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June 9, 2005

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Contagion game aimed at young people
Burnaby Now, May 28

A new computer game is taking aim at infectious diseases by teaching young students how to stay safe, just like the characters they create. Contagion was developed by SFU education professor Suzanne de Castell and York University's Jennifer Jenson in response to the proliferation of such diseases as SARS, West Nile virus and HIV/AIDS. “Self-care is critical to controlling pandemics, and that becomes an education issue,” says de Castell, who is testing the game in a number of schools. Contagion was created to teach self-care management skills to students between nine and 13 years of age, by combining information and problem-solving with the kind of sophisticated entertainment values found in commercially designed games.

Taxation should encourage R&D: study
National Post, May 25

To make Canada a leader in investment in research and development, the federal government should cut its corporate taxes to U.S. levels, says the C.D. Howe Institute, citing the strong evidence linking increased R&D to business investment in machinery and equipment. “Significant improvements to the innovation environment, particularly those which generate new private sector jobs and enterprises, are only likely to emerge if governments provide stronger incentives for business investment,” says a study written by SFU economics professor Richard Harris. In Canada's R&D Deficit - And How to Fix It, he estimates Canada would need to spend $6-billion on R&D just to hit the average of industrialized nations.

Canada promised land or stopover?
Toronto Star, May 23

In recent years, the paradox of foreign-trained doctors, engineers, PhDs and other professionals driving taxis and doing other low-level jobs has been so common that it's almost a cliché, but with rising globalization the tables are turning. Immigrants are discovering they have other choices. Unlike previous generations of immigrants who stuck it out even if reality didn't match their expectations, “people just don't make one big permanent move any more,” said Don DeVoretz, a professor of economics and expert in global immigration at SFU. “If we don't match jobs to people when they come here, the immigrants will fix it themselves by leaving or not showing up.”

Expect B.C. politics to remain polarized
Vancouver Sun, May 19

B.C.'s Liberals and New Democrats may both be moving closer to the political centre, but don't expect a quick end to the province's polarized politics. The two parties represent sectors of B.C. society that don't overlap much, says SFU political scientist David Laycock. “The polarization may not be as dramatic as it used to be when Dave Barrett was the leader of the NDP and Bill Bennett was the leader of Social Credit, but we're still going to see it. There's still a very big difference between the wish list of Gordon Campbell and his main backers, and the wish list of [NDP leader] Carole James and the constituencies that voted for the NDP this time.”

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