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Chronicle 17-18 Issue 06

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12 The Chronicle February 13 - 19, 2018 Campus Lego champions making global impact Lego is the building blocks of innovation Tiago de Oliveira The Chronicle Did you play and build with Lego in your youth, constructing elaborate fantasies, unique to only your imagination? An endless sea of bricks and colours are, for some children, the foundation to a lifelong interest in what is known as the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. Last month, Durham College played host to the annual FIRST LEGO League Provincial Robotics Championship, also known as FLL. The event is a chance for students age nine to 14 to design, build and program a robot using Lego and computer software. The students worked in teams and designed their machines to solve real-world water issues. They navigated their robots through miniature obstacle courses where they replaced pipes or dug wells, depending on their project goals. The teams competed for a championship title. The Hydrators were last year’s champions. Their focus was on finding water solutions for horses and modernizing the way stables operate. “Hydration is the key indicator of a horse’s health,” said Sheil Patel, a team member. “We designed a post that would be able to monitor multiple horses outside, one pasture, with only one water source.” Patel, Andrew Batek, and Adi Chhetri attended this year’s FLL at Durham College to assist competing teams with technical support and talk about their own project. Chhetri said dehydration is a significant concern to horses as a cause for disease, as it can lead to “spasmodic colic, impaction colic, or even worse, death.” Spasmodic colic is also known as noisy gut syndrome. Horses with the disease experience severe pain as the colic causes contractions in their intestines. Having access to clean water while at pasture helps to reduce the risk of dehydration and colic. The Hydrators won a string of competitions and awards after FLL, culminating in the Global Innovation award and a $25,000 prize. The Hydrators are currently trying to sell their technology to stables in Ontario and hope their success drives younger students to pursue their passions in STEM fields. “It’s a little nostalgic, it’s very cool to see other teams that have the potential to do what we did,” Batek said. “There were many times where we encountered lots of problems, but you keep working on it, and then you’ll figure it out.” Durham College President Don Lovisa also made an appearance at FLL to encourage the students to consider a future in STEM fields and to plug STEM-related programs at the college. “Why is it our favourite event?” said Lovisa. “Because when I look out and I see all of our Lego athletes, I see our future scientists. Our future teachers, inventors, Photograph by Tiago de Oliveira Lego champions are making an impact with innovation, imagination and lego. and young people who are going to change the world that we live in. You’re the type of students that we want.” The reality behind drowsy driving is very dangerous Drowsy driving can be as dangerous as drunk driving It was the scariest moment of my life. Kaatje Henrick The Chronicle “It was the scariest moment of my life,” says Dylan Devera, 23, of Brampton. “My eyes were open one second, then the next, my eyes closed. I didn’t even realize they were closed until they shot open and I was driving 120 and I was in the slow lane.” Devera had just finished a 13- hour shift when he hit a city bus after falling asleep at the wheel. The accident happened on Highway 410 around 3:15p.m. last November. “I knew I had fallen asleep because I was driving 80 kilometres an hour and when my eyes opened back up, I was driving 120 kilometres an hour,” says Devera. Dr. Anne Wheaton of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Washington D.C. conducted a study on the number of people who fall asleep at the wheel. She says one in 25 adults in the U.S. have admitted to falling asleep at the wheel at some point. “If you look at the people you’re driving on the road with, it’s one out of 25 of those people that fell asleep, and not just drowsy and sleepy, but physically fell asleep,” said Wheaton in a recent interview. According to the Traffic Injury Research Foundation (TIRF), driving drowsy can happen at any time during the day. Something called “microsleep” is just one scary side effect that comes with driving drowsy. Microsleep is an action controlled by the brain. The brain lets the body know it has not had enough rest. It shuts off parts of the brain because the brain has been running for too long, according to Wheaton. She says the brain starts to slow down because it’s over tired, which Photograph by Kaatje Henrick Journalism student, Michael Bromby, is drowsy after a long drive to school from his home in Pefferlaw, Ont. is why the reaction time decreases. “The average adult needs approximately seven hours of sleep, the range is from six to eight hours a night for the body to have a full rest,” says Wheaton. She says the information will be processed at a slower rate, and drivers will have less concentration without enough rest. Some signs of drowsy driving are yawning, blinking often, starting to drift off the road, or even speeding. “Those rumble strips on the side of the highways are put there in order to avoid driving drowsy accidents. It’s to wake you up, and let you know that you’re driving off the side of the road,” says Wheaton. There are legal consequences to drowsy driving. Provincial and criminal charges can be laid if a person is found guilty of driving while overtired, according to TIRF. A study conducted by the organization asked RCMP and OPP officers about the problem. At least 83 per cent of officers said they had pulled someone over on suspicion of driving impaired, only to find out that the citizen was just drowsy and losing control of the vehicle. To avoid drowsy driving, Wheaton suggests getting the right amount of sleep. Short term relief of drowsy driving can happen by opening windows, talking out loud, or even changing the radio station. TIRF says drowsy driving is a serious problem. More needs to be done to make the public aware.

Campus February 13 - 19, 2018 The Chronicle 13 Medicinal marijuana for pets Vet gives unusual treatments Michael Bromby The Chronicle Does your family pet suffer from arthritis or anxiety? An American veterinarian says he may have a solution. Dr. Byron Mass, CEO of Bend Veterinarian Clinic in Bend Ore., began his therapy with pets three years ago when he was trying to find something that worked. “Western medicines and pharmaceuticals isn’t the answer and hasn’t been effective in some patients,” he says. “Some clients are looking for alternatives to traditional medical therapy.” Mass uses a product called Cannabidiol (CBD), a medicinal marijuana product, that pet owners give their animals as an oral pill or as a topical product such as powder, oil, or ointment. He says he primarily treats dogs because they have higher receptors for CBD products than humans. This means dogs react to it physically with better results. He still treats cats but says dogs are most commonly treated because they have long-term problems with arthritis. “For mobility and chronic pain Loki the German shepherd getting ready to go for a walk. conditions 90 per cent benefit clients and maybe even closer to 95 per cent,” says Mass. “They are getting good results where they are able to decrease the medication they use and even discontinue it completely.” Oregon is one of only a few states to legalize marijuana, which is why Mass and many of his clients can use it. Mass says he’s trying to push back laws put in place by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which restrict research on this product in several states. “I am confident that as more research comes out we will see significant benefits and put it more mainstream,” he says. Photograph by Michael Bromby Mass says CBD has a low toxicity rate and none of the animals he has treated have reacted negatively. However, some veterinarians and people who work with animals in Canada are not in favour of this therapy. Keri Semenko, an animal care professor at Durham College, does not think the therapy is safe. She says there is no published research about the use of CBD on animals, so she does not plan to use it or teach it. “It is not part of our curriculum, but if it emerged as prominent therapy in veterinary medicine then it might be something we look at,” she says. Semenko says marijuana affects humans in a different way than dogs. “It can be fairly dangerous for animals because of the difference in their neurological systems,” says Semenko. “You can’t dismiss anecdotal evidence, but without hard science telling us what’s happening, how consistently it happens and what potential side effects are, you can’t come down on one side of the debate or the other.” Anecdotal evidence is working for Mass as who has resorted to this with his own beloved family pet. Lupe is a 15-year-old Jack Russell Terrier who suffered from arthritis and other problems. Mass used a CBD therabis powder for her arthritis, which he says helped her run again. “She comes up and down stairs and runs around outside, she is responding really well with it,” says Mass. At Guelph University, the Ontario Veterinarian College says this research is not part of its curriculum because marijuana has not yet been legalized in Canada. The University has no plans to add it into the curriculum for the future. UOIT graduate finds her passion through her weakness This grad never let a learning disability get in the way of her dreams Claudia Latino The Chronicle The oversupply of teachers over the past decade hasn’t stopped some graduates from finding full-time positions with a school board. In high school, Caylin Metcalfe, 24, of Aurora, never dreamed she could become a teacher. Yet this January, she did it against many odds, including a learning disability and low employment rates in her field. Finding full-time teaching work in Ontario has been a challenge over the past ten years, so in 2015 the provincial government reduced the number of teaching graduates from 9,000 to 4,500 grads each year. Metcalfe graduated from UOIT’s Bachelor of Education program and knows this challenge all too well of the low employment rates in teaching. Yet, she wanted to become a teacher because of her own learning disability. Her kindergarten teachers noticed she had trouble reading and discussed the problem with her parents. In Grades 3 and 4, Metcalfe recognized her disability when she would read out loud and stumble over her words. Although she was shy and didn’t want to feel embarrassed in front of her peers, her teachers’ care and support guided her daily to improve her reading skills. The constant encouragement lead Metcalfe to want to help people the same way. “I had these teachers who were really supportive, especially my principal at the time, and they pushed and encouraged me,” she said. “I was a borderline student and this two-year program called ISA did not want to take me on, and she pushed for me, and with that program I excelled for that one year. I went back to school and I was much better in my reading ability.” In high school, Metcalfe wasn’t comfortable talking about her disability, and thought becoming a teacher was not an option. “When I was young and thinking that I had a learning disability, there’s no way I could be a teacher because I couldn’t be smart enough if that’s the situation,” she said. “I honestly think without them, I never would’ve been able to be so successful and even consider other careers.” Metcalfe also considered marine biology, engineering, and architecture. Ultimately, her goal was to help people find their passion through teaching. Teaching graduates continue to find full-time work in Ontario. Currently, Metcalfe has full-time hours in her field. She tutors and works for STEM Minds in Aurora, teaching children on science-related subjects, and she occasionally works as emergency supply teacher. She graduated with teachable subjects in biology and chemistry for the intermediate and senior division of Grade 7 to 12. Metcalfe was told she wouldn’t get the chance to be a teacher because of the low employment rates. However, she listened to her heart and followed her path to want to teach. Photograph by Claudia Latino “It all came down to the fact that I wanted to help others,” she said. “I want to continue to push students to find their areas of strengths, their areas of need, and help support them through it, so that they can basically do whatever they want to do.”

Durham Chronicle 17-18 Issue 12
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