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Haiku Corner and Number Cruncher

Haiku Corner

Ice beefcakes win one
Two more until nationals
No stoppin’ the rush

Submit sports haikus to [email protected]

Number cruncher

3: OUA championships hosted by U of T this past weekend (men’s & women’s basketball, women’s volleyball)

2: OUA titles won by teams hosting (women’s basketball, women’s volleyball)

Student wins prestigious award

Joshua Cramer couldn’t be more thrilled to be this year’s recipient of the prestigious John H. Moss Scholarship.

“It still hasn’t sunk in,” he beamed. The award goes to the graduating U of T Arts & Science student who demonstrates outstanding academic achievement and extra-curricular leadership.

Cramer is the President of the North American Model United Nations (NAMUN). He first becamet involved with NAMUN six years ago, when he was a high-school student. He and his friends wanted to join, but were told they had to be affiliated with a university. So Cramer began running papers for Security Council and when he entered university, he quickly became the editor-in-chief for NAMUN’s main publication, The Diplomat. He then became a Secretary General and from there rose to the rank of NAMUN President.

Cramer believes his political interests garnered support for his nomination for the prestigious award.

“I learned that during my speech at the NAMUN gala dinner that there were scouts for the award, watching me,” said the fourth-year Victoria College student.

Currently, Cramer is studying English and human biology, with numerous political science electives. With his award, he plans to pursue either an M.A. or M.Phil. in English literature.

Mississauga campus discloses new athletic fees

Students will be asked to top up their tuition fees with a substantial levy for their new athletic centre at the University of Toronto at Mississauga (UTM), confirmed a town-hall meeting on Thursday.

After announcing possible fees on Monday, the UTM Centre for Physical Education (CPE) verified that they would be asking for a student levy of $150.

“We’re going to be part of something new and unique,” said Director of Development Diana Borowski. “We’ve looked at other campuses and past UTM building projects, and through discussions with hospitals and the municipality we know that by working together we have an opportunity to do this project.”

Student fees plus funding from the University Investment Infrastructure Fund doesn’t quite equal a full and complete athletic centre, but UTM is hoping to raise more money by tapping community partnerships and private donors.

Some previous projects have hit major roadblocks when private donors have fallen through, but the admin is not concerned. CPE Athletics Director Ken Duncliffe said, “If we don’t achieve $27.1 million, then we go back to our priorities…We will not [begin construction] until the fees are in place.”

Built in 1972 to serve a population of 2500 students, UTM has grown to 6400 students and with the double cohort just months ahead and the potential Peel region growth, the current facilities are inadequate.

If the $27.1 million expected to complete the project is achieved, students could see a fitness complex complete with a 25-metre swimming pool and triple gymnasium. However, the $27.1 million does not include the second part of the fitness centre—a studio with cardio, strength and weights equipment. That will cost another $8 million and will be contingent on further funds becoming available. Also contingent on further funding is the $1.4 million outdoor rink and the $2.1 million field-house.

“We first have to look at our enrolment and interest rates,” said business services manager Christine Capewell. “Nothing is confirmed and we can’t commit to anything beyond the [main fitness complex].”

OPTIC party a hit

SAC’s Optic Biosphere event began Friday night and continued into the wee hours of Saturday morning. The Atlantis Pavillion at Ontario Place throbbed to the nonstop beat of an impressive lineup of local and international talent.

In the larger main floor area, Sircut Breaker started off the night, followed by MC Bandit, Chocolate, Telefunk Soundsystem and Sennes & Fury. The UK’s Souljah took the mike around 1 a.m., filling the room with a heady blend of dark atmospherics and jungle ferocity.

Upstairs, images by the Black Light Activists lit up the room with a transcendental glow, while Reefer Decree, Yeb, Quivering Virgin and Siren put the room in a funky psychedelic trance with their fat bass lines, delicate themes and killer sound production. Except for a few complaints that the price of the evening—the $10/15 cover, overpriced drinks, coat check, taxi—didn’t exactly add up to a cheap student’s night out, most partiers were impressed. The night was stress relief for many students overburdened with end-of-term exams and papers. As one participant put it, “the university is supposed to be a broad-based experience and this is definitely an experience that students should learn—underground music and the environment it’s played in!”

Tweaking emissions policy would cut smog, save lives

The number of smoggy summer days could be dramatically reduced if a few simple changes to automobile emissions are made, according to a major study released by Canada’s leading environmental organizations.

“You’re talking about a visible improvement in air quality,” said Peter Tabuns, executive director of Greenpeace Canada, which authored the report along with the Sierra Legal Defence Fund. “There’s no reason 1,000 people should die in Toronto each year alone because of smog.”

The main thrust is that Canada’s policy on vehicle emissions is not just far behind Europe, but even falling behind the US. The amount of gas vehicles burn per kilometre has not decreased in Canada since the 1980s.

Making matters worse, sales of gas-guzzling SUVs increased from 15,000 to 126,000 per year over 20 years, and because SUVs are still classified as trucks, they are allowed to have significantly higher emissions. If these problems are not fixed, says Tabuns, the health and environmental effects of vehicle emissions that were felt last summer will become even more unbearable.

“The air quality in the cities in Europe are noticeably better than they are in Toronto,” he said. “It’s a lot easier on your lungs, let me tell you.”

The report says Canada should follow California’s lead and introduce new standards by 2004 which would make mandatory a 4.3-litre-per-100-kilometres efficiency for passenger cars—a 50 per cent reduction over current standards.

Adopting California’s standards would also mean ending special exemptions for SUVs, which are responsible for a disproportionate amount of smog-causing emissions.

“There are no technological obstacles here. It’s really a question of political commitment,” said Tabuns.

The other major plank of the report is dramatically cutting back on the amount of a highly dangerous compound in fuels. In fact, removing most sulphur would mean $7 billion saved in health care costs, 2,100 fewer deaths and 11 million fewer incidents of respiratory problems over a 20 year period, according to Health Canada.

“In terms of air quality, removing sulphur is the most important step,” said Tabuns.

Sulphur not only has direct human consequences, but it interferes with catalytic converters in vehicles, which are the main means of reducing dangerous emissions.

Canada has some of the highest sulphur content in its gasoline in the world, largely a result of major oil refiners refusing to update very old equipment. In fact, some Ontario refiners have such poor equipment that Alberta must actually add sulphur to its petroleum before sending it to Ontario.

By following California’s lead and reducing sulphur from as much as 800 parts per million to 30 parts per million, Canada would cut smog by massive amounts and achieve major health benefits.

The auto and oil industry has been actively resisting changes to emissions standards or sulphur content, in large part because they would mean updating equipment.

“In the end, they’ll still be able to produce cars people can afford to buy and they can afford to sell at a profit, but to go from point A to point B means they are going to have to put money in and my guess is that they are wanting to completely exhaust the capital value of the assets before they make a new investment,” said Tabuns. “That might be good for them, but it’s bad news for the population as a whole.”

He says given the “laid-back” approach to lobbying pursued by the Ministry of the Environment, the federal government “will have to feel the ground shift under their feet” to implement these measures.

“One or two summers like the past one or worse could provide some political push to make them move.”

U of T visual studies is ‘Insulated’

Emelie Chhangur has taken her share of ribbing at U of T.

The Visual Arts graduate says she’s been ridiculed for “being able to get away with obtaining a degree from the University of Toronto by painting lines on canvases or combining found objects.”

“Insulated,” an art exhibition featuring selected artists from the U of T Visual Studies program, is about “exposing students to the process of an exhibition and their work to the public while being situated within the insular context of the university,” said curators Chhangur and Shanan Kurtz in an email interview.

“[‘Insulated’ maintains] an awkward position within the confines of the architectural structure,” states the promotional catalogue, a suitable metaphor for the program’s position within the university. “We exists in the margins,” declares the catalogue.

The university’s first curated show of student work opened on Saturday, complete with a live bongo player and a spread of entirely bright pink food—a piece of artwork itself. The work in the very bright room invites interactivity.

Emily French’s trail of stones bring out one’s inner child, emitting sound effects as gala attendees skipped across them. Gareth Long’s “Sugar for Sugar” is also playful, comprising three video screens of childhood records behind sugar-coated glass, which invite you to approach and peer in closely. Insulating the video in glass acknowledges “its limitations as a medium to preserve memory,” the catalogue explains.

Both Long and Jillian Locke use footage they have found from their past, such as family videos. Locke’s video “Catch Static” also contains imagery of childhood, using “the medium to distill time, keeping identity hermetically sealed in order to consolidate experience and to clarify time—so as not to lose it,” explains the catalogue. Patrick Borjal’s video “Anniversary” seems to stop time, surreally exploring repetition using quirky video effects on a rooftop parking lot.

“Jugs,” a display of wall-mounted castrated breast casts, is Sarah Ware’s exploration of the female experience. This, along with Jeremy Bailey’s video “8.7mb,” is probably the most self-conscious of the works. Bailey’s work mimics a newly established form of artistic expression, turning the camera in on oneself.

Chhangur and Kurtz wanted to organize a professional exhibition that followed the procedures used by galleries and would prepare the artists for entering the “real” art community in Toronto. For them, curating is “a bit like making your own work of art—by combining and juxtaposing ideas and objects, each work becomes an integral part that when put together shapes the meaning and impact of the whole—the exhibition,” said Chhangur and Kurtz through email.

The two fourth-year students have been working solidly on this project since September, undertaking all the fundraising and promotional legwork themselves.

The show hopes to raise awareness for the Visual Studies program, drawing attention to its under-funding and need for restructuring. Chhangur believes “a stronger case has to be made for the legitimacy of a studio art practice within the ‘academic’ university.”

“Insulated” runs daily until March 10, from 12-6 p.m. at 1 Spadina Crescent, Suite 206.

Sept. 11, abortion, globalization: International Women’s Day covered it all

Sandra Carnegie Douglas believes equality of the sexes is still a significant way away.

“Inequality, marginalization and oppression still reign,” said Douglas at the International Women’s Day rally on Saturday. As Executive Director of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women (NAC), Douglas said she still sees daily act of oppression directed not only at women but at the poor and people of colour, among others.

About 300 gathered at the Medical Science auditorium, where Douglas and others spoke to the crowd. They were joined by at least 1,000 others for a march through the streets of Toronto to Metro Hall.

Like many other speakers, Douglas spoke against the forces of globalization. “Today we see the hypocrisy of our governments as they systematically eliminate and change the laws, revoke our rights and create international governance that gives corporations unbridled power and economic control. This is a structural agenda which we must counter and resist.”

Salome Lukas spoke on behalf of Women Working with Immigrant Women, the group responsible for organizing this year’s IWD in Toronto. Lukas picked up on another theme present in many speeches—the aftermath of September 11.

“Last year…we witnessed the death of reason and humanity by the actions and policies of governments and corporations who used human rights and the war against terrorism as smokescreens to promote their globalization plans. As a result, the assaults against our civil rights, against immigrants and refugees, against women, workers, and against the poor, have intensified.”

Cherie McDonald, a pro-choice activist and long time member of OCAC (Ontario Coalition for Abortion Clinics), emphasized the contradictions inherent in the reactions to the terrorism of September 11. McDonald claimed that there have been “about 3000 incidents of terrorism against American citizens over the past decade. More than 2000 of those were perpetrated by pro-life and anti-abortion forces.”

On top of the empowering and inspiring speeches by activists at the IWD rally, musician Faith Nolan and political songwriting duo Sara Marlowe and Michelle Denis entertained the audience.

The rally brought together feminist resistance with other activists involved in the struggle for social justice. Harriet Whiteman, a student at York University, has been attending IWD since she was about ten years old. “[At IWD] we can look around and see people from all different backgrounds, people from every trade union out there…it has begun to more reflect some of the different aspects of the anti-globalization movement.”

U of T students on Feminism, 2002

Sarah Ware is one of two employees at the largely volunteer-run U of T women’s centre. Ware assured that “while there are always going to be folks who challenge our existence and our right to be here,” places like the women’s centre are still essential to current struggles. The women’s centre hosted a brunch open to all heading to the rally and march.

First year political science student Leah Girardo attended the brunch before experiencing her first IWD. She said her years at a Catholic high school in Toronto made her appreciate a “more progressive environment” at U of T. Girardo said she considered herself a feminist, although she added, “I don’t think you need to brand yourself.” A feminist, said Girardo, “is, in a way, anyone who does something positive for women in society…[you are a feminist] as long as you are promoting yourself as a strong woman.”

IWD, and the women’s movement as a whole, is striving to become more inclusive. In the past, the movement has faced criticism for catering only to white, middle-class women. Ware contends North American feminism has a “scarred history,” citing instances of racism and trans-phobia (fear of transsexual people). She doesn’t believe this is reason to discard the movement, especially as it begins to “work through these issues.”

U of T’s very own soccer-playing robots!

The University of Toronto Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (AIR) team, composed of engineering and computer science students, is currently designing and constructing a team of soccer-playing robots that will compete in the 2002 RoboCup competition in Fukuoka, Japan, in June.

The U of T AIR team will be competing in the F180 Small-Sized League. They are currently constructing a squad of seven small robots for the competition: Once the game begins, the robots play autonomously, receiving input from a camera mounted over the playing field and utilizing a predetermined, programmed strategy.

An annual event, the RoboCup—essentially the World Cup of robot soccer—has one ultimate goal: the development of a team of humanoid robots, by the year 2050, that can defeat top human players in a game of soccer. It brings teams from universities around the world together and provides a forum for research and development in the engineering and artificial intelligence fields.

The team is still seeking sponsors to support its effort to compete in Fukuoka this June. Several University of Toronto groups have generously supported the initiative, including the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, Department of Computer Science, Engineering Alumni Association, Engineering Society, Alumni Association and the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering.

If you would like more information about AIR or would like to support the team, please e-mail [email protected], or visit www.cs.utoronto.ca/~air.