Distractions, reflections

David Ing, at large … Sometimes, my mind wanders

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2013/06/13 EKI Convocation, U. of Toronto

Our second son, Eric, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts granted by St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto.
On June 13, 2013, Eric was conferred the degree of Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto.  He chatted for moment with President David Naylor, and then shook the hand of Chancellor Michael Wilson.

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Studying in the Faculty of Arts and Science, Eric’s degree was granted by St. Michael’s College.  The scene was a little quieter in the college quadrangle, in front of the sculpture titled Michael (after the archangel) by Anne Allardyce.

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[See the Convocation-EKI album of 14 webphotos (with a slideshow option)]

Eric is continuing to pursue the career as an entrepreneur that he started while still a student.

2012/06/20 AHI Convocation, U. of Toronto

Our eldest son passed a milestone by receiving his bachelor’s degree in applied science.
On June 20, 2012, Adam was conferred the degree of Bachelor of Applied Science by the University of Toronto.  Following tradition, the ceremony was conducted at Convocation Hall.

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On the front campus with University College in the background, Adam preferred some unconventional poses.

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[See the Convocation album of 55 webphotos (with a slideshow option)]

Adam is continuing with graduate studies at the University of Waterloo.

2006/11/19 Crete 2003 – Toronto 2006

A connection started in Crete 2003 continues in Toronto today.
One activity that has become regular for me is the annual meeting of the ISSS. Not only do I reconnect with many old colleagues from the systems community, but since the conference moves every year, I get to meet new people.

At the ISSS meeting in Crete in 2003, Apostolos was one the authors in sessions I ran. He was then a student in Greece, and we had some conversations on career direction. We’ve kept in touch over e-mail over the years. He went on to study in the International Master’s Program in Bioinformatics at Chalmers University of Technology in Goteborg, Sweden. This led to an opportunity to visit here at the University of Toronto, in the Department of Medical Genetics and Microbiology. Apostolos lives on our side of town, so for Sunday brunch, we decided he would meet the whole family for dim sum.

20061119_DimSum_AL_DI.jpg Continue reading2006/11/19 Crete 2003 – Toronto 2006

Economists need (more) math?

The arts program at U. of Toronto has a prerequisite of TWO high school math courses, which is one more than other universities.
Eric has to pick his Grade 12 classes tomorrow, and was asking about various courses. (I’m really not a fan of business, economics and law classes, because they’re content that universities typically build from the ground up). Eric was planning on taking 8 classes and dropping two. The presumed minimum is English and one math class, then electives.

Just to make sure, I thought I’d check the admission requirements at U. of Toronto. Eric isn’t exactly sure what he’ll study, but he isn’t a math guy. He could end up in international relations, or economics or something along those lines. For the U. of T. faculty of arts and science, we found …

Minimum Admission Requirements

  • Ontario Secondary School Diploma
  • Six Grade 12 U/M courses, one of which must be English 4U
  • Grade 12 U/M courses for specific program of interest

Humanities and Social Sciences (including Economics)

  • Six Grade 12 U/M courses must include English 4U. Students applying to the Economics program must have Advanced Functions and Introductory Calculus, as well as either Geometry and Discrete Mathematics or Mathematics of Data Management.

That’s two Grade 12 math courses, not one. That’s a higher standard than the admission requirements at Queen’s University, UBC or McGill.

We’ve been encouraging Eric to keep up his math, because he’s pretty sure to need the first year university math course, to get into the requisite statistics class that comes in second year university.

I wonder how many high schools targeting arts programs will get surprised a year from now, when they’re writing their applications to the U. of Toronto.

Wed. Oct. 19, 2005: Late night at Robarts Library

A light night visit to the stacks at Robarts library.
David hits the stacks at the university, in the evening when it’s not busy.

(by David):  I have an alumnus library card for U. of Toronto, but access to journal articles requires full-time enrolment. The university library has a few public access terminals up in the stacks, so I can read the full selection of journals if I go to the university in person.

It’s a bit annoying that the university changes protocols every fall, so it takes a bit to find out the new ways. When I was at the university a few weeks ago, I couldn’t find the public access terminals amongst the two dozen that are immediately in front of the elevators on the 11th floor (where the business and economics books are). This time, I decided to try to find the terminals on the 9th floor. They turned out to not be outside the elevators, but hidden away in the stacks, near the books. The PCs have all been replaced, so the screens are a lot sharper than they used to be.

Between 9 p.m. and 11 p.m. on a Wednesday night, it was relatively quiet. Students living on campus should be able to access library resources with their IDs, so they wouldn’t physically have to be in the Robarts building.

I usually don’t stay past the time that the library closes, but was trying to get the last few references done. At 11 p.m., they turned out the lights. At 11:10, there was a special elevator with the library patrol, picking up the last few stragglers. Since the elevators are shut down at 11 p.m., I guess that the alternative is to walk down the stairs.

Fri. Oct. 14, 2005: University College book sale

Bought, at the University College book sale.
Another used book sale. The University College book sale is sometimes better and sometimes not as good as the Victoria College book sale. It’s usually got less philosophy, but a better selection of business books.

(by David): The UC book sale opens at noon on the Friday, so when I got there for 5 p.m., there wasn’t any line up

The treasure find of this trip was:

  • Chris Argyris and Donald A. Schon, Organizational Learning, A Theory of Action Perspective, Addison Wesley, 1978. It’s a trade paperback for $2. This is one of the most cited books in the management literature, and totally out of print. I think that Argyris doesn’t want it republished because he has newer publications, although they weren’t co-authored with Schon.

I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, but here’s a list of what I found

  • Smelser, Theory of Collective Behavior. I hadn’t heard of this book, but Smelser is one of the editors of The Handbook of Economic Sociology. Then the next day, I saw an article referencing this book.
  • Mumford, The Culture of Cities. I’ve seen this cited in urban planning books when I read Jane Jacobs, but I can’t remember whether in a positive or negative light!
  • Trompenaars and Hampden-Turner, Riding the Waves of Culture. I saw Charles Hampden-Turner at the Bateson conference last November, and was impressed. He’s a very British academic, and I think leaves much of the consulting work to Trompenaars.
  • Horgan, The End of Science. DLH assigned a chapter from this book in his Demystification of Science class.
  • Bell, The Coming of Post-Industrial Society. Steve Haeckel referenced this book in Adaptive Enterprise, and I’ve never seen one in person.
  • Laurel, The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design. Frequently cited in the CSCW literature, it seems to be standard for grad students.
  • Greenleaf, Servant Leadership. I saw an article about this in Fortune, and had borrowed a copy from the library. There’s a religious foundation to the book, but it seems generally spiritual in nature rather than fundamentalist, so I’m okay with that.
  • Goldratt, The Goal. I’m definitely not a fan, so this is a case of know your enemy!
  • McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise. A classic, but somewhat before my time. I think that McGregor is still around, but not very visible.
  • Slywotzky & Morrison, How Digital is Your Business? I didn’t want to pay full price for this book, but it’s okay used. I find that Slywotzky gradually evolves his content, so updates are worth having.
  • Miller & Van Loon, Darwin for Beginners. A comic book version. The boys like reading deep content this way.
  • McLuhan & Fiore, The Medium is the Massage. I saw a full-sized book last year, and probably should have bought that, instead of this paperback.

I bought some books that I’m pretty sure I previously own, specifically to give away. (They’re relatively cheap, and the proceeds go to alumni funds, so the books should go to a good home!)

  • Stafford Beer, Designing Freedom. This is a small paperback based on a CBC Massey Lectures series. Foundational work for emerging cyberneticians.
  • Gregory Bateson, Mind and Nature. One of the pillars in systems science. This is the small paperback version, suitable for reading on a plane.
  • Nicholas Negroponte, Being Digital. Another paperback for airplane reading.
  • Elliot Jaques, Requisite Organization. I’m not the biggest fan of Jaques, but some consulting clients swear by him. The cognitive abilities of leaders is one aspect of organizational development — but not the only one.
  • Jaques & Clement, Executive Leadership. The followup. I wonder if the same person donated both!

If anyone wants a book (or to borrow one), just let me know!

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