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Issues & Experts >  Issues & Experts Archive > Election, Narnia, beetles, China - Issues, Experts and Ideas

Election, Narnia, beetles, China - Issues, Experts and Ideas

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December 06, 2005
Much ado about nothing?

The federal election is well underway and the progress of both the incumbent Liberals and the opposition parties is being weighed daily in the media. But do voters care? SFU business professor and political analyst Lindsay Meredith says pouring big efforts into pre-Christmas marketing will likely not result in major gains for any of the parties. He expects any 'big shots' will be saved for January, when he says the real campaign begins. “Consumers have another issue on their minds, and it's not politics,” says Meredith, who can look at Christmas election campaigns from a consumer point of view. SFU communication professor Catherine Murray can also look at political marketing as well as polls.

Narnia prompts reaction

Moviegoers will undoubtedly recognize some of the Christian religious imagery in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe when it opens Dec. 9. But SFU fantasy novel lecturer and children's literature teacher Nicky Didicher can speak on what many viewers likely won't glean from the Disney-backed version of C.S. Lewis's 1950 novel: the author's "patriarchal ideology and even misogynist tendencies."

Bug wars

SFU biologist Gerhard Gries has developed a strategy that may help stop the spread of Dutch elm disease. The disease is spread by elm bark beetles, which transmit a fungus that kills susceptible elm trees, taxiing the fungus from tree to tree. Gries is an expert on semiochemicals - molecular messages or signals that influence an organism's behaviour. His research shows that the fungus - ophiostoma novo-ulmi- somehow amplifies the elm-tree semiochemical signals that attract the beetles. “It turns the tree into a lure,” says Gries, whose findings were published in a recent edition of Proceedings of the Royal Society: Biological Sciences. Once the process is unraveled a management strategy could slow beetle traffic around infected trees, reducing or even stopping the fungus spread.

Stem cell research at risk?

SFU business professor and ethicist Mark Wexler can comment on why a South Korean cloning pioneer's recent admission that two of his junior scientists donated their own eggs for his research could have important implications for future stem-cell research. Veterinarian Hwang Woo-suk gained worldwide attention last year after announcing that his team had cloned the world's first human embryos and extracted their stem cells. Hwang has offered to quit as head of a global stem cell research centre because he used improperly obtained human eggs.