All Posts Tagged With: "University of Ottawa"
New statistics counter the popular narrative
Since the recession, so the story goes, almost all 27-year-old university graduates are sitting in mom’s or dad’s basement playing Guitar Hero, firing off job applications and ranting on Facebook about how they’d be better off as plumbers.
This has become such accepted wisdom that when Allan Rock, president of the University of Ottawa, argued in a speech last week that it is, in fact, a myth, the Ottawa Citizen saw it as news.
Newly-released Statistics Canada charts of unemployment rates by education among 25 to 29-year-olds back up Rock’s point. Last year, university graduates were more likely than anyone else in that age group to be employed and just as likely to be working as the same age group was back in 2005 when no one fretted about jobs.
Neighbours worry about 16 students next door
A single-family dwelling in Ottawa is in the process of being converted to a three-storey monster house for 16 people. The home on Aylmer Ave., near Carleton University, will likely house students.
That project will go ahead, but in a surprise move on April 30, the city approved a temporary bylaw banning new applications for such conversions in the areas around Carleton and the University of Ottawa. The law could last up to a year, giving the city time to decide on new standards.
The sudden moratorium on new monster houses shows the tension between neighbours in single-family homes and the growing number of Ottawa post-secondary students looking for housing in their peaceful neighbourhoods.
Russ and Barbara Williams live next door to the new building on Aylmer and share a driveway with the home. They have lived in their house for 33 years and have never seen more than five or six people occupy the nearly knocked-down residence. Having as many as 16 people next door will be hard to manage, they say. The new building is just three metres away from their house. Barbara works as a nurse and is often on-call or going to work at 5:30 a.m. She worries that sharing a driveway with 16 others will mean a hassle every time she needs her car. Because garbage pickup is twice per month, trash piling up could also be an issue.
Kristen Campbell, a recent graduate from Carleton University, has shared a townhouse with five other students. “Depending on my own situation and what I needed at the time, I may have considered it,” she says of living in such a huge house. While she says sharing space with so many people is not an ideal situation, she could see why some students would opt to move in.
Bree Rody-Mantha, a recent university graduate, says she lived with six other people in a space meant for four and, after that experience, would not consider renting a bedroom in a converted home this size unless it was guaranteed to be clean and have bathroom access. “The fact is, the more people there are in [a small] space, the more mess there will be, the angrier people will be.”
Barbara Williams, the Aylmer resident, stresses that the issue with the house is not who its occupants may be, but the high number of bodies in such a small space. There were as many as six students sharing that space in the past and there were no issues, but 16 may be another story.
“It could turn out just fine, too,” she adds, but she still hopes the new bylaw will give the city a chance to seek public opinion and address issues like garbage, noise and parking space.
Jane Lytvynenko studies at the University of Ottawa and reports for the Canadian University Press.
‘Only got a lil’ glucose in my pathway’
University of Ottawa student Wilson Lam’s chemistry-inspired rap video about turning carbohydrates into energy has been viewed more than 125,000 times on YouTube. The song is a parody of Thrift Shop by Macklemore with lyrics like “I’m gonna pop some carbs, only got a lil’ glucose in my pathway” replacing “I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket.” The video helps students remember the complex metabolic process glycolysis. Mary-Ellen Harper, Lam’s professor, told the Ottawa Citizen that she encourages musical devices among her students.
Rick Ross gets cancelled but Tyga performs
A hip-hop concert cancelled earlier this month in Ottawa is fueling debate about which performers student union money should fund and whether artists’ freedom of expression has been silenced.
Pandemonium, the annual year-end show subsidized by the Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) and the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), was to be headlined by rapper Rick Ross on April 9. But numerous students from both universities urged their student unions to pull out because they said Ross’ recent lyrics glorify date rape. SFUO and CUSA eventually pulled the plug and the show was cancelled. Shortly afterward, athletics company Reebok announced it was dropping Ross.
It’s not just an issue in Ottawa. At Harvard University, a performance by the rapper Tyga went ahead Saturday despite an online petition with more than 1,000 signatures demanding a student board cancel it. Petitioners said his lyrics in the song “Bitch Betta Have My Money,” are “explicitly and violently misogynistic.” Tyga performed the song on the weekend, “despite all the haters.”
Access Copyright takes York University to court
There’s a battle brewing in the world of Canadian academia.
On one side stands Access Copyright, a collective which has provided institutions access to a pool of protected intellectual work for more than two decades while distributing royalties to the writers, artists and publishers it represents.
On the other is a group of universities who no longer feel the need to pay for the services offered by the collective, opting instead to navigate the world of intellectual property rights without a middle agent.
Simmering tensions are now threatening to boil over as Access Copyright takes one of Canada’s largest universities to court — a move some see as a warning to others who’ve ended relations with the agency.
Study shows heterosexual women prefer well-endowed men
Science has spoken and, yes, gentlemen, size does matter.
A newly published study by a University of Ottawa researcher has concluded penis length exerts a measurable sway on females evaluating potential sexual partners.
“We found that flaccid penis size had a significant influence on male attractiveness,” concludes the study that was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.
“Males with a larger penis were rated relatively more attractive.”
Biologist Brian Mautz said he came to the study through curiosity over the evolution of male genitalia. Compared to other male primates, human endowment is generous.
“This observation has generated suggestions by evolutionary biologists that the comparatively larger human penis evolved under premating sexual selection,” says his paper. “Novels, magazines and popular articles often allude to the existence of a relationship between penis size and sexual attractiveness or masculinity.”
Nor is the effect limited to pop culture.
“Another project I was on, looking at female preferences in genital size in fish, showed that females actually do discriminate in males before copulation even begins,” Mautz said. “That potentially influences genital evolution.”
Previous studies have attempted to discern what women like by, for example, asking them to choose between a series of drawings of men that vary only in the size of the anatomy in question. Mautz believes those conclusions are probably limited by self-censorship.
“When you directly ask someone about a sensitive topic, you’re likely to get some bias in responses,” he said. “Penis size isn’t supposed to matter.”
His study tried to mask its intent by introducing three variations on male appearance: body shape (shoulder-to-hip ratio), height and penis size. Those variables were presented in seven gradients, small to large, and intermixed until there were 343 combinations.
Each variation was represented in a computer-generated, life-sized picture of a naked male, which could be rotated to allow an examination of the image in profile. A study group of 105 heterosexual women were then asked which picture they found most sexually attractive.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, they preferred men who were tall, long and V-shaped. Overall, body shape accounted for about 80 per cent of the variation in attractiveness scores, penis size about six per cent and height about five per cent.
“The finding suggests that selection on penis size is potentially as strong as selection on stature.”
That finding was reinforced by slower response times for some pictures.
“We found a significantly positive, albeit small, correlation between penis size and response time,” the study says. “This finding is consistent with a pattern in adults whereby attractive stimuli are viewed for longer periods.”
That attraction, however, wasn’t a simple formula of bigger is better.
“Attractiveness increases rapidly until you reach around average for each of the three traits,” said Mautz. “Then, although the attractiveness continues to increase, it doesn’t increase as much.”
What was truly interesting was the interaction between the three traits, Mautz said.
“If you look at how penis size interacts with male height, it has a differential effect at the lower height sizes. Take the tall men — you get a really big impact (in attractiveness) of how large your penis is relative to your height.
“An increase in penis size if you’re of average height does influence your attractiveness. It doesn’t do quite as much as it does at the upper end of the height spectrum.
“If you’re short, it doesn’t matter what size your penis is.”
Statistically, 185-cm tall men get about twice the boost in attractiveness that their 165-cm friends do as length increases from six to 10 cm.
If that doesn’t seem fair, Mautz hastens to point out his study only considered three male traits.
Characteristics such as musculature — not to mention a pleasant smile or great hair — were not considered.
Still, he said, his results do suggest that male gentalia factor into sexual selection and are therefore subject to evolutionary pressure.
“It shows that females can exert a choice and influence genital evolution, which is a relatively understudied area.”
His conclusions also have considerable intrinsic interest.
“You’re my first interview,” Mautz told The Canadian Press. “I’m watching emails roll into my account as we speak.”
More than 200 battle with lightsabres
Wielding hundreds of red, green and blue lightsabres, students at the University of Ottawa ran into battle Thursday night. The first official lightsabre battle brought out about 200 participants to just outside the university library. The event mimicked an annual battle in New York.
Jozef Spiteri, a vice-president at the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO), said he met the organizers of the NYC event at the North by Northeast festival in Toronto and decided to bring the idea to Ottawa.
Spiteri’s term ends this month. He always wanted a Star Wars-themed party, so it was now or never. “I thought it was a cool closing statement,” he said.
Accused killer participated in sex worker survey
Researchers from the University of Ottawa are trying to prevent the Crown from getting their hands on a six-year-old interview with Luka Rocco Magnotta.
Lawyers representing the academics argued in Quebec Superior Court on Wednesday the interview with a subject known under the pseudonym “Jimmy” should be kept confidential.
The lawyers say Magnotta participated in the study as part of a survey of sex workers under the condition his interview would remain confidential. Magnotta’s lawyers, who have supported the researchers’ motion, filed an affidavit confirming that later Wednesday.
Montreal police want a copy of the interview for evidence they’re still gathering against Magnotta.
The 30-year-old is charged with first-degree murder in the slaying and dismemberment of Chinese engineering student Jun Lin.
Police came to know about the interview after a research assistant, Adam McLeod, told them about it following Magnotta’s arrest last year. McLeod told authorities “Jimmy” was in fact Magnotta.
Ottawa student leader harassed ex-girlfriends
Calls for Cody Boast’s resignation from the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) Board of Administration poured in after students learned this week that he pleaded guilty to criminal harassment. A Facebook group called Cody Boast doesn’t represent me has gained 140 likes already. I’m one of those who clicked ‘like.’
Boast’s case goes back to 2008, when he first got charged with harassment. Since then he’s breached the terms of his probation and repeated the offense twice. According to the Ottawa Citizen’s report, the victims were Boast’s ex-girlfriends. They were subjected to constant calls, text messages and confrontations. One of the girls had nude photos of her posted on Facebook.
In February, Boast ran to sit on the Board of Administration and won his position as a representative of social science students on campus. He became increasingly visible when he wore pink to a gay pride event at a university bar. He was asked to change, his outfit deemed that offensive.
What students are talking about today (March 15th)
1. At a University of Ottawa Campus Pride event last week, a heterosexual man was told by a former vice-president student affairs of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa that he was wearing too much pink and that he must change his clothes. Cody Boast, a third-year political science student, says he showed up to support the GLBTQ friends when Amy Hammett, the former student politician, approached him. Boast told The Fulcrum Hammet likened it to “dressing up like Bob Marley at a Black History Month event,” and forced him to change. Kate Hudson, the current SFUO vice-president student affairs told The Fulcrum his pink clothes, feather boa and flute, “gave the impression that he was mocking the event.” I don’t see why they think it’s their job to police people’s clothes. Boast is welcome at my pride party this summer wearing whatever he likes.
2. “The University of Waterloo is investigating after an anti-abortion Conservative MP was blocked from delivering a lecture Wednesday night by protesters led by a man dressed as a giant vagina,” reports National Post. You can’t make this stuff up. Stephen Woodworth only made it a third of the way through his talk before it was cancelled. A representative of the university said that the MP will be invited back. What might he have said that was so dangerous? Woodworth believes life begins at conception, not birth. He tried to have Parliament study the definition of the words ‘human being,’ last year, but his motion got 91 votes, though from some high-profile MPs, like Status of Women Minister Rona Ambrose and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney supported it.
3. The Queen’s Journal says it’s time to “take the bull’s-eye off [Alexander] Prescott’s back.” On Feb. 25, the representative to the Alma Mater Society caused flurry of outrage after making a Facebook comment saying that some of the onus for sexual assaults should be placed on the victims. This, of course, made some people go ballistic, because they say victims of sexual assault are never in any way to blame. Prescott was censured, despite some calls for impeachment. The Journal thinks that his punishment was fair, but they want him to apologize.
4. Tuition will rise an average of 4.6 per cent at the University of Saskatchewan next year, students learned through an e-mail on Thursday, according to The Sheaf. Tuition accounts for 23 per cent of the university’s operating budget, while 68 per cent comes from the province. Undergraduates across Canada paid an average $5,581 in tuition this year. It was $6,017 in Saskatchewan.
5. Toronto 12-year-old Jorel Hoffert’s music video bar mitzvah invitation has gone viral online, with 115,000 views already after being aired on shows NBC’s Today Show and CBC’s News Now this morning. The video borrows from Queen’s songs “We Will Rock You” and “Bohemian Rhapsody.”
Study calls for national energy strategy
A new study found that Canadian energy companies are factoring higher carbon-related costs in their investment, planning, and technology decisions.
The study, prepared by the Ottawa-based think-tank Sustainable Prosperity, found the companies are using a self-imposed, internal carbon price as they plan for the future, suggesting they’re anticipating a day when carbon tax or cap-and-trade systems are more widespread.
Without a clear sense of the country’s energy strategy, companies are creating their own carbon price to make long-term strategic planning and investment decisions, said Alex Wood, a senior director at Sustainable Prosperity.
“At some future point, there will be a price on carbon,” he said.
“What they are doing is essentially anticipating that and they’re factoring that into their decisions and so are addressing that risk.”
University of Ottawa hosts a “hackathon”
Fuelled by energy drinks and pizza, future engineers from the University of Ottawa spent 24 hours one recent Saturday hunched over keyboards for the campus’ first-ever ‘hackathon.’
Student Antoine Grondin organized what he said was the first event of its kind at U of O.“I was frustrated that people in my class don’t tend to code on their own,” he said, adding that he wanted to make people who enjoy coding realize “they don’t have to wait for an assignment.”
More than 20 students participated in the contest during which teams of up to four tried to out-code the others. Each team got a programmable tank, an animated robot that drove around the computer screen. The tank could be customized by adding more code to do things like dodge bullets, drive in patterns or change colours. After the 24 hour period was up, the tanks competed on a virtual battlefield. The last one standing was the winner. Students had to predict opponents’ moves and tell their tanks how to react.
What students are talking about today (February 1st)
1. Nothing gets students more riled up than when you try to curb unhealthy binge drinking. The University of Ottawa proposed banning shots and limiting beer pitchers to groups of three people or more, but is reconsidering after a backlash from students. Anne-Marie Roy, spokesperson of the Student Federation at the University, told CBC News that the bars they run on campus are safe for students and that such restrictions would hurt revenues. (Not to mention the fact that students would probably just go somewhere else if they wanted shots or pitchers anyway.) Speaking of drinking, a new study shows that too much alcohol leads to Type 2 diabetes in rats. Just saying.
2. The federal Liberal leadership candidates are touring campuses. Justin Trudeau spoke at Brandon University in Manitoba on Thursday where he talked about broadening the party’s support and creating jobs. Marc Garneau was at the University of Prince Edward Island earlier this week where he told The Cadre he would help solve joblessness through a tax credit to employers who hire young people and capital gains exemptions for angel investors who invest in a start-ups.
3. At Queen’s University, where recent deaths caused a rethink of mental health services, The Journal reports that accessing Health, Counselling and Disability Services is difficult for people on certain schedules like those in the School of Nursing who work long days. The regular hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday. However, HCDS director Mike Condra has stepped up, saying that while evening and weekend appointments weren’t popular when offered in the past, students are welcome to call to try and arrange alternative appointments.
4. A pair of former students who tried and failed to sue the University of Toronto for $80-million for giving them failing grades can try again reports the National Post. Houman Mortazavi and Mojgan Yousefi, a married couple, had enrolled as doctoral students in the university’s Department of Economics in 2007, but repeatedly left Canada and flew back to Iran to visit an ailing relative during the semester. After much back and forth, the university issued them failing grades.
5. The University of Saskatchewan’s Faculty of Medicine’s council has voted in favour of changing the entrance requirements for medicine to make every applicant complete a four year degree before applying, reports CTV. The school currently accepts some students with as little as two years of study, but the faculty director of admission says students take advantage of the system by taking many easy introductory level courses in those first two years to boost their marks.
Ottawa student lost bid to have student fee returned
I don’t like my student union’s Education is a Right campaign and I don’t go to social events on campus like the Winter Challenge. I don’t need the transit pass and don’t generally associate myself with the politics of my student union at the University of Ottawa, where I study part-time. So why should I have to pay to be a member?
Edward Inch didn’t think he should have to pay and so he tried suing the Student Federation at the University of Ottawa (SFUO) in small claims court for the $92.60 they charged him one semester after he opted out of the union in 2012.
In a court decision yesterday, deputy judge Lyon Gilbert decided Inch must pay up anyway. “As a student, Mr. Inch is bound to the terms and conditions of enrollment,” Gilbert said, according to The Fulcrum student newspaper.
Andrew Scheer’s university advice
The 2013 Maclean’s University Rankings asked some of Canada’s most successful writers, politicians and scientists what they wish they’d known in university. Their answers are perfect additions to our First Year Survivor blog. Here’s advice from Andrew Scheer, the 33-year-old Member of Parliament for Regina—Qu’Appelle and Speaker of the House of Commons.
I always had an interest in politics, so I took several political science courses while pursuing a history degree at the University of Ottawa. I moved to Regina to get married (my wife had moved back home there), and I took my last few credits at the University of Regina.
I really enjoyed first year. In university you get to meet hundreds of other young people with similar passions. Solving the world’s problems in the campus pub, volunteering during provincial or federal elections and participating in student associations were not only fun, but very educational.
Our newest campus fashion photos
As the cold begins to settle in, students at the University of Ottawa are warming up to winter. Dark peacoats are returning this season on men and women with varying lengths and colourful accessories. Some matched their coats with jeans while others chose skirts for a layering effect.
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.
Vegan food from Chartwells is affordable but unsatisfying
Maclean’s On Campus is continuing the conversation by having students review food on their campuses and showing what it costs to dine. If you’re a student, you can help. Send us a review of the food on your campus. Keep your receipts. If we publish it, we’ll reimburse you.
Chartwells at the University of Ottawa
Two stars out of five
Total cost: $6.60
It’s the Thursday night of reading week and I’ve broken my cardinal break week rule: I’ve ventured onto campus. A student newspaper meeting meant I was stuck at the U of O after 8:00 p.m. A growling stomach led me to the cafeteria where I was confronted by the limited vegan options.
No Doubt apologizes, plus Glen Murray & Dawgfather PhD
1. The band No Doubt has pulled its music video for a new song called “Looking Hot” after Native Americans called it racist due to the Wild West theme that includes front-woman Gwen Stefani dressed up in native-inspired attire. In response to the outcry, the band apologized on their website: “Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people. This is of great concern to us and we are removing the video immediately. The music that inspired us when we started the band, and the community of friends, family, and fans that surrounds us was built upon respect, unity and inclusiveness. We sincerely apologize to the Native American community.”
2. Premier Brad Wall’s Saskatchewan Party voted at their convention on Saturday to support lowering the drinking age from 19 to 18. It’s not a certainty yet, however. “We take resolutions at the convention very seriously, Wall told CBC, adding, “Before we consider any sort of change, we’re going to have to consult.”
3. Gabriel Nadeau-Dubois received $58,000 in donations from more than 1,700 people to fight his contempt of court conviction. The former head of CLASSE, who led the anti-tuition movement with its nightly marches and shutdown of Quebec universities earlier this year, was recently found guilty of encouraging people to ignore a court injunction that allowed a Laval student to return to classes.
Low marks lead to bad online reviews
Tracy Vaillancourt, a University of Ottawa professor, has proven that students who get bad grades take revenge on their professors by giving them a bad online reviews. That’s a problem. If professors fear giving low grades, then they may unjustifiably give better ones. When that happens, students lose because they never get the kick in the pants they need to start doing better.
From the U. Ottawa press release:
The popular professor ratings site Rate My Professors contains over 13 million comments and 1.7 million ratings of professors. The comments and ratings purportedly help students with their course and professor selection. However, from the perspective of many professors, a lot of the comments are downright mean. Professor Vaillancourt was interested in whether such vitriolic comments were made in response to a poor grade from the professor.