Posts Tagged "among"


Deaf coder one of two Vancouverites among global winners in Apple’s Swift Student Challenge

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Anh Pham recognized for audiogram app to make other apps more accessible; Alan Yan taught himself to code using YouTube, online articles, and trial and error

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For such trying times, things have been going pretty well for Anh Pham.

The 21-year-old university student got a fellowship with Apple last summer, which gave her the money to buy her mom her first Apple Watch at Christmas. And then last week she was one of two Vancouverites, along with Alan Yan, to be named winners of Apple’s global Swift Student Challenge.

Pham knows about challenges: She lost her hearing after a high fever when she was one year old in her native Vietnam.

“(The fellowship) involved working on projects relating to hearing accessibility,” she said via Webex using hearing aids and hearing accessibility features

“I found the atmosphere and the people amazing, I had the best manager and mentor I could ever ask for. And I got to surround myself with the smartest people on the planet.”

For the challenge, young developers submit the topic of their choice for Swift Playgrounds, an app for iPad and Mac. Swift is a programming language created by Apple.

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Pham’s submission involved audiograms and making video-chatting apps such as Zoom and audio-chatting apps such as Clubhouse more accessible.

“I think, right now, the tech companies are not very accessible for deaf and hard-of-hearing people,” Pham said. “I’m sure they are working on it, but when they rolled out the product the first time it wasn’t accessible at all.

“It got me to thinking about how tech companies don’t tend to put accessibility at the forefront of their development process.”

Anh Pham is a 21-year-old UBC student who has found independence through coding. As a deaf person she struggles in fast-paced environments, so loves how coding allows her to work at her own pace.
Anh Pham is a 21-year-old UBC student who has found independence through coding. As a deaf person she struggles in fast-paced environments, so loves how coding allows her to work at her own pace. Photo by Jason Payne /PNG

Pham also encourages people to learn more about hearing health.

“Through that, you’ll understand more about your whole body, your overall health, and come to appreciate what you have.

“You are hearing, so you are very privileged.”

There were 350 winners worldwide, comprising 35 countries, selected as part of Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, student challenge, each demonstrating their coding and problem-solving skills by submitting an original Swift playground to earn a spot.

Over the past three decades winners have gone on to long and successful careers in technology, venture-backed startups, and non-profit focused on using technology to build a better future, according to the tech giant.

“This year, we are incredibly proud that more young women applied and won than ever before, and we are committed to doing everything we can to nurture this progress and reach true gender parity,” Susan Prescott, Apple’s vice-president of Worldwide Developer Relations said.

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Pham is studying information technology at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Vancouver campus on Cambie Street, and has started a programming team called Code4Fun to encourage more Vietnamese women to get involved in programming.

The other Vancouver winner, 20-year-old Alan Yan, studies computer science at UBC and taught himself how to code through YouTube videos, online articles, and trial and error.

Yan loves teaching and inspiring other people to see what he sees in the things that he loves, Apple said in a news release, which led him to work at a summer camp called Byte Camp that teaches coding and game development to kids.


Steve Nash, Lorie Kane, Eric Lamaze among 11 new members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame | CBC Sports

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Diane Jones-Konihowski acknowledged her inclusion in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame with a humility that has become typical of those who occupy the athletic realm in this nation.

“It’s nice to be remembered,” she smiled.

Jones-Konihowski was twice the Pan American Games champion as well as the 1978 Commonwealth Games gold medallist in the combined athletics event known as the pentathlon, which saw competitors excel in the hurdles, high jump, shot put, long jump and middle-distance running in the 1960’s and 70’s.

She gave rise to generations of Canadian multi-event stars including decathletes Michael Smith and Damian Warner as well as heptathlon medallists Catherine Bond-Mills, Jessica Zelinka and Brianne Theisen-Eaton.

Growing up in Saskatoon, Jones-Konihowski went on to become the top ranked athlete in the world at her sport and a two-time Olympian who missed her best shot at a gold medal because of the western boycott of the Moscow Games in 1980.

WATCH | Jones-Konihowski discusses athletes as role models:

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame inductee Diane Jones Konihowski speaks on athletes as role models and her inclusion to the Order of Sport. 0:45

Undaunted, she persevered to be a force in the Olympic movement in Canada as well as the country’s coaching association and it’s fair play commission. She also served as the Chef de Mission for Canada’s Olympic team at the Sydney 2000 Games.

“A lot of women come up to me and say what a tremendous role model I was for them in the 1970’s,” she said.  

“While you’re competing, it doesn’t enter your mind, you’re just doing it. You’ve got goals. You want to be the best you can be. Later on, it’s the satisfaction of knowing you did have some sort of impact on these women. I’ve always believed that it doesn’t matter where you come from in Canada — you can be the Olympic champion.”

Nash, Kane among headliners

There are 11 new members of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame as it celebrates its 65th anniversary. The Class of 2020-21 reflects a diversity of sport and a colourful mosaic of Canadian life in general.

Basketball star and two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Steve Nash of Victoria, B.C., is a headliner for his illustrious professional career as well as his exploits on the international stage for Canada.

WATCH | Nash on representing country, growing Canada Basketball:

Two-time NBA MVP and eight-time all-star Steve Nash talks to CBC’s Anson Henry about the issue of Canada’s NBA players not representing the country. 5:55
The other four inductees in the athlete category include Vancouver’s Sonja Gaudet, a three-time Paralympic champion in wheelchair curling who carried the Canadian flag into the opening ceremony of the Sochi 2014 Paralympics.
Jackie Barrett lives in Cornerbrook, N.L., and is an autistic weightlifter who, over the course of his career, won 15 medals — 13 of them gold — at the Special Olympics World Games. Not only is Barrett the first Special Olympics athlete to be included in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, he’s also the first from his province to be enshrined in the institution.

Eric Lamaze, originally from Montreal, and his legendary stallion “Hickstead” are arguably the greatest partnership the world of show jumping has witnessed. They solidified their place in equestrian lore by capturing Olympic gold and silver at the 2008 Games in Beijing. Hickstead would be named the best horse at the 2010 World Equestrian Games and Lamaze is the only Canadian rider to have been ranked No. 1 in the world.

Finally, there is Charlottetown, P.E.I., golfer Lorie Kane, a four-time winner on the LPGA circuit who captured more than $7 million US in prize money while on tour.

Kane didn’t turn professional until she was 29-years-old and becomes only the second athlete from her province to be inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame — the first being harness racing driver Joe O’Brien who received the honour in 1965.

“I’m not here because of just me. I’ve had a whole island behind me. I’ve had a strong family and lots of people in my corner,” Kane said via Zoom from Orlando, Fla.

“We need to continue to grow sport in our communities. It’s important. I come from the smallest province and we’re a very strong people. I’m here now and I’m going to carry all 150 thousand of us on my back to continue to move us forward in sport.”

With a killer game and a winning personality, Lorie Kane is Canada’s golfing sweetheart. 13:52

Kennedy, Campbell enter as builders

Those inducted in the builder’s category are also symbolic of the kaleidoscope of sport that Canadians traditionally celebrate.

Former pro hockey player Sheldon Kennedy, who has worked tirelessly to raise awareness concerning sexual abuse and violence is being recognized, as is Willie O’Ree who broke down racial barriers in the NHL. Judy Kent, former president of the Commonwealth Games Association of Canada, was the Chef de Mission for Team Canada at the 1994 Commonwealth Games in Victoria and remains a leader in the struggle for gender equity in sport.

Mohawk lacrosse legend, the late Ross Powless of the Six Nations of the Grand River near Brantford, Ont., is considered by many to be the father of modern lacrosse. He was an accomplished player, in addition to being a coach and leader credited with reviving interest in box lacrosse in the 1950’s.

Finally, Duncan Campbell of Winnipeg is being recognized as an innovator in Paralympic sport. Nicknamed “The Quadfather,” Campbell has provided opportunity for legions of disabled athletes for nearly 50 years.

Paralyzed below the waist by a diving accident in his teens, Campbell — in the mid-1970s — co-invented what was originally known as “Murderball” and evolved into wheelchair rugby.

WATCH | Campbell pleased by growth of wheelchair rugby:

Duncan Campbell is being inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame as a builder, but says he never expected the sport he helped invent to go as far as the Paralympic Games. 1:09

Campbell was High Performance director for Wheelchair Rugby Canada, presided over its inclusion in the Paralympics in Sydney in 2000 and continues to attract athletes with physical impairment to this rugged sport.

“Not only are we promoting sport, we’re promoting a lifestyle which includes physical activity,” Campbell said via Zoom from Vancouver, where he works as a recreation therapist in a rehabilitation centre.

“Our society is part of what made this sport develop. At the time it developed, our society not only allowed it but it encouraged us to continue working on it. Our society effectively told us to go for it as a disability sport. To live in a country that is that inclusive has been fantastic.”

In light of the pandemic, the athletes and builders recognized this year will comprise the Class of 2020 and 2021 and will be formally inducted when it’s possible.

The President and CEO of Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, Olympic silver medal winning curler, Cheryl Bernard, hastens to add that all inductees will also receive the Order of Sport which celebrates their contributions beyond the fields of play.

“We’ve never been prouder of our sports history, our sports champions and their community spirit,” Bernard said via e-mail from the Hall of Fame.

“These are our champions for living and sharing sport’s values; Canada’s shared values; respect, equality, fairness and openness.”

Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame which was established in 1955 now has 679 honoured members and is housed at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.


Hiking for healing: UFV researcher finds nature helps anxiety among cancer survivors

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After a few minutes on the hiking trail, Dr. Duna Goswami felt her stress lessen.

“It was like I was in a green tunnel. I could smell the fresh air. I could hear the water dripping from the trees,” she said.

The Abbotsford physician was one of nine cancer survivors who participated in a program designed by a University of the Fraser Valley kinesiology professor to see if nature has the ability to reduce anxiety levels.

Over eight weeks in September and October, the group met twice a week to hike in the Cultus Lake area.

Early results, based on interviews with the participants, seem to prove the oft-touted notion that nature really does soothe the soul.

“A number of them said it helped them realize how strong they were,” said lead researcher Dr. Iris Lesser. “When asked to rank their anxiety before and after the hike, we saw a drop in stress.”

There are likely several causes for that, not least of which is the experience of being in nature itself.

Lesser and her associates purposefully selected hikes that were not too difficult, but still lush and green.

“We asked participants if they thought it would be the same if they were doing a walk in the city, and they thought it wouldn’t be,” she said.

For Goswami, who finished treatments for breast cancer about a year ago, the setting made her feel peaceful.

“I might have gone hiking in the summer before, but not in the fall. It changed my view. I realized I could get outside even in the rain,” she said.

Goswami also reported several other benefits that proved common among participants. Hiking with a group of fellow cancer survivors provided support.

“Having cancer is isolating,” she said. “Even though you’re surrounded by people who want to help, it is nice to be with those who know what it is like, who understand.”

The physical exercise also brought benefits. During her treatment, which included chemotherapy, surgery and radiation, the physician felt ill and was unable to be active. For almost a year after, she still felt tired.

“I was working, but I was very tired,” she said.

Lesser said the benefits of exercise for stroke and cardiac patients are well known, but using exercise in cancer treatment is still a new field.

“We knew going in there might be several different factors at work in our results,” she said. “In an effort to untangle them, we tried to ask questions that were specific to each component.”

It appears clear that participants benefited from being in nature, as well as the social support and physical activity that hiking entailed.

The researcher was encouraged in her study by local oncologists who identified a gap in survivor care.

“They felt like patients should be better supported after treatment, but they didn’t have the time to help them navigate that part,” she said.

Lesser would eventually like to see a program for cancer survivors in the model of a support group that incorporates nature and physical activity.

In the meantime, she hopes to run another session in the spring to provide her with more data. The hikes will take place in the Chilliwack area. People can email for more information.


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Syphilis infections spike in B.C., especially among women

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jarun011/iStock/Getty Images Plus Syphilis stock photo ORG XMIT: POS1905031328470811

jarun011 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

Syphilis infections in B.C. have hit a 30-year high, due to a sudden increase of more than 30 per cent.

While the majority of infections are among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, infections among women 15-49 years old increased by nearly 40 per cent.

The B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) recorded 919 new cases of the sexually transmitted infection last year, including two cases of congenital syphilis in newborn babies, who can acquire it from their mother during pregnancy or birth.

The bacteria can be passed to anyone through oral, vaginal or anal sexual contact and through skin-to-skin contact with a lesion or chancre.

In response to the increase in infections among women, B.C. will temporarily screen all pregnant women for syphilis around the time of childbirth. Women are already routinely screened during the first trimester of pregnancy.

“This is an interim measure in response to an outbreak and aligns with actions taken by other provinces to prevent a serious infection that can harm both mother and baby,” said Dr. Mark Gilbert, medical director for Clinical Prevention Services at the BCCDC.

Alberta and Manitoba have each reported more than 10 cases of congenital syphilis in the past year and have also adopted screening in early and late pregnancy.

Left untreated during pregnancy, syphilis can lead to low birth weight, deafness, deformity, premature birth and stillbirth.

In sexually active adults, possible symptoms of an infection include a hard, painless sore on the genitals, mouth or anus, a skin rash on the back, chest hands or genitals, fever, swelling of the glands and fatigue.

Some people show no symptoms of infection.

Using condoms during sex will reduce the chances of acquiring or transmitting an infection, but it can be transmitted through contact with parts of the body not protected by a condom.

Pregnant women and people most at-risk of syphilis infection should be tested, especially if you have multiple sexual partners or show any symptoms, according to the BCCDC.

Your family doctor or a walk-in clinic can provide testing, or you can locate a sexual health clinic at

BCCDC also operates a discreet testing service for STIs called GetCheckedOnline, which allows uses to register and then deliver a sample directly to a lab for testing. Users can be tested for chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, syphilis and hepatitis C.


WorkSafeBC imposes new guidelines to prevent hearing loss among service industry workers

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Meagan Gill, CTV News Vancouver

Published Tuesday, May 21, 2019 1:16PM PDT

Last Updated Tuesday, May 21, 2019 1:21PM PDT

WorkSafeBC has released a new safety bulletin with noise control regulations for workers in the service industry.

The safety organization says many people working as servers and bartenders are reluctant to use hearing protection devices because they believe it will make it difficult to communicate with customers. 

“Studies show that when noise levels reach 90 decibels or higher, hearing protection actually improves your ability to hear speech,” said Dan Strand, WorkSafe BC’s director of prevention services. “We need to change how we think about hearing protection in the service industry.”

Repeated exposure to noise levels above 85 decibels can cause permanent hearing loss in unprotected people. But studies by WorkSafeBC show that many pubs and nightclubs in B.C. exceed that level during a regular shift.

If noise exceeds the 85 decibel limit within an eight-hour shift, employers are now required by regulation to have a noise control and hearing conservation program.

Between 2008 and 2017, WorkSafeBC accepted 3,343 disability claims for noise-induced hearing loss in the province.

“Noise is a serious and widespread problem in many workplaces, and this includes the service industry,” said Strand. “Our research has found that most service sector workers and employers are not aware of the risk of hearing loss in their industry.”

The new safety guidelines urge workers to find hearing protection tools that work best for them and to get annual hearing tests. In addition, WorkSafeBC is also providing employees in the service industry with several online resources to better raise awareness on noise-induced hearing loss.

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Swearing is the biggest etiquette faux-pas among Canadians, poll suggests

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There are noisy eaters, people who are always late, litterbugs, chatty movie-goers and those who drive too slowly in the fast lane.

But a new poll suggests the biggest etiquette faux-pas of all among Canadians is foul language.

According to a nation-wide survey conducted by Vancouver-based Research, Co., 64 per cent of respondents said they’d witnessed someone swearing in public over the past month. In Alberta, that number jumped to a whopping 71 per cent.

“It would seem that the language of Canadians is getting more colourful,” Research Co. president and CEO Mario Canseco said in a statement. “More than two-thirds of women and residents aged 55 and over report hearing someone swearing in public over the past month.”

By comparison, only 56 per cent of those polled said they witnessed a child behaving badly in public while their parents looked the other way, while just under half said they witnessed someone littering in a public place.

Interrupting or talking over another person else followed closely behind at 48 per cent, and 47 per cent of respondents said they’d been cut off by someone while driving.

Other behaviours reported by Canadians included seeing people chewing with their mouths open (39 per cent). Again, that number was higher in Alberta at 44 per cent.

The results suggest cutting in line at the store was more common in Atlantic Canada than in the rest of the country (48 per vent versus 39 per cent).

According to Research Co. 33 per cent of those polled reported seeing someone making an obscene gesture (43 per cent in Alberta).

“The two lowest ranked items on the list of behaviours are someone delivering important information via text or e-mail instead of face-to-face (31 per cent) and someone ignoring, or not responding to an invitation (19 per cent),” the company said.

The survey also included two positive behaviours. According to the report, 63 per cent of respondents reported seeing someone hold a door open for a stranger, and just over one in four saw someone giving up their seat for someone who had a disability, was pregnant or elderly.

Research Co. conducted an online survey among 1,000 adult Canadians between March 22 and 24. The data carries a margin of error of 3.1 per cent.

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Passenger satisfaction at YVR highest among Canada’s largest airports: survey

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TORONTO – A J.D. Power survey says passenger satisfaction has improved in two years at Canada’s three largest airports.

Vancouver International’s score rose five points to 781 on a 1,000-point scale that measured satisfaction with check-in; food, beverage and retail; accessibility; terminal facilities and baggage claim.

Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport scored 774, up from 760 in 2016.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport received 761 points, up from 745 two years ago. Calgary’s score was unchanged at 756.

Overall airport satisfaction at North America’s 64 largest airports reached a record high of 761 points, 12 points higher than in 2017 and 30 points above 2016 when Canadian airports were last measured.

Increased scores are primarily driven by higher satisfaction with food, beverage, retail and security checks.

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Passenger satisfaction at YVR highest among largest airports: survey

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TORONTO – A J.D. Power survey says passenger satisfaction has improved in two years at Canada’s three largest airports.

Vancouver International’s score rose five points to 781 on a 1,000-point scale that measured satisfaction with check-in; food, beverage and retail; accessibility; terminal facilities and baggage claim.

Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport scored 774, up from 760 in 2016.

Toronto’s Pearson International Airport received 761 points, up from 745 two years ago. Calgary’s score was unchanged at 756.

Overall airport satisfaction at North America’s 64 largest airports reached a record high of 761 points, 12 points higher than in 2017 and 30 points above 2016 when Canadian airports were last measured.

Increased scores are primarily driven by higher satisfaction with food, beverage, retail and security checks.

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FAO says Ontario still has strong investment-grade score among major ratings agencies

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TORONTO – Ontario’s Financial Accountability Officer says one key component of the province’s financial picture is still strong despite concerns raised earlier in the year.

Peter Weltman issued a report on Ontario’s credit rating on Tuesday that says the province still has a strong investment-grade score among all four of the international agencies that keep tabs on it.

Ontario deficit will jump to almost $12 billion in 2018: FAO

All four agencies rate Ontario in the middle of the pack among Canadian jurisdictions, but Weltman says all affirm the province has a strong credit rating.

Weltman says he anticipates a flurry of financial announcements from Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government in the coming months, some of which could impact how rating agencies view Ontario’s credit.

Ontario health-care spending not keeping pace with aging population: FAO

Two agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, revised their rating outlook for Ontario’s debt from stable to negative earlier this year, though the scores themselves did not change.

The spring election campaign that helped bring the Tories to power was filled with dire references to the state of Ontario’s finances, debt loads and deficit levels.

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