September 24, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 15  

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German dude talks chemistry

If you like German people and chemistry tickles your fancy, then this is for you.

As part of the annual 3M University Lectures in Chemistry at Western, Dieter Fenske will be lecturing on the second half of ´transition metal clusters containing group 15 and group 16 based ligands" at 3 p.m. today in Rm. 315, council chambers, in the University Community Centre.

Fenske is professor and chair of inorganic chemistry at the University of Karlsruhe, Germany. He is a renowned professor who holds a number of prestigious academic awards and prizes, including the G. W. Leibniz prize and the W. Klemm prize in chemistry.

"It's promoting Western; it's good advertising to have someone this prestigious at Western," said Sandy McCaw, a secretary with the chemistry department .

Though it may be hard to figure out what Fenske is actually talking about all lectures are open to the public. So, if transitional metal clusters are your bag or if you have always wondered about how they work, be sure not to miss this presentation.

-Eric Johanssen

What colour is your asthma?

Does asthma get you down? The Lung Association wants to know how you feel.

A contest conducted by the Lung Association is being held this month. "We are inviting anyone with asthma or people who care for those with asthma to submit artwork [in any form] expressing how asthma affects them," said Avril Henry, public relations manager for the Lung Association. Winners will be announced in December and can win a variety of age appropriate prizes, she added.

The contest falls in a month that is very significant for asthma sufferers. "Typically there is a spike in asthma cases in the third week of September," Henry said. "Twenty per cent of all hospitalizations for asthma occur in September."

The reason for this spike in asthma cases is mainly cold and flu, Henry explained.

Anyone seeking more information about asthma and how to manage it can consult the Lung Association's Web site at or call their toll free help line at 1-800-668-07682.

-Laura Katsirdakis

Thinking more equals less

According to a new study conducted by Robarts Research Institute, it may be harder to not think of things than to do any conscious brain work.

The study found that, although functional magnetic resonance imaging (FMRI) has been used for the past 10 to 15 years, it does not always correctly represent what people perceive.

"FMRI does not necessarily reveal perceptual awareness in the brain," said David Whitney, the study's lead author and a post-doctoral fellow in the department of psychology at Western.

"When people don't perceive something or don't want to perceive something, this causes the brain to work harder. There is more brain activity because it is trying to suppress these images that don't want to be perceived," Whitney said.

According to Whitney, this new study contrasts earlier studies which have shown that when people are perceiving things there is more brain activity.

- Amanda Robinson

Celebrating 35 Years of Safety

London's Block Parent Program is celebrating "35 years of caring and sharing."

Since its inception in 1968 as a pilot project with a few city schools, the Block Parent Program has helped anyone in a situation of danger by allowing the homes of its volunteers to serve as a safe haven.

As crimes against children decreased significantly, the program spread across the continent. Currently, London boasts 6,300 Block Parent homes and over 13,500 volunteers.

"The greatest advantage about this is that it is the only national volunteer program where you can be at home doing nothing, but still provide children and seniors with assistance," said Gail MacMahon, program coordinator.

To commemorate decades of volunteer work, Block Parent will be hosting a "Celebrate Safety Event" at Storybook Gardens Sep. 27 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.. Everyone is welcome and special group rates are available.

"Not only will we have safety displays and a dinosaur exhibit, but our event will also unveil its official mascot, Officer Owl. It will be very exciting," MacMahon said.

To learn more about the program, visit their Web site at

-Gabriella Barillari



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