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SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - December 17, 2010

December 17, 2010

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Media Matters, a daily report on Simon Fraser University in the news, is compiled and distributed by SFU Public Affairs & Media Relations (PAMR). This edition covers the period from 11 a.m., Thursday, Dec. 16, through 8:30 a.m. today, Friday, Dec. 17.

CHRISTMAS TREES AND NON-CHRISTIANS

A new SFU study shows Christmas displays can undermine the psychological well-being of people who do not celebrate the holiday, reports MSNBC.com. In experiments, a group of students were randomly assigned to identical rooms – except one had a Christmas tree in it, while the other did not. "Simply having this 12-inch Christmas tree in the room with them made them feel less included in the university as a whole, which to me is a pretty powerful effect from one 12-inch Christmas tree in one psychology lab," SFU psychology professor Michael Schmitt said on the news website.

CARBON TAX

B.C. Liberal leadership candidate Kevin Falcon’s proposal to freeze the province’s carbon tax is not groundbreaking, SFU environmental economics Mark Jaccard told The Globe and Mail. "No jurisdiction can do this on their own, the best we can do is be a leader, " Jaccard said. "If we are at $30 in 2012 and the rest of North America is at zero, then I would agree with Kevin Falcon. You can continue to do stuff domestically ... but it's pretty hard to keep that tax going up if you are sitting alone.
Full story: http://at.sfu.ca/eiPkXi

LOWERING VOTING AGE

The Province referenced SFU marketing expert Lindsay Meredith in an editorial, agreeing with him that the latest campaign promises by B.C. Liberal leadership candidates are all about getting noticed. “Some 16-year-olds are more adult than some 36-year-olds. Some are certainly more honest than many 46-or 56-year-old politicians,” said the paper. “But there has to be an age cut off somewhere. I mean, we wouldn't want 14-or 12-year-olds voting, would we?  No, as SFU marketing Prof. Lindsay Meredith points out, (Mike) de Jong's proposal has more to do with getting noticed. Let's just call it the adult equivalent of wearing a nose ring.”
Full story: http://at.sfu.ca/yZtnrk

QUELLING GANG VIOLENCE

Rob Gordon, director of SFU criminology, doesn’t think the new anti-gang measures announced by the Vancouver Police Department will be effective. The initiatives include having more citizen patrols keeping an eye for vehicles outside of gang hangouts. "I think it's optics and I don't see it as really making a dent in the main problem," he told The Vancouver Sun. "I think it is indicative of the level of desperation there is at the moment in the city on how to handle this outburst from folks in drug trade."
Full story: http://at.sfu.ca/QRDiWm

EXTENDED SKYTRAIN HOURS

Another campaign promise from a B.C. Liberal leadership candidate, this time from Kevin Falcon, who advocates keeping the SkyTrain system running until 3 a.m. SFU’s Gordon Price wonders where the money would come from to fund this idea. "I would take his word on that, however, I would be skeptical. It's during a campaign for leadership," Price said to CTV News.
Full story: http://at.sfu.ca/SyJbGc

ONLINE SHOPPING

CTV News reports people aren’t spending more money this Christmas but they are doing more shopping via the Internet. Convenience and increased selection is the reason why, said SFU business professor Dianne Cyr.
Full story: http://at.sfu.ca/MWueNH

LEGALIZING DRUGS

In a Toronto Star story about Vancouver having the third highest crime rate of 17 major U.S. and Canadian cities surveyed, SFU criminologist Ehor Boyanowsky blamed drug use for much of the criminal activity. He advocates legalizing drugs in Canada because he explained how addicts are forced to commit property crimes to feed their habits. “We’ve tried prohibition before and that triggered the largest crime wave in history. Crime went down when we repealed prohibition laws and we had an increase in crime again when drug use increased,” he said.
Full story: http://at.sfu.ca/QILmbP

ALSO IN THE NEWS

Langley resident Andrew Henrey and two other SFU students were in the Langley Advance talking about advancing to the finals of the International Collegiate Programming Contest (ICPC). Henrey, along with Hua Huang and Wesley May, are going to Egypt in February to compete against the best of the best.
Full story: http://at.sfu.ca/AnfAGt

News1130 radio interviewed SFU health sciences professor Jamie Kathleen Scott about the story of a German man who was reportedly cured of AIDS after a bone-marrow transplant procedure was used to treat the cancer patient.

SFU Contemporary Arts’ Michael Boucher was a guest on CBC-Radio’s Early Edition to speak about his new adaptation of the Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol.

Many factors during the holidays can induce depression, SFU clinical psychologist Joti Samra told CTV News. The combination of these factors can often make people feel overwhelmed with stress.
Full story: http://at.sfu.ca/mhfcPq

SFU public policy professor Jon Kesselman was on CKNW talking about expanding a national private pension scheme for small business and the self-employed. “It appears all the provinces with the exception of Alberta are onside to expand the Canada Pension Plan retirement benefits. It’s been recognized for a long time that there’s benefits – they’re very secure and very well funded – (but) they’re simply not large enough to bridge the gap for many individuals,” he said.

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Nick Tarr

Michael Schmitt's piece of work on Christmas Trees is political correctness gone mad!! Those who Christams trees offend should just leave the room, for if their feelings are that paper thin and intolerant they're really going to struggle in the real world! Perhaps the university should channel its resources into more worthwhile research, like savings peoples lives! regards Nick Tarr

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