October 7, 2004

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Fossils prove dinosaurs on Pacific coast
CTV News and Current Affairs, Sept. 21
Experts always believed dinosaurs had roamed the Pacific coast, but until now it was hard to prove. Peter Mustard, in the earth sciences department at Simon Fraser University and Mike Boddy, a geologist, were exploring an area known as the Bowser basin, near Terrace, when they noticed, amongst some rocks, a vertebrae sticking out from one end and a tail bone sticking out from the other. It was a fossilized turtle shell. Mustard said to Boddy, “Well now that we've found the turtle let's go find the dinosaurs.” And they did. There are tracks, some as small as a pen, which, according to scientists, belong to a theropod, a dinosaur that likely walked on its hind legs about 130 million years ago.

Happy under the same roof
Vancouver Sun, Sept. 25
There is a growing number of families in Canada who see an enormous benefit to living under the same roof with many generations of their family. Barbara Mitchell, a sociology professor at Simon Fraser University, interviewed 15 families in the Vancouver area that had three or more generations living in the same home. “We were surprised at how positive the results were,” she says. “There were a few families in which there were rampant problems, but generally most people reported a positive experience,” she says. Mitchell was most surprised by the responses of young people. “That young people reported such overwhelmingly positive experiences was most surprising for me. They just loved having their grandparents around,” says Mitchell. “I used to think (multi-generational families) must be conflict-laden situations and that it's much better to have your own place and privacy and independence. But now, I've seen they can work and they can actually bring the generations together.”

Here come the superbugs
CanWest News Service, Sept. 26
After more than a decade of experiments, the first so-called biotech bugs, spliced with genes that short-circuit their ability to damage crops or spread disease, are ready for large-scale testing in the field. Experts at an international meeting on biotech insects in Washington called for a global panel to oversee development of the controversial creatures. “Assessing the risks and identifying who would be at the table is what needs to be done now,” Carl Lowenberger, a biology professor at B.C.'s Simon Fraser University, who holds the Canada Research Chair in parasitology and vectors of disease, said. “There are many implications good and bad, and many uses for the technology that we need to discuss.”

Getting serious about wind power
Vancouver Province, Sept. 26
Large-scale wind-power generation is finally coming to B.C. The Nai Kun project, if approved, is slated to produce enough power to provide the electricity needs of 240,000 B.C. homes. There are environmental issues to satisfy - such as impacts on the local crab fishery and seabirds. Mark Jaccard, a professor at Simon Fraser University's school of resource and environmental management, said wind energy is the most economical of the renewable ways of generating electricity. But countries still have to institute incentive policies, because it has trouble competing financially with conventional technologies. “In Canada we have really not made an effort on wind that we should,” he said. “But renewables compete against each other. B.C. is especially endowed for small hydro and wood waste so it's not fair to beat us up over being slow here to develop wind.”

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