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Arts scholars in the media

A selection of recent media hits featuring faculty members from Waterloo Arts.


York University professor too quick to denounce sexism in refusing student’s request to avoid women in class: rights advisor | David Seljak (Religious Studies) interviewed in National Post | March 25 2014

"People are doing religion à la carte, on the fly, in a makeshift fashion to suit their needs. The protection of religious freedom is not a protection of institutionalized, book-derived, authoritative religion, it’s a protection of all religious freedom…"


Ashley Smith's life inspires theatre production | Andrew Houston (Drama and Speech Communication) on CBC radio and online | March 20 2014

"... the class took up this subject matter with great — I wouldn't say excitement, I think there was a kind of fear around mental health — but they were intrigued and they were connected to it personally, and for me, that's really important in the work that I do."


Bitcoin boosters' faith unshaken by scandals | Jean-Paul Lam (Economics) comments in Globe and Mail | March 6 2014

“'The irony of bitcoin is, it was created to avoid regulations, to avoid government intervention completely,' Prof. Lam said. 'So the minute there is regulation ... I think that’s the end of [virtual currency] as we know it.'”


TED Talks are Wildly Addictive for Three Powerful Scientific Reasons | Larry Smith (Economics) cited in Forbes online | February 25 2014

"Larry Smith, an economics professor at the University of Waterloo, gave a popular TEDx talk titled, Why You Will Fail To Have a Great Career [...] is notable for the fact that he doesn’t use any slides. He commands the attention of his audience through the passionate delivery he brings to the topic."


Why Some Smartphone Games Are So Addictive | Karen Collins (Drama and Speech Communication) comments in India Everyday | February 21 2014

"Give a carrot facial expressions and strange things happen. 'When something has a face, we find it much harder to give up, or get rid of. We are sort of hard wired into that,' said Karen Collins, a professor at the Games Institute of the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada."


Beer Store study claiming convenience store sales will cause price spike is flawed, critics say | Anindya Sen's (Economics) research featured in the National Post | February 10 2014

"Mr. Sen argues that in a fair-market analysis it makes more sense to compare Ontario with Quebec, whose markets are adjacent and more comparable in size than Ontario and Alberta."


Train terror plot suspect, Chiheb Esseghaier lashes out at ‘NATO colonization’ of Afghanistan | Lorne Dawson (Sociology) comments in the National Post | February 4 2014

"'From my perspective, the views expressed … are very typical of the worldview of religious fundamentalists and very comparable to what one might hear from a strident anti-abortion activist coming from a Christian perspective,' said Prof. Lorne Dawson."


A fundamental question about Justin Trudeau’s Senate move | Emmett Macfarlane (Political Science) writes in Maclean's magazine | January 29 2014

"The proposals [...] will not convince those who think the only meaningful options are elections or abolition. For those who think there is still some value to an unelected upper chamber, however, what Trudeau seems to be pushing is for more of a cultural change. A move away from patronage and partisanship – even if just through new practices rather than formal legal change – is a good objective, and it might demonstrate that the Senate could be improved without the mess of a major constitutional battle."


Ontario to raise minimum wage for first time since 2010 | Anindya Sen (Economics) appears on CTV Kitchener | January 27 2014


Why did Harper wade into the Marc Nadon controversy? | Emmett Macfarlane (Political Science) comments in Maclean's magazine | January 16 2014

"University of Waterloo political science professor Emmett Macfarlane, author of Governing from the Bench: The Supreme Court of Canada and the Judicial Role, calls them 'moderate centrists.' On the other hand, he describes Nadon as a 'very unique and odd choice.'"


Bizarre downtown attacks | Owen Gallupe (Sociology) appears on CTV Kitchener | January 13 2014


The fear of offending is sapping universities of common sense | Emmett Macfarlane (Political Science) writes for The Globe and Mail | January 10 2014

"The administration at York appears to have lost sight of their most important responsibility to students, which is not to shield each individual student from the real world or attempt to provide them with their own morally idyllic experience. Rather, universities must cultivate an educational environment that is most conducive to student learning for the student body writ large and for the generation and dissemination of knowledge."


The Surprising Probability Gurus Wearing Diapers | Stephanie Denison's (Psychology) research featured in Wall Street Journal | January 10 2014

"Two new studies in the journal Cognition describe how some brilliant decision makers expertly use probability for profit... Stephanie Denison at the University of Waterloo in Canada and Fei Xu at the University of California, Berkeley, showed babies two large transparent jars full of lollipop-shaped toys."


Franklin expedition: More doubts raised that lead poisoned the crew | Robert Park (Anthropology) comments on CBC News | January 9 2014

"Park says there have been ongoing questions about the toxic lead theory for decades... He thinks all this just makes the unsolved mystery that much more compelling. 'There is something marvellously catastrophic about the Franklin expedition,' said Park."


Bank robberies may not exist in 'near future,' prof says | Frederick Descroches (Sociology & Legal Studies / St. Jerome's University) research featured on CBC News | December 19 2013

"'Bank robbery has always been a high risk crime with severe penalties,' Desroches writes in the paper, which is to be published in the RCMP Gazette. 'By increasing the risk even more and decreasing the potential profit, the banking community and the police have made this type of criminal activity even less attractive.'"


Canadians less likely to text holiday greetings: Ipsos poll | Aimee Morrison (English) comments in the Toronto Star | December 18 2013

"'It’s interesting that it varies by country to country because it shows you that there are social norms at play there, whether something is the done thing or not the done thing,' Morrison said."


Putin rattles sabre over Canada's claim to North Pole | Whitney Lackenbauer (History) comments in CP24 | December 10 2013

"'It is a fascinating political dance. But in practical terms this is much ado about nothing,' Lackenbauer said in an interview. 'This is very much an emotional exercise relating to the North Pole as a symbol of the Arctic. The practical aspects are completely immaterial.'"


Where Am I? - The Nature of Things | Colin Ellard (Psychology) appears on The Nature of Things with David Suzuki on CBC | December 5 2013

"'I actually love the sensation of becoming lost,' says wayfinding expert Colin Ellard. 'I get lost on purpose. Because I think that when you lose that kind of comfortable feeling of  knowing your place, that everything kind of 'pops', and you experience the here-and-now much more immediately.'"


Can social media make us more productive? | Aimee Morrison (English) comments in the Financial Post | December 4 2013

"'We bring our work with us everywhere, and the trade off for some of that is that we bring some of the aspects of our personal lives into the workplace with us as well,' said Aimee Morrison, an associate professor of English at the University of Waterloo and an expert on digital media."


Canada is diligently treading water | Christine McWebb (French Studies & Stratford Campus) writes in the Globe and Mail | December 4 2013

"We don’t need to wait for PISA results to acknowledge that we don’t do a very good job of assessing potential in the high-school years. After all, a snapshot of a 15-year-old’s performance on a standardized test on any given day cannot possibly be indicative of his or her future potential."


The pre-Digi Selfie | Aimee Morrison (English) talks on CBC's Spark program | November 24 2013

"In light of this week's news that 'selfie' was named by Oxford Dictionaries as their international Word of the Year, we speak with Aimee Morrison about the long, pre-digital history of the selfie, and what they reveal about our culture."


Proposed Senate reforms wouldn't have stopped expenses scandal | Emmett Macfarlane (Political Science) comments in CBC News | November 16 2013

"Macfarlane, who specializes in Supreme Court issues, added, 'It's very unfortunate that the Senate reform issue has been conflated with the expense scandals. The basis for Senate reform has nothing to do with Mike Duffy or the other senators.'"


JFK’s Weak Body And Strong Spirit | James Blight (History) writes in The Daily Beast | November 15 2013

"Kennedy was one of the sickliest American presidents, wracked with chronic back pain—but his metaphorical spine in standing up to the war hawks was unparalleled."


Multiculturalism changing Remembrance Day in Waterloo Region | Geoffrey Hayes (History) guest on CBC Radio's The Morning Edition | November 11 2013


Your guide to the Senate reform debate | Emmett Macfarlane (Political Science) writes in The Globe and Mail | November 11 2013

"This primer will explore the options and major points of contention facing the Court with respect to the Senate reform."


How Do You Boot a Mayor Who’s Admitted to Smoking Crack? | EmmettMacfarlane (Political Science) comments in The Atlantic | November 8 2013

"'Our standards [for removing someone from elected office] should be higher than not being charged with a crime,' Macfarlane tells me. 'I don’t think we should reduce the concept of democracy and democratic accountability to just elections.'"


Google Street View maps London's River Thames | Colin Ellard (Psychology) comments in USA Today | November 7 2013

"'One of the most difficult problems in using maps is making translations from the overhead view to how things look on the ground,' said Ellard. 'Street View helps people make that correlation.'"


Rob Ford reveals deep flaws in our democracy: We need an impeachment power | Emmett Macfarlane (Political Science) writes in The Globe and Mail | November 4 2013

"But a process must exist and it must reflect the fact that there is a substantive content to keeping the public’s trust between elections that exhibits a better standard than not being charged with a crime. If Premier Wynne believes that such a standard exists, then her government must put in place a law that protects it."


Let’s bring Ottawa’s political staffers out of the shadows with a code of conduct | Anna Lennox Esselment (Political Science) writes in The Globe and Mail | October 28 2013

"Canadians expect and deserve an impartial, merit-based bureaucracy, but the imperative of party government requires the rendering of political advice to elected politicians. Public servants cannot, by definition, offer political advice to ministers of the crown. Political staff fill this role and are thus crucial to ensuring a clear division of labour between those who assist with 'politics' and those who provide 'policy options' to the government of the day."


The university debate: specialize or be a generalist? | Ginny Dybenko (Stratford Campus) comments in The Globe and Mail | October 22 2013

"'In the old days,what students would be told if they were really passionate about the arts or the humanities was to become an accountant, and then they could play with that other stuff in their spare time,' Dybenko says. 'If they’re passionate about the arts [...] then we encourage them and give them enough technology so that they can apply that in the digital age and enough business skills so that they are actually useful in the workplace.'"


Oktoberfest not true celebration of German culture, says prof | James Skidmore (Germanic & Slavic Studies) talks on CBC | October 14 2013

"Imagine you're a German in the K-W area in the 1950s and the 1960s. It was a period of time where you couldn't show a lot of pride in being German. So the festival, the idea of having Oktoberfest was, I think, a way of expressing some pride in being German that was not focused on the German-ness, the nationalism."


Prospects brighter in 2014 for new business graduates | Neil Randall (English / Games Institute) comments in The Globe and Mail | October 11 2013

Neil Randall, director of the Games Institute comments on a unique two-month assignment in which English students must produce a story in written or visual ways about a collection of data.


Confusion reigns in Egypt as Greyson, Loubani wait | Bessma Momani (Political Science) comments in The Star | October 8 2013

"It’s a typically Egyptian nightmare," says Bessma Momani of the University of Waterloo politics department. "It’s what most Egyptians have to face on a daily basis. Things never move smoothly, and there’s no real due process."


From Books to Screen | Christine McWebb (French Studies & Stratford Campus) appears on TVO The Agenda with Steve Paikin | October 7 2013


The Future of Learning | Christine McWebb (French Studies & Stratford Campus) speaks on CBC | October 4 2013


15-minute phone call cause for hope in U.S.-Iran relations | Bessma Momani (Political Science) writes in The Star | October 1 2013

Professor Momani gives a succinct and insightful summary of acrimonious U.S.-Iran relations over the past decades, concluding the article with "this moment where two doves are in power is a historic opportunity that must not be missed."


Prize-winning professor touches on creativity & the brain | Paul Thagard (Philosophy) Killam lecture featured in The Chronicle Herald | September 24 2013

"'There's a lot of disagreement about what emotions are,' said Paul Thagard, a professor of philosophy at the University of Waterloo and the director of the school's cognitive science program."


Canada slow to initiate disaster prevention programs, experts warn | Daniel Henstra (Political Science) comments in Post Media News | September 23 2013

"The good news, Henstra said, is that governments are talking, but if any progress is to be made on implementing the plan, it had better happen fast. The window of public attention opened by this summer's disasters is already closing. 'That's the problem with this type of thing: It's in everyone's interest, nobody is practically responsible, and attention is short.'"


Is gaming good for you? | Neil Randall (English / Games Institute) guest on CBC Radio's Ontario Today | September 6 2013


Blame Your Unemployment On the Job Market, Not Universities | Kate Lawson (English) writes in Huffington Post | September 3 2013

"Of course universities should look at ways to improve the education they provide; things can always work better. But the emerging tunnel-vision around binding universities to narrow labour market outcomes devalues all of the other, equally important work that a university does." 


Harper's arctic evolution | P. Whitney Lackenbauer (St Jerome's University / History) writes in the Globe and Mail | August 20 2013

"The Prime Minister will stress continuity in his government’s efforts to fulfill its Arctic platform, introduced in 2005 – but its priorities have quietly changed."


Beer Store profits $700M yearly from near monopoly, study finds | Anindya Sen (Economics) on CBC TV and online | August 12 2013

"'These findings aren't necessarily an argument to reduce beer prices, as there are arguments that higher prices play an important social policy role,' said Sen, whose study was financially supported by the Ontario Convenience Stores Association."


High birth rate among immigrant women has implications for Canada | Ana Ferrer (Economics) in The Vancouver Sun | August 8 2013

"The study aims to help governments and businesses respond to demographic changes in Canada, track the availability of workers of both genders and adjust taxpayer-support services."


Tasting colours, seeing sounds | Mike Dixon (Psychology) in The Globe and Mail | August 2 2013

"'One can think of synesthetes as having brain connections between different areas that most of us do not have,' Dr. Dixon said. 'Sound-colour synesthetes have direct connections between areas that process sound and those that process colour – hence when they hear a sound they also see a colour.'”


Will PED punishment be a real deterrent? | Philip Curry (Economics) in The Globe and Mail | August 1 2013

"'Even if they do get caught, rarely do they come out worse financially than if they’d never taken performance-enhancing drugs at all,' says economist Philip Curry, who teaches an economics of sports class at the University of Waterloo."


What do we really want to do with the Senate? | Emmett Macfarlane (Political Science) writes in Maclean's magazine | July 22 2013

"The problem with the Senate debate is that the consensus is illusory. Discounting those who are fine with the status quo or do not care, roughly half of people polled favour reform, the other half abolition."


The self-radicalized terrorist next door | Lorne Dawson (Sociology & Legal Studies) writes in Maclean's magazine | July 12 2013

"'Studies into their social backgrounds discovered, to put it in a nutshell, that most of the people involved are remarkably ordinary,' says Lorne L. Dawson."


Ten Tips for a Psychologically Rewarding Vacation | Collin Ellard(Psychology) writes in Psychology Today | July 6 2013

"The main idea is to shake up your preconceptions (or avoid forming any), leave your auto-pilot behind, and open your senses wide to new experiences."


Egyptian coup is nothing to celebrate | Bessma Momani (Political Science) writes in the Ottawa Citizen | July 4 2013

"What will happen when the military cannot meet the needs of the people? Militaries often resort to emergency laws to suppress liberties and get a state’s 'house in order.' This is the risk that Egyptians have taken with this coup d’état. It’s not a moment to celebrate, but one to take with great caution."


Victoria terror plot discussed on Early Edition in Vancouver | Veronica Kitchen (Political Science) on CBC Radio | July 3 2013


Were Victoria terrorist bomb suspects really ‘self-radicalized?’ Probably not| Lorne Dawson (Sociology & Legal Studies) writes in the Globe and Mail | July 3 2013

"In most cases, and in line with human nature, people have a strong need, on the one hand, to share deeply felt beliefs or passionate views with others. On the other hand, they have an equally strong need to receive the justification provided by the attention and affirmation of others."


Music to a gambler's ears: Noisy slot machines make winning more exciting (and also make us fritter more) | Mike Dixon (Psychology) and Arts colleagues in the Gambling Research Lab cited in The Daily Mail (UK) | July 2 2013

"Although sounds may have contributed to players' enjoyment of the game, sound may also lead to an overestimation of winning. Both of these effects may contribute to gambling problems..."