Media Bytes

April 29, 2004

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A compendium of articles that appeared in the media during the last few weeks quoting members of the SFU community.

The older we get, the less we murder
National Post, April 19

Canada's homicide rate has dropped steadily over the past 25 years chiefly because of one factor: a similar decline in the population of 15- to 24-year-olds, concludes a new study. Neil Boyd, a criminologist at Simon Fraser University, agrees Canada's aging population is a major driver in the declining homicide rate, though it alone does not explain the decline. Canada should address the factors that lead to young people taking others' lives, he adds. “In our culture we still promote violence through the celebration of violence in professional sports, the celebration of violence in films,” he said. “I'm not suggesting censorship, but I am suggesting there are many ways in which our culture embraces the violence of young men - almost revels in it.”

The age of middle age
Vancouver Sun, April 5

The French call it “d'un age certain.” In North America it's called middle age. And psychologists often call it a “time of transition.” But no matter what you call it, the laugh lines, the crow's feet and the sagging skin add up to advancing age. Lillian Zimmerman, who works at the gerontology research centre, at Simon Fraser University, takes a special interest in women and aging, and hopes that living better and longer might help put an end to what has been and continues to be, in her view, a culture of ageism and sexism. “If we just get rid of the notion that getting older is a disease, it can be one of the best times in your life,” suggests Zimmerman, who is now in her 70s.

Air Canada received clear message
CTV, April 4

No more concessions. That's the stark warning from unions in recent bargaining with Air Canada in its bid to avoid collapse. The tough stand is over employee pensions, and comes three days after Hong Kong billionaire, Victor Li, withdrew his offer to rescue the faltering airline. All of this raises the question of whether the federal government should now step in. Many are wondering when, if ever, the government will step in with a bail-out. When asked if the Canadian government will let Air Canada go down, Lindsay Meredith, a marketing analyst at Simon Fraser University, responded, “They never let them fall before. I somehow doubt if they'll let them fall this time.”

Svend Robinson quits NDP
Vancouver Sun, April 15

In a tearful address, New Democratic Party MP Svend Robinson admitted he impulsively stole jewelry and is seeking professional help to understand why he “snapped in this moment of utter irrationality.” Barry Beyerstein, a psychology professor at Simon Fraser University, questioned whether Robinson is suffering from depression, which he said could be a trigger for stealing. “Depression wasn't mentioned but this is often a trigger for that sort of thing - extreme stress, mood disorder, depression and some of the chemical changes in the brain at a time like that do produce weird, compulsive urges and very great difficulty in controlling impulses in people,” said Beyerstein. He said the disorder can be treated with drugs, such as Prozac.

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