Friday, August 4, 2006

  • Retired philosopher ‘active as ever’
  • UW library’s reserve service praised
  • And a little of this and that
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs

Civic Holiday long weekend

Monday, August 7, is the Civic Holiday. UW offices and most services will be closed, and no exams are scheduled.

The Davis Centre library will continue its 24-hour exam-time operation; the Dana Porter library will be open 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday.

Tim Horton’s in the Student Life Centre is currently on 24-hour operation, but will close from Sunday at 7 p.m. to Tuesday at 7 a.m.

Open 24 hours a day as always are the Student Life Centre (888-4434), the UW police (888-4911), and the central plant, where emergency maintenance calls can be directed if necessary (ext. 3793).

To reach the Daily Bulletin

When and where

Artery Gallery, operated by UW fine arts students, presents work by Barbara Hobot, open every Saturday in August, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 158 King Street West, Kitchener; opening reception tonight 6 to 8 p.m.

Third International Conference on Quality of Service in Heterogeneous Wired/Wireless Networks (QShine 2006), Monday-Wednesday, hosted by department of electrical and computer engineering.

'The Power of Ideas' one-day conference on accessibility, teaching technology and curriculum design, August 15, Rod Coutts Hall, details online.

Trellis library computer system will be down from August 17 at 6 p.m. until August 23. Backup catalogue available, e-journals and other services not affected.

PhD oral defences

Civil and environmental engineering. Denis Viens, "A 3D Finite Element Model for the Mechanics of Cell-Cell Interactions." Supervisor, G. W. Brodland. On display in the faculty of engineering, CPH 4305. Oral defence Friday, August 18, 2 p.m., Engineering II room 3324.

Computer science. Davor Svetinovic, "Increasing the Semantic Similarity of Conceptual Object-Oriented Domain Models by Performing Behavioral Analysis First." Supervisors, Daniel Berry and Michael Godfrey. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Thursday, September 7, 1:30 p.m., Davis Centre room 1331.

Statistics and actuarial science. Asokan Mulayath Variyath, "Variable Selection in Generalized Linear Models by Empirical Likelihood." Supervisors, Bovas Abraham and Jiahua Chen. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Friday, September 8, 2 p.m., Math and Computer room 6007.

Combinatorics and optimization. Hua Wei, "Numerical Stability in Linear Programming and Semidefinite Programming." Supervisor, Henry Wolkowicz. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Friday, September 15, 10 a.m., Math and Computer room 5136.

Computer science. Majid Ghaderi Dehkordi, "Impact of Mobility and Wireless Channel on the Performance of Wireless Networks." Supervisors, Srinivasan Keshav and Raouf Boutaba. On display in the faculty of mathematics, MC 5090. Oral defence Monday, September 18, 2 p.m., Davis Centre room 1331.

Retired philosopher ‘active as ever’

News flash: Jan Narveson has a new hat. “I still like the black one better,” says Narveson about the broad-brimmed chapeau that has been an essential part of his campus image for decades; but for these hot summer days, he’s opted for a cream-coloured Tilley with a ventilation band.

He also has a new office, following minor renovations at home, since the department of philosophy has asked him to move out of the book-crammed space he’s long occupied on the third floor of the Humanities building. For an on-campus toehold, he’ll now be sharing a nearby office with another retired faculty member.

[Stooping to receive ribbon from Governor General]

Narveson was inducted as an Officer of
the Order of Canada in 2003.

It’s now two years since Narveson officially retired from the philosophy department, where he’d been a faculty member since 1963. “I’m still as active as ever, if not more so,” he said this week, explaining that “I have several book projects on the go” and will be teaching courses on political philosophy for UW’s political science department this fall and winter.

“I’m always writing papers,” says Narveson, an internationally known specialist in moral philosophy and related fields, with strong libertarian leanings. He’s just completed a paper on pacifism — updating a 1965 essay that still frequently turns up in anthologies — and one on “democracy” that will be translated into German for publication in the journal Analyse und Kritik. “There’s talk of a whole volume of Narveson essays in German,” he says.

And there’s more than talk of a festschrift to appear next year — comments on his work by former students and other interested philosophers, “with some replies by me”. An introductory book on political philosophy is almost ready to go, he adds, and a book based on his course on contemporary ethical theory is also in the works.

“I just spent three weeks in Europe, where I gave a couple of papers and did some political-slash-language teaching,” he says. The latter took place at what he calls “liberty camp”, a gathering of mostly young people held at a camp near Vilnius, Lithuania. He also recently attended a similar gathering in Ontario and can see such activities taking more of his time in future.

And then, of course, there’s music. Narveson is well known in the community as the leader of the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society, dedicated to the point that he has a “music room” in his house that seats about 100 people for concerts — 59 events in the year just finished, the busiest twelve months ever for the KWCMS. “We managed to break even again,” he adds proudly.

On August 9, KWCMS will present a concert of Irish music by harpist Úna Ni Fhlannagáin. A cello and piano duo follows on August 23 — and, like the philosophy factory that is Jan Narveson, the music just keeps coming.

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UW library’s reserve service praised

When it comes to the provision of course readings, items placed on reserve at the UW Library are a popular option for both faculty members and students, says Rachel Caldwell of the library office. With the 2006 fall term right around the corner, it is not surprising to hear that library staff are currently preparing faculty reserve requests, she adds.

And she stresses that faculty members wanting to provide access to course reserves this fall need to place their requests sooner than later. “Items placed on reserve requiring copyright clearance takes more time to prepare,” says circulation services manager Alex McCulloch. “Obtaining copyright clearance for an item can take anywhere from one to six weeks.”

Two past studies done by the library, “Faculty Perspectives on Reserves” and “Student Perspectives on Reserves,” reveal that readings placed on eReserves — that is, made available in electronic form for access through any student’s computer — are favoured by both groups. A number of students told the survey that the provision of items through eReserves makes course readings more accessible in terms of time, costs, availability, and location, Caldwell says. “The best aspect of the eReserves service is that it offers multiple access points. Students are able to access eReserves via the Library's web site and/or catalogue (Trellis). eReserves are also easily integrated into UW-ACE (online) course information.”

She says Seneca College recently commended the UW eReserves service in an external survey of post-secondary reserves operations in Canada. "With multiple access points, one content management system, and streamlined workflow, the UW e-reserves project is the closest thing we have to a benchmark implementation in Canada," its report said

There’s more information about submitting course reserves to the Library on the Course Reserves FAQ web page.

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And a little of this and that

"Even I am getting bored of saying this," writes Frank Seglenieks of the UW weather station, "but it has to be said: yet another above-average month for temperature." He's summarizing July, where "daily highs were 0.9 degrees above average and the daily lows were a whopping 3.1 degrees above." Interestingly, the high temperature for the month, 31.9 Celsius, didn't reach the year's high of 32.7 set on May 29, but "only 7 of the 31 days were colder than average." Hot, and also wet: "The total precipitation for July of 152.2 mm was the highest total for any single month in the 8-year history of the UW Weather Station. . . . This combination of warm temperatures and above average precipitation has led to some great growing conditions. It has been a while since lawns have been this green at the end of July."

UW phone extensions will get new numbers on Tuesday, and inevitably there's going to be somebody who's caught by surprise, so here's a reminder: 3031 becomes 3-3031, 4047 becomes 8-4047, and all the other four-digit extensions add a 2 or 3 or 8. In a related change, the digit to dial for an outside line from a UW phone changes from 9 to 6. Details are on the telephone services web site. (Here's one that many people don't know: the number for "express messaging", currently 4967, is being changed to 7-0001.)

I happened to walk through Environmental Studies I earlier this week, and noticed a bulletin board on which the department of geography boasts of its worldwide research links: international connections as close as Chicago, as far away as Bangkok. They're mapped on two circles that represent "Waterloo's hemisphere", centred on this earth, this realm, this Golden Triangle, and "Waterloo's antipodean hemisphere", the other side of the world. Seems to me we were traditionally told that Melbourne was as far away from here as one could get, but the current map shows the "antipodean point" as being in the Indian Ocean someplace southwest of Australia. (The same bulletin board shows a photo from the founding celebrations of the geography department in 1962, and notes that it was held in what's still the official name of ES I, the Isaiah Bowman Building for the Environmental Studies.)

News from the athletics department: "Former Warrior Justin Fluit (2005 Waterloo Athlete of the Year) capped off a wonderful university career by finishing tied for first at the 2006 Boyd Quaich tournament, July 11-13, at the Old and New courses in St. Andrews. Current Warrior Jud Whiteside also competed in the international tournament and finished 19th out of 75 competitors from around the world."

Columbia Lake Village has told its residents that from now on the monthly rent has to be paid in just one cheque, not multiple payments from the various occupants of a house. . . . Some 300 participants in a St. John Ambulance workshop will be in the Ron Eydt Village conference centre over the long weekend. . . . The UW Recreation Committee is offering staff and faculty members discount tickets to such attractions as Marineland, Wasaga Waterworld and the CN Tower. . . .

I'll be away from campus now for a while. In my absence, the Daily Bulletin will be put together by my colleague Pat Bow and others in Communications and Public Affairs, and e–mail messages can be sent to

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