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Newsletter. Issue 2008-07. March 29, 2008
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People Places and Things

New Book on Portuguese Immigrant Experience in Toronto

Published: March 18, 2008

Dimensions: 224 Pages, 5.85 x 8.54 x 0.86 in

Published By: Doubleday Canada

ISBN: 0385664362

From the Publisher
Like Wayson Choy and David Bezmozgis before him, Anthony De Sa captures, in stories brimming with life, the innocent dreams and bitter disappointments of the immigrant experience.

At the heart of this collection of intimately linked stories is the relationship between a father and his son. A young fisherman washes up nearly dead on the shores of Newfoundland. It is Manuel Rebelo who has tried to escape the suffocating smallness of his Portuguese village and the crushing weight of his motherís expectations to build a future for himself in a terra nova. Manuel struggles to shed the traditions of a village frozen in time and to silence the brutal voice of Maria Theresa da Conceicao Rebelo, but embracing the promise of his adopted land is not as simple as he had hoped.

Manuelís son, Antonio, is born into Torontoís little Portugal, a world of colourful houses and labyrinthine back alleys. In the Rebelo home the Church looms large, men and women inhabit sharply divided space, pigs are slaughtered in the garage, and a family lives in the shadow cast by a fatherís failures. Most days Antonio and his friends take to their bikes, pushing the boundaries of their neighbourhood street by street, but when they finally break through to the city beyond they confront dangers of a new sort.

With fantastic detail, larger-than-life characters and passionate empathy, Anthony De Sa invites readers into the lives of the Rebelos and finds there both the promise and the disappointment inherent in the choices made by the father and the expectations placed on the son.- read less

About the Author
Anthony De Sa grew up in Torontoís Portuguese community. His short fiction has been published in several North American literary magazines. He attended The Humber School for Writers and now heads the English department and directs the creative writing program at a high school for the arts. Barnacle Love is his first book and he is currently at work on a novel. He lives in Toronto with his wife and three sons.

Short People Are Most Prone To Jealousy, Say Scientists

Short people should pray for a return to the Seventies fashion of stack heels, for the power of jealousy depends on how tall you are, the British weekly New Scientist says.

Researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands and University of Valencia in Spain asked 549 Dutch and Spanish men and women to rate how jealous they felt, and to list the qualities in a romantic competitor that were most likely to make them ill at ease. Men generally felt most nervous about attractive, rich and strong rivals.

But these feelings were increasingly relaxed the taller they were themselves. The more vertically challenged the man, the greater his feelings of jealousy. For women, what counted most in jealousy was the rival's looks and charm, but these feelings were less intense if the woman herself was of average height.

This makes sense in evolutionary terms, says New Scientist, in next Saturday's issue.

Taller men are most successful with women, and women of medium height enjoy the best health, fertility and popularity with men. On the other hand, a woman of average height could in certain circumstances fall afoul of the green-eyed monster if their rival were taller.

"Taller women are more dominant and have greater fighting abilities than shorter women," says the study, which appears in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.

Florida State passes droopy pants law

Fri Mar 14,
The Florida Senate wants public school students to pull up their pants. Lawmakers passed a bill Thursday that could mean suspensions for students with droopy britches.

It won't become law unless the House of Representatives passes a companion measure.

Florida could join several southern U.S. towns and cities that have passed "saggy pants" laws aimed at outlawing what some teenagers consider a fashion statement -- wearing pants half way down their buttocks, exposing flesh or underwear.

Supporters say schools sometimes don't properly police dress codes and parents are often "under aware" of what their kids are wearing to school.

Critics say the measure is unnecessary, arguing that appearance and dress codes should be the responsibility of school districts and parents.

Despite being the butt of jokes, the bill's sponsor, Orlando Sen. Gary Siplin, a Democrat, has said the fashion statement has a back-story -- it was made popular by rap artists after first appearing among prison inmates as a signal they were looking for sex.

"All we're trying to do now is trying to inform folks that we have a fad now that does not have a very good origination," Siplin said. "We're trying to make an example in school," he added, saying it would help students get jobs and a degree.

The Florida city of Riviera Beach passed its own saggy pants law Tuesday, with a maximum penalty of 60 days in jail for repeat offenders.

Now, 3D cameras
IANS[ SUNDAY, MARCH 23, 2008 12:23:22 PM]
Surf 'N' Earn -Sign innow

WASHINGTON: Imagine a camera that sees the world through thousands of tiny lenses, each a miniature camera unto itself. Now stop imagining and start imaging.

Researchers at Stanford University already have the prototype of just such a gadget: a 3-megapixel chip, with all its micro-lenses adding up to a staggering 12,616 cameras.

The multi-aperture camera looks and feels like a small cell phone camera. And the final product may cost less than a digital camera, the researchers say, because the quality of its main lens is no longer of paramount importance.

Point such a camera at someone's face, and it would, in addition to taking a photograph, precisely record the distance to the subject's eyes, nose, ears or chin.

One obvious potential use of this technology: facial recognition for security purposes, say the researchers, led by Abbas El Gamal.

Details about the dream camera have been published in the latest edition of the journal Digest of Technical Papers.

The new technology may also aid the quest for the huge photos possible with a gigapixel camera -- that's 140 times as many pixels as today's typical 7 megapixel cameras.


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