Scotland’s new kind of independence movement

“It is illuminating to compare the Québécois and the Scottish national struggles,” wrote York University political science Professor James Laxer in the Toronto Star Aug. 11. “In my opinion, while Scottish nationalism now embraces the wider world, Quebec nationalism has turned inward centring ever more on ethnicity, something that would likely cause Parti Québécois founder René Lévesque to turn over in his grave.” Read full story.

Letters: Sousa’s flights of fancy
A recent study by Fred Lazar of the Schulich School of Business at York University estimates that the 148 per cent fuel tax increase could result in a decrease of up to $97-million in GDP for the province, reported the Financial Post Aug. 12. The tax increase could also mean a loss of more than 2,000 jobs and 400,000 air travellers in Ontario. By 2030, the catalytic effect could cost the province up to $1-billion in lost GDP. Read full story.

Black Creek Community Farm, a hidden urban oasis near Jane & Finch
The farm currently grows over 100 varieties of fresh produce, which is sold at farmers’ markets all over Toronto including at York University, Evergreen Brickworks, Wychwood Barns, and Driftwood – or used by Black Creek Pioneer Village. Vegetables grown on the farm include shiitake mushrooms, yellow zucchini, okra and much more, reported Yonge Street Aug. 13. Read full story.

Why reading fiction may just make you a better person
According to York University psychologist Raymond Mar, reading fiction may help people become more empathetic, reported The Globe and Mail Aug. 12. In a recent presentation at the American Psychological Association’s annual convention in Washington, Mar suggested that our brains react to fictional tales much in the same way as they do to real-life social situations. Read full story.

Hummingbirds are packing on fat in preparation for migration: aerial view
The Cleveland Museum of Natural History will host a symposium, “Point of No Return: Exploring Extinction,” on Friday, Sept. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Murch Auditorium. Cost is $15 per person, reported Aug. 12. Keynote speakers are Bridget Stutchbury, author and professor at York University, who will present “Conservation Triage: Should We Let Species Go Extinct?” and Chad Pregracke, President and Founder of Living Lands & Waters, who will present “Helping to Clean America’s Rivers: From the Bottom Up.” Read full story.

Who were the young people who died apparently from tainted drugs at music festivals?
Annie Truong-Le, a 20-year-old political science student at Toronto’s York University, volunteered with an after-school program for students in the city’s tough Jane and Finch neighbourhood where she grew up. Lynn Tolocka, 24, grew up a martial arts enthusiast in a U.S. military family who settled in Leduc, Alta., and took time off from her catering job last weekend to celebrate her 25th birthday. Both young women are among three alarming deaths at two summer music festivals on the weekend, one in Toronto and the other in Penticton, B.C., reported the National Post Aug. 6.Read full story.

Child labour or just chores? Debate rages after Saskatchewan bans kids from working on family farm
Since the Second World War, children living on farms performed all kinds of heavy labour, said Anne-Marie Ambert, a retired professor of sociology at York University who has written on changing family roles and expectations. “A farm can be very dangerous, but crossing the street can be very dangerous too,” she said in the National Post Aug. 11. Read full story.

Canada goose: How a honking, hissing icon became an enemy of the state
With more than eight million Canada geese living in North America, it is understandable that some urbanites are starting to squawk. Attacks on cyclists and poop-covered public places are just a few reasons for the downgrade in public opinion. Geese experts, however, don’t see the big honkers as an obstruction of the peace…. “Bird poop is probably not a problem … what’s going into the Don River from other agricultural or industrial pursuits are far greater pollutants than what the geese are doing,” said Gail Fraser, an avian biologist at York University, in the Toronto Star Aug. 7. Read full story.

Toronto ranks 15th on global list of millionaires per city
Les Jacobs, director of the Institute for Social Research at York University and co-author of a 2014 survey on the national income gap, said that the figure shows the strength of Toronto’s financial sector, but that it highlights the need for the redistribution of wealth, reported the Toronto Star July 31. Read full story.