Antimatter atoms yield high-precision measurement

The ALPHA collaboration, an international group of scientists including many Canadians, has now measured the charge of antihydrogen – the antimatter version of hydrogen – and found that it is neutral or zero to eight decimal places, reported CBC News June 3. . . . “Everything we do on antihydrogen is related to trying to see some subtle difference between matter and antimatter,” said Scott Menary, a York University researcher who played a major role in the discovery. Read full story.

Ontario’s not-so-green election
“With the 2014 election platforms of all four major parties now published, those looking for inspiration and new ideas around the environmental and economic challenges facing Ontario are likely to be disappointed,” wrote York University environmental studies Professor Mark Winfield in the Hamilton Spectator June 3. “The colour of this election is definitely not green – a greyish-brown might be more appropriate.” Read full story.

Organizing precarious workers: Unions think sector-wide to help freelancers
“I certainly think that the labour movement could be exploring and taking seriously those kinds of geographic organizing strategies,” said Stephanie Ross, a professor of work and labour studies at York University and co-director of the Global Labour Research Centre, in May 30. “To say, ‘ok we’re going to have a target of organizing simultaneously all the Starbucks in downtown Toronto.’ It’s incredibly unlikely that if you are able to do that Starbucks will pull out of downtown Toronto all together.” Read full story.

Experts, leaders debate if mentally ill are criminally responsible
Bill C-54, the not criminally responsible (NCR) reform act, is controversial because it is not evidence based, said Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Jamie Cameron in the Aurora Banner May 30. Rather, it’s widely thought to be a response to the voices of victims, many of whom don’t want to see NCR offenders released early or ever. With the NCR bill, you avoid a conviction, but you’ll go through the forensic mental health system, she said, noting you’re deflected. You don’t walk away. Read full story.

Learning a new language at any age helps the brain
“This is a nice study that adds to the body of literature trying to figure out exactly the conditions under which bilingualism improves cognitive function,” said Ellen Bialystok, a professor and bilingualism expert at York University in Toronto. Bialystok added that “much is left to be done” in understanding the specific benefits of bilingualism across ages and populations, reported Live Science June 2. Read full story.

Father Henry Carr’s star shot-putter Obeng Marfo signs with Penn State
Just a day after shattering her own record at the Metro Track and Field Championships, shot-putter Obeng Marfo topped off a winning week on Friday by signing with Penn State. . . . Coach Jack Harkness, who volunteers with the York University Track and Field Club, called Marfo an “extremely dedicated” and “extremely coachable” athlete, reported the Etobicoke Guardian May 30. Read full story.

Tell me a story, how stories spark the imagination
Retired University of Toronto Professor Keith Oatley and York University Professor Raymond Marr found “that individuals who frequently read fiction seem to be able to understand other people and are better at empathizing with them and seeing the world from their perspective,” reported Mississauga News May 12. In a study involving preschool-age children, Marr found a similar effect. Read full story.