A blast from the past!

July 19, 2012

The following mock press release was written in 1994 around the Dawn of the World Wide Web, or "the beginning of life as we know it." It seems that the more things change, the more they stay f-ed up. Particularly interesting is the appearance of the furlong as a unit of measurement, foreshadowing the partnership of Jack Poole and John Furlong in VANOC 2010, and the quotes attributed to Mike Harcourt almost two years before Bingogate forced him to resign. And there is a hint of the future market-housing real estate boom at UBC and the ever-increasing reliance on foreign student tuition as sources of revenue for the cash-starved university.

A recent opinion piece in the Vancouver Province and an unrelated but entirely related Op-Ed piece in the L.A. Times make it well worth recycling this 1994 item.

K.S.B.


Vancouver, B.C. (March 3, 1994) -- At a hastily called press conference early this morning, Jack Poole, President of VLC Properties, and Dr. Erich Vogt, out-going director of TRIUMF, announced a partnership between VLC (Very Large Casino Properties) and TRIUMF (Try Repeatedly to Involve the University in Major Funding). Poole (no relation to our own Dr. David Poole) described the new proposal as a chance to include university researchers in the consortium that will build a large casino complex along the Vancouver waterfront adjacent to Canada Place. To be called KAON (Keep Angling to Overcome Nay-sayers), the casino will feature the world's largest roulette wheel when it is completed some time next year. Approximately 1.5 kilometers (8.58 furlongs) in diameter, the roulette wheel will use sub-atomic particles such as K-mesons instead of traditional roulette balls.

Vogt explained that this will provide a much faster version of roulette and one that is harder to "fix" because the laws of physics will determine the outcome of each spin, thus making it virtually impossible to cheat. Sub-atomic particles obey the rules of quantum mechanics, which are formulated as probabilities, making them a natural choice for a gaming device. Poole stated that this ought to answer the concerns raised by critics of the project who are fearful of future Mafia involvement in the new casino.

Dr. David Strangway, President of U.B.C., praised the proposal as paving the way for future projects involving the university and private industry. He pointed out that B.C. taxpayers would not have to bear the costs of the project because he expected most of the money to come from visiting international students who are expected to spend a lot of their time at the casino while enrolled in degree programs at U.B.C. He stated that the casino would be operated on a full cost-recovery basis. Strangway declined to comment on questions from reporters about rumors that the casino might be built on university lands near Wreck Beach because the U.B.C. site would not be subject to the community review process required for the downtown waterfront site.

Premier Michael Harcourt added his support for the project, saying that, once completed, the casino would help to reduce the number of people on welfare and thus reduce the provincial deficit. When asked how this would be accomplished, he said that he was not at liberty to divulge all of the plans at this time. He did, however, cite one example of an unemployed physicist who had already cost taxpayers $100,000. Harcourt said that the physicist would be able to work in the casino once the new facility opened. Pointing out that casino operators have promised to run a 100% union shop, Poole observed that a Ph.D. physicist would be able to earn far more income as a roulette wheel operator than as a researcher.

In a related development, Prime Minister Jean Chretien announced today that the federal government is looking into a new source of revenue to reduce the federal deficit. Called the GST (Gambling, Sex and Tobacco), the program would replace all existing taxes with revenue to be generated from high-profit-margin private sector initiatives. Chretien is expected to appoint a new minister of finance early next week. Insiders, who spoke on the condition of remaining anonymous, said that discussions have been underway with three candidates from Las Vegas. Asked about how this would affect the KAON project, Strangway said that this would open up new possibilities for degree programs at U.B.C. and that Vogt will chair a committee to suggest alternatives to "clear cutting" at the blackjack tables in the new casino as the first step in applying the university's technical know-how to the problems of economic recovery. Poole added that TRIUMF's extensive experience with Monte Carlo simulations was a major factor in deciding to go with U.B.C. as the academic partner for VLC.