U of C alumni blasts off while buskers battle to be heard

By Jon Roe

To infinity . . . and beyond!

University of Calgary grad Robert Thirsk will be the first Canadian to have an extended stay in space after boarding the International Space Station on May 29.

Thirsk graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Engineering in 1976 and won the U of C Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000. He will be performing scientific experiments and repairing and maintaining the station and is the crew’s chief medical officer and robotics specialist.

In one of the experiments, Thirsk will control a robotic rover named Red in a lot near the Canadian Space Agency’s headquarters in Montreal from the station, simulating a scenario that could happen on Mars.

Two other U of C grads are involved in the mission.

Dr. Doug Hamilton, who graduated in 1991 with a MD and a PhD, is the mission’s deputy flight surgeon and Laura Lucier, who graduated in 1999 with a Bachelor’s of Science, is a flight-controller and mission-planner for NASA and the CSA and will work with Thirsk on various robotic tasks.

Parking prices at MRC nearly double

Much like at the U of C, Mount Royal is losing parking lots to new buildings and will be hiking prices for the remaining lots. Students will now have to pay $180 per semester for the cheapest available parking permit, according to the CBC.

“I’m already angry at the school as it is,” MRC student Yi-Fei Liu, who paid $100 for his parking permit last semester, told the CBC. “Tuition hikes, lack of facilities — they don’t even have two-ply toilet paper in the bathroom.”

Open lots are $180, gated lots are $260 and underground lots are $360. There will no longer be separate lots for students and staff.

Buskers can’t compete with street noise

Street musicians in Calgary are complaining they can’t beat out the street sounds after new rules have forced them to unplug their amplifiers.

The Calgary Downtown Association removed its $90 fee for busking licenses this year and now hands them out for free — as long as buskers are not louder than 75 decibels, don’t stay in the same spot for more than an hour and do not amplify their instruments.

The regular street noise for lunch hour at Olympic Plaza is around 70 decibels, according to the Calgary Herald.

“My acoustic guitar, I could strum as loud as I could, and you wouldn’t hear it across the street,” Ben Rose, a Stephen Avenue busker for seven years, told the Herald.

Animal and bylaw services director Bill Bruce told the Herald that the rules have been relaxed for this year.

“The laws have been relaxed significantly downtown and it’s just about using good judgment,” he said. “Don’t block the traffic, keep it G-rated and keep it safe. But with amplifiers, it would have to be really loud for us to bother with it.”

Rose was warned by bylaw officers for using speakers Friday and could face a fine of $100 to $200.

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