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Perimeter research recognized again by Buchalter Cosmology Prize
Perimeter Associate Faculty member Niayesh Afshordi (photo) has earned the 2019 Buchalter Cosmology Prize — marking the sixth consecutive year the prize has recognized Perimeter research. For the sixth time in the six-year history of the Buchalter Cosmology Prize, the awards have recognized cutting-edge research conducted at Perimeter Institute. The prize recognizes “ground-breaking theoretical, observational, or experimental work in cosmology that has the potential to produce a breakthrough advance in our understanding.” Perimeter Associate Faculty member Niayesh Afshordi was announced this week as a recipient of the award for his paper “Echoes from the Abyss,” which examines a black hole created by the merger of two neutron stars.
People too trusting of virtual assistants
Attributing lifelike qualities to virtual assistants could cause people to reveal more personal information to the companies that own them than they otherwise would, according to a new study. Researchers at the University of Waterloo, who conducted the study, found that people tend to increase their sharing with online agents such as Alexa, Google Assistant and Siri, due to their tendency to assign them personalities and physical features such as age, facial expressions and hairstyles. “People are anthropomorphizing these conversation agents which could result in them revealing information to the companies behind these agents that they otherwise wouldn’t,” said Edward Lank, a professor in Waterloo’s David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science. “These agents are data gathering tools that companies are using to sell us stuff. “People need to reflect a little to see if they are formulating impressions of these agents rather than seeing them as just a piece of technology and trusting them in ways based on these impressions.”
Ontario has fulfilled its promise to cut the small business Corporate Income Tax (CIT) rate by 8.7 per cent by reducing the rate to 3.2 per cent effective January 1, 2020. Supporting small businesses is part of the government's plan to attract investment and enable entrepreneurs and risk takers to grow their businesses and create high-paying, good quality jobs. "Ontario has tremendous opportunity and potential, and we are working to create the conditions for job creators to grow and succeed. An important part of our plan is to reduce the tax rate for small businesses, as they play a vital role in the economy," said Rod Phillips, Minister of Finance.
Dr. John Yoo has been named Dean of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University’s Provost and Vice-President (Academic) Andrew Hrymak announced yesterday. Dr. Yoo has an international reputation as a pioneering surgeon and an exemplary academic and clinical leader. He currently serves Western as Interim Chair/Chief of the Department of Paediatrics, as Fellowship Director for the Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery, and as a Professor of Otolaryngology and Oncology. Prior to these roles, Dr. Yoo served as Chair/Chief of the Department of Otolaryngology - Head & Neck Surgery for 10 years.
The quality of service and information that small business owners receive from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA)'s call centre has dropped, finds a new report by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). In the fourth edition of its CRA Report Card, CFIB awarded CRA an overall grade of D, down from a C-, based on 200 secret shopper calls to CRA's business enquiries line. "We evaluated the CRA on real questions that our Business Counsellors answer on a regular basis. These are common questions from business owners, but some posed a real challenge for many of the agents we spoke to," said Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB's senior vice-president of national affairs. "It's very concerning to find that business owners calling the CRA are often getting inaccurate information or may be left on hold for over an hour."
There were 5,925 residential homes sold through the Multiple Listing System (MLS® System) of the Kitchener-Waterloo Association of REALTORS® in 2019, an increase of 1.6 per cent compared to 2018. Contrasted to past years, 2019’s annual sales were 2.3 per cent below the previous 5-year average, and 3 per cent above the previous 10-year average. On a monthly basis, sales dipped 9 percent compared to last year, with 244 home sales in the month of December. “Overall, it was a steadfast pace of home sales in 2019,” says Colleen Koehler, President of KWAR. “When annual home sales in Kitchener-Waterloo hit near 6000 transactions, I consider it to be a strong real estate market.” Total residential sales in 2019 included 3,590 detached (up 5.9 per cent), and 648 condominium units (down 7.8 per cent) which includes any property regardless of style (i.e. semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.). Sales also included 421 semi-detached homes (down 0.7 per cent) and 1,266 freehold townhouses (down 3.7 per cent).
As we enter the new decade, Asian countries have firmly established their lead on the Henley Passport Index, the original ranking of all the world’s passports according to the number of destinations their holders can access without a prior visa. For the third consecutive year, Japan has secured the top spot on the index — which is based on exclusive data from the International Air Transport Association (IATA) — with a visa-free/visa-on-arrival score of 191. Singapore holds onto its 2nd-place position with a score of 190, while South Korea drops down a rank to 3rd place alongside Germany, giving their passport holders visa-free/visa-on-arrival access to 189 destinations worldwide.
Despite common misperceptions, CEO compensation in Canada largely reflects the nature of the job, the skills required and the global demand for top talent, finds a new study releasedlast week by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank. “The best business leaders in the world, just like top professional athletes and entertainers, are in limited supply while also being in high demand globally, so the compensation they receive reflects that,” said Vincent Geloso, Fraser Institute senior fellow and author of The Truth about CEO and Worker Compensation. The study finds that there are several myths and misunderstandings about CEO compensation.
The Provincial Animal Welfare Services (PAWS) Act came into force, creating the first fully provincial government-based animal welfare enforcement system in Canada. Ontario now has the strongest penalties in Canada for people who violate animal welfare laws. "People care about the welfare of animals and so does our government," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. "We committed to creating a strong, new system to protect animals, and we have delivered on that promise." Effective January 1, 2020, Ontario will:
InternationalLiving.com‘s 2020 Global Retirement Index scores the world’s top 24 retirement destinations across 10 categories, including cost of living, retiree benefits, climate, healthcare, and more. This yearly Index examines safe, good-value destinations beyond the U.S. or Canadian borders—comparing, contrasting, ranking, and rating them to select spots across the globe where a retired couple can live a comfortable, carefree, affordable life. InternationalLiving.com, the leading authority on global retirement and relocation opportunities, has just released its Annual Global Retirement Index for 2020.
The highly anticipated Orkin Canada list of top bed bug cities is out! Similar to the past three years, larger cities and travel centres claimed the top spots. This past year saw significant bed bug sightings across the country, from infestations in federal buildings to private homes. In less than two decades, Cimex lectularius, better known as bed bugs, have gone from a rarely experienced irritant to a major problem thriving in clean and dirty homes alike. Demonstrating the national prevalence of this growing problem, Canada's largest pest control company has released its third annual list of top bed bug cities. The findings by Orkin Canada are based on the number of commercial and residential bed bug treatments carried out by the company between the period of January 1 – December 31, 2019.
Seismologists of the GFZ have for the first time observed processes in the upper mantle before the formation of an enormous underwater eruption A new submarine volcano was formed off the island of Mayotte in the Indian Ocean in 2018. This was shown by an oceanographic campaign in May 2019. Now an international team led by the scientist Simone Cesca from the German Research Centre for Geosciences GFZ has illuminated the processes deep inside the Earth before and during the formation of the new volcano. It is as if the researchers had deciphered a new type of signal from the Earth's interior that indicates a dramatic movement of molten rocks before the eruption. With their specially developed seismological methods, the researchers are reconstructing the partial emptying of one of the deepest and largest active magma reservoirs ever discovered in the upper mantle. The study was published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
Israeli startup TriEye, whose Short-Wave Infra-Red (SWIR) sensing technology enhances visibility in adverse weather and night-time conditions, announced a collaboration with the German sports car manufacturer Porsche, to further improve visibility and performance of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Autonomous Vehicles (AV). As ADAS systems are expected to operate under a wide range of scenarios, car manufacturers have recognized the need to integrate advanced sensing solutions. Even when combining several sensing solutions such as radar, lidar and standard cameras, it is not always possible to accurately detect and identify all objects on the road when visibility is limited.
Toronto-based public relations firm Gail Bergman PR (GBPR) has announced the launch of a unique corporate video production service for clients across North America through its newly-formed association with up-and-coming, award-winning JnE Films. “In today’s instantaneous ‘tell me what I need to know now’ world where people have shorter attention spans, businesses are increasingly turning to videos to tell their stories in a quick, concise way,” said Gail Bergman, GBPR president, adding that the firm’s new service is being launched in response to increased client demand.
Regional Chair Karen Redman will present the first State of the Region address on January 28, 2020. In her address, Chair Redman will look back at accomplishments in 2019 and look ahead to our shared future. She will explore the themes of connection, future and resilience.