Street art and graffiti: the legality of it all

You’ll find street art and graffiti nearly everywhere: the walls of your school, the alleys of the city, under bridges, on mailboxes, and more. From Berlin to Toronto, artists are painting up the streets with what are often beautiful pieces of work. Banksy, a world-renowned graffiti artist, creates street art that sells for millions of dollars. So why then, is graffiti still illegal? Why control graffiti art? According to the City of Ottawa website, graffiti is known to increase crime rates and can reduce business revenue, property value, and affect the aesthetic appeal of its surrounding areas. Graffiti can also affect the sense of safety and security for residents and visitors. Hate graffiti is also a pressing issue for the […]

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Over the hill and onto the dance floor: Swing dancing is for all ages in Ottawa

You won’t hear sacred music on Friday nights in the basement of St. Joseph’s Parish in Ottawa—unless you consider Benny Goodman and Count Basie saints. Their jazzy big band hits play until just past midnight and are accompanied by the shuffle and bang of swing dancers’ feet. Almost every Friday night, the Ottawa Swing Dance Society rents out the Parish’s basement to host their social swing dances. For an admission cost of $8, they offer two hours of dance lessons with volunteer teachers and three hours of dancing. Verona Burk, one of the honorary lifetime members of the society, has been attending the Friday night dances for almost a decade. She refers to herself as “over the hill,” and yet, […]

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Popping pills: Do study drugs actually affect academic performance?

Leaving things to the last minute requires solid concentration skills to get everything done, and popping pills or guzzling caffeine and energy drinks to finish that essay is a common narrative among students. Coffee, energy drinks, and drugs that treat Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), like Adderall, are what the scientific community call “stimulants”— substances that excite and speed up the brain to increase alertness, attention, and energy, according to Health Canada. But should students rely on stimulants to help them study, and do they actually impact academic performance? Why do students use study drugs? Charlotte Halliday, a third-year psychology student at Carleton University, said she uses caffeine and Adderall to help combat the anxiety of completing last-minute assignments and […]

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Mindfulness meditation and you: An alternative way to cope with stress and anxiety

As exam season quickly approaches and the semester comes to an end, stress is in the air. Mindfulness meditation is an increasingly popular tool recommended by healthcare professionals to help individuals relax the body and the mind, and cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. So what is the truth about mindfulness meditation, and could it actually be beneficial to you? Defining mindfulness Mindfulness can be practiced at any time, anywhere—or all the time and everywhere, as Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh explained in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. Mindfulness is a unique and personalized experience for those who try it, according to Heather MacLean, a neurology professor at the University of Ottawa (U of O). In a November 2016 lecture, […]

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Tips to stay safe on your cycling commute

As warm weather quickly approaches, Ottawa cyclists are beginning to dust off their bike chains. Bike shops like Bushtukah in Kanata have already put away their skis for the year, and are offering tune-ups to cyclists eager to hit the streets. Although many Ottawans are keen to get back on the roads, Akil Spooner, a senior sales representative at Bushtukah, said riders should remember the importance of safety while cycling. 1. Wear a helmet Spooner said the main precautions that cyclists should be taking on the roads is wearing a helmet. “You’ve got to have a good lid, and what a lot of people don’t know is that helmets expire,” he said. The material in helmets becomes brittle with time, […]

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