THE CANNON Skule’s Newspaper since 1978
OCTOBER 2017, Volume XXXX
Unveiling the “Next Chestnut” Past and Future of CampusOne Condo LINDA YU Cannon Senior Editor Over the summer, a glass building across from the campus on college and spadina (245-251 College Street and 39- 40 Glasgow Street) has emerged - the new CampusOne Student Condo. What does it look inside? The writer has taken a peek for the public area of the building. The ground floor is served as a greeting area and separated into staircases to go to the public area as well as entrance with guards for residents to enter the elevators. The second floor contains cafeteria, gaming room and a to be finished
study area with good lighting; students and see the view on the street through the glass windows on the side. The cafeteria appears clean with refrigerators and food booth arranged like those in MC building. The writer entered the building around lunch time and noticed a few students sitting and eating in the dining area but there seems to have no line ups for food. From the pamphlet the condos have two main floor plans; one with 3Bed/2Bath and the other with 4 Bed/2Bath, both with big living room style common area and relatively small bathrooms. CampusOne continued on page 5
New Campus One student residence building. Credit: Fletcher Clugston
The Experience of Being Inexperienced: Reflection of Getting an Internship After First Year HANNAH ENG Cannon Contributor What comes first: the job or the experience? (Note: Job as in what could potentially be a full-time career. Isn’t one of the reasons that we put ourselves through the craziness that is an engineering degree, so that we can achieve a secure professional job?) With career
fairs around the corner, it’s also the season for resume building. You’re going to be hard pressed to find a company that will hire you without looking at a resume first. It is logical that employers would equate your prior experiences to your future success. If you were an employer, would you rather have a first-time TA or a TA that’s been in the
business for five years with outstanding references to show? The problem is how to obtain said experience without having a job in the first place. Companies looking to hire inexperienced employees are few and far between. Rarer even are employers who are willing to take on first-year students. As a Mech 2T0, I remember
all-too-well the first-year struggle of searching for a job that was even remotely in the field of engineering. On the first review of my resume, I was critiqued on what would be an aesthetically pleasing layout if only I had more experiences to actually lay out. Still, I felt like UofT had equipped me with the baseline skills most jobs require. Being a quick
learner was what got me through all my classes, ESP certainly accustomed me to working in a team setting, and even after being bombarded by new concepts every week, I was still passionate and eager to learn more. Experience continued on page 6
Do Engineers Do News About the Spadina Subway Well in Business? Extension: A Waste? CEIE building! page 5
2 • THE CANNON
THE CANNON Masthead EXECUTIVE TEAM EDITOR IN CHIEF
DESIGNER IN CHIEF
SENIOR EDITORS Wibisha Balendran Patrick Diep Ahnaf Ferdous Najah Hassan Bob Kong Samuel Penner Marguerite Tuer-Sipos Linda Yu Dilan Somanader WEBMASTER
Letter from the Editor “Somebody once asked could I spare some change for gas? I need to get myself away from this place I said yep what a concept I could use a little fuel myself And we could all use a little change” –‘All Star’, Smash Mouth In sex, politics, love, and life in general, a search for change seems to be the method of the madness. This edition of The Cannon is about that search for change. Articles about the new students, new subway, and the new CEIE building cover the evolution of the SKULE community. At this point in the year, students are either frustrated at their inability to change to consumed by their hope that they will change. This is reflected in my feelings for The Cannon these past few years. Contrasted with The Toike, The Cannon will always be a serious newspaper; but The Cannon has never really had an individual identity. This year, I want that to change. Hopefully, this edition of The Cannon and future editions will impress you with The Cannon’s ability to be insightful as The Toike is funny, and The Varsity is farcical. I’d like to thank our old readers for sticking with us and our new readers for giving us a chance. So… Thank you
WRITERS Hannah Eng Shenglin Yang
The Cannon is the official (serious) newspaper of the University of Toronto Engineering Society. Established in 1978, it serves the undergraduate students of the Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering, with a circulation of up to 3000. Submissions are welcome by e-mail. Advertising and subscription information is available from the Engineering Society at 416-978-2917.
PHOTOGRAPHERS Hannah Eng Siyun Li Jon Norman Chris Pua Jacob Rumsey Tyler Weil SPECIAL THANKS Prof. Thomas Coyle Prof. Brenda McCabe
DISCLAIMER The views expressed in this newspaper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the Engineering Society unless so indicated. The editors reserve the right to modify submissions to comply with the newspaper’s and the Engineering Society’s policies.
CONTACT The Cannon 10 King’s College Road Sandford Fleming Building Room B740 Toronto, ON M5S 3G4 cannon.skule.ca firstname.lastname@example.org facebook.com/cannon.news
How Social Media Changes Us Socially and Psychologically WIBISHA BALENDRAN Cannon Senior Editor It is hard to avoid social media. It surrounds us and is very beneficial. Social media is an efficient means to communication for various reasons whether it be university projects, discussing about a recent work meeting, promoting ideas or events, or even meeting up with an old friend of yours! Although there are several perks to what social media has to offer, it also has its drawbacks. Social media can be seen to change our interactions within our social network and ourselves psychologically in both a positive and a negative way. Although, people view social media as an efficient tool for our daily lives, it may also hinder other aspects of our lives. One of social media’s drawbacks refers to how it changes our quality of social interactions. For instance, how many friends do you have on Facebook? 50? 400? 1500? Regardless, the number of friends you have on facebook does not correlate with how enriched your social life truly is. Someone may have 1500 friends on Facebook while only having 10 people they can truly rely on. Therefore, the key to having enriched social interactions is based on the “quality” of your relationships rather than how many friends you have online. In turn, technology leads us to believe that if you have many friends and/or followers, you will be satisfied with your social life. Clearly, that’s far from the case. Instead, one may feel unworthy and/or lonely when a majority of their social media followers/ friends are not willing to help them or even take the time out of their day to hang out with
them. In addition, quality relationships come from meeting the person face to face and sharing ideas, funny shows they watched or even quirky stories they have experienced can go a long way to building a long lasting relationship. Although, sending witty emojis may put a smile on your face, it does not beat the entertaining value of sharing a couple laughs with a friend over a Starbucks Frappucino! On the other hand, people may also lean to facetiming/ skyping someone. This is more beneficial than talking to someone via text, but meeting in person is the most beneficial as you are more likely to spend more time with them. Usually, Skype or Facetime meetings don’t last that long as most people are eager to end the call after an hour or less to attend other matters. But meeting in person tends to lead to longer meeting durations (unless someone has another appointment to get attend) as everyone put the effort to arrive to the meeting! This is a reason why employers prefer to meet with employees in person most of the time as they feel they can accomplish much more in person and develop stronger social ties and trust. Besides the fact that social networks ruin the quality of our social links with others, it also forms habits and behaviours in us that we may either think is not a big deal or are oblivious of those habits.Therefore, these developed habits prove how social media affects us psychologically as well. One social media habit many people tend to notice, including myself, is when someone simply vanishes from another person’s life by not messaging them on facebook or other social
media outlets. This may happen after a date gone wrong or the person not needing your acquaintance anymore. Regardless of the reason, these incidents, dubbed “ghosting”, can be frustrating for the victim. Occasionally, it makes them feel very upset and lonely; they question about who they are personally and feel more insecure about themselves. This insecurity leads to reduced self-efficiency which can ultimately take a toll on the person being “ghosted” psychologically. Ghosting forms because, “emotional effort is required to maintain close relationships; however, the quality of relationships deteriorates, due to the limitation
of cognitive ability and sentimental capital, as the number of relationships increases” (Dunbar, 2010). In other words, as more people gain friendships or relationships with others, they pay less attention to who their past acquaintances were which leads to one ghosting the other person. Regarding a behaviour that forms when people use social media is the deterioration in one’s arousal or “motivation” when they use it for extended periods of time. Social media can lead to initial “increases marginal utility to a certain extent but reduces it thereafter”(Cohen,1980). The reduction in a person’s attention when meeting could be due to
them receiving many messages on an social media account,browsing through the newsfeed and putting likes, reactions or comments to a post, or even contemplating how to post the most Instagram worthy picture. As a result, the individual is rather distracted and will eventually get tired after spending too much time on their social media account leading to fatigue and decreased interest. Therefore, the individual will feel unmotivated to do the tasks at hand which lead to the our number one fear factor, procrastination. Therefore, social media takes a toll on our day to day goals.
4 • THE CANNON
SKULE SURVIVAL GUIDE
A New Normal NAJAH HASSAN Cannon Senior Editor
1. Find a routine Yes, having a “routine” might sound like a really lame thing to do. However, once you create one for small things, you start to fall into a pattern. Especially if the routine is based on things you like to do, you begin to look forward to them, find comfort in them and find it a little easier to cope with your new environment. An example could be creating a morning routine that consists of listening to your favourite music, stopping for breakfast at a preferred coffee shop and walking to school through a more scenic route. The more you accustom your routine to the things you like, the more comfortable you’ll feel.
a different continent, there are several things you can do to find your home away from home. Search up clubs or organizations that were similar to the ones you were part of before. It is a great way to meet new people who are interested in the same thing as you. Food from back home can also help you feel more at ease! Try and find restaurants that serve cuisine like you were used to back home. If you cannot find any, you can always try learning how to cook them yourself and share them with the people around you. Cultural associations are also a really good way to connect with people who are also far away from home and might be able to give you some good tips on adjusting to your new life.
“Change is the only constant.” I cannot be the only one that has heard this phrase. It seems like the ideal thing to say to someone who seems nervous or uncertain about what lies ahead for them. Of course, it is true. But, it is not always as comforting as people may want it to be. In my personal experience, as scary as change may be there are ways to deal with it. Yes, it is a constant. But, that does not always mean that you have to lift up your hands and surrender to it. There are ways to recreate that feeling of comfort and familiarity when things around you begin to change. The process is not immedi2. Find your home ate. It takes some time. But, away from home here are some things you 3. Try something new If you’ve just moved from can do to help find and cre- one province to another, a I believe the most importate your new normal. different country or even ant part of change is growth.
Being in a new environment can put several new and amazing opportunities in front of you. Go ahead and try something you would never have dreamed of doing! You might find something you quite like or a hidden talent you were unaware of. Stepping out of your comfort zone can be scary. But once you get past the fear of it, it can also be very rewarding. It will give you the chance to learn more about yourself.
Transitioning and adapting to a new way of living is not easy. But, it’s these experiences that make us stronger and turn us into the people we are meant to be. Change is a constant, but it does not always have to be a bad thing. Without change, we would not be able to try new things and open our mind to new ideas and cultures. And what a dull life that would be!
Engineers in Business SHENGLIN YANG Cannon Contributor Business, a pursuit predominantly followed by students with a commerce or economics major, has not been the most popular among engineering graduates. Some claim that engineers tend to devote the majority of their resources towards practical problem-solving, and as such might not have a proper business mindset to succeed in any business-related areas. Nevertheless, statistics and history state the opposite. Nearly 20 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs have an education background in engineering, alongside the creators of the numerous start-up companies booming at an incredible rate. Muse, a fitness equipment brands that measures by monitoring brain activities, and Nymi, a wearable multi-factor authentication solution provider, are both incredible startup companies initiated by engineers in Toronto. In the past, engineers have proved to be great leaders of some of the top corporations, such as Henry Ford, Tim Cook, Charles Holliday, and many more. While engineering education seems to focus on developing skills directly mapping towards certain engineering disciplines, great traits have been cultivated among these prospecting engineers, such as the ability to think analytically and the nurtured instinct to be detail-oriented. Engineers are well capable of delivering quality business services and are blessed with the rigorous training that they had to go through. Following are a few reasons why I believe that engineers can excel beyond their disciplines. Firstly, engineers are well aware of the power
and importance of data. Engineers are well taught regarding the means of collecting and analyzing data, either via simple derivations with pen and paper or with complicated modelling tools off the market. It is with great importance that decisions within businesses are made with sufficient quality information and that conclusions are drawn from the data collected with reasons. The ability to obtain and manage resources would give engineers a head start on succeeding in the business world. In the case of marketplace analysis, adequate data is needed to perform a thorough analysis of the external and internal environment of the company. The analysis of business strategies deployed by some certain competitor against an ambiguously defined customer demographics, for example, requires strong thinkers who could find
CampusOne continued from page 1 expected to convert metrics into intangible quantities. In achieving an optimal state, both cost and benefit need to be thoroughly considered and this assists with risk assessment on a corporate level. Having cultivated a goal-seeking mindset, engineers are less likely hindered by emotions when it comes to decision-making time too, pushing the idea subjectivities to its finest. Furthermore, engineers put safety as paramount and are attentive to details. Engineers are taught in labs and projects to watch out for potential dangers and are encouraged to be accurate in the analysis and presentation of results. People with such traits are greatly appreciated in business, for details are not to be neglected with any sort of risk analysis, be it physical risks in a workplace or strategical risks in a fierce competition. The detailed-oriented nature also
an intuitive yet illustrative manner. With a solid understanding of the fundamental principles of technologies and a good grasp of the human side of businesses, engineers are often the ones being innovative. They are usually the ones who lay out the framework for novel designs. With all these said, there are still areas where engineering graduates could work on. Presentation skills and management for ambiguities, for example, are something that engineering education might not have put the most focus on. It is important that engineers speak for themselves according to the environment and be flexible with different styles present in non-engineering industries. Additionally, a large number of engineers are having difficulty conveying their thoughts or findings to colleagues who lack an engineering background, as any technical language used might not be of common knowledge to everyone. Fortunately, there are abundant resources on campus that engineering students can make use of, such as ILEAD and many student-initiated leadership associations. There is also is wide selection of quality books discussing the nature of business transactions and interpersonal relationships that would be of vast benefit to engineers who wish to pursue a career in business. The future of the business world is shaped by the rational and elegant crowd, and revamping the way how blesses engineers with an engineers look at businesses awareness of specific safety is undoubtedly a favourable procedures needed for each endeavour. With an effort to type of work, disciplinary inform and elucidate engineers the idea of business, dependent. Lastly, engineers are it is positive that more engicreative and fun to work neers will showcase excepwith. Engineers are taught tional abilities in business to think outside the box sectors. and deliver presentations in
In the past, engineers have proved to be great leaders of some of the top corporations, such as Henry Ford, Tim Cook, Charles Holliday, and many more.
relevant information and judge rationally based on the data collected. Additionally, engineers are able to objectively assess the risks and opportunities associated with a specific setting. Engineers are taught to find optimal solutions in versatile conditions and are
Dated back on August 13, 2010, Goodmans LLP made an application to demolish an outdated five-storey office building for a 42-story student condo to be privately built and operated. The application was resubmitted for 30-storey mixed-use building with 69 underground parking spaces. The area is owned by University of Toronto and a private developer; with UofT receiving minimal rental fee from the company. The building was built despite constant local protests for the fear of residential noises from students, as well as the underdevelopment of the area. It was also reported that the developed decided to build 300 bike parking spaces, however the writer was unable to check for parting due to construction limitations. From the visit to the public area, the writer thinks that the building feels like a fresh “Chestnut”. However, the writer has also noticed that most floor plan prices are not listed on the website and that the meal plans are required even though some floor plans do include a kitchen. Do you think this new building will bring convenience to the incoming students looking for the golden location, or do you think that it won’t worth the price? Either way, it’s certainly a great relief and a bit nostalgic to see the messy landmarking construction site turning into a potential Chestnut residence, but closer to Skule.
6 • THE CANNON Experience continued from page 1 Often times, this skill set was enough to get a potential employer interested. But most were quick to turn me away as soon as I told them I was a first year. “We’re really looking to hire second or third years,” I was told time and time again. It became so common that I couldn’t help but wonder why? Why did one or two years more of education make that much difference in employability? Why were first years seen as liabilities? Because we lacked practical engineering experience? In talking with upper years, nearly all attested to having some learning curve when starting at a new workplace. Why couldn’t that learning curve happen in first-year as opposed to later? Thanks to a family friend, I was fortunate to be brought on as a mechanical engineer intern at a startup in my hometown. The summer was filled with tons of
OCTOBER 2017 design work and machining and new projects to work on each week. I found that I drew most of my knowledge from ESP. As much as we groan and gripe about it, the course experience--compiling concise engineering documents, planning to meet strict deadlines, brainstorming and resolving issues with a team--is really applicable to the practice of a professional engineer. My very first day on the job, we were tasked with designing an Emergency alert system and the starting point was “What’s the functional basis?” Nevertheless, to say that there was a learning curve, would be an understatement. The majority of my day was spent asking questions, sometimes the same question multiple times. It would still take me many tries get to the right result. Whether it modeling in the wrong scale or orienting the machine incorrectly or accidentally pressing the emergency stop button, there’d
always be some mistake on my first attempt. The lead engineer was incredibly understanding through it all. But with surprising frequency, he would admit that he himself did not know what to do either. The difference was, however, how well he was able to correct the mistakes. Whereas it would take me several trials and errors to come up with a solution, it would take him a few minutes of looking at
education would have given me a stronger knowledge base with which to tackle the learning curve, I still would not have known everything I needed to know. What really is invaluable, is the experience of being inexperienced. Mistakes are inevitable no matter what your skill level is, even the most professional engineers are wrong sometimes. Success has less to do with how much you know or are
What really is invaluable, is the experience of being inexperienced.
the problem and thinking of a solution. Even if it did take him multiple tries, he never lost a level-head. He was well-practiced at the try-try-again method. Somewhere along the line, I came up with some answer to the question of why I’d been having. While having a second/third-year
able to apply on command. What is more important is how well you are able to handle and overcome not knowing. The asset is not just learning quickly, but being able to learn from your mistakes quickly. And the comfortability and speed in recovery is something that only gets better with the
more mistakes you make. Frankly, first-years have lots of time ahead of them, a lot of mistakes still yet to be made and to be learned from. The consequences and the stakes are not as detrimental as they are in later years. First-years are fully capable of taking on the learning curve that is inevitable for any new worker, but there’s also no harm in waiting to take on the obstacle either. I would not change any aspect about my internship experience, the fact that I got it straight out of firstyear included. I believe everyone should at least explore what opportunities are available (hint: a lot!). Just know that while several first-years are able to find engineering-related work, an even greater number are not so lucky. It’s nothing to be discouraged by; think of it as more time to be inexperienced. Because the beauty of having little to no experience, is that there is little to nothing to lose.
Celebrating Changes in the Student Body PHOTOGRAPHY CREDITS: FLETCHER CLUGSTON, HANNAH ENG, SIYUN LI, RICK LIU, JON NORMAN, CHRIS PUA, JACOB RUMSEY
continued on next 2 pages!
8 â€¢ THE CANNON
10 • THE CANNON
The Spadina Subway Extension to Vaughan is a Waste and Should Not Be Built RICK LIU Cannon Designer-in-Chief This december, the TTC will open the Spadina extension. While most know it as the York University extension, the subway will also have stations in Vaughan and Highway 407. This section is completely unjustifiable and a waste of scarce taxpayer resources, not just now, but from now until eternity. Noise is now being made about a Yonge Line extension to Richmond Hill, which will face the same problems, but worse, as the Spadina extension. The TTC has tried for a long time to extend the Spadina line to York University, and potentially Steeles, however funding from upper levels of the government was only guaranteed if the subway included stations at Highway 407 and Vaughn. Federal
and Provincial ridings in Vaughan and the greater 905 region are highly competitive and both levels of government are focusing transit investment in the 905 to win ridings compared to the solidly Liberal ridings south of Steeles. York Region will not cover the operation cost of trains going to Vaughn and Highway 407, and the whole extension is estimated to only produce a farebox recovery ratio of 58% compared to a system wide of 70%, meaning this section of the subway will have a dramatically higher subsidy than the rest of the network. This puts City of Toronto taxpayers on the hook for the cost of trains going to Vaughn which is ridiculous considering it will be predominantly Vaughn residents using those two stations. Even more ridiculous is those riders, who do not fund the subway, will
displace riders at downstream stations such as Eglinton West, and St. Clair, who do pay taxes to operate the subway. These riders will have the great pleasure of waiting for trains that they paid for, only for riders from Vaughn occupying space. Partly causing the higher subsidy is the low ridership potential of the stations. Highway 407 is a station in the middle of a highway, who’s sole purpose is to transfer GO Bus riders on the 407 bus to the subway. Designing the station for 1 bus route, and some park and ride is not economical, especially since the bus can easily detour to the Pioneer Village (Steeles Avenue) Station less than 1 km away. Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station was built on the promise that future intensification around the site will result in more riders. However
the Sheppard subway has shown that development around a subway after it’s been built is no guarantee for ridership growth, and ridership at Vaughn could easily be non-existent. This is especially worrying since anybody living around the station will still be reliant on their car to travel anywhere except downtown, and are not guaranteed to start using transit, especially if transit will only take them south given the poorer state of YRT bus network compared to TTC. Moreover, people living in the York Region use transit a lot less than Torontonians. The lack of ridership and the fact that YRT will not subsidize its own riders on the subway, even if riders on buses crossing Steeles have to pay both YRT and TTC fare, puts a bigger burden on all Toronto taxpayers to fund the operation of the subway.
Additionally, the TTC do not have enough Toronto Rocket subway trains to operate the full extension without short-turning half the trains at Sheppard West Station at current frequencies. This is problematic, especially considering that the TTC will be able to implement automatic operation on Line 1 as soon as 2019. With the subway extension using up trains, the TTC will not be able to increase frequencies and reduce congestion, especially on the Yonge Line. Besides higher operation cost needed to subsidize Toronto taxpayers, embarking on the Vaughan section has absorbed at least $600 million in capital funding, which could easily be used elsewhere, such as adding 7 GO Stations, or building the East Bayfront LRT, or building new bus garages, which can alleviate the TTC’s bus
OCTOBER 2017 shortage. And it’s not like Vaughn riders are shut out of transit improvements. Investments in VIVA and GO Transit can provide alternatives that in many cases result in faster travel times to downtown than using the Subway. Metrolinx is committed to funding both 15 minute service (and 5 minute rush hour service) on the Barrie Line to serve Vaughn with GO RER and VIVA will provide a rapid way for riders to connect to Steeles or the GO station. History may be repeating itself, except the consequences can be far worse. Richmond Hill and YRT have been making noise about a Yonge Line
extension to Richmond Hill GO. Except this time only 2 stations will be in Toronto and 70% of the extension will not be in Toronto. The province, not wanting to lose ridings in the 905, has already committed $55 million in design work. Congestion on the Yonge Line is far worse, and is full already. There are already situations where people at Eglinton have to wait for trains. If this extension gets built, riders at Finch may be faced with trains full of riders from Richmond Hill who do not fund the system and bump space from any rider south of Steeles. Even with the Relief Line, congestion will still persist
along the whole line, not to mention at Bloor Yonge Station, which will see congestion at unsafe levels. This extension is even more unjustified whether the Relief Line is built or not, considering there is already GO Transit service right at Richmond Hill Terminal, where the proposed subway is supposed to terminate. Metrolinx instead should ignore the heavy lobbying from YRT (who has already started publishing maps with the extension in it despite it being not funded and not approved) and improve GO Transit service on the Richmond Hill Line. YRT has also refused to fund bus improvements along Yonge
Street south of Richmond Hill, since it will endanger their case for the subway. This is despite the fact there are bus lanes north of Richmond Hill Terminal where there is less road congestion and not as needed as south of Richmond Hill Terminal. Any push from the province to extend the subway past Steeles should be ignored. Both the proposed Yonge extension and the Spadina extension will cause increased burden to both Toronto taxpayers and the TTC who may have to cut service for Toronto riders to fund service for non-Toronto riders. Toronto riders also have to be prepared for
the real possibility of being bumped for subway service they already payed for through their taxes. That’s not to say the Spadina extension is not worth it. Up to Steeles, there is great rationale for the subway; the subway connects to the currently under construction Finch LRT, York University and the Steeles bus, the 13th busiest bus route in the TTC. However for a system that is mandated to serve Toronto, bullying from the Province and York Region will force the TTC to remove the first T from their name and rename themselves to the ‘TC’.
you don’t get the validation of likes and comments you want, and if you don’t have narcissistic tendencies, this creates a toxic environment of competition. What makes our generation weird is the startling change in attitude towards life when we finally get access to the things we desire. Among working millennials, we’re the least happy generation that has ever lived. One in five young workers report workplace depression, compared to 16% of baby boomers. I believe this is caused by the realization of what the working world is like. It’s tough to understand that the iPhone is not an invention of Steve Jobs, and instead it’s the hard work of 10,000 engineers meticulously analyzing every component. In the real world, you won’t be creating a product, and instead you’ll be looking at one of 200 possible compositions of glass to be used on the home button. I also believe this has to do with how developed our society and our technologies are. We all think that if we were alive in the 1700’s,
we could have invented the steam engine, but every useful invention has already been created. We start our AER201 projects at the same time as Tridel starts a new condominium. Four months later, we create a defective robot, and they create homes for 1000 people. The best defense against a depressing attitude is to follow what Radhika believes, and to just not care about the flow of life. We should all stop focusing on our friends, and start focusing on the things we want to do in life. As David McCullough said in his famous commencement speech, “you’re not special, because everyone is.” Use this as an opportunity to travel and meet the people you care about. Quit stressing about accomplishing something greater than your work, and instead find meaning in what you do. There’s a reason older generations are learning from our positive outlook on life, and we need to try and remember where it came from.
WHAT GRINDS MY GEARS
What Grinds My Gears: Life DALE GOTTLIEB Cannon Editor-In-Chief Everybody reading this article is happy. At least, that seems to be the consensus of the millennial generation. We’re happier than our parents, and despite what the headlines say, we don’t have a different attitude towards life than the generation before us. Upon reading this I decided to do some self-reflection, and list all the accomplishments I’ve achieved in my life. The list is short: defective robot for my second year EngSci AER201 class. With such a short list, yet one that’s longer than some people’s, how can our generation be so happy? According to Radhika Sanghani of The Telegraph, we’re happy because we’re a generation that doesn’t care. 40% of young adults live with their parents, but it’s not like we could ever afford a home. Less than 1/8th the number of people aged 25 or under are married compared to 70 years ago, but who has time for marriage when we’re still in our parent’s house? No one expects
to live a great life anymore, so no one feels depressed when we turn out average. With opportunities like home ownership, marriage, and stable employment out of reach, millennials have also become larger risk takers than our parents. We no longer accept life-long positions, and we tend to move towards smaller companies with an chance of a large reward, or jump between multiple jobs. It almost seems that despite our generation being so happy, the reason behind it is quite depressing. My opinion might be a little biased, since a lot of my friends are successful engineers, but my Facebook feed seems to suggest quite the opposite than what Radhika believes. It seems that almost everybody I see is travelling, starting work at fortune 500 companies, and popping in and out of relationships. However, Laura Buffardi of The University of Georgia argues that this shows unhealthy narcissism amongst my Facebook friends. Facebook offers a means for people to only show the best
part of their lives, and they take full advantage of that. This could be one of the key traits in the connection between Facebook and unhappiness. Mina Choi from The University of Wisconsin-Madison polled 155 undergraduate students on their level of narcissism, and found that more narcissistic students received less likes and positive comments than more down to earth students on Facebook posts. The people who seek compliments the most receive the least number of them. Robert Horton from Wabash College has also shown that narcissistic tendencies in people with no real trait self-esteem leads to worse feelings about themselves. The atmosphere surrounding Facebook pushes us to compete with our friends, but the more we do this, the less fulfilled we feel about ourselves. This could be the key reason our generation is known as feeling quite down about ourselves. We’re constantly in competition with others, and this produces a Catch-22 situation; if you like yourself,
12 • THE CANNON
Professor Thomas Coyle on New CEIE Building BOB KONG Cannon Senior Editor Being an engineering student, one can not help but ponder about the upcoming new building, the Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship (CEIE). An interview with Professor Thomas Coyle, the ViceDean of the Undergraduate department, clarifies some student answers. The Cannon: How will U of T’s engineering curriculum/program be transformed by this building? Professor Thomas Coyle: “When it opens, the Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship will elevate the student experience in many ways. For example, the 500-seat auditorium is designed to facilitate discussion, group work, and direct communication with instructors and peers. This space will be the only lecture hall of its kind in North America. When conversation and collaboration is facilitated by a unique space like this, we as faculty members can be creative in our teaching methods — this will certainly have impact in the curriculum as we tailor our courses to take advantage of the capabilities of the space. Take the firstyear course Engineering Strategies & Practice for example — the new auditorium will make group work and class feedback much more collaborative and immediate. The technology enhanced active learning (TEAL) rooms will provide opportunities for instructors to design new courses, or redesign existing courses, incorporating more interactive and participatory teaching approaches.”
TC: How will the new design space benefit the student body? PTC: “Student experience is at the core of the Faculty’s motivation to create the new CEIE, and experiential learning is the focus of many of the innovative spaces in its design. The design studios and adjacent fabrication facilities and makerspaces will enhance the design experience in first year and upper year courses. There will be project rooms and lockers for students to keep everything they need for the intensive process of engineering design in one place. The makerspace will be open to students for extended hours to enable them to take their inventions and entrepreneurial ideas even farther. The CEIE’s lower level will be home to many student teams and clubs with flexible meet/work spaces, as well as a place for student groups and EngSoc to host events.” TC: Share with us anything that would be useful for students to know. PTC: “When it opens in spring 2018, I believe the CEIE will become the heart of student life here in U of T Engineering. The building is designed to foster collaboration, cooperation and conversation — it is where students, faculty, alumni and industry partners will meet to accelerate development of their bold ideas and launch new companies through The Entrepreneurship Hatchery. It is where events will bring the diverse U of T Engineering community together to celebrate big milestones in the Faculty. And, even after graduation, it’s where former students will return as alumni, to network continued on next page
Top: Outside of the unfinished CEIE building Middle: Club design space in the new CEIE building. Bottom: Reverse lecture hall seating layout. Credit: Fletcher Clugston
OCTOBER 2017 with each other and mentor the next generation. The building will embody the of U of T Engineering spirit of creativity, fearlessness, inclusivity and innovation.” TC: Before it is completed, how can a student at U of T gain temporary access or visiting privileges to preview it? Furthermore, who can they contact to provide comment/feedback to this building?
PTC: “The Centre for Engineering Innovation & Entrepreneurship is currently an active construction site, and safety protocols dictate that it not be accessible to the public — including faculty, staff and students — until its official opening in spring 2018. Ahead of the official opening, please share thoughts and feedback with Steve Miszuk at steve.miszuk@ utoronto.ca.”
For more information about the upcoming building, such as why the building was made, the building’s unique features or key numbers/facts/stats, visit http:// ceie.engineering.utoronto. ca/
When it opens in spring 2018, I believe the CEIE will become the heart of student life here in U of T Engineering.
Preparing for the Next Once in a Lifetime Eclipse DALE GOTTLIEB Cannon Editor-In-Chief In optics, you can’t trust everything you see, and the warnings that came before the solar eclipse on August 21 made that clear. Every website was warning to only use ISO 12312-2 certified glasses with a transmission of 0.01% and to never view the sun through neutral density filters or sunglasses. But would would it be dangerous if you look at the sun through a nearly opaque piece of glass? Let’s start with the dangers of using the wrong filters. There’s two forms of solar rays that could damage your eyes before you feel the need to blink: Infrared (IR) and ultraviolet (UV) light. IR is less dangerous between the two, but has the potential to cook the inside of your eye. During my laser safety training course, we were warned that while using IR lasers you may have
Using an ND filter which appears dark does not protect against IR light. Credit: Thorlabs
hand is absorbed by the eye before reaching the back. This causes damage to the surface of the eye leading to cataracts and other problems. Neither infrared or UV light cause any pain or a blink reflex, and it’s impossible to know it’s happening
to watch the eclipse, we converted the requirement for light attenuation to a measure called optical density (OD) through a simple logarithmic conversion. In this scale, a transmission of 0.001% converts to OD=5. To be safe, we grabbed an
We could have cooked our eyes.
a hot feeling on the inside of your eye, and then be left with a permanent blindspot. There was even a story about someone who heard a sizzling noise inside their eye before realizing what was happening. UV light on the other
until it’s too late. In the laser lab, you protect yourself by avoiding the optical path, and outside the lab you erm…don’t look at the Sun. I came close to ruining my eyes, which is what motivated me to write this article. Before going
OD=6 filter and headed out. On the way, we looked up the spectrum and saw that the filter does not match the ISO 12312-2 certification for IR light. We could have cooked our eyes. Although it appears dark, since all visible wavelengths of light
are below 0.01% transmission, IR light is not entirely blocked. This filter is therefore not safe. Laser safety goggles would be an even worse choice. Although the OD of these glasses can be 7+, these are often for very small wavelength ranges, such as 690-700 nm. While on a rooftop observing the eclipse, I was also offered a camera lens filter to view the eclipse. Although this filter appears dark, and gives a proper view of the eclipse through the camera, it’s far worse than the filter grabbed from the lab. Camera filters are specifically designed for the visible
spectrum, and hardly block UV or IR light. When using this filter, the Sun should only be viewed through a camera screen, and never directly or through an optical viewfinder. During the solar eclipse, I was lucky enough to have access to ISO certified glasses, and I hope everyone else used them too. If you find yourself caught without the proper glasses in the next solar eclipse, never grab a camera lens or a random filter that appears dark. It will not protect from invisible wavelengths. Instead, wait for totality and view the eclipse briefly when it’s the most beautiful.
14 • THE CANNON
The Aerial Experiment Association NAJAH HASSAN Cannon Senior Editor The first flight? The Wright brothers! It’s not an uncommon story! In North Carolina, on December 17th 1903, the first powered plane flew across a distance of 36 meters. The flight lasted about 12 seconds at an altitude of six meters. Orville and Wilbur Wright made three more flights that day. The most successful one lasted 59 seconds and covered a distance of 260 meters almost. Initially, they were unable to find a manufacturer that could provide an engine light and powerful enough to meet the needs of their flight designs. Thus, they designed and built their own engine and went down in history as the creative minds behind the first flight in the world. There were several amazing developments in the flight science industry that followed after this successful flight. One of which led to the first flight in Canada. Ever heard of Alexander Graham Bell? He’s well known internationally for being responsible for inventing the telephone and
founding the American Telephone and Telegraph Company (AT &T). Yet, he was also the founder of the Aerial Experiment Association. The Aerial Experiment Association (AEA) was founded in the year 1907. It was an organization that was founded for the purpose of developing heavierthan-air flying machines. This refers to materials than have an average density that is higher than that of air and it includes airplanes, gliders and helicopters. Alexander Graham Bell and Mabel Hubbard Bell, his wife, funded the organization and gathered together a group of four young aviators and designers to form an association. They had one main aim: To get a man into the air. Bell conducted some of his own aeronautical experiments in 1891-1892. His friend, Samuel Pierpont Langley, achieved the flight of a heavier-than-air machine in 1896 and this impressed him. Langley’s model was catapulted from a boat and flew three-quarters of a mile. One summer, Bell and John Alexander Douglas McCurdy were
Silver Dart. Credit: The Chronicle Herald
discussing the issues with aviation. Mabel Bell suggested that the two of them start a formal research group to further explore their ideas. Bell and his wife invited three other associates and, thus, on September 30th 1907, the AEA was established. The four associates were Fredrick Walker Baldwin, John Alexander Douglas McCurdy, Glenn Hammond Curtiss and Thomas E.Selfridge. McCurdy and Baldwin were both engineering graduates from the University
of Toronto. Curtis was a well-known manufacturer of engines for motorcycles and airships. He brought a 40 horsepower engine to Bell and joined them on their project. Curtiss had initially proposed this engine to the Wright brothers who said that it did not fit their needs. Selfridge was sent by the United States army to observe Bell’s flight experiments. During the fifteen-month history of the AEA, members of the organization built and flew a series of
biplanes powered by Curtiss engines. The team initially began testing using kites. In 1907, they conducted a test flight using the ‘Cygnet I’ which was a large, tetrahedral kite placed on pontoons. They then followed by testing and experimenting with gliders. At one point they placed one of Curtiss’ engines into a glider which led to their first aircraft known as the Red Wing. It was named because of the colour of the silk covering its wings. It was flown by Baldwin and flew 97 meters over the frozen surface of Lake Kevka on March 12 1908. Some of the aircrafts that followed after were the White Wing and June Bug. The White Wing had a recorded flight distance of 310 meters and the June Bug flew more than one kilometer. What came next was called the Silver Dart. The Silver Dart was the plane that was used to make the first heavier-than-air flight in Canada. It took place on February 23rd and 24th, 1909, on the ice of Baddeck Bay in Cape Breton. It flew a distance of 7.2km. After its successful flight Left to Right: Glenn H. Curtiss, Douglas McCurdy, Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, Frederick ‘Casey’ Baldwin, and Thomas E. Selfridge. Credit: Best Breezes in Baddeck, McCurdy flew the Silver Dart for Army
OCTOBER 2017 officers in Ontario. The aircraft failed during one of its test flights due to the fact that its wheel got caught in the sand and crashed. The army decided that the vehicle was unfit for modern warfare. The AEA officially terminated its activities on March 31 1909. It had a major impact on the early history of flight and provided each of its surviving members
with a solid foundation of experience in the design, production and operation of aircraft. Curtiss inherited the commercial rights to the aircrafts and patents whereas McCurdy and Baldwin set up the Canadian Aerodrome Company to make planes for possible sale to the Canadian army. There are a lot of aspects of the forming and development of the AEA that I
personally like. The fact that Mabel Bell was the one who suggested the formation and helped with the funding of the AEA is interesting. The AEA had to go through several designs and iterations to make the progress that they did. The Silver Dart, their most successful machine, was carefully developed by studying the past flaws of the previous designs. By studying the
strengths and weaknesses of their several iterations, they were able to come up with a design that flew over seven kilometers and was in a state to be presented to the army. If you think about it, none of this would have happened if Curtiss had joined the Wright brothers and had not partnered with Bell in his experiments. Although the Silver Dart was not accepted for use as warfare, it
was still a good aircraft that led to the development of several aircrafts after it. My point being that everything happens for a reason and that every bit of progress is important. You might hit setbacks at some points, but it might be because something else lies ahead for you. If Curtiss had given up and not come to Bell, modern flight may not have gotten where it got to today!
ART X SCIENCE
Finding the Space for Creativity MARGUERITE TUER-SIPOS Cannon Senior Editor It is one thing to understand that creativity plays an integral role in a successful career. It seems like another thing entirely to actually implement creativity into your everyday activities, especially when you are just trying to make that 9AM lab, or just trying to study enough for that quiz to pass. Creativity, however, is not that insurmountable a mountain, assuming you can leave your ambitions to be the next Jean-Michel Basquiat behind and instead focus on small changes to your ordinary day. There are two spaces in which creativity could be more easily incorporated into your life; the theoretical space in your timetable (i.e. setting aside time for doing something creative) or the physical space you occupy (i.e. changing your surroundings to induce some creative thought). The first option is more straightforward, and better understood scientifically. Although it is probably worth an article in and of itself, it is proven creativity is a learned skill. The more creative activities you do, the more creative you become, and so the eternal words of “practice-makes-perfect” live on. With this, even the smallest added act of creativity to your day or week or – less
optimistically – your month would be beneficial so long as you do it more than once. What should this creative act be? Since creativity is such a malleable term there is no one right answer, although watching another episode on Netflix undoubtedly would not count. What would count is anything novel created by you, from an original artwork to a line of code. What’s even easier than carving out space in your timetable for creativity, is simply moving to somewhere that will draw the creativity out you. New research has shown that the coffee-shop-dwelli n g - ü b e r- c re at i v e - h ip ster-entrepreneurs might actually be onto something. The background noise, spacing, lighting, colour and temperature of your surroundings can effect how creative you are.
Credit: The Hollywood Reporter
lighting, and the warmer temperature. Through a series of experiments several conclusions about each spatial element were determined. In terms of noise, a low level is actually better than complete silence; a noise level of 70 to 80 dB will best facilitate creativity.
red promotes success in detailed-oriented tasks, while blue promotes more creative thinking. Unfortunately for the library-goers, a warmer temperature stimulates creativity and complex problem solving, unlike the chilly rooms in Robarts or Gerstein which (probably
New research has shown that the coffee-shop-dwelling-über-creativehipster-entrepreneurs might actually be onto something.
Researchers at the Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business have proposed that a coffee shop provides a good level of all of these elements, with its constant background murmurs, the haphazard seating, the low
There are apps that function as decibel meters, and better yet, apps that create the perfect noise level for your creative endeavour. The colour debate breaks down into red vs. blue, but it was ultimately determined that the colour
by design) stimulate quick decisions. A more surprising result is that lower lighting will stimulate a higher level of creative thinking than bright lighting. This is likely explained by disinhibition; bright lights are
synonymous to being under watch and thus promote acting with the grain instead of against it while dimmer lighting give you more freedom for expression. In a similar way, sitting in a smoother arrangement (i.e. a circle) will induce conformity while sitting in a more jagged or scattered pattern promotes individuality. Using these criteria, coming up with a space in which your creative flow might be a little less viscous should be doable. Between taking five minutes out of your schedule to embark on a creative endeavour or searching for a new study space that will promote creativity, you have options. Ultimately there is little excuse for even you, a busy engineer, to not even try and be a little more creative.
16 • THE CANNON
GradStudents?!: Time Complete PATRICK DIEP Cannon Senior Editor The moon looms over Wallberg. Bright fluorescent lights push the dark of night off my lab bench and outside the newly installed windows that smell of toxic caulking. An uncountable number of PCR reactions have passed, and four of five genes have been amplified from their source correctly. Just one more. I need one more to amplify with big fat bands on the gel electrophoresis result. I can move onto the next step after this. I load the gel into the imager, close the safety door, and irradiate it with UV. Fingers crossed, eyes bloodshot, and breath depressed. “Please,” I prayed, “just give me the band.” A blank rectangle appears. Nothing is inside the gel. The nth PCR reaction didn’t work, and I whisper “fuck” under my breath repeatedly. My spine sulks and I take off my nitrile gloves to rub my temple. The lights feel like they’re dimming and anxiety pulls my hands away from my face and crosses them over my chest
of shallow breaths. I want to yell so loud the echoes would travel through the halls into Pratt. -I’m biking along Bloor St. back home. The live version of Moon, 12:04am by offonoff is playing on my phone. The earbuds bounce with each pothole I fail to dodge, so I re-adjust them. It’s Friday, technically Saturday, and I just wanted to be in the warm embrace of my girlfriend. The rest of the ride is forgotten, and I find myself lying in bed alone. Like an artificial moon, the street lamp floods my bedroom with rays of white. Am I an insomniac? An hour and a half passes, and all I can think about is the final product of my MASc project if it were truly successful. How many papers would I have published to get to that point? Would the mining companies actually want to use the prototype? Will my by-pass exam into the PhD stream go well a year from now? Will I get a high enough mark in this graduate course so I can apply for future scholarships?
I wish imposter syndrome wasn’t so. . . -A dreamless night. I wake up with a slight headache, but nothing Soylent Coffiest couldn’t fix. Actually, no. I decided to veer away from my diet of meal supplements and cook myself a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs and pancakes. I cut an orange, and poured a glass of water. What does one do on a Saturday morning? It had become a foreign concept. Maybe if I added more DNA polymerase to the reaction and increased the number of cycles for the denature-anneal-extension steps… How about I just read a book? A book by my favourite author: Haruki Murakami. It’s been a while since I’ve done that. -Biking during rush hour is never fun. Every parked car you pass, you risk the door opening on you, followed by a frontward barrel roll into traffic. No such danger presented itself this morning. Instead, a revelation appeared. What if I changed magnesium
chloride with dimethyl sulfoxide as the melting temperature modifier? Maybe. I sat at my lab bench and picked up the pipettes warmed by the sunlight. I swapped one component of the reaction for the other and set-up the thermocycler. I didn’t believe it would work. Why would dimethyl sulfoxide work? When the reaction finished, I ran the gel electrophoresis for an hour and imaged the gel with UV. A band appeared. It wasn’t a fat one, but it was better than nothing. Far from a breakthrough, but it was a step in the right direction. The lab at the time was brightly lit. I breathed in the grass-scented air and exhaled the anxiety. *** At times we find ourselves lying in bed, unable to sleep because of so many thoughts. We aspire. We hesitate. We strive, worry, savour, and wallow. There’s so much we want to do, so much we can do, but where do we start? How do we start? Maybe we’re at the beginning, somewhere in the middle, or perhaps at the end where we ponder the
next beginning. It doesn’t help that time is a constraint. Consequently, we’re inclined to do things as quickly as possible. What if we could memorize all the course content faster than we already do? What if we could become more extroverted so it’d be easier to thrive longer at networking events? What if we could become more fit so that that cute person we’re interested in would notice us a little more? It takes time. All of it does, so be gentle with yourself and others. We learn by struggling, and struggling benefits from patience, at least it helped me. A quote from that book describes it succinctly: “Life is not like water. Things in life don’t necessarily flow over the shortest possible route.” – Haruki Murakami, 1Q84 [PCR – polymerase chain reaction (used to amplify DNA segments), gel electrophoresis (used to visualize segments of DNA), UV – ultra-violet, offonoff (Korean artists under the HIGHGRND license), thermocycler (machine used to carry out PCRs).]
Credit: Patrick Diep
Published on Oct 12, 2017