How safe are we from Ebola?

Roger Keil, a York University political science professor who co-authored an in-depth study of how SARS affected Toronto as a city, says he sees some parallels with the new threat, most specifically, how it, too, has emerged from a region of the world that North Americans don’t spend much time thinking about…. He sees the same fervent faith – Keil terms it “hubris” – being expressed about the superiority of Western medicine and technology…. “Ebola is the scariest infectious disease that one can imagine. It really has Biblical plague connotations,” said Keil in Maclean’s Oct. 16. Read full story.

Watch raccoons escape trash can – are urban animals getting smarter?
Raccoons that live in cities or suburbs seem to be more resourceful than their rural kin, according to preliminary research by Suzanne MacDonald, a psychology professor at York University and a National Geographic Committee for Research and Exploration grantee. Case in point: MacDonald recently captured video of raccoons getting stuck in – and cleverly getting out of – a garbage can tightly secured with bungee cords in her suburban backyard, reported National Geographic Oct. 15. Read full story.

Rate My Classmate site meant to call out group-project slackers
York University MBA grad Stefano Cerone, 23, has launched the website (short for Team Work Problems) where college and university students can rate their classmates – up to five stars, with room for comments – on how they perform on the pillars of group work: teamwork, competence, dependability, work ethic and communication skills, reported the Toronto Star Oct. 16. Read full story.

Criticism deserved
“It is important to support comments by lawyer James Scott and retired Judge Cunliff Barnett regarding the Gladue decision and its use in Saskatchewan,” wrote Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Signa A. Daum Shanks in The StarPhoenix Oct. 16. “Barnett isn’t just criticizing judges. He is critiquing all of us trained in law, and with good reason.” Read full story.

Dalai Lama’s visit to Vancouver reminds that mindfulness helps students
During previous visits to Vancouver in 2004, 2006, and 2009, the Dalai Lama emphasized the importance of educating the heart. Vancouver resident Victor Chan said that as a result of these efforts, B.C. has become a world leader in fostering mindfulness in the classroom. He noted that several B.C. school districts have incorporated a program to encourage self-regulation in classrooms that was developed by York University Professor Stuart Shanker. The Ontario academic has defined self-regulation as an ability to control physical, behavioural and mental impulses, reported Oct. 15. Read full story.

Reminding people of their religious belief system reduces hostility
New research conducted at York University, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, may shed some light on religion’s actual influence on believers – and the news is positive…. “Our research suggests that people generally associate their religious beliefs with Golden Rule ideals of forgiveness and forbearance, and that they turn to them when the chips are down, in threatening circumstances,” said the article’s second author, York U psychology Professor Ian McGregor, in Oct. 15. Read full story.

Why flashy product launches often backfire
While many businesses try to dazzle consumers with various bells and whistles when launching new products, that type of flashy strategy can often backfire and end up hurting sales, a study recently published in the Journal of Consumer Research found. This is especially true of highly innovative or cutting-edge products, reported BusinessNewsDaily Oct. 15…. The study was authored by York University Professor Theodore Noseworthy, University of Winnipeg Professor Fabrizio Di Muro and University of Alberta Professor Kyle Murray. Read full story.

MP Matthew Kellway hosts World Food Day Fair
The free and accessible event will take place Oct. 18 at the East End Community Health Centre, from 10am to 2pm, reported the Beaches Mirror Oct. 14. Amro Zayed of York University’s Bee Lab will be doing demonstrations on honey bees and honey bee health. Read full story.