Top Ten

November 9, 2006

Young Ontarians Flock to Poker

A recent poll of 1,000 Ontarians for the Responsible Gambling Council found 24% of 18-to-34-year-olds play poker at least once a week, often online. 16% think poker is a good way to earn extra money, and 4% believe they could earn a living from the game. Young people underestimate the need for math skills, financial resources, and emotional restraint. Internet poker has been growing in popularity, though overall gambling participation is dropping. Globe & Mail 

Canadians Want More Funding for Health Research

Research Canada, An Alliance for Health Discovery released results of a national survey yesterday finding that 91% of Canadians want more government investment in health and medical research, and 86% want Canada to be a global leader in health and medical research. When informed that less than 1% of public health dollars are spent on research, 85% of Canadians support spending more. Most would be willing to spend $1 per week to fund more health and medical research. Research Canada 

Laurier President on Improved Rankings

Wilfrid Laurier University rose from 10th to 6th place in the primarily undergraduate Maclean's rankings this year. Laurier president Bob Rosehart observes that three factors helped: the student services and library budgets were increased, and the proportion of students with a 75%+ average increased. "These budgetary increases were music to Maclean’s ears," says the campus newspaper, The Cord. Rosehart also observes that Maclean's ratios are biased towards smaller schools: all the universities that placed ahead of Laurier had enrollment of less than 5,000 students. Cord Weekly 

Campus Food Banks

The campus newspaper at Wilfrid Laurier University, The Cord, reports that rising tuition and rents are making food prices increasingly significant on many university campuses. At Laurier, the Students' Union actually established a student food bank late last month, allowing students to receive three days' worth of meals by filling out an online application, as much as three times per semester. The Laurier library invites students to pay their overdue book fines with non-perishable food items. Apparently, over 50 campuses across Canada have similar projects. Cord Weekly 

Today's Teens Prefer Yesterday's Movies

A new documentary about legendary filmmaker John Hughes reports that today's teens prefer his films (The Breakfast Club, Weird Science, Sixteen Candles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, etc.) to today's teen flicks. "All the teens we interviewed said that they can't relate to any of the movies that have come out for them in the last decade." Hughes understood the awkwardness of being a teenager, he didn't shy away from real emotions, and he cast actors that looked the way teens look -- acne, braces, unwieldy bodies and all. Maclean's 

Community College of Southern Nevada to issue iPods

Next spring, CCSN is launching a pilot program to measure the impact of school-issued iPods on classroom learning. Podcasts of lectures and other materials will be made available by CCSN profs, and are expected to be particularly useful for pronunciation in foreign-language classes, or Shakespearean performances in English classes. Podcasting is already used at Duke, Stanford, Ohio State, Penn State, uMichigan and uMissouri, but CCSN appears to be the first US college to provide iPods to students, on loan for the semester. Las Vegas Sun 

Diploma Mills in China

In a job market flooded with 4 million university grads each year, those without connections need a degree from a top university. Entrepreneurial private colleges discovered they could "affiliate" with recognized universities and issue diplomas with the coveted name -- until Beijing ordered a stop to the practice in 2003. Some students were misled, and as they now approach graduation, tens of thousands of students are staging protests, marches and minor clashes at colleges around the country. Since campus violence is off-limits for the media, many go unreported. Asia Times 

Most US Science Grads Not Working in their Field

The National Science Foundation's 2003 National Survey of Recent College Graduates finds that more than half of 2001 and 2002 grads with bachelor degrees in the sciences were employed outside of science and engineering, or unemployed non-students, by October 2003. The report also records median salaries, full-time student and employment status by subject area. Health and Engineering grads were more likely to be employed in science, engineering or health occupations than other science grads. National Science Foundation 

The Effect of US Congressional Elections

The Chronicle of Higher Education speculates that the swing toward Democrat control of the US House of Representatives in this week's election will likely result in making college more affordable, training more scientists and engineers, expanding funding of stem-cell and other research, reauthorization of the No Child Let Behind Act, continuation of "earmarks" (noncompetitive grants made to colleges in lawmakers' jurisdictions), slashing subsidies to student lenders, and toughening standards for for-profit institutions. Chronicle of Higher Education (requires subscription)