Virtual Humanity

"Picture this: you come home, plug yourself into a virtual world through your wearable tech gear, and take control of your avatar in a virtual world. The avatar can be very different from you: an artificial person powered, in part, by artificial intelligence to the point that they behave just like a real person. What’s more is the avatar is actually autonomous."

Rivers: Oh Boy!

"This question really bothered me for a long time, and I was too lazy to google the answer. So naturally, I went to Robarts Library to see if I could find some old documents and maps that could explain this design. To my surprise, there were indeed only two rivers flowing through Toronto."

Innovation, Invention, and Industry

"Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development of Canada, recently revealed a $950 million budget to fund two superclusters in downtown Toronto in collaboration with the University of Toronto (U of T)."

Outer Space: Closer Than It Seems?

"Even though these private spaceflight companies are currently quite small when compared with governmental agencies such as NASA, big things are in store in their future. In fact, the successful launch of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket proved that private space companies can also achieve great things in the field of space exploration, and they can do it in a more cost-effective way."

Test-Tube Baby Back Ribs

"Unlike traditional methods where animals have to be fed, grown, and then slaughtered, cultured meat is produced by growing stem cells of an animal in a Petri dish containing nutrients and growth hormones. Cultured meat is produced using many of the same tissue engineering techniques traditionally used in regenerative medicine."

Conspicuous Care

"Medical spending is 12% of Canadian GDP. That's more than $242 billion or $6,600 per Canadian. In comparison, Spain and Italy both have lowered levels of spending ( about $3,300/person) than Canada, yet their population’s life expectancy is the same or higher. There is no question that medicine is critical to our health, but do increased levels of spending lead to improved survival outcomes?"

Where Does Our Water Go?

"As global temperatures rise, climate change will definitely threaten to bring more extreme weather. Yet, across the world, developing nations are getting increasingly urbanized. This means more forests and natural habitats will be cleared to make way for urban development."

Coffee-Drinking: A Personality Trait?

"Regardless of where students come from, many students start to drink coffee once they are here at the U of T. This is, in part, a result of group-think and mimicry. Once they are here, they hear upper-year students claim coffee helps them stay awake. Articles on social media give them “coffee hype,” and then they no longer drink coffee because they need it, but because coffee is cool."

Robots... In Our Houses?!

"Thermostats ensure that our houses cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Similarly, our ovens are robots that bake food at pre-set temperatures. Some homes are equipped with blinds that open and close at the flick of a switch."

The Philosophy of Science, Truth, and the DIY Movement

"Today, most of the scientific research is based on empiricism (deduction), where an additional step is added to test out the hypothesis through experimentations. The key point is that the theories proposed now have to be testable and falsifiable, which was not the case in pure induction. This adds a large certainty in our acquired knowledge, especially the ones that last for a longer time, since they withstand more trials of testing."

The Exciting World of Autonomous Vehicle Research

"The absence of a driver behind the steering wheel will allow the computer driving the car to perform a number of diverse measurements mimicking the five human senses in order to quickly detect an external stimulus faster than human reaction times, which adheres to road signs and lane dynamics."

Looking Ahead

"Nevertheless, despite the fact that the high school students in Canada have achieved such good results in science and mathematics, Canada is starting to lose its competitive edge to other countries (especially those in Asia) at the university level and beyond. This is reflected in the dropping of Canadian Universities in various university ranking systems."

Hyperloop: Future or Fraud?

"The design is based on a very simple concept: to reduce air resistance and drag created by vehicle body. We know that when a vehicle speed exceeds 85 km/h, resistance created by a mechanical issue is not the one that's slowing the movement down, but a drag created by the air. That's why modern cars also need to take aerodynamics into consideration. The same with trains; when we try to design a fast-moving metal box, we create trains like TGV, ICE I, CRH, and Shinkansen."

Shining a Light into the Rabbit Hole

"We are at the current pinnacle of scientific discovery and knowledge; this gives us an unprecedented view of the world we live in. Just 70 years ago we had no clue how even the fundamental process of biology worked in molecular terms, and now, we’re on our way toward developing portable gene-sequencers."

Diagnosis at Your Fingertips

"Point-of-care (POC) devices are a new frontier of medical devices that bring medical diagnosis to doctors, homes, and the far reaches of the world. These devices are developed to empower people in any educational background to gather their own biometric data. An arsenal of POC devices have been and are currently under development for different applications." 

Biofuel: Food or Poison?

"Biofuel is the general term for energy sources that come from living matter. It has been a hot topic recently as it emits fewer greenhouse gases than other fuel sources, and it is a renewable energy source. Several sources of biomass have been proven to be potential candidates for producing biofuel, including algae, jatropha tree, and fungi."

Nature's Guise

"Have you ever taken a long hard look at nature and marveled at its intricate systems at work to maintain life? Through many generations, nature has withstood the test of time. Animals have developed ways to overcome inherent problems in their dynamic ecosystems. These adaptations have been a source of inspiration for many people trying to solve issues in their fields of work."

Thinking Big and Bold

"Our universities excel at teaching us improved statistical, computational, and visualization methods. However, the problem we forget is that new math alone will not give us more useful applications. The reason for this is simple: students in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) are typically not the most familiar with the world’s largest problems."

Building A Greener World

"While the City of Toronto has undertaken a number of other measures designed to reduce greenhouse emissions, efforts on the part of our government alone are not enough. Ordinary people like you and me also have to take up a similar responsibility if we want future generations to live in a cleaner and greener world."