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FIRST PEEK

May 5, 2014 · Volume 147, Issue 1

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FIRST PEEK

I warn you now: in this article, I’m going to talk about religion. The subject embarrasses me. It’s one, along with politics, that my mom told my kid self to never bring up around strangers. And I give kudos to the friendly (if not bordering on overly-friendly) Mormon missionary who had the courage to do exactly that, and who answered some questions I had about religion, strengthening my own belief in agnosticism. The man approached me at a bus stop a while ago, imploring me to commit the faux-pas and talk about spirituality. He insisted that we do so, and I was, as many surely are, drawn by the opportunity to chat with someone so involved in the subject. As a missionary, after all, his goal is to find as many strangers as possible and get them interested in Mormonism. I asked him a lot of questions about his faith, most of which were responded to with open minded, well-considered answers. But many important ones, like how anyone can be convinced that one religion is

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truth over another, or convinced that God is a literal being, or how we can be certain of anything in the past, including the time in which the Bible was written, was responded to with “read the book of Mormon.” Maybe one day I’ll try, but I don’t think those qualms that I have concerning faith will go away. And I’m at a point with my spirituality where I feel it doesn’t matter. I feel content with not knowing, because I don’t think I’ll ever know.

I mean no disrespect to Mormonism. It probably can lead to a lot of happiness, that which shines off the missionaries that I occasionally see in the lower mainland. So can Catholicism, Buddhism, or any organized religion, certainly. When a Scientologist, for instance, is convinced of an idea, namely that there is a reason to life and that, perhaps, the spirit goes somewhere after it’s over, then how could they not be content? And I’m convinced of ideas, too. I won’t sum up the entirety of my personal religious beliefs

here, but I will say that I’m convinced of the idea that no one religion can prove itself any more correct than any other, due to human perception. Being that people can be convinced of incorrect ideas, as I, of course, have been, I feel unable to be convinced of anything but exactly this uncertainty. Being certain of one’s own uncertainty may sound circular. Maybe it is. It is an answer that begs more questions. As such, though, it can act as a guide. This frame of mind allows for the freedom to entertain ideas as interesting, but not as necessarily absolute. It encourages living a life of fascination with everything, of striving to learn, and of being okay with letting go. Mormons should be content if they meet a spiritually content person. They shouldn’t have to convince them of anything else, because deep contentedness is the end goal of Mormonism, and all religions, is it not? Surely a religion’s goal is not to convince people to read a book and become involved in a church; if the goal is to make others do anything more than be kind and content, the “religion” borders on cultism. To answer this missionary’s question, I would like to believe in Christianity. Equally, though, I can’t. In my most content frame of mind, I believe in unbelief, in fascination, in both learning and letting go.

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NEWS

In mid-April, the BC Law Society rejected a motion that would have barred graduates of Trinity Western University’s (TWU) new law school from practising law in BC. Opposition to the new law school, which will open in 2016, voiced concerns about the school’s ban on intimate relations outside of heterosexual marriage. This vote follows Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk’s decision last December to greenlight TWU’s proposed law school. The decision has come under concentrated criticism following the approval of the school by the government of BC and the BC Law Society because of TWU’s controversial community covenant. Trinity Western requires that its 3,600 students sign a community covenant that “bars sexual intimacy that ‘violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman.’” According to Huffington Post, the covenant has been criticized as discriminatory against gays and lesbians, and the opposition sees this as grounds to question the establishment of a law school. This view has been challenged by the TWU administration; president Bob Kuhn said in a news release on Friday, April 25, “We are very disappointed. These decisions impact all Canadians and people of faith everywhere. They send the chilling message that you cannot hold religious values and also participate fully in public society.” Trinity Western University is a private institution and so is able to shape its regulations as it sees

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fit — in this case, with Christian values at its core. However, Victoria criminal lawyer Michael Mulligan launched a petition to overturn the

Law Society’s decision earlier this April. Mulligan collected and submitted more than 1,000 signatures from BC lawyers opposed to the decision — more than twice the number required to trigger a vote.

news editor email / phone

In light of the petition, the society had 60 days to hold a special general meeting to allow all members to vote on the recent decision. On April 11, the benchers voted 20-6 against the motion. The clash between freedom of expression and freedom of religion has caused clear cleavages across the country, with the law societies of BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador and Nunavut having cleared Trinity Western Law graduates to practice law. The Societies of Ontario and Nova Scotia have voted against the school’s accreditation. The Law Society of Upper Canada voted 28 to 21 against the accreditation of Trinity Western University’s proposed law school, meaning that graduates would be unable to practice law in Ontario.

Leah Bjornson associate news editor news@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560

In an interview with The Peak, SFU professor of political science and ethics, and Scholar-in-Residence, Amyn Sajoo, commented on the issue. “It is not about a human rights claim versus mere interest, but rather about two clashing human rights claims. [It is about] the right to equality on basis of sexual orientation versus freedom of religion to regulate practices in conformity with Christian beliefs,” he said. For Sajoo, this conflict is similar to one which occurred in 2001, when the British Columbia College of Teachers rejected the TWU’s application to have their teaching degrees certified. The case was eventually brought before the Supreme Court of Canada and, in an 8-1 vote, the court ruled in favour of Trinity Western. The court reversed the college’s decision on the grounds that

Melissa Roach

the rejection was baseless, stating “the concern that graduates of TWU will act in a detrimental fashion in the classroom is not supported by any evidence.” These sentiments were echoed by Sajoo, who stated that, “TWU and its grads were free to hold beliefs that might be regarded as offensive, but unless they acted in ways that harmed the public interest, it was not proper to restrict the university.” Today, the tension between the two human rights claims is still difficult to resolve. “The line may be difficult to draw in all instances, but it is a vital aspect of reconciling religious freedom and equality,” concluded Sajoo.


NEWS

On April 26, SFU’s Pipe Band marched from Surrey campus to just north of the City Centre Library to celebrate the opening of Surrey’s new City Hall. Steve Dooley, executive director of SFU’s Surrey campus, said in anticipation of the day, “The procession will be symbolic of how SFU engages with its new neighbour, and how those in the new downtown core are all connected.” The procession followed the band’s first competition of the season — the BC Pipe Band Association Annual Gathering — where the team claimed the top spot.

Broadcasting buff Jesse Thorn told audience members at Vancouver campus last Monday how he used his college radio show to become the youngest national host in public radio history. The crowd listened as Thorn discussed how he was able to the make his career aspirations a reality in the Internet age. The show, first pitched as “The Sound of Young America” while Thorn was a student at the University of California at Santa Cruz, was later renamed “Bullseye” to appeal to a national audience. Today, Thorn hosts and produces “Bullseye” as well as other websites, blogs, and video series.

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Opposition to the Conservatives’ Fair Elections Act, which was created to make it more difficult to break elections laws, has resulted in the proposal of 45 new amendments to the bill. The original bill came under considerable controversy because it would make it harder for some voters to cast a ballot: first, by eliminating the vouching system that allowed 120,000 people to vote in 2011; and second, by disallowing the use of Voter Identification Cards (VICs) for university students, seniors in residence, and Aboriginal people living on reserves. However, the proposed amendments include backing down on the elimination of the vouching system and the continual acceptance of VICs as ID. Also, the proposal no longer includes a campaign-finance change which would eliminate limits on fundraising calls to anyone who has donated $20 or more in the previous five years, a provision that some worry would give considerable advantage to larger parties with wealthy donors.

As reported in The Globe and Mail, chief electoral officer Marc Mayrand warned parliament that this financial exemption would “compromise the playing field” between political parties and would be “difficult if not impossible” to enforce. Despite expectations that the bill will now pass, critics are still concerned about the Fair Elections Act. “I’d say it’s significantly improved in about one-third of the problematic areas, but there’s twothirds of very problematic areas it doesn’t touch,” said NDP critic Craig Scott.

The 2014 Fair Elections Act was met with much opposition from Canadian politicians and citizens. A petition against the bill exceeded its goal of 50,000 signatures from Canadians within just 24 hours. Chardaye Bueckert, SFSS president, has been a strong voice in opposition to the bill since its first proposal. She pointed to its significance to students, with an emphasis on the necessity of

vouching and the use of VICs. “[Students] are less likely than the average person to have government-issued photo ID that shows their current address,” due to the fact that they tend to move around the country for education, she explained. Though unable to have someone else vouch for their residency, or to use a VIC, students from out-of-province would be able to present bills or bank statements showing their addresses to prove residency. Bueckert says this presents a barrier to voting for a demographic with steadily declining voter turnout: “At a time when youth are continually voting less and less [. . .] it is fundamentally illogical and immoral to not make efforts to encourage them to vote.” While the amendments attempt to address the issue of voter suppression, and to even the political playing field with the removal of the exemption on limit of phone calls to previous donors, the bill still leaves something to be desired for Bueckert. “The second major concern is the inability

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of Elections Canada to do nonpartisan ‘get out the vote’ efforts,” she explained, inhibiting the initiative to improve voter turnout. On behalf of the SFSS, Bueckert attended a day of national action on March 25, called “Let People Vote!,” organized by local group, Leadnow. The event involved the presentation of a joint petition boasting approximately 84,000 signatures opposing the bill at the office of MP James Moore in Port Moody. There were about 40 people in attendance, including some students, who stood out in the rain to demonstrate their opposition. Bueckert concluded that it is extremely important for people to be aware of the important changes this bill could bring, a bill that in her words, attempts to systematically disenfranchise people who are less likely to vote for a conservative-style party. Said Bueckert, the proposal “is not appropriate, it’s not democratic, and I think that the response to this bill has shown that it’s not something Canadians will stand for.”


6 NEWS

As construction began on the second half of Phase 1 of SFU’s 2014 Roadway Improvement Project, the plan to replace SFU Burnaby’s 50year old roads also moved into its second phase on April 28. Initially estimated to begin in May or June, construction on Phase 2 officially began on Thursday, May 1. This phase, which will overlap with the last half of Phase 1 and first half of Phase 3, will see major reconstruction on Gaglardi Way from the intersection of South Campus Rd northbound to the three-way intersection at University Drive. Construction will therefore involve traffic underneath the transportation center. Director of parking services, David Agosti, does not anticipate

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major inconveniences to students. “Phase 2 is just sort of uncomfortable pieces rather than major changes,” he said. This phase will also involve University Drive from the three-way stop at Arts Road westward to the intersection of West Campus Road, near Residences. Construction on these areas is expected to last until the end of August. The project was implemented to tackle the growing issue of poor road conditions on SFU’s Burnaby campus; the roads have not been replaced since the university first opened in 1965. Furthermore, the university hopes the improvements will create better pedestrian and cyclist access to campus, make navigation around campus easier, and allow for future development on the west side of campus. Phase 1 of the Roadway Improvement Project saw the closure of northbound Gaglardi Way up until South Campus Road, with traffic redirected along University Drive East. According to Agosti, “Everything has been fine. We don’t have any lost buses or anything along those lines. Everything has been happening as anticipated.” One of the greatest successes of Phase 1, according

to Agosti, was the ability to reroute the buses to leave campus via their normal route, despite closing off the residence bus loop. “That made life a lot easier for a lot of the students in residence,” he said. In order to minimize congestion and traffic complications, Phase 2 will occur in a series of “sub-phases.” Parking services expects there to be at least a halfdozen of these sub-phases, during which one section of the road will be worked on at a time.

This phase should not involve any road closures or significant traffic pattern changes. However, there will likely be single lane traffic, gravel roadways, and the closure of certain access points. “The down campus buses for a period of a week or two may use that other bus stop adjacent to the library rather than the one adjacent to the island,” said Agosti. However, students will be most affected when Phase 1 ends and or Phase 3 starts. “When Phase 3 starts, [the residence] bus stop will be out of service

because the road will be closed from there down,” said Agosti. Parking Services expects Phase 1 to end on schedule on July 1, when construction will shift and continue southbound West Campus road all the way to the main Gaglardi intersection for Phase 3. At this time, northbound West Campus road is expected to be open. You can follow Leah Bjornson


NEWS

A cognitive science study being conducted at SFU is making waves across the country with the claim that cognitive functions begin to decline at the age of 24. In other words, many SFU students are nearing their cognitive peak, and it’ll be downhill from there! Joe Thompson, an SFU doctoral student of psychology, has been working under professor Mark Blair to study cognitive abilities in the video game StarCraft 2. This game was able to provide compelling data from the complex tasks the players must face, such as strategic planning and quick threat analysis. Using analysis from over 3,305 StarCraft 2 players, researchers

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found that cognitive functions including perception, mental processing, and physical response time trend steadily upwards from ages 16 to 24, after which they begin to slow down. In-game actions and player reaction times were measured in terms of the different cognitive functions that might rely on speed. Thompson equates the study’s primary measurement of speed to the time between a player looking at a specific location within the game and acting on something in that environment. The results showed, for example, that the difference in response time for 24-year old player compared to a 39-year old player is about 150 milliseconds. The competitive computer game was selected based on the range of ages and skill levels demonstrated by its players, which supported the idea that a younger age might outweigh other advantages such as experience. Thompson says this research proves “early adulthood is not a boring period where skills are

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maintained by a stable set of cognitive abilities.” Instead, he believes skills developed within the video game are created and maintained by one’s cognitive ability to adapt to the evolving and challenging game atmosphere. Not all hope for cognitive progression is lost for us “old folk.” As seen in the research, players of more advanced ages seemed to compensate for their differences in speed with other skills; therefore, the changes in speed do not necessarily act as a loss. If older players are able to make better and more efficient use of the game’s interface, they can adapt to their cognitive differences from younger players. Researchers believe they can translate the data from this study to examine the effects of age on our cognitive abilities, in ways not only specific to our digital lives. You can follow Micaela Evans

In game one of the Colorado– Minnesota series on April 17, the Avalanche were down 3-2 with three minutes left on the clock — so Colorado head coach Patrick Roy pulled his goalie. They scored once with the extra attacker before winning 4-3 in overtime. If you follow hockey, you might not necessarily call the move shocking, but goalie-pulling is a tactic usually left to the last minute, or maybe the last minute and a half. However, SFU’s Tim Swartz, a professor in the Department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, who specializes in sports analytics, believes Roy’s strategy should be the norm.

In a paper co-authored with David Beaudoin, an assistant professor at Laval University, Swartz stated that a team down by one goal would do best by pulling their goalie with three minutes left. While three minutes is a comfortable average, Swartz suggests that coaches should not restrict themselves to pulling their goalies at the end of the game. Instead, they should do so when the opportunity is ripe, such as when their team is awarded a power play and, thus, a man advantage. For example, as a junior coach, Roy once pulled a goalie with 17 minutes remaining in the game. “It may or may not work out for you,” stated Swartz, explaining that pulling the goaltender does not guarantee success. “But what we’re interested in is the long-run properties [. . .] If you follow our strategies, we estimate you would be several points higher in the standings. That can be the difference between making the playoffs and not making the playoffs.” Swartz also does research into the management side of the

game, on topics such as drafting and player contracts, in addition to analysis of game strategies. He, along with graduate student Gerald Smith, is currently interested in developing a system of player evaluation. His system would be an improvement on the age old plus/ minus measurement — a bane to many advocates of the use of advanced statistics in hockey. One of the advantages of sports analytics is that it allows students to apply classroom lessons to real world problems. “You’re learning all of the statistical theory and methods but you’re applying them to sports problems,” said Swartz. He also pointed out that sports analytics have funnelled some of his students into jobs at hospitals and government organizations. Aside from the accompanying career opportunities, Swartz admitted to The Peak that what is truly fulfilling about sports analytics comes from the love of the game. “I get lots of requests to supervise students who want to work on sports problems,” said Swartz. “This is a lot of fun working in this area.”


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OPINIONS

Merriam-Webster defines “racism” as “poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race,” or “the belief that some races of people are better than others.” For many university students, racism seems like a thing of our grandparents’ era. But as much as we’ve grown and changed as a culture, we have also found ways around blatant racism — methods of accepting that are still demeaning. Avril Lavigne proves this in her new single, “Hello Kitty.” The former Canadian darling is almost 30 years old. But this new song and video seem to belong to someone less than half her age. She yells “kawaii!” and squeals to a dubstep beat; she dances in front of four identical Japanese women who have no facial expression; she acts as a

Since French immersion programs in public schools were popularized, every year the number of parents lining up outside schools to register their children grows. However the popularity of bilingual programs has a downside: not all hopeful participants are able to enroll or secure a seat in the class. According to Canadian Parents for French, 1,000 kids in BC wanting to enroll in French immersion each year do not get into such programs. The leading reason why so many kids are being turned

successful white woman shoving her way into Japan, having all the fun while Japanese people unhappily dance at her command, make her sushi, and follow her on a mocking, overly-cheerful stroll. “Hello Kitty” glorifies Lavigne and a closed-minded interpretation of what Japanese culture entails. Very few of the 126 million people living in Japan act like Avril does in this video, jumping around in a tutu and playing a stuffed animal guitar. It’s not as if she has reached very far for artistic material. Most of our Western society can probably associate “Hello Kitty,” the cartoon cat that is famous for adorning teenaged girls’ pink binders, with Japan. Avril doesn’t dig deep for lyrics, either. While there are a few Japanese words in there, the main object seems to be to compare her boyfriend to a cat. Meow! To what extent is it okay to honour cultures that are not one’s own? And when does that “honour” transform into something a little more disconcerting, namely a possession of other peoples’ tradition and culture that belittles the source? Vanessa Hudgens wears a bindi at Coachella, and the bindi transforms from a spiritual symbol for

away from a program that is irrefutably beneficial to a child’s cognitive and social development is that there is not enough available classroom space to the ready children. In searching for more bilingual teachers to expand the French immersion programs and accept more children, BC public schools employ many French immersion teachers who are migrants of eastern Canada. In my own elementary school, for instance, I was taught entirely by such teachers. BC has no shortage of students who aspire to be teachers, though — the problem is that not enough of them are able to provide French instruction. To date, SFU is the only university in BC to house a program (Bureau des Affaires Francophones et Francophile) that offers BC native students

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Southeast Asia into a fashion accessory resulting in high fives at a music festival. Avril Lavigne’s expressionless backup dancers become less than people as they

the chance to complete degrees entirely in French, including topics in French, Political Science, Literature, and Linguistics.

Students coming out of this program are among the few BC locals able to become French immersion teachers. Other universities should adopt programs like BAFF to allow for French immersion students to continue their language studies here in BC as well as to ensure that the next generation

opinions editor email / phone

Joel MacKenzie opinions@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560

dance behind her — they are another cool fashion accessory to drag around in her entourage. Avril isn’t just making a video with a Japanese theme. She could,

of teachers are proficient in French and can meet the demand that French programs are facing. The creation of bilingual undergrad programs across the province would be worthwhile for universities as today’s enthusiasm for French language education is unlikely to diminish. In fact, every year students move east to pursue French studies. If more BC schools offered curriculums that facilitated French language instruction, many students would not move across Canada but would enroll locally. The provincial government should also take interest in this, to incentivize and promote bilingual undergrad programs in cooperation with universities in BC to create local French teachers. No child should be turned away from a French immersion program, and post-secondary

as she does have real Japanese fans; though the Japanese “prop” people in the video certainly aren’t them. Even when she waves to supposed fans, we can only see the few blurry girls following her in the background (this could, of course, be indicative of her being delusional — as this awful song suggests). She shoves herself into a very stereotypical Westernized interpretation of Japanese culture and shows us how cool and “kawaii” it can be to be a white pop star in Japan. As Lavigne’s response to the video (which begins with “RACIST??? LOLOLOL!!!”) suggests, she doesn’t care about the many Japanese people who feel more like a fetish and less like human beings when they see themselves being depicted in a cartoonish manner. Lavigne’s flippant response is, perhaps, indicative of more than her surely ignoring the plethora of articles criticizing “Hello Kitty.” It is indicative of the opinion of some of today’s Western population on issues of race and culture; as long as no one performs acts of violence or disdain, any act where one imitates and mocks a culture seems to be mistaken as respect. This slap-to-the-face music video couldn’t be closer to the opposite.

students shouldn’t have to sacrifice their continuation of French studies or risk losing their language skills. Being bilingual allows for an individual to not only diversify their communication skills and cultural understandings, but it also accelerates problem solving skills and critical thinking skills. Not to mention, as adults, bilingual individuals will have an edge on the competition as competency in multiple languages is seen as an asset. In order to sustain and cultivate bilingualism in BC, more universities across the province should create programs that allow for students to pursue many subjects, including education. Creating homegrown bilingual teachers is more important now than ever before as young people show more and more interest in French language.


OPINIONS

Images and symbols are powerful tools. We often recall a single, powerful image when thinking of a major historic event: the end of WWII, the collapse of the Berlin Wall, the end of segregation. Imagery has the ability to represent purpose, significance, and unity. It is unfortunate, though, that climate change has come to be represented by polar bears on melting icebergs. The use of polar bears and icebergs has perpetuated the idea that climate change is an event that will harm wildlife and nature – not humans. It has fuelled the belief that for each pipeline we approve and for each coal plant we construct, a whale or bear population will face substantial losses. While true, this has had the disastrous result of altering the reality of climate change from a human issue to one of wildlife. It has created an apparent divide in the public eye: someone who supports action on climate change is an environmentalist or conservationist. In reality, most of us are humanists. While rising greenhouse gas emissions that drive climate change will force many species to the brink of extinction, for most of us the primary concern is humanity. We fear the economic and social impacts resulting from climate change, both now and in the future. We worry about the one to two metres of

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sea level rise expected by 2100, and how that will put us at risk in the developed world and millions more in extreme danger in developing nations. We are concerned about severe freshwater shortages and their crippling effects on agricultural production and the provision of drinking water for millions worldwide. We see the looming famines, and fear the amplified rates of malnutrition and starvation that will further plague those already struggling. We are uneasy about the prospect of increasingly severe and frequent storms, which will put human lives at risk and generate

costly damages. We are concerned about heat waves, and the impacts they can have for those without access to cooling systems.

Most alarming are the estimates about the cost of climate change. The National

Roundtable on the Environment and the Economy conservatively estimates climate change will cost Canada $5 billion per year by 2020, and may rise to $43 billion per year by 2050. Nicholas Stern, one of the world’s leading economists, released a report in 2006 estimating that damages from climate change may cost more than 20 per cent of global GDP each year. This is what we are alarmed about: the cost of climate change and how we, humans, will be impacted. Some polar bears will indeed suffer, as will countless other species as the climate changes

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and ecosystems are altered. And while images of polar bears on melting icebergs might be appropriate for some, for the vast majority of us that study climate change, it couldn’t be more off the mark. Climate change is a human issue. The longer we hold onto images of animals, the further we foster the perception amongst a fair portion of the public that this is a choice between saving polar bears or growing our economy. It’s really about saving ourselves. It’s time we adopt a new image to represent climate change — one with a human face.


12 FEATURES

It’s a chilly morning on Burnaby Mountain. The semester has yet to begin, and aside from a few stragglers, the campus is empty: the calm before the storm. Chardaye Bueckert is still days away from beginning her term as the new president of the Simon Fraser Student Society, but she’s already got her work cut out for her. “It’s really exciting,” she tells me. She’s serious, articulate, and nowhere near as nervous as you’d expect someone in her position to be. “I’ve been sitting down and making plans for the next year. I went through my platform and counted, and I officially made 21 promises in there. So, lots of commitments to follow up on.” Looking forward to the year ahead as the leader of the Simon Fraser Student Society, Chardaye is leaving no stone unturned. Having been elected by a 23 vote margin over her ACE competitor Brandon Chapman at the end of last semester, she’s spent the past few weeks planning out the details of her upcoming presidential term. At the top of her list is increasing the accessibility of the SFSS to the average SFU undergrad. “Most students are working a job or two, taking classes full time, transiting from Vancouver or Surrey, so they don’t have a ton of extra time,” she says. “I think what we need to do is make it dead easy to be involved in the student society.” One of her first planned projects as president is an upcoming student consultation in the fall, organized in hopes of encouraging students to participate in their government and to make their

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voices heard. “We could be doing a better job reaching out to students,” she says. She’s not kidding: only about 9.5 per cent of students cast a vote in this year’s SFSS election, the lowest turnout in years. It’s clear from this figure that many SFU undergrads feel like they aren’t being adequately represented by their government — or that they simply don’t care one way or the other. Either way, Chardaye aims to change their minds. But first, she needs to unite one of the most politically diverse boards in SFSS history. “The way that I look at it, the president is the one who enables the other board members to be leaders in their own respect,” she says, referring to the predominantly ACE board she’ll be working with in the next year. “I think we need to have a collective vision as a team. Everyone might have a different idea of what they want to do — whether that’s throwing a party, or doing advocacy efforts — but we need to make sure it’s going towards one goal.” That goal, in her mind, is simple: helping SFU students. “We have the ability to do really amazing things,” she says. “We have such a unique history. We started off as the people’s university, as a response to the elitism and the inaccessibility of higher education. Our history is one of radicalism and rebellion, and although we might not have protests with thousands of people in Convocation Mall anymore, you can still feel that spirit — particularly in the Rotunda area. I think that’s so unique, and so cool.” President Chardaye is intent on rekindling the activist spark that defined SFU

in its formative decades, and she’s not afraid to challenge the status quo to do it. When I ask her why the average student should care about the SFSS, she immediately pulls her uPass out of her wallet. It’s clear this isn’t the first time she’s been asked this question. “Students currently benefit a lot from things that the SFSS has done,” she says, citing the uPass, originally an SFSS initiative, as a prime example of that benefit.

— and to give them the courage to speak for themselves. “People do care, they care so deeply,” she says. “And giving them the sense that they can turn that caring into action is one of my biggest goals.” Whether or not she’ll be able to accomplish all of her goals in the year to come, it’s clear that Chardaye has big plans for this university, and for all of us. For better or worse, Chardaye is prepared to give her all for this school. “We’re not

“When people ask me what the student society is here to do, I always imagine, well, what would happen if we weren’t here?” she says. “I guarantee you that there would be no one to advocate for lower tuition, for instance. The university, they’re great, but they don’t necessarily have the student’s perspective in mind. Same with the government. While they have a conception of what is best for students, only we can really have that voice.” In her new role as president, Chardaye hopes to speak for the average student

your typical university,” she smiles. “We have a different take on things, and I think that makes SFU worth fighting for.” So, what does Chardaye do when she’s not climbing the echelons of student government? It seems like the only question she’s not completely prepared for. “I’m a heart of hearts political science kid. I live and breathe politics; I think it’s so interesting and so important.” Other than that, she says, “I really like heavy metal music, I rollerskate, and I’m originally from Medicine Hat, Alberta.” The more you know, right?


OPINIONS

It’s amazing how much can happen when Parliament takes a break. Pierre Poilievre is backtracking on his much maligned Fair Elections Act after months of criticism from within and without; the nation has been rocked by news of the allegations of abuse surrounding the temporary foreign work program; and only a few short weeks ago, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously decided in favour of retaining the Senate in its current form, that of unelected representatives. That’s right, despite last year’s scandal the Supreme Court has declared that Parliament cannot alter the makeup of the Senate to introduce term limits or change the appointment process in order to make the Senate a body of elected representatives. This is a crushing blow both to the government and the Canadian people, as Senate reform has been a goal of Stephen Harper long before he was our Prime Minister. Furthermore, a poll from June 2013 shows that 49 per cent of Canadians wanted Senate reform while 41 per cent were in favour of outright abolition of the upper chamber, suggesting that 90 per cent of Canadians were disappointed by the announcement.

May 5, 2014

Though technically not impossible, reforming the Senate would be extremely difficult. As written out in the Canadian Constitution, an amendment of this magnitude requires a passing vote in both the House of Commons and the Senate, but must also pass a vote in seven of the 10 provincial legislatures, and those seven must represent at least 50 per cent of the Canadian population. You don’t need to be very politically aware to know how unlikely this is, as the provinces of our country rarely agree on anything, and have already taken up several positions across the board in regards to the issue.

Abolition of the Senate, long a part of the NDP platform and Harper’s fallback if reform was no longer an option, is even more outside the realm of possibility. The Supreme Court declared that the abolishment of the Senate would fall under the unanimity procedure for amending the Constitution. That name, by the way, is completely accurate: abolishing the upper house would require unanimous votes to do so from the Senate itself (unlikely to vote itself out of existence) and all the provinces. While some have suggested that the issue could be forced by the

Prime Minister refusing to appoint additional senators once currently sitting members retire, this is no solution. Canadian senators serve until the age of 75, so even if we did this, the youngest Senator is not scheduled to retire until 2045, when I’ll be 60. Even barring the extreme length of time, this would further serve to undermine our current democratic process, leaving regions of the country underrepresented in the Senate. The only party viewing this decision as a victory are the Liberals; Justin Trudeau seems now to be reaping the benefits of his daddy’s work in making the Constitution nearly impossible to amend. With the Conservative’s having lost hope in reforming the Senate, and the NDP’s plan of abolition relegated to the realms of impossibility, Trudeau now finds himself in the rare position of being the only leader with an option for Senate reform, even if it’s a terrible one. I have said it before: having independent senators chosen by an “impartial” committee only undermines our democracy by taking power from the people. While our current system is not perfect, at least appointees are chosen by an elected official, and I’d rather leave the Senate as is than hand power for the selection of its members to more unelected officials. With the senate, we’re left in an undeseriable situation that no one quite knows how to resolve.

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I’m probably adhering to common conception when I say that it’s best to be a “B” student. “B” students stay in the groove of academic achievement. Being one requires enough hard work to keep oneself at or above the median, but still allows one enough time to live a life outside of school. And this life outside of school is necessary to having a life after post-secondary. Outside of the school world is where one learns to be

social in a less-stressful atmosphere, and how to operate in a workplace, most notably. Moreover, consider that the vast majority of people in the world don’t operate in the school environment. Being a “B” student emphasizes the importance of living dedicated to simply enjoying, rather than conquering, conquering every grade and every obstacle. These students know how to relax in the shade and breathe. Safe to say, “B” students are probably on the right track.

Disagreement makes the world go around, but shaming sucks. Don’t be a shamer. So “A” students are different. Others need to respect that they take their own route to success, which, for them, happens to be on the academic level. Try to think about it from their point of view: they might feel compelled to achieve perfection, perhaps due to a repressed memory of a childhood failure of some sort. Maybe they see every “A” as a physical manifestation of proving their overbearing fathers wrong.

Or perhaps they enjoy getting high grades and attaining knowledge; maybe they see that education doesn’t stop life, but rather is a part of life. It takes all sorts of people to inhabit the world, “A” and “B” students included. And learning to get along is another step toward world peace. Heck, anyways, “A” students are probably trying hard just to suffer through grad school. Don’t give them your shame! Give them your deepest sympathy.

PEAK MEMBERSHIP As an SFU student, you are a member of the Peak Publications Society. As a member, you get access to a weekly copy of The Peak filled with news and views of interest to you. Additional privileges of membership include the opportunity to run and vote for the Peak Publications Society Board of Directors, to place free classified ads, to publish your work and opinions in The Peak, to become eligible to be paid for your contributions, and to nominate yourself to become an editor or staff member. Your contribution also helps provide jobs and experience for other SFU students, maintain an archive of SFU history through the eyes of students, maintain a computer lab and web site, and support student journalism across Canada. Students who have paid their tuition fees and do not wish to support their student newspaper may request a membership fee refund from the Business Manger, but MUST provide a copy of their REGISTRATION SUMMARY, RECEIPT, and STUDENT ID between Monday, May 5 and Friday, May 16 at 5:00 p.m. No refunds will be issued outside of this time frame. Students claiming refunds will lose all privileges of membership for the semester, but membership will resume upon payment of student fees next semester. Questions? Call 778-782-3598.


14 DIVERSIONS / ETC

May 5, 2014

CLASSIFIEDS@ THE-PEAK.CA

Across 1- German sausage 5- Uses a straw 10- Amazement 13- Cork’s place 14- Prima ballerina 16- Place for ordering alcoholic drinks 17- Salon stylist 19- Heston’s org. 20- Noted spokescow 21- Ra, in ancient Egypt 23- Consumed 24- American space agency 28- ___ del Fuego 30- Contribution 32- Head armor 33- Simple song 35- Simile center 36- Threatening words 38- Historical records 42- Mimic 43- Thin and watery 45- Moon of Mars 49- Needy 53- Elaborately adorned 54- Slippery ___ eel (two words) 55- Center Ming 56- Dangerous snakes

“I should have written for The Peak!” 58- Menu 60- Numbered rd. 61- Merciless 65- Shoebox letters 66- In the least 67- Getting ___ years 68- Georgia, once: Abbr. 69- Greek fabulist 70- Lady’s escort

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10- Irregular 11- Woman who guards a gaol 12- Historic time 15- Bert’s buddy 18- Pertaining to the teeth 22- Hair goo 25- Has a bug 26- Mends a shoe 27- Actress Alicia 29- ___ glance (two words) 31- Actor Vigoda 34- Bar game 36- Performs surgery 37- Caribou 39- Asta’s mistress 40- Subtlety 41- Horned viper 42- “Much ___ About

Nothing”, play by Shakespeare 44- Conductor ___-Pekka Salonen 46- Deranged 47- Alamogordo’s county 48- Sister of Venus 50- Nutlet 51- Dines at home 52- Fails to 57- Hook’s helper 59- Sleep like ___ (two words) 60- Hi-___ 62- Delivery room docs 63- Carnival site 64- Indy 500 sponsor

Do you  want  to  hear  your  voice  on  the  radio?  

To attend  various  music  events?  To  have  fun?  Then  CJSF  radio  is  for  you! Join  CJSF  90.1  FM  as  a  volunteer  and  take  a  45-­minute  orientation  tour   WROHDUQPRUHDERXWLW'URSLQRQHRIWKHVHWLPHVWR¿QGRXWZKDW\RX can  do  and  learn  at  your  campus  radio.  (We’re  in  TC216  right  over  the   Burnaby  campus  main  entrance.) 1st  Friday  of  the  month  at  3pm 2nd  Tuesday  at  4pm 3rd  Thursday  at  3  pm Hope  to  see  you  there! 4th  Wednesday  at  6:15  pm


ARTS

arts editor email / phone

May 5, 2014

1980 Russian Olympics. They are now based at the Moscow Performing Arts Centre and give hundreds of performances each year at some of the most prestigious venues around the world, including New York’s Carnegie Hall. The art of classical music is timeless. The music of great composers such as Bach, Mozart, and Tchaikovsky has swelled through various instruments throughout generations; few other orchestras echo the timeless nature of classical music quite like the chamber orchestra Moscow Virtuosi. Vladimir Spivakov founded the orchestra 35 years ago when the Soviet Union was still in power and all orchestras had to play music that had been pre-approved by the Ministry of Culture; if an orchestra was to be formed, the government would also choose the musicians that would be hired. Spivakov refused to follow the rules, instead gathering a group of musicians from his own circle of friends to play music that he wanted to play. That same determination allowed Spirakov to register his orchestra at a turbulent time in Russia’s history. The orchestra made their debut at the Cultural Olympiad before the

Svetlana Dvoretsky, president of Show One Productions, is delighted to be hosting the orchestra’s special 35th anniversary on May 6 at the Chan Centre, especially since she has a longstanding connection with Spivakov himself. Her mother and Spivakov had been classmates at the same special music school in Russia — an institution that was dedicated to nurturing the talents of future musicians. While she had been introduced to Spivakov as a young girl, Dvoretsky truly connected

Racism isn’t always easy to identify. Dr. Nuno Porto, curatorial liaison for Without Masks, hopes that this exhibition at the Museum of Anthropology dealing with Afro-Cuban social issues such as racism and exclusion can shed light on our own society and help us reflect on our situation. “Racism is a universal issue in a sense,” he said, explaining that although there was a revolution in Cuba and many things

changed, “racism is not over in contemporary Cuba.” When Cuba was a Spanish colony in the early 16th century, explained Porto,“the Spanish exterminated the indigenous population. The population is not recognized as being part of the nation in a sense. Afro-Cuban art practice reflects that.” First shown in Johannesburg and taken from a large private collection, this exhibit includes over 80 artworks by a diverse set of artists. The artists have very different ways of approaching the social issues. Some pieces are humorous and ironic, and some are more serious and ethnographic or spiritual in their social commentary. “There is a tension between the different media and attitudes that makes for a diverse and enriching experience,” said Porto. “There is painting, photography, textile work, drawing, engraving, collage, installations, video, you

Tessa Perkins arts@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560

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with him as an adult as he helped her start her business. Says Dvoretsky of Spivakov, “He not only listened to me, but he trusted me enough to set me up with his American management and [set me up] as the Canadian presenter for his North American tours. He gave me a chance, and that is how my company started.” In 2004, Moscow Virtuosi was the first headlining concert of Show One Productions. The orchestra is now giving its first performance in Vancouver in six years. Dvoretsky cites Spivakov as being a charismatic conductor who isn’t afraid to try new ways of performing, from throwing instruments into the air to seating audience members onstage when theatres are at their maximum capacity. As for what the show will bring for Canadian audiences, Dvoretsky says, “I believe that classical music is the root and premise of everything. Music is the unifying language that we have — our way of working through a cultural exchange. It is timeless, it [is capable] of making people feel a whole range of emotion, and I truly believe that it evokes an awakening in people.”

name it. It’s very diverse in terms of media.” One large work is done on a canvas made entirely of old coffee and sugar sacks to represent the slavery on the plantations. Written on the canvas are the words: “what is difficult is not to be a man, what is difficult is to be black.”

Some of the works are very large and intense, including a series of lithograph prints by Belkis

Ayón. Ayon works with the themes of her double exclusion as a black female. Porto described her works as highly poetic saying they are “like plunging into a different universe. They’re hypnotic.” One unique thing about the exhibition is that it is organized by the principles of Afro-Cuban culture, not by specific idea or themes. “It is organized from eldest to youngest, so the ancestors are first.” Three prominent Afro-Cuban artists who are now deceased are placed at the front of the gallery, drawing the audience in to see the works by younger artists. Porto explained that the public gets acquainted progressively with the artworks, and the works demand that they face these issues. The setting for this exhibition is the Museum of Anthropology’s Audain Gallery, a large white cube. A gallery space is usually meant to be disconnected from the outside world, explained Porto. “The idea

is that the outside world should not come in, but we have a series of artworks that are the outside world coming in.” With all their social commentary, Porto sees these works as a series of windows into other realities. “It’s food for thought both aesthetically and politically,” he said. Porto said that there is a lot we can take away from this exhibition in terms of reflecting on social issues in our own region. As he read about the statistics of how much of the homeless population in Vancouver is First Nations, that resonated with him as relating to this show. “You can think it has nothing to do with racism,” he said, “or you can look at it without masks.” Sometimes it takes removing the mask of our own perspective and looking elsewhere to come back to our own world with a better understanding of how these issues relate to us, and maybe we realize that they aren’t so unfamiliar.


16 ARTS

Happily, neither the cool reception of Jonathan Glazer’s masterpiece Birth, nor its lack of welldeserved critical rehabilitation in the intervening decade, have dulled the director’s approach to the intertwining mysteries of love and power. Under the Skin is another role reversal of predators: it follows a lone alien invader (Scarlett Johansson) who, in the guise of a beautiful human woman, seduces men to her home, where their organs are harvested in an inky black void. It is a film that demands attentive eyes and sharp ears. Its plot beats are not delivered through words, but through a careful succession of images rich in narrative and thematic implication. Its emotional payoffs

May 5, 2014

don’t come through anguished closeups, but through an aesthetic schema that mixes calculated compositions with abstracted imagery, lush ambience with the thin, shivering strings of Mica Levi’s score. Its first hour functions largely as a low-key horror film, and the second as a tragic, almost domestic drama. A sort of chill runs throughout, but it is the cold of loneliness and sorrow, not detachment. Emphasis on filmic devices at the exclusion of theatrical or literary norms often lands a film the tag of “clinical,” but this can be camouflage for a lack of engagement with cinematic grammar. Under the Skin is a prime example of how its medium’s devices can work on their own, autonomous from the traditions of older art forms. That separation from familiar means of storytelling is at once integral to its effect (physical alienation) and wholly scrutable. In a key scene — the film’s most important story beat — countless orange, kaleidoscopic images of day-to-day human life are superimposed

over Johansson’s face, and the unnerving violin that dominates the score gives way to warm electronic tones. It’s exemplary of narration through abstraction, and yet it’s not a hard moment to read, especially contextually. So the film allows its alien to stay alien, free of histrionics or the tropes of human emotions (unless you count having emotions as a trope) and, so long as

Therein lies the power of the film’s allegory for sexual politics: it asks how we can condemn someone who truly does not know better. we invest in trying to understand her, makes for a surprisingly engaging and sympathetic character. So when the film’s inevitable and tragic role reversal occurs, we’re just as troubled by the danger facing her as we are by our

sympathy for someone whom we’ve seen horrifically murder several people. Therein lies the power of the film’s allegory for sexual politics: it asks how we can condemn someone who truly does not know better — who, in fact, seems to have been engineered not to know better — without playing down the tragedy of its central crimes. There is one scene where dialogue holds substantive importance. The alien picks up a man with severe facial disfigurement, who admits that he has no friends and only goes out at night to escape ignorance and judgment. As the two talk with each other, their words betray more than they intend, and it becomes clear that his disease and her immaculately mounted appearance are two sides of the same coin. She knows it too, and her decision at the end of the sequence is at once one of the film’s most touching, mysterious, and disquieting moments.

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ARTS

The Arts Club’s upcoming show has the tagline, “lovingly ripped off” from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. For true Python fans, fret not, the book and lyrics for Spamalot were written by Eric Idle. However, if you don’t even know what or who this Monty Python person is, Spamalot also parodies well-known Broadway musical tropes. “We’re taking liberties with the movie and poking fun at the Broadway musical genre,” explains director Dean Paul Gibson. The premise of the play follows the movie where King Arthur travels the land to recruit Knights of the Round Table to Camelot. Silliness ensues as they meet the Knights Who Say Ni, lewd French soldiers, and evil rabbits. “I’m not going to mess around with a brand like Monty Python,” states Gibson, who grew up watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus. Even though the show has been off the air since 1974, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail came out in 1975, the Python influence and style continues to entice fans. Monty Python has become part of global popular culture, spreading from Britain. “It is still popular and enduring,” says Gibson, “but we’ve put our own stamp on it while maintaining its Pythonesque appeal.”

May 5, 2014

Arts Club artistic manager Bill Millerd approached Gibson with a couple of options for the 50th anniversary season and he jumped at the chance to direct Spamalot. “It’s great because I get to work on all different types of productions,” said Gibson. He started choosing his creative team and they’re currently in rehearsals. The production crew includes musical director Kim Cormier and

choreographer Lisa Stevens, who Gibson worked with on Xanadu in July 2012. “It’s a big show and the actors all have particular strengths,” says Gibson, noting that David Marr is an Arts Club veteran and leading lady Terra C. MacLeod made a big splash in the Arts Club production of West Side Story last year. The title is taken from a line in the film: “We dine well here in

Camelot / We eat ham and jam and Spam a lot / We’re Knights of the Round Table.” The 2005 Broadway production received 14 Tony Award nominations and won three, including Best Musical. It has been produced across the globe and pokes fun at well-known plays such as Fiddler on the Roof and Phantom of the Opera. Spamalot will inevitably include the requisite amount of

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smut, sacrilege, and general silliness we expect from a Python show. So grab your coconuts and practice your “Ni!”


18

HUMOUR

May 5, 2014

Yet another reason why spelling isn’t a team sport

experience life the way most people do. I feel temperatures more extremely, I sweat more than most people and I’ve never experienced the joy of bleeding. So, I’m sorry, I just don’t like to get any shit about it from a bunch of thin-skinned wiseacres who don’t have a clue what it’s like to have a little extra meat around the hypodermis. I can take a joke as well as the next guy. I’ve got a sense a humour, and I’m fine with the occasional ribbing. If you want to make fun of the goofy way I dress or tease me about how much I love the Oak Ridge Boys, I’m totally cool with it. But there’s one thing that I’m honestly really sensitive about and that’s my thick skin. It’s just not something I can control so it burns me up when people feel the need to make comments about it. Having a thick skin makes things hard enough, let alone having to deal with all the “jokes” about it. It already makes it hard for me to

I’m so sick of people pointing at me, asking if they can touch my arm or punching me and then asking whether I can feel it behind my thick skin. Yes, I feel it, in fact I feel it more than most people. You know where else I feel? In my heart, just like the rest of you. Even with my thick skin, I still have feelings.

Again, I don’t mind if you give me a hard time sometimes about things that I choose to do but I can’t control how my skin is. This is just the way I was born. I guess you could say that making fun of my abnormally thick skin is kind of like my achilles heel. Unfortunately unlike the story of Achilles and the heel that led him to great fame and fortune, this is holding me back. Every time somebody yells out “hey, thick skin” or does an impression of me by bundling up the skin on their arm, it really cuts me deep, so deep that even someone like me might lose a little blood. I’m not asking people to always be pleasant about everything. You should definitely make fun of people if they’re acting abnormal or are different in any way in comparison to mainstream society but this issue is out of my hands. I know I’ve got thick skin. I always have and I always will, but it’d be nice if people could just lay off a little because I’m really, really sensitive about it.

humour editor email / phone

Brad McLeod humour@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560


HUMOUR

May 5, 2014

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“For a long time he would just imitate us, you know like a child would,” Wiseman said. “Now he’s expressing full ideas, it’s remarkable . . . I don’t know where he picked up the idea that earth is only 6,000 years old though.”

VANCOUVER — Scientists were shocked this week when a chimpanzee with remarkable intellect carried out an entire conversation in sign language in which he argued strongly in opposition of the Darwinian theory of evolution. Jojo, an 8-year old chimp born and raised at the Greater Vancouver Zoo, has been working with a team of researchers for his entire life and is reportedly incredibly advanced for his species. “He’s so smart, I sometimes forget he’s not just a really ugly, hairy human,” laughed Dr. Jean Wiseman, a biologist who’s been studying Jojo since he was born. “We’ve never seen an ape pick up language this quickly before. It’s incredible.” According to Wiseman, only a few years ago Jojo could hardly sign at all but in recent months he has become quite fluent, not to mention very opinionated.

While Wiseman is thrilled by the chimp’s progress which she was planning to include as part of her ongoing research into the evolutionary connection between apes and humans, she’s found Jojo’s signs to be a little discouraging. “He mostly just quotes Genesis and asks us about how ‘if evolution really exists, why am I still here,’ that kind of stuff,” Wiseman explained. “At first, I thought I could easily convince him evolution was real but the more we went back and forth, I started to get doubts myself.” The Peak briefly sat down with Jojo who signed that he just “could not honestly believe that we had descended from him and that in

his mind God created the universe and mankind and ape-kind, and that was that.” While researchers like Wiseman are conflicted by the Jojo situation, others, like Pope Francis, have been nothing but delighted by the news. “It’s great to finally see a creature who has enough sense to understand how life works,” Francis

said in a press release concerning Jojo. “This chimp is a good Christian animal, very devout, very smart. You know, he reminds me a lot of myself actually. Wait, ignore that last part.” Although Jojo remains in the care of scientists, he has used his signing skills to request returning full time to the wild where he hopes he can spread his newfound knowledge to his fellow apes.

He hopes that someday all apes will be able to communicate through signlanguage. Then he hopes they’ll all be able to speak and walk full-time on their hind legs and start wearing clothing and lose their annoying unopposable thumbs. But, most importantly he hopes to spread the good word of Jesus Christ and the theory of creationism.


20 LAST WORD

Guys, the future is here. And it prints houses. Okay, okay, some context. Like many of you, I reacted to the first mention of 3D printers, or additive manufacturers, with confusion and bewilderment. After all, my main concept of what a printer is comes from the bulky behemoths in the SFU library — how could anything like that ever print something in three dimensions? Turns out they aren’t really that similar to your average 2D printer. They’re really industrial robots that build 3D models from virtual prototypes through an additive process, where the machine builds layer upon layer in a given shape and material until an object is formed. It’s a little like layering a cake, but way cooler. Naturally, the possibilities are endless, and a little spooky. Most recently, these machines have been in the news after a Chinese corporation used them to build 10 onestory homes in a single day. An eco-friendly mix of cement and construction waste was used to layer the walls of the tiny, industrial homes, saving labour and money. There’s no telling the future potential of 3D printers in the world of architecture — builders and architects can program in the exact proportions

features editor email / phone

Max Hill features@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560

of the structures they want to build, and the machine will recreate the digital models. This could even ease the problem of homelessness, making housing easier and cheaper to build. But it isn’t just the world of architecture that the 3D printer promises to turn inside out. These printers have already done wonders for the world of medicine, and they’re only getting more sophisticated. One team of scientists at Philadelphia’s Drexel University is currently developing a system wherein the printers can be used to recreate cancerous tumours in a lab setting. The scientists can test possible treatments for these cancerous cells, which bear a much closer resemblance to actual tumours than their usual 2D petri dish counterparts and respond more closely to the way actual cancer patients’ bodies do. This process, called bioprinting, uses cells as building blocks to recreate organisms that behave just like the real thing. I know, right? Elsewhere, at the University of Louisville, a team of researchers is trying to create a functional human heart from synthetic materials in a 3D printer. This might sound too space age for you, but it’s not that farfetched: these printers have already been used extensively to

create splints, valves, artificial bones, prosthetic hands and legs — even a functional human ear. Apart from building homes and rebuilding human bodies, 3D printers also hold plenty of promise for the rest of the world. One lab in Togo, Africa has started a campaign to use the country’s excess of e-waste to print medical tools and other essentials for its population. Artists have also gotten on the 3D printing bandwagon: the printers can be used to build all manner of sculptures, jewelry, and other items, without the hassle of purchasing tools or using a workshop. The printers are also a dream for the fashion world, as fabrics can be used to make clothing, shoes, scarves, hats — pretty much anything — without ever actually picking up a needle and thread. A printer designed at the Carnegie Mellon University was recently introduced that functions as a hybrid between an additive manufacturer and a sewing machine, simplifying the process that takes designs from the drawing board to dresses on the runway. Just imagine having one of these babies in your walk-in closet. For now, consumer accessibility seems like the only big obstacle in the rise of 3D printers. They’re much cheaper and more efficient now than they’ve ever been, but a good quality one will still cost you upwards of $1,000; and that’s not counting the materials you’ll need to actually build anything. Not to mention, they’re not exactly the easiest things to use. Plenty of sites have downloadable templates for designs, for everything from dishware to dresswear, but in order to customize what you

May 5, 2014

print, you’ll need to be at least a little tech savvy. You might even have to be a geek. But hey, it’s not all bad! In the last few years, the prices of personal 3D printers have pretty much plummeted, while their practical uses — and consumer demand — have seemingly skyrocketed. Experts predict about a 200 per cent growth in the market within the next four years, which means it might not be too long before your wealthier, geekier friends start buying printers of their very own. While 3D printers might not be a great investment for your apartment just yet, it’s hard to deny that they have a whole lot of potential, and not just for the average Joe or Jane. These futuristic contraptions have already made huge waves in the world of medicine, and saved more than a few lives in the process. They also promise plenty of possibilities for safer, more environmentally conscious industrial growth, as well as helping developing nations to make food and shelter. You may have heard of the 3D printer designed to make pizza, brownies and other goods for astronauts. Who’s to say they can’t be used to help combat hunger in poorer areas of the world? These printers can also be used to print “smooth” food for the elderly, who may have trouble digesting most foods. There’s no question that there are downsides to these printers (mostly do to with their ability to build military weapons and drones), but they’ve already proven their capacity to help make the world a better place. At the end of the day, it’s not just the tools themselves — it’s how we use them. Here’s hoping it’s for good.

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