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News round up: July 30, 2013

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U of C scientists build satellite technology

University of Calgary scientists in the departments of physics and astronomy began working with the European Space Agency this week on satellite instruments that will be used to measure the Earth’s magnetic field.

The instruments will be placed on satellites for the ESA’s Swarm mission, which will attempt, after its November launch, to record the most accurate measurements of the Earth’s magnetic field to date.

The instrument is called the Electric Field Instrument and was developed by U of C scientists Johnathan Burchill and Kevin Lush. The EFI will measure wind speed, temperature and the density of air in the ionosphere 500 km above Earth.

Scientists from the U of C and the Canadian Space Agency will help process the data once it starts coming in after the Swarm mission begins this November.

Mount Royal borrows cash for concert hall

Mount Royal University will borrow $15 million from the provincial government to help cover the costs for a new 750-seat, $90-million concert hall.

Planning for the concert hall began in 2009, with the initial costs estimated at only $73 million.

Additional funding for the project will come from the federal and municipal governments and a number of private donors, including a $20-million donation from the Taylor family — a major donor for the Taylor Family Digital Library at the U of C.

The new provincial loan comes in the midst of deep cuts to MRU’s arts programs to make up for a $14-million budget shortfall following the provincial government’s post-secondary budget cuts announced in March.

Study highlights smartphone take over

A recent study released by Google sheds new light on the meteoric rise of smartphone use in our daily lives.

According to the study titled Our Mobile Planet: Understanding the Mobile Customer, smartphone ownership in Canada swelled from 33 per cent of the population in 2012 to 56 per cent in 2013.

Of smartphone users, the study shows that 78 per cent use their phones to visit social networking sites, 79 per cent don’t leave home without their device and 27 per cent have bought something on their phone.

The study was based off an Ipos Media survey done with 1,000 participants across Canada.

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