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The Ubyssey Oct 1, 2004

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Array Suitcase of stars
by Alex Leslie
. FEATURES EDITOR .
■IlV_i.s;JtiiTe .20, ^003.f;:Fn:)mftlte;:PleseUk
Cosmodrome   in .northern. Russia f aitf
.iiite reoiiti nentalf ba 1 lisiic riiissiliy. decom-f
missioned from the Cold".War.-Tor. more;
peaceful purpo;ses/launches..ffMtai\hed to
its   body'■■■is-.- fan, diiconspicuous. phjecl;
'approximately the size of" a suitcase. The
:ol .je.c.'t weiahs nri.lv 54.kilograms and,--for
those inf's pace 't'rav'eh'.jias boi!ulHils;Uck;
.el;aV■''•!' sleal ()!;^!lH^h';V!r:a;.r>:r^K :{ d'Mla r^';
iv.tit:  (•:'(,. jri.it:- bef deceived: bv its'nieaiier
size : •oivc'V1 fin- space
..soeedilv- enter  its-i,
''L.if.'i:1.- ;i.;i(i
orbit;   nalf/ie
i precise reaiimys or The-;juie"i;r
vs. ijfslars e\TiT accomplished;
•out to.be; '-.'       '•■'■/.'.:": ''.''-..■        v' " ■'..■■.-''
; : . JantKiix ^()t.)4r AT(JST.fito(:usHs its tele,-:
'.scope' oil. Procvon, "the. hriahtest  Sun-
like-'''star- ■in'The  northern. hemisphere.'
Fr o (yi> ii '■: is', a... so uubl-a fie r Targe C jb'r
a's.troiioiherS;: heinii essentially, a larger,^
.older version of the Sun. According : io:;
hveiity years of astronomical theory, and .
..observations- from ■■■'■•■the'. .:grourid, .MOST
should de.lect: Signatures; of vibralions in
Procyoii. But \vhen the resi)]ts;,rX)nie:in-,.:
Prpcvonis a flat-liner: no vibrations: are
i-rprym ys a ilat-lih.er: no vibrations: are
: VI el ee !ed' :.x" f;' ■;\v'}i:^'->v. -dy iyk fV].;X Ciy ,;>■;, > ,•
. Kiisehmu/ \lfU.STvs vinsiruiiieui'■'•>.<, leopy:'
•fell- .ineTater. And.. Adatthews  say-:. Tit
was s.ii.!)j')i):>e(.i To. life, a piece iii-oake: We.
•e.\ Off 'led vtliat   after   a   week .or.-fWw'".we.
won uivi earn see me smuais, auo an era-
. --dr
: carrvmy.; -it revolutionary .space ■;■• tele-.
: scope, headed,'ii])' by'-:. UBC a sir ond my
■; pro lessor. Dr Jaymie'"Matthews.- MOST
(w-hiclr stands.' -ft-jr- Microwave a liili.ty
' and' Oscillations: .of:.STars): is Canada's
:first/and' history's sinallesf. space;''.t-el''e:.-
■'scope andftihe.ftfirst scientific;:research'
^aieliite.to be launched. frbm-Canad;Tiri:
over 3(iyearsft'T.he .inA)ririati()ii.'it.;:sen(Js
■'i-o.'VEarth-.'."i.n.-'-'|hp.'^cdii'Ti'i'iii-' mo ut-lis;.. a n,d:
years'  vvill   provide   knowledge - of ; thef
. innerwoi:kings . df ■ •' -s t ars , liereTofor e;
.'unbeknownst tqf the human race.: ■
•;   .'It is. O(iober'2.(.)0::|''.lnieet Matthews
,;for • thefff'first' time  in iris ^office iit ihe--'
'Tienhings-building 'on .thef-CBC cairipusy
AIQST has been.orbiting,dorfoverf Uiree;
month's mid the. resiilts. Though yiol yeC
released, have,excited ^laltliews ahd.hisf
team. ■ He tells nie. amiiibly; iiniidst ::his
office's sea of :asiroiipnii:ca]:kits'ch:y"pe'r-.
.'soiially I \ydul:dlo\'e: 11 if there M'H'K^.'disagreement because it'sfron.i those kinds,
of disagreements 'that we^earh,''-'.''
fMattli^w'S daes not know atlhai time
howyprbphetic.stliat; statenieiit will .fifiirri
.■Aird. we <i in tin ufed In.t ibse ry ty a nd\ve-.s I ill;
fwerefn'fseeihii aiBiTiiirg. ;';y ,...'.   '."
'■•■'.'■  lii .lata Jatunirv^ -tlie f AfOSTf sciffiice
f tea lii,. g; i.t hers .at L" BC ■'■;. a.iid th e. r es ii 1 Is ;;i.re;
. eliscusseil;. (The:. results'fiir (juesLii.iii .c'p-i'i■.
f.sist aiff '.YZ cohtinuous- (lays nf fdritaf  ;\'
f ciuarter fof'a. rniliion'jndividn^il: nre.as.ure'-''
uieivl.s.)f. The -teainirfied • by :;Mattlie\\;s;
deciilesii)at;.thef resul.ts';itre. valid. \\;itliiia-.
. die capabilities of their inst riuiientsaiid ■
Ihat it Vdiiiie t[ifpu!ilish,.v' j ' :. ..
ft   II i>s Ji^rK"   1., .2(H;i4:ft Th(T,i^sUe;Aif: t'hef;
• journal iV<.;/if;/?<y containihii:':\i(3ST's: •(.■'.b'ii-'.
ir.oyersia.1' results.is 'jiiiblisheibaiHithtA:'
: make::; iii-. Mattlie.Ws" wiirds, •.•".i'l'ui'te ' a;
splafsh:■'.;' I-'ii tlie veiv sanre issiie- is fan. iui-f
refereed: article, opposing- the resiil.tsVof
.■Ma.t'tlie\v;s'''-'-'l;ec'iin';v;.Wn,ll^n'..l.)y
:'Yk'i:y. :sd.entists;w\iiose ■ resid.ls..,;i'(jiiJ;d'.lie-,
.potentially d'ebp riked by MOST.. ■ i, ■.
'-.;. ft'A.;debate.;,hiisf begHh-yane that'..m'ay:.
very >\'ell;.'change.- the', \\Tay;\ye: understa nd.':.
stars. .,.',■■;      ■';'- ■■.''.■. '::':-■'■■' 'y-..' ..-'■■•",' '■;'
.; ■■•:! n ■ S.eirtembe.r:; 2 00.4;' A:I;a.tth'ev\^;and'l^
THIS ISSUE:
Whaf s that ahead?
Think twice about speeding on
campus. Page 3.
More VIFF
The VIFF continues for another week.
Page 7.
Superb start
Thunderbird Soccer athlete Canada
West player of the week Page 2.
Compromise city
Plan for redevelopment of Woodward's
building raises questions. Page 6.
Volume 86 Issue 8
zine
Friday, October 1, 2004
My mouth tastes like ry&ber since 1f 18 PAGE FRIDAY
Friday, October 1,2004
CLASSIFIEDS
LOUD, RESPONSIVE BASS GEAR
FOR SALE SWR Silverado Professional
Bass Head 400 Watts full EQ, direct
outputs, active and passive inputs, hard
shell case. $800 o.b.o also SWR 4x10
Working Man bass cab. $400 o.b.o. Call
Dave 604.258.9384
THE SPECTRE OF TIANANMEN
AND WORKING CLASS STRUGGLE
IN CHINA TODAY Saturday, October 2,
2:30pm Multipurpose Room A
Collingwood Neighbourhood House 5288
Joyce Street (between Vanness and
Kingsway) For more information call
604.687.0355 or email TLLT@look.ca
ON OCTOBER 3RD, JOIN THE
CANADIAN BREAST CANCER
FOUNDATIONS CIBC RUN FOR
THE CURE. Walk, jog, or run one or
five km and raise money for a future
without breast cancer. To register, visit
cbcf.org
LOST GOLD LOCKET AT UBC
TRIATHLON last Sunday. Huge
sentimental value.  Reward offered.  604-
944-7277 or mcphee.k.b@telus.net
uy&se
DESKTOP COMPUTER FOR SALE -
Dell Inspiron 1900CXE. Celeron
900mHz, 128MB RAM, 20GB hard
drive, DVD player, built-in network
card, sound card, floppy &C 2 USB ports.
Includes a PS/2 mouse and keyboard.
$350 or best offer.
canemic services
NEED HELP WRITING ESSAYS OR
PASSING THE LPI? Term Paper marks
dragging down your grades? Get help
from DIANNE. Call (604) 662-8775
HAVING WRITER'S BLOCK
WRITING YOUR THESIS? Graduate
students sometimes experience
emotional, motivational and cognitive
blocks which delay progress in thesis
writing. Psychological interventions have
been successful in overcoming obstacles
to complete a thesis. Contact Dr. N.
Phillips, registered psychologist (604-
732-0148). Inquire about three free
sessions with your student fees.
ENGLISH TUTOR, BA (English)
Composition, grammar, LPI. Sally ,
(604)435-3306, or
bjenning@interchange.ubc.ca
j 2138 WESTERN PARKWAY, VANCOUVER f
(on Campus, beside Bank of Montreal)
Large Selection of
DVD, VHS & GAMES
for your enjoyment!
Reservations 604-221 -9355
mmm
UBC FOOD COOP PRESENTS
SPROUTS, a student run, not for profit
cooperative grocery store. Find snacks,
fresh produce, ready-made- meals, baked
goods and more on the lower level of the
SUB. Open 11-6 Monday to Friday.
L££!M____L______J
FOOD SCIENTIST NEEDED! We are
seeking a 4 th partner to join our leading
organic food company in Vancouver.
Looking for investor/contractor. To be a
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CLASSIFIEDS
FOR STUDENTS!
Looking for a roommate?
Got something to sellP
Or just Have an
announcement to make?
H you are a student,
you can place classifieds for FREE!
For more information, visit
Room 23 in the SUB
(basement! or call 822-1654
See how
happy this
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Write for sports
and yduHl be happy
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We promise.
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p^Miijisisf^tejS.
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u Ottawa
L'Umversite canadienne
Canada's university
University of Ottawa
www. u Ottawa. ca
Attend Law School in
Canada and the United States
Earn two degrees:
• an LLB from the University of Ottawa; and
• a JD from Michigan State University College of Law,
Pay Canadian tuition for all four years.
For more information visit:
www.commonlaw.uOttawa.ca/eng/academic/programs
or call (613) 562-5800, ext. 3321
Application deadline: November 1,2004
ic touch
UBC soccer Bird Luke Sandilands
brings size and skill as a striker
BH
by Eric Szreto
SPORTS EDITOR
Luke Sandilands admits that there
is "no magical potion" that makes
him the top scorer in Canada West
soccer. Tve just been lucky to get
opportunities and convert them/
he says.
While he is in his third year with
the UBC Thunderbirds, it is his first
season as a striker for the UBC
men's soccer team. And his superb
start has already turned heads. Last
week against a stingy Calgary team,
he managed to score two goals -
enough to earn him top honours as
Canada West athlete of the week.
Sandilands is first in scoring in
Canada West and fifth in the CIS
with five goals in the four games
played this season. He has also
accounted for half of the T-Birds"
goals so far this campaign.
With so much early success it
would be hard to believe that
Sandilands' soccer career was in
limbo at the end of last season.
Feeling he needed a change, UBC
coach Mike Mosher decided to take
advantage of Sandilands' size and
speed by switching him to striker in
the upcoming season.
"Things weren't going well as a
defender. [Sandilands'] confidence
was quite low. So I thought this
guy's got good skills, plus size.
He would be good up front/ said
Mosher.
His size and skill made it a natural transition, added Mosher.
"[This is] part of the reason he
went to forward; not only is he
big, but he's deceivingly quick/
explained   Mosher.   "A  big   guy
who's quick and who's got great
skill? That's a good set of tools,
anyone would want a guy like him
up front/
Since the switch, it has been
Sandilands' overall game that has
impressed Mosher.
"I think he's had a terrific start to
the season/ said Mosher. "He's also
doing a lot of other tilings: defensive aspects, [he has a good] work
rate and he's quite fit/
Sandilands feels that his size,
not necessarily his quickness, is his
strength.
"I'm a big soccer player, so a lot
of players tend to be slighter. I can
generally kind of push my defenders around, so I can keep the ball
from them/ said Sandilands. "I'm
not super quick or as skilled as
some of the other guys though/
Beyond his own off-season
changes, the T-Bird squad has
improved since last year, according
to Sandilands.
"I think we have a better team
this year. Not necessarily the individual talent/ he said, "but all the
guys this year seem to be together and the chemistry is good, so I
say in that respect, stronger than
last year/
Coming up this weekend is a crucial rematch against a Calgary team
that is only two points behind UBC
in the Canada West standings with
one game in hand.
The game can be watched at O.J
Todd Field this Saturday (October 2)
at 2pm.
"Calgary plays pretty aggressively, so we'll just have to try to match
their intensity/ said Sandilands.
"And win the game/ ♦
i! PAGE FRIDAY
Friday, October 1, 2004
NEWS
3
Translink fare increase
rejected by board
A surprise decision made Wednesday by Translink's board of directors has prevented the transport
authority from pursuing fare increase in the short term. The board
rejected a motion calling for public
consultation to begin on the proposed fare increase by a six-six vote.
As Translink is not able to raise
fares without public consultation,
this decision has effectively postponed any activity until such time
that the Translink board is willing to
reconsider its position.
Translink's Bill Lambert discussed the delay with the Alma
Mater Society (AMS) council at
its regular Wednesday meeting.
Lambert said that he was "dumbstruck" by the development, but confirmed his belief that the fare
increase plans would be brought
back to the board in fairly short
order.
Translink is obliged to give notice
of a fare increase to the AMS four
months in advance so that the student society can organise a referendum on the matter.
Provided that approval to begin
the consultation is granted in the
next few weeks, Lambert told the
AMS that the likely fare increases
would be set to take effect in April,
2005, as previously expected.
The Translink plan to increase
revenue calls for a $2 per month
increase for the U-Pass as well as
across the board fare increases, a
new parking stall tax and an increase
in property taxes.
Members of the board that did
not support the plan were dissatisfied with aspects of the parking tax
and not the fare strategies, leading
Translink officials to be optimistic
that the increases will eventually
advance to the next step in the consultation process.
AMS gets its vote on
As the provincial election approaches next May, a non-profit organisation called Check Your Head is aiming to raise awareness amongst
youth in BC and encourage eligible
voters to take part in the political
process.
"We provide youth-driven initiatives around democracy issues/ said
Johanna Mazur, a staff member for
Check Your Head.
At the September 29 Alma Mater
Society (AMS) council meeting,
members of council voted to partner
with the organisation and its "Get
Your Vote On" campaign to inform
students at UBC about voting in the
election.
"We're pretty much providing a
framework for them," said Mazur.
"There might be particular issues
that they decide to do at UBC.
"♦
Speed demons beware
Brand new traffic
watch program
aims to educate
by Sarah Bourdon
NEWS EDITOR
Drivers on campus may notice a
recent addition to the UBC scenery:
their car's travelling speed on a sign
in bright red numbers at the side of
the road.
The digital speed watch board is
part of a new program operated by
UBC Campus Security and UBC's
RCMP detachment to encourage
drivers to slow down in areas of
high pedestrian and bike traffic.
"It's a community-minded program," said Bruce Lovell, director
of Campus Security. "It's to
increase traffic awareness in the
community/
The speed watch board, manned
by two Campus Security employees,
is set up on various roadways on
campus and on surrounding roads
such as Northwest Marine Drive
and West 16th Avenue west of
Blanca Street.
A radar antenna attached to the
top of the board calculates a car's
speed and displays it on a digital
readout, accompanied by a sign
below indicating the speed limit for
that area. The program will help
determine how prevalent speeding
is on campus.
"There's the visible part of it.
The other side of it is to collect
some statistical data on what
the speeds are/ said Lovell. "An-
ecdotally you might see one car
speed by and say well then, there's
[sic] lots of speeders, but are there?"
Speed limits on the Endowment
Lands vary from 30 kilometres per
NO FAST MOVES: RCMP and UBC Campus Security are collaborating on a new monitoring program
to prevent speeding on UBC roadways,  nic fensom photo
horn: up to 80 kilometres per hour
along Southwest Marine Drive. One
person was caught travelling at 187
kilometres per hour along Southwest Marine Drive, according to
Steve Bohnen, a spokesperson for
Campus Security.
"The issue is, people see a wide
roadway anil lots of visibility and
they just put the pedal down/ said
Bohnen. "What we're doing is we're
giving drivers an opportunity to
actually just check in on what
they're doing/
With so many cars on campus,
measures should be put in place to
minimise speeding, though it may
be difficult to convince speeders to
slow down, said Emma Seddon, a
third-year science student at UBC.
"I think when people see that
they're speeding they? don't really
care/ said Seddon. "I tthink the people who care would already be going
slower anyway/
The effectiveness of the speed
watch program .will aUso depend-on
the location of the; equipment,
explained Seddon.
"I live right on Wesbrook Mall
and cars go crazy fasft along there,
plus there are lots of cars parked
there. So maybe thatt would be a
good place to put the iaaonitors/
The speed watch program uses
equipment provided by ICBC and
the security staff are trained by
the RCMP.
Though the Campus Security
officers don't have the ability to
charge speeders, they can provide
the police with helpful speeding
information and often deploy in the
vicinity of an RCMP speed enforce-
-mentlocatipn.   ,t
The project will be beneficial in
creating awareness about speed
limits in the area, said Janice Mann,
a corporal for the RCMP.
"A lot of people when they're
travelling within the jurisdiction
don't know what the speed limit is
so it's an educational aspect of
policing/ said Mann. ♦
rouoie w
Lawyer questions the logic of Canadian Criminal Code
by Sienne Lam
NEWS WRITER
Challenging the Canadian Criminal Code and
demanding a re-evaluation of obscenity laws,
William Deverell, a renowned Vancouver
lawyer, spoke on obscenity, hate and artistic
freedom at a lecture Saturday evening.
Deverell was a journalist for seven years,
including working as a writer for the Vancouver
Sun. In addition, he has written several best-
selling novels and wrote screenplays for the
long-running CBC drama Street Legal.
According to the Canadian Criminal Code,
the definition of obscenity is "any publication a
dominant characteristic of which is the undue
exploitation of sex, or of sex and any one or
more of the following subjects, namely crime,
horror, cruelty and violence."
In the course of his career, Deverell has
taken on many obscenity cases and has continually challenged Section 163 of the Code.
Deverell argued that this law breaches on a
citizen's right to freedom of expression. The
issue surrounding the suppression of obscene
materials has been debated for over 400 years,
with civil rights activists demanding a relaxation of obscenity laws.
Section   163   deems  anyone who   "makes,
DEVERELL
prints, publishes, distributes,
circulates, or has in his possession for the purpose of publication, distribution or circw-
lation any obscene written,
matter, picture, model, phonograph record, or other thing;*
an offender, according t»o
Deverell.
"The  freedom  to  express
what is common in society Ls
fundamental progress to a free society [and]
should not be curtailed/ said Deverell, quotin.g
the novel Fanny Hill by John Cleland.
A member of the BC, Alberta^ and Yukon baa*
associations, Deverell has been counsel in ovesr
1,000 criminal cases either as defense attorney
or prosecutor. His passion for freedom cof
expression led him to become a founding director, former president, and now honorary director of the BC Civil Liberties Association (BCLA|),
The BCLA is a charitable society aimed &t
preserving, defending, and extending civil liberties and human rights across Canada.
Outlawing obscene expressions when there
is no proven harm done is ridiculous, argued
Deverell. Although feminists implicate obsceiue
materials, especially pornography, as a direct
cause of physical and emotional harm t:o
women, there has been no solid evidence to
support such a claim, he added.
Sex offenders often come from families that
have a low tolerance for children's curiosity
towards nudity or obscenity, Deverell pointed
out. He argued that obscene works have no
direct effect on sexual and violent crimes.
Doubting this point, a member of the audience raised the case of Michel Briere, a man
who plead guilty to the abduction and killing of
a ten-year-old girl in Toronto in June 2004.
Briere claimed that pornography was the
motivation for his actions. But Deverell
responded by explaining that Briere's case is
unique, and denounced the notion that watching pornography directly leads a person to
abduct and kill.
"Is that a statistic?" Deverell asked, going on
to question the unconstrained depiction of violence in popular culture.
It is proven that violence on TV and movies
can arouse aggressive behaviour, yet it does not
have the restrictions that obscene artistic
expressions are subject to, Deverell said.
"I personally don't like the name of that
movie, Kill Bill," he joked.
Deverell concluded his talk by saying that
the question of obscenity laws infringing on
freedom of expression has been debated for
centuries, and shows no sign of disappearing
anytime soon. ♦ 4
WWW.UBYSSEY.BC.CA
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MOST's discovery is unexpected/ but
what will this mean for science?
PAGE FRIDAY
Friday, October 1, 2004
"Procyon"from page 7.
meet for the second time since MOST
was launched, and the first time since
Procyon's surprising results became known
to astronomers. "Whatever the explanation
is, it's something new/ Matthews tells me.
An unusual patient
Say you were a doctor and a patient walked
into your office. The patient is apparently
healthy and all of your training, not to mention every doctor before you, tells you that
when you apply your stethoscope to the
patient's chest, you should hear a pulse. You
listen, and there is no pulse to be heard. The
first thing you do is check the stethoscope.
After rattling it around for a while, it seems
fine. You check the patient again. Still no
dice. 'What the hell is going on?" you start
thinking to yourself. But pulses don't answer
to frustration and still the patient hangs,
silent, enigmatic, distant
This is how Matthews describes his reaction to MOST's unexpected—and, for the
moment—unexplained results. And, indeed,
it is fitting. The detection of vibrations from
Procyon were not only expected by scientists, they were assumed, with about 20
years of astronomical theory to back it up.
Procyon was a poster child for the kind of
science MOST does, being a larger and more
advanced version of the Sun. Of course, scientists know plenty about the Sun and when
MOST scientists planned to observe
Procyon, as a kind of trophy star for their
mission, they logically expected their patient
to behave like the Sun, which pulsates happily day and night, but on a
larger scale.
Then again, no one's ever worked with a
stethoscope quite like MOST before.
MOST is the smallest space telescope ever
built and boasts technology that detects
vibrations of stars to create a model of their
internal structure—a process called stellar
seismology—more precisely than ever
before. MOST's measurements are more
precise than even the Hubble space telescope, though its satellite is only the size of a
suitcase and the mirror of its telescope only
the diameter of a dinner plate, earning it the
playful nickname "the Humble space telescope/ Stunningly, MOST can measure light
to the accuracy of one part per million (1
ppm). What does that mean? If you were to
look at a street lamp from one kilometre
away and move your eye half a millimetre
towards the light, the intensity of the light
would be 1 ppm greater.
A stethoscope worthy of even the faintest
and most elusive of heart murmurs.
The silence of
the sphere
The   "pulse*   MOST was  listening  for  in
This is my idea off demoting*
Items in Dr. Jaymie Matthews' office:
Ol aluminum Rocket Racer
Ol bottle Black Holes III traditional ale
(empty)
Ol Dr Evil spaceman figurine (see photo)
Ol Thank-you for flying UBC" sign
Ol Dr Libido's Make-Your-Own-Comet kit*
Ol life-sized cardboard standnip of Yoda
Ol Indonesian singing bowl
Ol tabloid article. Headline: "Roswell
Mystery Solved: Crashed UFO was actually
a tune machine from the future"
0 Numerous Simpsons figures
01 rocket-themed lunchbox
Ol Rubik's cube in the shape of a human
head
*Dr Libido was Matthews' alter ego in his undergrad days.
Procyon—and which it has, even more curiously, detected in stars other than Procyon—is
explained by Matthews by use of an unusual
item in his office: an Indonesian singing
bowl, an ancient meditation tool. This, I suspect, is an explanation technique he has used
for many a confused student that wanders
into his office and asks, much as I did, "So,
stars make sound?"
The singing bowl is small and copper-
coloured and sits in Matthews' hand like a hol-
lowed-out half of a tiny planet. Matthews
begins his explanation of stars' innerworkings.
"So what's happening in a star like the Sun
is that the Sun's made up of gas. It's hot gas, it's
very hot at the centre where the nuclear reactions cause it to shine." Alright So far so good.
Matthews tells me that there is an immense
temperature difference between the core and
the outer layer of the star. "And in that outer
layer the gas is constantly churning around
and creates sound, it creates noise, and that
sound can't travel into the vacuum of space,
outwards, so it actually goes into the interior of
the Sun...and the waves bounce around and
some of them cause the sun to resonate, they'll
just pick that right frequency/
This is where the Indonesian singing
bowl comes in. Matthews hits its edge with a
small mallet and a sound is produced: a resonant golden hum. "The way it hums/
Matthews tells me, "is a clue as to what the
internal structure of the Sun is." This is
what scientists were hoping to hear from
Procyon. "It's kind of if you were listening to
an orchestra and you digitised the
music..and that would be a signature of the
music coming from the orchestra. So we
were looking for that signature and that
music coming from the star, rising above the
natural noise," he says.
After the "flat-liner" signal from Procyon,
Matthews' team carefully checked whether
the telescope was operating properly and
even implanted fake signals into the data and
retrieved them, to prove that they were not
"processing out" the signals they were looking
for. Still, Procyon did not sins..
Matthews suggests several different reasons for the unexpected silence, but emphasises that it's really "too early to say/ But the dis-
coveiy is exciting, if only for the fact that MOST
is telling astronomers information that before
was largely deduced through theory. "No one
knows, really, how stars behave," Matthews
says, "and no one else can look at stars the way
we can with MOST. Anything you find is new.
Even if the stars behave the way you expected,
nobody knew that before...what we're really
doing for the first time is charting how stars
behave in the way they oscillate in light Until a
year ago, the only other star we could do that
for was the Sim."
There remains the possibility that Procyon
is in fact giving off a signal that, for whatever
reason, MOST isn't picking up. Or—the endlessly more exciting option—it could be that
Procyon isn't giving off a signal at all, suggesting that there could be something fundamentally erroneous in our previous models of
stars or, at the very least, tihat the model does
not apply to Procyon. But, Matthews adds,
MOST has detected the expected oscillations
from another star with noise levels similar to
Procyon. "I think that alone indicates that
we're sensitive to what we're supposed to be
and that Procyon just isn't doing what was
expected/
Teaching old
astronomers
new tricks
Down the hall from Matthews' office is the
Vancouver MOST ground station—there are
three MOST groundstations worldwide, in
Vancouver, Toronto and Vienna—and the
office of Rainer Kuschnig.
Kuschnig is the MOST instrument scientist. The wall beside his desk is scattered
with diagrams of the telescope's structure;
5
SPACE MAN: Dr Jaymie Matthews' space telescope could change our understanding of how stars work, marnie recker photo
the computer on his desk contains the measurements of fifteen stars, sent from MOST,
eight hundred kilometres above the Earth.
Each star is represented by a labelled yellow
folder on his screen. He shows me a chart of
a reading from a star/Small black crosses
representing individual data points —one
per every two minute interval—scatter the
screen, linked by a red horizontal zigzag that
shows a mean value. "This is a completely
new-discovered star," Kuschnig tells me,
indicating the screen; "no one knew that this
star is variable/ I ask the name of the star
and he answers, secretively, "can't tell you, it
hasn't been published yet."
Checking the results from MOST is part of
Kuschnig's daily routine. "It takes me an hour
per day to actually get up-to-date and I do this
literally in the morning and in the evenings
by having my coffee or in the early evenings
by having a nice beer and the computer
screen runs on the side of my TV...I'm always
on the ball, trying to keep on top of it."
As the self-described MOST "front-man/
Kuschnig was the first to see the unusual
results come from Procyon.
"I started to realise it, I would say, after
two weeks/ he tells me. "Everybody was
expecting peaks anywhere between 20 at the
lowest and 40 parts per million/ But after
two weeks of observation, MOST had
reached a level of three parts per million
and still no signal. Kuschnig's tone becomes
emphatic: "we had this uninterrupted data
set, unpolluted by any kind of strange systematic effects and we just didn't see it/
In addition to being backed by theory, the
expectations of oscillations from Procyon
were based on measurements previously
taken from the Earth's surface. But,
Kuschnig tells me, these measurements
always left room for doubt, debate and reexamination. "The first reports [of oscillations in Procyon] were in the early '90s or
so, and the precision at that time was not
impressive, but it showed some peaks...But
it was not until a couple of years ago that
people really started to believe that they
actually saw it, they said 'we have indications, we have evidence.' The ultimate proof,
and the community accepting this proof on
this particular star, Procyon, was never really fully given/
Prior to MOST, there was widespread but
primarily passive scepticism of the grounded observations of Procyon. "A significant
fraction of the community has always questioned it, said 'well, it's really borderline, it
doesn't conform again with theory, these
modes don't show up where they should be
showing up, they don't have the same pattern and so on/ continues Kuschnig.
Until MOST, there was no practical possibility of observing Procyon continuously for
any substantial length of time; due to the fact
that any Earth-bound telescope is obliged to
follow the planet's rotation, re-orientating
constantly towards a different part of sky.
"We have more data collectively [from] one
run than all the [ground]
runs together...multiplied by two," Kuschnig
tells me.
The results from MOST have encountered
resistance—even outright denials—from scientists who previously supported or were
responsible for the contradicted Procyon
results.
"It's created a lot of excitement and a
lot of controversy," says Matthews. "Astronomers are human beings, you know.
People don't like to hear tihat stuff they
worked on for 20 years might not be right,
you know, and we don't like to say it unless
we're dragged kicking and screaming in that
direction."
Kuschnig's response is more evasive, yet
more clear: "This is typical in science, go to
any kind of scientific field, look at very controversial results, you find it all along. You
have the establishment, people that are
essentially trying to sell their results, as
good as they were or as, as good as they were
or as bad as they were, I mean I
wouldn't say bad, but they weren't the best at
the time."
The two sides came to a head in the July
1, 2004 issue of Nature Magazine. An article
(which, Kuschnig comments, was not refer-
eed) entitled "Where are Procyon's quakes?"
written by Jorgen Christensen-Dalsgaard and
Hans Kjeldsen contradicts MOST's results,
asserting that MOST's powers were not sufficient to detect signals from the star and that
further analysis will allow "the Procyon signal to be detected."
The report written by the MOST science
team, with Matthews as the lead author and
Kuschnig as the second, appeared in the
same issue and, both Kuschnig and
Matthews note, was thoroughly refereed by
members of the opposing side. The report
explains that, while past ground-based
observations of stars other than the Sun
"never achieved duty cycles of more than 3 5
per cent per month/ MOST achieved an
unprecedented 99 per cent. The report con
cludes by stating that the new results should
be considered carefully and that previous
measurements of Procyon "should be
re-examined in the context of the new
photometry."
Back in his office on the UBC campus,
Matthews leans back in his chair (this is
after the Indonesian singing bowl has been
set aside and before an impromptu trip
down the hall to the ground station). "We
have the capability to make measurements
that no one else in the world has, that no one
will have until at least 2006/ he tells me.
"Whenever you look at the Universe in a new
way, you find new things."
It ain't over 'til the
fat star sines
Matthews has been a driving force behind
MOST since the beginning, nursing it through
its stages of proposal, development, construction and launch. Speaking to him, it is easy to tell
that MOST is not only a professional, but a personal, project His interest in astronomy dates
from childhood. "I've been interested in stars
for as long as I can remember/ he tells me.
Matthews' office is a shrine to all that is
astronomical, stocked with all manner of otherworldly kitsch. But between the rocket-
themed lunchbox and the life-sized Yoda cardboard stand-up works a serious scientist.
Speaking generally of astronomical discovery
and MOST's accomplishments to date,
Matthews waxes poetic.
"It's like a detective game. Something
you've done has suddenly added some detail
to a distant star and made it, instead of just
being a pinpoint of light, now you know how
big it is, and how fast it's spinning around
and all of these things, that's part of the pleasure. You can go out at night and look up at
some pinpoint of light and in your mind's eye
you can actually picture it, what it's doing. It
has character and detail and you know that
you were responsible for some of that knowledge/ he enthuses.
MOST won't be tumbling down for centuries, but, says Matthews, more exciting
results are still to come, delivering more intimate portraits of the interiors of stars than
ever before. "So many stars, so little time/ he
laments.
Meanwhile, the satellite and its revolution- »
aiy telescope will be orbiting, orbiting far
above the Earth, leaving the past behind. ♦
UPCOMING FILMS
Screenings @ Norm Theatre in SUB
Admission: $3 and Membership: $20
Film Society Hotline: (604) 822-3697
http://www.ams.ubc.ca/clubs/filmsoc
Friday Oct 1
to Sun. Oct 3
7:00pm Fahrenheit 911
9:30om The Terminal
Think you know everything? J
:editoi^.kno
pus composting. Take a whiff o'somma that shit, sucka.
NEWS MEETINGS. TUESDAY At 1; SUB RM. ■ 24: ALL ARE
WELCOME! THAT MEANS YOU! YEAH, YOU 1^
pool - video soli • darts
satellite tv - football pools
3681 W. 4TH AVENUE
AT ALMA 604-734-1205
Serious about
Creative /Writing?
^ayrd Richards
'.y':':^
David Betgen;  Miqti
Karen Connelly,  Alan Curriyri^
/U;/::/%IVlaVifs^
Shaeria (Lambert
Richard S<c^
M v G. Vassanji
: Each m^
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6
THE UBYSSEY
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 1, 2004
VOLUME 86 ISSUE 8
PAGE FRIDAY
Friday, October 1,2004
EDITORIAL BOARD
COORDINATING EDITOR
Jesse Marchand
NEWS EDITORS
Sarah Bourdon
vacant
CULTURE EDITOR
Ania Mafi
SPORTS EDITOR
vacant
FEATURES/NATIONAL EDITOR
Alex Leslie
PHOTO EDITOR
vacant
PRODUCTION MANAGER
Paul Carr
Michelle Mayne
COORDINATORS
VOLUNTEERS
Carrie Robinson
RESEARCH/LETTERS
Paul Evans
The Ubyssey is the official student newspaper of the University of
British Columbia. It is published every Tuesday and Friday by The
Ubyssey Publications Society.
We are an autonomous, democratically run student organisation,
and ail students are encouraged to participate
Editorials are chosen and written by the Ubyssey staff.They are the
expressed opinion of the staff, and do not necessarily reflect the
views of The Ubyssey Publications Society or the University of
British Columbia.
The Ubyssey is a founding member of Canadian University Press
(CUP) and adheres to CUP'S guiding principles.
All editorial content appearing in The Ubysseyis the property of The
Ubyssey Publications Society. Stories, opinions, photographs and
artwork contained herein cannot be reproduced without the
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Letters to the editor must be under 300 words. Please include your
phone number, student number and signature (not for publication)
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checked when submissions are dropped off at the editorial office of
The Ubyssey, otherwise verification will be done by phone The
Ubyssey reserves the right to edit for length and style
"Perspectives" are opinion pieces over 300 words but under 750
words and are run according to space.
"Freestyles" are opinion pieces written by Ubyssey staff members.
Priority will be given to tetters and perspectives over freestyles
unless the latter is time sensitive Opinion pieces will not be run
until the identity of the writer has been verified. TTie Ubyssey
reserves the right to edit submissions according to length and style
It is agreed by all persons placing display or classified advertising
that if the Ubyssey Publications Society fails to publish an advertisement or if an error in the ad occurs the liability of the UPS will
not be greater than the price paid for the ad. The UPS shall not be
responsible for slight changes or typographical errors that do not
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EDITORIAL OFFICE
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BUSINESS MANAGER
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AD SALES
Dave Gaertner
AD DESIGN
Shalene Takara
Jesse Marchand sips Coke while waving at Graeme Worthy.
Michelle Mayne decides to bathe in Pepsi. Eric Szeto eagerly
watches and Dan McRoberts giggles. "Look at that armadillol*
screams Paul Carr. "This is a liquid factory, not a zoo." corrects
Sarah Bourdon and Nic Fensom begins to play the African
drums. The music was too loud according to Ania Mafi but Paul
Evans didn't care. And so, Carrie Robinson continues wailing in
screechy-pitched notes. Sara Norman goes googley-eycd over
Tejas Ewing. 'How goes it?" said Darry Hwo who had turned
brown from consuming an insane amount of coiTee. Cyndy Luo
continues volunteering. Scott Rudd flies around the city. Sienne
Lam watches Sex and Ihe City reruns but Lisa Pamela Cooper is
Amish so she won't. Matt Simpson dives into the pool full of
pudding pretending to be an Olympic athlete, and Ancillu Chui
pretends to be a sumo wrestler. "Tout tout!" shouted Alexander
Wright as Jesse E'erreras burped. Joel Lilian looked disgusted
and Trevor Gilks laughed so hard that he almost choked on his
eraser so Jon Woodward had to stop telling funny jokes.
EDITORIAL GRAPHIC
Joel Libin
COVER DESIGN
Paul Carr
Canadian
University
Press
Canada Pent Salat Agreement Numbar 40878022
cunnin
that just might work
After ten years of sitting empty, there is finally a plan for the Woodward's building.
Vancouver councillors voted 10-1 to approve
the redevelopment of the site by Westbahk
Projects and by doing so made one of the
strangest compromises in the history of downtown Vancouver.
For those unfamilar with the recent history
of the Woodward's building, suffice it to say, it
has become a powerful symbol of the poverty
and homelessness of the Downtown Eastside
after a lengthy occupation in the summer and
fall of 2002.
Social activists and Vancouver's least privileged took possession of the building until they
were forcibly removed. Soon after, the city
began to entertain plans for redevelopment
The new facility will provide space for an
eclectic combination of groups. It will include a
34-stoiy tower containing retail space, classrooms for SFU students, a daycare, low-income
family units, lofts and market units (i.e. condos
for sale).
And social housing. 100 units to be precise.
Of those, only 60 are considered deep-core housing or housing for recipients of Income
Assistance. If you ask community advocates, this
is not nearly enough. They lobbied for 2 50 units.
To defend this shortcoming, Larry Campbell has pulled a blame-it-on-Victoria/Ottawa
saying that $30 million would be required to
fund the 150 more units demanded by
activists. According to Campbell, the city just
doesn't have that much money, but he is committed to lobbying the province for the needed cash.
"I can tell you, unequivocally, that 100 units
is not enough for us either," he said.
If nothing else, the proposed redevelopment is a commendable attempt at social engineering. By combining some of the city's very
wealthy (the condo owners, along with the SFU
students getting their MBAs from Harbour
Centre) and the downtown residents who will
qualify for social housing, a real attempt is
being made to change the purpose and status
of the Woodward's building.
Some would call this gentrification. But
while we have concerns about the reality of
Vancouver's rich wanting to buy condos or go
to school next to some of Vancouver's poorest
citizens, it might prove to be a step in the
right direction. Ideally, the class distinctions
separating  Vancouverites   from  one   other
could be blurred in such a multi-purpose
building. Let's call this an experiment in
social amalgamation. Only time will tell if it
will prove succesful.
The "heritage* of the Woodward's building
will also be maintained in the redevelopment,
something which will please those who wish to
see the downtown core retain its "olde tyme"
character.
The brick facade and the huge "W* on the outside of the building aren't going away but neither is inequality, poverty, addiction and other
grim realities of life in the city's downtown.
Mayor Larry Campbell and councillors
should not make the assumption that the
reconstruction of this building will bring the
Downtown Eastside "back to life." The project
does not include social housing for every resident of the downtown core that might qualify.
100 units is a drop in the bucket. The right
bucket, true, but it is foolish to believe that this
alone will solve the manifold problems of the
Downtown Eastside.
Activists should continue to hold City
Council to account. The Council, meanwhile,
should continue to seek out new, innovative
ways of addressing these concerns. ♦
so iii eth in
feedback@ubyssey.be.ca
tetters to.-the editor myst: be uncl0r3OO words. Please include your phone'-:numper,..stu'deht'
muiiber arid signature (not For publicatip
sio»s«^H3'will be cheeked when -.submissions are dropped, oil atthe ediforuil "-office pf lh<?
Ulnf.wy/, otherwise verification w-ill be done b^phorile: 7^v /:^
for length,and.stvle.    ; .ft;-,
"Perspectives" are opinion pieces over 300. words but iinder 750,.words anclfare riinaccord-
ing to space, - .-'.;-. '-':■•■...■-.. "':    . •,.' - ":'•' ■:.':'.■■.''■   :':'.'.•'./-.'■..;•'•■
i
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V-
tt'-JiihWi.S."^.^; i&VWi-^W^i/i'-o^'^t.il.Vi-M.-fc.'^ PAGE FRIDAY
Friday, October 1,2004
Here for one more week, the VIFF
continues its worldly film presentation.
With additional screenings added for
some of the more popular films, don't
miss this final chance to see them.
Serious Subway Thriller
I
i
Kontroll
playing 0ct3
by Jesse Ferreras
CULTURE WRITER
Selected as Hungary's official entry
for the Best Foreign Language Film at
the Oscar's, Nimrod Antal's film
Kontroll is a dark comic urban
thriller, filmed completely on location in the Budapest subway system.
Boasting a killer techno-rock
soundtrack, a claustrophobic atmosphere and cinematography that pays
meticulous attention to the symmetrical details of subway systems and
tunnels, Antal has fashioned an original, though imperfect action thriller.
A hooded figure haunts the
Budapest subway system, pushing
victims in front of speeding trains
whilst remaining conspicuous
enough to pass off the murders as
suicides. The figure, however, is not
beyond the Budapest Transport
Company, which quickly informs the
Kontroll (ticket-takers) of what is happening throughout the subway tunnels of the Hungarian capital. Bulcsu
(Sandor Csanyi), an employee of the
Kontroll, is a member of the team
that supervises the tunnels where
these murders are taking place. His
whole life is the Kontroll, and he is
among the most berated employees
in the country. Every day, the
Kontroll are harassed, beaten and
abused by commuters, communicated effectively with a slam-bang technique characteristic of Guy Ritchie —
lots of driving and hard techno
music enhancing the excitement of
each scene.
One day, between harassing commuters, Bulcsu finds a guardian
angel in the form of Szofi (Eszter
Balla), whose beautiful face emerges
like a beacon of hope for Bulcsu. So
dedicated to his position that he cannot even muster up the courage to
leave, even as more victims pile up
on the tracks. But time will only tell
whether he can escape or be caught
first by the mysterious stalker throwing people beneath the speeding
trains.
Kontroll is one of the most entertaining films I have ever seen at
the Vancouver International Film
Festival. It is fast, funny, and laid
thick with style, but it is also substantial, although not as noticeably as it is
stylish. Nimrod Antal aims for
volume and humour in most of
his scenes rather than substance,
although as the film carries on, the
audience does find itself absorbed in
the underground nightmare that is
Bulcsu's life. Deceived into thinking
the film is about a serial killer in a
claustrophobic setting, in truth the
audience is exposed to a study of
working-class citizens who are confined to the gallows for so long that
they develop their own world.
The deceptive first ten minutes of
the film does not necessarily work in
its favour, as it does take the audience some time to realise that they
are not watching a formulaic action
thriller, therefore becoming impatient with the heavy characterisation.
Nevertheless, Antal's film is spectacular, well-acted, and often hilarious
in its depictions of the encounters
between the Kontroll and the everyday commuters of their subways.
Heavy on style and boasting a heart-
pounding soundtrack certain to be
popular with techno fans, Kontroll
takes its audience on a wild ride
through the Budapest underworld
and back again. ♦
roun
Scared Sacred
playing Oct 5
by Ancilla Chui
CULTURE WRITER
Scared Sacred is a relevant film for
our time. Following last year's
local hit The Corporation, it is likely that local director Veicrow
Ripper's Scared Sacred will be the
next hot Canadian documentary.
The premise of the film is beautiful yet haunting: Ripper visits the
"Ground Zeroes* of the world to
examine how humanity can find
hope in the most unlikely places.
From the gas leak by Union
Carbide India in Bhopal to the
unearthing of land mines in
Cambodia, to post 9/11, Ripper is a
tourist of darkness and he is more
than willing to take his audience
with him.   In an interesting scene
in Bosnia, we follow two artists
who find hope within the ruins.
They wander among museums and
other destroyed buildings to pick
up little fragments to use in their
art projects.
Ripper is almost running a one-
man show because not only is he
the director, he is also the editor
and cinematographer. We are told
the 35mm production just came
from the lab two weeks before the
film fest, and the final product of
this five year journey is a gripping
documentary with a poetic flare.
In one hundred and four minutes,
Ripper jam-packs a generous
assortment of footage from all of
these "Ground Zeroes."
What's beautiful about this film
is that it is about humanity and not
about politics. Our world is seeing
darker days but out of the darkness,
hope is never far behind. We can
feel empathy and realise we are no
longer living in a tiny bubble, and
that we are all global citizens.
For many, the world is an unstable place where we have no control
of our circumstances. But what we
can control is how we choose to
respond to these uncertainties. ♦
Old age elegance with plenty of charm
Being Julia
Sept. 26
by Alexander Wright
CULTURE WRITER
Canadian actor Bruce Greenwood
was on hand Sunday to introduce
his new movie Being Julia and to
tell a couple of charming anecdotes
about the film's director, Istvan
Szabo. Szabo was apparently so
opposed to screaming out directorial actions and cuts that he decided
to scrap doing that entirely; instead
the whole movie was shot with
pleases and thank-yous. What a
charming idea.
The anecdote is not nearly as
charming as the movie itself however, as Being Julia proves to be the
film we've all been waiting for. We
being, of course, those of us who
still dream of London in the 20's
and 30's, the good old days when
foxes were still known to trot.
Jeremy Irons appears 25 years
after Brideshead Revisited wearing
the same mustache he wore in his
portrayal of Charles Ryder, and
Annette Bening returns playing a
bright-eyed, deceptive, and wickedly joyfully actress at a crossroads in
her life, a role her fans love to see
her in.
Set in the London theatre world
of 1938 where everyone acts both
on and off the stage, the movie
revolves around a middle-aged
actress named Julia (Bening). While
she is the greatest actress of her
time, she is by no means the only
actress. Husband Michael Gosselyn
(Irons) who manages the business
side of their theatre, is also an
actor—though, as his wife points
out, the only act he cares to play is
that of the "handsomest man in
Britain."
But when a young American
named Tom wins Julia's heart by
simply swinging around lamp posts
in the moonlight—a move bound to
win any woman over—Juha does
not realise that he is using her to
get a big acting break. Everyone
acts in order to use and uses in
order to act, a theme that continues
through the film.
This film is great fun, taking the
audience to a time of lying, cheating, acting, theatre, mink shalls,
and witty banter. Extremely funny
and entertaining, this film is a
must see. ♦
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8
Nigerian Novelist
PAGE FRIDAY
Friday, October 1,2004
Adichie's debut dazzles
Purple Hibiscus
by Ghimamanda Ngozi Adichie
[Anchor Books]
by Lisa Pamela Cooper
CULTURE WINTER
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi, daughter of much
acclaimed Igbo novelist Chua Achebe seems to be
following in her mothers foot-steps with her debut
novel Purple Hibiscus.
Narrated by fifteen-year-old Kambili, Purple
Hibiscus is a touching story about growing up in
Nigeria during a military coup. Kambili's house,
despite her upper class comforts, is full of fear and
tension   under   her   father's   fundamentalist
Catholic  dogma.  He belt-whips his  family for
breaking pre-mass fast and forbids his children
from visiting their "heathen* grandfather who
eschews Christianity for traditional African gods.
When her father's criticism of the military regime
forces his children to seek refuge, Kambili and her
brother go to hve with their aunt, a liberal outspoken university professor.
They are reluctantly thrust into another world,
one with much less money but seemingly more
happiness, where their aunt may not be able to
afford milk, but where everyone speaks excidely at
dinner in both English, and Igbo. They preach religious and cultural tolerance, and Kambili doesn't
know how she will adjust to such a new life, especially when her cousin Amaka never ceases to
remind her that she doesn't belong.
When Amaka spitefully asserts that her cousin
"hates it here", Kambili suddenly wishes Amaka
had kept her mouth shut. Kambili's world soon
becomes complicated with religious, social and
romantic contradictions when the unexpected
and tragic occurs, shaking Kambili's world to
the core.
Vividly laced with illustrative detail, revolutionary discourse, and a strong sense of African pride,
the novel's clever insight and nail-sharp remarks
combine to make this three-hundred page piece of
fiction a quick and colourful read. Best aimed at a
younger, adolescent demographic, this novel is
potentially satisfying for the university student
looking for an excuse to not read Marx's Capital.
Contrasting between Western and indigenous
cultures, religious fanaticism and moderation,
acculturation and fusion, pacification, and the
spread and rejection of Christianity, Adichie challenges cultural and social boundries.
Unfortunately, it is only in the last fifty pages
that such issues are given front-and-centre attention, such as cousin Amaka's refusal to pick an
English name for her confirmation, and her brother's provocative scrutiny about missionaries from
"the darkest parts of Africa reconverting the West".
These issues are hovering just below the surface,
and the last few chapters could preface an entirely
new novel.
Purple Hibiscus could be a gateway to a deeper
dialogue about the issues regarding cultural
change, and hopefully will prompt in its reader a
newfound interest in cultural dynamics. ♦
Nothing
about this
firehall
by Matt Simpson
CULTURE WRITER
A firehall is usually full of grimy men, lots
of swearing, and a lunch lounge plastered
in pin-ups—well not in this squeaky clean
station. The boys of Ladder 49 have hosed
down all the dirt out of the word dirty. The
latest flick by director Jay Russel, who also
directed My Dog Skip, tries to convey what
the everyday life of a firefighter is like,
and unfortunately paints an unrealistic
picture.
Told through a series of flashbacks in
the life of Jack Morrison, played by Joaquin
Phoenix, the story spans approximately ten
years, beginning from his first day on the
job as a headstrong bachelor, to a skilled
firefighter and settled family man. The film
has astonishing fire scenes and good performances, but it tries too hard to tug at the
heartstrings of its audience with the use of
sappy slow music—the Irish rhythms took
me back to steerage in Titanic. With too
many scenes of heartbreak, the film's ten
year timeline was a little too crammed with
emotional episodes.
Trying to depict firefighters in a way
that would make any citizen appreciate
their hard honorable life-saving duty,
Russell sugarcoats the characters to the
point where they don't seem real. The men
don't swear, are devoutly Catholic, and the
antics in the firehouse are so G-rated that
they only command a slight chuckle from
the audience.
Phoenix gives a good performance in
spite of the overly heroic role he plays.
Notorious for his supporting roles and
creepy villainous portrayls. Phoenix seems
overdue for a break out leading performance, but this film won't be leaving a memorable mark on his resume. Although he
plays each stage of Morrison's life convincingly, I thought he was more convincing as
the goofy rookie than the seasoned pro.
Playing Chief Mike Kennedy, John Travolta
is a pleasure to watch in this supporting
role as he plays a mentor to Jack.
One  exception to  the  melodramatic
story is a genuinely touching scene where
Jack visits another firefighter in the hospital. The burned firefighter doesn't want his
kids to see him, because he's afraid of
going from being a hero to a burned and
scared "freak". It raises the conflict
between the ideal of the firefighter versus
the fallibility of these people. The scene
reaches an emotional depth that the rest of
the film unfortunately lacks.
The film's timidity in tackling tough
subjects is probably due to the mystique
that has developed around firefighters post
9/11. Depicting firefighters as anything
but likeable could create a public outcry,
which is somewhat of a shame, because
firefighters deserve a movie that is as honest about them as they are in their jobs.
And this film does not do that. ♦
Sekoya's soft mix of jazz and electronica bode well on stage and off
Sekoya Stands Tall
Sekoya
[Maximum Jazz]
By Tejas Ewing
.    CULTURE WRITER
Mixing jazz with electronic beats and urban sounds is no longer a
new innovation. However, with the over saturation of electronic
fusion today, doing it well still gets people's attention. Sekoya has
been getting their share lately, with a frantic series of appearances
that has them on the forefront of Vancouver-based nu-jazz bands.
They were one of the few Canadian acts at Seattle's recent
Bumbershoot festival, they have appeared on a Nettwerk records
compilation along with such fusion heavyweights as LTJ Bukem, and
they received a Canada Council grant to fully fund their debut
album. And all of this in less than two years!
After spinning their self-titled release and attending their unofficial CD release party at the Ironworks last Friday, I can say that the
attention they are garnering is well deserved. Comprised of the core
trio of vocalist Amalia Townsend, composer/arranger/saxophonist
Alvin Coraista and programmer/engineer Dan Kearley, this group
represents a sound that Vancouverites should be able to identify
with. The city's easy access to the sounds of various cultures has
clearly been an influence on their music, which blends jazz, soul,
broken beats and world music into a cohesive whole.
Tracks such as "Freestyle" reveal hip-hop influenced vocals, electronic breakbeats and sophisticated jazz melodies. Others such as
the instrumental "Ustaad* delve more into world fusion, with a
clearly middle-eastern influence. Later tracks tackle the spoken
word realm, giving Townsend the freedom to really show her stuff.
Each track has a different emphasis, and therefore each artist is able
to exert their influence on a different part of the album. In some
instances this might create a mishmash of disconnected work, but
this album has a steady flow to it, and all of the tracks work well
together, and in the order presented.
This is partly because of the strengths of each member and what
they bring to the table. Townsend's voice has great range and fluid
ity, and her lyrics are both meaningful and well delivered. Cornista's
saxophone playing is vibrant and fresh, providing the jazz backbone
to each song. Finally, Kearley's beats are always appropriate, well-
chosen and catchy, yet never overshadowing the instrumental and
voice elements of each song.
After seeing many of the album's tracks performed hve, I can
also say that Sekoya is an excellent hve band. Townsend's stage presence is infectious. Her riotous dancing never fails to bring the audience out onto the dance floor, and once there, Sekoya has the ability to turn up the heat Their ability to fluidly move from downtempo
lounge music to infectious danceable vibes further solidified their
reputation for being able to master various genres. Fusion bands
are everywhere now, but those with skill are still hard to find. Keep
an eye on Sekoya. ♦>
i_PWWr*

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