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Issues & Experts >  Issues & Experts Archive > Bugs, bomb coverage and ancient fossils -- Issues, Experts and Ideas

Bugs, bomb coverage and ancient fossils -- Issues, Experts and Ideas

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August 02, 2005
Issue: BC's beetle battles

BC's on-going battle with pine beetles was the focus of a recent report by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives which recommended the government spend at least $118 million a year for five years to solve the problem once and for all. John Borden, SFU professor and director of research and development for Phero Tech Inc., says "it's a war out there" and pine beetles are not the only enemy. The world's largest Douglas fir beetle outbreak continues in the Chilcotin; spruce beetles are decimating spruce forests; and the western balsam bark beetle continues to kill large volumes of subalpine fir throughout the province. Borden can comment on current research and developments in the field, and whether money is the best or only solution.

Issue: Media coverage that fosters fear

As Andrew Feenberg watched the television coverage in Paris of the recent terrorist-backed bomb blasts in England, he couldn't help asking one question. “Whose interests are served by news reports that foment fear while obscuring the connections between Western activities in the Muslim world and Islamic terrorism?” Feenberg, SFU's Canada research chair in philosophy of technology and a communications professor, can share his views on what he sees as the meaning behind the media's disproportionate coverage of terrorism. “At the end of 20 minutes of reports on the London bombings there was a brief sight of a devastated intersection in Baghdad, and a 10 second mention that 68 people had died there,” notes Feenberg. “The disproportion in coverage testifies to a serious blindness.”
    Andrew Feenberg, (note nine hour time difference) 22 41 62 (Paris number), andrewf@sfu.ca

Idea: Ancient fossils speak volumes

An ancient fossil bed known as Kanaka Creek, lying between Maple Ridge and Haney, is rich with clues about potential oil and gas deposits, global warming and earthquake vulnerability. SFU biologist Rolf Mathewes and SFU earth scientist Peter Mustard will present the clues that they've dredged up at a meeting of the Geological Society of America, August 8-11, in Calgary, Alberta. Mathewes and Mustard estimate fossils of plant life and geological formations in Kanaka Creek date back 34 million to 55 million years in history -- about 10 million years or more after the extinction of dinosaurs. Mathewes can talk about how this age represents the dawn of biodiversity and the extent to which geological faults and folds in Kanaka Creek are markers for earthquake vulnerability. He can also reveal the story that Kanaka Creek's multi-million year old fossils have to tell about the rate of two ancient global warming events and their impact on life. Mustard can talk about the geological similarity between Kanaka Creek's rock formations and those of a rock bed bordering Chuckanut Drive in Washington State. Both beds tilt into a geological basin, considered a possible gas and oil reservoir.