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FIRST PEEK

May 12, 2014 · Volume 147, Issue 2

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» » » CANADIAN COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER AWARD 2013

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FIRST PEEK

“I pretend to be a supposedly enlightened consumer who drinks organic milk and eats Fairtrade chocolate. But, almost immediately I find myself craving something that is of no use to me, that I cannot use for anything [. . .] that will make my mother angry with me for wasting my money, and that is probably made by a Nepalese child. . . But it comes in such a pretty package!” The above quote, found in Minna and Visa’s “Young people’s environmentalism in the affluent Finnish society,” seemed to them to typify young people’s behaviour surrounding green consumption in affluent societies. For a generation which is supposedly leading the charge when it comes to consuming in an environmentally-friendly manner, the reality is that in our consumer society, it’s not easy being green. Initially, as I sat in lecture hall listening to my professor, the findings that young consumers do not actively consider green choices as part of their consumer behaviour surprised me. I consider myself to be an educated, concerned citizen when it comes to environmental issues — how could my generation be so clueless as to the impact of their actions?

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And yet, as I looked at my styrofoam coffee cup and wrinkled burrito wrapper, the findings that affluent youth still continue to consume in unsustainable ways despite holding green values hit home. Despite having the option to consume and commute in a green way, and to recycle, green consumption is still a minority activity. Time consuming and inconvenient, a truly green lifestyle fails to fit within our pleasure-seeking, consumerist society, which seeks instant gratification for whatever we happen to crave at the moment.

And therein lies one of the biggest issues with green consumption: our consumerist society — which values consumers and producers to keep our economy chugging along — does not appreciate individually virtuous activities. Sure, you might get a pat on the back when you show your neighbour your delightful new compost, but conspicuous consumption — consuming far beyond necessity — is not only the norm, it is encouraged. I know some of you at this point might be saying I’m full of biodegradable waste, and that we’re no longer a Hummer-driving, materialist community. However, the fact remains that we display our wealth and shape our value by consuming

in a fashion that other people recognize. If you need proof, think of the last time you made fun of someone who has a Blackberry instead of the latest iPhone model. If Minna and Visa and other notable scholars are correct, and environmental awareness is not effective on its own at combatting materialistic consumption, then this presents a huge problem for environmentalism in the 21st century. Several scholars have suggested that in order to make green consumption a viable option, it should be blended with materialism. By merging materialist and environmental values, perhaps companies can lend green consumption the caché it needs to become valued within consumer society. In fact, recent surveys have indicated a growing number of consumers who reward firms that address environmental concerns while simultaneously punishing those who ignore them. Because consumption has such important social ramifications in our society of possessiondefined success, increasing the social status of green consumption could lend important support for environmentally-friendly actions. By shifting the understanding of green actions from individual choices to communal contributions, the trend of green consumption might be able to spread beyond the boundaries of Commercial Drive. For now, it’s time to buy a travel mug. You can follow Leah Bjornson

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NEWS

Close on the heels of the Graduate Student Society’s (GSS) deferred maintenance campaign, which strove to create awareness around SFU Burnaby’s aging infrastructure, the Teaching and Support Staff Union (TSSU) is calling attention to potentially hazardous toxic mould in Burnaby’s education building. The TSSU held a town hall meeting on the issue on March 17 as well as an event on May 5 to discuss the possible health concerns for staff and students working in the area, and what action should be taken by the university. According to TSSU spokesperson Melissa Roth, the recent event was a great success. “We spoke to more than 200 people easily from every group on campus, [and] totally covered the education building in posters [. . .] detailing symptoms of exposure.” Roth has spoken publicly on the issue, and articulated concerns at the town hall meeting that the health of staff has already been seriously affected by the mould. As reported the Burnaby Newsleader, Roth provided an anecdote of another SFU union member who said that they had worked in the education building for 20 years, and had experienced symptoms of exposure to toxic mould for much of that time.

news editor email / phone

May 12, 2014

In an official release, Roth criticized the breakdown of communication and lack of action from the university on the issue. “Even though some of our members have reported adverse health effects from working in the education building during this time, the union has not received any official communications in 1.5 years as to the extent of the problem. She continued, “We are disappointed but determined to solve this problem to ensure that our workers have a safe work environment in the future.” According to Terry Waterhouse, SFU’s chief safety officer, the mould problem is indicative of moisture seeping into the 40year old building, a fact that the university discovered over the past two years. Waterhouse, who spoke to the Burnaby Newsleader, said that the water damage has affected the structure of the building along with creating the mould and affecting indoor air quality. The extent of the problem will not be known until June, when assessments have been completed. However, work to fix the problem began approximately a year ago. Waterhouse also refuted the TSSU’s claims of poor communication, saying that the university has “communicated broadly” with users of the building, disseminated information about the work being done, and held a town hall meeting in March. The university receives $2.2 million annually from the provincial government for maintenance, although required yearly maintenance costs are estimated at $20 million. In 2011, the university’s Five Year Capital Plan reported that 53 per cent of the campus’ buildings are in poor condition, while another 27 per cent are ranked fair.

Mitchell suggests young adults should not worry about the stigma of living at home

Recent statistics have shown that almost half of Metro Vancouverites in their 20s still live at home — the second-highest rate in Canada. Barbara Mitchell, SFU professor of sociology and gerontology, explained that “returning home is quite common these days, with one third of Canadian young people aged 20 to 30 returning at least once.” Mitchell calls this period of life the “Boomerang Age.” The name borrows from the idea that young adults are returning home after leaving for university or college, producing a similar trajectory to that of a boomerang. According to Statistics Canada, many university students have to work double, triple and in some cases six times the number of hours at minimum-wage jobs to afford tuition costs compared with 40 years ago. On top of tuition, other costs for students include rent, food, and other basic necessities. All these factors considered, for many, it makes financial sense to live at home.

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

Many young adults quickly discover that even with a university degree, it isn’t easy to secure a job after graduation — especially one within their field with a reliable income. “The labour market has become more precarious and less stable relative to recent time periods,” Mitchell told The Province. With better healthcare and a longer lifespan, some older employees are opting to remain in their positions for longer periods, as they postpone their retirements.

According to a survey conducted by Harris Poll, employers are hesitant to hire the newly graduated because of three reasons: first, they feel there is too much emphasis on book learning instead of real world learning in post-secondary education; second, the company may require a blend of technical skills as well as the soft skills gained from liberal arts; and third, entry level roles are growing more complex.

Melissa Roach

Returning home can be difficult, Mitchell explains. Some young adults might feel a lack of privacy and independence — they feel monitored and “subjected to parental rules and regulations,” and feel as if they are developing a dependency on their parents. The difference in personality and lifestyles may also affect day-to-day living, leaving both parties feeling stressed and frustrated. Nevertheless, living at home can have advantages. Many people have stated that living in Metro Vancouver is expensive and oftentimes unaffordable. It is therefore cheaper to share the burden of cost by pooling the family resources. When living at home, money normally spent on tuition or living expenses could be put towards paying off student loans or saving up for future investments, such as a condo. Home can additionally be an environment that is safe and familiar and could help reduce stress and anxiety. Despite the stigma surrounding living in your parents’ basement, Mitchell feels that the choice to return home doesn’t have to be shameful. The homelife can be an opportunity for young adults to explore their individual identities and roles, before taking on the full responsibilities of adulthood.


NEWS

SFU phasers were set to win at the 2014 VEX Robotics World Championship in Anaheim, California earlier this month, which invited top robotics teams from around the world to compete against “the best of the best.” Founded just last year by engineering student Gordon Ho, SFU’s VEX Robotics team was the only Canadian university team to compete. The VEX Robotics World Championship included nearly 700 teams which qualified during competition tournaments held throughout the year. Midway through the season, SFU’s team was ranked #1 in the world in the skills challenges component and had earned enough points to be included in the top 30 university teams around the world. Each year, the World Championship presents a different challenge to the competitors. The object of this year’s game was to attain a higher score than the opposing team by moving multiple coloured balls from around a field of play and transporting them to the goal areas. The team began working on their robot last September. After many brainstorming sessions and team exercises, the group finally came up with a viable design. After that, Ho explained, “We actually drew the robot in a 3D CAD program called Google Sketchup. Then we printed out each subsection — drive, arm, and the manipulator — then members could pick up a piece of paper and start building it right away.” The club met once a week in the Applied Sciences wing to work on their automaton, but limited space meant they had to improvise to reach the top. “We don’t actually have a field set up at SFU. We don’t really have a room. We just have a cabinet,” said team member Joanna Che, laughing. “That proved an extra challenge because we had to go all the way to Gladstone to borrow their playing field just to program our automatons.”

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When designing their ‘bots, the team had to be conscious of the fact that they would have to transport both smaller BuckyBalls and Large Balls to different goals of varying heights. All this would have to be accomplished in just two minutes, while avoiding obstacles like speed bumps and going under 12-inch tall bridges.

SFU’s robot was designed with standard four-wheel drive and a flexible mobile arm which can manipulate the different balls. Ho explained, “When the robot starts, it’s really compact because we needed it to fit in the 15 inch [limitation],

but once it expands it can reach the full 24-inch goal.” The intake manipulator involves two rollers with rubber flaps which can adjust to the size of the ball to control it, and then another roller on top to adjust to and control the large ball. “Mostly the balls are away from the goal area, so you have to collaborate with your partner [robot],” explained Che. Due to funding limitations, the SFU team ended up partnering with UBC’s robotics club in order to field the required team of two robots. For the first minute of the game, a team is not allowed to directly control its robots. Instead, they have to rely on complex programming so that their robots can sense the boundaries of the space, find where the balls are, and drive to their destination. The second minute sees a driver controlling the robot directly. “If you have a really good programmer, you can really get ahead of the game, because half

of the game is programming,” said Ho. Although the team placed 16th overall out of the 60 programming and driving teams, they dominated in the programming skills challenge. During this portion of the competition, teams have two robots on the field with no opponents and have to score as many points as possible in 45 seconds. The rub: the challenge is completely pre-programmed. With careful and precise preparation, the team took 4th place. The team is already brainstorming for next year’s World Championship, which will task competitors to move and manipulate wireframe cubes into goals of up to five feet. However, the team is ready to take off on their own — without UBC’s partnership. “For the next year, if we get enough funding, we’re hoping to have two teams going to the World Championships. So, we’ll have more teams from BC and Canada to represent at the World Championships,” Ho concluded.

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6 NEWS

Last month, SFU President Andrew Petter addressed the Vancouver Board of Trade regarding the value of traditional university education — specifically, liberal arts degrees — in today’s ever-changing global economy. The BC Liberals have recently begun “re-engineering” the education system and choosing which specific post-secondary programs will be funded and which will not according to labour market needs. This motion is currently encouraging students to pursue careers in skilled trades that are faced with a shortage of workers. Beginning this September, $160 million currently in the postsecondary education system will be redirected toward programs the Liberals feel are important for

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BC’s economy. In four years, they will have redirected approximately $400 million. Despite this overhaul, SFU’s president does not believe this “re-engineering” will majorly affect the university. Petter dismisses the “barista” argument — which claims that every coffee shop has an over-educated university graduate employee — as an urban legend by presenting the bare facts. According to a provincial study, 78 per cent of jobs in the next decade will require postsecondary education, and more than 45 per cent of those jobs will require university education. In fact, Petter told The Peak that he was encouraged by the Liberals’ announcement, because although their plan focuses on “priority job areas,” it was not limited to the trades. Furthermore, it did not claim that the labour market’s needs should be the only criteria for education. He mentioned that the current education system was already progressing along with the labour market by offering more programs in engineering, health sciences, and business. The liberal arts, according to Petter, also plays an essential role in today’s economy. “Liberal arts is not just for liberal arts students. It’s important in creating the

New technology from the University of Alberta is combining socks and smartphones to create a 3D heart sock that can be stretched over the heart muscle to monitor its condition. Patients would be able to use their smartphones to review their heart health using an embedded wireless chip. “When your heart is unhealthy, there can be a lot of different signals coming from an [electrocardiogram], where the signal is really average,” said Hyun-Joong Chung, assistant professor of engineering at the U of A. “What our sock can give you is a direct, localized signal straight from the heart. The researchers hope that the 3D heart sock could potentially be used in the future for heat ablation, drug delivery or shock therapy. With files from The Gateway

writing and creativity and problem solving abilities that inform all students [. . .]” He also believes that the provincial government’s “re-engineering” will reflect this in the coming years. Petter also noted that businesses are not looking to hire people pre-trained in their industries, but for individuals with intellectual skills, creativity and writing abilities, which are provided by liberal arts education. In the end, he said, it all comes down to striking a balance between filling presently vacant jobs and planning for the future. “We’re in a ‘global knowledge’ economy now, where knowledge is the main currency, and what that means is, yes, we can prepare people for jobs that exist today, but in many cases the jobs that exists today won’t exist five years from now,” said Petter. “And if we want to be competitive we’re going to have to create new jobs and new opportunities and have people who can think creatively outside the box, and can problem solve, and [who] can create the opportunities of the future.” Petter used the example of the liquefied natural gas industry to illustrate that an overwhelming emphasis on the trades is not necessarily required. Although such an industry certainly requires skilled

trades workers, it also needs scientists, engineers, business people with managerial, marketing, and human resources skills, and those who can assess the industry’s social and environmental impacts. Communities built around the liquefied natural gas industry will also require doctors, teachers and a multitude of other service providers, all of whom would require university educations. Petter stressed, “To think, even in the natural resources

Over 500 protesters marched from McGill College to Square Victoria on May 1 to mark International Workers’ Day, also known as May Day. Similar marches and protests have been held around the city since 1906; this year, however some encountered heavy police interference. “I don’t think we can have a better example of police repression; there’s nothing more totalitarian that that, goddamn it, because we went to two different locations, and it hadn’t even begun, and there were already people kettled [. . .],” Maxence, a visibly angered protester, told The Daily in French. “It’s absolutely ridiculous.” In total, 132 protesters were detained and fined, while four people were taken to hospital following injuries suffered during police interventions.

area, that we don’t need people with university education generally, or liberal arts in particular, is simply wrong, and thankfully the labour market studies that have been done validate that.” He continued, “It is really important that we remember that university education, as much as it is about getting a job and being successful, it’s also about developing one’s capacities as a citizen. And one of the great things about university education is that it does both.”

Students perusing the Spotted at Mac Facebook page were in for more than they bargained for early this month when a student posted about an alleged sexual assault. The girl posted a photo of a man who she claims forced himself on her after they’d had a few drinks at a local bar. The site has been used previously to post pictures of a supposed thief and other foul players. Jenny McGreal, media relations officer at Hamilton Police Services, applauded this vigilantism, saying, “As difficult as it is, we do need victims to come forward and that’s part of our constant challenge of educating the public, of creating that awareness that we’re here to help.” With files from The Silhouette

With files from The McGill Daily


NEWS

May 12, 2014

With a new SFSS board now in place, the first order of business was to appoint members to the society’s various committees. The new committee chairs and members were ratified at the last board meeting on May 6. However, there were issues in regards to committee appointments arising from the recent restructuring of the board. The Internal Relations Officer (IRO) position no longer exists, leaving that spot open on several committees. While the President is to assume all responsibilities of the IRO, the President must already sit on every committee. The other concern is that of the Member Service Officer’s (MSO) committee seats. The MSO position has now been split into that of VP, Student Services and VP, Student Life. The board proposed recommendations as to how the seats should be divided among the two positions, but this matter — as well as that of the IRO vacancies — will be addressed by the executive members at their next meeting.

The board has decided to send both President Chardaye Bueckert and VP, Student Services Zied Masmoudi to an upcoming Studentcare Health and Dental Stakeholders Conference this May 21 to 23. “The SFSS would not be incurring any costs on this trip beyond the per diem,” said Bueckert, the per diem being $35 each. Moe Kopahi, VP, University Relations attended the conference last year and called it, “a really good opportunity for us to see what Studentcare will provide in the student plan.” He added that the conference is a place for sharing ideas, one example coming out of last year’s event being a Health and Dental Plan smartphone application.

The SFU Faculty Association (SFUFA) is pursuing certification, which would make the SFUFA a bargaining unit recognized by the BC Labour Relations Board. This move follows in the footsteps of the University of Victoria, whose faculty association voted to unionize on January 24. According to SFUFA president, Neil Abramson, the SFU administration currently allows the SFUFA to bargain on behalf of professors. However, that power is dependant on SFU administration and could be revoked. “The issue about where you get your power from is that if your power comes from the university administration and they might get seriously pissed off at you, they could withdraw that [power],” said Abramson. “Whereas if you’re a union, you’re recognized by the Labour Relations Board.” However, he is careful to point out that the push for certification is not due to a strained

relationship with administration, or animosity, as was the case with UVic: “We have a very positive relationship with our administration, and we’ve had the whole time I’ve been involved, which is about 17 years now.” Abramson added, “We’re not doing it because we’re unhappy about what the administration is doing; we’re doing it because our administration just doesn’t have the horsepower to help us.” However, he does lay some blame on the Public Sector Employers’ Council (PSEC), the provincial regulatory body in labour relations.

Abramson noted that he was initially against certification and had tried to negotiate interest arbitration — in which an arbitrator can pick a compromise between the two sides — rather than having to choose a side, as SFU currently must. Allegedly, SFU administration was willing to accept, but PSEC

proposed conditions that were unfavorable. “All of administration supported us [. . .] about interest arbitration but they had to confirm with PSEC whether that was a possibility or not and they said yeah [. . .] but one of the factors has to be that they absolutely can’t go any higher than what PSEC has dictated,” said Abramson. He added, “Our lawyers said don’t take that because that’s even worse than what you got now.” In a statement released online, SFU vice-president, academic and provost Jonathan Driver said that SFU administration has taken a neutral position on certification. “The relationship with SFUFA has been one of cooperation and mutual respect and, regardless of the outcome of this process, the administration remains committed to ensuring it remains so,” stated Driver. However, he said certification “would

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put the relationship on a different legal footing.” Said Abramson, “Nothing is likely to change except we will have some extra places [where] we can talk to [the administration] and ask them to listen to us.” Unionization was first brought up in a SFUFA meeting last spring, and now it appears that most faculty are behind certification. In an electronic poll over Christmas, 45 per cent of faculty voiced their opinions on the issue, as compared to the 35 per cent estimated to respond. However, Abramson believes that 10 to 15 per cent of faculty could be against unionization. Although the SFUFA were initially planning to vote in the fall, they have decided to do so sooner. Abramson is hoping to be certified by June, with a vote by the end of the month, but the vote itself is up to Labour Relations. “We’ll see what happens,” he concluded.


8 NEWS

Using evidence from HIV evolution in North America, SFU researchers have discovered that the virus is slowly adapting over time to its human hosts. Nevertheless, assistant professor of health sciences at SFU and lead author of this study, Zabrina Brumme asserts that the evolution is not progressing fast enough to be a danger to humans. Brumme explained, “The purpose of our study was to investigate the adaptation of HIV to immune selection pressures in the North American population. To do this, we studied HIV specimens dating back from 1979 to the present day. From these specimens we extracted human immune information as well as virus sequence

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data and looked for evidence that the virus was adapting to our immune systems over time.” With funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR), Brumme’s lab was able to collaborate with scientists at UBC, the BC Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, and sites across the US. Although HIV-1 specimens used in the study were from 1979, the oldest specimens sequenced date back to 1959 and 1960. “Both are from Central Africa. With respect to North America, the oldest sequences date back to 1979 and were collected as part of our study.” Brumme said. The findings of the study, she stated, were evidence that the virus is indeed slowly adapting over time to its human hosts. However, Brumme says there is no need to panic: “This change is so gradual that it is unlikely to have an impact on host immunity to HIV — or vaccine design — on a relevant timescale.”

She continued, “Basically, we’ve got the tools now, in the form of potent anti-HIV drugs, to turn the tide of HIV globally. These drugs do two things: a) they save lives and b) they reduce the risk of HIV transmission essentially to zero.” The research team hopes that by collecting and sequencing historic HIV-1 isolates, they will be able to achieve a deeper understanding of how HIV has spread around the world. “Understanding how HIV evolves in infected persons and host populations is also relevant to HIV prevention, notably development of an HIV vaccine,” Brumme said. Although the evolutionary side of HIV is just one piece in a much larger puzzle, the team says they have reasons to be hopeful. Brumme explained, “A major global priority is the delivery of HIV treatment to the millions of people worldwide who need it — to save lives and eliminate new infections. While we do the above, we also need to continue to invest resources and scientific efforts towards finding an HIV vaccine and an HIV cure.”

A recent study by SFU researchers John Gaspar and John McDonald has provided new insight into how the brain is able to focus on a single task while at the same time being bombarded with other intrusive and distracting signals. Gaspar and McDonald have isolated a neural mechanism in the brain as the site which determines how a person is able to block out external stimuli and focus on a task. This is an important step in understanding disorders such as ADHD and schizophrenia. Researchers have debated for the past 25 years as to whether visual objects grab our attention automatically or whether we are able to ignore these objects. This was difficult to determine because the

neural mechanism was not entirely understood. But, thanks to Gaspar and McDonald’s 3.5-year study, we now know more about how this mechanism works. The study involved three experiments in which 47 students of approximately 21 years of age were given a visual search task, while sensors relayed information about their neural processes related to attention and distraction. Results provided empirical evidence to show that our ability to ignore intrusive signals is the result of a process called attentional suppression. This describes how the brain will actively suppress signals coming from visual sources that can distract from a primary focus. Gaspar and McDonald hope this research will broaden the understanding of the most contemporary ideas of attention, which are mainly focused on understanding the neural processes involved in picking out objects in a visual field. Think of a Where’s Waldo illustration; we now understand not only how we can pick Waldo from his chaotic world, but

also how we are able to tune out the irrelevant information. Knowledge of this attentional suppression mechanism is especially important for understanding conditions such as ADHD and schizophrenia. It may help us to understand what these disorders are and whether there are subdisorders that are currently hidden under these blanket diagnoses. ADHD is a commonly diagnosed disorder with over six million children diagnosed in the United States alone. It also presents very different symptoms in children and adults. Research concerning how neural mechanisms, such as the one discovered by Gaspar and McDonald, are related to ADHD will hopefully enable us to make more informed diagnoses in the future. There is still a lot of work to be done in this field because each person’s brain has individual differences in its ability to deal with distraction and focus on tasks. Gaspar and McDonald intend to continue their research on this mechanism to uncover more about how attention works in all its complexity.


OPINIONS

Peaches Geldof was infamous in the British tabloids from a young age, dabbling in drugs and flirting her way through the London party scene. Her image, though, changed when she became mother to two young boys in her early twenties. She was an advocate of “attachment parenting,” an overly attentive parenting style involving, for instance, letting your child share a bed with you, or continuing breastfeeding until the child is much older than usual. Most assumed Peaches had turned over a new leaf . . . until she was found dead at home with her nine-month old son on April 7. The official coroner’s report revealed that she had died of a heroin overdose. The media was quick to judge her. Unfair, patronizing headlines such as “Peaches Geldof Cared More About Heroin Than

opinions editor email / phone

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About Her Children,” (Mirror UK) quickly emerged. While she comes across as overbearing and irritating in her much publicized parenting debates, one thing is clear: she cared about her children. This woman was suffering from a disease, one that she lost her own mother to at a young age. If her husband, equally outspoken about the “right” way to be a parent, had died, the media would not have been shocked. Fathers, however devoted, are expected to have a life outside of their children. We can equate a father who dabbles in drugs with being a loving guy when he’s home on the weekends. The public notion is that there are more men who have, to use tabloid terms, “illicit double lives” outside of their family lives. Men are the ones who slip up with affairs and addictions, while women who do the same are home-wreckers and bad mothers. Peaches’ death is proof that addiction doesn’t discriminate and can befall even those who are in a role of extreme responsibility. Peaches had the means to pay for childcare, but she chose to take drugs while she was alone with her son. We can pity her for being unable to resist heroin, but why would someone who has the money to pay for a babysitter

think getting high with her child was a better idea? Peaches’ overly-attached style of parenting could be to blame for her son’s tragic proximity to her death. She used her role as a mother as a lifeline separating her from the party girl image that seemed to haunt her. This is a woman who associated being a good mother with being a constant presence in her childrens’ lives. The very notion of motherhood is put under a microscope in modern day society. Motherhood is expected to be central to a woman’s life, with all that came before it being abandoned for breastfeeding and grinning while elbows-deep in poop. We expect mothers to be more central to a child’s upbringing and more devoted than fathers, as reflected most clearly in Peaches’ own parenting style. The fact that a way of parenting can even be critiqued as right or wrong is ludicrous, but exemplifies the extreme pressure that women are put under to perform to their very best feminine ideal. The pressure of being the ultimate figure in her sons’ lives, which Geldof took on publicly with such vigour, did not leave room for taking the personal time required to fight her addiction.

Joel MacKenzie opinions@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560

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efore anything, check that the room is well lit. That’s the first step. Now take a good look at yourself in the mirror, and evaluate — is your hair tamed? Your shirt sufficiently buttoned, or unbuttoned? Is your lipstick the right shade of red, or your beard trimmed? Test out a few expressions: silly, serious, flirty, flippant, daring, destitute, casual, classy. Cock an eyebrow, purse your lips, or wink an eye. Try to pick a look that says: I’m taking this seriously, but not too seriously. Make sure your camera phone is tilted upwards to a 45 degree angle — an unspoken but invaluable rule. Take a deep breath, strike a pose, and snap the photo. Choose a filter, pick the right border, tag your friends, and add a couple of hashtags for good measure. Now press send. Congratulations; you’ve just joined a league of more than one million people daily who take photos of themselves and upload them to Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Grindr, Tumblr, and dozens of other social media networks. Whether you’re looking for attention, wooing potential suitors or just trying to put on your best face for the rest of the world, you’ve become a part of one of the biggest, most persistent trends of this decade: you just took a selfie. Famously, the selfie reached the zenith of its cultural status just last year, when the Oxford English Dictionary awarded it the honour of being 2013’s Word of the Year, beating out harsh competition from similarly ubiquitous buzzwords such as twerk, binge-watch and bitcoin. When selfie took the title last November, no one could argue that it had earned the distinction: its usage had gone up by about 17,000 per cent since that time the previous year. Unsurprisingly, the most active and vocal members of the selfie movement are millennials. The PEW Research Centre conducted research which concluded about 91 per cent of American teenagers have taken at least one selfie in their lifetime, and Instagram stats prove that about 30 per cent of photos posted by 18–24 year olds are selfies. Of course, there’s also a pronounced and vocal percentage of selfie takers who don’t fit into the millennial generation — look no further than the high-profile snapshots of Barack Obama, David Cameron and the Pope to see just how wide a net the selfie casts. For the uninitiated, there’s plenty of selfie varieties and classifications, each with its own distinct style and message. There’s the workout selfie, the half selfie, the couple selfie, the no makeup selfie, the graduation selfie, the after sex selfie, the funeral selfie, the breakup selfie, the stealth-ie, the space selfie, the bathroom selfie, the pet selfie, the celebrity selfie, the food

selfie, the duckface selfie; even the kicked-in-the-head-in-front-of-amoving-train selfie. More and more, casual, spontaneous self-portraits have begun to invade our social networks and Instagram feeds — but what’s behind this burgeoning trend? Is it narcissism, or identity building? Is it a new phenomenon, or just the next stage in an ongoing movement in art and culture? And, perhaps most importantly, will it ever go away? OOO hough the term might be new, the concept behind selfies has been around almost as long as civilization itself. The history of the self-portrait reaches all the way back to, well, Bak. The chief sculptor for the Egyptian pharaoh Akhenaten, Bak’s self portrait is the oldest one anthropologists have uncovered — though it’s likely that older ones exist. Selfportraits were common practice in the Greek and Roman Empires, but didn’t really hit their first stride until the Renaissance, with the work of Albrecht Dürer, a painter famously obsessed with his public image. (Sound familiar?) Dürer painted dozens of self-portraits, usually painting himself facing slightly to the right — still common practice for selfies today. Apart from Dürer, many painters dabbled in self portraits as a form of self-expression. Some, like Vincent van Gogh, Frida Kahlo and Rembrandt, have become particularly well-known for their self-portraiture. Eventually, with the invention of the photograph, the camera became the tool of choice to depict oneself: one of the first documented photos of a human is a selfie of Robert Cornelius, an American pioneer of photographic technology. Since then, selfies have become common practice for photographers, artists, and celebrities. Vivian Maier, Arthur Rimbaud, Edgar Dégas, Paul McCartney, Andy Warhol, Princess Anastasia Romanov, and JFK were all known to snap the occasional self portrait — way before it was cool. The first known instance of the term selfie actually surfaced in 2002, a full decade before its Word of the Year title. As far as anyone knows, the very first “selfie” on the web can be found in a post on an Australian forum, three years before the word earned its own Urban Dictionary entry. Australians remain the world champion selfie takers — Canada comes in at number three — and the Oxford English Dictionary even recognizes the word as having an Australian origin. Selfies gained popularity in the Internet age at first as “MySpace pics,” blurry, often sexually charged snapshots posted to the aforementioned website. They began as, and remained, predominantly a teenage phenomenon (because let’s


Stuart Poyntz, SFU professor of communications

#SELFIE

“There’s a spectrum of images and stories that come to us through selfies which, otherwise, we wouldn’t see or hear.”


12 OPINIONS

May 12, 2014

I love electronics stores. I’m the kind of guy who you’ll find sauntering around Future Shop, staring at all the items I’d already seen when I was in last week. I re-visit so many times, but why don’t I buy anything? It’s because the sight of the bright yellow price tags rips little chunks from my soul. It’s no secret that Canada has some of the highest rates for electronics in the world. It’s also no secret that our country’s digital divide is steadily increasing. As the poor become poorer, it is becoming more difficult for those less fortunate to purchase gadgets and gain access to the Internet, something that Datawind CEO Suneet Singh Tuli called “a fundamental human right.” I’m happy to report that this Montreal-based web access development company has recently developed a range of cheap digital tablets with the aim to help bridge the digital divide. Their cheapest product to date, a wireless tablet called the Ubislate 7Ci, ranks as the world’s lowest cost tablet, priced online at $37.99.

“This idea is to bridge the digital divide,” Tuli told the Globe and Mail, “to overcome the affordability barrier.” Now, I know what you’re thinking: how can a tablet this low in price be of any quality sufficient enough to satisfy customers? The answer is it doesn’t. That is, it doesn’t when you compare it to top-of-the-line Apple products. The Ubislate 7Ci can only hold four gigabytes of memory,

and has a screen resolution of 800-by-480 pixels, compared to the iPad mini’s 16 gigabytes of memory and 1024-by-768 display. To those of us who currently own iPads or high-end Android tablets, the idea of owning a device that can only carry as much data as a DVD seems abysmal. But to those who wouldn’t be able to afford anything else, the opportunity is phenomenal.

Tuli told the Globe that his team is “working on its strategy to sell cut-rate ‘good enough’ tablets.” He knows that his tablets cannot be compared with high-end products, and his aims are not to make them so. He believes there is a strong market of consumers willing to trade performance for low-price. And Tuli must be right; while the tablet can only provide Internet through wireless connections and has a screen resolution about

Avril Lavigne’s latest single “Hello Kitty” is guilty of a lot of things: lazily choreographed arm waves with camera jitter, unimaginative lyrics, and intense colours and costumes to distract you from all the wretched noise (sorry, Avril, but leave a cupcake skirt for Gaga to work). But contrary to what the Internet is exploding over, racism should not be what the former sk8er chick is being slammed for. In the video, Lavigne in no way suggests that one race is better than another, or specifically belittles Japanese culture. Rather, she uses pop music as a medium to integrate herself into that culture. “Hello Kitty” is nothing but a pure example of pop music

marketing, taken to an extreme, and being mistaken for looking like a parody of Japanese culture. The explosion of anime and exaggerated Japanese cultural references by Lavigne in the video is over-the-top, but she does this to tap into fundamental facets of Japanese entertainment, specifically the quality of kawaii (cuteness, adorable, etc.), to make herself instantly recognizable to that particular audience. Much of Japan isn’t comprised of people dressed in cupcake skirts, but often, when it comes to the country’s entertainment, the bolder you can be, the more memorable your material will be. Having been to Japan myself, the daytime is pretty mundane with people in white shirts and black pants, walking to their jobs. But once the sun goes down (and the city lights brighten) areas such as the Akihabara District come to life, with cartoon characters from the television roaming the streets.

Given the vibrant imagery in her music video, Avril seems to channel a typical stroll down Akihabara District. No, she doesn’t reach very far, nor try very hard to be creative, but what the song presents in its video is pretty representative of Japanese entertainment, which is spot on if she was intending to build hype with her Japanese fans. In that same vein, let’s not forget the music video was filmed on location in Tokyo. Now, who are we to judge if Avril is being racist, when the very country that we are accusing her of belittling welcomed her and allowed her to execute the things she did on camera? Watching behind-the-scenes on the making of this video, you see Avril being guided by a Japanese man on how to dance and speak for the video. If “Hello Kitty” is truly racist, then this bit of evidence could be a tiny bit problematic. Taking an extreme plunge with everything typically associated with Japanese entertainment (cartoonish outfits, very animated

movements, nauseating bright colours, etc.), “Hello Kitty” impressively — possibly sadly — represents what pop music is ultimately about: experimentation. With a heavy dubstep-esque beat paired with childish imagery and actions, Avril is far from being a racist. She’s an artist first and foremost, simply playing with her art — how good of an artist is completely subjective, however. And you know how artists are: they can’t create anything without a tiny bit of controversy. Despite it all, say what you want, listen to as much or as little of “Hello Kitty” as you want, the song has clawed its way into most of our ears, and officially earned a spot on the Billboard’s Top 100. Currently, it’s at No. 75. But who’s honestly counting when we’ve got another horribly infectious song to (guiltily) dance to this summer?

as good as a screen on the back seat of an airplane, he says that the company initially struggled to keep up with the high volume of orders for it. Evidently, there is high demand for such a product, and I personally feel it’s about time a company honed in on helping certain individuals acheive their human rights. What’s even better? Datawind recently announced that it plans to create a new tablet that will cost just $20, in pursuit of “mak[ing] tablet ownership possible for anyone and everyone.” The Internet is meant for all of us, no matter what our financial circumstances are. It is the single, largest informative database which allows people to access and share information, a major contributor in upholding a functional democracy. Yes, in their reviews, critics have frowned upon Datawind’s products. But these critics are wealthy snobs (comparatively speaking) who have trouble realizing that this technology is not intended for people like them. If Ubislate users have reasonable expectations, then they should be more than happy with a cheap device that gets the job done, affording Internet access to those who thought it inaccessible.


OPINIONS

On May 1, Vancouver Canucks head coach John Tortorella was fired with four years remaining on his contract. I like Torts, and back when the talk started that he might be fired I was strongly against it. As a matter of fact, I wrote an article called “Canucks face a season of change,” more or less an evaluation of the 201314 Canucks, which featured my opinion that Torts should stay

May 12, 2014

(at the expense of GM Mike Gillis — who was fired as well). Torts’ strengths, as I’ve said before, are quite well suited to where the Canucks are going. He has a good track record of developing prospects and youth during his previous stints on the New York Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Zack Kassian has already taken strides this season, and with prospects like Bo Horvat and Nicklas Jensen, who shined during the last stretch of games, the Canucks need a coach who can develop youth. In addition, he took the Lightning from mediocrity to a Stanley Cup during his tenure, and guided the Rangers to four playoff appearances in his five seasons with them, including making it to the conference

finals. The year he was let go he took them to the second round, and was only a year removed from the conference finals.

If anything, his season with the Canucks is an anomaly on his resume, and with factors such as injuries, an aging core, and a team that has been down trending since 2011, it would be easy to excuse his performance. Many players, though, also had a noticeably weaker year.

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I didn’t want to write about this. Saying Batman rocks is like saying umbrellas keep you dry. I know it, you know it, and even Marvel fans can admit it. It’s not just the character. Not just his being the classic young person who devotes his life to avenging his parents, and who uses his every means to make the world a better place, and separate good from evil. It’s also the stories that ask us what good and evil are, and how

one person can define them in the real world. They ask what it means to be a hero, and often, what it means to stand up for what one believes in. We, as students, are all Batmans, aren’t we? We all similarly struggle to find, define, and do “good.” (I like to think.) But sometimes it’s more interesting to watch this expressed in its most physical form, one that fights, grows old, and faces death head-on, in its full force.

No, I’m not talking about Batman’s city. I’m talking about a new Fox prequel Batman series titled Gotham. I’m also kind of talking about the suspected Batman vs. Superman movie. Prequels are usually nothing but a means to mentally masturbate over a beat-down concept of a show, especially one as fetishizable as Batman. If companies are so hell-bent on making superhero franchises, where are the new ones? Does the comic book remain the only medium acceptable for superhero experimentation?

If you agree, you might be interested in the countless other Batman prequels that have already been published as comics, and that Fox was not involved in. Cough. Frankly, I think we’ve had enough Batman in general. The Batman of today probably won’t differ much from the Batman of two years ago. And damn it, if you agree with me, then don’t watch the movies or series. Don’t talk about them. Preserve the concept of Batman.

This includes the Sedins, who in hindsight, may have been a mistake to put on the penalty kill, with Henrik breaking his ironman streak of 679 games. The Heritage Classic Luongo snub was probably the one definite error in Torts’ short tenure. He not only forced Gillis to trade Roberto Luongo, but this also appeared to contribute to the continuing early 2014 tailspin that cost the Canucks the playoffs (although of no fault to rookie goaltender Eddie Lack). All in all, I probably would have kept the coach at least until the next season, only to consider his dismissal if the Canucks got off to a miserable start. But I do respect that this is a new regime making new decisions, rather than Gillis just

trying to save his job. It seems that with the amount of time it took to fire Tortorella that some serious thought went into it, and with new president Trevor Linden’s prior experience as a player, he can probably pick up things in the dressing room, things that we might not necessarily see on TV. In addition, whoever Linden picks to be his GM can now truly put his own stamp on the team, starting with a new coach. No matter what happens, good or bad, next season will be an exciting one for the Canucks. If in the end there is only one winner in this, it will likely be player David Booth, who has probably avoided a buyout on the account of two pricey firings.


14 DIVERSIONS / ETC

May 12, 2014

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ARTS

arts editor email / phone

May 12, 2014

If an author gave you permission to rip out the pages of his book, would you dare? Very few authors write books intending audiences to directly alter or engage in their works; however, this component is frequently seen in visual or situational art installations. For Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, a contemporary visual artist and author, this is completely acceptable. Red: A Haida Manga was created as a single large-scale mural (4.5 metres tall by two metres wide) and later deconstructed to form a 108-page book. So if you want to cut up two copies of the recently released paperback edition to reassemble the original image, Yahgulanaas has given his consent. Yahgulanaas is the creator of a new style of graphic novel called “Haida Manga” which combines First Nations’ art style and tales with the Japanese graphic novel form of manga. Yahgulanaas uses his distinct style of art to give life to the tales of the peoples of Haida Gwaii. He brings the characters to life with minimal realistic detail, yet incredible visual style, using simple iconic forms to express complex meanings. The pages are filled with vibrant colours, including the traditional Haida tri-colour scheme of black, red, and blue-green. Red: A Haida Manga, an award-nominated title published by Douglas & McIntyre in 2009, is based on an oral Haida narrative. Red and his sister Jaada are both orphans living in a coastal community not unlike the Haida. Raiders attack their village and abduct Jaada when Red is still a boy. As Red matures into manhood, he becomes the chief of the village, but grows up feeling responsible for the capture of his sister. When news comes that his sister was spotted in a nearby village, Red is filled with rage

Tessa Perkins arts@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560

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and blinded by revenge. He leads his community to the brink of war and destruction in an effort to exact retribution on his sister’s captors. Thick black outlines — called formlines in Haida art — sweep through the pages, echoing manga comic panels. However, where most comics have breaks and white space between the images, Yagulanaas feels that everything outside those panels becomes blank and vacant. For him, it is a more honest depiction to fill up the dividers with a black formline, creating a continuous element in the formerly empty spaces and eroding hierarchy. He frequently incorporates the formline into the story, to create depth, indicate movement and narrative flow, or as a space for text.

The book launch for the paperback edition of Red: A Haida Manga coincided with a gallery exhibit, which opened on May 3. This is Yahgulanaas’s third solo exhibit at the Douglas Udell Gallery in Vancouver, and debuts the latest pieces in his Coppers from the Hood series. The exhibit, entitled SOLO 3, is actually his fourth unaccompanied exhibit for the Udell Gallery, if you include the Douglas Udell Gallery in Edmonton. The Coppers from the Hood series was inaugurated in 2007 at the Museum of Anthropology at UBC; its pieces have been internationally exhibited and collected. Yahgulanaas uses metal automobile hoods, covers them in copper leaf, and paints distinctive Haida Manga imagery. The latest coppers for the series continue to explore fetishes and embark on a study of the “sacred geography of multiple genders.” The exhibit also includes new works on paper including watercolour and graphite drawings from an ongoing series, as well as the Flappes series, which is similar to the Coppers from the Hood series but based on gas cap lid doors.

Yahgulanaas studied with Haida master carvers as well as a Chinese brush painter and is influenced visually by Japanese wood-block printing, contemporary manga, and ancient Haida panel pipes. He also spent three decades working with First Nations and environmental groups to preserve the Haida Gwaii lands on the former Queen Charlotte Islands, and to maintain the independence of the Haida people. His work frequently incorporates contemporary social issues into mediums that are easy to comprehend by the masses. The exhibit runs through May 24 and paperback copies of Red are available for sale at the gallery. Pick up a couple copies of the book, recreate the mural, and see if you can identify the three Haida animals hidden within the formlines.

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.


16 ARTS

Now in its second year, the rEvolver Festival showcases new works by emerging artists from all over Canada during two incredible weeks of theatre performance. As managing artistic producer Daniel Martin explains, this is “not your grandma’s theatre.” The works featured are relevant and modern, fostering discussion and debate among spectators. Hosted at The Cultch, a gorgeous playhouse in Vancouver, the wonderful atmosphere sets the stage for the rEvolver Festival. In a city such as Vancouver, art is integrated into everyday life, so what sets the rEvolver Festival apart? As Martin says, a big distinguishing factor is that rEvolver Festival is curated; “There is a performance guarantee,” said Martin, “[it’s] not a lottery system.” This baseline allows the rEvolver Festival to set high

May 12, 2014

standards for quality, ensuring thought provoking and entertaining pieces are delivered to the audience. The performers, writers, and directors participating in the rEvolver Festival consist of emerging artists. The reason for this is “partly biographical,” Martin explains, as there were few opportunities to showcase his work when he was a recent graduate of acting school. Not having “the necessary connections as new artists, we made the opportunity,” Martin says, starting with the Walking Fish Festival. Opportunities such as these, Martin says, are “important, they give young people exposure” allowing them to “nurture their talents, which helps them grow as artists.” Every year, certain topics and styles help to unify the festival, and this year is no exception. Plan to experience lots of music in the various performances, along with an emphasis on creation-based works, instead of the more commonly encountered play-written works. A theme of self discovery runs through the festival, Martin says, as each work has an element that addresses “issues about being in the world.”

“Expect everything EXCEPT the kitchen sink,” says Martin, as performances will not be about “a family working out their issues in their living room.” Instead, the works featured in the rEvolver Festival will be “stories and presentations that only work in a theatre setting.” This festival accents variety, as Martin says that the “variety of genre[s], variety of style[s], [and] variety of artists” will keep all audience members interested. The rEvolver Festival promises to be a place that offers “opportunities for engagement with the arts.”

Those who like “exciting, relevant, risky” works will love the rEvolver Festival, says Martin. Audience members should expect to witness performances that “push outside comfort levels” and “do new things.” There

will also be pirates, for any Blackbeard fans out there. The artists featured at the rEvolver Festival are those who “are starting to do important work” says Martin. Supporting them, Martin says, allows for a “healthy ecology” of the theatre scene in Vancouver, giving artists continuity in artistic opportunity as they “graduate to the next level.” Especially relevant to the SFU community are those performances that feature current students and alumni. Such performances include Caezr: 33 Cuts, featuring SFU theatre program graduate Victoria Lions, and Off Key: An Improvised Musical, which is a collaboration by various SFU graduates. Catch Emily Pearlman, who graduated from SFU’s MFA program in REVISED From The Belly of a Whale, and recent SFU grad Minah Lee in the performance art piece We’ll Need A Piece of Cake Before We Die.


ARTS

Described as “poetic movement performed by actors, dancers and musicians,” Wild Excursions Performance’s new show transforms poetry into physical theatre. “It’s kind of like adapting one marginalized, ignored, misunderstood art form to another,” laughed artistic director Conrad Alexandrowicz. The concept for this show came about a few years ago when Alexandrowicz had the idea to work with poetry to create movement theatre. “I’m a fan of Lorna Crozier’s poetry. I contacted her and she said there’s a deadline for a SSHRC grant,” said Alexandrowicz. The two began working to secure the grant funding from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and were successful; along the way more collaborators became involved in the project including another poet, Erin Mouré. “There’s a tremendous amount of untapped material in poetry,” said Alexandrowicz. Six actors and two dancers make up the cast and the two disciplines work well together: “The dancers

Comedian, writer, and former Peak editor Charlie Demers emceed the 30th annual BC Book Prizes Gala Saturday, May 3. The ceremony, held at the Renaissance Harbourside Hotel in downtown Vancouver with the jovial Demers at the helm, awarded eight prizes for literary excellence in the province. SFU professor emeritus David Stouck won two different categories for his biography, Arthur Erickson: An Architect’s Life: the

May 12, 2014

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The poets were also involved in the creative process and provided their feedback and suggestions to Alexandrowicz who took them into consideration when working on the show. Mouré acted as a sort of dramaturge to make sure that her poem dealing with ethnic conflict between Ukrainians and Poles was interpreted in a suitable way. Alexandrowicz said there are so many performance possibilities with poetry and the way it can be interpreted into a dramatic utterance of the text. “You have to open yourself up to a whole new use of language and movement,” he said. There are many universal themes such as love and the importance of family that people can relate to, and the words have plenty of emotional impact. “There’s language in there that I just adore,” said Alexandrowicz. Full of dance, theatre, poetry, and music Mother Tongue will appeal to fans of all artistic disciplines. are talented improvisers who made up a lot of the movement material,” while “the actors are good at moving text around and editing things,” explained Alexandrowicz. Being open to collaborating with the performers is also an important part of the creative process. “I’m open to all kinds of ideas. If I weren’t I’d be a fool,” he said. The show’s music features violin, percussion and a

Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize and the Roderick Haig-Brown Regional Prize. In his thank-yous, Stouck said it was an “enormous privilege” to study Erickson, the renowned local architect who designed our own SFU Burnaby campus as well as the Museum of Anthropoogy at UBC, and Vancouver’s law courts. Stouck also acknowledged Ethel Wilson’s niece, Mary Buckerfield White, who suggested he write the book on Erickson. The Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize was awarded to Jordan Abel for The Place of Scraps, which explores the connection between First Nations cultures and ethnography. He was inspired by Marius Barbeau’s book Totem Poles, whereby attempting to preserve Native culture and artifacts, Barbeau actually aided in breaking it apart.

recording of electronic music. Alexandrowicz explained that he has to have the basis of show in place before he can bring in the musical element: “I have to get something sketched out first then bring them in. You have to find room for the music and be careful about the volume.” Being an interdisciplinary show and working with poetic text, there are some differences

Abel is a Nisga’a poet, an SFU Continuing Studies instructor, writer, and editor. He beat out two other SFU-connected authors, Renée Sarojini Saklikar for her debut collection children of air india: un/authorized exhibits and interjections, and Russell Thornton for Birds, Metals, Stones and Rain. Other winners announced Saturday night included Ashley Little, who won two different categories for two different books — the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize for the novel Anatomy of a Girl Gang, and the Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize for her YA book The New Normal; Julie Morstad won the Christie Harris Illustrated Children’s Literature Prize for How To, which she both wrote and illustrated; and CBC broadcaster Grant

for the actors: the language can be very different than what they’re used to and “there is no stable character-actor relationship,” said Alexandrowicz. Their roles are changing within the text so quickly and sketched in the moment. “Sometimes I wish they could take the text in pill form,” he said, explaining that it’s hard to do movement work when holding a script.

Lawrence, received his second Bill Duthie Booksellers’ Choice Award for The Lonely End of the Rink: Confessions of a Reluctant Goalie.

Also honoured at the gala was children’s author Kit Pearson, who accepted the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.


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HUMOUR

Oh man, this guy is great. He’s the kind of prof who’ll just be really cool and chill all the time. You know, the type who will crack a few jokes about, I don’t know, buisness administration, and everyone will think it’s real funny and want to hang out with him. It’s always a great time with this professor and you’ll just love him.

Ah, the “sexy” prof, always a campus favourite. Whether you’re a guy or a girl, gay or straight, you’ll want to take his class just to get a look at him in some of his cool tweed pants. Not only is this type of prof fashionable and extremely attractive, he’s also pretty funny too and can make jokes about anything, even business administration, and actually be funny!

May 12, 2014

Believe it or not, the “super-cool” professor really exists. He’s the dude you’ll take a class with and just think the whole time “Wow, I can’t believe Dr. McKinley (or whatever his name is) could really be a professor, he’s so hip and into all the same music as me.” Definitely, do not miss an opportunity to take a class with this type of prof, or get a beer with him after class at the pub at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesdays.

Hey, did you really think they would all be positive? Well, sorry, at university you’re going to meet a few profs who are just so downright good at their jobs that it’s annoying. Seriously, give yourself a week in this guy’s class and you’ll want to be his friend so bad you’ll just want to die. If you want to fall madly in love with a prof to the point where you spend all lecture writing “Mrs. Thomas McKinley” inside hearts, be my guest, but don’t say I didn’t warn you!

humour editor email / phone

Brad McLeod humour@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560


HUMOUR

May 12, 2014

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fun of us,” Mary explained. “Everyone we raised kids with is off travelling the world or taking sailing lessons and we’re stuck here like losers.” While the Winfrieds do admit that there are some perks to still living at home, like not having to pay for their kids to live in residence, they say they’re really hoping they can get out soon, or at least get rid of their kids. BURNABY — In a trend which has become all too common in recent years, a local family with three grown children currently in university has opted to remain living together, a decision which has garnered ridicule for the nearly 50-year old parents. Although believing when they first had kids that they would be completely independant by the time they reached 45, Mary and Herbert Winfried say their transition into autonomy hasn’t been as smooth as they thought. “Oh man, when I was 34, I was sure I would be living away from the kids by this point,” explained Herbert, thinking back. “I pictured us being totally independent, being able to just buy like one carton of milk a week and only doing a load or two of laundry, I couldn’t wait.” Unfortunately, things just didn’t work out as planned and the couple remain under their own roof with the kids, a reality that they claim has put a real damper on their social life. “We can’t stay out late, or have wild shindigs and worst of all our friends won’t stop making

“My friend Marty lives in a retirement plaza in Florida and says he can totally hook us up with a place there” Herbert said. “I don’t know if I want to do it though, I mean I still kind of like it at home, not that we couldn’t live alone, we’re just waiting for the right time.” Despite what their friends might think of them, the Winfrieds say that at least they have the support of the kids they support. “I do think its a little pathetic that they still live with us, but if they’re not going to kick us out that’s okay, they just need a little more time than some parents,” the couple’s oldest child, Bill, who just celebrated his 29th

birthday, told The Peak. “They probably would just be lost without us though, I don’t know what mom would do if nobody was asking her to make lunches every morning.” Although they continue to look at themselves as losers

who will probably live with their kids forever, there is hope for the Winfrieds. While statistics show that almost half of parents in their 50s still live with their kids, the number takes a dramatic dive when they reach their 60s.

“No matter what people might think, our situation is fine for now,” Herbert concluded. “Maybe I could just ask my parents to move in, then at least we’d be cooler than them, I mean can you imagine, still living with with your kids at 80! They’d be such losers!”

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20 LAST WORD

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When I was young, my mother, frustrated with my fidgeting, always told me: “You need something new every now and then to play with!” Nowadays, as I grow up in this tech savvy world, the innocent statement made by mother seems truer than ever. From inventing gadgets to making tequila drumsticks, humans have done it all. This time, our new obsession seems to be e-cigarettes. So what exactly is an e-cigarette? It’s basically a cigarette-shaped tube through which people can inhale evaporated liquid nicotine as smoke to simulate smoking a regular tobacco cigarette. The draw is that there’s less nicotine and other chemicals than your average cigarette, and some e-cigarettes, or personal vaporizers (PVs), don’t use any at all, relying instead on flavoured vapor. When I first heard about this invention, I was thrilled — after all, I have more than a few friends whom I’ve been pushing to quit smoking. However, as I later realized, there’s more to this story than meets the eye. In 2013, the World Health Organization released a statement saying that e-cigarettes should not be used as an alternative to quit smoking until they have been proved to be safe and beneficial in the process.

The Canadian Cancer Society reaffirms this opinion, as their research done on 13 e-cigarette products dictates that nine of these had “abnormalities” which could be potentially harmful to users. On top of that, of all the e-cigarette brands surveyed which claimed to be “nicotinefree,” two thirds were proven to contain traces of nicotine and other harmful chemicals. There’s also the question of the toxicity of e-cigarettes. Though not much has been proven in regards to the danger of smoking these tubes, liquid nitrogen can be very dangerous when ingested or absorbed through

Max Hill features@the-peak.ca / 778.782.4560

the skin. The number of calls to poison control centres with complaints of e-cigarette poisoning — usually of young children — has risen steadily every month between September 2010 and February 2014. To be fair, many people claim to have quit smoking as a result of this alternative, which is much cheaper than regular cigarettes and doesn’t contain tobacco, tar, carbon monoxide, or any of the other dangerous chemicals that we’re used to hearing about in PSAs. For example, an article in the Ottawa Sun talks about a 25 year pack-a-day smoker who switched from smoking to “vaping” with ecigarettes and, seeing his wallet fuller and his health improved, “never looked back.” The real question, then, is this: do the pros outweigh the cons? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the percentage of US high school students who’ve tried vaping doubled from 2011 to 2012. Angela Webb, a senior public policy advisor for the Canadian Cancer Society in Alberta, spoke to The Calgary Herald about the dangers of vapour, saying, “Even if they are approved as a cessation device, e-cigarettes still normalize smoking. The big concern is they undermine smoking bans.” One might consider that the normalization of e-cigarettes could easily become a stepping stone to the real thing. Given that there’s little to no regulation on the production and taxation of ecigarettes, we still don’t really know what the dangers are, which is pretty scary. The e-cigarette industry, still in its infancy, also benefits from a lack of rules and regulations regarding the use of e-cigarettes in public places. Canada’s ban on smoking in public places applies only to cigarettes containing tobacco, and so far, electronic cigarettes do not fall under that category. Lack of research regarding this matter leaves us with no choice but to rely on public opinion, which is split: one side argues that smoking an electronic cigarette in a restaurant, for example, is perfectly harmless as it does not contain tobacco, whereas the other side argues that e-cigarette users inhale vapours which sometimes contains nicotine — not exactly a part of a healthy atmosphere. The world is a scary place. An electronic cigarette — which, according to manufacturers, is completely harmless — could easily be

hijacked by the tobacco industry, putting the young adults of tomorrow in a difficult situation. If there are no laws in place regulating the use of electronic cigarettes, it’s hard to imagine what will happen if these products start being circulated with tobacco. Of course, I may be biased. A part of me becomes immensely sad every single time one of my best friends pulls out a cigarette, and to their credit, I think electronic cigarettes are a significant invention when it comes to those who are desperately trying to quit smoking. However, the lack of adequate research conducted, plus the fact that this product is readily available in the market to all age groups, is more than a little unnerving. When I was a child, I once tried to copy an actor I saw in a Bollywood movie — I mimicked his actions by pretending to blow smoke in the air with a pencil. I got a glare from my mother, which made sure that I never even touched a pencil with that intention again, let alone a cigarette. This is the point I’m trying to make. If we’re saying that vaping is okay, is it unreasonable to suggest that young people might decide to try an actual cigarette? For a country that has cancer as its leading cause of death, we ought to be a lot more careful about what we’re introducing our children to, and what regulations are being placed on such products.

May 12, 2014


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