Atmospheric expert worked on Voyager 1

For York University atmospheric science Professor Jack McConnell, the possibility of life on Mars was irresistible, reported The Globe and Mail Oct. 4. In 2010, Prof. McConnell became part of a team of scientists building an instrument to examine the Red Planet’s atmosphere for signs of life on a mission in 2016. “Venus isn’t likely, Mercury doesn’t have an atmosphere and Jupiter has no surface to speak of,” Prof. McConnell said at the time. “Mars is the thing nearest to us that can most likely harbour life. That’s what intrigues people.”…Prof. McConnell died in Toronto on July 29 of brain cancer at the age of 67. He leaves his wife, three children and two grandchildren. Read full story.

#FreeTarekandJohn event added to Nuit Blanche
A new Nuit Blanche project aims to grow a “portrait petition” calling for the release of Canadian filmmaker John Greyson and doctor Tarek Loubani, currently being detained in Egypt….The petition at has been up for roughly two weeks and so far features 280 images from contributors, including staff of the Pacific Film Archives in Berkeley, California, and of York University, where Greyson is a faculty member. On the evening of Nuit Blanche on Oct. 5 – which marks the 50th day of imprisonment for Greyson and Loubani – the public will be invited to contribute to the portrait petition through photo booths at Toronto City Hall, 401 Richmond St. W. and the Gladstone Hotel, reported Canadian Art Oct. 3. Read full story.

Not our dads’ unions anymore
“A typical union member in Canada today is likely to be female and work in the public sector, a big change from the primarily male, blue-collar, industrial workforce that dominated the union movement well into the 1980s. The demographic makeup of the Canadian labour movement has undergone a slow but dramatic transformation over the course of the past three decades,” co-wrote York University Professor Stephanie Ross, co-director of the Global Labour Research Centre at York, in the Hamilton Spectator Oct. 3. Read full story.

Small grower vying to become Canada’s marijuana ‘market leader’
Alan Young, is a professor of law at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto who has fought the criminalization of marijuana for 15 years. Although some medical pot users complain that they will now have to purchase what they had been growing in their basements for free, Young supports the changes. The old program was not working at many levels including patient access, he said. The Conservatives came up with a plan “that more or less removes the government from the equation,” he said in The Globe and Mail Oct. 3. “In theory and conceptually, the government is moving in the right direction.” Read full story.

Former Observer TEENage club president receives international student award in Toronto
Jamaican Brandon Allwood was among eight international undergraduates recognized with Toronto Excellence Awards at the second annual Toronto International Students Festival held last Saturday at the David Pecaut Square, reported the Jamaica Observer Oct. 3. Allwood, who is pursuing communications studies at York University, was the only student from the Caribbean to be honoured. With nearly 59,000 international students in the province, Toronto is the largest centre of foreign students in Canada. Read full story.

Argos a ticking time bomb for CFL: Cox
No home, no owner and attendance problems so dire the Toronto Argonauts may currently be losing upwards of $6 million per season less than a year after successfully hosting and winning the 100th Grey Cup last November, reported the Toronto Star Sept. 27….Former team owner David Cynamon said in a Sportsnet radio interview on Wednesday that he believes York University, which once almost negotiated the building of a new Argo stadium on its campus, is “open-minded” about participating in the construction of such a facility again. Let’s say that happened. Would fans go there in numbers strong enough to at least provide the chance for the team to break even? Read full story.