SFU People in the News

April 19, 2012

This report on Simon Fraser University in the news lists the main items of known media coverage from 9 a.m. Pacific Wednesday April 18 to 9 a.m. Pacific Thursday April 19.
The report is compiled and distributed by SFU Public Affairs & Media Relations.

Lead poisoning | Students | Education | Business | Pipers | Housing | Fish farts


  • SFU Health Sciences prof Bruce Lanphear was in a major USA TODAY story headlined: “Poisons lurk where lead-smelting factories once stood.”
    “A 14-month USA TODAY investigation has found that the EPA and state regulators left thousands of families and children in harm's way, doing little to assess the danger around many of the more than 400 potential lead smelter locations on a list compiled by a researcher from old industry directories and given to the EPA in 2001.
    “In some cases, government officials failed to order cleanups when inspectors detected hazardous amounts of lead in local neighborhoods. People who live nearby—sometimes directly on top of—old smelters were not warned, left unaware in many cases of the factories' existence and the dangers that remain. Instead, they bought and sold homes and let their children play in contaminated yards.”
    Kicking off a series, the story added: “Bruce Lanphear, a leading expert on childhood lead poisoning, said his research has estimated that for the average child about 30% of the lead in the body comes from contaminated soil, about 30% from contaminated house dust—which includes particles of flaking paint—and about 20% from water.
    "‘Those were the major sources, so they're all fairly important,’ said Lanphear, a professor of children's environmental health at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.
    “A child's lead exposure can be very individualized, he said, depending on geography. For some children, it might be all about paint. ‘If you were to look at a community that's adjacent to a smelter, it might be that it's 80% soil, or 90% soil."
    Full story:


  • Surrey Now and the Peace Arch News featured a mural project at SFU Surrey, produced by high-school students working with graduate students who included Julia Lane of SFU.
    Surrey Now: "‘It's quite a privilege to be able to work on a piece of art in such a public forum,’ says Lane, a PhD student at Simon Fraser University, studying arts education. ‘It's wonderful to see students and the public coming to watch the process unfold.’
    “Lane, along with other grad students from SFU and UBC, joined forces with the American Educational Research Association to get the community-driven project off the ground. . . . With help from others like renowned B.C. mural artist Michelle Loughery, the project took shape in the SFU Surrey foyer last Thursday afternoon.”
    Surrey Now:
    Peace Arch News:
    SFU news release (April 11):
  • Surrey Now also featured SFU Health Sciences student Liza Whitehead, who has taken a year off school to hone her skills as a skeleton sled-racer.
    “It really doesn't bother me,’ she says nonchalantly of a sport that would produce big eyes and major laundry problems for the average person. ‘After a while you forget you are going head-first down a mountain and you just enjoy the ride. It's really exciting; it's like a roller coaster ride where you don't know what's coming next.”
    The newspaper added: “Last month Whitehead won her first provincial skeleton title in Whistler. Her times have dropped almost four seconds per run over the last year and she is ready for bigger challenges. “Whitehead plans to try to qualify for a spot on the American's Cup or Europa Cup circuits in the fall with an eye toward representing her country in the Olympics, most likely in 2018.”
    Full story:


  • The Globe and Mail told readers: “A shrinking federal government has some students scrambling to find summer jobs and co-op placements they need to graduate from university.”
    And the story included this: “Outside of Ontario, at Vancouver’s Simon Fraser University School of Public Policy, there hasn’t been a decrease in students finding placements, said director Nancy Olewiler. The only blip has been one student being told a federal job offer may be retracted, she said, adding the student found another placement.”
    Full story:
  • The daily newsletter reported: “On Monday, Simon Fraser University's Burnaby campus officially re-opened the updated chemistry wing of the Shrum Science Centre, a project that received a joint $49.4-million investment from the BC and federal governments through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program. Renewal of the 102,000-square-foot wing will enable SFU to advance its research and development in key areas of health and life sciences (nuclear medicine and medicinal chemistry), radiochemistry, and environment.”
    News release:
    BC government photo:
    SFU News background:


  • The Financial Post section of National Post looked at “crowdfunding” as a means of businesses raising capital, and quoted Mike Volker, an angel investor and director of SFU’s Innovation Office.
    The story noted that, because of Canadian regulations, it’s much easier in the U.S. than in Canada to raise money from investors.
    “(Volker) said he often gets calls from people interested in investing in startup businesses associated with the university. ‘There are a lot of people earning good incomes who might want to put money into a business they’re willing to take a chance with, but they’re not allowed to,’ he said.
    “Mr. Volker suggests a tweak to an existing exemption available in British Columbia, the sale of securities under an offering memorandum. The current requirement for audited financials, which are often next to irrelevant for freshly launched companies, he said, should be abolished. In its place should be an emphasis on providing information about the company and its founders and requiring an independent board, he said.”
    Full story:
  • Lindsay Meredith, Beedie School of Business prof, was in the Report on Business pages of the Globe and Mail, in a feature on how businesses need to get their pricing right.
    “‘If you use a cost-oriented structure, I guarantee you’re leaving money behind,’ says Lindsay Meredith, a professor of marketing at Simon Fraser University. He says that adding up your costs is important, ‘to know your floor,’ but it should be only one element in consideration.
    “Other variables include  . . .  the business’s size and growing pressures of the computer age.
    “‘Social networking and the Internet have had a massive effect on pricing,’ Prof. Meredith says, because it’s made consumers much more ‘price sensitive,’ or elastic, and has widened the field of competition. ‘As pricing knowledge grows, it’s difficult to pick an artificially high price point and make it stick.’”
    Full story:


  • The Burnaby NewsLeader carried a story on the SFU Pipe Band’s Derek Milloy, his national award as a caregiver, and his love for his wife Darleen, another SFU piper who died last May.
    “On Sunday night, Derek Milloy celebrated the two great loves of his life. It was bittersweet.
    “At a concert by the SFU Pipe Band at The Vogue theatre, Milloy was presented with the Opal Award for Caregivers by the Multiple Sclerosis Society in recognition of the 20 years of devoted care he gave to his wife Darleen as she battled MS. The autoimmune disease of the nervous system took her ability to play the bagpipes, then her mobility and last May, it took her life.
    “Through those years of struggle, tears and uncertainty, Derek and Darleen were buoyed by their shared love for each other and for the pipes.
    “Those loves were intertwined. They met playing the pipes. They courted playing the pipes. And when Darleen was diagnosed shortly after they were engaged to be married, they sought strength and normalcy with the pipes.”
    Full story:


  • New Westminster and other municipalities will get a report on housing and transportation, prepared by New West councillor Jonathan Cote from his research as a student in SFU’s urban studies program, the Georgia Straight reported.
    “‘Everyone is aware of the affordability challenges in Metro Vancouver, but I think it’s not quite understood that this is a problem that’s actually going to get a lot worse in the future,” Cote told the Georgia Straight in a phone interview.
    “In his paper, Cote suggests that one option local governments can consider is the creation of rental land reserves. This will limit non-rental development on sites used for purpose-built rentals.”
    Full story:


  • And then there was the medical column in the Sudbury (ON) Star and Windsor (ON) Star that discussed farts. And noted how an SFU research project had once won an Ig Nobel Prize, an annual award given by Harvard University to those engaged in strange scientific research.
    Columnist “Dr. Gifford-Jones” (in real life Dr. Ken Walker of Toronto) noted that rectal gas once caused an explosion in an operating room that injured the patient and blew a surgeon across the room.
    “But can a fart kill? Researchers at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia won their Ig Nobel Prize by researching the habits of Atlantic and Pacific herring. They were studying whether herring could hear the high frequency sounds emitted by approaching killer whales.
    “But during this research they discovered that herring produce fast repetitive ticks, small farts, as a means of communicating with each other.
    “Since herring have no dinner parties to attend, they can pass tiny farts any time they wish to do so. But there's a problem. Killer whales can hear these expulsions and provide a speedy end to herring. So the moral is, farts can kill.”
    (SFU’s 2004 Ig Nobel prize followed a 2003 paper co-authored by biologist Larry Dill in Biology Letters: “Pacific and Atlantic Herring Produce Burst Pulse Sounds.")
    Sudbury Star:




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