All Posts Tagged With: "Cycling"
What students are talking about today (April 2nd)
1. The star of the MTV reality show Buckwild has died. Shane Gandee and two men, also dead, were last seen leaving a local bar in the rural town of Sissonville, West Virginia. They told bar patrons they were going to drive their truck off-road, a sport known as “muddin’” among the country-loving college-aged kids followed by MTVs cameras. The gossip site TMZ reports that carbon monoxide poisoning is being explored as a possible cause of death and that Gandee’s truck’s exhaust pipe may have been blocked by mud.
2. Twenty people, including some students, were displaced by a fire that destroyed two townhouses and damaged a third near York University on Monday, reports CBC News. York administration offered those affected by the fire temporary shelter.
What students are talking about today (March 20th)
1. Students at the University of British Columbia celebrated cycling culture with electronic music and glow sticks at the UBC Bike Rave on Friday night. It was organized by student residence advisors and was funded by a community grant. Unlike the drug-fuelled all-night parties of the 1990s that inspired the bike rave, this one was, according to The Ubyssey, “good clean fun.”
2. A student writing in The Varsity at the University of Toronto reports that the stress seminar she attended is a sorry excuse for counseling. “I had hoped that this “Coping with Stress” workshop, run by U of T’s Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) would help me, but instead it left me frustrated and angry,” writes Amanda Greer. “After a hard first semester, I approached CAPS about meeting with a counsellor. I was told there was a four month waiting list and to start looking for other options.” She points out that despite much discussion about the mental wellness of Canadian students, including in a recent cover story in Maclean’s, students often can’t access the one-on-one counselling. It’s a shame, but I think the explanation is obvious: tight budgets.
Injuries could be reduced with barriers, regulated speeds
Some simple changes to the infrastructure of Canadian cities could go a long way towards keeping the country’s biking enthusiasts safe from harm, a team of researchers suggested Wednesday.
Erecting physical barriers between traffic and bicycle lanes, ensuring relatively flat commuting surfaces and regulating vehicle speeds all have the potential to curtail cycling injuries on city streets, they said.
The findings came from a cross-country team of researchers and was published in the Journal Injury Prevention.
The team’s objective was to explore the factors that contribute to Canada’s strikingly high rate of cycling-related injuries, according to the study’s lead author.
What students are talking about today (February 15th)
1. Toronto’s Payam Rajabi had to leave his girlfriend Clare behind when he moved to San Francisco for a job, so on Valentine’s Day he did something extra special for his long-distance love. NPR reports that he “jumped on his bike, opened his iPhone to a map of San Francisco, and tracking himself with a GPS, he rode 27 miles around the city, taking 2 1/2 hours, burning 1,135 calories and carefully etching a heart shape onto a city map.” After his bike shop shared the story, Verizon Wireless called and asked him to do it again for an advertisement.The commercial is on YouTube already where it has 230,000 views.
2. Chris Hadfield, Canadian astronaut and soon-to-be Commander of the International Space Station talked to University of Waterloo students live from space today. It’s worth watching the whole thing, but here are some highlights. Asked to describe how he felt leaving earth, he said: “My apprehension was low. I was more concerned about not going to space than going to space because there are so many complexities leaving Earth. I had a lot of eagerness to put all that training into practice. So it was with a sense of buoyant energy and readiness that I left Earth’s protective sheath.” Asked what feature on Earth’s surface he was most surprised to be able to see, he said noctilucent clouds, which are hard to see from down here too and may be useful for tracking climate change. He took photos that he says “may be one of the most enduring legacies of our time up here.” He also offered advice for wannabe astronauts: stay healthy, get an advanced education and be able to “make big decisions when consequences matter.” Oh, and don’t be boring: “Are you going to be an interesting person to go to Mars with or not?”
3. A political science professor at West Liberty University in the U.S. recently gave his students an assignment where they were to record their reactions to various new articles and the professor listed two sources they couldn’t use: The Onion, which is a satire, and Fox News because, she says, it’s “biased.” Biased it undoubtedly is but uncovering biases is sort of the point of analyzing news, isn’t it? Robin Capehart, the school’s president, thought so, telling Inside Higher Education that the professor was wrong. “Isn’t the idea that you use what sources you can and then you have to defend the facts?” he said. “To me that’s what college is all about — being able to conduct your research and conduct your own conclusions, and the professor needs to be able to challenge it.” The rule has been changed.
4. Liberal candidate Justin Trudeau continues to travel across the country stopping on university campuses. The Queen’s Journal got a shot of him looking like a sasquatch (scroll down after the link to see it) when he spoke in Kingston, Ont. earlier this week. He spent Valentine’s Day at Trent University where 250 people showed up. One interesting policy idea he floated is a gap year between high school and university during which young people could be funded to serve their country through programs like the now-canned Katimavik, in other countries or in the military.
4. The Harlem Shake trend continues to capture attention from Canadian university students. The University of Guelph’s version has now shot to first place in the competition for the most views of any student version at 1.85 million views compared to Western University’s 1.39 million. The University of Toronto is at 334,000 and Brock University is at 200,000—not bad for late entrants.
Pizza Hut perfume, Movember & news for future doctors
1. It was a marketing stunt and it worked. Pizza Hut Canada has given away a pizza perfume to 100 lucky Canadians. Thousands more are giving the scent their Facebook thumbs up while other are Tweeting about it. The Globe and Mail reports that the original cheesy version of the spritz didn’t smell good, so the final product is more like “fresh dough with a bit of spice.” I can’t tell if this is really big news or if it’s just close to lunchtime.
2. For the second year in a row, more money was raised from Canadians than from of people in all the countries that participated in Movember. The total was $36.8 million from 247,066 mustache-growing Canucks. That money goes to Prostate Cancer Canada and Canadian Male Health Network.
3. A man in Manhattan died after he was pushed onto a subway platform and hit by an oncoming train. Ki Suk Han, 58, desperately tried to scramble back to the platform and the New York Post published a photograph of his struggle. The attacker, who had been yelling loudly, fled.
A physics video, a lawsuit over a B+ and an unfunny Joker
1. A new video funded partly by the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo is calling on Barack Obama to improve physics education. The video is spreading surprisingly quickly, approaching 320,000 views already. “High school physics students across most of America aren’t required to learn any physics discovered since 1865,” says the narrator, who then lists off some of the discoveries since then, including photons, the existence of antimatter, MRIs, the big bang… you know, little things.
2. A 41-year-old student at Concordia University is doing what so many students feel powerless to do—challenging a grade he sees as unjust. William Groombridge is suing over a B-plus he got in his energy policy course that he says should have been an A-minus. He wants a refund of the course, alleging that the school school arbitrarily downgraded his final mark to meet an unofficial grade quota or bell curve. More in the Spectator.
3. Police in Boulder, Colo. arrested a 17-year-old who showed up at a cinema wearing a Batman Joker mask. He scared patrons who were reminded of James Holmes, the man who killed 12 people and injured 58 others at a Colorado premiere of The Dark Knight Rises. More in the Daily Camera.
A pipeline protest, a really bad cartoon & black cats
1. Critics of the Northern Gateway pipline project are hoping at least a thousand people will turn up today for a protest rally at the B.C. legislature in Victoria, reports The Canadian Press. The protests have been endorsed by unions such as the the Canadian Auto Workers, the B.C. Teacher’s Federation and the Canadian Union of Public Employees, plus celebrities including actor Ellen Page and singer Dan Mangan.
2. A student newspaper cartoonist has been fired from the Arizona Daily Wildcat after an anti-gay comic strip prompted thousands of complaints. The comic shows a father telling his son that if he’s gay, he will be shot with a shotgun, rolled into a carpet and thrown off a bridge. The boy says, “Well I guess that’s what you call a ‘Fruit Roll Up.’”
3. Animal welfare advocates say they no longer ban adoption of black cats at Halloween—a practice that stemmed from fears the animals would be harmed. In fact, the Ontario SPCA is now offering a discount on the adoption of black, orange and calico cats, reports The Canadian Press. How cute.
Ontario study looked at 129 bicycle-related deaths
Cyclists who die of a head injury are much less likely to be wearing a helmet than bike riders who die of other injuries, a study has found, underscoring what researchers say is the need for mandatory helmet use for Canadians of all ages.
The study, which analyzed 129 accidental bicycle-related deaths in Ontario between 2006 and 2010, found cyclists who didn’t wear a helmet were three times more likely to die from brain trauma than those who wore protective head gear while riding.
“Helmets save lives,” said Dr. Nav Persaud, a family physician and researcher at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, who led the study.
“There are about 70 cycling deaths in Canada every year,” Persaud said. “And based on our study, we estimate we could prevent about 20 of them with helmets.”
Nintendo guns banned, the Turkey Dump & Hipster ads
1. Remember those orange Nintendo Zapper guns from the 1990s? Apparently they were okay for millions of children to use, but they’re too offensive to be viewed by grown-up students at Saint Mary’s University. Citing a postering policy, SMU’s student association told the campus gaming society to take down posters that used the guns to advertise an event.
2. You’ve made it to Thanksgiving in your first year of university or college, but did your relationship survive? On Twitter, students are talking about the Turkey Dump, the annual tradition of first-year students breaking up with their high school sweethearts on their first trip home from school.
3. The winner of a cockroach-eating contest in Florida (where else) has died. The Ben Siegel Reptile Store near Miami, which held the event, had offered the winner a pet python.
Lady Gaga, “swarmings” in Ottawa and riot justice
1. Lady Gaga’s latest bit of performance art/marketing is called “Sleeping with Gaga.” Last night, she climbed into a structure at New York’s Guggenheim and encouraged celebrities like Paris Hilton and Marc Jacobs to touch her while she slept. Oh, and she also got a new tattoo that some say looks like Honey Boo Boo, the proud redneck beauty queen who stars in the eponymous TLC show. (Not making this up.)
2. Sweden isn’t the fairytale land we Canadians sometimes imagine it to be. A drunk man, 38, fell onto the tracks at a metro station south of Stockholm and instead of being helped up to safety, he was robbed of his wallet, gold chain and mobile phone. The thief calmly fled. The victim was then hit by the train and seriously injured.
3. Ottawa isn’t safe either, apparently. An 18-year-old male was charged after two “swarmings” near the University of Ottawa. Hanten Hersi and an unidentified accomplice are accused of stealing from three people in two separate incidents. At one point, they showed a gun to a woman before robbing her. The second suspect is described as a 5’7″ to 5’10″ tall black male with dreadlocks.
Sexist Bics, world records, football and a stolen monkey
1. People are outraged about a new line of pens called “Bic for Her” that come in a purple package. One obvious reason for their anger: the gendered Bics cost 70 per cent more than the regular Bics.
2. McGill University set the Guinness World Record for the world’s biggest fruit salad yesterday, 5,083 kilos to be exact. Today, Ryerson University will attempt something more modest—the most people ringing cowbells all at once for two minutes. The current record is 640.
3. We now know more about the cyclist killed in Edmonton on Monday by a cement truck. Isaak Kornelsen was a track and field athlete at the University of Alberta who ran both middle and long distances. He founded a philosophy club in high school and was the valedictorian. Rest in peace.
Rihanna cries, a stolen iPad and socialist summer school
1. In an interview promoted on her OWN Network even more often than Proactiv acne treatment, Oprah gets pop star Rihanna to cry and admit that she has forgiven Chris Brown for hitting her. “We are very, very close friends. We built a trust again,” she said. For the record, they’re not in a relationship, even though they chill in San Tropez.
2. Vancouver cyclists are angry at police for doing their jobs. Cops have been handing out $100 fines to those without lids, as a city bylaw dictates. Helmet haters say such laws cause people to cycle less. So far this year, 1,112 tickets have been given to bikers without headgear.
3. NASA’s Curiosity rover zapped its first Martian rock with a laser on Sunday. The rover, which landed two weeks ago, was sent to help answer the question: is Mars habitable? Considering the basic human need to burn tiny holes in things, the answer appears to be yes.
Many teens aren’t interested in driving
This summer, Sarah Mohammed is going on a road trip. She and three of her friends plan to drive from Montreal, where they live, to the Okanagan Valley. “We’re going to work on some orchards and vineyards in the Interior of B.C.,” says Mohammed, 23. The trip is to mark her recent graduation from the University of King’s College, in Halifax. “I just finished school and I want to do something different,” she says. But on the long drive west, Mohammed won’t be taking any shifts behind the wheel—she doesn’t have a driver’s licence. “Oh, I won’t actually be driving. I’m just being a leech,” she jokes.
Total cost: $4,868
The University of Saskatchewan is the first Canadian school to install a new type of unmanned bike repair station, which has taken off in the U.S., reports The Sheaf. Students can use the outdoor Dero Fixit station to pump up tires, tighten screws and more. The University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union and the Arts and Science Students’ Union split the $1,868 cost of the unit itself. The Office of Sustainability paid $3,000 for the construction of its concrete foundation. Many other schools in Canada have indoor bike repair shops, which are often staffed by volunteers.
Click to read about Canada’s best cycling schools. From the Maclean’s University Rankings.
Two-wheel transport speeds ahead on campus
From the 21st Maclean’s University Rankings—on newsstands now. Story by Jason McBride.
If you were to design the perfect bicycling environment, it would include safe, well-maintained and lit streets. It would have almost no car traffic, dedicated bike paths and ample secure parking and storage. It might even have showers purpose-built for sweaty commuters and a well-equipped repair shop where cyclists can get help fixing a flat tire. In short, it would look quite a bit like the campus of McMaster University.
McMaster is located in blue-collar, largely car-centric Hamilton, Ont.—an unlikely champion of the bicycle. But in the past two years, the city has been in the vanguard of sustainable travel, expanding cycling infrastructure, improving regional transit and adding carpooling programs. Municipal support has, in turn, emboldened the university, and encouraged both students and faculty to take up, in great numbers, alternative modes of transportation. According to Kate Whalen, manager of McMaster’s office of sustainability, a 2010 campus survey revealed that 37 per cent of students walked or cycled to school. “We have a very engaged population,” she says. And the university is very responsive to the needs of that population. Just one example: after a civil engineering student did a systematic geographic information survey of the use of university bike racks, underutilized racks were relocated to more optimal spots on campus. Ten additional racks are installed each year, Whalen says.
The new political cause on campus? More parking, please.
From the 21st Maclean’s University Rankings issue. Get your copy from newsstands now.
Watching Tommy Douglass on YouTube, one can’t help but recall Matthew Broderick’s legendary rendering of a spoiled but highly resourceful high school student in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Douglass, a fourth-year University of Regina student, has a boyish face and a sleek businessman’s attitude. And he’s on a mission: to redress his school’s parking woes. “Until now, I’ve never had a single complaint. I like my school . . . it’s ideal,” he says in one of several videos he’s used to draw attention to the issue. But, he adds, “we are seriously, seriously messing up parking.”
Against the backdrop of his student bedroom—complete with a laundry basket and a picture of a blond bikini babe tacked to the wall—he shows viewers two of three $65 tickets he recently received for parking in a staff lot. “I am not going to pay a single ticket,” he says defiantly. He’d gladly pay for one of the school’s parking permits, he adds, but the school has already run out.
BIXI heads west
The University of British Columbia is poised to benefit from the likely arrival of the BIXI bike sharing service in Vancouver, reports The Ubyssey. Carole Jolly, Director of Transportation Planning for UBC told the newspaper that she has been working with the City on the project since last April. Her initial analysis shows that a trial could include 200 bicycles and 20 docking stations on campus. The City would presumably install a number of docking stations in various locations off-campus, close to where students live.
Bicycle sharing has obvious environmental benefits, but is can also be a money-saving option for commuters. In Toronto, for example, BIXI members pay $95 annually for a membership key that allows them to pick up and ride the black bikes to other docking stations sprinkled across the city. There are no charges so long as bikes are docked at any station within 30 minutes and there are minimal late fees thereafter. Best of all, there’s no worry that your fancy new ride will be swiped while you’re in a lecture. It’s always locked.