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Sep 19, 2002

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Alberta clinic allows overnight stays
CBC News and Current Affairs, Sept. 13

The Alberta provincial government is allowing for the expansion of the Health Resource Centre in Calgary, a private facility that can now offer more complex surgeries and for the first time, overnight stays. The centre is expecting to turn a profit, but critics say it will be at the expense of the public healthcare system. While it may become the biggest for-profit health care center in the country, it's not the first of its kind, as other private surgical facilities that offer overnight stays have opened in three other provinces. SFU health policy expert Daniel Cohn says: “We're not really going to realize that the system has been turned into a for profit model, where those who can afford to pay get better service, until we look back and count these little centimeter steps and see the 20-meter progression.”

Religious leaders call for forgiveness
Vancouver Sun, Sept. 12

About 350 people gathered to pray for reconciliation at an interfaith service at Christ Church Cathedral to mark the terrorist attacks of last Sept. 11. “We grieve the deaths of all those killed on this day last year,” said Rev. Don Grayston, an Anglican priest and director of SFU's institute for the humanities. “We grieve for all of those killed that day, and so we must grieve the deaths of the terrorists as well. We grieve our failure to seize the opportunities that Western nations have had since 1945 to make far-sighted political and economic decisions that might have defused this anger, and offered hope to young people growing up the way the terrorists did.” Grayston urged those who gathered at the service to love their enemies and think of what actions they can take to make the world more peaceful.

Workers email opened
Southam News, Sept. 10

If you think using web-based email at work protects your personal correspondence from the boss's eyes, think again. A new spyware program by U.S. based SpectorSoft Corp. will allow employers and parents to monitor virtually any kind of email account, including private web-based accounts such as Yahoo and Hotmail. But experts say companies have had the ability to spy on their employees' computer use for some time. Richard Smith, an assistant professor in SFU's school of communication, says companies have the legal right to spy on employees. “There have been extensive cases (in Canada and the U.S.) and, almost without exception, the company has won,” says Smith. “Basically, when you are at work, your time belongs to the employer. It checks on everything from wasting time to bringing down the reputation of the company because you've been looking at porn.”

New tools tame data chaos
Globe and Mail, Sept. 6

A tip-off about a terrorist plot sends security agents on a frantic search through government electronic records. Such situations send government technology specialists scurrying for better knowledge-management tools to extract, analyze and manage information on the run. Burnaby-based Gavagai Technology is one of a handful of companies applying the latest research in natural-language processing, a branch of artificial intelligence, to the task of classifying and extracting information from unstructured data. President and founder Fred Popowich, a SFU computing science professor, says the technology, developed at SFU's natural-language processing lab, was first used by Boeing Co. to analyze airplane accident reports, typically hundreds of pages long. Now intelligence services are a strong potential market for the software.

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