Tuesday, February 26, 2008

  • Invisible button inventors take prize
  • Gallery show inspired by death metal
  • Budget day — doubly — and more
  • Editor:
  • Chris Redmond
  • Communications and Public Affairs
  • bulletin@uwaterloo.ca

Link of the day

Spring training

When and where

Canadian Computing Contest for high school students, organized by Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, today, details online.

Random Leaps Book Sale outside UW bookstore, South Campus Hall, Tuesday-Thursday.

Second-year arts students “Are You on Track?” event with dean of arts Ken Coates, information, fun and food, 2:00, Graduate House, register by e-mail slcoordinator@artsmail.

Imprint Publications annual general meeting 2:00, Student Life Centre multipurpose room.

Student exchange to Germany information session 3:00, Modern Languages room 245, information e-mail scwood@uwaterloo.ca.

Career workshop: "Success on the Job" 3:30, Tatham Centre room 1208, registration online.

Atheists, Agnostics and Freethinkers group presents Jonathan Witt, department of biology, “Why Intelligent Design Is Not Science”, 5:00, Math and Computer room 1085.

German film showings, public welcome, Tuesdays 6:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 301. This week: "The Tin Drum" (Schlöndorff 1979), information ext. 33687.

Arriscraft Lecture: Burton Hamfelt, S333 Architecture, Amsterdam, “New Urban Ecologies”, 7:00, Architecture lecture hall, Cambridge.

Chemical engineering department presents the 2008 Park M. Reilly Lecture: Sirish Shah, University of Alberta, “The New Role of Digital Automation Systems in Process Monitoring”, Wednesday 11:30 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2529.

Centre for International Governance Innovation presents Carin Holroyd, CIGI senior fellow, “Science and Technology Policies, National Competitiveness, and the Information Divide” Wednesday 11:45 a.m., 57 Erb Street West.

Free noon concert: Lunchtime with Ludwig: Duo Concertante (violin and piano) Wednesday 12:30, Conrad Grebel University College chapel.

Café-rencontre du département d’études françaises: Nicole Brossard, poete et romancière, mercredi 14h30, Tatham Centre salle 2218.

Smarter Health Seminar: Richard Kim, University of Western Ontario, “Personalized Medicine, Today and Tomorrow” Wednesday 3:00, Davis Centre room 1302.

Larry Smith, department of economics, "How the World Will Try to Stop You and Your Idea", Wednesday 4:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 307, sponsored by Laurel Centre for Social Entrepreneurship, all welcome.

Arts career night with alumni from Research In Motion, Gowlings Law Firm, Joy Apparel and others, Wednesday 6:00 to 8:00, pizza provided, register by e-mail: slcoordinator@artsmail.

Women In Engineering presents Diane Freeman (civil engineering 1992), “Living an Enriched Life Through a Non-Traditional Journey”, Thursday 11:30, Rod Coutts Hall room 305, registration online.

Chemical engineering seminar: Udo Reichl, Max Planck Institute, "A Systems Perspective of Virus Replication in Mammalian Cell Culture", Thursday 11:30 a.m., Doug Wright Engineering room 2529.

Centre for Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology presents Mark Chamberlain, Trivaris Ltd., “Gold Mine: Seek and Build”, Thursday 12:00 noon, 295 Hagey Boulevard.

Master of Business, Entrepreneurship and Technology program information session for future students, Thursday 4:00, 295 Hagey Boulevard suite 240.

[February calendar]
A month like this one doesn't turn up on the calendar very often. In fact it's only once before in the whole history of UW — in 1980 — that Leap Year Day has fallen on a Friday, meaning it's only once in all these years that February has been a "five-week month" between paycheques for faculty and staff members.

Inter-Collegiate Peace Fellowship conference Friday-Sunday, Conrad Grebel University College, details online.

History Society 25th annual MacKinnon Dinner, with guest speaker Karolyn Smardz Frost, UW graduate and Governor General's Award winner, Friday 6 p.m., Ali Baba Steakhouse, tickets $20 ($30 non-students) at Humanities room 122.

St. Jerome’s University presents the 2007-08 Devlin Lecture: Frederick Bird, UW department of political science, “Rethinking the Bottom Line: International Business and Poverty”, Friday 7:30 p.m., Siegfried Hall.

Peace and Conflict Studies 30th anniversary celebration with address by Pastor James Wuye and Imam Muhhamed Ashafa, of Kaduna, Nigeria, Friday 7:30 p.m., Centre for International Governance Innovation, 57 Erb Street West.

Alumni career planning workshop offered by Career Services, Saturday 9:30 to 4:00, cost $75, registration online.

Chilly Dog Run: run or walk two loops around the ring road, then chili in the Student Life Centre, with guest speaker, hosted by Moods Assistance Through Educational Support, Saturday 10:30 a.m., registration $10.

Peace and Conflict Studies fund-raising banquet for the Frank H. Epp Memorial Fund, Conrad Grebel University College, Saturday 6:30 p.m., tickets $20, call ext. 24269.

Staff association special general meeting Tuesday, March 4, 8:40 to 9:30 a.m., Math and Computer room 1085, agenda online.

Perimeter Institute presents Neil Turok, Cambridge University, “What Banged?” (new view of the initial singularity that began the universe), Wednesday, March 5, 7:00, Waterloo Collegiate Institute, ticket information online.

March break open house for future students (formerly Campus Day) Tuesday, March 11, details online.

[Posing in front of their project booth]
Invisible button inventors take prize

from the engineering faculty’s e-newsletter

Four mechanical and mechatronics engineering students won first place for their virtual button technology in the innovation design category at this year's Ontario Engineering Competition.

Through the use of micro-sensors and vibrational mechanics, the technology replaces mechanical buttons and touch screens in devices such as cell phones. "These invisible buttons are functionally equivalent to an electro-mechanical switch; however, they are entirely software generated," says the team's publicity material.

Team members (from left) Andrew Zwart, Matthew Rendall, Kenneth Lee and Simon Lancaster-Larocque point out that their technology can benefit people with disabilities or health issues. "A person with arthritis might have trouble using certain mechanical buttons because of the location or size. Our technology has the potential to allow users to customize their own virtual button locations," says Zwart.

Waterloo engineering teams also won awards in two other categories at the OEC, held earlier this month at McMaster University. Waterloo students placed second in the parliamentary debate competition, in which teams debated engineering issues, and third in the senior team design category.

The virtual button inventors will put their patent-pending technology to the test on campus next week — the 2008 Canadian Engineering Competition will take place at UW March 6-9.

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Gallery show inspired by death metal

a publicity release from Render, the UW art gallery

“Deaderer”, which opens today at the gallery in East Campus Hall, presents collaborative works by Toronto-based artists David Poolman and Roman Tkaczyk that reference extreme forms of youth rebellion and symbolic violence with a particular emphasis on Death Metal culture.

Working collaboratively, Poolman and Tkaczyk have executed a series of large format wall paintings and a photographic frieze of screen grab images. The wall paintings combine Tkaczyk’s explosion drawings (cars, figures, architecture) with fragments of cryptic text reminiscent of the doodled marginalia of high school boredom and rebellion. “Metalheads & Pitbulls”, the screen grab frieze, presents images culled from amateur band websites featuring basement performances complemented by the antics of pitbulls, the genre’s pet of choice.

Part of an ongoing series of projects inspired by forms of contemporary music (including Chris Down’s “Death to Everyone” presented in 2007), “Deaderer” takes its inspiration from the once obscure now more mainstream genre known as “Death Metal.” Developed in the suburbs of California and Florida, and eventually exported throughout Europe and Asia, the Death Metal scene began to take shape in the early 1990s. Unlike other genres of extreme music that preceded it (Punk, Hardcore, Speed Metal, and Noise) this scene sought to overthrow Christian ideology through the invocation and promotion of Satanic imagery, Norse mythology, Fascist dogma, and destructive acts of intimidation and violence. Death Metal has become hugely popular with disenfranchised suburban youth throughout the Western world. Its attraction is its ideological dissent from and destruction of the status quo, its embracement of ‘otherness”, and its utter rejection of all music and thought that came before it. “Deaderer” is an absurdly elegant engagement with this music, youth violence, rebellion, and intimidation.

In addition to the collaborative works, the exhibition also includes two video works by Poolman, “13 Instances” and “The Burning of the Nauvoo Temple (after Carl Christensen)”. “13 Instances” is based on the artist’s engagement with a specific Death Metal community in Iowa. Like many of Poolman’s video works, there is a strong narrative thread weaving together seemingly disjunctive fragments of voice and image. The “Burning of the Nauvoo Temple” video is based on the photographs of Varg Vikernes. In 1992 Varg Vikernes of the Black Metal group Burzum set fire to the Fantoft Stave Church in Bergen, Norway. Vikernes documented his fires and used these photographs for the promotion of his band and as a tool to instigate others to follow in his footsteps. This triggered a spree of vandalism and arsons across Norway, Europe, and North America. Poolman’s video features animations by Jeremy Price and a soundtrack by guitarist Matt Killen.

“Deaderer” will close with a performance by FightWithBears, a five piece hardcore band from Georgetown, Ontario. Scheduled for the evening of March 20, the performance will be recorded and made available as a live EP produced by Poolman and Tkaczyk and released by Render as part of the “Deaderer” publication.

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Budget day — doubly — and more

The senate finance committee is meeting today (2:30 in Needles Hall room 3004) to start its discussions of the UW operating budget for 2008-09. The new fiscal year starts May 1, and the idea will be to have a budget from provost Amit Chakma approved by the board of governors at its meeting in early April. At the last board meeting, in February, Chakma gave an update on the current year’s budget, which involves total spending of $377 million on faculty and staff salaries, utility bills and other operating costs. When the year started, the provost was anticipating a deficit that might have reached $2 million, but savings, particularly on energy costs, have turned that into a surplus now estimated at $240,000. He’ll be bringing a “budget scenario”, not yet a full budget, to today’s meeting, but at the February session he did warn that another annual across-the-board cut is inevitable. “We try to keep layoffs to a minimum,” he said, but noted that fixed-percentage cuts (last year 2.0 per cent) are, at least, “a crude way of delivering efficiency”.

Somebody else is presenting a budget today: federal finance minister Jim Flaherty, who will rise in the House of Commons around 4:00 this afternoon to say what the ruling Conservatives propose to do in on the taxation, spending and economic fronts. (One rumour, reported in Saturday's Globe and Mail, is that there will be additional support for graduate students.) The government has said it's prepared to face a general election based on the budget measures, and may well have an opportunity to do that. So interest in Flaherty's speech will be high. A group of faculty members in arts have organized a budget gathering for students, says Alan Macnaughton of the school of accounting and finance. "We can all watch the TV presentation," he says, "and, hopefully, download and hand out some of the budget papers that will indicate proposed changes in the tax law. We will alternate between watching key parts of the budget speech and hearing comments from faculty," including Stan Laiken, Julie Robson and Macnaughton himself, all tax specialists in the school of accounting and finance, plus John Burbidge of economics and Peter Woolstencroft of political science. "We have no idea what the government will be announcing," Macnaughton adds, "so the discussion will certainly be spontaneous and informal."

A contingent of grade 11 and 12 students will be at UW today, taking part in the annual Shadow Day exercise in the faculty of engineering. It's "a great opportunity", organizers say, "to experience what it's like to be an engineering student. Students will attend lectures and labs and learn more about admissions." The group assembles in the Carl Pollock Hall foyer at 9:00 before heading off to various parts of the faculty.

A note from the engineering faculty's e-newsletter: "This year's new fellows of the Engineering Institute of Canada include electrical and computer engineering professors Mohamed Elmasry and Raafat Mansour (PhD '87, Elect), mechanical and mechatronics engineering professor Xianguo Li and alumnus Gregory Stone (MASc '78, PhD '91, Elect). Mike Lazaridis (DEng '00) has been recognized as an honorary member of EIC for his outstanding service to the field of engineering. Recipients of the 2008 fellowships and awards will be recognized at the EIC awards gala on March 1 during Canada's Engineering Week."

Work is scheduled this morning on the ventilation system in Engineering II building. • The Federation of Students is accepting nominations (e-mail pres@feds.uwaterloo.ca for details) for its annual Leadership Awards. •  The Centre for Teaching Excellence will hold an "open classroom" session tomorrow to let interested faculty members see one of UW's teaching award winners, Gary Bruce of the history department, in action.

Alternatives Journal, says a memo from that UW-based publication, “is looking for articles that showcase examples of international environmental initiatives, to highlight the lessons that Canada can learn from other parts of the world.” In a coming issue, “we will look beyond our borders, and especially to Europe, to glean the lessons that can be learned from the environmental track records of its 48 countries. From Denmark’s adoption of wind power and Germany’s support of the Kyoto Protocol, to the European Union’s caution with genetically modified seeds and the UK’s newly released eco-town development plan, there is a great deal we can apply to our lives, laws and futures. We invite you to submit article ideas that draw on both successes and failures to explore the lessons Canada should heed in its environmental planning. . . . We will consider relevant submissions that focus on other parts of the world as well. Alternatives combines the learned rigour of an academic journal with the breezy style of a magazine. We aim to publish the best environmental writing in the country – writing that is engaging, thought-provoking and insightful.”

And . . . there's deep concern among the people at UW"s School of Architecture — and there's also national publicity — over Michelle (Smith) Senayah, a 2007 architecture graduate who was critically injured in a road accident Thursday in Lomé, the capital city of Togo, west Africa. Senayah first went to Togo in 2006 to take part in a project for building schools. There she met Jonas Senayah, a local artist, and they were married last fall. Thursday's crash — their scooter collided with a car — left him with minor injuries, her with a fractured skull and bleeding of the brain. After several days of frantic efforts involving the Smith family in Mississauga as well as an insurance company and Canadian foreign affairs officials, she was airlifted to Britain yesterday. "The latest," reports Terri Meyer Boake, associate director of the architecture school, "is that she is at the Wellington Hospital and receiving treatment. She is in intensive care and cannot receive either visitors or flowers for a while."


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