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Science Matters - Episode 4

Science Matters - Episode 4

June 13, 2009

THE AUDIO FOR THIS EPISODE WILL BE POSTED ON SATURDAY JUNE 27.

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Image Courtesy of Alexei Talimonov

At a time when most industries can barely keep themselves alive, let alone drive any kind of market, Canadian aquaculture and fisheries are actually serving as very positive contributors to the nation’s economy.  Indeed, fine-finned aquatic vertebrates are the hot topic of research in a new NSERC-led $8.8 million dollar five-year initiative announced last month in Charlotte PEI as part of Canada's Economic Action plan.

But the problem with aquaculture practice is that the fish in this industry are eating themselves: at present, fish-based feeds called "fishmeal" are used to meet the nutritional needs of fish, and the resources are limited.  Alternative feeds, such as plant-based ones, also pose their own problems at the gastrointestinal levels of fish.  To contribute to the efforts to optimize fish health and growth, Atsushi Kawano, who recently received his Masters degree from the Biology department at the University of Waterloo, studied just how the fish gut interacts with food components and other microbes.

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Audio coming soon.  Coming, coming soon.

Science Matters - Episode 3

Science Matters - Episode 3

May 30, 2009

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So, your final grades have come out at last, you check your academic transcript on Quest, and lo and behold – an 80 in Psychology! Things are going pretty swell academically, you think, right? Think again. Your score may very well have been the lowest in your class. Recent UW graduate and current sessional lecturer in the Faculty of Mathematics, Dr. Greg Mayer speaks about grade inflation at the University of Waterloo and what it means to our school, our professors, and our students.

**Note regarding 28min11sec: I have been known to interview my subjects in all sorts of “sketchy” places, true to my field journalistic roots, but after this interview, I now believe that public discourse in a library may quite possibly be a substrate for explosive social reactions. (I did, however, get a good - and relatively noise-free – recording out of it.)

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Science Matters - Episode 2

Science Matters - Episode 2

May 15, 2009

superhero.jpg By now, we are all aware that the current economic recession has major impacts on nearly everything in our lives. From what we study to where we study, from what our job is to if what our job will be, we seem to be losing more and more control. But what is perhaps not quite as obvious is that an economic crisis can also affect an aspect of your life you thought you had complete emotional control over: yup, it's your love life! Recently, Grace Lau, a PhD student in the department of psychology at the University of Waterloo, conducted research on the different kinds of men that women find attractive given a political, economic, or personal crisis precedence. Lau found that under "system threat", women tended to be less attracted to the stereotypical "macho", dominating, and ambitious men. The title of Lau's talk at UW's 9th annual Graduate Student Research Conference: "Why Women Find Caring, Nurturing Men More Attractive During an Economic, Political Crisis".

**Note: At 9min49sec, a brief music clip plays instead of what is supposed to be me saying a line that segueways into Lau's actual presentation at the GSRC last month. I am currently away from my Sennheiser MD-42 and cannot record the line. I promise to update the version once I am back home.

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Science Matters - Episode 1

Science Matters - Episode 1

May 2, 2009

firstprinciples.jpgOn April 28th 2009, to give a keynote address to students, professors, and community members at the University of Waterloo’s 9th annual graduate student research conference, was none other than Dr. Howard Burton, the former founding executive director of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. Now living in France, Burton was in Canada recently to promote his new book entitled First Principles: the Crazy Business of Doing Serious Science.

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