’ So, again, I’ve got that checklist of what to do based on that past failure.” Read full story.

The secret trade treaty you need to know about
The Foreign Investment Promotion and Investment Agreement abrogates international and constitutional law and essentially hijacks municipal, provincial, territorial and federal laws that threaten the profitability of Chinese State Owned Enterprises. A treaty as momentous in its import should merit open discussion, but instead, it has been cloaked in secrecy….Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Gus Van Harten countered the Harper government spin in his article entitled, “Taking Apart Tories’ Party Line On China-Canada Treaty”, reported the Huffington Post Aug. 14. Read full story.

Kincardine Summer Music Festival faculty teaching next generation of jazz musicians
The faculty of the Kincardine Summer Music Festival have been busy teaching others their craft, reported Kincardine News Aug. 15. In addition to providing numerous concerts in Kincardine, the festival also hosts the annual jazz program for musicians looking to learn the style of music. Jules Estrin, the festival’s jazz program coordinator, said the students range in ages and skill, with some program members aged 11 to 80….Saxophonist Kelly Jefferson, who teaches at the University of Toronto and York University, said many students learn how to listen to music through the program and that the program teaches an appreciation for music, even if the students don’t follow it as a career path. Read full story.

The digital divide
Earlier this month, Twitter announced it was finally getting a “report abuse” button to help combat the rape and death threats some users receive. The news was of course controversial, not in some small part due to the fact that this button simply masks the real problem, which is why human beings think this kind of behaviour is appropriate in an online environment in the first place….To try and figure out why we separate the “digital” world and the “real” one, I turned to York University Professor and social psychologist David Toews. “It has now come to a point where people not only can, they are often expected to, communicate with each other in multiple media formats, frequently as many as possible and even many different ones simultaneously,” said Toews in the Toronto Standard Aug. 14. “This means that the consensus that people turn to in order to define what is real and what is not real is much more unstable.” Read full story.

Marketing dilemmas in a world of Twitter and Facebook
“What we do online is not just play time, but it really affects us offline as well,” said Russell Belk, marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, in The Globe and Mail Aug. 15. “With Facebook and other social media, we’re expressing who we are. We’re posting pictures and writing posts, and we’re having people commenting on it.[…]Those are things that help shape our identity, partly in our control, but not entirely. There’s a sort of co-creation of self.” That co-creation applies to marketers, too: They can no longer control their brands’ identities, because they are partly formulated by the conversation that happens online. Read full story.

It’s the middle class, stupid
“Twenty years ago a fresh-faced Bill Clinton understood that the US people, struggling under a weak economy, thought their future prosperity was in jeopardy.[…]Today, an even fresher-faced Justin Trudeau has concluded that Canada’s ‘middle class’ struggles under similar apprehensions about their economic future,” wrote Eugene Lang, the BMO Visiting Fellow at the Graduate School of Public and International and International Affairs at York University’s Glendon College, in the Ottawa Citizen Aug. 15. “Trudeau, like Clinton, is trying to define the central narrative of the next federal election on the issue of middle-class economic insecurity. The emerging Liberal campaign message might be reduced to, “It’s the middle class, stupid.” Read full story.

Afghanistan and the politics of memory
Early in July, then-defence minister Peter MacKay unveiled the Afghanistan Memorial Vigil on Parliament Hill. Originally displayed in Kandahar, most of the black granite plaques commemorate one of the 161 Canadians killed in Canada’s longest war….By any realistic measure, Canada’s adventure in Afghanistan was a total disaster. Afghanistan is returning to its 2001 dispensation: “Warlords, the Taliban, an anti-secular government, civil war, and regional rivalries and interference,” said Justin Podur of York University in the Ottawa Citizen Aug. 15. Read full story.

Growing up with same-sex parents
Sadie Epstein-Fine, a 21-year-old theatre student at York University, believes in the power of shared experience, reported the Toronto Star Aug. 15. And like her mothers, LGBTQ Parenting Network co-ordinator Rachel Epstein and playwright Lois Fine, she is active in the community. She is a counsellor for teens at Camp Ten Oaks each summer and she regularly speaks about being the child of same-sex parents at workshops for couples planning families or already raising children. She’s volunteered for political canvassing and spoken in high schools about homophobia. Read full story.

Artists groups free to take gallery fee dispute to Supreme Court
This week, the court granted leave to appeal to Canadian Artists’ Representation and its Quebec partner, Le Regroupement des artistes en arts visuels du Québec, after a decision by the Federal Court of Appeal in March this year effectively preventing the two artist groups from negotiating minimum display and other copyright-related fees with the National Gallery….A 2009 study by Toronto’s York University found that Canada has between 22,500 and 27,500 visual artists, reported The Globe and Mail Aug. 16. The average age of a Canadian artist is 43 and in 2007, when the average annual Canadian gross income was $36,301, a typical artist’s income, from all sources, was $25,318. Read full story.

The young and the Catholic
Where are all the single Catholic girls? That’s what friends of Matthew Sanders wanted to know….So Sanders and other young adult Catholics began to organize singles mixers, reported the Catholic Register Aug. 16. The first mixer was held in the spring of 2012, said Angela Mungai, pastoral assistant at York University’s Catholic chaplaincy. About 25 people attended and Mungai had volunteered to lend a helping hand. But they were short one girl for their speed dating setup, so she stepped in. That was the first time she had an in-depth conversation with her now boyfriend. Read full story.