Research

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  • The spiral structure of Marshall McLuhan’s thinking
    The spiral structure of Marshall McLuhan’s thinking
    We examine the spiral structure of the thinking and the work of Marshall McLuhan, which we believe will provide a new way of viewing McLuhan’s work. In particular, we believe that the way he reversed figure and ground, reversed content and medium, reversed cause and effect, and the relationship he established between the content of a new medium and the older media it obsolesced all contain a spiral structure going back and forth in time. Finally, the time structure of his Laws of Media in which a new medium obsolesced an older medium, while retrieving an even older medium and then when pushed far enough flipped into a still newer medium has the feeling of a spiral. We will also examine the spiral structure of the thinking and work of those thinkers and artists that most influenced McLuhan such as Vico, Hegel, Marx, Freud, Joyce, TS Eliot, Wyndham Lewis and the Vorticism movement. Keywords: spiral; McLuhan; reversal; figure/ground; Laws of Media; media; environment/anti-environment; cause; effect, Pruska Oldenhof, I., & Logan, R. (2017). The spiral structure of Marshall McLuhan’s thinking. Philosophies, 2(2), 9., (This article belongs to the Special Issue The Philosophy of and the Philosophical Roots of Marshall McLuhan and the Media Ecology School)
    The standardization and harmonization of land cover classification systems towards harmonized datasets: A Review
    The standardization and harmonization of land cover classification systems towards harmonized datasets: A Review
    A number of national, regional and global land cover classification systems have been developed to meet specific user requirements for land cover mapping exercises, independent of scale, nomenclature and quality. However, this variety of land-cover classification systems limits the compatibility and comparability of land cover data. Furthermore, the current lack of interoperability between different land cover datasets, often stemming from incompatible land cover classification systems, makes analysis of multi-source, heterogeneous land cover data for various applications a very difficult task. This paper provides a critical review of the harmonization of land cover classification systems, which facilitates the generation, use and analysis of land cover maps consistently. Harmonization of existing land cover classification systems is essential to improve their cross-comparison and validation for understanding landscape patterns and changes. The paper reviews major land cover classification standards according to different scales, summarizes studies on harmonizing land cover mapping, and discusses some research problems that need to be solved and some future research directions. Keywords: land cover; classification system; standard; harmonization, Yang, H., Li, S., Chen, J., Zhang, X., & Xu, S. (2017). The Standardization and Harmonization of Land Cover Classification Systems towards Harmonized Datasets: A Review. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information, 6(6), 154., (This article belongs to the Special Issue Analysis and Applications of Global Land Cover Data)
    The state of Canada’s tech sector, 2016
    The state of Canada’s tech sector, 2016
    As the tech sector continues to grow and emerging technologies from around the world become more common, it is now more important than ever to ensure Canada maintains its position as a growing, prominent tech economy. However, past efforts to define the tech sector, while useful, have almost exclusively focused on the information and communications technology sector. Today, technology has become so ubiquitous across all Canadian industries that this approach understates the true impact that the tech sector has on Canada’s economy. For this report, we developed the first pan-Canadian definition of Canada’s tech sector using a proven methodology that has defined other sectors internationally. It is our goal to identify the composition and accurately measure the impact that Canada’s tech sector has on the economy. Using our more encompassing definition, we found that Canada’s tech sector is exceptionally diverse, ranging from digital technologies to aerospace and pharmaceuticals. The sector is also much broader in size, scope and geography than ever before. It is truly a pan-Canadian sector with pan-Canadian impacts., C. Lamb, & M. Seddon. (2016). The state of Canada’s tech sector, 2016. Toronto, Ontario: The Brookfield Institute for Innovation Entrepreneurship.
    The state of city building in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton city region : annual report 2015
    The state of city building in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton city region : annual report 2015
    We hope that this report will be used as a resource for governments, corporations, foundations, and individuals who seek to engage with specific focus areas. We want to make this growing database widely available to create further effective and collaborative city building. This project comprises the State of City Building Report and the Citylinx database of non-governmental GTHA city building organizations., Ryerson City Building Institute. (2015). The state of city building in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton city region : annual report 2015. Toronto: Ryerson City Building Institute.
    The strongest link:  libraries and linked data
    The strongest link: libraries and linked data
    Byrne, G., & Goddard, L. (2010). The strongest link: Libraries and linked data. D-Lib Magazine, 16(11-12), NP-NP.
    The subjective size of melodic intervals over a two-octave range
    The subjective size of melodic intervals over a two-octave range
    Musically trained and untrained participants provided magnitude estimates of the size of melodic intervals. Each interval was formed by a sequence of two pitches that differed by between 50 cents (one half of a semitone) and 2,400 cents (two octaves) and was presented in a high or a low pitch register and in an ascending or a descending direction. Estimates were larger for intervals in the high pitch register than for those in the low pitch register and for descending intervals than for ascending intervals. Ascending intervals were perceived as larger than descending intervals when presented in a high pitch register, but descending intervals were perceived as larger than ascending intervals when presented in a low pitch register. For intervals up to an octave in size, differentiation of intervals was greater for trained listeners than for untrained listeners. We discuss the implications for psychophysical pitch scales and models of music perception.
    The talented Mr. Robot: The impact of automation on Canada’s workforce
    The talented Mr. Robot: The impact of automation on Canada’s workforce
    Emerging technologies, such as artificial intelligence and advanced robotics, have the potential to fundamentally change our work and daily lives. In recent years, the understanding of how these technological trends will impact employment has been at the forefront of many recent public debates. Each week there seem to be more and more articles being released about how “robots are taking our jobs.” For the most part, this rich discussion has been driven by the work of many prominent academics and researchers. Unsurprisingly, there are many competing viewpoints. Some argue that disruptive technology will be the driving force behind massive unemployment. Others posit that any potential job loss will likely be offset by productivity increases and employment growth. Despite the extensive literature, this discussion is largely taking place without the use of Canadian data. Although, we know that Canadians are not immune from the effects of automation, and that technological trends will likely have enormous implications for many Canadian industries. But the gap in Canadian-specific knowledge often means that we lack the tools to understand the impact of automation within our own borders. This limits our ability to begin to plan for potential disruption. We therefore felt that it would be useful to apply the findings from the existing literature to the Canadian workforce. To do so, we used methodologies both from both Oxford professors Carl Benedikt Frey and Michael A. Osborne and from management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which have been employed in other jurisdictions, and applied them both to Canadian data for the first time. It is our goal to help Canadians better understand the effects that automation can have on our labour force. Overall we found that nearly 42 percent of the Canadian labour force is at a high risk of being affected by automation in the next decade or two. Individuals in these occupations earn less and are less educated than the rest of the Canadian labour force. While the literature suggests that these occupations may not necessarily be lost, we also discovered that major job restructuring will likely occur as a result of new technology. Using a different methodology, we found that nearly 42 percent of the tasks that Canadians are currently paid to do can be automated using existing technology. But the data does not paint an entirely negative picture. Using the Canadian Occupation Projection System (COPS), we found that the occupations with the lowest risk of being affected by automation are projected to produce nearly 712,000 net new jobs between 2014 and 2024. As with any type of forecasting exercise, there are always going to be uncertainties associated with the predictions. However, we do hope that this study provides a tool to help guide future decision-making., Lamb, C. (2016). The talented Mr. Robot: The impact of automation on Canada’s workforce. Toronto, Ontario: The Brookfield Institute for Innovation Entrepreneurship.
    The trainees' perspective on developing an end-of-grant knowledge translation plan
    The trainees' perspective on developing an end-of-grant knowledge translation plan
    Implementation Science 2010, 5:78. doi:10.1186/1748-5908-5-78, BACKGROUND: Knowledge translation (KT) is a rapidly growing field that is becoming an integral part of research protocols.METHODS: This meeting report describes one group's experience at the 2009 KT Canada Summer Institute in developing an end-of-grant KT plan for a randomized control trial proposal.RESULTS: Included is a discussion of the process, challenges and recommendations from the trainee's perspective in developing an end-of-grant KT plan.CONCLUSION: New researchers should consider developing an end-of-grant KT plan with strategies that move beyond passive dissemination to incorporate innovative means of collaboration with the end user to craft the message, package the information and share the research findings with end users.
    The validity of self-reported cancer screening history and the role of social disadvantage in Ontario, Canada
    The validity of self-reported cancer screening history and the role of social disadvantage in Ontario, Canada
    Background Self-report may not be an accurate method of determining cervical, breast and colorectal cancer screening rates due to recall, acquiescence and social desirability biases, particularly for certain sociodemographic groups. Therefore, the aims of this study were to determine the validity of self-report of cancer screening in Ontario, Canada, both for people in the general population and for socially disadvantaged groups based on immigrant status, ethnicity, education, income, language ability, self-rated health, employment status, age category (for cervical cancer screening), and gender (for fecal occult blood testing). Methods We linked multiple data sources for this study, including the Canadian Community Health Survey and provincial-level health databases. Using administrative data as our gold standard, we calculated validity measures for self-report (i.e. sensitivity, specificity, positive and negative likelihood ratios, positive and negative predictive values), calculated report-to-record ratios, and conducted a multivariable regression analysis to determine which characteristics were independently associated with over-reporting of screening. Results Specificity was less than 70% overall and for all subgroups for cervical and breast cancer screening, and sensitivity was lower than 80% overall and for all subgroups for fecal occult blood testing FOBT. Report-to-record ratios were persistently significantly greater than 1 across all cancer screening types, highest for the FOBT group: 1.246 [1.189-1.306]. Regression analyses showed no consistent patterns, but sociodemographic characteristics were associated with over-reporting for each screening type. Conclusions We have found that in Ontario, as in other jurisdictions, there is a pervasive tendency for people to over-report their cancer screening histories. Sociodemographic status also appears to influence over-reporting. Public health practitioners and policymakers need to be aware of the limitations of self-report and adjust their methods and interpretations accordingly., Lofters, A., Vahabi, M., & Glazier, R. H. (2015). The validity of self-reported cancer screening history and the role of social disadvantage in ontario, canada. BMC Public Health, 15(1), 28-28. doi:10.1186/s12889-015-1441-y
    Theism, Possible Worlds, and the Multiverse
    Theism, Possible Worlds, and the Multiverse
    This paper appears in Philosophical Studies 147 (2010): pp.355-368. The published version can be found online at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/821k362025475266/fulltext.pdf
    Theistic Replies to the A Priori Argument for Atheism
    Theistic Replies to the A Priori Argument for Atheism
    This paper first appeared in Philo 8 (2005): 22-36. It was subsequently reprinted as Chapter 13 of Wainwright, W. [Ed.] (2010) Philosophy of Religion: Critical Concepts in Philosophy, New York: Routledge, pp. 238-253., In the central chapter of Can God Be Free?, William Rowe offers what amounts to an a priori argument for atheism. In what follows, I first clarify this argument, and I then defend it against recent criticisms due to William Hasker. Next, however, I outline four ways in which theists might plausibly reply to Rowe's argument.