Headliners: From falling bridges to rising temperatures

Headliners: From falling bridges to rising temperatures McGill University

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McGill Reporter
October 5, 2006 - Volume 39 Number 04
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Home > McGill Reporter > Volume 39: 2006-2007 > October 5, 2006 > Headliners: From falling bridges to rising temperatures

HEADLINERS

From falling bridges to rising temperatures

Is it hot in here or is it just me?

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Irv Binik

Ah, nothing like a good sexual arousal story to get the media all hot and bothered. Irv Binik's study using thermal imaging technology to measure arousal rates in men and women had been picked up around the world by UPI, CBS News and the German mag Focus. Binik, a psychology professor and the director of the Sex and Couple Therapy Service of the Royal Vic, used infrared imaging to monitor changes in genital temperature in subjects as they watched everything from sexually explicit films to Mr. Bean re-runs. The study's findings showed that men and women reached peak arousal at about the same time, shattering the old myth that women take longer. No word yet on how many closet Bean-o-philes were outed.

Expert engineer

While the investigation into the cause of the collapse of Laval's de La Concorde viaduct is just beginning, the media has sought the expert opinion of Saeed Mirza, a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and Applied Mechanics. Quoted in the National Post, La Presse and the Montreal Gazette, among others, Mirza has said the tragedy may be the result of substandard concrete or faulty corbels, the brackets supporting the sides of the structure. Whatever the cause, Mirza places the blame squarely on the shoulders of successive governments, for allowing our infrastructure to crumble while crowing about their growing cash surplus.

Music man gets bookish

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Dan Levitin

No one is more surprised than Dan Levitin that his book This Is Your Brain on Music is selling like proverbial hotcakes. "When I started out, I never knew that the Top 40 list I'd be on would be a book list," says the psychology professor whose former life as a recording engineer and record producer has seen him work with everyone from Chris Isaak and k.d. lang to Stevie Wonder and Blue Oyster Cult. Released on August 13, the book is already in its eighth printing and has popped up on bestseller lists across the continent, including a six-week stint on Amazon.com's list, where it peaked at number eight.

Time to mind the mollusks

Mark Twain once drew parallels between houseguests and fish, saying that after three days both began to stink. If that's the case, how bad does the zebra mussel smell right about now? Originally hitching a ride here as stowaways in the ballast water of oceangoing ships in the 1980s, these thumbnail-sized critters, and some 182 other aquatic invaders from points abroad, are thriving to the point that they are upsetting the ecological balance of North American waterways. Participating in a recent Great Lakes conference, Anthony Ricciardi, a professor at the McGill School of Environment, made the pages of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ohio's largest newspaper, by saying that, despite recent efforts to curb the tide of these unwanted invaders, a new non-native species is discovered in the Great lakes every 28 days.

Possible Alzheimer's relief

With the focus on World Alzheimer's Day on September 21, Judes Poirier, director of the McGill Centre for Studies in Aging, was quizzed by members of the print (La Presse), broadcast (CBC TV) and electronic (CBC.ca) media about potential breakthroughs. The good doctor cautioned against undue enthusiasm over recent positive results in clinical studies that slowed or even stopped the progression the disease in mice, noting that the leap from mice to men is a large one. He did sound optimistic, however, about surprisingly successful results in recent trials in which standard anti-diabetic, anti-cholesterol and anti-hypertensive drugs seemed to slow Alzheimer patients' decline.

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