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SFU PEOPLE IN THE NEWS - September 4, 2009

September 4, 2009

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A look at how Simon Fraser University and its people made news: Aug. 31-Sept. 4, 2009

Health and wealth were among subjects that had SFU in the news during the week.
Health stories included one on SFU’s preparations for an expected fall outbreak of H1N1 flu. And SFU profs were quoted on what may be an HIV breakthrough, and on the use of opioid painkillers.
Wealth? The federal government told media it is giving $1.4 million in grants to SFU, including $1 million for SFU Contemporary Arts at Woodward’s.

BC NEWS

  • CBC, CTV, Fairchild-TV and multicultural Omni-TV attended a news conference at which federal Heritage Minister James Moore announced SFU Contemporary Arts at Woodward’s will receive $1 million from the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund. The money will support the school’s two largest performance spaces: the 450-seat Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre and a 350-seat cinema that is still unnamed.
    Moore also announced additional funding of $399,982 for SFU’s library, through the Partnerships Fund. This will allow the library to document additional multicultural materials and digitize a wealth of unique materials representing minority groups, such as newspapers, photographs, and oral histories.
  • Apollonia Cifarelli, director of SFU Environmental Health and Safety, was kept busy by media for stories about what SFU is doing to prepare for the expected fall outbreak of H1N1 influenza. Cifarelli was on the Bill Good show on CKNW, and was interviewed by CityTV and Fairchild-TV. She was also in a story in the Burnaby NewsLeader on how SFU will look after students in residence if there is an outbreak.
    The Vancouver Sun added: “At schools such as Simon Fraser University, students in dorms will be provided with hand-sanitizer and dorm leaders will be keeping the administration abreast of illness levels. The university will use its mass communications system to send out messages by phone, e-mail or text in case of emergency.”
  • Burnaby Now quoted prof John Reynolds as saying he doubts sea lice from fish farms are the "smoking gun" in the mystery of millions of missing sockeye on the Fraser River. The Tom Buell B.C. leadership chair in salmon conservation said:
    "It's possible that they have contributed to the problem, but I would be surprised if that was the smoking gun, the main culprit. These farms have been here for many years." Reynolds said we may never know what happened to the sockeye.
    Meanwhile, the news-and-commentary website Abbotsford.ca quoted SFU’s Randall Peterman, Canada Research Chair in Fisheries Risk Assessment and Management, as saying unpredictable ocean conditions have dramatic impacts on salmon survival rates that make forecasting the abundance of salmon runs highly erratic.
  • Public policy prof Jon Kesselman wrote a guest column in The Vancouver Sun on the coming Harmonized Sales Tax (HST). Among other things, he wrote:
    “In harmonizing its sales tax with the GST, B.C. will reap substantial economic benefits that, hopefully, will supersede the political costs. Harmonization will reduce the cost of capital goods, thereby spurring business investment, increasing jobs, and raising workers' real earnings over the long run. . . . Harmonization will make B.C. businesses more competitive both within Canada and in export markets, further augmenting investment and job creation.”
  • SFU Business prof Andrey Pavlov did a couple of interviews, with CityTV and Talentvision, Fairchild’s national Mandarin-language cable channel. Pavlov said he worries that despite optimistic statements from Statistics Canada and politicians, the economy has “improved little.”
  • Criminologist Neil Boyd wrote in a blog for The Vancouver Sun that residents of Bowen Island (where he lives) are “among the biggest carbon pigs in the province. The ferries to West Vancouver are often overloaded and the paved-roads-per-capita quotient is the highest in B.C.; most households have two cars, one to drive all over Vancouver and the other to drive all over the island. We are essentially environmental villains.”
  • Marvin Shaffer, adjunct prof in SFU’s graduate public policy program, also wrote a blog item for The Vancouver Sun. He thumped the BC government’s plan to phase out the natural gas-fired Burrard Thermal power plant: “Phasing out the Burrard plant will in fact have only a minor impact on B.C.'s greenhouse gas emissions. However, what it will do, by BC Hydro's own estimates, is increase electricity costs in the province by $500 million to $1 billion, possibly more.”
  • Criminologist Boyd and economist Stephen Easton were in a column in the Coast Reporter suggesting legalization and taxation of marijuana would ease governments’ budget woes. “Free market economists like Simon Fraser University’s (SFU) Stephen Easton have written detailed papers on how legalization can work and what we might expect. . . .SFU criminologist Neil Boyd has spoken out against prohibition in its current form and has stated numerous times and numerous ways how we’d be better off with legalization, and the gangs would be worse off.”
  • The Vancouver Sun and Burnaby Now did stories on this week’s visit to SFU Continuing Studies by the world’s oldest and longest-practising physician, 98-year-old Shigeaki Hinohara. The Sun interviewed Toshimi Ono of Project Japan in Continuing Studies. Canwest News Service sent the Sun story to clients across Canada and we saw it in the Regina Leader-Post. The Seniors World Chronicle also carried a story.
  • The Vancouver Sun carried a feature on basic budgeting and finances for students. “Simon Fraser University does a good job of walking students through the process at: http://students.sfu.ca/financialaid/budget.html
  • Communication prof Richard Smith was in a Georgia Straight story on internet access (or lack of it) for First Nations students in BC. He said classrooms with Internet access encourage students to seek out information and find answers to questions on their own. “One of the really exciting outcomes would be—and you see this a little bit—to see educational products or initiatives that go the other direction; that a remote community is actually teaching people in the rest of the world or the rest of B.C. or the rest of Canada about them.”
  • Smith was also in a Vancouver Sun story that asked if the disappearance of the Olympic speed-skating oval from Google Earth maps was some kind of anti-terrorist tactic. Google’s answer: No, just a technical thing that will be fixed. The story quoted Smith as saying he doesn't buy the theory that such images help bad people plan threats. “I just don't see the link to terrorists." The story also ran in National Post.
  • The On the Coast show on CBC Radio did a lengthy interview with Pipe Sergeant Jack Lee of the SFU Pipe Band. This stemmed from an SFU news release on how seven bagpipe players from the world-champion SFU band would be in another world-class competition this week—the Northern Meeting event in Inverness, Scotland. The Surrey-North Delta Leader also carried a story, and the Vancouver edition of Metro pursued Lee in Scotland.
  • Terry Lavender, SFU communications manager at SFU Surrey, continued a series he is writing for the VancouverObserver.com—on how SFU researchers are using videogame technology for non-game purposes. The latest story features Alert Hockey, a videogame to help young hockey players develop safe on-ice habits and reduce concussions, and HealthSimNet, a videogame-based simulation that allows health care workers to role-play scenarios.
  • In her final dispatch from the orangutan care centre in Borneo, biology student Janie Dubman wrote in The Vancouver Sun about the pilot volunteer program of Orangutan Foundation International: “After living here for three and a half months, I've both fallen in love with the orangutans and their jungle and become painfully aware of the peril they are in. Seeing the dedication and love these volunteers have for animals and nature further inspires me to fight for the red apes and gives me hope that together we might win.”
  • The Prince George Citizen featured a local company that is developing a method to turn pulp mill waste into biodiesel. “Bluekey Energy Inc. is among 30 companies to have advanced to the semi-finals in this year's New Ventures B.C. competition and will know by Sept. 4 if it will be among the 10 finalists competing for a $120,000 first prize. . . . The competition (was) established in 2000 by Simon Fraser University's business school.”
  • The Tri-City News told readers that changes in TransLink service Sept. 7 mean: “Simon Fraser University students can look forward to better service as the #143 Coquitlam Station to SFU will be roomier because articulated buses that can accommodate more students will be used on the route beginning Sept. 7.” (That’s not the only change affecting SFU. Details are at http://www.translink.ca/)

NATIONAL & WORLD NEWS

  • The Toronto Star reported researchers “may have finally exposed an ‘Achilles heel’ for HIV”—and turned to an SFU prof for expert comment. In a report in the journal Science, an international team of researchers say they have found a piece of the HIV virus organism that remains unchanged through more than 75 per cent of mutations, offering a promising target for antibodies, and a potential vaccine. Wrote the Star: “Canadian Institutes of Health Research scientist Ralph Pantophlet Wrote the Star: “Canadian Institutes of Health Research scientist Ralph Pantophlet says there were already four known antibodies, discovered a decade ago, that showed some protective capacity against many variations of HIV. But the Simon Fraser University HIV expert says the new antibodies seem to block infections far better than the previous ones. Still, Pantophlet cautions monkey trials are needed.”
  • Business student Milun Tesovic, featured in last week’s Media Matters because of a story about him on the international TechVibes.com blogsite, now has been named to Billboard Magazine's “Top 30 Under 30”. Tesovic, 24, started the MetroLyrics.com music lyrics service when he was 16. It gets more than 32 million unique monthly visitors and is the sixth-most-popular music site on the web.
  • The Canadian Medical Association Journal looked at efforts to draft guidelines for prescription of opioid painkillers, and quoted expert Benedikt Fischer of SFU Health Sciences: “The fact is we live in a society where the (Canadian) medical system generously dishes out potent and potentially addictive substances at a rate 7 times the rate in the United Kingdom and something like 30 times the rate in Japan.”
  • Advance coverage by The Canadian Press of the Sept. 1 BC budget quoted public policy prof Doug McArthur as saying the BC government deserves all the criticism is getting for the way it announced plans for the HST. “They deserve to be hammered. Really, to do something like this three months after the election is pretty dishonest.''
  • Then Marjorie Griffin Cohen, economist, political scientist and chair of women’s studies, was on CBC Radio doing a little hammering herself: She faulted the budget for “lack of detail”, suggested that it has deliberately underestimated the provincial deficit, and said: “It’s not a stimulus budget at all.”
  • The Toronto Star carried a feature saying Canadian investors need to boost their “financial literacy” and be more suspicious.  The Star quoted SFU criminologist Neil Boyd, who studied the Eron mortgage fraud in the 1990s. "’It will ultimately be a well-informed and skeptical investor who is least likely to be victimized by the fraudulent dishonesty’ of men such as those behind Eron Mortgage, Boyd concluded.”
  • A string of science media, including Science Daily and Switzerland-based InSciences.org reported on a study in Nature Genetics. It showed a new computational method has proven itself in counting copies of duplicated genome sequences and doing initial assessments of their contents. Among scientists who are working on the project: S. Cenk Sahinalp from SFU Computing Sciences.
  • The Epoch Times national edition interviewed Julian Somers, associate prof in SFU Faculty of Health Sciences, for a story about a new $110-million five-city Canadian research demonstration project in mental health and homelessness. Somers is the principal investigator in Vancouver.
  • The Times (of London) higher education supplement carried a story on SFU’s FD grade: “A university in Canada has introduced a new fail grade to deal with the growing problem of student cheats. Simon Fraser University, in Burnaby, has introduced a grade called "FD", signifying failure with academic dishonesty. Rob Gordon, chairman of the university's Senate committee on academic integrity, told the Calgary Herald that the grade was introduced to shame cheats who use the internet to plagiarise . . .”
  • David C. Thomas, prof of international management and director of the new SFU Centre for Global Workforce Strategy, was on BlogTalkRadio.com. He talked about how in a global economy the ability to interact across cultures is a fundamental job requirement for just about everyone.

ATHLETICS

  • SFU Athletics kept sports media up to speed as:
    • The Clan football team clobbered the UBC Thunderbirds 26-7 at UBC’s Thunderbird Stadium, in the 2009 Canada West season opener. SFU’s Jason Cook connected on all four of his field goal attempts, and Gabe Ephard and Brendan Halverson scored touchdowns. The Clan next play Sept. 11, when they host the Manitoba Bisons.
    • SFU Athletics posted video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wNSgNTZRq4
    • Three Clansmen got Player of the Week awards: linebacker Mark Bailey (defence), quarterback Bernd Dittrich (offence) and return man Jeff Thompson (special teams).
    • Two goals from sophomore forward Marti Dumas—one in the second overtime period—took the Clan women’s soccer team to a 3-2 win over the Evergreen State Geoducks in Olympia WA. 3-2 Sept. 3. Sarah Boulton scored the other Clan goal. The Clan improved to 2-1 on the season, and face the #3 ranked University of Victoria Vikes Sept. 5 in a neutral site game in Olympia.
    • Earlier in the week, late goals by April Coffin and Aly Benes gave the women’s soccer team their first win of the 2009 season, 2-1 over the Chico State University Wildcats on SFU’s Terry Fox Field.
    • The Clan men’s soccer team improved to 3-1 on the 2009 season with a 1-0 defeat of Westmont College in the four-school 2009 Cougar Classic at La Mirada CA. Geoff Kosub scored the Clan goal. Hide Ozawa earned the shutout in goal. SFU plays at Trinity Western Sept. 4 and UVic on Sept. 5.
  • The Vancouver Sun wrote that this year’s SFU-UBC Shrum Bowl football game on Oct. 17 could be the last. “The problem is SFU's successful application to become the first non-U.S. school in the history of the NCAA. All Clan sports are scheduled to become full members of the Div-2 Great Northwest Athletic Conference in time for the 2011-12 season. However, whether the Clan football team will be allowed to play one last lame-duck season in the Canada West next year is up in the air.”
  • The St. John’s Telegram carried a feature on Clan runner Ryan Brockerville, silver medallist in the Canada Summer Games last week—and named him Newfoundland Athlete of the Week.
  • The Nanaimo News Bulletin reported Nicole Haywood of the Nanaimo Canoe/Kayak Club won a two gold medals, a silver, and a bronze in the Canada Summer Games. “Haywood will return to B.C. next week to continue her studies at Simon Fraser University and train with a Burnaby canoe club.”

COMING UP

  • Rick Mercer, host and star of CBC-TV's The Rick Mercer Report comes to the Burnaby campus next week to shoot segments for his show ("Politics, Government, Truth, Justice with a dollop of comedy"). Mercer will also kick off this year’s Spread the Net campaign at SFU, to raise awareness of malaria and to fund the purchase and delivery of bednets to combat the spread by mosquitoes of malaria among children in Africa.

ALSO in the NEWS

  • A new SFU YouTube video on Student Orientation 2009 at Burnaby netted 3733 views from Aug. 30-Sept. 3. And an Orientation 2009 video from SFU Surrey garnered 301 views.  The Burnaby video can be found at http://www.youtube.com/sfunews. The Surrey video is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmbj8aag8o8

  • The Province featured retired biology prof John Borden, chief scientist for a firm that has placed experimental wasps traps around the PNE. “With 70 traps spread across the fairgrounds, some 27,000 wasps and yellowjackets have been caught as part of a study being conducted by Contech Enterprises, a Delta firm that specializes in insect and animal control.”
  • Vancouver Magazine looked at whether Vancouver’s downtown townhomes offer residents a social neighbourhood. It quoted Peter Greenwell, a graduate of SFU’s Urban Studies program: “The townhouses have a positive design impact. And they make the streets feel safe and lived in. But it’s a simulacrum of a neighbourhood. . . . In terms of living in the community, the townhouse as a place maker did not work.”
  • The Vancouver Sun featured students who are headed for Asia, “looking for adventure, work experience, and a chance to make some money.” They included SFU grad Aron Aytona, now manager of Asia-Pacific development with Vancouver-based CIBT Education Group Inc. The company operates business, vocational and language schools; Aytona will oversee its expansion plans in China, South Korea and Southeast Asia.
  • SkateToday.com featured national junior ice-dancers Nicole Orford and SFU student Malcolm Rohon. Off ice, Rohon noted: “I'm in my first year studying at Simon Fraser University. I'm doing general studies in science now but I'm undecided about a major." As well: “I'm in the Simon Fraser University jazz group on drums.”

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[Note: This page has been edited to correct an error. The initial report erroneously identified Ralph Pantophlet ("National & World News") as having been a member of the international HIV research team. He was not. He was, rather, consulted and quoted by the Toronto Star as an expert on the broad subject.]

Comments

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Jose

The Federal Government thought they needed a Constitutional amendment to outlaw alcohol, where did they get the right to outlaw marijuana?

I think federal laws against marijuana are unconstitutional. States often point to Federal law for the basis of state laws against marijuana.

Jose

Previous post was applicate to USA, not Canada

I don't know how the Canadian government was able to make it illegal.

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