|Trans-Pacific Partnership deal makes Canada a trade leader|
UBC Institute of Asian Research professor Paul Evans says that without China, the Trans-Pacific Partnership could economically divide the Asia-Pacific region.
“What I’m really afraid of is a dividing line in Asia, where trade arrangements become the foundation of strategic confrontations, so that the region is divided into a China sphere and a TPP-like Western sphere,” Evans said.
Similar articles appeared in Vancouver Sun and Ottawa Citizen.
|Giving dummies to babies can slow their ability to talk|
Thumb sucking and using pacifiers can delay babies’ speech development, a new UBC study suggests.
Researchers Alison Bruderer and Janet Werker say their finding calls into question previous assumptions that hearing is the main factor in speech development.
“This study indicates the freedom to make small gestures with their tongue and other articulators when they listen to speech may be an important factor in babies’ perception of the sounds,” Werker said.
|Investors must do more to help women smash the glass ceiling|
A Telegraph article on the results of a European survey says big corporations should back up their talk of equal gender representation with action.
The survey mentioned a UBC study that found boards with more female directors saved about 15 per cent of the costs of business acquisitions and were more likely to have higher returns on their investments.
|How farm dust and gut bugs can fight allergens|
A new Belgian study is one of the first to establish a link between farm life and allergy resistance, according to an Irish Times article. The article also cited a UBC study that identified four bacteria strains that seem to reduce children’s risks of developing asthma if they are exposed to the microbes in their first three months of life.
|Best workout comes in ‘exercise pill’?|
|Australia Network News|
Ismail Laher’s paper on exercise pills was featured in an article on Australia Network News. Laher, a UBC professor, said that science is close to developing a pill that mimics the effects of exercise on human muscles. Several compounds that are being studied for this purpose include a synthetic molecule and several substances that are naturally found in food.
|The rise of wooden skyscrapers|
A Motherboard article noted the advantages of building tall wood buildings, such as UBC’s proposed 18-storey student residence. When completed, it will be the tallest wood building in the world.
|Scientists can now predict intelligence from brain activity|
Neuroscientists are mapping the connections within people’s brains and finding that certain minds work better because of those functional connections.
The article quotes UBC neuroethicist Judy Illes.
|Here’s why barefoot training is still smart|
|Los Angeles Times|
Barefoot running has lost its popularity after too many overeager runners got hurt, but barefoot drills and exercises that strengthen the foot are still hot, says a new article in the Los Angeles Times. The article mentions that UBC scientists made a “huge” discovery in 2002–104 “mechanoreceptors” on the sole that work to keep you balanced.
|Canadian firm opens plant to pull carbon from the air|
Carbon Engineering, a company backed by Bill Gates and other investors, has opened a pilot plant in Squamish to pull carbon from the air and convert it into pellets that can then be used to produce fuel.
UBC scientist Hadi Dowlatabadi commended the concept, saying “The economics are attractive.”
A similar article appeared in Japan Times.
|Rich Chinese facing backlash over property prices|
The affordability issue is the top issue raised by many Vancouverites in the current campaign, and it’s not surprising given that Vancouver has been named the most expensive city to live in North America.
UBC public policy professor Paul Kershaw said the affordability picture is particularly bleak in Vancouver, noting that expected standards of living have changed from previous generations.
|Tai chi can help build strength, relieve pain|
The slow, gentle movements of the Chinese martial art Tai chi can relieve the symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients with arthritis, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart failure, a study led by UBC PhD candidate Yi-Wen Chen has found.
But anyone starting a new exercise program should still consult with their doctor, Chen said.
Similar articles appeared on Fox News, Yahoo, Philly.com and other news outlets.
|Seclusion rooms in schools do more harm than good|
UBC special education expert Pat Mirenda weighs in on the issue of using seclusion rooms in schools to calm down students thought to be disruptive.
Mirenda called these rooms traumatizing, without educational benefit and a violation of the student’s rights.
A similar article appeared on Radio Canada.
|Marijuana legalization urged for open debate|
|Globe and Mail|
One of the issues in the election campaign is marijuana. UBC clinical professor Elisabeth Baerg Hall says legalizing marijuana will allow Canadians to “really talk about the dangers” in the same way that teachers and health officials are able to talk about tobacco and alcohol.
Young cannabis users need to understand the difference between responsible and excessive use, says Baerg Hall.
|Biography celebrates a forgotten titan of Canadian zoology|
|Globe and Mail|
A Globe and Mail article profiles the late Ian McTaggart-Cowan, a conservationist and UBC professor who lent his name to the Cowan Vertebrate Museum at UBC.
McTaggart-Cowan is remembered for a popular TV series on nature.
|Foreign trawlers encroaching on West African fishing grounds|
|Globe and Mail|
Foreign factory trawlers engaged in illegal overfishing are putting the livelihoods of West African fishermen at risk, says a new Globe and Mail article.
UBC researchers have turned up evidence that Chinese fleets, in particular, regularly underreport their West African fishing catches.
|Minority government could be good for our democracy|
|Globe and Mail|
A minority Parliament could be good for democracy in Canada, argues UBC political science professor Maxwell Cameron in a Globe and Mail op-ed.
“A minority government might better represent the majority of Canadians,” Cameron said. “It could accomplish substantial progress in the areas where the programs of the parties align: economic measures to strengthen the middle class, a more multilateral and less belligerent foreign policy, action on climate change, and electoral reform, to name a few.”
|Party leaders are avoiding some inconvenient truths|
Conservative, Liberal, and NDP politicians are avoiding talking about necessary changes and hard choices around climate change in the current election campaign, UBC political science professor Kathryn Harrison said.
The parties should discuss oilsands expansion and the lifestyle changes Canadians have to make to address climate change, Harrison said.
This op-ed also appeared in the Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen and Regina Leader Post.
|How many? From where? The immigration debate we’re not having|
Politicians aren’t talking about the difficult issues surrounding immigration, says a new article in the Citizen.
UBC economist Don Devoretz says it’s because politicians will gain little in picking one side over another. Surveys consistently show that a quarter of Canadians say too many immigrants are allowed into Canada, a similar portion say immigration numbers are too law, and half believe the numbers should stay the same.
This article also appeared in the Montreal Gazette, Calgary Herald, Regina Leader Post and The Province.
|Women face built-in biases in tech sector|
Two UBC professors and a UBC graduate were featured in an article on how biases prevent women from entering the technology sector.
UBC computer science professor and associate science dean Gail Murphy attributed low numbers of female computer scientists to the impression that technologists have just a narrow range of career options to choose from.
Diversity is essential to create the technology that Canada needs for the future, said Elizabeth Croft, a UBC engineering professor and associate dean who promotes careers in engineering and technology for young women.
UBC business graduate Natali Altshuler, product development director at Electronic Arts, believes having role models they can identify with will encourage more young women to start careers in technology fields.
Similar articles appeared in Calgary Herald, Vancouver Sun and The Province.
|Challenges looming for those looking to vote strategically|
The Liberal surge in Ontario is making decisions more difficult for B.C. voters looking to vote strategically, according to UBC political science professor Richard Johnston. This is because the NDP “has historically been stronger here than in Ontario, and historically stronger than the Liberals.”
|18 months of parental leave: Would it work?|
Analysts believe only a few will benefit from the Conservatives’ promised 18 months of parental leave. Marina Adshade, a professor in UBC’s School of Economics, says such a program doesn’t cost the government anything but it doesn’t deliver much either. Women, who make less, are unlikely to use the added leave because their benefits are low to begin with. She also doesn’t think the plan will help higher-income parents much since benefits are capped at $350 a week.
|Election 2015: resource ridings seek economic answers|
UBC political science professor Gerald Baier says some Conservative resource ridings could be vulnerable to the Liberal message, but it depends on the type of resource.
Ridings with mining are likely to have strong unions as well, and this will probably benefit the NDP. In ridings with weaker unions, the Conservatives could see gains.
“Oil and gas [ridings] would be an example of this,” Baier said. “I think there’s more of a willingness to say, ‘Well, we just gotta keep pumping the stuff or dig, dig, dig in order to keep the jobs going. They want to see policies that prioritize resource extraction instead of climate change.”
|Snoring cure: It’s in the tongue|
John Fleetham, UBC respiratory professor and co-director of the Vancouver Acute Sleep Disorder Program at UBC Hospital, says a tongue training program designed to reduce snoring may prove too time-consuming for most people.
“But it is helpful, usually in addition to other treatments rather than to replace them,” Fleetham said.
|UBC Museum of Anthropology takes on an Asian focus|
UBC’s Museum of Anthropology has a new Asian focus, with two Asian-themed exhibits in its lineup and two Asia-focused curators appointed last year. The museum hopes to open an Asian wing in the future.
|Affordable housing key election issue for Metro Vancouver voters|
A new poll says none of the four main parties have impressed voters so far with their policies on affordable housing.
Penny Gurstein, director of UBC’s School of Community and Regional Planning, says there is an affordability crisis in Vancouver and that there are ideas politicians could explore. The next federal government should promote the construction of rental buildings and get involved in building affordable housing. Government should also get back to offering subsidies for co-operatives.
|Polarized election makes it hard to predict outcome|
|North Shore News|
Record numbers of people are taking advantage of early voting, making it clear they want to see a new government in place, says UBC political scientist Max Cameron.
“The people who are firmer in their opinions who are turning out to the opinion polls early, they have made up their minds,” Cameron said. “What will happen October 19th [will be] more [about] what happens with respect to the undecided vote.”
|North Shore candidates promise health-care fixes|
|North Shore News|
The promises made by the federal parties about health-care are discussed in a new article in North Shore News.
“The very least you could do from the federal level is agree to meet on a regular basis with the provinces to discuss issues around the health-care system,” said UBC population and public health professor Steve Morgan.
|Early student participation could hint at strong turnout|
The impact of increased student voter turnout at advanced polling stations is discussed by News 1130.
“It’s hard to conclude from a few advanced polling days whether or not we’re going to get a better turnout,” said UBC political scientist David Moscrop. “But we can say look — there’s been all this energy poured into this election, which is a close one, and people are trying to get people out in a way that I’ve never seen. That should have some sort of impact.”
|Conservative strategy built to survive, UBC expert says|
Early voting has been rising in recent years but overall turnout hasn’t, says UBC politics expert Richard Johnston.
This being the case, the Conservatives could well be positioned for a victory because they have traditionally been good at getting their supporters to vote.
|Election: Calls increase for return of the long-form census|
The scrapping of the mandatory long-form census in 2010 was a mistake, according to many organizations and economists. UBC urban geographer David Ley says accurate data is very important, particularly for a city like Richmond, which is experiencing significant demographic changes including aging and immigration. Ley said the voluntary survey drew a response rate of only 68 per cent.
|UBCO studying the science of charity|
|Kelowna Capital News|
UBC Okanagan professor Ross Hickey is examining the ways charities ask for money and determining what method (email, face to face, hard sell or soft sell) works best.
“In the absence of stable government funding to support many of the services charities provide, I think finding the most efficient and respectful way to support charitable fundraising efforts is in the public interest,” Hickey said.