SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - June 20, 2008

June 20, 2008

A look at how SFU and its people made news: June 13-20, 2008                    

The discovery of a fifth sneaker-clad human foot, floating in BC coastal waters, generated another flurry of media calls to SFU experts during the week.
Forensic entomologist Gail Anderson was quoted halfway around the world. Forensic archaeologist Mark Skinner was in the media, too. So were criminologists Rob Gordon, Lynne Bell and Neil Boyd.
Meanwhile, energy expert Mark Jaccard was extensively quoted across Canada as Liberal leader Stéphane Dion hit the road with his campaign for a federal carbon tax.


  • Forensic scientists Gail Anderson and Mark Skinner responded in spades to media calls about the fifth floating foot.
    Anderson did interviews with GlobalTV, CTV, The Province, Agence France Presse, CBC-TV and CBC Radio. Then National Post, AOL News and more media followed.
    We saw stories quoting Anderson as far afield as the Belfast Telegraph and The Times of London, BBC Online, ABC OnlIne, the Gulf Times (Quatar)and the New Scientist; plusthe Queensland Courier-Mail in Australia, in South Africa, France24 in France, TopNews (India) and on the Trend News Agency in Azerbaijan. As well, she was in the Wenatchee World in Washington State, and the in Michigan. 
    The Seattle Times asked her about the possibility of a serial killer being on the loose; she smartly referred that one to criminologist Neil Boyd.
    Skinner, meanwhile, did several radio interviews, and CBC-TV came up the mountain to interview him. He was also in was in the Independent newspaper in the U.K.
    Rob Gordon, director of criminology, was interviewed at length on GlobalTV. Then in The Province he was quoted as saying there are only three plausible explanations for the source of the feet: victims of a plane crash, victims of a "body dump" from an organized-crime "cleanup crew”, or the work of a killer preying on young men.
    Meanwhile, on the road in Ottawa, Anderson was interviewed June 19 by the BBC World Service, and she was quoted in the June 20 Globe and Mail.
    Criminologist Lynne Bell explained to CBC how feet can break away from the rest of the body in water, how bone minerals and oxygen isotopes in the feet might offer clues, and how forensic botany (seeing, for example, whether pollen has hitched a ride on the footwear) might be an investigative tool in the case.


  • The Ottawa Sun wrote that “when the next election comes and Canada's biggest political parties vie for our vote, a key battleground will be the merits of a carbon tax.”
    It quoted SFU energy economist Mark Jaccard as saying the Conservatives’ plan to regulate industry's emissions, and not everyone who emits carbon, is folly because industry is only responsible for only half of Canada's carbon output. The story appeared in the other papers in the Toronto Sun chain.
  • Meanwhile, Liberal leader Stéphane Dion, in a speech in Winnipeg, outlined his "Green Shift" plan, and noted: "What we are proposing has been inspired by the work of eminent economists including  . . . Professor Mark Jaccard at Simon Fraser University."
  • Dion added, in an interview in Maclean’s: “Mark Jaccard from Simon Fraser University and Jack Mintz from University of Calgary have been a great help.”
  • CanWest News Service sent across the country its own story on Dion’s plan, and  quoted Jaccard: “I've never met one (economist) who disagrees (with a carbon tax). They used to disagree with it because they didn't think that the climate risk was serious, and those days seem to be over.” We saw it in the Victoria Times Colonist and the Montreal Gazette. National Post did its own story quoting Jaccard.
  • Coverage by The Canadian Press of the story also quoted Jaccard: "We do need the price to get fairly high over the next decades, like over the next two decades, so that our children really do opt for technologies that are zero- and ultra-low emissions. And that happens gradually. At the same time, if you put the price too high initially, you hammer the economy."
  • Andrew Coyne, national editor of Maclean's, repeated a common question: Won’t rising fuel prices curtail demand for oil, and thus emissions, so why implement carbon taxes? Wrote Coyne: "Not so fast. As the influential environmental economist Mark Jaccard never tires of pointing out, there is no straight-line correlation between consumption and emissions.”
  • Maclean’s columnist John Geddes also mentioned Jaccard, in a column on threats to Dion’s leadership. “If his carbon tax catches on, Dion will be saved. If it doesn't, his hopes of winning an election are gravely diminished, and his chances of surviving to contest one as leader no longer entirely assured.”
  • And Ontario’s Sault Star picked up last week’s story from the Toronto Sun chain which quoted Jaccard as knocking Conservative Party “attack ads” on the Liberal Party’s proposal for a carbon tax. “This is just totally dishonest. . . . Every one of those ads should say, 'Oh and by the way, your income taxes are going down if (the Liberals) do put in that tax,' but it's not there."


  • The Canadian Press and CanWest News Service picked up our SFU news release on a study finding that even a weak mix of pesticides in river water dampens a trout’s sense of smell. Keith Tierney, while at SFU, led the study with fellow toxicologist Christopher Kennedy.  (Tierney now is at U of Windsor.)  The story ran in a hefty string of Canadian newspapers and on broadcast media (including GlobalTV and CTV) and also appeared on several blogs.
  • The Toronto Star carried a feature on “Vancouverism”—the model of city planning in which “the important issue isn't architecture, but . . . the space between them that differentiates one city from another.” Among those quoted was Gordon Price, director of SFU’s City Program:
    "We've had a depoliticized system for so long it works. Everyone has a stake in it— developers, politicians and residents.  . . . We're at the point where we can start to Europeanize the downtown. The car is no longer the dominant form of transportation."
  • Warren Gill, vice-president and transportation geographer, was in demand as Air Canada, citing rising fuel costs, announced cutbacks in flights—and of 2,000 employees. Gill did interviews with CanWest New Service, City-TV and AM1320.
  • The Globe and Mail had a newsfeature on the threat of soaring bedbug infestations in Vancouver as a result of 2010 Olympics travel—and on one pest-control company's use of a trained beagle that can sniff out bedbugs. The feature also mentioned this:
    "Simon Fraser University professor Dr. Gerhard Gries, an expert in insect chemical ecology, is investigating how bedbugs use airborne chemical compounds called pheromones to communicate. . . . The SFU-developed pheromone traps have been patented and will soon undergo testing."
  • A Calgary Herald column on Canada’s proposed copyright provisions quoted from an essay by Martin Laba, director of the School of Communication. "Consumers have little compunction about file sharing because they have little affection or concern for an industry that pulls in very handsome profits globally and that engages in 'demonizing the record-buying public and online community' and threatens litigation as its response to peer-to-peer practices."


  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader reported on a 3,600-year-old native village site—uncovered during road work for the new Golden Ears Bridge—that suggests aboriginal people here were Canada's first recorded farmers. The Leader quoted Dana Lepofsky, associate prof of archaeology, as saying it’s possibly the Lower Mainland's most significant find to date.
    "It has global importance. Everyone is so excited." Discovery of the wapato, or “Indian potato” there is the oldest example so far of horticulture in B.C. and Canada. “In the Pacific Northwest, there is nothing even remotely this old," Lepofsky said. "There's really nothing comparable in North America.” 
    And it will soon be paved over. . . . 
    Said Lepofsky: "In my perfect world, the site would have been either left entirely or excavated slowly over 30 years with huge public involvement and turned into a place people could visit forever—in the way it would have happened almost anywhere else in the western world. France, Japan—you pick the country—a site like this would have been preserved."
    The Maple Ridge News also ran the story.
  • Ethicist Mark Wexler was quoted in a Vancouver Sun feature on the fading star of Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan. Wrote the Sun’s Frances Bula: “Sullivan's style was what Simon Fraser University professor Mark Wexler calls the ‘ingratiating’ style favoured by people who typically try to exercise power indirectly—a style used more often by women and minorities.”
    Meanwhile, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post had a story saying: "Vancouver's Chinese votes are up for grabs in a mayoral race after the defeat of the only ethnic Chinese who had been seeking the opposition candidacy, and former Chinese favourite Mayor Sam Sullivan having already been dumped by his own party. " SFU public policy prof Kennedy Stewart was quoted.
  • The Vancouver Sun and The Province covered a report from the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives saying BC farmworkers face system-wide violations of employment standards and health and safety regulations, poor working conditions, and low enforcement by government agencies. Two of the authors of the report are Arlene Tigar McLaren, SFU professor emerita of sociology, and Gerardo Otero, sociology prof.
    McLaren and another co-author, Mark Thompson, UBC prof emeritus, also wrote a guest column in the Sun on the issue. The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Times ran The Province story, by way of CanWest News Service. The Abbotsford Times and Chilliwack Times did stories.
    And The Province ran an editorial: “Our government should be doing everything possible to end these abuses.”
  • interviewed Gordon McBean, one of Canada's top climate scientists and lead policy author for SFU’s Adaptation to Climate Change Team. Talking about Vancouver International Airport,  McBean mused:
    "When do you start seriously thinking about when to put it somewhere else? It's already at sea level at best." And the sea level is rising. "It's rising along the lines of the most pessimistic track right now. You could have a half-metre sea-level rise by mid-century." Canadians have been slow to think about actually adapting to climate change, he added.
  • The Vancouver Sun explored (in the light of the release of the movie Get Smart) the impact of  moves and TV on children. Among those quoted was Kym Stewart, a doctoral student in Education. “A lot of what I did when I worked in the media lab with [Prof.] Steve Kline was looking at what's called risk communication. The more you watch, the more you are at risk: You don't have much mediation by your parents, you don't have much support at home and maybe you're gravitating towards violent programming.”
  • The North Shore Outlook looked at the idea of amalgamating the City of North Vancouver and the District of North Vancouver. Gordon Price said: "To put these two together wouldn't be easy. . . . Don't underestimate the cultural impact of these traditional divisions. . . (And) I don't think there has been evidence you save significant resources."
  • Lynn Perrin, a graduate of the masters program in public policy, wrote a guest column in The Vancouver Sun. “A peaceful revolution is taking place across North America. . . . The revolutionaries in this case are ordinary consumers and farmers wishing to trade directly in local food products via farmers' markets.” The Alaska Highway News also ran the column.
    And fellow student Pete Wightman wrote in the Sun a guest column that began: “Our transportation policy-makers should take a course in command-control economies. There it is to be hoped they would learn that Soviet rejections of market mechanisms led to an ultimate collapse.”
  • Granville magazine (which focuses on the environment and sustainability) did a story on gadgetry designed by students of the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at SFU Surrey, for the Solar House they are building with Ryerson and Waterloo.  SIAT prof Rob Woodbury was quoted. Also in Granville: a (literally) green ad from SFU’s Meeting, Event and Conference Services.
  • A Vancouver Sun feature on the introduction of edible insect dishes at Vij’s Restaurant in Vancouver quoted an approving Jeff Joy, a PhD student in the evolutionary biology of insects: "Insects are fantastic for human consumption. In a lot of the world, insects are important to diets and supply protein people otherwise wouldn't get." The Victoria Times Colonist and CHEK-TV, Victoria, picked up the story.
  • Burnaby Now gave some ink to a release from Eric Swanick of the SFU Library’s Special Collections unit and Terry Lavender, PAMR communications manager at SFU Surrey, about a new library collection of 300 photographs and a number of taped interviews. They provide a glimpse into the lives of the Indo-Canadian pioneers who came to B.C. from 1900-1950.
  • Burnaby Now also picked up a guest column by Marjorie Griffin Cohen, prof of political science and women's studies, on the (negative) impact on workers and wages of changes in BC labor laws.  It had run previously in a couple of other BC newspapers.
  • The Terrace Standard reported that industry stakeholders at a meeting in Terrace gave overall support to a salmon fishery management report for the Skeena watershed. The report’s authors included SFU fisheries experts John Reynolds and Randall Peterman.
  • The BC government distributed to media a news release on its investment of $9.3 million in Compute Canada, a cross-Canada high-performance computing network for more than 1,000 researchers, including those at SFU.


  • The Vancouver Sun reported that only one police agency in BC (West Vancouver) is already using stun guns in the way Canada's federal police watchdog recommends—firing them only when suspects are being "combative." It quoted criminologist Rob Gordon as saying Tasers were initially to be used as a last resort before firing a gun, specifically for combative scenarios. Their use is inappropriate in less severe situations, argues Gordon, a former police officer himself. That story also ran on GlobalTV.
  • The Province carried an update on the investigation into the Saanich murder four months ago of Lindsay Buziak, a real-estate agent who was lured into a vacant house she was trying to sell and was stabbed. Criminologist Neil Boyd was quoted. The Nanaimo Daily News picked up the story.



  • The Human Security Report from Andrew Mack, director of the Human Security Report Project at SFU’s School for International Studies, was in the media for the fourth straight week. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer ran an Economist story on the report. So did the Montreal Gazette.
    Human Security program assistant Ryan Cross also spotted coverage in the Congressional Quarterly (Washington DC), The Diplomat (Australia), YemenOnline, PostGlobal (The Washington Post), Norway’s Morgenbladet, the Arab American News (Dearborn, MI)  and a string of blogs and websites including The Brookings Institution (USA), Family Security Matters (USA), (USA), and the Lowy Institute for International Policy (Australia).
    Closer to home, the Burnaby News caught up to the story: “Terrorist violence around the world is on the decline, according to a recent report by a Simon Fraser University-based research team.”
  • Science Online carried an article on how sea lice can latch onto predator fish, and thus move onto a new host. A team led by Brendan Connors, SFU behavioral ecologist, said: "It's absolutely amazing. They literally do a backflip off the fish they were on and land right between the eyes of the predator."
  • Manufacturing and Business Technology magazine carried a story on the latest edition of the book Outsourcing America: The True Cost of Shipping Jobs Overseas and What Can Be Done about It. It’s written by Ron Hira, assistant prof of public policy at Rochester Institute of Technology, and his brother Anil (Andy) Hira, a political science prof at SFU. “Outsourcing might be good for American corporations, but it's not necessarily good for American workers, and it's likely to be bad for the American economy, even in the long run,” they said.


  • The Vancouver Sun reported that SFU long jumper Ruki Abdulai failed to make Olympic qualifying standards Tuesday at the Lafarge International track meet in Abbotsford. "I was thinking too much. . . I know it's there. I'm going to make it." She hopes to do just that Saturday at the Harry Jerome Track Classic at Swangard Stadium.
  • Burnaby Now ran an item about the appointment of former Clan women's basketball star Dani Langford as an assistant coach of the team. She’s the daughter of SFU head coach Bruce Langford.
  • Burnaby Now also reported SFU standout Jessica Smith qualified for the International Amateur Athletics Federation world junior track and field championships. “Smith will represent Canada at the world championships in Bydgoszcs, Poland from July 8 to 13.”
  • The Burnaby Newsleader carried a sports-page feature on Torsten Jaccard, 16, who in September will become the starting quarterback for the New Westminster Hyacks school football squad, No. 3 in provincial AAA football. He is, the Newsleader noted, “the son of noted SFU energy economist Mark Jaccard.”



  • Burnaby Now also ran an SFU news release that began: “Tristen Gilchrist and Paul Carriere are not just exceptional students and university ambassadors, they’re also key team members within their respective co-op employment environments. The pair were named SFU’s 2008 co-op students of the year. . . . ”
  • A number of community papers carried stories on SFU scholarship winners. They included, for example, the Maple-Ridge Pitt Meadows Times on two big scholarship winners. SFU registrar Kate Ross was quoted. Surrey Now also did a story.
  • The Ashcroft-Cache Creek Journal featured Meeka Morgan as “an example of the modern-day creative dynamic that impels our first nations people.” It continued: “Embarked on the study of her ancestors and the experiences of elders in her First Nations community, Meeka's thesis "Making connections with Secwepemc families through story telling: A journey in transforming rebuilding" earned her a Master of Arts (M.A.) degree from Simon Fraser University.”



  • SFU Gallery director Bill Jeffries was in a Victoria Times Colonist story about an exhibition in Victoria of Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests films. Jeffries will lecture on Warhol's influence in the history of film at the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria on June 26.
  • The Surrey-North Delta Leader featured Keith Gagnon, ice skater and dancer. He has just starred as Prince Charming in a North Vancouver production of Cinderella, and now plays the same role (but with different choreography) in Langley this weekend.  Said the Leader: “Still a competitive doubles skater, Gagnon, who grew up in White Rock, also studies dance at Simon Fraser University.”
  • The Montreal Gazette mentioned SFU grad Bill Galloway, whose wife, Susan Freedman, has a play (Sixty-Four and No More Lies) in the St. Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival. Galloway “based his recently completed master's thesis (Simon Fraser University), about senior citizens who run away with fringe festivals, on her experiences. No. He's not making this up.”
  • The Deseret News (Salt Lake City) featured author Patrick McGrath (Asylum and Spider) and his new novel, Trauma, “a carefully crafted story centered on a therapist.” The News noted he initially studied education at SFU.



  • Physicist Mike Vetterli told media that more than 100 researchers from North and South America and Europe would meet at SFU during the week to discuss final preparations for the ATLAS project. Scientists are eagerly anticipating the moment when ATLAS’s Large Hadron Collider will begin this fall to smash atomic particles into each other. FairchildTV came to interview Vetterli.
  • SFU let media know about the premiere of  the documentary film Fraser River Journey, which follows 12 B.C. First Nations youths on a wild raft trip down the Fraser River. It was produced by the Media Design video unit of the Learning and Instructional Design Centre at SFU Vancouver.
  • SFU and SFU Contemporary Arts spread the word on how the School for the Contemporary Arts and SFU’s Praxis Centre for Screenwriters will celebrate the career of Graham Greene, one of North American’s best-known aboriginal actors, at a public event on Wednesday, June 25. (7:30 pm at the Vancouver campus)

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ALSO in the NEWS

  • The Vancouver Sun’sbook pages promoted SFU’s coming Symposium on the Book. (Saturday, July 12, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., downtown campus. You get six books with your $75 ticket. Call 778.782.5241 or e-mail
  • The Burnaby Newsleader featured Ekaterina Prokhorova, who as a  little girl in Russia was mesmerized by the machines and small glass tubes in a local lab. “After earning four scholarship—one national, one provincial and two district—the straight-A student plans to study science at SFU next year, hoping to major in chemistry and minor in biology.”
  • The Jurist, website of the University of Pittsburgh law school, carried an article by Tamir Moustafa, associate professor of International Studies at SFU. This on the Egyptian government’s extension of its emergency law through May 2010.
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