Nobel winning Yale economist has Canadian connections

Now that famed Yale University economist Robert Shiller has won the Nobel Prize in economics, maybe his work in Canada will get a bit more notice, reported The Globe and Mail Oct. 22. . . . Upon the announcement last week of Shiller’s Nobel win (along with Eugene Fama and Lars Peter Hansen), the C.D. Howe Institute issued a congratulatory news release that was more than happy to point out that Shiller had, in fact, worked with the Toronto-based think tank. It reminded us of a 2008 paper Shiller co-authored with York University finance Professor Mark Kamstra, which proposed an innovative bond product for the Canadian government. Read full story.

As school shootings pile up, ‘The Dirties’ seeks answers
The Dirties, a come-from-nowhere (well, from Canada) indie film that took the Grand Jury Prize for Best Narrative at last January’s Slamdance festival and earned the admiration and support of Kevin Smith, is the closest we’ve yet come to a school shooting movie with something new and insightful to say on the topic, reported the Hollywood Reporter Oct. 21. Conceived and directed by and starring Matt Johnson – a 28-year-old student director from Toronto, currently enrolled at York University – the hard-to-define film seeks to put a human face on the perpetrators of these incomprehensible acts. Read full story.

Five things to know about controversy surrounding Marc Nadon’s appointment to Supreme Court
Whatever happens, “it won’t be a quick performance,” said Allan Hutchinson, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School in the National Post Oct. 21. “There’s all kinds of strange scenarios down the road, but I’m not so sure it’s going to go that far. It’s not obvious that a court of appeal would take an appeal on this if [the challengers] get blown out at the first instance. A judge could declare there’s absolutely no argument to be made, that it’s crystal clear.” Read full story.

History of Halloween
Halloween can be traced back about 2,000 years to an Oct. 31 Gaelic festival called Samhain (pronounced “sah-win”), which means “summer’s end” in Gaelic, reported LiveScience Oct. 21. . . . According to Nicholas Rogers, a history professor at York University and author of Halloween: From Pagan Ritual to Party Night, “there is no hard evidence that Samhain was specifically devoted to the dead or to ancestor worship, despite claims to the contrary by some American folklorists, some of whom have presumed that the feast was devoted to Saman, the god of the dead. . . . According to the ancient sagas, Samhain was the time when tribal peoples paid tribute to their conquerors and when the sidh [ancient mounds] might reveal the magnificent palaces of the gods of the underworld,” Rogers wrote. Read full story.

App aims to analyze chemical makeup of your food
A Toronto-based company has launched a crowdfunding campaign to create a scanner and companion smartphone app that can tell you the chemical makeup of your food, reported Metro Oct. 22. TellSpec Inc. was launched by Isabel Hoffmann, a businesswoman with a background in mathematics and wellness, and Stephen Watson, a math professor at York University. The product they plan to create will list what is in our food, including potential allergens like gluten and eggs, calories, nutrients and chemicals. Read full story.

Yukonstyle: a gutsy drama with striking moments
Sarah Berthiaume’s latest play is set in Whitehorse during the trial of serial killer Robert Pickton. . . . In Yukonstyle, Berthiaume strikes a balance between short, sharp scenes of conflict between the characters and poetically descriptive monologues, which are delivered by the three main young actors through head-mounted microphones, reported The Globe and Mail and others Oct. 18. Director Ted Witzel provides visuals that complement these passages rather than trying to literally illustrate them. The nicely layered staging by Witzel – one of two inaugural graduates of York University’s new MFA program in collaboration with Canadian Stage – is a leap forward for him as well. Read full story.