Beyond McGill news
Antonia Maioni, director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, writes in an op-ed in the Gazette: "The report of Claude Castonguay's working group on health-care financing was released last week to a great hue and cry across Quebec. In the rush to sink the report like a stone, we might be overlooking the fact that a good portion of it actually addresses the organizational aspects of the health-care system. Regardless of where they stand on the issue of health-care privatization, most Quebecers would agree that organizational reform is very much needed."
Plastic Knowledge, a McGill spin-off company, has made the first flexible plastic display with the circuitry embedded in the screen itself. That means the computer and the screen are one and the same. And it's fully flexible. "We like to say we're breaking the glass ceiling on displays," said Mark Andrews, the firm's chief technology officer and a McGill scientist.
As part of a special issue on music for New Scientist magazine, McGill neuroscientist Daniel Levitin pens "The Music Illusion," which looks at auditory illusions and how they can help us understand the workings of the human brain.
Observations from NASA's Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer (RXTE) have revealed that the youngest known pulsing neutron star has thrown a temper tantrum. The collapsed star occasionally unleashes powerful bursts of X-rays, which are forcing astronomers to rethink the life cycle of neutron stars. "We are watching one type of neutron star literally change into another right before our very eyes. This is a long-sought missing link between different types of pulsars," says Fotis Gavriil of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. Gavriil is lead author of a paper in the February 21 issue of Sciencexpress. McGill's Vicky Kaspi is a co-author of the paper, as well as Marjorie Gonzalez, who worked on the paper at McGill but is now based at the University of British Columbia.
With his dual role as Brazilian minister of culture and as a touring music star, Gilberto Gil can reconcile the great divide of the 21st century: the people's hunger for free culture on the Internet and the artists who make a living from it. "This is a political movement much like the counter-cultural movement of the 60s," he told a jam-packed room on Friday at the closing of McGill University's three-day conference on Canadian identity called "Are We American?"
On behalf of all faculty, staff and students in the McGill University community, Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum has expressed her deepest sorrow and concern at the tragic news of the deadly shootings at Northern Illinois University on February 14.
Researchers at McGill have discovered a way to boost an organism's natural anti-virus defences, effectively making its cells immune to influenza and other viruses. The research was conducted by postdoctoral fellows Dr. Rodney Colina and Dr. Mauro Costa-Mattioli, working in collaboration with Dr. Nahum Sonenberg, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Scholar at McGill. They worked with colleagues at the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montréal (IRCM) and the Ottawa Health Research Institute (OHRI). Their results were published February 13 in the journal Nature.