Precious art between the cushions

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Toronto â€" Sears Canada is suing Ryerson University for pocketing a $10 million gift without renaming a campus building after the retail giant.

Sears’ $10 million donation to Ryerson went towards the purchase of a downtown Toronto property. The newly purchased property is now home to the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre.

In return for the generous donation, Sears claims Ryerson promised to rename a building after the company. Instead, Ryerson immortalized the Sears name on a small plaque inside the engineering building.

In contrast, George Vari, the philanthropist for whom the engineering building was named instead, had given a $5 million gift to the school.

If Sears is successful, the losers of the debacle could prove to be Ryerson students themselves. It’s bad enough having to go to Rye High, but who wants to study at the Sears Engineering Building?

Berlin â€" A Berlin student no longer has to feast on Ramen noodles after discovering an expensive baroque painting hidden in a used couch she purchased.

The student purchased the couch for $205 at a flea market and, after a year of use, she found artwork hidden in the folding sections of the couch.

The painting raised $27,660 at a Hamburg auction for the lucky student. The baroque piece is believed to have been painted between 1605 and 1610 by an unknown artist.

The piece is titled “Preparations for the Flight to Egypt,” but the student may wish to rename the piece “A Small Fortune for an Unsuspecting Couch Potato.”

Bothell, Washington â€" Wikipedia is not quite the bastion of non-scholarly writers as some may suspect. In place of term papers, some students at the University of Washington-Bothell are being asked to write Wikipedia entries instead.

Martha Groom, a professor teaching environment and ecology classes, came up with the unusual assignment.

Thirty-four students in one of Groom’s classes were assigned Wikipedia entries to write on globalization and sustainable development. The motivation for the project was to allow the students’ work to reach a wider audience than an ordinary term paper would.

Wikipedians did not react well to the unexpected edits. Heated discussions followed the posting of several new entries, and one was deleted less than a day after it was originally posted.

This begs the question: how bad is your writing if Wikipedia rejects it?

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