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Jan 09, 2003

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Perception of crime misleading
Vancouver Sun, Dec. 31

New crime figures continue to blow holes in the popular perception that crime is rampant and is soaring in B.C. According to the provincial solicitor general's ministry, the provincial crime rate has gone from 152 crimes (of all kinds) for every 1,000 British Columbians in 1991 to 114 crimes per 1,000 last year. Media attention to spectacular crimes and high-crime areas such as Vancouver's Downtown Eastside can contribute to a perception that crime is worse than it really is says SFU criminologist Paul Brantingham. Brantingham says, “There tends to be a hard-nosed attitude toward crime in communities with a high blue-collar population. That's something that declines as income levels rise, and increases as income levels fall.”

Immigration key to boosting population
Regina Leader-Post, Dec. 31

Policy makers are looking to immigration to boost the Prairies' sagging population rather than two other often touted possible solutions. Canada's shortage of skilled workers is particularly acute in Saskatchewan. Federal immigration minister Denis Coderre is looking at bringing in skilled immigrants who agree to live in places such as Saskatchewan for a minimum of three to five years. Aside from increasing immigration, two other often-proposed solutions are encouraging Canadians to have more children and raising the retirement age. However, Andrew Wister, a professor of gerontology at SFU, says couples are having fewer children because women need to work. “There's more pressure for you to have two incomes in a family to have a reasonable standard of living.” He adds raising the retirement age won't likely help because “research shows that most people want to retire and do retire at 65.”

The latest hotcake in the high-tech world
Vancouver Province, Dec. 29

Not only are DVDs (Digital Versatile Discs) selling like hotcakes, they're the hottest hotcake to hit the high-tech consumer market. While it took VCRs 15 years after they appeared in the 1970s to become commonplace in the home, DVDs have taken just six years. This year, sales of DVD players will surpass those of VCRs for the first time - 1.9 million to 1.2 million, respectively, according to a study by the Consumer Electronics Marketers Council. SFU associate communication professor Richard Smith cites two reasons for the DVD's unprecedented popularity. Smith says DVD players fit the ethos of the younger generation. “You can stop, start, jump around, see extra content - things that a linear medium like a movie doesn't handle well without this new technology.” Smith says the DVD is also extremely popular because it's the only product left for consumers into electronics to acquire.

Bee fossil to bear scientist's name
Surrey Now, Dec. 28

A SFU biology professor expects to receive confirmation in the next several months that the paleontological world is naming a famous bee fossil after his late mentor. SFU biologist Rolf Mathewes was a student of Surrey naturalist and biology teacher Rene Savenye during his high school days in the 1960s. Mathewes and SFU became caretakers of a 54 million year old bee fossil discovered by Savenye in 1995 at Quilchena, near Merrit. Mathewes says he has been assured by a co-author of a paper documenting Savenye's discovery that the bee fossil will bear Savenye's name. “The bee will be named in his honour. Exactly what the name will be, you can't really confirm that until it's actually accepted by a journal,” says Mathewes. Savenye died last year.

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