Biologist says promoting diversity is key to ‘keeping the bees’

Laurence Packer, a professor of biology at York University in Toronto, has spent his career studying bees, and he believes we’ll be better off if we rely less on honeybees and managed hives for pollination and more on some of the 20,000 species of wild bees, reported Northwest Public Radio July 9. Packer’s new book is an exploration of bee pollination and a celebration of bee diversity from stingless bees that feed on tears, to others that survive by invading other bees’ nests. Read full story.

Abshir Hassan represented ‘all that’s good’ about Toronto
Slain Toronto teacher and York University graduate student Abshir Hassan represented “all that’s good” about Toronto, according to the principal of the school where the 31-year-old taught. Hassan was shot in Lawrence Heights – the neighbourhood where he grew up in and taught – at around 12:15am Tuesday. A car pulled up alongside an apartment building on Flemington Road near Lawrence Avenue West and Allen Road and fired more than a dozen shots, reported CBC News July 9. Read full story.

Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye: Apocalypse and Alchemy, by B.W. Powe: Review
B.W. Powe as novelist remains more or less in the background of Marshall McLuhan and Northrop Frye: Apocalypse and Alchemy, but he does not disappear, reported the National Post June 27. Powe, also an English professor at York Unversity, begins his study with a reference to the initial introduction of Frye and McLuhan at a meeting of the English Department of the University of Toronto in 1946, and then declares, “I like to imagine their first conversation.” Read full story.

Toronto Zoo sloth joins pantheon of World Cup animal oracles
York University psychology Professor Suzanne MacDonald said the allure of psychic animals taps into a lot of things, such as our tendency to be superstitious, fascination for animals and inclination to gamble and look to anything for an edge to win. “It’s pretty natural that humans use animals as omens,” she said in the Toronto Star July 11, pointing to the black cat crossing the road and speculation that some animals can predict earthquakes and other natural disasters. Read full story.

How American Apparel fell into ‘dangerous trap’ of retail expansion hype
A key confusion when it comes to retail growth is that many retailers, analysts and investors mistakenly believe getting bigger will help a retailer’s bottom line in terms of purchasing clout and the ability to run operations more efficiently in order to keep growing its bottom line, said Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University’s Schulich School of Business, in the Financial Post July 12. Read full story.

Top court upholds Ontario’s logging rights on First Nations land
Taken together with the same court’s ruling two weeks ago on aboriginal rights to control their ancestral lands, the decision Friday affirms the rights of provinces but also demands a high standard of those governments in protecting native interests. In the two rulings, the court has created a “protective shield” for aboriginal communities, according to Brian Slattery, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School. “The ‘honour of the Crown’ has emerged as the overarching constitutional principle,” said Slattery in The Globe and Mail July 11. Read full story.

Apple, grapefruit, margarita – what’s driving beer’s new flavours?
“It’s appealing to that younger demographic, which traditionally has been the heart and soul of the beer industry,” said Alan Middleton, a marketing professor at York University, in the Toronto Star July 11. Increasingly, drinkers of all ages are forgoing a one-size-fits-all refreshment and tailoring what they drink to where they’re drinking. Read full story.

Court curbs access to victims’ police records in sex-assault cases
The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that sexual-assault victims cannot have police records used against them in court when those records are not related to the case in question, reported The Globe and Mail July 9. Sonia Lawrence, who teaches at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, said the court interpreted the law in light of Parliament’s purpose: “The government didn’t want judges and juries relying on myths and stereotypes about sex assault complainants.” Read full story.