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SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - February 19, 2010

February 19, 2010

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Much Olympic-related news during the week, of course, but there was more to SFU-related coverage than that.

  • Political scientists Patrick Smith and Kennedy Stewart were in the news, for example, calling for strict spending and contribution limits for BC municipal elections, including a total ban on corporate and union donations.
  • John Clague, geologist and natural hazards expert, was in a national story on ending the flimsy construction of buildings in earthquake zones such as Haiti.

More on these, and on the week’s Olympic stories, below.

The 2010 OLYMPICS
PATRIOTISM

  • The Olympic outpouring of Canadian patriotism led to public policy prof Doug McArthur being interviewed on CKNW and marketing prof Lindsay Meredith being interviewed by the Portland Oregonian.
    McArthur said Canadian patriotism has changed from a kind of anti-Americanism to “a more mature identification with Canada as a place we love and admire for its own sake.”
    As a result, he said, “even those unhappy with the state of affairs in Canada today can embrace pride in our country while still seeing it could be made a better place.”
    He cautioned politicians against trying to capitalize on the wave of pride. “Many ordinary people have grave doubts about the money spent while at the same time unequivocally supporting our athletes and our country.”
    Meredith said he'd never before seen such nationalism among Canadians as he has seen in recent months. "I find (the emphasis on winning Olympic medals) to be another fundamental shift in the Canada I'm used to seeing," Meredith said. "I think it will endure."
    Added the Oregonian: “That is a strong cultural shift among a national populace that counts ‘Sorry’ among its most-uttered words, Meredith said. Even as telephone glitches at the Olympics' Main Press Center dropped a reporter's call to him more than a dozen times, Meredith maintained his calm—underscoring his point about Canadian deference.”
    The McClatchy-Tribune Regional News Service sent the story to other papers.
    Meredith was also in a Province story that said downtown merchants are doing well thanks to Olympic crowds, but those in other areas such as Cambie and Broadway are missing out. It added: "SFU marketing expert Lindsay Meredith said the Olympic potential for retailers was 'vastly overblown.'"

SECURITY & POLICING

  • Historian André Gerolymatos, oft quoted by media recently as an expert on terrorism, was on CKNW talking about how a man with a poorly faked pass got through three security checks at BC Place, and took a seat 12 rows behind U.S. vice-president Joe Biden.
    “They have hired so many amateurs to work security on the Games, and this is one of the byproducts,” said Gerolymatos. “I mean, they’ve hired thousands of people to play at security, and I say ‘play at’ because if something ever really happens they would be lost.”
    Earlier, Gerolymatoswas on CTV News and CBC Radio proposing that visiting anarchists caused the vandalism of stores and property during Olympic protests last weekend.
    “It doesn't look like they're domestic. It isn't characteristic of the local groups to behave so badly. . . . (The visiting anarchists) like to provoke the police, so that the police will attack the more peaceful crowd and cause a sensation. . . . Their main goal is to really provoke the police and have the police attack the crowd with pepper spray and use clubs. But so far, Vancouver police have behaved very, very wisely.”
  • Rob Gordon, director of SFU criminology and a former police officer himself, was in the Surrey-North Delta Leader praising police for showing “astonishing restraint” tactics during the vandalism.
    "They're doing precisely what a police service should do. Hold the cordons and simply contain the demonstrators despite provocation. Take a few injuries and come out of it covered in glory—that actually devalues what the demonstrators are trying to do when they try to provoke the police."
    Kamloops This Week and the Quesnel Cariboo Observer also ran the story.
  • The Abbotsford News then ran an editorial, without actually naming Gordon: “Police in Vancouver are showing remarkable restraint in dealing with Olympic protesters, opines a SFU criminology professor. Indeed they are. Not that the handful of thugs responsible for the violence on the weekend deserve anything less than an iron fist. However, that's exactly what they want, and we agree that the Vancouver Police Department is wise not to be manipulated into what the professional rabble-rousers hope will be a media spectacle.”
    The Kelowna Capital News and North Shore Outlook also ran the editorial.
  • SFU labor historian Mark Leier was in the Georgia Straight, quoted as saying that although the protest was neither quiet nor peaceful, it was “more in the way of disturbance than it was violence directed against people”.
    “I have a strong suspicion that the kinds of protests that we’re talking about—the smashing of windows—may have created more space for the so-called respectable protest movements. What I mean by that is the media coverage that I’ve heard so far over the last couple of weeks has been, ‘The Olympics are coming. This is going to be great. Oh, yeah, there’s going to be some protests.’ Then what we’ve heard was . . . ‘Oh, my gosh! Some of these protesters broke things. But look, there’s always respectable protesters. Let’s talk to them and see what they want to talk about.’”
    Leier’s quotes were lifted by a Los Angeles Times Olympics blog, with the headline: “Smash some glass, eh?”
  • The Province asked for public opinions on the initial security fencing around the Olympic flame on the downtown waterfront. Among the vocal was SFU student Sandeep Kaur Sidhu, 20: "I'm actually very angry about it. That's our tax dollars paying for it [the flame], is it not? There should be lineups and security and they should open it to the public."

ON SHOW

  • As visitors continued to stream into SFU’s West House, open in Yaletown as an Olympic-period demonstration on sustainability, SFU shot a video of the opening, now on YouTube at http://at.sfu.ca/XLiHFi. It’s also embedded that video in SFU’s news release on West House (http://at.sfu.ca/uADuoJ)
    And SFU posted a YouTube video on past SFU Olympians: http://at.sfu.ca/fndJGK.
  • The Vancouver Sun's Green Living columnist visited West House and looked at its electronic monitors and controls.
    "Lyn Bartram of the Simon Fraser University School of Interactive Arts and Technology (said) she and her colleagues are looking at 'How do you give it to them in a way that helps them use it without making them feel that "Oh God, it is one more thing I need to look up." We are trying to put things into people's living environments so that it is easy for people.'"
    And SIAT prof Robert Woodbury added: "It is about how people use technology, rather than technology itself. Everyone knows how difficult the human-computer interface on a video player is. . . Our devices are needlessly complex. We're trying to make them more effective, and much, much simpler."
  • The Voice of America ran a feature on the Olympic medals, and how their design and production is on show at SFU’s Segal Graduate School of Business.
    “Outside a former Bank of Montreal building in downtown Vancouver, two long lines snake their way up Granville Street.  Some of the people in line have been waiting several hours to see, feel and hold Olympic medals. The Royal Canadian Mint has taken over the building—now Simon Fraser University's School of Business—for a special exhibit of the Olympic medals to be awarded in Vancouver.”
    The Vancouver Sun also did a story: “About 6,000 people a day are visiting the pavilion located in an old bank building at 500 Granville that is normally the home of Simon Fraser University's business school. The pavilion is the second most popular venue, according to Aquino (Christine Aquino, the mint’s director of communications.) ‘Only the zip-line has a longer line up,’ she says.”
  • Several tech-and-geek blogs wrote about the weBlimp, a remote-controlled blimp—created by students at SFU Interactive Arts and Technology—that moves about in response to the actions of the crowd on the ground. It is on display at the Holland Park Olympic Celebration site, close to the SFU Surrey campus.
  • Noni Maté, co-director of 7th Floor Media at SFU, was interviewed by CFAX Radio, Victoria, re: a new educational website developed by in partnership with the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre. It looks at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin—a watershed moment in the rise of Nazi Germany and Canada’s first serious encounter with Hitler’s totalitarian regime. (See: http://www.vhec.org/1936_olympics/).
  • The Province spent an evening at the O-Zone one in Richmond, and caught the world-champion SFU Pipe Band. The combination of the cold and the wait meant that the crowd thinned down a good deal. But there were enough steadfast lads and ladies on hand to stomp along to ‘The Drunken Landlady’ and a medley of other tunes from the group's championship set from last year. Well-rehearsed doesn't begin to describe how tight this nattily attired group plays.”
  • The BC environment ministry told media about its two “outreach” cabins, installed to encouraging locals and tourists to learn more about BC’s outdoors and environmental initiatives. One of the log cabins is on the Olympic park-and-ride lot at the Burnaby campus (G Lot). After the games, the cabins will be relocated to Porteau Cove Provincial Park.

SURVEY

  • The Province noted that BC's tourism industry is doing a survey of Olympic visitors, looking at how many are here, what they're spending, and if they'll ever come back again. SFU’s Centre for Tourism Policy and Research is involved.
    “‘The survey also will be as close as we'll get to a definitive headcount for visitors, says Peter Williams, director of SFU's Centre for Tourism Policy and Research. ‘It's a moving target,’ said Williams. ‘The actual attendance is tough to get a handle on.’"

EDUCATION

  • The Vancouver Sun reported that post-secondary students in BC could win gold and contribute to the Olympic legacy by tackling critical issues related to the 2010 games and presenting in-depth analyses. The best entries will become part of a new online collection of learning resources, called e-legacies, that will be transferred to other Olympic host cities for further development. Partners in the project are SFU, Capilano University and Thompson Rivers University.

ATHLETICS

  • Quoting environmental physiologist Matt White of SFU, the National Geographic Daily News website said the warm weather could help Olympic athletes, and lead to some close finishes.
    "What's happening in the cold is their muscle strength or performance decreases dramatically as [the muscle] cools. Those are the kinds of impediments that would be removed if they were competing in warmer temperatures. I would expect that performance would improve, so you might see some pretty close races."
    The Wall Street Journal also pursued White on this subject.
  • CTV News and the Globe and Mail carried a feature—with an SFU connection—on the custom-tailored speed-skating suits, such as the top-secret one worn by Chad Hedrick of the U.S. The designer of his suit (and other Nike wear): Canadian Len Brownlie, a Vancouver-based researcher who became interested in the subject of wind resistance in 1982 while doing postgraduate work in kinesiology at SFU—and titled his doctoral thesis Aerodynamic Characteristics of Sports Apparel.
  • Speaking of speed-skating: CTV ran a feature on retiring Canadian speed-skater Jeremy Wotherspoon that was, in part, shot on the SFU Burnaby campus several months ago. No SFU connection there, but CTV thought the campus made for an interesting background.

BAD PRESS

  • As glitches at the games and ticket cancellations at Cypress Mountain generated a run of bad press in the U.K. and U.S., marketing prof Lindsay Meredith was on CBC Radio, saying organizers seemed to be doing a reasonable PR job—“but I don’t see any big apology on their news releases.”
  • Michael Geller, architect, planner, developer and adjunct prof in the SFU Centre for Sustainable Community Development, was in a Province story and column on the woes of visitors to Cypress Mountain.
    “They simply don't have the facilities to accommodate the crowds. Not enough shelter, nowhere for people to sit down. Even a coffee cart or hotdog stand would have helped. The warming tent was so full, I tried to take shelter under the stands, but that was no better. So I went back to the tent, but one of the heating fans had broken. So I decided to get a coffee, but that would have meant hours in line. I finally left and watched it on TV.”
    Geller told the story once more in the North Shore News. “It was just so unpleasant. My question to VANOC was: 'What were you thinking?'”
  • The Associated Press news agency sent around the world a story quoting groups protesting that the Olympic opening ceremonies failed to have enough Asian content. The story ended with this:
    "One Asian with a different viewpoint is Borvonan Vattanawong, 21, a native of Thailand and student at Simon Fraser University who was part of the Olympic torch relay on Feb. 11 at his campus near Vancouver. 'We saw all these people lined up, kids and parents—all the communities came together to celebrate. It was seeing the community at its best.'

BC NEWS

  • Political scientists Patrick Smith and Kennedy Stewart wrote a guest column in The Vancouver Sun on their recommendations to the BC Local Government Elections Task Force. The two call for strict spending and contribution limits for municipal elections, and a total ban on corporate and union donations.
    Among other things, they propose spending be limited to $1 per capita for candidates or $2 per capita for parties. They propose that all contributions of $20+ be fully receipted and reported, and propose controls on third-part election advertising.
    It all follows their 1998 study on how local government accountability in British Columbia might be improved. “Disappointingly, little was done to implement the recommendations found in (that) 50,000-word report.”
    The Sun later did a news story on the report. (Which is in a PDF at http://at.sfu.ca/rjLYsg)
  • In an open letter to premier Gordon Campbell, Vancouver Sun columnist Stephen Hume took up the cause of protection of the McAbee fossil bed near Cache Creek—and urged Campbell to listen to SFU paleontologist Bruce Archibald.
    “Some paleontologists worry that continued commercial activities will wind up destroying the integrity of rare and unique specimens.
    “Call Bruce Archibald, the Simon Fraser University paleontologist who has been studying the McAbee formation for a decade. Ask him to show you the presentation he recently made to your government's scientists, geologists and administrators. It's enough of an eye-opener that he was invited back for a second showing.
    “Archibald's slide show might help you decide what your legacy will be, the guy who presided over the ransacking of our irreplaceable fossil library of Alexandria, or the guy who saved it.”
  • Burnaby Now sat down with Urs Ribary, LEEF B.C. Leadership Chair for cognitive neuroscience in childhood health and development, who works out of SFU and the Down Syndrome Research Foundation. He described how a recent $500,000 grant from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation will help pay for a new behavioural and cognitive neuroscience institute.
  • SFU Communication prof Ellen Balka had a letter to the editor in The Vancouver Sun following a report by the BC auditor-general on weak security controls on BC healthcare records:
    “Perhaps the Campbell government should restore the funding to agencies such as the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research so that research addressing who should have access to health information, under what circumstances, can continue. Or perhaps the Harper government should reinstate the funding it withdrew from Health Canada for projects concerned with the governance of electronic health records.”
    (Balka is also senior scholar with the Michael Smith Foundation.)

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS

  • Canwest News Service sentacross Canada a story on the flimsy construction of buildings in earthquake zones such as Haiti. Among others, it quoted SFU’s John Clague, geologist and natural hazards expert:’
    “We know that another city built with shaky infrastructure like that of Port-au-Prince will be struck by a magnitude 7 or even larger earthquake in the future. The developed world can stand by and let this happen or it can, through the United Nations, provide expertise and foreign aid . . . to upgrade the infrastructure of vulnerable cities.”
    He identified Istanbul and Tehran as possible sites for a devastating earthquake.
  • HuffingtonPost.com picked up a green-economy article from the coming issue of The Nation Magazine. It included predictions of new industries in mass transit and high-speed rail. “Canadian scholars Richard Gilbert and Anthony Perl, projecting dramatic increases in the cost of all petroleum-based transportation, have proposed building 25,000 kilometers (about 15,000 miles) of track devoted to high-speed rail by 2025. Along with incremental upgrades of existing rail lines to facilitate increased and faster service, they estimate total investment costs at $2 trillion (roughly $140 billion each year for fifteen years).”
    The article, though, didn’t identify Perl as director of SFU Urban Studies and chair of the U.S. National Research Council's intercity rail panel.
  • The Montreal Gazette looked at the case of Martin Rondeau, found not guilty, because of a mental disorder, of beating a nun to death. The paper quoted psychologist Ronald Roesch, director of SFU’s Mental Health, Law and Policy Institute.
    "The issue is one of risk, and that's what the review boards and the court have to follow. Punishment isn't an issue. The whole notion of (this) defence is that (the accused) didn't have control over his actions."
  • Canwest News Service reported that Ottawa will declare Saturday that a Canadian line of genetically engineered pigs is safe for the environment. It could be a long time before they could be approved for consumption. "But Patricia Howard, a biotechnology and public policy expert at Simon Fraser University, doesn't think Health Canada is up to the job—nor does she think the Canadian public is ready to embrace transgenic pork on their dinner plates anytime soon."
    Howard is a retired SFU Communication prof.
    We quickly saw the story in National Post and the Victoria Times Colonist, and on the website of The Vancouver Sun.
  • The U.S. Scripps-Howard News Service picked up from the Globe and Mail a story from last week that said: “A controversial new Canadian study, suggesting death rates usually decline when wars erupt, is sparking furious debate among scholars and activists around the world.”
    That’s a study from Andrew Mack and the SFU-based Human Security Report Project. Debate on the study also continued in a number of blogs.

EDUCATION

  • The Kamloops Daily News carried the headline: “City's SFU satellite campus may close”. And the story began: “Students and staff at the SFU satellite campus in Kamloops were shocked and dismayed Friday when told the program will probably be closed after 22 years.
    “SFU has to cut $9 million across the board, Jonathan Driver, the university's vice-president, academic and provost, told an impromptu gathering Friday afternoon at the Kamloops Indian Reserve campus. Driver indicated there are two reasons for closing the campus—dollars and dilapidated buildings. He told the gathering that the campus cannot be sustained unless alternative funding sources are found.
    "’We will have to close the program within a year,’ he said. ‘Universities across North America are suffering from the same problem. The cost of running a university is going up faster than revenue.’ As well: "The province has committed a lot of funding to TRU and giving additional support to a small campus doesn't make sense to them."
  • SFU came in for a mention in a Maclean’s on campus story online on the growth of private “for-profit” colleges that prepare international students for entry into “the real university”. Maclean’s told readers:
    “Fraser International College, which is affiliated with Simon Fraser University, was the first college of its kind. Run by the Australian company Navitas, it offers first year courses in business, computing science, arts and social sciences that are designed for international students who need extra support; the program boasts class sizes under 40 students, additional learning and language support and longer classes. Students who earn the requisite GPA in these courses progress to second year as a regular international student at SFU.”
  • Burnaby Now reported the appointment of Lori Driussi, principal at Burnaby’s Parkcrest Elementary, as principal designate for the new SFU elementary school on Burnaby Mountain.
    “The school, which hasn't been named yet, . . . is part of the UniverCity development and was built to LEED Gold standards. The school's focus will be on sustainability, community involvement and inquiry-based learning, which fits with the overall sustainability theme of the UniverCity development. There will be space on the school grounds for local parks and recreation programs, and kids will be able to grow herbs there and learn about eating locally.”
    The paper added: “There will be an open house for the school on Feb. 18, at 7 p.m., in SFU's Blusson building.”

BOOKS

  • Publisher IGI Global of Hershey PA told media about a new book: Educational Gameplay and Simulation Environments: Case Studies and Lessons Learned, co-edited by prof David Kaufman of SFU Education. “This new book should both help and challenge educators, researchers, and game developers wishing to broaden their work to effectively include games and simulations.”
  • The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health invited media to the Feb. 22 launch in Toronto of “a new book by 12 world-leading scientists in substance use, public health and policy research.” One of the 12 is SFU health scientist Benedikt Fischer, and the book is Drug Policy and the Public Good, mentioned here last week. “What the book provides,” says Fischer, also co-author of Cannabis Policy: Moving beyond Stalemate, “is not a prescription for what any society or policy maker should do. Instead, it is an analysis of what science indicates will be the likely consequences of exercising particular options.”
  • The Kamloops Daily News wrote about a forthcoming book on the orangutans of Indonesia, by Shawn Thompson, assistant prof of journalism at Thompson Rivers. “Thompson takes readers into the remote and inhospitable jungles of Borneo, following trails of research blazed by leading primatologists such as John MacKinnon, Biruté Galdikas of SFU and Gary Shapiro.”

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

  • The Vancouver Sun picked up a news release from SFU on how Fonerus, the North American distributor for the Shanghai Piano Co., is donating nine pianos a year for the next three years to SFU Contemporary Arts at Woodward’s.

ATHLETICS

SFU Athletics fed media facts and figures as:

  • The Clan women’s basketball team closed out its regular season at 17-1, with a 96-38 win over the University of the Fraser Valley Cascades in Abbotsford. Laurelle Weigl led SFU with 14 points and six rebounds.
    The No. 1-ranked Clan went into the UFV game after their first loss in 55 games, 63-61 to the UVic Vikes, on a UVic buzzer-beater in Victoria. Robyn Buna led the Clan with 18 points.
    That loss was the first for SFU since October 31, 2008. The Clan's 54-game streak that followed included the 2008-09 CIS Championship.
    Meanwhile, the UVic men’s team beat SFU’s men 77-67 in Victoria the same night. Eric Burrell was tops for the Clan with 17 points.
    The Clan women now will host the University of Winnipeg in the opening round of the Canada West playoffs, beginning Feb. 25.  The men are also in the playoffs, and host the U of Regina at SFU Burnaby on Feb. 25.
    The Brandon (MB) Sun told readers: “The Brothers Nostedt will be squaring off in the first round of the Canada West conference men's basketball playoffs. Jordan Nostedt, a fourth-year senior guard, and his Simon Fraser Clan will play host to brother Sterling Nostedt and the Regina Cougars starting Feb. 25 in Burnaby, B.C. Both players are former provincial high school all-stars at Neelin (High School in Brandon).”
  • And the Clan volleyball team lost 3-0 to undefeated (20-0) UBC Thunderbirds. It was the final CIS meeting between the two prior to SFU moving to the NCAA Division II.
    Head coach Lisa Sulatycki later announced five recruits for the 2010-11 NCAA season: Meghan Carver (Nanaimo), Alanna Chan (Port Moody), Jordan Drezet (Prince George), Katie Forsyth (Delta) and Amanda Renkema (Delta).
  • The Clan swimming program announced the commitment of Ciaran McDonnell of Archbishop Carney Regional Secondary School, Port Coquitlam, for 2010-11. This is the first recruit announced by head coach Liam Donnelly as the Clan prepares to move to the NCAA next season.
    Swimming World magazine picked up the story. So did the Tri-City News, which coupled it with last week’s signing by the Clan soccer team of another Carney star, Carlo Basso.
  • And the Clan men’s and women’s wrestling teams prepared to compete in the 2010 Canada West Championships at the University of Calgary. The women’s champions will be crowned tonight (Friday, Feb. 19) while the men will compete on Saturday.

Also in sport:

  • The Olympian in Olympia WA reported that SFU’s head football coach, David Johnson, is going to offer scholarships to some players in Washington’s Northwest Community College Football League. That word came from league president Kory Hill. “In Hill's vision for the league, it will eventually be a stepping stone for more players to transfer to four-year schools.”
  • The Kitchener-Waterloo Record reported that former Clan basketball star Courtney Gerwing is a new volunteer assistant to head coach Tyler Slipp at the University of Waterloo. The Record said Gerwing has “added a ‘big sister’ component to the Warriors’ staff to go with Slipp’s technical expertise and (assistant Greg) Henhawk’s recruiting connections.”

SFU RELEASES

  • SFU told media about a new international study shows that childhood leukemia rates have more than doubled over the last 15 years in the southern Iraqi province of Basrah. The senior author of Trends in childhood leukemia in Basrah, Iraq (1993-2007) is physician-prof Tim Takaro of SFU Health Sciences. Now to investigate the causes.
  • SFU also told media how some two-thirds of Canadians with hypertension, or high blood pressure, are being successfully treated for the condition, according a new Statistics Canada study co-authored by an SFU health sciences prof, Michel Joffres.

ALSO in the NEWS

  • Okanagan Sunday carried a feature on reflexology, and cited (among others) the case of It Jon-Lee Kootnekoff, SFU’s first basketball coach. He once collapsed after his team’s eighth loss in a row. “Reflexology got me energized. I started sleeping better, feeling better, thinking more clearly, and I started making better decisions at home and in my coaching career. I had the basketball team into it. We became closer team and in 1972 we had most memorable year I had ever had; we were untouchable."

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