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UBC Publications

The 432 Jan 6, 1989

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UBC Archives Serial
Volume 2, Number 7
January 6,1989
Just How Does the Earth Work?
The Gaia hypothesis may explain
just what keeps the Earth from
becoming inhospitable.
by Peter MacDougall
Gaia was the name of the ancient
Greek goddess of the earth. In every
culture and under many names, the earth
goddess, Gaia, has represented the glorious fertility and fecundity of nature.
Now, towards the end of the twentieth
century, Gaia represents more than just
fertility; she represents the living "life
support" system of our planet.
The Gaia hypothesis states that evolutionary pressures selected life forms that
could alter the environment to support
life and maintain it through a sophisticated feedback system. It is not a theory
about the evolution of any particular
species, but a theory of how life evolved
on Earth. The fight for survival has created a global system of interactions between living organisms and their environment.
In terms of survival, the most successful life forms are not necessarily the ones
that best adapt to the surrounding environment but rather the ones that best
modify the environment to support life.
Natural selection not only acts on the
traits that promote the propagation of
any individual but also on the
individual's traits that affect the surrounding environment.
For life to exist, certain environmental
criteria must be met and maintained in a
steady state: the Earth must stay within a
certain temperature range, the atmosphere has to have a specific mixture of
gases, etc. Therefore, the fight for sur-
vivial is going to select a system of
interactions that creates the most stable
Will human activities drastically alter Earth's weather? If so, is it too late?
and "friendly" environment.
The most stable systems are those
created by negative feedback loops, the
simplest of which consists of two opposing parts. If one component changes the
system, the other component creates a
force to counteract the change. An example of such a system is an object
suspended between two springs on opposite sides. If one spring pulls the object
away from the centre point, a force is
exerted by the other spring to pull the
object back. Therefore, the object vibrates in the centre without going to
either extreme. If more opposing forces
are added to the system, like extra pairs
of opposing springs, the system becomes even more stable.
The evolution of life on Earth has
created feedback loops where the
changes to the environment made by one
type of organism are corrected for by
others. Fluctuations in the environment
are corrected automatically and mindlessly through these negative feedback
loops in much the same way blood pressure is unconsciously regulated in the
human body. Every life form, every liv
ing cell on this planet is part of a global
feedback system. The various life forms
on this planet work together as a single
functional unit and a change in even the
smallest part of the system can affect the
whole system. As a result of millions of
years of natural selection, the Earth is
covered with organisms that cooperate
to maintain a friendly environment for
And humanity is a major part of this
feedback system. Its rapid population
growth and evolution in technology is
having a greater and greater impact on
the systems regulating life on this planet.
We are now affecting the planetary
ecosystem faster than it can accommodate. The burning of fossil fuels, the
razing of forests, and the production and
dumping of non-biodegradable poisons
which kill photosynthesizers are just a
few of the events that have changed the
global weather patterns and increased
global temperatures by increasing the
atmospheric concentration of carbon
dioxide. It would take centuries for the
Earth's feedback system to accommodate to these changes.
It seems we have reached a state as
individuals and a group where the
changes we are making in our own environment are occurring faster than our
own ability to understand and respond.
In many ways, humanity's unbalanced
disturbance of the ecosystem is having
obvious effects to which we are struggling to respond. The increased prevalence of cancer (primarily of the skin);
overfishing; desertification of the North
American prairie, Africa and South
America; and plagues such as AIDS are
only a few well-documented examples
of how our changes to the ecosystem are
. (see Gaia, page 2)
4^2 News 8
Biochemistry 2
Biopsychology 2
Biosoc 2
Credits 2
Daisyworld 5
Dik Miller 3
Free Cash 9
Gaia 1,2,5
Hardware 2
LR Stein 1
Letters 7
Memos 8
Paper 2
Park 7
Photo Contest 5
Puzzle 3
Puzzle Answers 8
Robbery..... 5
Science Week 4
Sports 8
T-shirts 2,7
Uncle Rusty 6
Whales 3
■N. STEIN wifoiorw
As I.N. STEIN is a copy written cartoon, if you wish to reproduce it you must
have written permission from the artist, Ken Otter. Contact through the 432.
The 432
January 6,1989 SCIENCE WEEK JANUARY 23-27
Cxillcl (from page 1)
changing our patterns of growth as a
It would take a planetary event to
eliminate life on Earth; even a total
nuclear war might not be enough. However, although the life support system of
Earth operates with humanity as a component, it does not require our existence
to operate. Like the dinosaurs, humanity
can pass away into the fossil record
while life on Earth continues on. Unlike
the dinosaurs, it would not be some outside meteoric catastrophe that would
likely end our existence as a species, but
simply over-production of our own poisonous wastes: wastes like carbon dioxide. We could end up drowning ourselves in our own excrement. And the
Earth would continue on.
It is of some ironic hope that human
history is filled with examples of humanity pulling back from the brink of catastrophe.
James Lovelock is one of the original
proponents of the Gaia hypothesis and
one of the leading theorists on evolution.
As Einstein was to modem physics,
Lovelock is to the understanding of life
on Earth. He believes that scientific
pursuit has become too specialized and
too reductionist. In the explosion of
knowledge in this century, academic
science has become a matter of not seeing the forest for the trees. There is no
room in academia for the generalist who
knows something about everything, yet
it is the generalist who has the best
chance of understanding the global systems which people are now affecting. To
be able to respond to the rapid changes
we are making in our own life support
system, he says, our way of thinking
must evolve.
Environmentalists and other concerned people have embraced this pragmatic advice. Not only is a change
needed in scientific thought, they say,
but in cultural and social ideals. Consumer/disposer attitudes have no place
in a balanced global cycle of creation,
use, degradation, and re-creation.
(see Lovelock, page 5)
Science Sales Science Sales Science Sales Science Sales
Looseleaf lined paper is again available
on campus at far below Bookstore prices:
$lo2(D p@r pack
(^flDflD sHn®®fts/pa<Blk)
Come to Scarfe 9 from
10:30-3:30. Sponsored
Science Sales Science Sales Science Sales Science Sales
( i
M~   ■-
t: 1  —>
The Deadlines for The 432 are:
Jan. 11; Feb. 1,15; Mar. 1,15
The 432 is published biweekly by the
Science Undergraduate Society of the
University of British Columbia, located in room 9 of the Scarfe Education
Building, 2125 Main Mall, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1W5. Phone
(604) 228-4235. ©1988 SUS Publications.
Volume 2, Number 7, published Friday, January 6,1989.
Editor: Derek K. Miller
Contributors: Russ Monger, Peter
MacDougall, David New, David Way,
Derek Miller, Yolanda Leung, Allan
Artist: Ken Otter
Photographic:   Eric
Walker, Vince Jiu
Typing: Derek Miller
Layout: Derek Miller,
Alistair Calder
Distribution:   Danny
Printed  by   College
Printers Ltd.
Meetings are held every
Thursday at 12:30, usually in Scarfe room
1006. Check Scarfe 9 to
confirm. We need staff
who will be around next
year to continue running the paper - and particularly someone to act
as editor when your
humble servant retires
at the end of March.
Please come by if you're
interested in helping.
Biosoc Business
Biosoc is back and busy as usual. Here
are a few pertinent bits of information
for all of the biologists we know are
lurking out there somewhere:
o Biosoc T-shirts are in! These wonderful, white 100% cotton shirts with the
Biosoc logo on front and a Biohazard
symbol on back are ready for pickup.
Those of you who ordered them must
pay the $13 (unless you already have)
at the Biosoc hut by January 13th, or
your shirt will go to someone else.
Once paid for, your shirt can be picked
up anytime. Those of you who missed
our first order can write down your
name on the list at the hut or outside
Biology 2000.
o The Biosoc lecture series has been very
successful, with talks by Dr. Carefoot
on the Biology honours option, Dr.
Hochachka on adaptations to altitude,
Dr. Maze on biological laws and explanations, and Dr. De Wreede on the
natural history of Hawaii. These informal presentations allow students to
appreciate better than world-class
biological research on campus and to
explore areas of study in biology. Our
next lecture will be given my Dr.
Milsom of Zoology on his work on
vertebrate respiratory adaptations, on
Tuesday, January 10 at 12:30 in
Biological Sciences room 2449. Any
suggestions for topics or professors
for future lectures should be forwarded to Seminar Coordinator Yolanda Leung.
o Biosoc has booked the AMS Whistler
ski cabin for a weekend just before
final exams. Contact Biosoc President
Johan Stroman for details.
o A tour of the West Van Ministry of
Fisheries and Oceans research station
is being arranged.
Meetings are held on alternate Tuesdays
(starting January 10) in Biology 2449 at
12:30. Biosoc is located in room 6 of hut
M32 on the southwest corner of West
Mall and University Boulevard. The
phone number is (604) 228-6046.
Membership in only $2.00 per year.
Biopsych Grads
Graduation: Applications for
graduation must be submitted to the
Registrar's office by February 15th,
1989. Applications are available at
the Registrar's office.
Grad Dinner and Dance: At the
Meridien Hotel on March 17,1989.
- Reception: 6-7pm
- Dinner: 7-9pm
- Dance: 9pm-lam
Tickets are $35 before Feb. 10, or
$40 afterwards, refundable until
March 13, available every Friday
12:30-1:30 at Kenny 2007, or call
Grad Photos: Portraits must be
taken by Dec. 15th at Evangelo's
Photography, 3156 W. Broadway,
phone 731-8314 or 732-3023 for
For those of you interested in just what sort of
technical stuff we use to
make this paper, we
include the following
jargony box:
The 432 is produced on
Lucifer the Apple Macintosh SE, who has 1 MB of
RAM, 2 800K disk drives
and an Apple Crate 60MB
hard disk drive ("The
Beast"). Proofs were produced on an Apple LaserWriter Plus. Photosetting
and printing are by College
Printers Ltd.
Articles were typed into
Microsoft Word word
processing software. Layout was performed using
Aldus Pagemaker desktop
publishing software. Articles are in lOpt. Times
font. Headlines and ads are
in Times and Helvetica.
The 432
January 6,1989 SCIENCE WEEK JANUARY 23h27
Baby Whale Dies
by Derek K. Miller
The last issue of The 432 (along with
nearly every other paper in the city)
described the birth of Vancouver's first
baby killer whale on November 13th,
1988 at the Vancouver Aquarium. Unfortunately, the young whale died before
it had even been named, less than a
month after its birth, on December 5th.
(A baby beluga whale bom several years
ago lived four months.)
According to whale trainers at the
Aquarium, the death was probably attributable to insufficient nutrition in the
milk of the calf's mother, Bjossa. It was
her first calf, and thus no one is quite sure
why the milk was not rich enough. An
autopsy was performed and research
continues into determining the cause of
the problem.
The death was by no means unusual.
Mortality rates among young killer
whales in the wild are as high as 45%,
and it is likely that the adult whales at the
Aquarium will begin mating again quite
soon. Hyak, the calf's father, who had
been kept in a smaller, blocked-off pool
while the young whale was acclimatizing, was let back into the main enclosure as soon as the calf was removed, and
there has been no change in the whales'
behaviour from that before the calf was
born. Whales do not seem to show grieving behaviour.
Despite the short life of the baby
whale, much was learned about parent-
child interactions amongst killerwhales,
as well as the relationships between new
whales and longtime residents, both related and unrelated (or even different
species, as with Whitewings, the Aquarium dolphin). The information adds to
the growing, but still small, body of
knowledge ab<)utwhalitbebavijaju:,batJx
in captivity and in the wild.
Normal whale shows have resumed,
and the viewing areas are fully open as
before the birth
Dik Miller, Campus Cowboy
Deja Vii Again
by Russ Monger
The answer to each clue is a word that is
repeated. For example, the clue "doll's
cry" would be answered "ma ma," and
"to make fun of would become "pooh
pooh." 10 correct answers is so-so but 15
correct would be a lu-lu. Peeking at the
answers (on page 8) is definitely a no-no.
1. Dorothy's dog.
2. Perfect eyesight.
3. Up and down toy.
4. Eva Gabor's sister.
5. A train.
6. City in Washington State.
7. An extinct bird.
8. A French candy.
9. A lively French dance.
10. Line before "Who's there?"
11. A long, narrow drum.
12. A small mistake.
13. A 60's discotheque.
14. Famous New York prison.
15. A result of vitamin B1 deficiency.
16. Disease-carrying fly.
17. Ballerina's costume.
18. Samoa's capital.
19. Peter Pan's land.
I was sitting calmly, reading, in my
basement bachelor suite in East Van,
glancing up occasionally to look out the
40 centimetre-high window at the top of
the far wall, through which I could see
snow falling outside. Another two or
three hours and the window would be
completely obscured by the snow, I
knew, so I had better admire the view
while I still had the chance.
The phone rang, which startled me.
Although it was only a few metres away
on the other side of the room, I decided
that I was too comfortable to answer it,
and that I would let the machine do so.
The phone rang again. I sat still and
It rang again. One more, I thought.
Nothing. No clicking of the machine,
no recorded message. I would let it ring
once more, in case it had somehow missed the first one.
There was a distinct pause which was
made even more distinct by the fact that
nothing happened after it.
I leaped out of my chair, sending my
copy of Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective
Agency flying helplessly across the
room as I sprinted for the phone. It
landed precisely on the answering machine just as I was picking up the phone
and beginning to speak.
I only managed to get "Dik Mi..." out
of my mouth before the machine clicked
and began to spew out its message at a
ear-flapping volume. As usual, it had
begun - inexplicably - in the very middle
of the message:
"...leave a message with your namre,
telephone number, the time you callied,
w'nere you are calling from, your height,
weight, social insurance number, and the
names and telephone numbers of the last
five people with whom you have been
sexually intimate, after the tone."
I fumbled with the controls of the
answering machine, while simultaneously attempting to apologize to the
party at the other end of the line, but
knowing very well that there was no way
that they could hear me over the din. I
only succeeded in sending it into fast
forward, which made the already annoying tone even more high-pitched and
grating. Eventually, I managed to shut
the blasted thing off, and gasped for
breath into the phone.
"Dik Miller, Campus Cowboy," I
"Hello?" replied my supervisor. "I can
barely hear you. Could you speak up?"
Obviously the machine had deafened
"Ah yes, Miller. I'm glad I finally
reached you. There must have been
some incredible mixup at the phone
company. I heard something about having to list my last five sexual partners."
"That shouldn't be so difficult for
someone without any," I said in a per-
fecdy normal conversational voice -
which I knew he could not hear.
"What was that?" he asked.
"Yes, quite. Anyway, down to business. We seem to be having some sort of
problem in the Pit Pub, and it looks like
something you might be able to help us
"Yes, but we need you."
"We're nott sure, but it seems to have
something to do with a barrel of toxic
"Good. Fin meet you outside the pub.
Godspeed, Miller!"
He hung up. I didn't think anyone said
"godspeed" anymore.
There was: a loud thumping on my
ceiling, which informed me that my
landlord wamted me to turn down my
answering machine, which I would have
been happy 'to do if it had a volume
control. I igmored it and picked up my
copy of Dirk (Gently's Holistic Detective
Agency in orcder to ensure that the answering maclhine was properly set this
time. I then piut the book back down on it
in order to muiffle the speaker somewhat;
walked over tto the television and turned
it off after wattching a few seconds of an
incredibly sexrist (yet nonetheless highly
interesting) V/an Halen video; walked a
few steps fuirther to turn off the radio,
which had,, by some coincidence, been
playing thie same song that the Van
Halen vudeo had been made for, but
about ttoree quarters of a second late, so
that ftor the past two minutes the televi-
siom and radio had been playing a kind of
psychotic echoey version of the song;
and finally grabbed my hat, trenchcoat,
and Dik Miller™ nightstick/Geiger
counter/swizzle stick and stormed out
the door, slamming it behind me.
I opened the door again to pull the
edge of my trenchcoat out and walked
Some half an hour later, I pulled up
outside the SUB building in my royal
blue, souped-up, stripped-down, lean-
mean-quasi-machine Chevy Bel Air. I
opened the door, stepped out, and closed
the door again.
I opened the door again to pull the
other edge of my trenchcoat out and
walked off.
Inside I met my supervisor and a crew
of Traffic and Security personnel. They
were standing around looking official,
but generally had an air of not knowing
what the hell was going on about them.
That, of course, was not in the least
unusual. My supervisor is a rather large
and unruly-looking man whose clothes,
although the largest size available, are
just slightly tao small for him. He
waddled over to me.
"Good to see you, Miller. We've
evacuated the pub and guarded the entrance. The rest is up to you."
"Oh," was all I could think of as a
reply. I nodded and walked past the
guard and into the pub.
It was, as expected, empty. Glasses of
beer, bowls of inachos, and hamburgers
sat half-consumed on table tops, still
cold, warm, and warm, respectively.
Over in the far northwest corner, near the
video screen, sat something that looked
quite out of place: a metal oil drum with
a large radiation symbol painted in yellow on its side. How someone had man
aged to sneak one into the pub without
the staff noticing was beyond me.
I activated the Geiger counter and
pointed it at the drum. There was no
reaction. Something fishy was going on
here. As I watched, the top of the drum
opened up. I hid behind a pillar and
watched as two red-jacketed engineers
emerged from the canister and rolled it
over to the bar. Jamming it underneath
the draft beer spigots, they activated
them all at once and let the liquid pour
into the drum.
Obviously, these engineers had poor
When they were finished filling the
drum, they sealed it and retreated to the
back room, apparently to purloin a hand-
truck. I emerged from behind the pillar
and stood next to the drum, leaning on it
nonchalantly until they returned.
"Planning to do something with this?"
I asked, indicating the drum.
The engineers looked at one another,
then back at me. One of them said "er."
"I thought so," I said. "I'm afraid
you'll have to come with me."
At that, the two pushed me into the
drum, keeling it over onto its side and
sending it rolling along the floor. They
grabbed it and loaded it onto the hand-
truck. I got to my feet and shouted after
them as they ran out the west exit, which
the rest of the Campus Cowboys had
somehow neglected to guard.
"Halt in the name of the law!" I'd
always wanted to say that. I set off in
Outside, I spotted the two engineers
running down East Mall towards B-lot,
still pushing the drum before them.
Grabbing my Dik Miller™ high-tech
action pursuit bolas, I flung them in a
high arc through the air, where they spun
gracefully and landed quite dramatically
about ten metres to one side of the two
men, in a bush. I reached into another
pocket and brought out my Dik Miller™ solid mahogany hunting boomerang, which I let fly with athletic precision. It made a wide turn and landed in
the construction site of the new Chemistry-Physics building.
As a last resort, I took off at a run after
the two men and about a minute later
caught up and tackled them to the
ground, letting the beer barrel roll on.
Before they could retaliate, five Traffic
and Security patrol cars squealed to a
stop around us and a dozen of my coworkers stormed out.
Some half an hour later, I had made
my report to the supervisor and was on
my way back home. As I crossed Alma
on 10th, I was passed by a large rolling
barrel with a yellow radiation symbol on
its side. I let it roll on. Coincidentally, the
very same Van Halen song as I had been
listening to when I left my apartment
was playing on the car radio. It ended and
went into a commercial.
I watched the barrel as it rolled along,
bouncing off cars, trees, and the occasional person walking a dog, and finally
came to a stop behind Red Robin as the
commercial bleated its final line:
"It's Miller time."
Another case closed for Dik Miller,
Campus Cowboy.
The 432
January 6,1989 SCIENCE WEEK JANUARY 23-27
JANUARY 23-27,1989
Science Blues
Day - wear
j    your   Science
f1ag"«c Show
\ Computer
■ Science
: Car Rally
1 ' r '
'•*"       !  L f.trm., ' &ifem P*,	
26   2?
Paper Airplane
S.U.B. Ballroom
Friday, January 27th
7:30 P.M.
Tiokets $6.00 - available alt
S.U.B. Box Office
vy><Si[l U^   ^  (across from Edibles)
Toast a few BEvERages to cap off Science Week!
C hi .* A w&%k I© retmemberi
January 6,1989 SCIENCE WEEK JANUARY 23-27
Daisy world Hi Lovelock ^» 2)
Computer simulations are
helping to increase our understanding of global ecosystems.
by Peter MacDougall
One of the simplest systems modeled
to demonstrate the Gaia hypothesis (see
cover story) is a world populated only by
daisies. Two types of daisies exist: black
ones that absorb solar radiation and
white ones that reflect it. Over many
cycles of growth, the numbers of each
kind of daisy fluctuate, and with them
global temperature. However, the fluctuations in temperature tend to remain
around a fairly stable point, even if the
system is changed so that solar radiation
steadily increases with time.
What happens is that if white daisies
predominate, the globe cools slightly.
Since black daisies absorb solar energy
as heat, they gain an advantage over the
white daisies, and grow in number since
they can maintain a better temperature
for growth. However, as the black daisies grow in number, the global temperature rises until the heat absorbing properties of the black daisies work to their
disadvantage. The white daisies' reflective properties allow them to maintain a
more ideal temperature for growth. As a
result, the white daisies grow in number
until the global temperature cools
slightly once again. This cycle repeats
itself endlessly and as a result the global
temperature stays very close to the stable
ideal for daisy growth.
If the amount of solar radiation received by the planet increases over time,
the general increase in the numbers of
white daisies over black daisies keeps
the global temperature fluctuating
around the steady temperature. However, if the solar radiation becomes too
strong for even the white daisies to survive, the daisies die off and the global
temperature spirals upwards out of control.
What this simulation shows is that a
system of balances arise naturally out of
mindless, directionless, evolutionary
competition. The steady state temperature comes about as a result of the balance of the evolutionary advantages of
the reflective and absorptive properties
of the daisies. Fluctuations away from
the ideal temperature conferred an evolutionary advantage on the life form
whose properties would compensate for
the change, but which would eventually
overshoot and become a disadvantage.
It is fascinating to watch an enactment
of this evolution on a computer. One of
the properties of the system is that it has
cycles that have an order to them, but the
system never repeats itself. The numbers
of each type of daisy seem to appear at
random, yet they are obviously responding to some underlying orderly impetus.
It is this property of ordered randomness
that gives the simulation its realism.
If other organisms are thrown into the
system, it becomes even more stable and
fluctuates less. The Gaia hypothesis
argues that Earth's unique and ideal
mixture of gases, temperatures, and so
on arose from just such a mindless, systemic evolution, and gave rise to the
complex system we see today,
The Gaia hypothesis is being tested
out by computer simulation and being
supported by hard facts. Simple world
systems are being modeled by computers (see the article on Daisyworld, left)
and although simple in design, they
show many of the properties of evolution and adaptation seen in real systems.
One fact that emerges from these simulations is that the more varied and numerous the species are in a world system,
the more robust and resistant to destructive change the system becomes. It is a
very good argument for conservation-
In terms of hard science, Lovelock and
several other scientists have recendy co-
authored several papers demonstrating
how populations of marine microorganisms help control planetary temperature.
They produce dimethyl sulphide (DMS)
which diffuses from the oceans into the
atmosphere. In the air DMS oxidizes to
form sulphate particles which act as
seeds for cloud formation. Clouds act as
a reflective barrier to solar radiation and
therefore these organisms help regulate
the amount of sunlight that reaches the
Earth's surface.
Although the Gaia hypothesis is only
slowly becoming accepted, evidence is
accumulating in support of the theory
and little has been produced to refute it.
For humanity, the Gaia hypothesis
means that we must evolve ideologicallt,
socially, culturally, and technologically
to support the global life support system
or risk destroying ourselves and countless other species. Humans are far from
the only one affected by our unbalanced
growth. The deaths of hundreds of sea
mammals on the east coast of North
America in the last couple of years is
evidence that the sea cannot absorb
everything we dump into it. The animals
died from bacterial infections thought to
be the result of depressed immune systems caused by pollution. The parallels
with the human condition are obvious.
Despite the reams of documentation
on the deaths of other species as a result
of manmade changes in the environ
ment, the scientific community cannot seem to come to a
consensus as to what all of
these events mean for humanity in the long run. In a general
sense, I would think that the
evidence is pretty damning.
News Flash!
Sometime on the morning
of Friday, December 23,
1988, the SUS office in Scarfe
9 was broken into and a large
amount of Science Sales cash,
much of it acquired from holiday jacket sales, was stolen.
The door lock was broken and
only the money taken; no
equipment, change, or files
went missing. The task was
performed speedily and with
precision - quite likely the
work of professionals, or at
least experienced criminals.
Any information regarding
this crime would be appreciated, and will be taken by
anyone at Scarfe 9, or by
phone (24 hours) at 228-4235.
1988 Photo Contest
Those of you who submitted photos to
last year's 432 "Capture the Moment"
photography contest may wish to know
that your photos are still here. They have
been sitting forlornly in the 432 cupboard since September, and if you want
to pick them up they will gladly be taken
home.  '
If you wish topick up your photo come
by Scarfe 9 (the SUS office;) anytime. All
the photos are in a plastic bag in the 432
cupboard, and someone in the office will
be happy to get yours for you. If the
photos are not picked up by the end of the
school year (April), they will be dis
carded or framed and put up on
someone's wall. Now you know.
Yes, we are planning to have a photo
contest this year; all we need is someone
to organize it. If you are interested,
please come by one of the regular Thursday 432 meetings or the SUS office. If no
one volunteers to organize, there won't
be a contest. The editor can only do so
much, you know.
We also still need photographers for
the paper, so if you are interested in that,
do as above. Thanks.
Do you have a
student loan?
Each year, UBC recommends one of its student to
be a member on the Provincial Government Standing Committee on Student Financial Assistance. This
year's appointee is Andrew Hicks,
The Committee is responsible for reviewing financial assistance programs available to BC students and
make recommendations for changes to the Deputy
As part of my duties on the Committee, I feel that
I should present UBC student concerns, problems,
suggestions and comments to the other members.
Any students wishing to express their concerns about
financial assistance should feel free to contact Andrew through the Arts Undergraduate Society Office
in Buchanan A107, or by phone at 228-4403.
The 432
January 6,1989 SCIENCE WEEK JANUARY 23-27
Dear Uncle Rusty
This year I decided to spend my
Christmas holidays in the Greater Vancouver area alone rather than visit my
family back in Saskatchewan as I usually
do. During the festive season I experienced some very depressing periods of
loneliness. During one such bout, it
dawned on me that lately I hadn't been
going out very often. To be honest, I had
been socially bankrupt for quite some
time. I decided that I was not happy
being a social lizard and should try to do
something to remedy the situation. One
evening I decided on a course of action -
I would place an ad in the personal
columns of a newspaper. I am a big girl;
what harm could it possibly do?
The next day I placed an ad containing
my phone number in a local weekly
newspaper and on the following Friday I
received my first phone call. It was a
breather. My second call was worse - it
was a life insurance salesman. The third
caller was a man called Mulvey. He
seemed like an interesting fellow so I
arranged to meet him at a nearby bistro
for coffee at 3 o'clock the next afternoon. I told him he could recognize me
by the flower in my hair; he said I could
recognize him by the gravy stains on his
tie. "Well," I thought to myself, "at least
this guy has a sense of humour."
The next day, I waited at the bistro for
almost two hours but he didn't show, so
I drove home. Later than evening, he
phoned me at home and told me that he
didn't show up earlier that afternoon
because he had to deliver "some goods"
but the person wasn't home so he had to
wait. I assumed this was an attempt at an
apology, so I forgave him. He then
primised that he would pick me up at my
house for anight qu the town in about 20
minutes. When he finally arrived (about
an hour late), he parked on the street out
front and honked repeatedly on his horn.
I looked out the window and saw him
waving at me so I went out to meet him.
When I opened the car door the smell
nearly knocked me over. What a mess!
There was litter and dirty clothes everywhere. This car was a mobile dumpster
and it smelled funny, sort of like formaldehyde. I got in and pulled the door
closed behind me and the handle came
off in my hand. It was then that I had my
first glimpse of Mulvey. Uncle Rusty,
this guy was not exactly the flavour of
the month; in fact, he would make a
maggot barf. The funny smell was not
coming from the litter, but from him. He
wore a wrinkled polyester suit and yes,
there really was a gravy stain on his tie-
He leered at me and told me to slide
closer so he could have a better look at
me. Up close he looked worse: he had
long hairs protruding from his nose and
he wasn't wearing any socks. He kept
sniffling and wiping his nose on his
sleeve and when he motioned to put his
arm around me I flinched. I had spent a
great deal of time trying to look my best
for the occasion and his first words to me
were, "Far out, I dig chicks that are into
the casual look." Did I mention that he
spit when he spoke?
He told me that he had big plans for us
that evening including dinner and dancing. He then suggested We should take
my car because his was nearly out of gas
and then he mumbled something about
his car being too well known. I looked at
this as a perfect opportunity to get out of
this rat hole of a car and quickly agreed.
In retrospect, I should have cancelled
our date right there but I was determined
to go out on the town and have some fun.
As we walked to my car, he grabbed the
keys out of my hand and said he would
drive. He started the car and as we
backed out of the driveway he drove
over my cat and made road pizza out of
On the way to the restaurant he ran all
of the red lights and stop signs and drove
far too fast for my comfort. He then
explained to me Mulvey's First Law of
Driving: "If you can still read the traffic
signs you're driving too slow." When we
passed some kids standing by a puddle at
a bus stop, he didn't even hesitate - he
splashed them good.
As it turned out, dinner was an incredible adventure in dining - I'd fiever seen
anybody eat spaghetti with his hands
before. During the course of the meal,
we discussed several disgusting topics,
including his favourite theory concerning "deviating being the basis of evolution." I might have been more attentive
toward his ideas if he wasn't explining
them to me with his mouth full and with
tomato sauce on his chin and Ihis moustache. Throughout the entire ordeals he
was slipping trouser burps, the fragrance
of which were indescribable.. Mulvey
liked to drink white wine straight from
the bottle, and as he was finishing his
second one our bill arrived.
Mulvey reached into his hip pocket
but came up empty handed and calimed
he had left his wallet in his car back at my
place. "How convenient," I thought.
"Short arms and deep pockets." Reluctantly I paid for dinner with my charge
card and then left a few dollars and some
change on the table foratip. As we gotup
to leave I noticed him scoop up my tip
and discreetly pocket the money. I was
beginning to become suspicious of this
After diner, on the way to a nightclub,
we made a short stop at a convenience
store so I could buy him some cigarettes.
Whole I stood in line, Mulvey entertained himself by flipping through arack
of porno magazines, and then he borrowed some quarters from me and went
to play a video game. He played this
game for the better part of an hour while
I stood idly by his side trying not to look
too bored. When his quarters were spent
and his last game was finished, he discreetly filled his pockets with candy bars
and gum and headed for the exit. We
couldn' t get out of that store fast enough
to please me.
We finally arrived at the nightclub,
found a table and ordered some drinks.
As the waitress approached carrying a
tray with our drinks, Mulvey quickly left
the table, so naturally I paid for the
drinks. He returned shortly afterward
and told me that tha waitress was an old
girlfriend who had dumped him. He
rambled on about how she had promised
to wait for him until he got out of jail, but
that he figured that six years was a long
time to wait so how could he blame her?
("Yikes," I thought. "Six years! What
was he in for? Murder? Rape?" Was I
safe with him?)
He then told me that he was getting
tired of living in his car and was looking
forward to meeting someone special and
building a nest together. My skin began
to crawl. The effects of the alcohol and
the music were beginning to get to me
and I wanted to dance. I was becoming
impatient waiting for Mulvey to ask me,
so finally I asked him but he ignored me
and left the table again. For the next hour
or so, I sat at the table alone while he
stood over by the bar with some other
rude looking guys, paying a lot of attention to some barfly in a green miniskirt
with matching green hair and green lipstick. I debated getting up and leaving
but just then the bar was closing and the
lights were on and Mulvey came over
and told me we were going to an indoor
pool party in West Vancouver. That
sounded like fun - maybe my luck was
We pulled up out front of the house
and Mulvey parked my car next to a fire
hydrant on the wrong side of the street, at
the same tim eblocking the neighbour's
driveway. Actually, "abandoned my
car" might have been a better choice of
words, since one wheel was up on the
curb and my front bumper was locked
onto the bumper of the car in front of us.
We were greeted at the front door by the
schmeg in the greet miniskirt who
hugged and kissed Mulvey and then shot
me a nasty look. I wouldn't say she was
cold, but whenever she walked into the
room the thermostat kicked in. She was
the only other female at this "party" and
there were about 15 guys, some of whom
were naked and swimming in the pool. I
didn't feel comfortable here and told
Mulvey that I wished to leave. He
handed me a fistful of Valium and yelled
at me to "mingle, you're at a party."
I threw the pills on the floor and
stomped out of the house, slamming the
foor behind me. I walked down the street
but could not find my car anywhere. I
must have been towed away, so I walked
over the bridge into Vancouver and
caught the Skytrain to the end of the line
and then walked the rest of the way home
to Surrey. The entire way home all I
could think about was what a creep this
Mulvey person was: first he picks me up
late, then we have to take my car and pay
for dinner and drinks with my money,
and then he ignores me all night, and now
I have to take the bus home. On top of it
all, I'm going home alone and when I get
there I have to scrape my cat off the
When I finally got home there was a
police car there on a stakeout. They
seemed really interested in the car
parked on the street out front of my
house and even more interested in finding the person named Mulvey that
owned it. Apparendy they were looking
for him as he had recently jumped bail in
another province, while awaiting trial on
three counts of drug peddling and one of
smuggling. I told them I didn't know
anything about him or his car and went to
bed trying to erase all memory of this
A few days later I had cooled down
and had entirely blocked out the whole
disgusting ordeal. I still wanted to meet
someone who was loving, thoughtful,
considerate, and kind and who would be
fun to be with, but I had given up on the
personal ads. I thought that maybe a
computer matchup would be a more reliable way to meet somebody compatible and so I shopped around and found
a reputable dating service and went over
and filled out a questionnaire. About a
week later they told me they had found
someone that they thought was perfect
for me and can you believe it if they
didn't match me with this same guy,
Mulvey again? Do you think I should go
out with him again? I really don't want
anything to do with this scumbag, but it
appears as though he is the only man in
my life right now.
Well, boys will be boys.
I saw Elvis, the King of Pelvis over the
holidays. He was in disguise. I almost
didn't recognize him 'cause of the red
suit and beard. Apparendy he's gotten a
Biology degree and is working as an
animal technician for a reindeer farm.
Seriously. I'm sure it was Elvis. When I
asked him for an autograph he just
laughed - "ho ho ho" - and gave me a big
wink as he touched the side of his nose.
I realize that he's entrusted me with his
secret but I had to let you and the world
know. Keep Hope.
I'm stunned. I was sure that he was
living with Jim Morrison, Jimi Hendrix,
and Jimmy Hoffa in the Andes. Guess I
was wrong.
Staff Needed!
The 432, as always, needs writers, photographers, artists, typists, etc. But that's
not all.
We need an editor!
Yes, when this school year ends in April,
the tenure of the current editor is over,
and that means that we will need a new
one. In order to provide enough training
so that the next editor doesn't have to
start from scratch, we need to know who
is interested quite soon.
So how do you get involved?
Come to Scarfe 9 any Thursday at 12:30
and find out where the 432 meeting is
(usually it's in Scarfe 1006). If you can't
make it, call the SUS at 228-4235.
The 432
January 6,1989 SCIENCE WEEK JANUARY 23-27
Zalm Parks It
by Derek K.Miller
Earlier this month Premier Vander
Zalm announced the conversion of the
entirety of the UBC Endowment Lands
into the largest regional pairk in North
America. A decision on the region has
been pending for nearly a decade, and
the Greater Vancouver Regional District, which will control the park, could
not be more pleased. They have been
lobbying hard for just such a park, but
were not expecting to have jurisdiction
over the whole of the Endowment
The UBC administration was less
pleased with the decision, for although
they supported the creation of a park,
they also intended to utilize some of the
land for residential property, thus generating badly-needed income for the University. As it is, the park will be approximately twice the size of Stanley Park,
currently the largest urban park on the
continent. It joins other regi onal nature
parks in the Greater Vancouver area,
including Burnaby Lake, Belcarra,
Campbell Valley in Langley, Crippen on
Bowen Island, Kanaka Creek in the
Fraser Valley, and others.
Natives who lay claim to some of the
park area are disappointed with the decision, on which they say they were not
consulted. It appears to them that the
whole dispute has been sidestepped in
the creation of the park, and they have
registered a protest with the provincial
government. The future development of
the area thus remains unclear.
Where the Heck is
Scarfe 9?
by David New
A simple, step-by-step guide to finding
the SUS office which now leaves you
proles with no excuse.
(i) Start at the Bookstore. Biy now, we
hope that most of you know where
the Bookstore is. (It's right near the
bus loop.)
(ii) Walk away from the bus loop, between the Bookstore and the construction site.
(iii) After you've gone a block, you
should be at the intersection of
Dear 432,
You're a hip, happening kind of bunch in
the know. Just who is the Black Hand?
Does he or she need a faithful sidekick?
How can I blacken my hands by means
other than reading the 432 and getting
covered with ink?
Blorth Hidquool
Psychology 5
Well, you see, Blorth, the Black Hand is
not aperson, but an organization, which
does not actually exist, but which, in its
nonexistence, manages to perform diabolical and yet technically brilliant and
decidedly humorous pranks on and
around campus. Anyone who wants to
get involved with this non-group can
leave a non-messagefor the non-coordinator of the Black Hand in the SUS
office, Scarfe 9. - Ed.
Dear Sir,
Do you know how to tell if it's gonna be
a cold winter? Well, it's gonna be cold if
the squirrels gather bits of fibreglass
insulation during the summer. And it's
gonna be cold if the north side of beaver
dams are covered with plastic sheeting.
And it's really gonna be cold if just once
in late autumn, the sun sets one evening
and something else comes up the next
Jeff Shantz
Meteorology 4
Actually, I didn't know that. - Ed.
Main Mall and University Boulevard. Behind you and to the left is
Biology, behind you and to the right
is Chemistry. Ahead of you to the
right is Commerce, and ahead of
you to the left is a large building
with blue panelling. Education.
(iv) Pause to ask yourself why in
Einstein's name the SUS office is in
the Education building, then head
up the three or four stairs and go
through one of the front doors.
(v) If you've done everything correctly
so far, you should be in a wide corridor stretching to yom left and right,
Dug up from the S.U.S. archives...
Science Sales Science Sales Science Sales Science Sales
Science Sales has restocked some popular designs:
Einstein (white on black) T-shirt ..$8.00
S.U.D.S. (Science Undergrad Drinking Soeiety)..$8.00
Faculty of Science multicolour sweatshirt.. $18.00
Science U.B.C. sweatpants. $20.00
Plus our wide range of stuff: cardigans, windbreakers,
rugby shirts, varsity jackets, mugs, badges, stickers.
Science Sales Science Sales Science Sales Science Sales
Thera& no life lik. ib j
J-f you'rt /cofaty Scran excst/h catfer~ and/
youh? ov&r-. ^£ye feet -h/l J
7 -30/65 ,
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while ahead of you is a large lounge
with lots of couches in it, and beyond
that a garden. Turn left and walk
along the hall.
(vi) Go through the glass doors ai the
far end. Go down the staircase.
(vii) Walk straight ahead to the bottom
of the staircase. AvoidEdibles cafeteria by swerving around it. Stop
(viii) Turn left. The first door past the
washroom and closet is the SUS.
It says "Science Undergrad Society" on the door but I wouldn't
expect you to notice that.
(ix) Go into the office.
There. You've found Scarfe 9. Now,
with practice you should be able to
duplicate the feat without a sheet of
instructions. Give it lime. You'll learn.
Hey. You there.
Ask Mr. Science
(Excerpted from Ask Mr. Science! > a
B.C. Science Fiction Association publication.)
Mr. PS of Campbell River, B.C., asks:
Why does the smoke from a campfire
always follow me, no matter which side
of the fire I go to?
All smoke, whether from campfires or
cigarettes, is attracted by the homeopathic magnetism emitted, in one degree
or another, by almost all people. If you
and a friend stand on opposite sides of a
campfire, or cigarette smoker, the smoke
will seek out the one of you with the
stronger personality. Genghis Khan and
Adolf Hitler were well-known smoke
by David New
Are you in third or fourth year Science? Do you have a major?
Then be an SUS type. We've got a
by-election with minimal hoopla coming up in January, so get down to the
SUS office in Scarfe 9 and apply.
We need reps from Biology, Biochemistry, Geophysics/Astronomy,
Geology, Math, Stats, Physics, Chem,
Psychology, Geography, Oceanography, Atmospheric Science, General
Science, Microbiology, Pharmacology, and Physiology.
And not only that, but we also need
two other third years and one fourth
year just to be on council in general.
What do you have to do? Basically,
go to meetings. Everyone goes to the
SUS meetings every Thursday at 1:30,
in the SUB Council Chambers; and to
the Academics Council meetings every
Thursday at 5:30, in the Scarfe lounge.
^Academics Council? Huh?" They're
the folks who tender complaints about
profs, put out the Black & Blue Review,
and hand out the Teaching Excellence
Award.) Plus, everyone goes to the Faculty of Science meetings, to decide faculty policy. (Ooh.) Those are about once
a term.
Fourth year reps - okay, the fourth
year rep - also has to go to Grad Class
It's not that heavy a schedule, and you
actually get to say what gets done in
Science.so it'snot that badadeal, either.
So run. Nomination forms are available in Scarfe9. We'd be only too happy
to give you one.
The 432
January 6,1989 SCIENCE WEEK JANUARY 23-27
P«tau tor tfcli ***** i*v«*a ymm tdim MMk Mur
SIGN    UP   NOU.'
Refistrtto* Fee
Event Date:
Jan 14 th-
March 12th
Sdeacc st.dwt R«bmt« Registration starts:VTrt«»   *7 * ni
"*"**'' Registration ENDS: Ja_    £ th
Register,  9«t «l<jn-«p foraa,   ok  just ask questions at *"•'"''' "
Scl«ct mUx- fcarh um 1 <ffaMt 121-41351 m Iitnmls Office- *» iwa « (|*Mt 2n-MM)
Grouse Mountain Ski Challenge
DATE: Thursday, January 19,1989
TIME: 8:30am - midnight
FEE: $40/person ($20 rebated if you ski for Science)
Register now! Final deadline is January 13th, butthose
who sign up early get T-shirts. The event is filling up fast
and there are only 200 spots available. The fee includes
a lift ticket and two meals, and you only have to ski an
easy course twice. The rest of the day is free for skiing
and partying. Rentals are cheap too. Science has
dominated this event fortwo years in a row, and we will
do it again.
Cypress Bowl Ski Blitz
DATE: Thursday, February 2, 1989
TIME: 8:30am - midnight
FEE: $40/person ($20 rebated if you ski for Science)
Register now too! Final deadline is January 27 but only
125 spots are available, so it should fill up even faster.
Come down to Scarfe 9 and register before it's too late.
Famous memos of the past.
M6GtingS: Every Thursday at 12:30 in Scarfe
1006. Check with Scarfe 9 to confirm. Meetings on
January 19 and February 2 will be cancelled due to
the Grouse Mtn. Ski Challenge and Cypress Bowl Ski
DGadlillGS: January 11 (for Science Week
edition); February 1,15; March 1, 15.,.
ISSUGS! January 23 (Science Week edition);
February 8,22; March 8, 22. The Science Week
edition will include a four-page pullout of Science
Week events. If you are planning an event please let
us know before the deadline.
Storm the Wall
March 12-17,1989
Heats: March 12-15
Semi-finals: March 16
Finals: March 17
The fee is $30 per team.
Storm the Wall vies with the Arts
'20 Relay as the largest intramural event in Canada. Teams of five
people (plus a spare) sprint, swim,
run, cycle, and then get themselves over a 12-foot wall in the
SUB Plaza Race Centre. Science
is trying for a record 100 teams in
the event this year, and registration starts now at Scarfe 9. Get a
team together or just come down
and sign up, and we'll put you on
one. You can be competitive or
i come in just for fun. Just do it.
And do it now.
Deja Vu Answers
(puzzle on page 3)
1. Toto
2. 20-20
3. Yo yo
4. Zsa Zsa
5. Choo choo
6. Walla Walla
7. Dodo
8. Bonbon
9. Can can
10. "Knock knock."
11. Tom torn
12. Boo boo
13. Go go
14. Sing Sing
15. Beri beri
16. Tsetse
17. Tutu
18. Pago Pago
19. Never Never
January 6,1989


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