Top Ten

January 15, 2007

McMaster "Superbug" Research Centre

Saturday's Globe & Mail reports that McMaster University is now set to establish a $20-million Centre for Microbial Chemical Biology at its DeGroot School of Medicine, set to open one year from now. The Centre will "lead the world's fight against drug-resistant infectious diseases" or "superbugs" by creating new antibiotics. CFI provided $8 million, and the province announced a matching $8 million last week. Globe & Mail 

USask/ UBC E.Coli Vaccine for Cattle

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency gave approval to the first release of the uSaskatchewan's VIDO food safety program (Vaccine and Infectious DIsease Organization). The approved vaccine for cattle will protect water and food supply from E.coli 0157:H7, the cause of an outbreak and several deaths in Walkerton, Ontario in 2000. Canada is now the first country to have a vaccine to control E.coli 0157:H7. The vaccine is based on a discovery by a UBC researcher, and works by reducing the amount of this bacteria that is shed by cattle into their environment, and from there into water supplies. uSaskatchewan Release | VIDO Release 

NB Tuition Rebate Won't Apply to All Students

The New Brunswick Department of Finance has released a rebate of $2,000 to all full-time first-year undergrad students at the province's publicly funded unviersities. Students must be residents of New Brunswick to receive the rebate, and the schools included are UNB, St. Thomas University, Mount Allison University, and Universite de Moncton. The rebate is a one-time gift meant to offset the cost of tuition and student fees and to counteract the poor record of freshman retention in New Brunswick, which is touted as the worst in Canada. Private schools like ABU, Bethany Bible College and St. Stephen's do not qualify, but hope the province will consider broadening the program, as the rebate is meant to benefit individual students rather than institutions. CBC | Gov't of NB | ABU News Release 

Canadian Schools Closer to Joining NCAA

Early in January, the NCAA approved a pilot program that will allow Canadian institutions to compete against their American members. NCAA currently does not allow international membership, and any Canadian school wishing to join would have to seek approval from a particular division. The next meeting of the association's executive committee is not until April. The pilot program is a step forward, but in no way are Canadian schools fully able to join yet. UBC, St. Clair College and Simon Frasier University have all shown some interest in what the NCAA might have to offer. Institutions from no other nationalities are being considered at this point. If the level of play and scholarship potential of the NCAA was available from Canadian universities, we might see more of our athletes staying domestic rather than going to the US to study. Inside Higher Ed 

McGill's Response to Global Medicine

The McGill University Health Centre signed an agreement on Friday with the Wuxi Cancer Hospital in China, forming a McGill University Canada Wuxi China Diagnostic and Therapeutic Cooperation and Exchange Centre. The Wuxi centre specializes in tertiary care oncology, anesthesia and thorax and cardiac surgery. MUHC is pursuing a responsibility to help strengthen clinical and management knowledge internationally, in response to awareness that health care is an increasingly global issue. Clinicians from Wuxi Cancer Hospital will study at McGill and Other MUHC facilities. Clinical and management leaders from MUHC and McGill will visit Wuxi and lead training activities. McGill Release 

Refugee Wins Case Against Ontario College of Teachers

The Ontario Supreme Court ruled today that an Iranian woman's rights were violated when she was denied a teaching license by the Ontario College of Teachers. Fatima Siadit, a refugee from Iran, was unable to provide original documents of her qualifications due to danger to her family remaining in Iran, and without the originals she was not able to receive the teaching license required for her to work in her new home of Ontario. The court has ruled that the College must find an alternative means of evaluating either Siadit's Iranian training, or her qualification to teach in Ontario. CBC 

Harvard Proposes Multi-Billion Dollar Expansion in Allston

On Thursday, Harvard released plans for a 50-year expansion project in the Boston neighbourhood of Allston. If approved by the City of Boston, the campus will expand across the Charles River, and 200 acres will be converted to new academic buildings, student housing, retail space and a public square. The first phase would add as much as 5 million square feet of academic space and, by the end of the entire project as many as 15,000 permanent jobs. Steps will be taken to limit energy use and 30 acres of asphalt will be converted to new open space. The Boston Globe | University Business 

Study of Physics Growing on All Sides

Physics is booming, according to a study presented by the American Institute of Physics (AIP). High school and bachelor's degrees in the discipline are both increasing, possibly due to increased diversity in the physics classes now available to students. Study of physics can breed strong workers for the fields of science, technology, engineering and math. The rate of women and minorities enrolling in the subject has also increased, with women now representing 47% of high school physics enrollment (39% in 1987), African Americans at 23% (10% in 1990) and Latinos at 24% (10% in 1990). University level physics may now appeal to a broader range of students, including non-science majors and those interested in being high school physics teachers (only 33% had degrees in physics in 2005). Students in physics bachelor programs have a much higher rate of continuing on to masters and PhD programs than other disciplines. American Institute of Physics 

Scholarpedia, the Peer-Reviewed Wiki

A new online encyclopedia has emerged on the heels of Wikipedia and Citizendium. Scholarpedia is run on the same program as Wiki and looks almost identical. The public is open to edit and review articles, but initially each article is written by an invited or elected expert, and anonymously peer reviewed to ensure accurate and reliable information. An army of curators, who are often also the article's authors, must approve any additions or changes to the articles. Scholarpedia does not aim to be a know-all resource, but rather will be focusing on narrow areas. Currently it is restricted to articles on neuroscience and computational intelligence. Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required) | Scholarpedia 

Young Men More Likely to Procrastinate

Procrastination has been around for centuries, but it is on the rise and according to Canadian researchers, makes us poorer, fatter, and unhappier (on top of being unproductive). According to UCalgary researcher, Piers Steel, "That stupid game Minesweeper -- that probably has cost billions of dollars for the whole society." He cites new email alerts as another gross enemy of efficiency. Psychologist William Knaus says chronic procrastinators cling tighter to their vice than alcoholics do. Approximately 54% of chronic procrastinators are men. 3 out of 4 college students consider themselves to be procrastinators. Steel quips to the Boston Globe that he enjoys procrastination as a field of study, because of the lessons it gives him in his own work habits, and because of the ability to call a day off "field research." The Boston Globe