May 21, 2010

A look at how Simon Fraser University and its people made news: May 14-21, 2007

A win and a loss for SFU Athletics put the Clan in the news during the week. 

The win: a two-run homer by Carly Moir gave the Clan softball team a victory in the NAIA national championships.

The loss: Scott Clark, head coach of the Clan men’s basketball team, became head coach at Thompson Rivers University.

If you find that loss not funny, then check out the national story below in which psychology prof Travis Proulx took a unique look at laughter.


  • Canwest News Service sent to clients across Canada a story that stemmed from an SFU news release and began: “Those who treat life as a cosmic joke may be on to something. A Canadian researcher has found people who laugh at things that don't make sense are less threatened by them.”

    The researcher: psychology prof Travis Proulx, whose results will be published in the June issue of the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin. He told Canwest: “The quick punchline is: If you're having an unusual experience, if you look at it in a humourous way, it makes the nonsensical make a certain degree of sense.'' 

    A story also ran in The Vancouver Sun, and Proulx was on CFAX Radio in Victoria.The original SFU news release was picked up by the Switzerland-based website of
  • The Globe and Mail carried a story on last weekend’s celebration at SFU Vancouver of the 50th anniversary of the invention of the laser by Theodore (Ted) Maiman.

    Andrew Rawicz, a professor in the School of Engineering Science at Simon Fraser University, explained that the Terminal City is a fitting spot to celebrate the laser's golden anniversary, because this is the place ‘Ted’ chose to move to in 1999 with his wife Kathleen. 

    “Since Dr. Maiman's passing in May 2007, Prof. Rawicz has been trying to establish a Maiman photonics research foundation and a Maiman archive at the university. The meeting of Dr. Maiman's fan club is part of that plan. ‘The concept of the symposium is to show the avalanche of progress, which Ted caused by making his laser,’ Prof. Rawicz said from his office on Burnaby Mountain.”
  • The Canadian Press did a national story on the reported bomb threat aboard a Cathay Pacific Airways plane that was escorted into Vancouver International Airport by a pair of CF-18 fighter jets. Political scientist Stuart Farson, a terrorism expert, said: “Since 9/11, this has been part of the program. I think it's just being appropriately cautious. The guys at NORAD just don't have the time to identify what the threat actually is. You have to take some sort of action."

    Some passengers complained that, although they could see the fighter escort, they weren’t told what was going on. But Farson approved: “What do you tell the passengers? ‘We've got a bomb on board'? That's going to cause panic, and I think you want to avoid that in all cases."  (The bomb threat turned out to be a hoax.) 

    The story ran in media from the Cape Breton Post to CFAX Radio in Victoria, and on
  • Another SFU expert on terrorism, historian André Gerolymatos, was in a Canwest News Service story that looked at anarchist threats aimed at the summits of G8 and G20 world leaders in Ontario in June. “The G8 (summit) has always been a magnet for protest. These people want to ratchet it up a bit.” His quotes also ran in the Ottawa Citizen and National Post.

  • The Globe and Mail looked at three examples of urban growth (Calgary, Toronto and Vancouver) and found Vancouver to be “the only one that sprawled less between 1991 and 2001.” The story included this: “Vancouver's a model of how public-policy choices can foster dense growth or curb sprawl. The missing piece, says Simon Fraser University's Gordon Harris, is making it affordable to live there.

    “‘If we can't create housing that the people who work in the city can afford, pretty soon the city stops working so well. You start to see economic decline that is directly related the to cost of housing: People will choose to live and work elsewhere.’" 

    (Harris is president and CEO of the SFU Community Trust, which oversees the UniverCity development.)
  • The Focus Ontario show on GlobalTV Ontario and CTV in Thunder Bay looked at the future of Canada’s long-gun registry. An opponent of the registry said: “We have lots of facts to demonstrate our position on this is quite sound. Dr. Gary Mauser from Simon Fraser University, who's written extensively in law journals on the long-gun registry and the failure of the gun registry to do what it was supposed to do, will also be testifying next week on Parliament Hill, and it's that kind of empirical evidence that you need.”

    Closer to home, the Tri-City News carried a column calling for Ottawa to “put a bullet in the long-gun registry” and noting: “Coquitlam resident Gary Mauser, a business professor emeritus at Simon Fraser University, will be travelling to Ottawa next week to speak to the parliamentary committee on public safety about gun control. It quoted Mauser: “The statistics clearly show that the long-gun registry has not been effective in reducing deaths or accidents.”
  • Herb Grubel, economics prof emeritus, had a letter to the editor in National Post, in response to two letters that had attacked him for his National Post blog argument that government employees generally earn more than those in the private sector. “Neither letter writer disputes the fact that government employees earn much more than their counterparts in the private sector (plumbers in the federal government earn 40% more than plumbers in the private sector) that I discussed in my contribution of May 5.”

  • The UK-based science website of posted a news release on how SFU cell biologist Michel Leroux has helped discover how mutations in a specific protein known as ARL6 or BBS3 may contribute to the development of Bardet-Biedl syndrome (BBS). Obesity, blindness and kidney dysfunction are among symptoms that collectively characterize BBS, a complex hereditary disease.


  • The Vancouver Sun told readers how “more than 100 scientists who have gathered at Simon Fraser University this week are pooling their knowledge to find novel ways to use observed fish behaviour to monitor pollutants in the environment.”  Quoted was Felix Breden, chair of SFU Biology: “Fish are the canaries in the mine shaft. They can help us learn much more about climate change and human impacts on the environment. The missing sockeye in the Fraser River are obviously telling us that there is a problem.”
  • Energy prof Mark Jaccard did a hefty stint on the Christy Clark show on CKNW, talking about the potential impact of the new BC Clean Energy Act on the BC Utilities Commission (which he once headed). 

    “The Clean Energy Act . . . says the commission should be ‘guided’ by government policy; and the lawyers I have talked to . . . say that’s generally interpreted by the courts as saying the commission still has all its usual powers. But at some point the government could appeal one of its decisions.”  At the same time, he said, he believes the commission can still vet and reject any private power-supply agreement negotiated by BC Hydro. 

    All in all, he said, “You really want your utility commission to be this regulator of rates, of prudent investment, and making sure that we’re not spending more money than we need to. . . .  A lot of jurisdictions around the world have been copying . . . the British Columbia system.”
  • The Vancouver Sun looked at how students can best hunt for summer jobs. The advice included this from Adam Brayford, communications and marketing coordinator with the SFU’s Work Integrated Learning career services:

    “Given the likely higher competition this summer, it is important students combine an online with a face-to-face approach to looking for jobs. Gone are the days when students could hit the mall with a stack of resumes. "They can look for opportunities online, but if they have an employer in mind, they should attempt to engage them, to make contact early. Someone who visits in person is more likely to be remembered, so when they follow up with an online application, they already have an in with a potential employer." 

    And he had some encouraging news: "In the online database with job postings for SFU students, we have seen a 50-per-cent increase from the fall of 2009, and we anticipate this trend will continue as the summer goes on.”
  • Criminologist Neil Boyd wrote a guest piece in The Vancouver Sun on the price fans could pay for a prime seat at June's Ultimate Fighting Competition in Vancouver. As in $1,500—compared with $500 for the Simon and Garfunkel concert, $950 for the Eagles, $800 for Michael Buble, $700 for Sting, and $400 for cellist Yo-yo Ma.

    “How far removed are we from the days of blood sport as entertainment—lions and gladiators at the Roman Coliseum? Not very far, if at all. The market confirms Pogo's aphorism: We have seen the enemy and they is us.”
  • GlobalTV interviewed volcanologist Glyn Williams-Jones on the 30th anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. He told of taking students there on a field trip: “We went right into the crater on September 11th, 2004, and about two weeks later it re-activated and we went into a whole new series of eruptions.”

  • Marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was quoted by The Vancouver Sun in a story about Tiger Woods’ rejection of a $100-million sponsorship deal from an online gambling company that offered to leave him free to be “bad”. Meredith called the proposal "bogus”, and from a company that was simply trying to drum up publicity for itself.  He said there’s still more sponsorship money for those who choose to be "good" than those who choose to be "bad."

    By way of Canwest News Service, the story also ran in National Post.
  • Rob Gordon, director of SFU Criminology, was on GlobalTV, talking about two BC men who were caught after crossing the border into Washington State with backpacks full of marijuana. He said he was surprised they had taken the risk.

  • Archaeology prof George Nicholas spoke on CFAX Radio, Victoria, and on radio El Mundo-FM, about his new book: Being and Becoming Indigenous Archaeologists. It’s the first volume to chart the emergence of a new group of archaeological practitioners—men and women of indigenous heritage—in their own voices.

  • Political scientist Patrick Smith was in a Burnaby Now story on the potential impact on municipalities of the federal government's proposed trade agreement with the European Union. Burnaby mayor Derek Corrigan said Ottawa is opening the door for foreign firms to bid on municipal contracts. Said Smith: “I think the mayor's right in looking at things that impact municipal governments, that go beyond the city borders.”

  • The Vancouver Courier picked up an SFU news release on how more than 400 of the world’s leading experts in geriatric health, housing and assistive technology will be meeting in Vancouver May 27–30 at the International Society for Gerontechnology’s seventh World Conference, hosted by SFU’s Gerontology Research Centre.

  • The Vancouver Sun ran a story on the Cardiovascular Health 2010 conference, co-sponsored by SFU and Fraser Health, which will be held at SFU's Surrey campus June 19-23. “South Asians appear to have disproportionately high levels of heart disease, hypertension, diabetes and stroke.  . . With facts like these, a Canada-India conference on cardiovascular health aims to find out not only why South Asians are susceptible to such ailments, but also how to reverse the growing epidemic.”

  • The Province looked at BC Hydro’s billion-dollar plan to install "smart meters" in 1.8 million B.C. homes and businesses. The story said in part: “‘Given the amount of money the province seems ready to spend, we need some serious answers about the cost-benefits of smart-meter technology and why it's suitable for B.C.,’ says Simon Fraser University associate professor John Calvert, who teaches public policy and health sciences.”

  • A student tour of BC, to educate people about the importance of recycling oil, was featured in the Nanaimo News Bulletin. One of the students is Katya Kirsh of SFU Communication, who said: "This is an incredibly beautiful province we're touring. The landscapes, the mountains and the ocean. We see every day how important it is to be responsible and keep oil out of our environment and our landfills."

  • The Link, a newspaper serving the South Asian community here, reported SFU student Imrahn Mitha of North Vancouver was to attend the National Youth Ambassador Caucus this week in Ottawa. “Mitha, an Ismaili-Canadian, is currently a fourth year Economics and English major at Simon Fraser University.”

  • The Burnaby NewsLeader and Burnaby Now reported the return to the Burnaby campus this week of the SFU Pocket Farmers Market. (It runs every Wednesday from noon to 6pm at Cornerstone Town Square.)


  • The Kamloops Daily News was first to break the news that Scott Clark, head coach of Clan men’s basketball team, is leaving to become the head coach of the WolfPack men's basketball team at Thompson Rivers University.

    Clark became head coach at SFU 15 years ago, following Jay Triano, now head coach of the NBA Toronto Raptors. At TRU, Clark replaces Thom Gillespie, who had been interim head coach for two seasons, going 5-36 and missing the playoffs. TRU is 11-96 since joining Canada West. 

    At a TRU news conference, Clark said:  "It's a bit of a blank slate . . . it's something you can build from the ground up. When I took over at (SFU) that was pretty built up. This is different. It's a challenge, and I look forward to that." 

    The Vancouver Sun
    noted: ”During (Clark’s) decade with the Clan in Canada West his teams made the playoffs 10 straight years. Although his Clan never won a Canada West men's title, they did make the conference final four tournament on two occasions, including this past season.” The Clan was 14-4 under Clark in 2009-10.
  • The Clan softball team opened play at the NAIA national championships in Decatur AL by defeating Lindsey Wilson College of Kentucky 2-0—on a two-run homerun by senior Carly Moir in the bottom of the second inning. Today’s clan game against  Bellevue University of Nebraska was rained out.

  • The Clan track and field team hosted the inaugural Emilie Mondor Invitational, named for former Olympian and Clan athlete Emilie Mondor, who was killed in a car accident in 2006.

    On the women’s side, team captain Jane Channell won the 100m and 200m. Helen Crofts, Jessica Smith and Brianna Kane finished 1-2-3 in the 400m. In the 1500m, Ali Hudson placed first, beating out teammate Angela Shaw. Andrea Abrams won the 100m hurdles. Michelle Stuart was first in the 4kg shot put. Priye Iworima won the long jump.

    On the men’s side, Adam Newton won the 100m, Ryan Brockerville the 1500m, and Andrew Boss the 200m. Sviatoslav Moldavanov placed first in the triple jump.

    The Clan will now gear up for the NAIA outdoor championships in Marion IN May 27-29.
  • Clan wrestler Victoria Anthony won the 48kg title at the 2010 Body Bar women’s FILA junior national championships. The Californian now will represent the U.S. at the junior world championships in Budapest, Hungary, July 20-25. Anthony was the 2009 Junior World Champion at 44kg. Anthony will be joined at the junior worlds by Clan teammates Danille Lappage (63kg) and Sidney Morrison (67kg) who will represent Canada.

  • The Clan swimming and diving program announced nine recruits for the 2010-11 season. SFU head coach Liam Donnelly added: “With David Hibberd emerging as a top-five Canadian senior national level swimmer and Ben Berg as our newest NAIA national champion, we are definitely heading in the right direction as we move into the NCAA.”

Also in sports:

  • The Tri-City News reported that Jennifer Neilson of Riverside secondary school, Port Coquitlam, has committed to the Clan women's volleyball team for the fall. "Jennifer is a leader and a competitor," said Clan head coach Lisa Sulatycki. "Her teammates look to her to get the job done during the critical moment of the match and she plays with pure passion and joy for the game."

  • And the Clackamas (OR) Print reported that wrestler Josh Miller of Clackamas Community College (Oregon City) is heading to the Clan wrestling program in the fall.

  • Burnaby Now covered the SFU men’s hockey club awards night. Paul Moscone was named MVP. He helped SFU to a second B.C. Intercollegiate hockey title this season, contributing 36 points. Team captain Andrew Graham won the best defenceman crown. Jackson Friesen was the team's top scorer with 12 goals and 27 assists in 18 games. He was also a first-team league all-star for the second consecutive season. Craig Munro was named the team's unsung hero and Mike Macrae earned the community service award for his work in elementary schools and local programs.

  • The Burnaby NewsLeader and the Abbotsford News reported the SFU women’s rugby club, despite a late rally, lost to Abbotsford 32-22 in the B.C. Rugby Union's final for the Karen Moore Cup.

  • The Cochrane (AB) Eagle told readers how Adam Foss, captain of SFU’s lacrosse club, finished his fourth and final season on a high note. “The Clan made the semifinals of the Men’s Collegiate Lacrosse Association (MCLA) National Championship in Denver, Colorado, the team’s best finish since 1999. . . . SFU is the only Canadian team out of 213 in the MCLA, but  . . . has advanced to at least the quarterfinals in each of the last three seasons.”


  • The Langley Advance featured SFU Contemporary Arts student James O'Callaghan of Langley, who became a music composer after bailing from film studies. This because of his of his vegetarianism—he discovered in his first year in film school that conventional film has an animal-derived gelatinous coating.

  • The Vancouver Courier promoted a lecture earlier this week by Paul Budra, associate dean of SFU Arts and Social Science.  “With Bard on the Beach just around the corner, what else can a Shakespeare fan do besides dust off his beret, dry clean the leotards and stock up on tissue? Bone up on the Bard, that's what. Simon Fraser University's Dr. Paul Budra offers an informative lecture on Shakespeare, appropriately titled Shakespeare 101: An Introduction to Shakespeare and Elizabethan Theatre. . . .”

  • And the Comox Valley Record made much of the appearance in Courtenay tomorrow (Saturday May 22) of the SFU Pipe Band, six-time world champions and a big draw at the annual Comox Valley Highland Games.


  • More media and blog coverage during the week for Cally and Callo, the cellphone robots who can walk, dance and express human-like emotions. They have put SFU and inventors Ji-Dong Yim and Chris Shaw, scientists in SFU Interactive Arts and Technology, in the news for three weeks.

  • The commentary-and-advice website carried a story on two SFU students and a grad who have posted on YouTube videos in which the three offer themselves as examples of what living with mental illness can be like if it is diagnosed early, treated effectively and accepted socially. The story first hit the media last week.


  • The Vancouver Sun and The Province reported the posthumous induction of Jack Diamond into Junior Achievement's BC Hall of Fame. “Jack Diamond, who built the Pacific Meat Company into the largest packing house in Western Canada, served three years as chancellor of Simon Fraser University and is perhaps best known as a sportsman who contributed to the survival of thoroughbred horse racing in B.C. As well, it was his fundraising efforts that enabled B.C.'s successful bid for the British Empire Games, predecessor to the Commonwealth Games, in Vancouver in 1954. He died in 1991.”

  • TheMaple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Timesreported that Laurie Darcus has been named this year's Pitt Meadows' Citizen of the Year for her community service. Among other things, the Times noted: “Darcus is also doing an undergraduate degree with a joint major in archeology and anthropology at SFU.”


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