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January 13, 2005

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The day the Net became a lifeline
Globe and Mail, Jan. 7

Krakatoa became the world's first international disaster in 1883 when news of the volcanic eruption flashed around the globe on a newly laid network of telegraph cables. More than 120 years later, the internet made the tsunamis in Asia an instant global village catastrophe - a massive event shared almost everywhere at the moment it happened. “It's not the first time that this kind of information has been available as a result of the internet. We've had smaller disasters where it has played a role, but I think the scale of the tsunami makes it obvious how information technology has really changed many of our social practices,” said Ann Travers, chair of anthropology and sociology at SFU. “If you were to look at a disaster 20 years ago there would be a longer period of lack of information, panic and uncertainty.”

Earthquake changes our world
Chilliwack Progress, Jan. 4

As the world rallies on an unprecedented scale with humanitarian aid for the tsunami victims in southeast Asia, British Columbians are asking: Could this happen here, especially given that three quarters of all the world's tsunamis occur in the Pacific? “The earthquake happened in a subduction zone very similar to ours in the Pacific Ocean,” explained Simon Fraser University professor of earth sciences, John Clague. “Our last great earthquake was a magnitude 9 in 1700. We can get events (here) identical to that in Sumatra.”

No rush to the altar
Vancouver Province, Dec. 22

They're not rushing to the altar, but Canadians are still getting married in about the same number every year. According to a Statistics Canada report, the number of marriages in 2002 is nearly the same as 2001. In all, 146,738 couples got married in 2002, up 0.1 per cent from 2001. That means 4.7 marriages for every 1,000 people in Canada. B.C. couples led the country in tying the knot, with an annual increase in marriages of 3.4 per cent. “Every successful society has some kind of marriage. It is the cheapest way to raise the next generation,” said Douglas Allen, an economist at Simon Fraser University who specializes in the economics of marriage. “That's all it is.”

Replacement players against law
Vancouver Province, Dec. 21

If the NHL attempts to operate next season with replacement players, the Vancouver Canucks won't be in the league standings. They won't be able to participate because B.C. labour law prohibits the use of replacement workers. If the scenario were to unfold, operating, even with no-name players in the lineup, would help, not hurt, the NHL's brand, says SFU professor of marketing Lindsay Meredith. “From the brand standpoint, keeping it alive is very important,” said Meredith. “If you let it go to hell, everybody is going to suffer anyway. We know the longer these things go on, the more consumers turn to other things. Both sides in this should realize they're making the pie smaller all the time.” But the tradeoff, Meredith added, is consternation from fans and prolonged ill feeling between players and management.

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