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Forum posts for Advice of the day for the week of August 6th, 2 zero zero 7

Posted by phduffy on Aug 08, 2007
I meant to get around to this Brian, but haven't had a chance. Thanks for taking care of it.

While at Taco Bell, there's a hispanic guy in front of us waiting for his taco. He's asked "Would you like hot sauce?" he then proceeds to say, in a completely ridiculous hispanic accent "Yes of course darling".

After this, two attractive young (20ish) women walk in. He walks up to one of them and says, again, in his ridiculous accent: "Excuse me... you have beautiful feet" and then leaves.

As for your link, it's saying that people have more debt now than they used to. Personally, I don't think that's necesarily a bad thing. It depends on the type of debt you're carrying. For example, one of the reasons people today have so much debt is because it's very cheap (ie interest rates are low) and easy to get. So I think the in many cases, mortgage debt is probably a good thing. Students loans are generally good too. Credit card debt on the other hand, is a bad thing. If anyone here is carrying credit card debt, I'd urge you to call one of those debt counselling lines, or just go to your bank and ask about a line of credit.

Posted by bryan on Aug 08, 2007
I was told at the end of July that we'd have a mountain of work for August, and it seems that it's been more of a mole hill.

You'll have to excuse me, I just watched the grapes of wrath. I'm afraid the reaganomics house of cards is about to fall, and that means my stocks aren't going to be worth a dime. What sort of yuppie will I be then, Paul?

Credit card debt is a good thing if you've got life insurance and 10 months to live.

Posted by phduffy on Aug 10, 2007
August 9, 2007 at 3:57 AM EDT

Students in B.C. don't have to worry about a post-secondary space crunch like the one that is looming in Ontario.

High-school graduates, and eager learners looking to start their academic career, may have an easier time enrolling in B.C. universities, where a booming economy has shrunk the pool of applicants and a government-funded increase in spaces opens the door wider for students.

"Any time the economy booms, we see people enter directly into the work force after high school," said Andrew Arida, associate director of enrolment at the University of British Columbia.

While applications were up this year, Mr. Arida said the school lowered its admission grade averages to fill the number of available seats in some of its programs.

Simon Fraser University also decided in May to drop its admission average from 80 per cent to 75 per cent in order to meet its targets, said Kate Ross, senior director of student enrolment and registrar.

While she couldn't point to one particular factor, Ms. Ross said it's becoming more common for students to take a year off before joining the world of academia.

"What we're learning is a lot of students are debt-averse," Ms. Ross said. "They don't want to take out loans to go to school. They want to finance their education as they go along."

The rich employment market enables them to do so, she said.

It's a trend that's been influenced by the jump in tuition fees, said Rob van Adrichem, spokesperson for the University of Northern British Columbia. He said the cost to go to university has doubled since the mid-1990s.

"Students are feeling now, that unless they know what to do, they should put off school because it's too expensive," he said.

However, Mr. van Adrichem said fresh-faced high school students are no longer UNBC's primary source of enrolment. He said about 50 per cent of their new student population would be considered mature students.

Mr. van Adrichem said many people take time off to travel, or have a career first before they head to university.

However, while he said enrolment at UNBC isn't hurting, the growth in numbers it saw in past years has slowed down.

"Add that to economic ability to get work right out of high school; these are all of the factors that are affecting the schools right now," he said.

Lynda Wallace-Hulecki, the University of Victoria's registrar and executive director of student enrolment, said the admission averages have softened, in part due to the B.C. government's push to add more available spots for students.

She said the government aims to add 25,000 spots in the coming years, after having added 200 full-time equivalent spaces to her university this year.

As such, Ms. Wallace-Hulecki said the school is exercising flexibility with the grade requirements.

"We have more spaces available, and so, we are certainly seeing that there are more students given opportunities for admission," she said.

Last month, the leaders of Toronto's three major universities - the University of Toronto, York University and Ryerson University - warned that if estimates are correct, between 40,000 and 75,000 university spaces will be needed in the city. It's a demand that will be felt by the time today's Grade 7 students have graduated high school.

"The situation for the GTA universities is unprecedented," University of Toronto provost Vivek Goel said. "If we stick our heads in the sand and do nothing, our students will have to look elsewhere for a university education."

Posted by phduffy on Aug 10, 2007
Erin Millar, | Aug 08, 2007 |

The backbone of higher education in many countries is private universities and colleges. Take, for example, leading universities in the U.S.A.: names that jump to mind are Stanford, Princeton, and Harvard—all of which are private institutions. Considering that these universities are widely regarded as some of the best in the world, why does Canada stubbornly resist similar schools, opting instead for publicly funded universities? This is a question that baffles Dr. David Strong, president and vice chancellor of University Canada West, and has led him to establish the new private university in British Columbia.

While there are a number of private, non-profit universities (most of which are religious), University Canada West claims to be the only for-profit, private university in Canada. It was created after a group of academics and business leaders came together in 2002. The first graduates received their diplomas last November. The university offers Bachelor of Commerce, Bachelor of Arts (in communications, tourism, economics, or geography), and Master Business Administration degrees. The focus of the school is access (it accepts students with only a 65 per cent average) and speed (students can complete a bachelor degree in two years and a MBA in one year).

Continued Below

Although there are few private universities in Canada, there is no shortage of private colleges, offering everything from English-as-a-second-language training to diplomas in information technology and healthcare. But not all colleges are created equal. Private schools, particularly in B.C., have been in the news lately for operating illegally. For instance, Lansbridge University in Vancouver was ordered to close its doors May 1 after it was found to be violating the Degree Authorization Act. Many of these schools have low entrance requirements and the quality of education is questionable. In the most extreme cases they function as degree or visa mills. Because of these schools, private institutions in Canada struggle with their reputations. Some people argue that illegal schools and degree mills even erode the reputation of the public system internationally. However, Dr. Strong is quick to point out that not all private institutions are alike.

"I think the fact that Lansbridge was shut down is evidence that the legislation is working," Strong said in an interview. Strong himself shows that University Canada West (UCW) has more credibility than schools like Lansbridge. He was the president of the University of Victoria from 1990 to 2000, has held a number of senior administrative and faculty positions at Memorial University, is a noted earth science researcher, and has received a slew of honorary degrees. Other prominent names are also associated with the school, including president emeritus of the University of Alberta Dr. Myer Horowitz, principal of Jesus College at Oxford Sir Peter North, secretary general of the ministry of education in Malaysia Dr. Tan Sri Johari Bin Mat, and former World Bank president Robert S. McNamara among others.

So why have these people lent their names to a new private institution in Canada? "We feel that Canada needs to join the rest of the world and have a wider spectrum of opportunities," explained Strong. Having worked in public universities for most of this career, Strong feels that he has both an appreciation for their strengths and a profound understanding of their weaknesses. Pursuing an education at most public universities can be slow and cumbersome, according to Strong. This means that it takes students too long to complete degrees and it takes universities too long to respond to the real world. And so, by shortening exam periods and minimizing vacation time, UCW is offering students the opportunity to take the same number of lecture time over a shorter period of time, as short as two years for a degree that traditionally takes four years.

Not only can this be an advantage to the student, but also improves access to education for other students, argues Strong. It takes Canadian students an average of five years to complete a standard bachelor degree. By pushing students through the system faster, Strong wants to create spots for more students and lower the academic requirements to get in.

Although most universities advertise that a 65 per cent average is required to apply, there are so many applicants that minimum entrance averages are closer to 80 per cent. "The big universities have so many applications that they don't have the time or resources to look at anything other than high school marks," said Strong, who believes that the students in the 65 to 80 per cent mark gap should have the opportunity to study at a university. "People who do other things may not get the academic grades and they suffer," he said, illustrating the point with a UCW student who is a champion horseback rider.

Strong is adamant that the fast-track education model that he promotes does not affect the quality of education. Students are able to design their schedules to be longer if desired and UCW offers learning and skills coaches to provide support. UCW's retention rate is similar to many public institutions, he says. "We think that our students are getting a better deal."

Strong also thinks that private universities might be able to do a better job of providing undergraduate education than the big research universities. He believes that changing the current funding model and allowing more private universities would make undergraduate education delivery more competitive and undergraduate schools would be forced to "treat the students like consumers." He thinks that by funding smaller institutions to focus on undergraduate education, the large universities would be free to focus on research by "leaving a significant chunk of the undergraduate teaching to others."

Continued Below

Surely, any idea that could provide additional undergraduate spaces would be welcomed by the major universities in Toronto—the University of Toronto, York University, and Ryerson University—which have been pushing legislators to address an anticipated surge of undergraduate students expected in the Greater Toronto Area. Some estimate that as many as 70,000 additional undergraduate spaces will be needed in the next ten years. However, for the time being, Ontario is not welcoming private universities.

"Ontario made it so cumbersome to apply as a private institution that it can't work," said Strong. The province requires that a school have a five-year track record before setting up shop, making it impossible for new universities. Strong thinks this is a mistake. "To me, the fundamental flaw is the expectation that the taxpayers have to fund post-secondary education."

Strong says that his university shows that the private sector can do its part in providing post-secondary education too. But the government should provide qualified students with funding to attend whatever institution they choose. "We don't want money from the government," he said, "but a student who can't afford to come here should get access to the funding."

Posted by Nerhael on Aug 10, 2007
Particular reason you posted the content rather than links to the content?

Posted by phduffy on Aug 10, 2007

I didn't have the links, only the articles.

Rule of Thumb
Posted by Palmer on Aug 10, 2007
My personal rule of thumb is this...

Can I buy a place to live and still afford my mediocre lifestyle of having beer with friends and buying music all the time?

If the answer is yes, then why the heck not. ;-)

Honestly, I bought a house a few years back in Ottawa and I like it. I think I like the aspect of not having to find roommates or a place to live all the time if my roommates leave.

Plus, as far as it stands in Ottawa, housing prices just go up so I feel good that by the time I sell it (which could conceivably be a year after you buy it) you could have some coin.

honestly, I don't do a lot of work on my house. I'm lazy. In fact, I just primed my garage door a nice bubble gum pink and the neighbours hate me because I haven't gotten around to putting the actual coat of maroon on top of it.

So...what am I trying to say?

Oh yeah, don't be scared by the concept of a house/condo. It's just a little more money out of your pocket and if it really isn't the thing you want in your life, you just have to stick it out minimum a year without paying capital gains (or something like that). I've lived in far worse places for more than a year.

Posted by Palmer on Aug 10, 2007
Although, I heard it's crazy expensive to find a place in Toronto so that may affect your decision also. You don't to be moving all the way to Oshawa just to say you own a house. ;-)

Posted by phduffy on Aug 10, 2007
William Kogut was brought to San Quentin State prison for the murder of Mayme Guthrie, a lady who ran a rooming house/gaming house/brothel. The motivation for the murder is not known but it was speculated that he killed her because of her alleged immoral ways. He mostly kept to himself and guards would notice him occasionally playing solitaire with a deck of cards that was provided to him by the prison. Nothing seemed amiss or strange about an inmate playing cards. After all, what was he going to do? Get a paper cut?

The guards remained confident that nothing was amiss until October 9th, 1930, when a large explosion was heard in Kogut’s cell. The guards ran over to his cell and found only Kogut’s dead body sprawled on the floor and a note,

“Do not blame my death on anyone, because I fixed everything myself. I never give up as long as I am living and have a chance, but this is the end.”

After further investigation, It turned out that Kogut was never playing solitaire with his pack of cards. He was secretly cutting out the red hearts and diamond shapes and hiding them. He would then take those shapes to his room. Back in the 1930s, the red dye used on the pack of cards was made from nitrocellulose, an explosive chemical made from nitrate and cellulose. Kogut took off a hollow leg from his bed and stuffed all the hearts and diamonds cut outs into the bottom. Next he filled the hollow leg up with water from cell’s sink or toilet. Nitrocellulose reacts with water to create explosive energy. He then clogged up both ends of the make shift pipebomb and left it sitting there by the heating vents to speed up the reaction. After a little while, the bomb, the cell and Kogut all exploded, thus, ending his prison and death sentence.

Posted by phduffy on Aug 10, 2007
A recent medical development will include a small amount of nitroglycerin in the tip of a new Durex condom to stimulate erection during intercourse. “The CSD500 condom contains a chemical in its teat, called glyceryl trinitrate (GTN), which is absorbed by the skin and causes blood vessels to dilate.”