Archive for: August, 2011

2010 Lane Anderson Award Shortlist: Celebrating the Best Science Writing in Canada

Aug 16 2011 Published by under best science books 2010, science books

I just got an email from the administers of this award:

$10,000 Lane Anderson Award Shortlist Announced
Celebrating the Best Science Writing in Canada

The six finalists competing for the 2010 Lane Anderson Award were announced today by Hollister Doll and Sharon Fitzhenry, Directors of the Fitzhenry Family Foundation.

The annual Lane Anderson Award honours two jury-selected books, in the categories of adult and young reader, published in the field of science, and written by a Canadian. The winner in each category will receive $10,000. Winners will be announced on 14th September.

"We want to honour the very best science writing in Canada and were especially pleased at the quality of the 44 titles submitted this year. The final short-list was determined on relevance of content to the importance of science in today's world, and the author's ability to connect the topic to the interests of the general trade reader," said Doll and Fitzhenry.

The Lane Anderson designation honours the maiden names of Robert Fitzhenry's mother, Margaret Lane, and his wife, Hilda Anderson Fitzhenry. The Fitzhenry Family Foundation is a privately directed Canadian foundation established in 1987 by Canadian publisher Robert I. Fitzhenry (1918-2008). The Lane Anderson Award is administered by Christopher Alam, a partner at the law firm of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP

Adult Titles Shortlist

There's a York University connection here with Keeping the Bees by Laurence Packer.

Young Readers Shortlist

The award website is here.

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Around the Web: Love the copy, Why we inflate grades, Insults in academia and more

Aug 16 2011 Published by under around the web

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Language, framing and women in computer science

As I ease myself back into the swing of things after a couple of weeks off and start to pay attention again to what's going on in the online world, I thought I'd bring this post to the attention of as wide an audience as possible.

It's The importance of language and framing, part eleventy-thousand by Amy Csizmar Dalal on her blog, This is what a computer scientist looks like.

Dalal draws a link between the decline in female CS enrollments since they peaked in the 1980s and the way we talk about entering the field in very competitive language rather than emphasizing mentoring or collaboration.

Framing matters. Language matters. We can be as inclusive and aware and welcoming as possible, but if we're not paying attention to the language we use--on our web sites, in our course descriptions, in how we talk about technology and its role in the world--we may end up shooting ourselves in the foot.

We're at an interesting point right now: enrollments in CS are on the rise, and more women are choosing to major in CS. We have a golden opportunity to learn from our mistakes of the past and keep the trends moving upward. Let's hope we're smart enough to not let history repeat itself.

I studied CS in the 1980s, more or less at that peak. My degree is from 1986. And I very clearly recall that the percentage of women in my program at Concordia was fairly high especially in the General Business Option, probably higher than it is there today.

Read the whole post. It's terrific.

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Friday Fun: USSR Wins Space Race As U.S. Shuts Down Shuttle Program

Aug 12 2011 Published by under friday fun

Sometimes The Onion is so funny it hurts: USSR Wins Space Race As U.S. Shuts Down Shuttle Program.

MOSCOW, USSR--Less than a week after the return of the Atlantis orbiter marked the end of the U.S. space shuttle program, the crowded streets and textile factories of Moscow erupted in celebration as the USSR officially declared victory over the United States in the Space Race.

"At long last, our great Soviet republic has conquered the West and achieved technological and ideological superiority over America," Kremlin representative Sergei Voronin said Wednesday, announcing the achievement to an audience of joyous beet farmers and steel factory laborers assembled in Red Square. "We have established our unrivaled dominion over the stars and planets and stand now at the dawn of a new era, an era in which the tenets of communism shall echo loudly across the Earth's entire expanse."

*snip*

Sources confirmed that in commemoration of the capitalist defeat, extra bread and corn rations had been approved in all major cities, and factory workers were given time off their nine-hour work shifts to join in the festivities. Throughout the Eastern Bloc, pitchforks, hammers, Soviet flags, and large banners adorned with the face of Lenin were seen waving in the air as the excitement of the victory quickly spread.

"When we saw footage of the Atlantis touching down for the very last time, everyone in the tractor factory exploded with unbridled joy at the triumph of our republic," said Kiev assembly-line operator Yaroslav Biryukov, who marched in unison with a batch of laborers while loud refrains of the Soviet national anthem rang out through the streets. "We must now, all of us, work harder, harder than ever to seize this great moment in history."

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Friday Fun: Student Takes Tenured Professor to Antiques Road Show

Aug 05 2011 Published by under friday fun

Believe me, there are days when I think I'd like to be sold for scrap.

Anyways, Student Takes Tenured Professor to Antiques Road Show.

Archeology major Wendy Markell packed Professor Mary Louise Grandy into her car last Saturday and took her to the most recent filming of the PBS program "Antiques Road Show."

"I've had Dr. Grandy's modern literature classes for three years and I was just curious what she was worth," said Markell. "Her lessons seem really old and I was hoping there might be something of value there."

*snip*

"The transparencies used on classroom overhead projectors are slightly newer, which lowers the overall value of the item," warned Drucker. "Luckily Dr. Grandy still has mint-condition slideshows and there is no trace of PowerPoint, internet technology or literary references newer than 1978."

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